Archive for the ‘Summer Book Club’ Category

Working It Out Part III: The Butterfly Stage

We’ve all seen the Biggest Loser, most of us walking away inspired to get fit and live a healthier life style. Abby Rike’s story is no different; she talks of being cut off from the family and support she had left in her life only to be pushed to her body’s limit and to the point of injury. But her injury didn’t stop her – she kept going in the competition until she was cut and sent home. Even then, Abby never gave up – she kept working out and eating healthy. With help from trainers and nutritionists to lose the weight, she lost 100 lbs in the end!download movie The Visit now

She could not have done it alone though – and she is the first to tell you this. Despite being cut off from communication with the outside world, letters from family and friends along with the rare, but occasional allowed phone calls gave Abby the wings she needed to break from her cocoon and fly again. Her support from the other contestants got her through in between these much needed communications with her family.

And upon returning home, her family and friends support meant more to her than ever. All of this is meant to inspire and motivate all of us – reminding us that we can do it too! We can become healthier and find ourselves again!

But I wonder – can we all REALLY do what Abby did? She lost 100 lbs in a short time frame. She was given the chance to leave her home and lifestyle to do nothing but work out with amazing trainers all day. And even after going home, she opted to not go back to work being offered the chance to work out with some amazing trainers that donated their time to her. This would not be the case for the majority of us –Abby Rike was truly blessed with this opportunity.

While I’m not saying what she did is impossible – I am a strong believer that through Christ we can do anything – but, Abby’s circumstances were one in a million.

As for her closing notes: I was a little shocked by them! Her message throughout the book was inspirational and caring – her tone very quiet and subdued. The last few pages however, became very ‘preach-ey’ and passionate about her views and beliefs. Not once throughout the book does she preach or push her beliefs – but it seems like she was waiting until the very end to throw it at you as a last note.

So I caution you, if you have not read this book, to be prepared for the last few pages. Some of you will agree, others will not, but it is clear that she wanted her voice as a Christian heard.

Working It Out Part II – The Cocoon Stage

Cocoons vs. Caves

It’s hard for me remember that a cocoon is protection. It’s often used as a metaphor as a place of hiding or retreat, which would probably be more accurately described as a cave. But a cocoon is an envelope of security – a protective lining. I get an image of God holding us in the palm of His hand – cocooning us from the weight of the world.

But when we decide to build our own cocoons, our own protection from the world, we will fail. Even our best attempts at creating a sanctuary will crumble and expose our raw wounds. In this section of Working it Out, Abby Rike shows us the cocoon she built around herself and how God gave her the grace to realize that her own strength was not enough to get her through the rest of her life without her family.

I had to come to grips with the fact that my cocoon was not the safe place. The cocoon was the suffocating place, the place where my vicious cycle continued and I asked, Why is there no light? Why am I stuck here? without every actually finding an answer. The coon was tight and uncomfortable, not safe and inviting – a trap, not a haven. And the more I wrapped myself in layers and layer of protective coating, the harder it was to emerge from that false sense of security. It was not until later that I realized a cocoon is not a sweet escape from life. It is the absence of life.” – Abby Rike, Working it Out

It’s so hard to trust in anything or anyone when we are so badly wounded and disoriented. Our instinct is to tuck the problem into our hearts and try to ignore the pain, while it eats us from the inside out.

If we could just remember what we are called to do in Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

I learned something from Abby in this section. I create a cocoon around myself all the time – from big issues to little issues and everything in-between.  I have been under the assumption that healing happens all at one time – that I will have an epiphany and will immediately be able to let go of my problems. But I think maybe the healing process comes off as it goes on – one layer at a time. It starts in the heart, maybe as a small whisper, then moves outward, encompassing anything in its path.

“Working It Out” By Abby Rike – Our First Discussion Book

“He who learns must suffer. And in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our own will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

–Aeschylus (From Chapter One, “Working It Out”)


"Working It Out" by Abby Rike

Every once in a while, I become stagnant in my faith. I don’t want to learn anything – I want instant wisdom and knowledge, just shot down from Heaven. I don’t want the experiences that lead to that understanding.

I want what Evan Baxter (the main character in the movie “Evan Almighty”) wanted.  But the questions that were posed to his family were:

“If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

But sometimes, we’re not given the chance to choose whether or not we want to learn. Sometimes we don’t get to see the Master’s plan and have the opportunity to opt out. But in every situation, we have the opportunity to choose how we are going to react.

We can curse and scream, we can become depressed, we can get angry – or we can give into what is certain to be the best outcome – listen to God. Listen knowing that what we are promised in Romans 8:28 is true:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

That’s what Abby Rike did. That’s her story – her journey. She lost everything, struggled to deal with the life she was left with, but now inspires the rest of us and shares the lessons she has learned.

FROM THE BOOK:  “In 2006, Abby Rike lost the life she knew and loved when her husband and two young children were killed in a car accident. Devastated and numb, she shut down. For nearly three years she walked through life like a spectre, present in body only. As she descended, so did her health. Fortunately, Abby was not alone. She had loving parents, supportive friends, and a faith that continued to sustain her. Little by little she found the courage to return to life.
Joining The Biggest Loser proved a catalyst for the physical and emotional changes she needed to make. In fact, against all odds Abby gained strength, courage, wisdom, and continued her steadfast relationship with God. Instead of anger, she found herself slowly but steadily healing. She lost a hundred pounds but gained hope. In this riveting book, Abby tells her story–from her joyous life before the accident to the unbearable pain that followed it and her eventual emergence as a woman reinvigorated by her faith in God. Today Abby’s resilience and positivity are a testament to the power and importance of faith in the darkest hours.”

The book is very real and raw. It’s not ‘preacher-y’ – just honest in how she dealt with her deepest, darkest struggles and the faith it took to pull her out of the depths.

She tells her story in stages: The Caterpillar, the Cocoon and the Butterfly – this is how we are going to segment our discussions. Next week we will start with Part One: The Caterpillar Stage (Chapters 1-6).

I’m looking forward to walking with each of you through the pages of the book and discovering what lessons God has for me (and hopefully you, too!).

Welcome to the Summer Book Club!

Summer Book ClubWe are excited to announce the launch of our Summer Book Club next week! With Summer right around the corner. we want everyone to get ready for a summer full of worship and stimulating conversation. So here’s how it works:watch full movie Moonlight online

Each week, we will feature a book at it’s lowest price ever! It will be on sale for that week only, then go back to regular price.

Each month, we will choose one book to focus our discussion on – acting as a virtual book club! We’ll post discussion questions, analyze and review the plot and story line, and discuss topics related to the underlying meaning of the book. And don’t worry – you’ll get your book in time; we will wait 2 weeks after the announcement of each book to begin discussions to ensure you have and are reading the book.

To find out which book we are discussing, you can check nestentertainment.com, our Facebook page, or sign up for emails.

So grab a chair, beach towel, whatever and get reading! And I’ll let you in on a secret, our first book will be Working It Out by Abby Rike – it will go on sale June 3rd.

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