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Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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About the Author
Crystal Stine serves as editor of this (in)courage series. A self-proclaimed “accidental community builder,” Crystal is a coffee & chocolate loving, full-time working mama married to her high-school sweetheart. Crystal is passionate about cultivating a community where faith, fitness, and friendship come together. Author of “Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art,” she is a speaker and host of Write 31 Days. Crystal writes regularly at crystalstine.me and offers encouragement on Twitter and Instagram as @crystalstine and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Madison.
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The flowery, Instagrammable cover and all the floral prints inside made me feel like I couldn’t take it too seriously. I didn’t think that it would be something that would really challenge and uplift me in my walk.
And I’ll admit. I was wrong. There are some jewels in here. I judged the book too quickly for its cover and pages.
It’s not too meaty and deep theologically, but I like that it is, indeed, accessible for any Christian woman, whether young in her faith or decades into it. You can easily read a chapter a day or spend a week going over one chapter to devote some time to the topic. Some things to note:
* Devotional style: It starts with a personal story, some that more relatable than others depending on the reader’s life (i.e., performance jealousy, insecurity, neediness, etc.). Then it applies Bible verses and truths related to that personal story and connects it to you.
* Friend talk: It reads like a gal pal talking to you over a nice cup of tea.
* Application: This is probably my favorite part. At the end of each chapter are “Connection Questions” to get you to self reflect and a “Connection Challenge” to inspire you to do something. Perfect for small group or a book study, and you all can keep each other accountable (see my photos).
* Split by sections: Comnecting with God, friends and community. I like that it hits the three places where we, as believers, should strive to build bridges that last into eternity.
Some things I didn’t like:
* Although the pages have cute pink floral prints and sketches, I really would have preferred that they kept all the gray out. Every page has a significant amount of gray by the edges that I felt like it would rub off onto my fingers like newspaper (see photos).
* Maybe it’s just the style of (in)courage, but I wish it was spiritually meatier in its content. So far, I feel more like I learned more about the person in the chapter than I did a truth. Although this could be helpful and very friendly for younger believers, anyone wanting a more serious, Bible-centric study or devotional might want to skip this.
Each chapter ends with connection questions, a connection challenge, and a prayer. These practical steps will help you to put into practice what you learn. This is a great book to read through with a friend, a book club, or on your own. Be prepared to be challenged and stretched!
While reading this book, I was encouraged to pursue friendship with intentionality. I was challenged to keep reaching out in friendship and to keep seeking community. One afternoon, after reading a few chapters, I invited my next door neighbor over for an impromptu tea party. We had a delightful time chatting and drinking tea for over an hour! Reading Craving Connection was just the prompting I needed to step outside my comfort zone and risk friendship again.
I received an advanced review copy of Craving Connection from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
It changed my life with a different outlook and response to community and friendship. For forever, it had pretty much only been me and the Lord.
I ended up buying this book for he very friend God brought me. I wouldn't have this friend today if I never picked up this book.
This book encouraged me and successfully inspired me to take risks and take the first step. I now have four new unlikely friends that the Lord has done amazing things with in my life. We are very close and I owe it to this tool that the Lord used. I wouldn't have gained any of them had this book never made it to me.
I have always struggled with people pleasing. I always examined my text messages heavily and read into others' words. I am a very confident girl, but I this is where I fall.
The Lord used this as a tool to completely change me.
Go about this prayerfully; I always prayed each day for the Lord to bless this study and to speak to me.