Customer Reviews for

Her Restless Heart Participant Book

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  • Posted May 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    One of the things I love most about Christian fiction is the who

    One of the things I love most about Christian fiction is the wholesomeness of the message you find tucked between the pages of an amazing novel. You don't have to worry about questionable material or language because when it's written by trusted Christian authors, you are truly in for a treat. Now Abingdon Press has partnered with best selling author Barbara Cameron to bring you an added bonus, a Bible Study geared for women using one of Barbara Cameron's best selling novels as the stage. If you haven't read Her Restless Heart by Barbara Cameron, it's fine because the Bible Study book uses excerpts from the novel to help women understand our motivations sometimes for acting the way we do. Being overly busy, having issues with finding the time to get everything all done and even for finding love and acceptance from our family and friends.

    Since April 22nd, Abingdon Women and Barbara Cameron have teamed up using Facebook to host a weekly online Bible Study working through the study a week at a time. Using videos and online conversations it has created quite a virtual Bible Study in a unique way. There are reflection questions to garner conversations about those items I mentioned above using the characters Barbara created in her novel as perfect examples of our need to find love and acceptance. Sometimes we are people pleasers, sometimes we are so busy attempting to do it all, we find ourselves coming up short on taking time out for ourselves without feeling guilty. Barbara calls that simply being restless. I know I can relate to that since my entire upbringing consisted on taking care of my family. My own family divorced when I was sick and being the oldest most of the responsibility feel on my shoulders to help my mom out as much as I could.

    This was a role I didn't have a choice in and had to step into it because I loved and cared for my mom and my family. However looking back through Barbara's help through this study I realized I had some unresolved issues in missing out on my own childhood. I strived in doing more to gain the need for love and acceptance from my mother instead of finding a way to connect. Even to this day looking back on almost 50 years of my life, I can see the path I have worn with striving to do more while desperately searching for these needs in all my personal relationships. I know I didn't like doing it but wasn't sure how to find a way out.

    Through this personal look at the characters in Barbara's book I could see myself relating to her character of Mary Katherine, who lives a typical and simple Amish lifestyle on her family's farm. Her father has a quick temper and harsh tongue and without realizing it, is taking a toll on Mary Katherine's self esteem. She doesn't have much of a role model in her mother since her mother is submissive and and meek. She doesn't speak up against her husband when he belittles Mary Katherine with his words and actions. Mary Katherine seeks the love and acceptance in her grandmother Leah who teaches her the value of her own self worth in ways she hasn't seen before.

    I received Her Restless Heart: A Woman's Longing for Love and Acceptance by Barbara Cameron compliments of Abingdon Press and Abingdon Women for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. This is such a great study because I honestly feel so many women not only feel this way, but struggle to find a way out of this behavior to find the love and acceptance so many of us desire in our relationships. Each week of study in this book begins with a Scripture for the week and an excerpt from the novel, setting the stage for the five readings that follow. Each day's reading may be completed in about 20-30 minutes. As you work your way through these readings, you will encounter additional excerpts from the novel offering insights related to the respective themes, commentary on selected Scriptures, and personal application.

    The interactive format guides you through the material, providing questions for reflection and response throughout each reading. You will have the opportunity to share some of these responses when you gather with your small group or online study group. Writing your thoughts in the space provided will prepare you for your weekly group sessions as well as capture the insights you are gaining on your journey.

    Each day's reading concludes with an "As You Go" suggestion for the day - a question to ponder, a Scripture to consider, or some action to take. Then, at the end of each week's readings, you will find a special "About the Amish" section, answering common questions about Amish customs, traditions and practices. So if you feel discontent or unhappy with where you are or unsure about where you're headed, you might want to pick this book up. You can even join the online study already in progress and use it to go back to the beginning when it started in April and gain some much needed insight. I know it has had a profound way on my own personal life and I now feel more at ease in finding the love and acceptance I need in all my relationships. This study rates a 5 out of 5 stars. I only hope more authors will do this in the future. There is so much we can gain for using the fictional accounts we find our the novels we read to help us work through whatever issues we have in our lives.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    I wasn┬┐t sure about combining excerpts from a novel with a Bible

    I wasn’t sure about combining excerpts from a novel with a Bible study.  I have to admit I was even a little leery it might be a little bit sacrilegious.  After reading this book I can honestly say it is a quality Bible study.  It is the best of both worlds combining a study of God’s word and a Christian novel.  I have read the questions at the end of many Christian fiction books and while they are great for group discussions, they are do not compare with this study.  For years I have found spiritual lessons in many Christian novels I have read. I even sat up a file in Word where I type in the sentences or paragraphs that spoke to me and then added what spiritual truth I learned.  This goes even deeper!
    Before receiving this Bible study, I had not read the book the excerpts come from.  I can truthfully say it did not affect my experience or hinder me in the study.  I do believe if I had read the book, it would have further enhanced the story.  
    While I enjoy Bible studies of all types, this one was, well what can I say, fun.  The beginning of the book shares a summary of the story, character sketches of the people, and a glossary of Amish words used, and their meanings.  The book is divided in to a 6 week study, with 5 days of lessons for each week.  Each week begins with a Scripture or Scriptures for that week.  This not only prepares your for the heart for the lesson, but also could be used to memorize.  Next is a paragraph named, “Setting the Stage” which tells you what the main idea of the lesson for the week will be.  Then there is the excerpt from a chapter in the book, usually about 2 or 3 pages long.  At the beginning of the daily lesson there is a verse to read.  I personally like to read the entire chapter the verse is in.  Following that is the “Reflect and Respond” section. This introduces concepts and ideas about the lesson.  Thought provoking questions and lots of scripture references follow.  I find that VERY important in a good study of the Word.  The lesson ends with a prayer and a suggestion to apply what you have learned to your life.  
    The lessons were just the right length and very interesting.  I also appreciated in the margins of some pages there were key ideas printed.  As an added bonus at the end of the book the author shares Amish recipes!   A delightful and enlightening study that would be great for individuals or groups.  
    I believe this is book is paving the way for a new type of Bible study, where the pleasure of reading Christian fiction can also be a part of spiritual growth. 
    I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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