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How’s your life? Does it tell a wonderful story fi lled withgrace, character, and courage? Or are you stuck in the past,struggling with regrets and fears?
PERHAPS IT’S TIME FOR A NEW STORY.
Same Life, New Story is a ten-week Bible study that offers women a powerfultruth: one small change can have profound effects. With humor, vulnerability,and transparency, Jan Silvious—a professional life coach—uses a uniqueblend of modern-day anecdotes and ...
How’s your life? Does it tell a wonderful story fi lled withgrace, character, and courage? Or are you stuck in the past,struggling with regrets and fears?
PERHAPS IT’S TIME FOR A NEW STORY.
Same Life, New Story is a ten-week Bible study that offers women a powerfultruth: one small change can have profound effects. With humor, vulnerability,and transparency, Jan Silvious—a professional life coach—uses a uniqueblend of modern-day anecdotes and biblical character stories to bring youout of the land of what is and victoriously into the land of what can be.
Each chapter examines the life of a woman from the Bible, providing uniqueinsights into scripture as well as questions for personal reflection and journalexercises. Learn how to overcome the past, conquer fear, say “I can,” faceadversity, and harness resilience.
See your story through the eyes of Naomi, Leah, Rahab, and Deborah. Discover—as Hannah, Abigail, and Elizabeth did—the irreplaceable role that Godlongs to play in your life. Learn, as Jan did firsthand, that changing your perspectivecan truly change your life. Within you lies a new story just begging tobe told. What are you waiting for?
Introduction: If You Change Your Story, You Can Change Your Life xi
Chapter 1 Realize It's Time to Get a Life and Tell a New Story 1
Naomi found a life worth living after sowing years of bitterness.
Chapter 2 Don't Be Held Hostage by the Past 27
Leah changed her theme in the midst of a humiliating situation.
Chapter 3 Ask Yourself the Good Questions Only You Can Ask 53
Rahab saved her family and her own neck as a result of acting on the truth.
Chapter 4 Change Your "I Can't" to "I Can" 77
Deborah answered "I can" when God called her to lead in a culture not affirming to women.
Chapter 5 Delete the Drama of the Day 99
Hannah faced infertility and depression but resisted the role of Drama Queen.
Chapter 6 Forget the What-might-have-beens 119
Anna was widowed at a very young age, yet she chose life for all her years.
Chapter 7 Discover the Power of Wisdom and Courage Combined 141
Jehosheba could have played it safe, but she wisely risked saving a child and a kingdom.
Chapter 8 Get Past the Resistance of Fear 165
Abigail was caught between two powerful men, but she did not buckle under fear.
Chapter 9 Choose to Bounce Back 193
Naaman's servant girl was kidnapped and held captive, but she lived a life of resilient integrity.
Chapter 10 The Last Chapter Has Not Been Written Yet! 219
Elizabeth lived a story in her last days she never dreamed she would live, finishing well and leaving a powerful legacy.
Conclusion: Same Life, New Story 249
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. —E. M. Forster
Naomi found a life worth living after sowing years of bitterness.
THE BOOK OF RUTH
It's true: Naomi's story was a tragedy. Due to famine in her homeland of Judah, she and her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, had to move to Moab, a foreign country with false gods, and set up housekeeping among strangers.
Then Elimelech suddenly died, leaving Naomi with her two sons. Mahlon and Kilion married two women from Moab named Ruth and Orpah, and things seemed to be getting better as Naomi looked forward to being a grandmother and living out her life in peace with her family.
After they had been in Moab about ten years, Mahlon and Kilion both died too. Then Naomi, distraught from her devastating losses, was alone in a foreign land with just her daughters-in-law. Now what? How could an older woman survive in Moab with no husband and no sons to care for her? It was not Ruth and Orpah's responsibility to take care of her—they needed to return to their own families for help. What could she do?
Naomi's story had changed drastically, and she had no idea how to write the next part. Can you relate? Have you ever been there?
* * *
My grandmother lived thirty-six years. Her story was short compared to most. She married as a girl of seventeen and gave birth to ten children over the next eighteen years. After her last baby was born, she died of childbirth fever, a common affliction of her day. Her story probably would not have ended that way had she been living now, but during her time on earth, giving birth, which has always been hazardous, was often deadly. Her life ended abruptly with no time to say good-bye.
Her children were bewildered. Her husband was broken, faced with a brood of motherless children, and the love of his life—his North Star—was gone. The plot of their family's story had taken a nasty twist they had not anticipated, but life for the rest of them had to go on.
The day he buried his wife, my grandfather drew his children into a circle and told them they were all going to face changes. They would have to pull together and help each other as never before. Some of them were too young to understand what he was saying, but the older ones knew what he meant. Life as they had known it was over.
While I can only imagine how bleak their whole existence must have looked at that pivotal moment, the truth was, my grandmother's strong influence remained with them all from that tragic day forward.
I was born into this hardy family but did not know the struggles they had faced until I was an adult. As a child I knew that my mother had an incredible bond with her sisters and brothers. I never knew them to be divided by arguments or petty jealousies. Through thick and thin, sickness and accidents, foreign wars and family reunions, births and deaths, they lived together with kindness, caring, and mutual support. Their mother had written her story while she could. Through her sacrificial life, her children learned what she wanted them to know. If she had lived another thirty-six years, I cannot imagine they would have turned out any better.
I often think of my grandmother and wonder if I have lived as well as she did in her brief stay here. The fact that I am alive and have breath gives me options, though, that she did not have. Although it will be up to those who come behind us to interpret what we have written and to make judgments about the legacies we leave, the writing of it is in our hands. It is up to us to write stories worth reading and remembering.
The part that is up to us is how well we respond to the events and circumstances that happen in our lives. Some of my grandmother's children had to live in different homes for a few years. It was hard for them, but they managed to see it in a way that propelled them forward. They did not allow it to stop them or make them into victims. No matter what they went through, they lived with optimism and strength.
Writing our life stories well is huge. Choosing not to linger in a bad scenario, but choosing to move on to new pages and chapters or maybe even a whole new book, is what marks a good life—a life with a meaning and influence.
If we live with an eye on the fact that God knows when and where we live in the grand scheme of things—in fact, He placed us precisely here—it is easier to relax into our futures, the unwritten parts of our stories. We will always live the same life, but as long as we have breath, we can write a new story. As long as there is life, God's imprint is on the pages. We can know there is a bigger story going on around us, and we can reach beyond this moment to see the more. Even if, for now, things seem bleak, unfair, and ungracious, there is hope because there is always more to your story.
From Pleasantness to Bitterness
Naomi, a prominent woman in Scripture whose name means "pleasantness," is a significant character in a drama that seemed to go so very wrong. In fact, because of her sad life she eventually declared she had changed her name to Mara, which means "bitterness."
It is hard to believe she ever imagined there could be more to her life. She lived during a barren time in the history of Israel—the time of the judges, which is described as a time when "everyone was doing what was right in his own eyes" (Judg. 17:6 NKJV), and living was hard. There was a famine in the land, which caused Naomi, her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons, Kilion and Mahlon, to pack their belongings and leave their home in Bethlehem. They went to Moab, a land where the people worshipped many false gods, but at least there was food in Moab.
We do not know if things got much better for them there, but what we do know is that, before long, Elimelech died. And while that was certainly tragic, Naomi still had her boys. The sons married Moabite women, and they all lived together in Moab for ten years. Sadly, though, both of her sons then died. Naomi was bereft. Distraught. Depressed. Her life was turned upside down, and her story took a disastrous turn. She had no husband, no sons, and only daughters-in-law in a strange land. It could not have looked much worse for an Israelite woman of Naomi's age. I can only imagine the sorrow and despair that surrounded her. What would she do? Her daughters-in-law had their own families and surely were not obligated to take care of her. They were still young enough to remarry and have children. But not Naomi.
One day, in the midst of her despair, a message came that gave Naomi a little glimmer of hope. She heard that the famine had been broken in Israel, and the Lord had at last given His people food. So the tired, grieving Israelite woman packed her meager belongings to leave Moab and return home to Bethlehem in Judah:
Naomi and her daughters-in-law left the place where they had lived and started back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back home, each of you to your own mother's house. May the Lord be as kind to you as you have been to me and my sons who are now dead. May the Lord give you another happy home and a new husband." (Ruth 1:7–9)
Naomi knew her daughters-in-law could start over again. A new beginning was possible for them, but I wonder if it ever occurred to her that she could begin again too? She probably thought she had lived her life. The family she expected to grow old with was gone. The future held no happy expectation of grandchildren or even the comfort of living among old friends. She had nothing in Moab. So she was going to do the only thing she knew to do—return home to her own people and relatives. She said farewell to the only connections she had in Moab.
"When Naomi kissed the women good-bye, they began to cry out loud. They said to her, 'No, we want to go with you to your people'" (vv. 9–10). But Naomi tried to send the girls home to their own families. She even played on their emotions by saying, "I cannot give birth to more sons to give you new husbands" (v. 11). Then she went to an extreme thought. Even if she conceived children that very night, she could not ask the girls to wait for them to grow up. She did not want them to live without husbands, so she said, "Don't do that, my daughters. My life is much too sad for you to share, because the Lord has been against me!" (v. 13).
Naomi had titled her old story "Too Sad." She had even come up with that outlandish scenario—a new husband, new children, and daughters-in-law frozen in time to wait for Naomi's future sons to grow up! She had concocted an impossible plot so she could go back to Bethlehem and give her daughters-in-law an "out." She only saw the future one possible way, and the girls were not part of it. She had one plan in mind, and they were not included. As so often happens, however, life threw her a curve. Just when she thought she had her sad existence all figured out, one of those girls did not do what Naomi expected. Ruth did not take her "out." And the plot took a left turn.
The women cried together out loud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law Naomi good-bye, but Ruth held on to her tightly. Naomi said to Ruth, "Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her own people and her own gods. Go back with her." But Ruth said, "Don't beg me to leave you or to stop following you. Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. I ask the Lord to punish me terribly if I do not keep this promise: Not even death will separate us." (vv. 14–17)
Naomi was given a daughter—a daughter who vowed to stay with her until death. She had no idea about this new story line. Life had been hard, but now something wonderful had happened. What would her story be now? How would this new chapter develop?
We All Live Many Stories
Most of us live several stories in a lifetime. That is the way God works so often. What starts out looking like a scenario with limited possibilities and little future can be just one of the chapters we live. That is the beauty of knowing that God is writing the main plot of your life story even while you meander aimlessly through side dramas and subplots. He is there all the time, patiently nudging you back toward His ultimate plan for you.
For years I lived in the backstory of my early marriage. I met my husband on a blind date in college. We fell in love, married, and had a baby boy. I liked that part of the story and loved living it, but within six months of our baby's birth, my husband was taken away to fly a helicopter in the jungles of Vietnam. I hated that chapter. It was not what I wanted. We tried to make the most of it. We wrote letters to one another every day (we had no Internet then). We endured all the things every other military couple was enduring at that critical moment in history. We were making the most of a tough situation, but I was depressed and became even more so when he came home. We had missed the entire third year of our marriage, he had lost a most important year in our growing son's life, and both of us had changed significantly. Where was the rightness in all of that?
I felt as if I had awakened angry one day and could not get over it. I had many strings of conversations with myself that seemed to be circular threads that never went anywhere. I was stuck in my mind and could not see a way out of the injustice and loss. You can see I made it a far larger circumstance than it really was by using those big words—injustice and loss. Although my husband had come home, and ten months later we had another beautiful son, it made no difference to me. I thought I had my story, and I had no idea there was more. I just felt trapped in a chapter I did not love, yet I think I wanted to love it. I wanted to live it well, but I just did not know how.
I can look back now and recognize when it began to dawn on me that I was stuck. I was twenty-six years old and angry. I knew my life was not working the way I wanted. The dreams were small. We were right in the middle of life, and I was living a fearful existence. My husband had come home from the war alive, and instead of being thrilled and grateful that he had dodged the deadly bullets, I had succumbed to one big imaginary bullet that had gone right through my soul. I had become desperately afraid that now I would die.
We had two children at that time, and I was scared to death I would pass away from something dreadful and someone else would raise my boys. I saw no greater tragedy than a motherless child and daily struggled with the expectation of death. (For those of you who like to look for the backstory, maybe you can see a clue here, as I did while writing this chapter.) This fear had first surfaced when I was afraid my husband would be killed, and probably even earlier when, as an only child, I lived on hyper-alert, always concerned that something awful would happen to my mother. I always worried that, if something happened to her, I had no one to care for me. I had my dad, who was loving and kind, but the idea of being without my mother terrified me. What would happen to me? How would I survive as a motherless child?
Now I had become a mother myself, and I struggled with every perceived danger. Magazine articles on illness and television programs on poor health all held me hostage. I just knew the next paragraph or news flash would identify my cough or small skin lesion as deadly. It was clear I needed to be saved from myself and from my thinking that tended toward the tragic, the sad, and the terminal. My life was one big what-if. My story was stuck on one theme, like the needle on an old, scratched 45 rpm record, and I did not know how to get back on track. I told myself an ongoing narrative of disappointment and depression. Now, years later, I know the root of it was my fear. Despite the gift of wonderful sons, a cute little house, and devoted friends, fear of death haunted me with frightening, tragic scenes, and I believed every word of it. I can only imagine how bored my friends were with my obsession!
My thinking had become a garden full of weeds. I allowed negative thoughts to take root, grow, and multiply. I had no idea I had any responsibility for what was growing or for the misery I felt. I did not have a tragic life; I just had some years I did not like—my young Cinderella dream had been interrupted—while other people's lives had been untouched by the inconvenience of war. That was a disappointment, born of self-pity, that took root in my mind and allowed all sorts of depressing weeds to shoot up. It was not what I had planned, so I did not have a place to file my feelings about the way things had turned out.
Playing Games with God
The answer came to me one night in an encounter with God. (Remember, He also has a story, and it is entwined with ours.) Up to that point I really had not thought much about Him, but this particular night I went to a concert where singer JoAnn Shelton made a statement that changed my life. She was just making the small talk singers sometimes do between songs in a concert. She simply said, "All my life I played games with God, but then I had to get serious." Believe it or not, that was the beginning of the more to my story.
I had gone to church all my life, but it seemed to make no difference to me. In fact, I was pretty bored with the things I heard. They seemed so irrelevant. Consequently I played games with God and with myself. I guess that was why I was stunned when the singer spoke the words played games. I knew at that exact moment those words were for me. There was a God, and He knew where I was. That was the first glimmer of light in the darkness of my mind, which had been draped in fear for so long. I did not immediately do an about-face, but little by little I began to see that I was not alone, and my life was not without purpose.
Excerpted from SAME LIFE, NEW STORY by JAN SILVIOUS Copyright © 2010 by Jan Silvious. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 29, 2012
I received this book a while back, and thanks to a hectic life, took me a while to sit down with it. Which just goes to prove how much I needed this book! This is a 10-week bible study of sorts for women, all about rewriting the story of your life, starting with today. This book lays out a blueprint for starting to change your life and write the story that you would like to have told after you leave this earth, and creating that story to reflect who you really are and who you really want to become.
I could really relate with the stories laid out in this book. I have lived a life full of conflict in my past, and after reading this book, I got the feeling like I could start over at any moment, and that all of life was laid out before me, all I had to do was start to make the changes that needed to be changed.
Jan Silvious, the author, writes about how we should be handling the various events that come up in our lives and how to try to make our story better each day. The author points out that we have ultimately created the circumstances in our lives that create a story we do not want to tell, for example, continuing to allow someone to emotionally or verbally abuse us, instead of making the effort to get ourselves out of the situation, as was my case many years ago. Those situations we get stuck in and they are our own doing, we need to get ourselves out of them if we want anything to change.
The author combines stories of modern day women and stories of women in scripture to give examples of how women have changed their lives and to provide examples of the changes we can make in our own.
But she also talks about situations we have no control over, like being struck with a terminal illness, paralysis, or other personal tradgedy. I really like what she writes about grieving. The whole book is about not getting stuck and getting up and getting back into life and figuring where to go from here.
But in the part about grieving a lost loved one, she writes that sometimes you need to be in that grief for a while. You can't just pick up and move on, you need to go through the grieving process. How long you stay in that grieving process is very personal, and no one else can decide that for you. You just have to go through the process, but trying not to let it consume you is the trick. I remember after the loss of a loved one, everyone kept asking me, "Oh, aren't you over that yet?" But I had to feel what I was feeling in order to get through it.
She also talks about how we need to remember when we are thrust into stories we wish we didn't have to write, God sees the whole picture, even if we don't, and he is working all things together for good. I love that she writes that because that is what has gotten me through a lot of my hard times, and periods of being stuck. I may not like what is happening, and I have learned instead of being mad at God or asking why he is allowing this, I always ask him to let me look back on this soon and see something good that came of it. He has always done that for me.
Not every situation that causes you to get stuck is negative, as pointed out in the book either. Sometimes it is a comfort zone you are in, and God is calling you to step out of that and take a leap of faith. This is something that really spoke to me, as I am the type of person who really really likes her comfort zones. Those are the places I get stuck more than the negative places. I know that the negative places are going to teach me something, but I need to keep moving to see what I am learning. The comfy places are nice and cozy, and sometimes I need a real kick in the pants to get moving.
Overall, I feel that this is a must read for every woman who wants to live a more faith based life,
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted April 18, 2011
In Same Life, New Story Jan Silvious examines ten women of the Bible and discusses how women today can change the stories of their lives. Each chapter is a study on a different Biblical woman, and each chapter focuses on a different aspect of "changing your story." The book can be used as a 10-week Bible study for women. Silvious incorporates stories of modern day women and how they have changed their stories into a study of women from the Bible such as Leah, Naomi, and Abigail. Silvious encourages women to be proactive and change their story rather than being stuck in the same situation due to the circumstances of life. Overall, this book was encouraging and informative. However, it did have a hard time holding my attention. It was easy to become bogged down in all the personal examples and examples of modern day women and lose sight of the strong Biblical characters up for discussion. I would have preferred a more in-depth look at these Biblical women. The tips for changing the story you are living were interesting and easy to apply to daily life, particularly in the last few chapters. The message that only you can control the story of your life is a powerful one and one we can all benefit from hearing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 13, 2011
Same Life, New Story by Jan Silvious is billed as a "10-Week Bible Study for Women" covering stories of women in the Bible and how they apply to life for women today. It's not so much as a Bible study as it is a self-help coaching book for Christian women. It could also be used by spiritual-but-not-religious women who may be interested in applying Christian concepts to their personal growth.
I have to be honest - many of the Biblical women Silvious did not inspire me so much as make me feel pity for them. Boy, did women have hard lives back then! Dying children, having to share your husband with your sister, all sorts of horrible sad stories. However, I did find their stories interesting, and that in and of itself made this book a worthwhile read.
As for the rest: The self-help advice in this book is standard stuff mixed with a generous dose of surrendering to God. None of this is mindblowing if you've read a lot of self-help books, but I always like to get new perspectives and reminders about personal growth for reinforcement. I would have liked more action items - it seems much of the ideas in the book are a bit repetitive.
What this book is probably best for is a book club or Bible study group. Each chapter has group discussion questions at the end, and there's plenty of food for fodder here. Otherwise, as a personal self-help entree, I feel the book will appeal most to those women who are very much into the Bible and want a Biblical self-help framework.
------------------------------------------------------- Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted March 2, 2011
Same Life, New Story introduces us to ten women of the Bible: Naomi, Leah, Rehab, and others. Silvious' personal anecdotes relate the women's stories to our lives. We see that their struggles, fears and difficulties are not unlike ours today. Biblical truths are revealed as we see how God turned the women's struggles and fears into blessings. The women each changed their perspectives, and we learn to do the same through topics such as: * forget what "might have been" * get past the resistance of fear * don't be held hostage by the past * delete the drama of the day and * learn to ask yourself good questions. Even though I had read many of these Bible stories before, I learned something new in each one, as I considered the women's attitudes and perspectives. I found this book to be engaging and encouraging. Silvious' sense of humor made it difficult to put the book down... I found myself wanting to read 'just a bit more.' Personal reflection questions, journal prompts and topics for group discussion at the end of each chapter would fit nicely into a 10-week Bible study; however, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book straight through on my own. This is a 5 star book, which I highly recommend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2011
Have you ever wanted to go back in time and rewrite your personal history? Do you ever wish you had the power to edit your life script? Have you ever imagined how your life might change if you could reshape its characters - in particular, the star of the story - you? You cannot change the actual events that occurred in your past, but you can change the course of your destiny by rewriting your past - transforming your present - and creating a future that extends far beyond anything you could ever envision. You can create a future that encompasses all of God's plans for your life - starting today. That's the message that author, speaker, and professional life coach Jan Silvious masterfully delivers in this inspiring and uplifting book. Same Life, New Story tells the story of ten biblical heroines and chronicles the challenges they faced at critical points in their lives. Woven between these stories are tales of modern day women who faced similar situations, overcame them, and created a new vision for their lives. Silvious highlights the lessons we can learn from each woman's life and provides questions for personal reflection, journaling, and group discussion at the end of each chapter. On every page, Silvious offers hope and encouragement to those who want to build a better tomorrow. This book isn't just for Christian women - it's for every woman! I could not recommend it more highly. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from Thoma Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2011
My current book to read and review from BookSneeze is "Same Life, New Story Change Your Perspective to Change Your Life" by Jan Silvious. It's a 10-week Bible study for women in the form of a self-help book. The book features stories and scripture from the Bible, quotes, questions and more!
The book is great for women who want to know more about the women in the Bible and themselves. Each chapter starts out with a name of a women from the Bible and a scripture verse. Then the chapter explains the life of that women depicting all of her trials and tribulations. At the end of the chapter there is advice, personal (and group) questions for you to ponder and a journal entry to write.
Each chapter is full of insight. This is a great book to learn how to take your life back. The journal writing is a great idea. As you read this book and ponder the advice and questions, you begin to write your own book. Essentially, you are writing the story of your new life.
Posted February 18, 2011
Jan Silvious offers us the chance to "change our lives" with this 10 week Bible study that is geared toward women. By taking stories about influential women from the Bible, adding her own monologues and ending each chapter with questions that encourage further discussion and self reflection.
Readers will see how many of the most well known women of the Bible did not start out as ladies that we would expect God to use for His work. Their beginnings makes one stop to think how anything is possible with faith!
The book reads like a conversation between friends. Silvious is engaging, encouraging and uses some humor to make points. I really enjoyed this book and used it as a guideline for a Bible study group.
Posted February 17, 2011
This is a good book for women who are going through difficult circumstances and need encouragement to change. The book is said to be a Bible study. But it's not a study guide as I expected. It's more just a book with discussion questions.
There are 10 chapters, each based on a woman in the Bible, and the characteristic she displayed in overcoming an obstacle and choosing a better way. Each theme of the chapter is illustrated by many stories of contemporary women facing a problem, usually a problem of her past. The Bible woman is an illustration of how we can rewrite our story to live a better life.
After each chapter, there are personal reflection questions and group discussion questions. There is also a journal prompt to have you write down the action you will take to change.
The book is very readable with some good insights, but I wouldn't use it as a Bible study.
Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this review. Opinions are entirely my own.
Posted February 16, 2011
This book uses the lives of Naomi, Leah, Rahab, Deborah, Hannah, Anna, Jehosheba, Abigail, Naaman's servant girl, and Elizabeth to illustrate the potential of letting go of something holding you back to move forward. Each Biblical woman demonstrates another one of Jan Silvious' points: change is possible if you can focus your mind and heart on what God wants.
I honestly was disappointed with this book, simply for the fact that it claims to be a Bible study. It's not. Silvious includes lots of stories of real women and connects them to the Biblical woman being addressed. Then at the end of the chapter are discussion questions (with no room to write the answers) and a journaling prompt. When I think Bible study, I think "let me get my Bible and a pen!" Neither are necessary, unless I decide to do the journaling prompt and even then, the Bible isn't necessary.
I'll admit, I did learn some things. I was able to make some interesting Biblical connections I'd never made before. I did learn a few things about myself and for that, I am really glad I read the book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted February 16, 2011
The blurb for "Same Life, New Story: Change Your Perspective to Change Your Life" starts out explaining the following:
"Move from what is to what can be by changing how you think and talk to yourself. Using powerful character studies of ten women from Scripture, as well as modern-day stories from her work as a professional life coach, Bible teacher Jan Silvious helps women choose new stories instead of dumping, or wallowing in, their old lives."
This book caught my attention and I was attracted to the concepts it mentions on how changing your perspective on your past and things in the present can change your life for the better.
This is written in a conversational, easy to read style, a good book to use as a base for a Bible study group and includes questions to reflect and mediate on. Each chapter discusses a different woman from the Bible and as you read about each one, you are led to see how this can be applied to your personal day to day life.
Posted February 14, 2011
I was really intrigued by the idea of this book. I was chomping at the bit to read through some Biblical stories in a light with which I had never read them. I must say though, that I was a bit let down. Growing up in church, the stories were nothing new to me. I had heard them all. This was no surprise. However, I found that I had either heard a similar spin on the stories and their life applications or I just did not see the connection that Silvious was trying to make.
I read through the stories, but unfortunately, had to make myself do so. Maybe I am just not in the right place in my life to apply some of these and therefore did not hear God speaking to me through them. Maybe there was no message for me at this time and at another time I would hear a resounding trumpet directed straight toward my heart. But this time, I did not.
Although I was not deeply moved by this book, looking at other review it was obvious that others were. So my prayer for you is that if you are searching, this might well be a great place to start looking. And maybe when I feel a wandering sense about my life, I can pick this one up again and hear God speaking into my life.
Posted February 13, 2011
Same Life, New Story: Change Your Perspective to Change Your Life by Jan Silvious is a ten-week Bible study course for women about starting a new chapter in life.
Just to start right in, I don't really recommend the book if you're looking for something to help you turn your life around, or even make minor adjustments. The book jumps around a lot, even within chapters, without a solid narrative arc, so it's hard to absorb a message that packs any sort of punch. The chapters are loaded with lots of run-of-the-mill wisdom, with no real insights that I found. And worse yet (though I feel a little bad saying it), it's a bit of a boring read.
Furthermore, as far as Bible studies go, it's actually somewhat light on the Bible. A big chunk of the book is devoted to modern-day anecdotes rather than biblical stories. When it does focus on scripture though, Silvious is good about picking out women from the Bible who aren't usually featured. She frequently selects minor characters from the Bible to make her point, avoiding the Marys, Ruths, and Esthers who are so common in women's Bible studies. So that part is nice.
Final recommendation: Unfortunately, I don't recommend. Though it certainly doesn't contain bad advice, Same Life, New Story doesn't deliver an inspiring message, and I think a Bible study built around the book would ultimately be unfulfilling.
Posted February 3, 2011
One of the main reasons I got this book was because I went to Jan's conference the day the book came out and really enjoyed it her speaking. She wrote this book for adults, but I still liked it.
I loved all the Bible stories Jan put in there like Naomi, Rahab, and Deborah (just to name a few). She made their stories come to life and pulled out what their thoughts and feeling may have been. Scared? Bitter? Stuck?
The great news is this - all those women had the same life, but by the time God was through working, they had a new story.
Jan peppered the book with her own stories, hopes, and disappointments. Other women's stories are included also. Each chapter ended with a "Personal Reflection", "Journal Entry", and "Group Discussion Questions." I love it when an author includes all that stuff in there. It really sums up the chapter and gets you thinking.
And all the scripture is already in the book! I may sound really lazy, but I hate it when I have to look verses up when I'm reading a book/Bible study. I just do. I like everything to flow together and be able to think without trying to juggle two books.
I totally agree with what Jan is trying to say about having your same old life, but with a new story. I'm a girl and I know we get crazy emotional sometimes and some not-so-good stories have our feelings all wrapped up in them. And we think we can't let go of these stories because it's who we are. The good news is, God wants to write a new story. Hallelujah.
Posted February 1, 2011
This is going to be tough. I liked the book for the stories that were told, but it wasn't really a Bible study. Another thing I thought she made a point of...was that no matter how hard your life is...it can always be worse... so get over yourself. She gave many examples of how much worse it can be, in the Bible, her life and in the lives of many other women. I appreciate the idea of telling women to get over themselves and get on with their lives. But, as a Bible study book I believe it failed.
This is more of a self-help book then a Bible study. The author uses Bible stories of women to bring across her points, but it is about getting off you duff, doing something in your life, and raising above the troubles, more then about the Bible or God for that matter. I know we all face challenges in this life and this book gives ideas on how to overcome those challenges. The women she uses from the Bible are strong examples and it was nice to brush up on their lives. Many of their lives were difficult but they seemed able to meet the challenges of those difficulties.
I do believe, like the author, that it can always be worse. But sometimes we to need to take time to be sad, that way we can appreciate the happy times. Even Christ allowed himself to grieve for Lazarus, and he knew he would raise him from the dead. What better example do we need?
If you want to read stories of women who have overcome huge obstacles then this is for you. If you want a Bible study, then get a different book.
Posted February 10, 2011
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Posted August 2, 2011
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Posted August 21, 2011
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Posted August 27, 2011
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