Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement

Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433645679
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/10/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 352,419
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

At (in)courage you are welcome to a place of faith, connection and friendship, where you will always find yourself among friends. Founded in 2009 by DaySpring, the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., the vision for (in)courage was to create a new home for the hearts of women, where women take turns pulling up a chair to share their stories of what Jesus looks like in their everyday, gloriously ordinary, and often messy lives. Since then, (in)courage has grown into a vibrant community that reaches thousands of women every day, welcoming them just the way they are, offering a space to breathe, loving support, and resources for meaningful connection.

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.

Read an Excerpt

Craving Connection

30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement


By Crystal Stine

B&H Publishing Group

Copyright © 2017 DaySpring Cards, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4336-4567-9



CHAPTER 1

Starting a New Thing

CONSIDER

God's desire for relationship with us requires us to believe in a promise that brings change.

"Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."

ISAIAH 43:19


ENGAGE

Text or e-mail a note of encouragement to a friend and let her know she's important to you.

By Crystal Stine


It's hard to start something new. Change can rank anywhere on the scary-scale from "slightly hard" to "absolutely terrifying." And deciding to start a new thing often feels like climbing to the top of a very tall, very bouncy diving board and peeking out over the edge.

What happens if we try, and fail?

Fear holds us back from trying new things and keeps us in our comfort zones. When we're afraid to take the next step, say "yes" to where God is leading, or do something that feels uncomfortable, we find ways to convince ourselves that we don't have to do the new thing God has brought into our lives. Maybe, like me, you've said a few of these words to yourself recently:

• I'm sure someone else can do that instead of me.

• There's probably someone more qualified to do it.

• No one will notice one way or the other.

• I just don't feel like I'm ready.

• My story isn't as special as hers.

• It's been so long, I probably don't remember how to do it anyway.

• I'm sure another chance will come along later.

• I don't want to bother her with my stuff.

• My place isn't ___ enough to host a group.


Those excuses can keep us comfortable, and free us from our fear of failure, but in the process we might miss the joy that comes with trusting the new things God brings into our lives.

In high school I was asked the same question every senior has to answer: "So, what are you going to do after graduation?" While I knew the answer was "college," the details weren't completely decided. When I was deciding where to spend the next four years, I dreamed of studying abroad. I thought it would be wonderful to spend a semester in Europe, traveling and learning about literature and history, right where it all actually happened. I'd traveled to England and Scotland in tenth grade with my Humanities class and fell in love with both countries in a way that affirmed my decision to enter college as an English major (with a focus on books, not grammar).

I never did study abroad. I felt so homesick during the two short trips I did go on that I was fearful of what I would miss if I traveled for a longer period of time. Because of this, I never even applied for the abroad program.

During my first short-term mission trip to Mexico, with the Presbyterian youth group I volunteered with while I was in college, I spent a week surrounded by beautiful children and passionate high school students, but my fears kept me from being truly present. I was afraid to truly connect because I was sure I would be rejected. My thoughts were so focused on home and comfortable relationships that I missed what God was trying to have me experience in that moment.

In college I went on another short trip to Austria and Germany as part of my college's gospel choir. I boarded the plane, only to find myself calling home from France in tears. I blew through calling cards as often as we climbed church bell towers, more concerned about keeping up with everything happening at home than with embracing the experience God had planned for me.

Our hearts long for the comforts of home, but being homesick and having anxiety can keep us from making the new connections God has planned for us. This world is not our home, and we will be homesick. We will be afraid, and we will worry. We'll fear rejection, and we'll regret missed opportunities. But God never says we have to face change alone. He promises that He will be our strength (Exod. 15:2), so we don't have to rely on ourselves and our feelings to get us through.

God revealed to me recently that I have a track record of letting fear convince me that doing what I'd always done was the best choice, and in doing so, I've missed out on experiences I'll never be able to replicate. If we're being completely honest, my life is a perfect example of someone who chooses the guaranteed-to-succeed road. If it feels uncertain or I think I might end up embarrassed or rejected at the end of it, I've avoided it — regardless of how wonderful the experience might be.

I've been discovering, though, that God's desire for relationship with us requires us to believe in a promise that brings change. In Isaiah 43:19 we read that God promises He is about to do something new. In verse 18 God told His people to remember their great deliverance from the Egyptians, so why is He now telling them to forget? God doesn't want us to forget what He's done for us — but He also doesn't want us to stay in the past. The Message says it like this:

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands." (Isa. 43:18–19)


Isn't this good news? When you look back and remember past change and the growth that took place, aren't you thankful? God's plan and purpose bring change to our lives. We are created in God's image, and that means we reflect a God who does new things. He made the humble things holy when He sent His Son to be born in a manger. He commands us to love our enemies. Jesus spends time with and loves those the rest of the world sees as undesirable.

When we accept Christ as the Savior of our lives, we're not just saying empty words. We commit to a life of change. God makes us a brand-new thing, and He asks us to love each other in the radical, uncomfortable, change-filled way that He first loved us.

So what does that mean for the connections we're craving with God, with our friendships, and with our communities? It means we need to be alert for the new things God is doing, and ask Him to reveal where He wants us to change. It means acknowledging that change can be scary, but trusting that abiding with God and being alert to His will carries far more blessings than choosing to stay in our comfort zones. It means surrendering my desires to His desires and believing that He sees, knows, and is over every step of my journey.


HE MADE THE HUMBLE THINGS HOLY WHEN HE SENT HIS SON TO BE BORN IN A MANGER.

Maybe you feel dry and empty, having gone through a season of pouring out to others. Ask God to bring rivers to the desert places of your soul. Has your heart been in a season of wilderness and wandering lately? Ask God to clear a path in it.

Be alert, and be present.

John C. Maxwell says this about change: "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." In our lives, we will experience change. Right now you're about five minutes older than you were when you started reading (don't worry — you don't look a second over four minutes older). Some change, like aging, is inevitable. Others — like choosing to travel abroad, write a book, reach out to a friend, start a women's ministry, host a mom's night out, or saying "yes" to the thing God is asking you to do next — require us to make a decision.

• Will we change?

• Will we do the thing fear is telling us we shouldn't do?

• And if we do it — will we grow from it?


When we go into a season of change and trying new things with an open heart, we leave room for God to grow us to be more like Him. The times that I've grown the most — as a mother, a wife, a friend, a child of God — have all happened as a result of doing something new and trusting God to equip me to do the work He's called me to do.

That doesn't mean God won't work in us and through us right where we are, without asking us to do a new thing. Some seasons in our life require us to do the hard work of waiting. Maybe in those quiet places we'll learn a new skill or discover that we're more courageous than we once believed. Or maybe God will use the talents and passions we develop to prepare us for the next door He wants to open.

Although I never left my college campus to study overseas, God used me right where I was. He wanted to create something new in my life, but in order to do that, He had to first take me through a season of removing the old, hardened pieces I'd built up like a wall. I desperately needed a river through my dry and weary soul, but before God could work on my heart, He needed to take me to a wilderness place so I could hear Him more clearly. It didn't feel like the exciting "new thing" I expected God to have for me, and while it wasn't what I wanted, it was what I needed.

In that season I had been craving connections with friends, prioritizing the thoughts and approval of others above my relationship with God. I looked to others for security and placed friends on pedestals and platforms with expectations so high they would never be able to live up to them. When it came to my faith life, I'd been doing a great job of paying attention to God on Sundays or when it looked good to the people I was around, but when it was just the two of us? He wasn't my priority connection.

So God took me on a wilderness journey that lasted for about ten years. My pride, confidence, and security in anything that wasn't based on my relationship with God were all idols — replacements for God — that needed to be removed before He could do a new thing in my life.

It was lonely in that season, and God took every bit of my "I can do this on my own and I don't need anyone" attitude and brought me to a place where all I could do was say, "God, I can't do this without you." As He began to reshape my heart, I began to see a small glimpse of His plan for my life. Not a single wilderness moment, feeling of being homesick, or failure is ever wasted — God was preparing me for what was ahead, because:

• I wouldn't crave connection if I never felt alone.

• I wouldn't know how to encourage if I never needed to be encouraged.

• I wouldn't understand how important an invitation to the table would be if I never felt excluded.


When life takes an unexpected turn and we can't see the next new thing God is planning, we can choose to grow or we can choose to retreat. God's desire is for us to be in relationship — both with Him and with others. God doesn't want to see us alone, but it takes a tremendous amount of courage to reach out after rejection, or to face your fear.

God promises to do a new thing in our lives. Our Creator God, who so uniquely formed the entire earth, knows every hair on our heads and every desire of our hearts. He will equip us with all that we need to face the changes ahead.


PRAYER

Heavenly Father, take this beaten up, tired, fear-laced heart of mine and breathe new life into its veins. Draw me closer to Your desires so that they become my own. Lord, I need You. I need Your guidance, Your love, Your wisdom, Your compassion. I need to root myself in Your love so that I can return that love to others. Remind me, Father, that no human being, material gain, or worldly experience can bring me the freedom, power, and wholeheartedness that comes from fellowship with You. In Jesus' name, amen.


CONNECTION QUESTIONS

1. What new things might God be doing in your life during this season?

2. When it comes to change, do you tend to retreat or pursue growth?

3.What kind of connection are you craving most today: God, friends, or community?


CONNECTION CHALLENGE

Have you ever had someone reach out to you unexpectedly and the timing be so significantly perfect that the credit goes only to the Lord? How did it feel to be the recipient of God's graciousness through another person? Has the Lord ever brought someone to mind for you, making it clear that He wanted you to reach out to that person? What was your response?

Spend some time thinking and praying about a friend who may need encouragement. Then, text or email a note of encouragement and let her know she's important to you.

CHAPTER 2

Living with Your Whole Heart

CONSIDER

You weren't created to stand so stiff you never break — you were created for freedom.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

EZEKIEL 36:26


ENGAGE

Choose an activity that is completely out of your comfort zone, something that you've always wanted to try and decide to do it.

By Angela Nazworth


Growing up in the '80s meant some fads I'll never forget. Some fads, like acid-washed jeans, Paula Abdul, and roller rinks were more fun when mixed into one Saturday afternoon. The roller rink had everything a seventh-grade girl wanted: pop music, junk food, and cute boys. Even better, all of this was available chaperone free. My parents would drop me off at what the locals called "the Double R" with just enough cash for pizza, Sprite, and rental skates; and I'd escape into a new world of fun, friends, and freedom for three hours.

Week after week I pushed my toes into a pair of tan skates with neon-orange laces and wheels. I scanned the room to calculate my chances of getting asked to couple skate when Kenny Loggins's "Meet Me Half Way" lilted through the crackly audio system.

As often as I went to the roller rink, you'd think I might have become Nancy Kerrigan on wheels. But I never learned to roller skate. Not really. Instead of holding hands with a tall, lanky, blond boy, I hugged the carpeted wall. I kept my limbs stiff and my muscles tight as I shimmied forward. I never timed how long it actually took me to circle the rink, but I'm guessing fifteen minutes at least — maybe thirty.

One girl always passed me about seven times before I finished one snail-paced lap. I never met her, but my insides twisted up with jealousy every time she whipped past me. In addition to her effortless skating ability, she had three things I wanted: perfectly poufy bangs, a boyfriend who could couple skate backward, and her own white skates sporting sparkly purple pom-poms on the toes. I credited her speedy skating skills to the skates.

But it wasn't my rental skates that were holding me back. I wasn't brave enough to risk a fall. So I kept my gait guarded and hard. I rarely tumbled, but I never truly skated. I also never experienced all the glories 1980s roller rinks offered. I couldn't glide under the limbo stick, swish to one of the four corners, or play other games with friends. While connections sprouted and friendships grew out in the middle of the rink, I stuck with the fuzzy wall. Not living with my whole heart was, and still is, lonely.

The girl who rocked big hair and skated with ease also fell down every now and again. She and her friends often practiced tricks and techniques in the center of the rink. She didn't have a skating coach or magic wheels. She did hold herself loosely. She moved her body the way it's supposed to move in order to balance itself when wearing shoes set to motion. When she fell, she stood back up and used the knowledge she gained from the fall to try again. Falling isn't the problem. Being so afraid to fall that you make yourself hard is the problem. If I had used the skates as they were meant to be used, I would have learned how to skate and experienced the freedom to learn and grow. Instead, my stubbornness held strong to what I thought was best and resulted in more discomfort.

FALLING ISN'T THE PROBLEM. BEING SO AFRAID TO FALL THAT YOU MAKE YOURSELF HARD IS THE PROBLEM.

What's true of our bodies also is true of our hearts. When fear, pride, shame, anger, and jealousy drive our decisions, we sacrifice fulfillment for a false sense of security that's both cheap and fleeting. Our thoughts focus on where we want to go next and how to get there pain free. Instead of connecting with our circumstances and the people present with us, we view them as competition or obstacles. The ancient Israelites knew this age-old problem well.

Many theological scholars agree that the book of Ezekiel was written over a period of more than twenty years during one of many times when the nation of Israel was a complete mess. The Israelites stopped living how they were intended to live. Instead of reaching toward the Creator and lover of its soul, Israel skirted toward a wall of false hope and derived a sense of security by clinging to imposters for fulfillment. One sin led to another, and soon they were muddled in a pit of moral depravity. A longing for comfort replaced the desire for spiritual growth, and their hearts toughened.

Gloom and doom line the pages of the first half of Ezekiel. But after the worst thing occurred — the fall of Jerusalem — the tone of the author swiftly changed from despair to hope, from chastisement to promise.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Craving Connection by Crystal Stine. Copyright © 2017 DaySpring Cards, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
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.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Connecting with God More Deeply


  • Starting a New Thing

  • Living with Your Whole Heart

  • He Knows and He is Near

  • Random Acts of Hope

  • How Are You, Really?

  • When You Feel as if there Must Be Something More

  • “I am with you…”

  • When Wounds from Women Are Hard to Forgive

  • I Can’t Even

Connecting with Friends More Purposefully.


  • The Gift of Imperfection

  • Lantern Lights

  • Kindred Souls

  • A Safe Harbor

  • Design Notes

  • Longing For Loyalty

  • The Life You’ve Been Given

  • The Hard Work Of Friendship

  • Why We Need Friends to Carry Us

  • Spur Her On

  • Your Story Might Be Someone Else’s Life Preserver

Connecting with Community More Intentionally


  • We’re Stronger Together

  • Gifts of Value

  • Cultivating Creative Community

  • Wildly Influential

  • Golden Apples

  • Loving Beyond the Gate

  • A Recipe for Community

  • Design Note

  • Mighty Acts

  • No Mistake

  • A Grand Blueprint for Hospitality

Conclusion

Author Q&A

Author Bios


Customer Reviews

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Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
CisnerosCafe More than 1 year ago
Craving Connection contains 30 stories paired with connection questions and connection challenges. Each section is packed with biblical understanding and real life narratives. The rose and grey colors of the pages bring them alive and provide a tranquil reading experience. It is a hardcover book with beautiful typography. I enjoyed how each narrative was relatable. In a world where connection is hard because of our fast moving lives on social media, Craving Connection begs us to slow down to find Him in one another. My favorite story is by Kate Motaung titled, “Loving Beyond the Gate,” where she challenges us to tear down our preconceived notions of others unlike ourselves. While living in South Africa, Kate encountered Angela standing at her gate time and time again in need. Kate was challenged to love beyond material goods. “…may we never be accused of being stingy with love” (p.227). “Love is seeing and appreciating the reflection of God Himself in all who bear His image, no matter where they are in the world” (p.222). Kate’s story and others make a strong case for the connection and love of Jesus. Seeing Him in our neighbor is imperative to break down the barriers we inadvertantley put up. I recommend this book to anyone craving a deeper connection to our disconnected world. These 30 stories will challenge us to turn off the TV and serve with our whole heart. It is a great book to give as a gift to teens, friends, parents, and loved ones. It would also make for a great study. It was a great gift and I’m very appreciate to the Five Minute Friday community. Pick up yours on (in)courage’s DaySpring store or at Amazon.
PamelaSheld48 More than 1 year ago
Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement is written by an impressive group of women who share their stories of connecting with God, friends and community. Each chapter is a vignette I could identify with, along with connection questions, question challenge and a prayer. At the beginning of each chapter is a challenge to consider, to engage and a relevant scripture. There are a lot of relationship books on the market but I particularly recommend this one because it is written by real women, sharing real stories of their struggle and how they dealt with the particular topic.  The book is divided into three sections: Connecting with God More Deeply, Connecting with Friends More Purposefully and Connecting with Community More Intentionally. Within each section are the chapters, each short enough to digest in one sitting. I used them as part of my devotion time, skipping around to the chapter that felt most relevant for that day. Craving Connection is for young women, mothers, retired grandmas and anyone else wanting to find those connections that enrich our lives and bring us closer to God. It's a book that is on my gift giving list for my daughters and friends this year.
MissTadoodles More than 1 year ago
When I heard they were coming out with a book I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I have been following their blog and Facebook page for a few years now and they have so inspired and encouraged me! This book has not disappointed! I started reading and immediately felt refreshed and encouraged. I tried some of the daily challenges, each one reminding me how I can be a good friend again; taking to heart each of the stories these women have shared. It's already helped my spiritual well being the past couple of weeks.. Each devotion ends with a prayer which greatly inspired and lifted me up. I can't wait to share this with my friends! You won't want to miss this book. Grab a copy, read with a friend or share it with them! Try the challenges and see how it impacts your life! I give this book a 5 out of 5! I highly recommend checking out the website and even signing up for the emails! (In)courage I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part B&H blogging program.
Teadrinker More than 1 year ago
(In)courage from Dayspring is one of my favorite groups of on-line writers. I have been following them for years. . .and starting my day with their readings. When Craving Connection came out from the (in)courage writers, I was anxious to get a copy. Craving Connection invites readers to commit to creatively and prayerfully connect with God, friends and community. This beautiful book (I love the cover!) contains 30 challenges for real-life engagement. Each of the challenges starts with a thought to consider, a Bible verse and a way to engage the theme, such as sending a quick note to a friend to let her know she is important to you. Each day also contains a reading for the day, questions to think about, a connection challenge and a prayer. Each reading is like having coffee with a friend. They are all down-to-earth and easy to relate to. I liked the questions and found those to be great to use with my journal to help me think things out. This book would also be quite good to do with a group of Bible study ladies to work together to keep each other accountable and to share your thoughts and questions with. Craving Connection is a book that makes you think, makes you want to do more to be a good friend and helps you grow in a community, if you take the time to read and do the challenges in the book. I am new to my community and working to build friendships so I especially liked the timing of this book for me. I highly recommend it to any woman wanting to make better real-life connections. For anyone who shares my love of Bible Art Journaling, I would add that Illustrated Faith from Dayspring also makes a Bible art journaling set to go along with Craving Connection. It is available from bookstores and on-line. I received Craving Connection from B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.
cscott9 More than 1 year ago
My Review: I often find it hard to connect with people, I consider myself more of a introvert then extrovert. I would rather be alone, with a good book then at a get together with a lot of people. That wasn’t how God created us, He created us to do life together, to have someone we can talk to. Meaningful relationships are meant for all us but some of us have a hard time finding those. Colossians 3:14 tells us “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” We all long for this type of relationship. Craving Connection is written by the authors from (in)Courage, created in 2009 by DaySpring, (in)Courage is a community for women, a place of faith, connection, and friendship. Craving Connection gives us 30 challenges to have real-life engagement. Three sections: Connecting with God More Deeply, Connecting with Friends More Purposefully, and Connecting with Community More Intentionally, each section has 10 chapters in it. Each one begins with a Bible Verse, Consider statement and how to Engage. For example: Starting a New Thing by Crystal Stine Consider: God’s desire for relationship with us requires us to believe in a promise that brings change. Engage: Text or e-mail a note of encouragement to a friend and let her know she’s important to you. Isaiah 43:19: “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” (pg.6) At the end there is Connection questions and a connection challenge, and a prayer. This is a book that I highly recommend to anyone that is looking for way to connect with people. If I can do this so can you! I received a copy of this book for free. A Favorable review was not required, all opinions expressed are my own.
HeartofDeborah More than 1 year ago
This book has been speaking to my heart on friendship and making connections. We've 3 times in the past 6 years so it hasn't been easy creating lasting friendships. I've been encouraged by all of the chapters in this book and challenged to take the next step in making meaningful connections. I really like the format of this book as each devotional has questions for personal reflection and a connection challenge to help you move from reflection to action. I also found the book to be encouraging and authentic. The authors invite you to come just as you are. It’s not a how-to, but a book where the authors come right up alongside of you and share with you what God has done in their lives. You will not be disappointed! It’s the perfect balance of encouragement and challenge to stretch your faith and your relationships with others. I received an advance copy of Craving Connection from B & H Publishing, in exchange for my honest review of the book.
EdieMelson More than 1 year ago
We live in a world with more "friends" and less "connection" than ever. This book hits at the heart of the matter with encouraging—easy—things to help us recalibrate. The (in)courage website has always been my favorite online place for encouragement and inspiration. Now it feels like they've come for coffee at my house every morning. I love the layout of the book and the ease in which I've begun to incorporate the principles. It doesn't feel like another thing I have to do, instead this book is helping me shed my to-dos and find freedom in being. Definitely a book that you'll want to have on hand to give to friends!
TeriLynneUnderwood More than 1 year ago
A collection of honest essays by writers like Lisa-Jo Baker, Kris Camealy, Denise Hughes, and Amanda White (along with 26 other incredible women), Craving Connection is a guidebook for all of us desperate for real connection with God, with friends, and within our communities. Each essay ends with a Connection Challenge where we are invited to put our desires into action. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has wondered how to build connections with others ... and especially for those who have felt rejected or insecure in themselves and their ability to relate and engage with other women. {Note: I received a free copy of this book from Dayspring as an influencer. My recommendation comes with no reservations and no expectation of a favorable review by Dayspring, (in)courage, or any of the writers involved with this project.}
SarahEKoontz More than 1 year ago
Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real Life Engagement is written by real-women sharing real-stories from their real-lives. The format of this book is perfect for busy women, offering engaging story-based devotionals rooted in the life-giving truth of God’s word. The inspiring women from (in)courage believe that we must remain (in) Christ if we ever hope to find the courage to embrace community. For this reason, the book is divided into three sections (each section building on the last). Section 1: Connecting With God More Deeply Section 2: Connecting With Friends More Purposefully Section 3: Connecting With Community More Intentionally Each section includes 10 easy-to-read devotionals, including real-life stories, thought-provoking questions, and a down-to-earth connection challenge. Each devotion takes less than 10-minutes to read, and the connection challenges are very doable (it is obvious that they were carefully crafted with introverts and exhausted extroverts in mind). With 29 contributing authors offering a fresh voice and unique perspective on every page, there truly is something for every woman in this beautiful book. Here are a few of my favorite challenges: Sincerely acknowledge the work of someone who inspires you. Go from “me” to “three” by connecting with two people this week. Practice actively capturing your thoughts as you go about your day. Share your story first so that someone else might feel comfortable sharing theirs. Feelings of isolation and loneliness fade away as you make your way through Craving Connection because the brave women of (in)courage are not afraid to “go there” and humbly reveal their own struggles and insecurities. As Renee Swope says on page 44, “Our weaknesses are the things that keep us connected because they are what we have in common.” God created women with a craving for connection, and this book is a fantastic tool to help us break free from the insecurities that isolate and find courage to embrace community.