Keyed to hard times–“the brokenness, the injustice, the gut-wrenching events, the insecurities” that everyone faces— Kirchmeyer’s inviting Christian devotional has been crafted to remind believers that God “accepts us, never leaves us, shelters us, and saves us,” even in moments of crisis. Under the Juniper Tree draws inspiration from the biblical tale of the prophet Elijah, resting in the shade of the titular tree, beseeching God to take his life but instead being urged to rise and eat by an angel. Kirchmeyer thinks of the tree as a shelter, a “scrappy, durable evergreen “that can protect us through every season of life.”
In warm, encouraging prose, the daily devotionals dig into the tale of Elijah and other figures from scripture, giving a week’s worth of devotional essays each to Micah, Esther, Paul, Daniel, and many more, exploring the ancient mysteries and lessons and applying them to contemporary hardships. “Now sit for a moment in Job’s boil-covered, heartbroken place,” she writes, before reminding readers “The only thing that keeps our hearts and minds sane and functioning when the bottom drops out of our world is experiencing God personally.” Holiday weeks are devoted to contemplation of the meaning and message of holy days, but still address everyday concerns. In Easter week, for example, Kirchmeyer addresses common insecurities about our “looks, brains, and purpose” before declaring “Believing we’re worthless is calling God a liar.”
That emphasis on the very human tendency to feel low and defeated, to doubt yourself, and to worry about what others might be thinking sets this nurturing guide apart from the devotional pack. In an introduction, Kirchmeyer notes that she originally wrote the project for an audience of kids in the foster system before realizing that the feelings, fears, and pains she was addressing were shared by many others. The result is an empathetic and welcoming work crafted to heal and inspire believers all year long.
Takeaway: An empathetic daily devotional for Christians facing feelings of loneliness and insecurity.
Great for fans of: 365 Devotions for Depression & Anxiety, Ryan Casey Waller’s Depression, Anxiety, and Other Things We Don't Want to Talk About.
Production grades Cover: A- Design and typography: A- Illustrations: N/A Editing: A Marketing copy: A