Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa Terkeurst–Book Review

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who seemed to be demanding more than you could give? Have you felt drained emotionally when dealing with someone you love who is behaving in ways that are destructive to you? Most of us have been there in one way or another. In this book, Lysa Terkeurst takes a hard look at the need to set boundaries when this happens. This isn’t always easy for Christians. We’ve been taught to put the needs of others first, to forgive and to pursue humility. At times others may even use these high ideals to manipulate and confuse us. A careful reading of Scripture teaches that abuse is never acceptable, forgiveness can occur without reconciliation, and it is not wrong to put limits on what we can do to save a relationship.

At the end of each chapter there are some thoughts from a trained counselor, a summary of important points to remember and a prayer. There is also a section at the end of the book which lists pertinent Bible verses, how they have sometimes been misinterpreted, what they actually mean, and how to respond if someone misuses them in order to tear down the boundaries you have established.

Ms. Terkeurst is quick to say that her book does not replace counseling, which may be needed in some cases. She also shares some resources for locating a Christian counselor.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. This is a difficult subject and the author approaches in in a completely Biblical fashion.

For more books by Lysa Terkeurst see:

Win or Lose I Love You! by Lysa Terkeurst

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst–Book Review

How Much is a Little Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander–Book Review

Author Rachael Denhollander is a survivor of sexual abuse. (If you would like to read more about her story follow this link: What is a Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander–Book Review) The decision to come forward with her complaint was difficult, but she wanted to protect others from in similar circumstances. After asking herself over and over, “how much is a girl worth?” she wrote a poem to answer the question. The message is simple: every little girl is valuable, not because of what she does, but because of who she is –the beloved child and image-bearer of the One Who created her. God loved each little girl so much that he was willing to sacrifice His own Son for her good.

The illustrations are lovely and depict girls of different races in a variety of environments. The Gospel message presented is simple and clear. If you have a daughter, you’ll want to read this one with her over and over. It’s probably best for children aged 5-8.


For more books for children see these posts:

If I Were a Mouse by Karma Wilson–Book Review

Far Flutterby by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

How High is Heaven by Linsey Davis–Book Review

Twelve Days of Christmas

Most of our Christmas celebrations these days happen in the days leading up to Christmas, but that has not always been the case. In 567, the Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days of Christmas (the days from Christmas Day until Epiphany, to be a sacred season. Historically there was a suspension of work, celebrations of Saints Days, and many festivities, especially on the final evening (Twelfth Night).

I’m sure you’ve heard the Christmas song about the twelve days of Christmas. Did you know it may have a hidden meaning? One theory about the origins of this carol links it to the period when Catholicism was outlawed in England (1558-1829). Since Catholics could not practice their faith openly, the song was developed as a sort of catechism to teach the fundamentals of belief surreptitiously. There’s no overwhelming evidence to support this idea, but it is interesting.

Here are the verses of the song, along with their supposed symbolism:

  • A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Jesus Christ
  • Two Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments
  • Three French Hens – The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
  • Four Calling Birds – Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  • Five Golden Rings – First five books of the Old Testament
  • Six Geese-a-Laying – Six days of creation before God’s rest on the seventh day
  • Seven Swans-a-Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Eight Maids-a-Milking – Eight Beatitudes
  • Nine Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • Ten Lords-a-Leaping – Ten Commandments
  • Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful disciples
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming –Twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed

For more Christmas carols, see these posts:

12 Days of Christmas Carols- Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “O Come All Ye Faithful”

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Unruly Saint by D.L. Mayfield–Book Review

If you would like to learn more about Dorothy Day, the woman who started the Catholic Worker movement, this short biography is a good place to start. As the author puts it, “She is a beautiful, complicated person. Just like all of us.”

Dorothy did not do anything halfway. In her early years she sympathized with communist and leftist causes and participated in demonstrations. Sometimes she was arrested. But God was calling her, and she could not deny the call. After her conversion, she remained a radical, and lived out her faith with the same commitment she had always given to her ideals of mercy and justice. She is best known for her newspaper, The Catholic Worker, and the houses of hospitality which she established.

This book focuses on Dorothy’s relationship and work with Peter Maurin, a French social activist and theologian. Together they accomplished things that neither would have done alone. He was a man of ideas, and Dorothy had the energy and practical know how to turn those ideas into action. They didn’t always agree but respected and accepted one another.

The author, at times, applies the lessons of Dorothy’s life to her own. As an ESOL teacher who has worked extensively with immigrants, Dorothy’s stance on social justice and poverty resonates deeply with her.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. An easy and informative read. Even if you disagree with some of Dorothy’s political views, you must admire her perseverance in living her faith in an authentic way.

For more about Dorothy Day see these posts:

Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day) edited by Robert Ellsberg –Book Review

Dorothy Day on Giving

A Quote by Dorothy Day

You’re Not a Bystander

A sermon I heard recently included a short anecdote. The church was having a Christmas play. One little girl went home and in excitement told her parents that she was given a part to play. She couldn’t remember the name of the person she was to portray, but she knew it started with the letter “B”. The family wracked their brains trying to figure out what role their daughter was to play. Finally, on the evening of the performance, as they perused the bulletin, they realized that she was simply a “bystander.”

The point of the sermon was this: none of us are bystanders in the Christmas story. Why? Because the story is still going on. The Bible is one long divine drama, and each one of us is important. We may not be a star, but we have a role to play. Our part could be to support or serve in a quiet capacity. Our gift might be encouragement or mercy. We may not touch millions of lives, but we will touch some. And each one is loved by God.

In the book of Ephesians, we read:

““For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Isn’t that an amazing thought? Before we were even born, God was arranging our character, our environment and our abilities. He had plans for us, and those plans did not include simply standing by. We are to get involved, to get our hands dirty, to serve others and play our part. We may never be recognized with awards or fame, but we’ll receive something even better. We’ll feel God’s pleasure and when the time is right, we’ll hear these words:

“‘Well done, good and faithful servant! … Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Matthew 25:23

For more about using your gifts see these posts:

A Quote about a Favorite Topic — Spiritual Gifts

What are the Spiritual Gifts?

Serving God with Your Gifts

The Dawning of Redemption by Ian J. Vaillancourt –Book Review

This review was written by my husband, who is a retired Lutheran pastor

In this relatively short study the author, a Professor at Heritage Theological Seminary in Canada, seeks to open the eyes of Christian believers to the many places in the Pentateuch which foreshadow the coming of Jesus. It is sadly true that too many Christians ignore the Old Testament (except possibly the 23rd Psalm and parts of Isaiah) because they want to focus all their attention on the New, forgetting that when Paul speaks of the God-breathed nature of the Scriptures, he is talking about the front of the Bible, not the back.

Professor Vaillancourt wants to open the eyes of his readers to the “big picture” of Scripture by showing that it is necessary to understand how the sins of mankind required a Redeemer. However, redemption required preparation, and so we have the history of the first Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob given to the New Israel that we might see the unfolding of God’s plan.

This book would be useful for anyone who does not have an in depth understanding of the Pentateuch. There are also questions at the end of each chapter which would make it useful for confirmation classes or young adult classes.


The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. If you would like to purchase a copy, follow the link below:

For more book reviews see these posts:

I’d Like You More if You Were More Like Me by John Ortberg–Book Review

Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas–Book Review

The Surprising Power of Joy by Roland Morton — Book Review

A Christmas Day Quote

“For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, and the truth has been brought back.”

John Chrysostom

For more Christmas quotes see:

What Martin Luther said about Christmas

The Hope of Christmas

Martin Luther on Christmas #2

Frederick Buechner on Christmas

” It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.”

Frederick Buechner

For more Frederick Buechner quotes see:

What Am I Here For?

Let Your Spiritual Gifts S–T–R–E–T–C–H You

Another Advent Hymn

The hymns of Advent prepare us for the coming of Christ, just as the words of the sermon do. This hymn is another favorite of mine — it reminds us to rejoice. This is a message we need to hear at a time when we become easily distracted by the glitz and glitter of a commercialized Christmas. This counterfeit joy drains our energy and leaves us with nothing when the season ends. Enjoy the true joy of knowing Christ and the redemption He brings.

For more Advent hymns see:

An Advent Hymn

Hopeful Hymn #3

O Come

Advent and the Advent Wreath

This information was included in a recent church bulletin, and I found it informative and interesting, so I decided to share it with our readers.

Advent specifically focuses on Christ’s “coming,” but Christ’s coming manifests itself among us in three ways — past, present, and future.

The readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the past focus on the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation at Bethlehem. The readings, which highlight Christ’s coming in the future, focus on his “second coming” on the Last Day at the end of time. The readings that highlight Christ’s coming in the present focus on his ministry among us through Word and Sacrament today.

The traditional use of Advent candles (sometimes held in a wreath) originated in Eastern Germany prior to the Reformation. As this tradition came down to us by the beginning of this century, it involved three purple candles and one pink candle.

The purple candles matched the purple paraments on the altar (purple for the royalty of the coming King). The pink candle was the third candle to be lit on Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. “Gaudete” means “Rejoice” in Latin which is taken from Philippians 4:4. (“Rejoice!…The Lord is near.”). Hence a pink candle was used to signify rejoicing. Some include a white “Christ candle” in the middle to be lit during the 12 days of Christmas (Dec. 25-Jan. 5).

For more about Advent, see these posts:

No Advent Wreath?

Advent – Part 2 – The Wreath

“Hello – It Is Not Christmas Yet”