Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Category: Book Reviews

Doing Busy Better! A Review For You

Book Review for Doing Busy Better!

I don’t know about you, but the busier I become, the less I do well.

This is especially true for me in regards to my chronic Dysthymia. All it takes is to add one more thing to the life-load and suddenly I’m struggling on all levels.


So when the opportunity came up for a chance to read a new book* on the very topic of “Doing Busy Better – Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest”, I almost did a little dance.

Almost immediately, author Glynnis Whitwer reveals in it’s first pages that this is a dual transformation book. That the words inside won’t just apply to your lifestyle and schedule. Her advice and real-life revelations will also change your spiritual life for the better!

Basically, she had me at this quote tucked inside chapter 1:

“There’s absolutely too much to do in God’s kingdom for us to not be busy about our Father’s business… but there’s too much to do to not rest and recharge in the presence of Jesus.” ~ Glynnis Whitwer
“Doing Busy Better” Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work And Rest

Well then.

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Incense Rising: A Book With Perfect Timing and a Giveaway

Incense Rising by Carolyn Dale Newell

God’s perfect timing never ceases to amaze me.

A couple of month’s ago I was in a season of rest. But what should have been restorative came with a side of so many of my mood disorder’s symptoms from my chronic D that the season of rest felt more like being in time out at the principal’s office.

There I was being obedient to the Spirit’s nudging to rest and just ‘be’ for however long He said to. And then the enemy decided to try infusing  that same season with insomnia, foggy-brain, phantom pain, and physically feeling like everything happened in slow motion to the point of real frustration and despair.

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When The Weapon Is Joy

“… joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.”
– Margaret Feinberg

Fight Back With Joy


It’s been very much the topic of discussion around here lately. For a couple of reasons.

Over a week ago, Fight Back With Joy, the much-anticipated book from celebrated author and real life inspiration, Margaret Feinberg, landed on shelves, physical and cyber alike, and it’s touching the lives of anyone who reads it.

Myself included.

I was anxious to read her thoughts and experiences on joy in the midst of trials and illness, and even though our circumstances were completely different, cancer versus depression, the use of joy as a weapon is very much the same.

And when my advanced copy came, I took my time. I could have rushed the reading, and said a few witty things on the blog, thrown in something deep at the end, and moved on.

But when I realised just how much it would have cost Feinberg to lay out her personal journey for all to see, in order to get this message to us about the power of real joy, I knew I couldn’t just dial this blog post in.

This has to mean something.


Before reading Margaret’s book and blog, I had always just kind of used joy as the choice at the end of a situation or as a natural personality trait. An excellent quality, something to strive for. I knew joy came from God, I knew we had a choice in how to respond, but I always used it as a response at the end of a circumstance. Does that make sense to anyone besides me?

Growing up in the church, I saw real joy often. Either people seemed to live these blessed lives from the get-go, or it seemed to kick in after the struggle, like they simply refused to be beat. And I thought, wow, those people just know how to finish coming through everything and somehow ending on joy! What’s the trick?

Now, here I am older, and barely wiser, but I have come to understand the truth that Feinberg so eloquently states, that “All of us are in a fight. Others can fight with you, but no one can fight this for you.” [emphasis mine]
We all have something we battle. And some of us have mastered how to use joy to battle it.

And we don’t just have to get to the end of those battles, exhausted and bruised and scarred, and then suddenly take the higher ground and choose to be happy regardless… but Feinberg teaches us to arm ourselves FIRST with joy, God’s joy, before we face the battle.

“More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.”
-Margaret Feinberg

This stopped me in my tracks.

A weapon. Not an afterthought.

I had taken this specific kind of joy for granted. An arming, shielding, wielding, precedes-the-ugly, brings-the-victory kind of joy. Not saved for later when you’ve exhausted all the other options, as noble and spiritual as they may be. But joy right out of the gate and into the fray from the word go. I had forgotten how to access that.

And I had been looking at the battlefield all wrong.

I had been viewing each battlefield as the “possible” end of everything on the off-chance that the Almighty wouldn’t come through. Some faith, right? Instead I should have approached each battlefield as the opportunity to mine the unstoppable love and power of an unstoppable and powerful God. A God who doesn’t hand out doom to fight doom. A God who, in His infinite wisdom, said My grace will be sufficient, My love victorious and fierce, and when you equip yourself with those things, you wind up with My joy as the tool of choice.

And it will bring down strongholds.

And it will anchor.

And it will defy darkness.


It has to stem from a holy awareness in those moments before the struggle where, as Margaret puts it, “we face it confident that God is with us and for us.”

Which we all know, and yet, that awareness could and should be borne out of joy. A declaration holy gladness that starts with the truth that we belong to Him!

So we become warriors, not out of spite, fear, necessity or pride but we become warriors out of the desire for pure joy, joy that never backs down, joy that never runs from the scary things, but arms itself with the actual thanksgiving and proclamation that we belong to the One bigger than any big thing out there.

And that the Author of all joy  goes with us.

And so joy begets more joy.

No matter what else comes.

Because we were created for joy.

I want to end with this powerful truth. One that Margaret explores so wonderfully in the early parts of her book.

Our purpose, she says, and our heritage.

When was the last time we were challenged, really challenged to think of joy this way? To really define it. And then to utilize it. To claim it as our destiny.

As I work through some current battles, I will start to allow joy to do exactly what it was meant to do. Margaret’s words bring the choice to live fully in the presence of God and His fierce love,  and no longer fear what’s ahead.

This will change everything. And this is just the top layer of all that God’s joy will do. I highly recommend you let it do the same for your battles, whatever they look like today.

Joy is this valiant beautiful gift. Revealed through the heart of one woman on a quest to Fight Back With Joy.

I’d hate to think of this post as just as book review. Consider this my personal declaration that sometimes it takes someone else’s discoveries and battles before we realise what we’re missing. Margaret is this amazing, beautiful, joyous teacher, weaving together holy truths and revealing powerful plans taught to her by the Author of All, in the midst of it all.

I for one have become a fellow warrior armed with joy.

And I really can’t tell you enough how powerful a weapon you’ll have when armed with joy.

So I hope you’ll let Margaret Feinberg inspire you.

Have you ever read a book that changed your whole approach to life? Have you begun to read Fight Back With Joy, and loved every minute? Let me know in the comments below, and follow the links throughout to find out more about Fight Back With Joy!

A Life Preserving Read… The First!

Here it is! My first book review.

How many times have we exhausted ourselves trying to be perfect? How many of us are suffocating behind the mask we don every time we think people need to see some Super version of us?

This is the first book I wanted to review because I myself related to the mind-set explored in Sheila Walsh’s book “I’m Not Wonder Woman; But God Made Me Wonderful”, published by Thomas Nelson, and part of the Women Of Faith series.

Wonder Woman
Walsh, herself, lives with depression, and is in the public eye most days out of the year, teaching, performing, and speaking to thousands of women around the world.
This book will strike a chord with ANYONE who struggles to appear to be the whole package 24/7.  The Super Mom especially, in her flawless uniform. The super cape, the boots, all of it.

And the masks we wear… she debunks the mystery behind them all, the way we exhaust ourselves trying to be it all, and do it all, the parts of our pasts we don’t understand, or come to grips with, and cause us to be something we’re not. Instead Walsh takes us back to the very beginning, and shows us how the things we FEEL affect what we DO. Things like:

Poor choices

Most authors will insert these “happy ending” true life examples to help boost the point they’re trying to make… makes them look knowledgeable,  makes them look like their opinions have ample back-up. But Sheila doesn’t do that. The book is filled with examples that look like everyone else’s in the real world. Some are heartbreaking, some are victorious, some are pretty humorous, some are her own and she holds nothing back.

In other words, she connects with you as a writer because she includes life’s grit. She includes honesty. Very much-needed in a book about being real and casting aside the super hero mentality that everyone seems to think is the only way you have any worth. And when authors are real, you bring your readers own denials or walls down too.

For me, her message is important for someone with depression, and is a believer to boot… in the church, we seem to heap further expectations on ourselves when it’s very clear we’re still human, and instead of putting on a big front of perfection, we need to connect in the midst of our frailty.
It makes room for the Savior to work on our behalf, in ways we’re incapable of… we have to acknowledge our imperfections and weaknesses and messes and reality, and when we do, we’re finally ready for the real Super Hero… as someone with depression, expectation can cripple, and Walsh defines the only expectation that counts. Living the life you are capable of, with God at your side, fighting all those battles for you.

Desperation leads to magnificent opportunity for the One who knows us best to mold and shape us to actually endure, and persevere.

We’re not built to be mighty conquerors. We’re built to be vessels.

This is possibly the biggest take-away from Walsh’s book. Letting go of the cape and boots mentality, and letting a Super God use you to accomplish what really matters.

Oh, how this takes the burden off of someone with depression to simply live, get better, give themselves time, and know that the whole time God is not limited by what He can pour into you. You are valuable no matter what!

*I am not being reimbursed for my thoughts here today, I just wanted to share a Life Preserving Read that touched me personally this month, and might be what you need in the days and months to come.

If you read this book, come back and share your review in the comments sections!

Next book will be a little better suited to the male population of readers 😉 So stay tuned!

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