One word "headlines" provides the umbrella focus for a series of devotions for each of the four seasons of the year (Fall, Advent, Lent, and Summer) in Lucinda Secrest McDowell's lovely devotional DWELLING PLACES: Words to Live in Every Season. The title DWELLING PLACES provides the capstone thought -- that we should seek our place right there in God's dwelling places. Each devotion within the season, focusing on its own unique word, is written with a pertinent scripture, closing prayer or message from God, and a delightful inspirational reading. Being June, I naturally chose SUMMER as the place to begin my readings: the headlining word for summer being Growth. The first devotion raised the question many of us have asked, "Now that I am a Christian, when will I be fixed or 'all grown up'? McDowell likens our maturation as a Christian to planting a garden -- Toad's garden in the Frog and Toad books. Toad's fretful watching over his garden (which he believes is afraid to grow) brought me to thoughts of my own garden. A late May cold, rainy spell, a few visits from unwelcomed wildlife, and a week of neglect while we were away resulted in a bedraggled early June sight. I've been gardening since I was a child and I've never felt so discouraged. How could I be such a failure? Replantings, some transplants, multiple weedings, and warm June sunshine, and now like Toad, I can look out on a rainbow colored sight. McDowell's theme that growth, whether in our garden or our faith, is not constant really hit home. There may be need for do-overs, extra care, and dutiful "weeding" before we notice any growth. And as the author shares, we will need to continue to soak up the sunshine and life-sustaining water of God's love and promises.
Summer's heat has hit as I write this review, making the next devotion in the summer section equally appropriate. With heat comes thirst and "Thirsty" is the word for the second meditation. If your life feels parched, get McDowell's new book. Let her remind you like the woman at the well where to seek lasting hydration. And if you're a parent, you can't miss the meditation with the keyword "Children". Read closely as McDowell illustrates that just as we don't want our children to live as orphans, ignoring our parental roles in their lives, no matter their ages, God is our eternal parent, always there. Why then do we choose to live as orphans?
I received a copy of DWELLING PLACES from Litfuse for my honest review.