Are you iron deficient?

Proverbs 27:17 says

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

I love that.  A beautiful thing happens when we allow ourselves to be used by God and when we are able to speak into the lives of others in a way that edifies and encourages them.  This last year I have been sharpened by a number of women though their words and examples.  A few of them I have never met, but yet their impact has been profound.  Allow me to make a few introductions:

Katie Davis seriously challenged my thoughts on comfort in the very best way as I read her amazing story in Kisses from Katie.  At 18 years old Katie left her comfortable life in Nashville to live in Uganda.  She only knew one person there and couldn’t speak the language but her heart was captured by this land of red dirt and she couldn’t go back to life as normal.  She now leads Amazima Ministries that feeds and sends hundreds to school while also teaching them about the love of Jesus.  She has also adopted 13 young girls and regularly takes in and loves on those that God puts in her path.  There are many nights after I put my 4 kids to bed that I feel maxed out.  Trying to imagine a day in the life with 13 daughters in Uganda stretched me thin and reading about the love that Katie has for those around her humbled and blessed me.

Jennie Allen helped me to honestly evaluate if I could earnestly pray, “God I will do anything.  Anything.”  And if I did, did I trust God enough to mean it?  Her book, Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul was a game changer in my prayer life and in the direction of my heart.   I ate up Jennie’s story with intense fervor (and was amused to discover that she also had felt challenged by the story of Katie Davis) and I felt stretched to lay aside the comfortable and instead begin pleading for God to set the course of our lives, no matter where that led.

Jen Hatmaker had me giggling and snorting within the first few pages of her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  Her personal challenge to pick 7 areas of her life and fast from them one at a time for seven months was both unique and illuminating.  The topic of possessions was particularly poignant for me personally which I will expand on more in the future.  Jen’s passion to pursue the heart of Jesus and the witty way in which she wields her words had me at “hello”.

Corrie Ten Boom is. amazing.  I fell deeply in love with her family as I read The Hiding Place and I now have another person that I cannot wait to meet in heaven.  Her story of courage, forgiveness and faith during the time of WWII and Hitler’s concentration camps brought fresh perspective and insight into the area of loving your enemies.  We will all find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be from time to time.  Having Corrie’s story cataloged in my mind is a perfect perspective to reflect on during these times.  This book will change you, guaranteed.

How about you?  I would love to know what authors and books have sharpened you!

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