Empty Shelf Challenge Book #14: “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg

I finished my 14th book for the #EmptyShelf challenge.

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg

I’ve actually finished 18 books at this point due to being wicked pregnant and encouraged to stay off my swollen feet. Today is the baby’s due date, so I’m trying to finish up a few of these posts before she arrives 🙂

I was  introduced to John Ortberg almost a decade ago. I don’t remember who encouraged me to read his books, but I’m so glad they did!

I know I had started this book previously, but I’m unsure if I ever finished it before. I ‘m so glad I did now! It was a very appropriate book for the season that we’ve been in for over 2 years now, almost 3, when God called us to make the big step of moving to Virginia. Though we are now back in Massachusetts, that was another big step in choosing to trust God when we’re not sure what He could be doing.

The premise of the book is based on Matthew 14, where Jesus walks on water toward the disciples and beckons Peter to come to him. The book outlines several other stories from Scripture where people are called out of their comfort zones and into a life of faith and trust.

I’m not much for underlining in books unless it’s a text book. I’m more of the dog ear type. Well, this book is more dog-earred than any other I’ve read this year. Just so many relevant and challenging points. So many little takeaways. Here are a few.

“What am I doing that I could not do apart from the power of God?” pg. 79

“If I had it all to do over again – I would have trusted Christ more.” pg. 88

“Your heart is revealed and your character is forged when life does not turn out the way you planned.” pg. 100-101

“Worry is fear that has unpacked its bags and signed a long-term lease.” pg. 123

“It is fear that threatens to keep people from trusting and obeying God.” pg. 124

And there were many more.

If you are in a season where God is calling you to do faith-filled scary things, this book is for you. If you simply want to learn to rely on God more in everyday life, this book is for you. If you are tired of fear dictating your choices, this book is for you.

I imagine that pretty much covers everyone 🙂

My books so far on the #EmptyShelf challenge:


Freedom Friday: A Time For War

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

Everyone walks through different seasons in life. Even the weather goes through seasons (in most places, at least!). Here in northern Virginia, the last few weeks have been unseasonably cool. There was one day when I headed to a group run at 5:45 AM, and I had to turn on the heat in my car. Now we seem to be back to the hot, humid weather of late summer. But the nights are getting longer. It was still not fully light when I got out of my exercise class this morning (around 6:25). Soon, the leaves will change, and autumn will be upon us.

If you continue reading in Ecclesiastes, you find there are many types of seasons. There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to plant and a time to harvest. There is a time to tear down and a time to build up. Have you considered what type of season you might be in?

Read the first 8 verses of the chapter now.

I shared before about a season I walked through in 2004. I was desperate to know God’s plan for me, to know what the future would hold. God did confirm that He had an amazing plan in store for me, but that I wasn’t ready to walk out that plan.

Instead, God called me to a season of quiet (v. 7). He called me to rest in Him, to soak up His heart and His Word and all the amazing things He thinks about me as His adopted child. So rest, I did. It was also a time to tear down some faulty ideas I had about God and about my identity in Him, and a time to build up the foundation of His truth that I needed in my life in order to maintain a healthier relationship with Him.

In the past few years, there have been deep seasons of grief. First, my grandmother and my aunt. Then, the baby I miscarried, Bunny Boo (who was due in August of 2009 and would have been 4 this week). Several uncles, my grandfather, and most recently my dad. It has been a time to grieve and cry, as well as laugh, remembering all the amazing moments I shared with these people.

Yet with all the transitions of the past several years, I am tired. I am in a season where everything seems hard. I just want to return to that season in 2004 and beyond, take time to rest in God and let Him tell me all the things He loves about me 🙂

But He spoke to me specifically a few weeks ago as I lamented about how tired I am. He said, “Brenna, this is not a time for rest; this is a time for war.” It’s time to go to war against all those not-God-honoring thoughts that have crept in during this time of uncertainty. It’s time to take those self-limiting and God-limiting thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. It’s time to think like a free person once again.

What type of season are you in? Is it a season of rest? Or do you need to declare war on some habits and thought patterns that have slowly worked their way into your life?


Hi, friends of Living Unveiled.

Life is full of transitions.

This morning, as I drove to the gym, I had to turn the heat on in my car.

Autumn is coming, sooner than we think. I love autumn.

I’m writing today to share with you some transitions in my life, and how they might affect this blog.

Many of you know that we have been dealing with employment transitions in our home. I am currently working 3 part-time jobs (one of them being the ministry of Alive in Christ).

I also just started grad school part-time and am pursuing a Masters of Divinity through Regent University’s online learning program.

I am training for my first marathon (October 13th) where I will be raising $2620 to trample on sex trafficking (more on that later!).

In addition to that, we are trying to sell our condo and move to Virginia to be closer to family.

I plan on continuing to blog 🙂

That said, I need the freedom, some weeks, to say, “I can’t blog this week.” Whether it be work or family or a showing of the condo or a school deadline, I will need to be able to say, “I have enough on my plate this week,” and leave the blog for a few days (or weeks).

Thanks for allowing me that freedom.

Some weeks, I might repost a popular article, or one I liked a lot 🙂 Did you know there are 195 blog posts here? There is not a shortage of things to read. Sometimes, I read my own blog posts to reminder myself of what God has brought me through and shown to me.

I truly, truly value all the love, support and encouragement I receive with each comment (usually in person) about how much this blog means to you.

Thank you all.