Tag Archives: Bible study

Review: This Isn’t the Life I Signed Up For, by Donna Partow

This Isn’t the Life I Signed Up For, by Donna Partow (Bethany House, 2003)

The subtitle of this book is “A 10-week journey to hope and healing.” Donna Partow’s openness in sharing her own struggles gives her the credibility to write such a book.

She’s not a perfect woman dispensing packaged answers. In the journey toward hope and healing, she invites readers to “enroll in a class taught by a fellow student of life…guaranteed to include 0 percent oughts and shoulds. Instead, it’s 100 percent real life.” (page 16, 2003 edition)

We’ve all had disappointments and painful circumstances in our lives, the results of our own poor choices or things that just happened. We didn’t sign up for these—we want things like happiness, health and love.

The straight talk in this book offers us perspective on the past, and a way to move forward. It requires us to be open—real—with God, ourselves and others. Letting go and forgiving the hurts we’ve endured, big and small, can free us to embrace hope and healing: the life we’d like to sign up for.

I pulled this review from my ‘archives’ file, only to discover that This Isn’t the Life I Signed Up For has been re-released in 2010 from Baker Publishing Group with a new format.

From the Chapters-Indigo website:

This new edition of This Isn’t the Life I Signed Up For now follows the format of Donna Partow’s most popular book, Becoming a Vessel God Can Use. Each of the ten chapters includes an integrated Bible study, along with helps for group leaders.

I like this. My 2003 version has all the teaching but required a separate book for the Bible study aspect. As I check my shelves, I see I don’t have the book anymore. If you buy a copy, beware lending it out–your friend may want to keep it!

From the Baker website:

The tools you need to make positive life changes are all here: In-depth Bible study, practical life application, Scripture memorization, and more. As Donna says, ‘If God can breathe new life into my weary heart and soul•there’s hope for everyone!’

Donna Partow’s style is fresh and direct, and her message is timely. Her previous books include the bestselling Becoming a Vessel God Can Use, Walking in Total God-Confidence, and Standing Firm. More recent books are Becoming the Woman I Want to Be, Becoming a Vessel of God’s Power, and Making Money From Home: How to Run A Successful Home-Based Business.

You can find plenty of resources including online classes, news updates and tips on faith, family, fitness and finances at Donna’ website, Maximize Your Life for Maximum Kingdom Impact.

Bible Studies

In the Experiencing God Workbook, by Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King, Unit 9 gives a short checklist. It’s specifically designed for those times when God seems to be moving very slowly in one’s life, but I think the questions are good for any of us to ponder from time to time:

  • Am I responding to all God already is leading me to do?
  • Have I obeyed all I already know to be His will?
  • Do I really believe that He loves me and will always do what is best and right?
  • Am I willing to patiently wait on His timing, and obey everything I know to do in the meantime?

(Experiencing God Workbook, Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King, Lifeway Press, 2001, p.157)

This is my second time through this study and one of the ladies in our group is working through it for the third time. We’re all gaining a lot, and I wish I’d bought one of the new workbooks instead of reusing my old one. They’re easier to read and Unit 12 has been completely redone.

If you’re a person who uses published Bible studies, in a group or alone with God, has there been one that you’ve gone back to? Was it as valuable the second time?

The Experiencing God Workbook is definitely one for me, and my other is Cynthia Heald’s Becoming a Woman of Excellence. (Not in a performance-driven sense, in a godly sense. Wonderful book, great quotes and great application of Scripture. I wonder what I’d learn a third time through….)

Trusting Jesus with the Future

Sheila Walsh’s book, Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God, has a valuable Bible study section at the end. As I worked through it, this question struck me and I thought it would generate some good conversation:

“What have you seen Jesus do that gives you assurance of His ability to intervene in your life in the future?” (p. 253)

My story:

Almost ten years ago, my car blew its transmission on a rural highway. I had three young sons with me and no cell phone. But what did I see on the other side of the road? Another vehicle with a blown transmission, complete with two friendly men and a cell phone with barely enough charge to make a call for help. They shared their phone, we shared the raw hotdogs from our cooler, and everything worked out.

It was hot and boring, but the boys didn’t even fight! We sat in the back of the car and read stories. I wasn’t surprised to look up and see an eagle soar past, and I told the boys about how God encouraged me with the reminder of Isaiah 40:31. (I saw eagles maybe three times that year, each coinciding with a majorly expensive car problem.)

My dad arrived at the same time as the tow truck, and I came home with a certainty that if God could take care of me on the side of the highway, He could take care of me anywhere.

[Edit: You’ll find the full version of this story in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, an anthology of Canadian Christian writing.]