In Daring to Hope, Katie shares stories from her life and ministry in Uganda that emphasize God’s goodness during those times in her life when God didn’t act the way she wanted God to. (I think every believer can relate to this!) Throughout the book, Katie continually wrestles with the question, “What do you do when God doesn’t show up in the way that you asked Him to?” It's a question we all wrestle with when we are honest with ourselves.
As she wrestles with this question, Katie tells stories that seem hopeless. More often than not, they involve death and despair. In Katie's words, “I unknowingly believed that when things turned out well, God’s blessing was evident. And so I kept asking and waiting for the beauty to be revealed on my terms.”
When God doesn’t behave how Katie begs him to, she concludes, “This reality left me with two choices: either God is not actually who He says He is or He is and I needed to relearn how to know Him even in hardship.” This is one of the stand out quotes from the book.
As Katie shares stories of brokenness, she weaves them together with familiar Bible passages. These various Scripture passages include Jacob wrestling with God, God providing a ram for Abraham when he’s asked to sacrifice Isaac, and the book of Habakkuk. As she wrestles with these scriptures, she learns, “A faith that trusts Him only when the ending is good is a fickle faith. A faith that trusts Him regardless of the outcome is real.”
Some of the most powerful stories Katie shares in Daring to Hope are those that involve her in someone else’s healing. In her words, “Jesus was to bring about my own healing by drawing me into someone else’s.” Here is some of the beauty in our walk with God.
As Katie walks with others, she realizes, “Maybe we are not called to alleviate suffering (as I had once imagined) as much as we are called to enter into the suffering of others and walk with them through it. We mourn with those who mourn, we weep with those who weep, we cry out with them for something better.” Katie goes on, “The most powerful thing we can do for another person is not to try to fix his or her pain or make it go away but to acknowledge it. I cannot heal… But I can be a witness.”
This is a heart stirrer. I cried, I loved, I was with her when her friend died. She has a gift for describing her own pain, but she also has a real gift for describing hope in dire circumstances and still coming to the conclusion that God is good and gives good gifts.
This book is a wonderful combination of biblical principles lived around the table. It's chock full of stories of her children, her ministry with her husband, and it also is outstanding in the sheer number of practical ideas that will help any parent get started.
I love how Clarkson is extremely family directed. She loves sharing her heart and feelings about her family and encouraging the reader to do the same. In a society that is all about self, Clarkson stands out because of her focus on building up the family and nourishing them and this is very self evident if you have followed her for any amount of time on social media or know any of her other books.
What I really loved about The Life-Giving Table is that she is bringing back a part of family life that has been lost in recent years...gathering around the table for dinner and actually being a family. We have gotten so caught up in rushing around to different activities and grabbing dinner on the go, we are missing out on an important time where we can connect and learn about each other's day and touch base with our families more.
While encouraging the reader to gather with their family around the dinner table, she has built this entire book, and the inspirational words on the pages, in biblical foundation. Throughout the book she offers scripture that you could pull from the pages and use for scripture memory practice, posting around the house for long-term focus, or just using as a thought for the day to ground your family in scripture. Clarkson also has included some fabulous recipes that you can add to your families gathering or just a nightly dinner that could eventually become a tradition in your life and passed down through the generations.
I really enjoyed this book and the study guide that goes with it. If family is important to you, I highly recommend this book and any others from Clarkson. They will help you lift your family to a whole new height and hopefully create some traditions that you can pass down to the younger generations so that they can carry them on.
This centers around a journalist who happens upon a human interest story that winds up teaching her lessons about love and forgiveness and renewing her own faith in human kindness. On Christmas Eve, twenty-something Hope Jensen is quietly grieving the recent loss of her adoptive mother when her apartment is robbed. The one bright spot in the midst of Hope's despair is a small jar full of money someone has anonymously left on her doorstep. Eager to learn the source of this unexpected generosity, Hope uses her newswoman instincts to find other recipients of "Christmas jars," digging until her search leads her to the family who first began the tradition of saving a year's worth of spare change to give to someone in need at the holiday.
This was short, heart-warming, and profound all at the same time! There are great Christmas stories to be discovered that have nothing to do with commercialism and are not overly sentimental. This is one of them. I highly recommend this to those of you who love to read about things that can inform and strengthen your faith.