Book Review: Savor by Shauna Niequist

My routine over the summer has looked quite a bit different than other summers. Summers are usually a time for me to veg out on the couch and be lazy after a hectic school year.

But after being on bed rest for a month and then moping on my couch for another month, I decided I needed to make myself get up. So I made a point to sit at the table instead of lying on the couch first thing in the morning. And in doing that, I motivated myself to start a morning devotional/quiet time. It has been soothing to my soul to start the day in conversation with God.

The devotional I chose is Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist. I had seen it mentioned on a blog I read, plus it’s just a beautiful book. Besides the devotions, it also has some of Shauna’s favorite recipes scattered throughout. I hadn’t read any of her other books, but I thought I would give this one a try.

{Beautiful details of Savor}

{Beautiful details of Savor}

At first, I felt very disappointed that it didn’t dig into stories from the Bible. I mean, how could I become closer to God without reading his Word… right? But it turns out, Bible stories were not what I needed.

These daily devotions give an in-depth look into the life of a modern day Christ-follower. Shauna shares intimate details of her joys and sorrows, hopes and hopelessness. And at the end of each passage, she brings the focus back to your own personal relationship with God. She asks questions that are sometimes tough to answer. They make you dig deep and really look into whether or not you are truly putting your life in God’s hands. There are times when I find myself rolling my eyes thinking, why did she have to go there?! I don’t want to think about that!

Eventually, I pull out my journal and pour out my heart, answering her questions. More often than not, it ignites more questions and thoughts that I hadn’t previously realized I needed to hash out with God. What I end up with is a written prayer.

My experience with this devotional has been introspective and therapeutic. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to grow closer to God. Whether you are struggling with putting your trust in Him, or if you feel steadfast in your relationship with Him, I believe you will be touched by Shauna’s words.

If you have used this devotional or read one of Shauna’s other books, tell me in the comments about how it has affected you.

With hope and love,
Kristen

**One negative review I have read about this devotional mentions that most of the stories in Savor come from stories in Shauna’s other books. So if you have read her other books, you may be underwhelmed with this one. But I think the reflection questions will help you see the stories in a new light. 

Walking with Grief

Since Ryder’s birthday, I’ve found quite a few things to help me as I walk through grief. This blog has helped immensely, but it’s just me and my thoughts. When grieving, you really need outside resources to help you up when you feel so stuck in your thoughts that there seems to be no way out.

People

People have been my first line of defense to keep from sinking into a depression. It’s a lot harder to get stuck in your thoughts when your friends are dragging you out of the house for dinner, to play cards, or watch them sing karaoke. Visitors, even a couple days after Ryder’s birthday, gave me a reason to get out of bed, take a shower, and put on clean clothes. That’s a pretty exhausting feat when you’ve just lost your son. But it’s a necessary step toward healing.

Support Groups

At first, I joined groups on Facebook, meeting women all over the world who have been, or are going through, similar situations. They’ve also introduced me to other bloggers who write about grief. It’s not a fun club to be in, but I sure am glad I’m not in it alone.

This week I attended my first support group meeting. There’s a group in town called Glory Babies for those grieving the loss of a baby during pregnancy or infancy, or those struggling with infertility. You can find out more about the group here.

This week, it was just the founder and me. That made me very nervous. I don’t handle awkwardness well and I’m no good at small-talk. She told me that sometimes there are ten people and sometimes there are none, but that “it is always exactly what it needs to be.” She was so right! We had a great chat. I think I really needed that one-on-one time with someone who has been where I am now. It’s refreshing to know that there is a future. I can make it. She spoke a lot about Ryder’s purpose. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. I look forward to future meetings.

Books

I buy my books like I buy my wine. If it’s pretty, then it must be good. So far, it’s worked out pretty well for me on the book side. Wines… not so much.

Look at this book!

image

{Savor by Shauna Niequist}

Isn’t it beautiful?!? Even the inside is beautiful. And I don’t just mean the blue-gilded pages, though that’s my favorite part. I’ve only read a few of the devotionals so far, but I like it. It’s real. It talks about real life. And I like that.

Each day’s devotional is one page long and starts with a scripture. Then, the author shares a story from her life to tie in the scripture. It ends with a reflection question to think on. It’s really great if you journal during your quiet times.

I’ve always been a quitter throughout my life. I’d start a sport and quickly realize I hated it and quit. I’d start a journal, forget about it one day, then get so far behind that I’d give up and quit. I’d start devotionals, only to get too busy…. and quit. You get the picture.

I don’t want to quit this. I’ve never been one to spend oodles of time in the Word. (I know… bad Christian.) I’ve been more likely to just memorize individual verses or read other books that talk about the Bible. I’ve always been a Cliff’s Notes kind of person. That’s why I’ve always loved the idea of a devotional. Hopefully this one will stick!

I’ve also read I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy by Angie Smith. It was given to me by a couple of church friends when we found out that Ryder wouldn’t make it, and it was exactly what I needed after losing him. It’s actually a very good book for anyone to read. It gives the reader insight into what someone going through loss may be thinking. Angie Smith’s husband is a member of the Christian group Watermark and they wrote a song called I Will Carry You for their daughter who they lost. It’s a beautiful song and we played it during Ryder’s memorial service.

Yoga

I’m honestly not sure about this one yet. Arizona State University is doing research on how yoga helps bereaved mothers through their grief. It’s a twelve week study and I just started it yesterday. It was an intro day, so I just watched videos on technique, breathing, and props that can be used. I don’t even know if I like yoga. But… I was once that grad student begging for participants for research. (It’s really hard to get people to do something for free. Even if it’s the equivalent to a personal trainer.) So I’m going to try my best to stick with it. (I’m not a quitter. I’m not a quitter. I’m not a quitter…)

This is just a small list of things to help with grief. I’d love to hear what has helped you through difficult times!

With hope and love,
Kristen