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Review: Stress Point by Sarah Francis Martin

“In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!'” Abraham Kuyper

Sarah Francis Martin bases her book, Stress Point, on this idea that Christ is King over our lives.  Our lives are not about us, but about patiently waiting before the throne of our King, understanding how his will applies to our lives, and rejoicing in the freedom that comes when we accept that he is in control.  That emphasis is probably why Stress Point, written for women in their 20’s, helps older women as well.

Our problems with finances, career (homeschooling?), friends, family, money, relationships, and outreach all have a different impact on us when we learn to put God first and acknowledge that he is, indeed, King over our lives.  We were created to worship the Lord, not to obsess about our self-image or our body image.  We were created to find meaning in him, not in our career, relationships, or possessions.  In a chatty and personal way, Sarah makes these concepts real. 

Each of the 10 chapters discusses a different stress point:  career, self-image, body image, love/dating (2 chapters), friends and family, money, stepping out on your own, making a difference, and spiritual maturity.   Each one includes three women’s experiences that are discussed in the three journaling subsections of each chapter.

  • The first subsection is ‘Worshiping at the Throne of the King’, where Sarah focuses on some of the names of God and encourages praise as we contemplate what that particular stress point means in our lives.
  • The second is ‘Waiting at the Throne of the King’, where ‘waiting’ is a busy time of gathering wisdom from the Bible while resting at the feet of Jesus during times of uncertainty.
  • The third journaling section of each chapter is ‘Finding Focus on the King’  because “focusing on him and him  alone  is the only way to determine clarity and direction on the ever nagging question, what is my purpose in life?”

The book contains space to journal, but you don’t need to journal to benefit from it, although you do need to take the time to pray and think.  Each journaling section is full of relevant Bible texts and just thinking through the questions and pondering the relevant Bible passages is illuminating in itself.

Stress Point concludes with a summary where you can review and write out what you’ve learned.  This is a helpful wrap-up and is meant to be encouraging in the future as well as right now.  A leader’s guide is included for women who wish to use the book as a basis for a Bible study.

Now, this all sounds very business-like, but Sarah writes in a very warm and personal way.  To sample her book check out this preview, or the lengthier ones at Amazon or CBD.

After reading Stress Point, I asked God about point #9, how to make a difference in my own backyard.  Then, at supper, my husband was discussing a new men’s Bible study he’ll be attending and suggested that, since I’m not good at late-night driving, I set up a women’s Bible study in our neighborhood.  That’s a pretty obvious answer to my question, although it’s way out of my comfort zone.   I’m trying to figure out how to start!  Any suggestions?

Note: A few times Martin falls into the error of suggesting that ‘God is your ultimate Romancer’ by using texts about the nation of Israel and applying them to individuals.  I know what she’s trying to say:  God should be first in our lives.  That is completely true, but not in this way.  Even so, the rest of this book is sound, helpful, and very good.

This is yet another book in the in the 2012 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and is also linked to Saturday Reviews.

Disclosure I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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