Book Review: Lioness Arising

The lioness is a powerful image; a metaphor used to good effect in Lisa Bevere’s latest book Lioness Arising, the first from my Shelf of the Unread. Lioness Arising is a non-fiction book on Christian living; specifically, it is a call for Christian women to wake up and rise in strength together to change our world.

Lisa combines scripture with an exploration of the characteristics of lionesses to reveal strength and courage in women. A lioness is strong, powerful, fierce, fearless and strategic as well as beautiful, graceful, gentle, tender and nurturing. In her own words, Lisa has “come to see the lioness as a picture of how every daughter of the Most High can embrace her strength, develop courage, and effect change in her world.”

It is worth noting that although Lisa shares some of her own experiences in making a difference in her spheres of influence (from bringing hope to trafficked sex workers in Mumbai to bringing change in her son’s required reading at school), this book is not a road map or a blue print. It is an invitation, a wake-up call, to rise up, see what God is doing, and bring all that he has created in us, and gifted to us, to join him.

So what were my impressions? I’ll say right up front that I really liked this book, and having now read it twice in one month, my copy is full of pencilled underlining (my apologies to the purists) and post-it notes wherever an insight, a story or a point particularly caught my attention. Many times it felt like Lisa was having a conversation with me personally, knowing my story, my journey. This book spoke to me, reminded me of who I am in Christ, encouraged me to strengthen my relationships with other Christian women, and to keep following the path God is laying out before me. It challenged me, as did Half the Sky (which is also quoted in this book), not to be a bystander. I recommend Lioness Arising as a book worth reading, for women and men.

I think it’s worth finishing off with the book’s dedication:

To all my lioness sisters who feel something wild, fierce, and beautiful stirring within them.

You are stunning.
You were born for this moment.
Don’t be afraid of your strength, questions or insights.
Awaken, rise up, and dare to realize all you were created to be.

Shelf of the Unread

I have a shelf of unread books … actually if I lined up all the unread books I own I’m sure they’d need more than one shelf. Books I’ve bought over the years but have yet to open. Books that I’ve started but somehow never finished. (I’m sure you’ve finished every book you’ve ever started … mhmm.) Books that I’ve bought more recently; silently pleading for my attention.

This year I’ve decided that these books need an investment of my time, not just my money. I’m sure there’ll be other books I also read this year, but for each of the books I’ve selected from my Shelf of the Unread, I’ll post a review. I think this will be a challenging but achievable list. Let’s see how I do.

My selection of 12 books (one for each month) for 2012:

  • Lioness Arising: wake up and change your world by Lisa Bevere
    [Technically I’ve already read this book (over Christmas/New Year), but it had such an impact I’m about to read it again in conjunction with my journals (past and present).]
  • Men and Women in the Church: building consensus on Christian leadership by Sarah Sumner
  • Heart of Stone: my story by Hoa Van Stone
  • The Journey Home by Bill Bright
  • The Emotionally Healthy Church: a strategy for discipleship that actually changes lives by Peter Scazzero with Warren Bird
  • Winning with People by John C. Maxwell
  • Life with God by Richard Foster with Kathryn A. Helmers
  • The Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds
    [This is the first book in a compilation volume of all E.M. Bounds’ works on prayer. I’m starting small, and if I get through any of the other books in the volume this year that will be a bonus. If not, there’s always 2013!]
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation: priorities from Paul and his prayers by D. A. Carson
  • When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson

And for something a little different:

  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

[I have War and Peace on the shelf too, but unless I find myself zooming through the list I think I’ll save that one for next year!]

I guess I’m committed now. It’s time to get reading.

What unread books do you have gathering dust? What books do you plan to read this year?

Image: healingdream /