Posts Tagged relationships

{Review} Not Another Dating Book

As a book publicist, I know how important it is to have a book reviewed as close to the release as possible. Whenever I review books for other people, however, I always seem to fail at reviewing them on time. Renee Fisher‘s latest book, Not Another Dating Book, released in February from Harvest House and I’m excited to share it with you.

Not Another Dating Book (NADB) is a devotional for twenty-somethings (although I think it’s great for teens too) that addresses relevant questions and issues young adults face today, including:

– How do I honor God with my body?

– What’s the deal with online dating?

– Does it matter if my significant other is a Christian?

– Is there only one person out there for me?

– Can God use me in my singleness?

– How should I relate to my ex after a breakup?

– I think there’s more to life than dating–but what?

– What happens if I’ve made mistakes?

These are all great questions and as I read through the devotionals, I remembered asking myself some of those same questions and struggling with these issues when I was single (not too long ago) and while I was dating the man who is now my husband (he was my only boyfriend and I know I’m blessed to be able to say that).

Renee is dubbed “The Devotional Diva” and I love how her devos start out with Scripture, include some personal stories and thoughts, a prayer, and then continue on with more Scripture that you actually have to read in a Bible. I love devotional books, but sometimes I think people (and by this, I include myself) think they can just read one or two verses that are printed in the daily devo book then read the story and that’s it. I like how Renee makes us turn to God’s Word  and then provides questions for us to think through and space to write out our answers. A devotional book should never be a substitute for the Bible. It’s a guide to help us study God’s Word. Renee does just that. She guides us through Scripture and helps us view it in terms of dating relationships.

Each devo also includes a quote from a twenty-something related to dating or relationships, which makes it fun. I also love reading the stories people shared in the “So you think your date was bad?” sections that are sprinkled throughout the book. Some of the scenarios are down right terrible!

As a youth leader, I would recommend this devotional to any of the students in my youth group. Even as I read one of the devos yesterday, a girl in youth group immediately came to mind because the message of the devotional was one I knew she needed to hear. I’ll admit I haven’t read through all the devotionals yet (but devos aren’t meant to be read like regular books), but I’m looking forward to going through the rest of it. I may not be looking for my spouse anymore, but I’m still dating him!

Thanks to Harvest House and to Renee for providing a complimentary copy of Not Another Dating Book for an honest review.

Renee Johnson Fisher is a spirited speaker and writer to twenty-somethings. She graduated from Biola University and worked with nationally known Christian speakers and writers at Outreach Events. She is the author of “Faithbook of Jesus” and “Not Another Dating Book,” releasing February, 2012 with Harvest House Publishers. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm Renee urges young adults to take a closer look at the way they relate to God and others, showing them that every relationship finds its perfect example in Christ. She and her husband Marc live in Escondido, CA where they hope to adopt a dog soon.

Follow Renee on Twitter.

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Four Years

Today is Gerald and my 4-year dating anniversary. It’s hard to believe that now we’re coming up on our 3-month wedding anniversary. We’ve both certainly changed and grown a lot since we first began dating.

One Year Dating Anniversary

Our Second Year Together

Dinner for our 3rd anniversary

Gerald on our 3rd anniversary

Our Wedding Day

A year ago today (or around this time), I remember feeling hopeful anticipation. Gerald and I had been looking at engagement rings for a little while, so I was MAYBE hoping he would propose (and quickly figured out he wasn’t going to when we had a discussion about it that night that left me disappointed but with a better timeline). A lot of my preoccupation with wondering when we’d get engaged (and hoping it would be sooner rather than later) was my impatience and my need to plan everything. I was thinking we’d have to get engaged in either December or January if we wanted to have a 6-month engagement because I knew Gerald wanted to get married during the summer (but I wasn’t sure which summer).

All my questioning about timing and proposals put a lot of pressure on Gerald. He felt like I wasn’t trusting him with all this, and ultimately I wasn’t trusting God’s timing in it all. I felt like I should’ve been married or at least engaged by then (I actually suggested to him on our first anniversary that maybe by our second anniversary he could propose…that didn’t happen). Even though three years felt like a long time to be dating, in those few years, God grew us both in our ability to communicate with one another (and to work out conflicts), in our friendship with one another, and in our relationships with Him. I know I learned a lot more about what it meant to love someone during our dating years. It made me realize how naive I was about relationships when we started dating (and I was even out of college by then!).

So all that to say, the waiting was worth it. We could’ve gotten married earlier and probably been fine, but as we weathered the ups and downs of life together over several years, we learned more about each other and the joys of serving God together. I think it made us better prepared for marriage. People also have told me that couples who don’t argue a lot while they’re dating tend to argue more once married and people who argue a lot while dating argue less once they’re married. So far that seems to be true for us. Gerald and I argued a lot sometimes while we were dating, but we’ve only had one big argument so far since getting married. By now I think we’ve just figured out how to resolve conflict (through lots of practice in our dating years), that we’ve already worked out a lot of those issues. I know arguments will still come, but hopefully we can employ some of the tactics we learned from premarital counseling to argue well (from John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work).

This is no longer an anniversary we’re really going to celebrate (we’re waiting for our first wedding anniversary now), but I’m still wishing Gerald a happy four years together. I’m looking forward to many more to come!

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Day of Dialogue

As a youth leader, I know how important it is to talk about God’s design for relationships. Gerald and I even did a workshop about opposite sex friendships (with a little about dating) at our recent youth retreat. It was one of the topics our kids voted on that they wanted to learn more about.

So I’m excited about this Day of Dialogue that Focus on the Family is putting on for high school and college students on April 18, 2011. This is a chance for high school and college students to begin a conversation about God’s love and what the Bible says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality. With all the distorted beliefs about marriage and sexuality that bombard teens and young adults today, this is a much needed discussion to have.

Teens and young adults can sign up to participate in this discussion on April 18 and can download conversation cards, posters, and t-shirt designs to help promote the event at their schools and campuses. I’m going to promote this to the high school and college students at my church and hopefully some of them will take the initative to join the discussion. Sometimes in discussions like these, having one of your peers talk about these issues with you is more effective than having an adult leader do it.

Is anyone else participating in the Day of Dialogue? If you’re a youth leader, will you consider encouraging your teens to do it?

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Parents & Teens

This Friday we’re having a Parent Open House Night for youth group. We encouraged teens to invite their parents to join them for our weekly meeting so we can show the parents what their kids do on Friday nights and to give them an overview of our theme and studies for the year.

I stayed up late Saturday night making this last minute promo video to show in all three congregations on Sunday at church. We didn’t come up with the idea until last week, so all the filming had to be done Friday night and all editing on Saturday for the video debut on Sunday.

Honestly, I didn’t know who Justin Bieber was until I saw him trending on Twitter. Even as youth counselors we’re not always in touch with what’s popular in the teenage world. The main message we want parents to get from this video and from Friday’s open house is that we want to increase the communication and understanding they have with their teenagers. Especially in Asian cultures, doing well in school is stressed over and over again. You can see this theme in the few responses I showed from teens about what they wish their parents understood about them.

Parents may think they’re telling their children that they love them when they encourage them to get the best grades and to work hard in school. They want their children to get good grades so they can get a good career and do well for themselves as adults. That desire is loving, but the way it can come across to a teenager is, “Why aren’t you doing better?” “Your best is not good enough.” They may even think their parents will value them or love them more if they get better grades.

So we’re going to take parents through a pseudo-youth group night. We’ll have them play games with the teens, worship with us, and all of us will learn the importance of how cross-generational cooperation benefits the Church and the spreading of the Gospel. Parents play an important role in the spiritual growth of their children. As youth leaders, we’re with them two days a week for a few hours, but parents are there the rest of the time. So as much as youth group can have a positive influence in a teen’s spiritual life, it’s the parental influence that will affect that more. Parents need to be showing their kids how to live godly lives by living out a genuine faith. They need to be able to admit their mistakes, to readily give grace and forgiveness, and to praise and encourage others around them. We watch what our parents do and we learn from them whether or not we admit it. Our family lives shape the people we grow up to be.

Parents, what kind of influence are you having on your children? How involved are you in their lives? (and that doesn’t just mean telling them what they need to do)

Youth, what are some things you don’t understand about your parents? What are some ways you can help them understand you? (this would require you being willing to understand where they’re coming from too)

 

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