Sunday, August 28, 2016

I Am Found by Laura Dingman

I Am Found: Quitting The Game Of Hide And Seek With God And Others by Laura Dingman (Moody Publishers)

I Am Found by Laura Dingman is a 6-week Bible study focused on shame: it's power over us, the things we do to hide because of it, and how we can overcome it by accepting God's forgiveness and hiding in Him instead of hiding from Him. Each week includes an introduction, five daily lessons, and a conclusion entitled "Truth, Lies, and Actions". I personally prefer to read the introduction the night before the day 1 lesson in order to prepare for the week ahead, and read the conclusion on the evening of day 5. This provides more time for reflection between readings.

-Week 1 (Fig leaves don't hide anything) uses the story of the garden of Eden to explain why we hide from God, others, and ourselves. Shame. Guilt. Humiliation. We also read about David and Bathsheba, learning the importance of coming clean with God.
-Week 2 (Know your enemy) discusses the Armor of God, and how to use this to face the enemy.
-Week 3 (Come out, come out, wherever you are!) shows you how to turn the "cycle of works" into the "cycle of grace", and trust in the Lord.
-Week 4 (You are not alone) helps you recognize the importance of embracing deep connections while realizing that not all connections last. Laura also emphasizes the need to learn to love and mend relationships.
-Week 5 (You are enough) is about redemption - how to realize that you are a new creation in God and recognize the strength in that Truth.
-Week 6 (You are found) focuses on the relentless pursuit of God, illustrated by the importance of finding things that are lost. The key story is that of the Prodigal Son, studied in three different translations to broaden your understanding of its magnitude. (I don't relate well to this story, but found her insights and approach to be immensely helpful.)

The back of this book described this study as "Drenched in Scripture", and that's a very accurate statement. It doesn't just tell you to read a random verse here and there. Instead, you read whole passages and entire chapters. Then reflect upon them and dig deep into their significance to you personally. You don't just read Laura's interpretation of what the Bible says, but you seek the Truth for yourself.

You will also read personal stories that illustrate or reflect the lessons being worked on. I often find this part of a Bible study to be impersonal - something a friend or co-worker or a lady from church went through. Instead, Laura's stories are exactly that - her personal stories. Things she's been through in her own life. This helps me feel like she truly understands what I'm dealing with - you know she's been there.

page 69
My favorite part of this book is the layout (page 69 above). It's written in such a way that even new-believers who have never really sat and read a Bible can read the passages and follow Laura's guidance and suggestions in order to seek God for themselves. The direct Bible quotes are bold teal, the focus questions are standard teal, and Laura's insights and reflections are black. This makes it very easy to keep track of what you're reading and when you're supposed to interact and provide your own insights.

Overall, I'd give this study 5 stars and recommend it to anyone struggling with shame or seeking God's grace.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.*

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