About this book: (from the publisher) When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst. But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.
Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we’re offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty – so that we can be filled until we overflow.
Come Empty – Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come?
About the author: Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, finding grace in difficult places, and experiencing personal renewal by drawing near to God. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women’s Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life. Her other books include award-winning Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves.
Genre: Non-fiction/Religion/Christian Life/Prayer
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Reflection: One thing I knew: this year, I wanted to do Lent differently. The season of Lent comprises the 40 days prior to Easter, during which Christians traditionally meditate on Jesus Christ’s suffering and on our own repentance. In recent years, I’ve tended to rush through these six weeks until arriving, surprise!, at Resurrection Sunday–grateful for the celebration but unprepared to savor its wonder as I’m meant to. That’s why I said yes to Come Empty. The idea of emptying myself out of distractions first to make room for Jesus was (is) very appealing.
So did Come Empty meet my need? To a degree, yes. It got me meditating in the right direction, but it didn’t resonate in the way I’d hoped it would. But–as is so often the case–whether a book (or anything) creates a certain resonance has as much to do with the person receiving the gift as it does with the author offering it. It’s highly subjective. So with that caveat in place, I’ll give you what worked for me.
On the plus side, the writing is clear, the tone accessible, and the structure well-organized–which makes it very suitable for personal adaptation. With 80 daily devotionals to choose from, you could work your way through from start to finish in about three months. Or you could pick and choose from among topics to suit your needs. Struggling in relationship with others? There are 10 devotions to work with. Dealing with negative emotions, illness, or change? Got something for you too. What also makes it well-rounded is that Dalton-Smith includes twenty days to dwell on the good stuff as well–positive emotions and gratitude.
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Like Sarah Young did in her Jesus Calling series, Dalton-Smith answers every day’s “heart’s cry” with “God’s reply”–given from His point of view. I personally do not have a problem with this, so long as it’s clear those words are directly derived from Scripture (which I do believe is our only unerring Word of God).
Each day’s reading is quite brief–which could be a plus or not, depending on your need. Me, I was looking for a deeper dive. The author does offer with every devotional a verse, discussion questions, a one sentence prayer and more scripture so you can take it a little deeper if you wish. But I would have appreciated more amplification from Dalton-Smith herself–from her position of authority as the author of this book.
So I didn’t feel the satisfaction of a deep soul connection. Some of the proferred answers felt too easy. On the whole, the treatment of emptying one’s self seemed to skim the surface more than really peel back the layers to get at root causes.
But maybe that’s not what this little book set out to do. If it’s purpose was to initiate a conversation (with God or otherwise), and to get me heading down the right path, then I would say it accomplished just that.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and SonRise Devotionals/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
To see what other Litfuse reviewers are saying, click here.
After words: What practices help you to observe Lent more meaningfully?