A Beautifully Designed Review


“What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman?”

These words greet you as you open Matt Chandler’s A Beautiful Design. These questions linger in our lives, in our culture, and have been very present over the centuries regardless of location or religion.

I found myself throughout this study, coming back to Chandler’s initial question through the lens of God’s Word and who He says we are and the definition presented in Scripture.

Chandler’s study allows you to wade into fairly deep waters over a 9 week study, where you look at the Creation story of man and woman, how we are in His image created, and then diving into the separate examinations and study of both men and women. While I was a bit leery of being a single woman doing this study, after having completed it, I would recommend every single and married do this study in the church. Chandler has also adapted this study for teens and I do encourage that as well.

There are parts of the weekly sessions, where you are to be in a group setting watching the accompanying videos (not included in review) and completing the fill in the blank guide. The three part studies following that session are deep in their content and supplement the sessions topics from the larger setting. It allows for conversational insights between couples as well as family applications within the home each week. As a single, that can be adapted, and one I found myself doing with friends as I worked through this study.

As a woman, I appreciated the insight on the design for manhood, and the look into womanhood deeper than the go-to many dwell on in teaching of “submissiveness.” As a believer, it challenged me in some meaningful ways to look at who God created me to be, how the fall has marred that, and how redemption has brought my story back to His crafting.

I have recommended this study over and over again even while I was in the midst of reviewing it to so many. It’s timely, it’s relevant and it is much needed within the dynamics of the church for us to understand what womanhood and manhood truly are in relation to God’s design.

Interested in more from the Chandler’s? Read my review of Lauren Chandler’s book A Steadfast Love.

Reviewer’s Note: This study was provided for free in exchange for a review.

Steadfast Love: Review and Giveaway!

Confession time around these parts…

I love books.

You all probably knew that by now, but I seriously get anxiety over all the great books I have yet to read. I keep a shelf in my bedroom of books I read each year, and those I plan to read. I got the idea a couple of years ago from my friend Jon Acuff. It was this whole “empty shelf” challenge, and one I have kept to for the last three years. My goal each year is to match the number of books I read with the age I will be turning. That’s the only stipulation. So I read professional development, fiction and Christian living books. Every once in a while I share those on here with you all, as you’ve seen from Choose Joy, Fervent and Dancing Through Life.

This month I got a jump on my book challenge with the new release from Lauren Chandler called Steadfast Love (You can pick it up at your local LifeWay which now does price matching!). You may or may not be familiar with Lauren or her family. I have been what you’d call a “follower fan” of Matt Chandler for a while, as he pastors in Texas. Several years ago Matt fell ill and captivated alot of Christians for how he and his family navigated the diagnosis and subsequent journey under the “new normal.”

Let me say I started this book off slow, as I was finding it hard to get into personally. But I had to deal with that as this book is beautifully written on a Psalm which is personal to Lauren, but is one to be learned from by us all.

We deep dive into Psalm 107 section by section, verse by verse throughout this book. She pinpoints anchors we choose to use, instead of the the everlasting, eternal one in Christ. One such quote found in the early pages digs right at the heart of where we need to start when seeking/living in steadfast love:

What we choose to use as our anchor determines how well we will weather the seasons of life. (pg 19)

God’s steadfast love is our anchor, in the midst of any storm or seas of life, when we need rest, to enjoy the perspective, or when we need refuge.

Lauren walks you through each of those areas, from the heavy and hard to the folly of our own hands. You see her worship of Psalm 107 and it ignites within you the desire to look at the steadfast love in your own life, the anchors you fashion out of your own hands, and begin to examine the Psalm with eyes on Him. She gets to the crux of her book with the synopsis of “Sometimes he wrings the worship from our hearts.”

In truth, He does. We get wrung out through praise, but it has to be from a heart filled with steadfast love in Him from Him.

As we enter the month of love awareness (I’ll save you all my soap box on that), I wanted to encourage you to check out this book from Lauren Chandler and examine the Psalm a bit deeper as we look at steadfast love in a time where love seems to be bought and traded far too cheaply. See how His steadfast love grabbed Lauren to prepare her for a time when she needed the anchor which holds stronger than any one she could’ve fashioned for herself.

To celebrate Lauren’s release and to get this book into the hand of a reader, I am giving away a copy of Steadfast Love RIGHT HERE! All you have to do is tell us what Psalm you love in the comments and a winner will be picked at random. Deadline to enter is Tuesday, February 2nd!