April 18, 2017

Messy Beautiful Friendship Releases Today!

Friends, I am thrilled that this day has finally arrived--the release day of my latest book, Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships! My hope and prayer is that this book will encourage, help, and challenge you to embrace the messy and beautiful parts of this gift called friendship.

To my great delight, I'm hearing from early readers that they are finding their own experiences (and insecurities) within the pages. I'm also hearing that the book has been useful to them for sparking raw, honest, and helpful conversations with other women about a subject we, for some reason, speak so little about. I hope you'll join with me in this exploration of the joys and complexities of friendship between Christian women!
Here are a few places you can grab a copy for you and a friend:
Amazon: Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook (I got to narrate!)
Barnes & Noble: Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook
Target: PaperbackAudiobook
Christianbook.com: Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook

Not sure if this book is for you? 
Below is the introduction, entitled "This One's for the Strugglers," which gives you a taste of what this book is about and why I've written it.

Many women privately wrestle with the complexities of adult friendship. Perhaps you are one of them.

I certainly have struggled with friendship over the years. I’ve known years of friendship drought. I’ve experienced conflicts in relationships— some of my own making—that have tied my insides in knots. I’ve received wounds so bitter that I’ve retreated to cocoon in the false security of isolation.
But I’ve also experienced deep relationships with other women that have enriched my life beyond measure, pointed me toward Christ, and challenged me to grow. These relationships have taught me that friendship is worth any struggle they have taken to discover and deepen.
No matter where your friendships currently are, you’ve probably found that our hearts never cease longing for fulfilling companionship. Friendship seems such a rarity to find and such a fragile joy when we’ve found it, doesn’t it?
As I’ve let slip that I’ve been writing a book on friendship, the response has been something akin to thirst. Some, in larger audiences, have audibly squealed, not because they have anticipated my words, but because they are bursting with need of relief from their private fears and struggles. In one small group setting, a woman practically jumped across the table at me, reaching, as it were, for help. She is one of many seeking an oasis in a desert.
We want friends, all of us do, and not just any friends. We want relationships where we know and are known at the deepest level. We want friendships that point us to grace and truth.
Curiously, however, we seem to be standing beside one another, holding identical longings, yet resolutely believing we’re alone in them.
The truth is we aren’t actually wondering alone and aimless in a desert; we’re practically tripping over each other as we grasp at our ideal dreams for friendship.
I’ve wondered at this. If we’re alike in our desires, what keeps us from turning to our left and to our right to cultivate friendship with those around us?
Well, it’s not that simple, you might say, as you point to your failed attempts, your open wounds, the boxes you’ve just unpacked in a new community, your insecurities and assumptions, or your overextended schedule.
Oh yes, I know all the reasons why it’s not so simple, because I’ve given them myself, and I know all too well how quickly we are to make those reasons into excuses and the excuses into thick walls. My wall has historically been built upon the excuse that I’m a pastor’s wife and women treat me differently because of it. This has been the excuse I’ve rehearsed in my mind while simultaneously taking the do-nothing, hope-for-the-best approach to friendship.
I have come to believe that our own excuses are one of our biggest obstacles to friendship, but I think there is one greater: we don’t have an understanding of what true friendship is or how God designed it. In the void, we’ve taken up a cultural definition that makes friendship unattainably idyllic and about self: Who is doing what for me? How do other people make me feel? Who is reaching out to me or including me? Who is honoring me?
Without a biblical understanding of friendship, we tend toward believing we’re unique and that everyone else must mold themselves around our personalities, our needs, and our schedules. As a result, we perpetually aspire to ideal friendship that is easy, comfortable, fun, and initiated by others. Perhaps this explains why we perpetually thirst in a desert.
As Christians, the Bible must inform our friendships.
In this book you hold in your hands, we will look together to God in His Word for our definition and practice of friendship. Spoiler alert: we’ll find that friendship is a byproduct of being more concerned with others than ourselves.
Hopefully you’ve picked up this book because you want deep friendships and you’re done with the excuses you’ve erected into walls of isolation. Perhaps you’ve been frustrated, discouraged, or disappointed by the realities of friendship and you need some help reengaging broken relationships or fostering new ones.
Good.
You’re the person I wrote this book for—for Christian women who need a fresh perspective on friendship, who need to know they’re not alone in the wrestling, and who want to know how to navigate relationships in a way that honors God. Together, we’ll shatter idealistic and unattainable dreams of friendship, embrace God-designed friendship, name threats to godly friendship, discover the means we have at our disposal to find and deepen friendships, learn what it takes to be a good friend, and learn how to receive the friendship of others.
I pray you find what I have discovered in my own life: friendship is messy, but even in its messiness, it is beautiful indeed. 
I'm grateful to have received these endorsements for Messy Beautiful Friendship:

"This book will minister to you no matter what season of life you are in and no matter what your current perspective on friendship may be."--Gloria Furman, author of Missional Motherhood and Alive in Him
"Finally, here is a timely word to women, using his Word as guidance, on how to do this crazy thing called friendship well." --Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet 
"Everyone who is a friend or who desires meaningful relationships should read this book! As one who has struggled with the messiness and beauty of finding and maintaining friendships, I found this book so helpful." --Kristie Anyabwile, pastor's wife 
"I want to read this book ten times over and give it to every woman I know."--Lore Ferguson Wilbert, author and speaker
I look forward to hearing from you after you've read it yourself! Tag me on Instagram when your book arrives in your hands!

Finally, friends, can you help me get the word out about this book? A simple tweet or Facebook post about the book's release, along with a link to the book landing page (http://www.gracecoversme.com/p/messy-beautiful-friendship.html), goes a surprisingly long way in spreading the word. Thank you!

Don't forget to grab your own copy! Much love to you.
Amazon: Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook
Barnes & Noble: Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook
Target: Paperback | Audiobook
Christianbook.com: Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook