“When we forget about what God has done, it makes us doubt what He can do.” (p132)
Play With Fire, by Bianca Olthoff, is such a treasure of a book. It felt like more than just a book though. It felt like a soul opening up and sharing the deepest parts of a heart made whole. This is real life right here – nothing shallow or artificial – but real, raw stories from people just like you and me. Stories of faith, perseverance and transformation. Bianca is such a fabulous storyteller and she has an amazing ability to take each story and learn more about God and life and love through it and in Play With Fire, she shares those stories and those lessons with us.
This book moves fast. It took me maybe a day and half to read the whole thing – which is a testament to the author’s skillful writing, but also to the power of her stories. These stories are so very moving. Stories of loss, grief, fear, illness and everything in between take the reader on a journey through Bianca’s life and also through our own stories. Her tone and style of writing is so relatable, I found myself remembering my own experiences in parallel to hers. If you have never seen or heard Bianca speak, you need to. This woman is fierce and fun and such a wonderful communicator. I have been looking forward to this book for a long time and it absolutely exceeded my expectations.
If you have ever found yourself in a period of fear, grief or desert wandering, Play With Fire can help you realize the truth of God’s faithfulness and your own value as one of His own.
Some of my favorite quotables from Play With Fire:
“In the desert seasons of life, we must root into the goodness of God, into being known and loved by God. We need to be rooted in our identities as the treasured and loved creations of a merciful and divine Creator. We store these truths, allow them to spur growth, to deepen our roots, to bring us to bloom in even the most trying terrain.” (p41)
“When we surrender our control, we hand God not only our faith, but also our fear. We don’t need to worry about the people who want to silence us, oppress us, or enslave us. We only need to stand firm on the promises of God and discover that He is mighty to save.” (p73)
“the abundant life didn’t mean I got to skip the desert. It meant I could experience abundance in the midst of the desert.” (p86)
“And here’s the truth – we cannot worship God for the gifts of freedom and salvation without having known captivity and desolation first. When we know the cost of our freedom, it drives our worship. True worship almost always happens in the desert wilderness, and praise is almost always the answer to a plea that rises up in us while we are in the desert.” (p106-107)
“while the enemy knows our name, he calls us by our sin. But God knows our sin, but calls us by our name. Sometimes a reminder of who we are is stronger than a rebuke of what we are not.” (p119)
“When people are in pain or grieving, the last thing they need is a spoonful of religious syrup.” (p124)
“The fulfillment of God’s promises comes when we have the boldness to enter into the fire and embrace the transformation that takes place.” (p180)
Here’s a video of Bianca Olthoff sharing the heart behind Play With Fire:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising