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If creating space for a relationship with Christ has become difficult amongst the struggles and busyness of life, The Heart-Home Builder: Cultivating an Inner Sanctuary with Christ amid Life’s Difficulties, by Rachel Braunscheidel is the book for you. In just ten chapters, the author takes you through her journey of creating intentional space for God’s love in everyday life. This is a book that will leave tears in your eyes, and a heart filled with the desire to know Christ more deeply.
This is a theology book like no other, in part because the author is the first to admit that she is not an expert. She, just like you or I, is simply someone with a thirst for Christ, and a love of scripture. This, I believe, is what sets her book apart from many others. Braunscheidel analyzes what the authors and biblical characters were feeling in these moments. It is the emotion of scripture that she so eloquently brings to life in a way that I rarely see in theology books today. Brought about by her journey with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), her story is one that is so vastly relatable to many who suffer from similar chronic illnesses. Braunscheidel’s vulnerability adds a level of rich emotion to the pages of her book that better equips the reader to actively pursue a relationship with Christ.
The book, centered around the idea of a heart-home, walks through Braunscheidel’s illustration of creating intentional space for God in the midst of life struggles. A heart-home, as she explains, is a way of cultivating a relationship with Christ from within our hearts. It is a place where the Holy Spirit can dwell inside of us, in a home, rather than just a space. This incredibly unique idea is one that I found to be needing far more than I realized as I began to read.
Titled Free of Heart Clutter, chapter 5 serves as a reminder that, just like in a room of a house, clutter can build in your heart. It is this reason that chapter 5 stands as my favorite chapter in the entirety of the book. The struggle of sin often keeps us from giving God the proper room in our lives, but this book was a valuable reminder that this clutter does not have to stay. For everyone, this clutter looks different. But often, this clutter manifests as sin and fear. It takes the form of shame and unworthiness, keeping us focused on our own baggage rather than focused on the Christ who buried that baggage at the cross.
One of my favorite parts of reading this book was the interactive questions intermittingly throughout the book. At the end of each chapter, there was always a different, exciting new way to encourage the heart-home building process. Sometimes, these were rhetorical questions centered around the chapter’s discussion of scripture, and other times these were interactive moments to jot down any thoughts or feelings throughout the reading. Not only does this boost the reader’s ability to comprehend Braunscheidel’s amazing concept of a heart-home, but it also gives the reader a chance to think critically about the space, the home, they have created in their lives for the Lord.
So, if you find your heart filled with clutter and your life filled with struggle, this is the book for you.