Monday, April 15, 2019

Redwoods & Whales — Phil Joel


★★★

I first picked up Redwoods & Whales because I liked the title. And because I realized that the author used to be in Newsboys. And also because this book is about "becoming who you actually are." And oh, my friends, I needed to figure myself out.

I knew I was (and still am) a senior in high school, a newbie to college, and a writer. I lead a Bible study for my congregation. I volunteer for a writers' conference and a theatre company.

I knew that I liked how these things make me busy. I knew I didn't like college and I was ready to be done with high school. I also knew that it felt like life was pulling me along on a road I couldn't make out, telling me to get a move on because there's uni ahead! and a job ahead! and a future ahead! and maybe a family/household of my own ahead but ha ha MAYBE NOT! and also there's my life dream of publishing books and living in a cottage in my hometown in the redwoods ahead!

Who was stressed? Yup, definitely me.

But when I cracked open Redwoods & Whales, it was as if all these anxieties were finally set aside.

This book felt like a coffee shop on a dreary day. Like the grayness outside was all my internal fears, raging about. Like I was meeting someone I didn't really know (but was definitely curious about) for cocoa -- like that person was Phil, and we were going to talk about the Bible...

Phil combines personal anecdotes, analogies, and scripture to present a message that acknowledges the world and its sorrows, then becomes an uplifting stream of encouragement. Redwoods & Whales is a wake-up call. It's a conversation, a challenge to become the very best version of yourself. It's a guidebook to becoming a Christian and an adult. It dissipated my own fears by telling of the love of God.

Without a doubt, Redwoods & Whales is a book I would encourage every person, regardless of their faith or age, to read. It deals with hard pasts, explains the pure and boundless grace of Christ, and invites readers to become the very best version of themselves they can be.

NOTE: I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


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