I recently met Celeste Barnard through social media and I’m sure glad that I did. I offered to review her book, Reflections: 31 Daily Devotionals, and so she sent me a copy to read. Although I was engaged from the start by her down-to-earth, easy-to-read writing style, I was completely hooked when I read the second devotional.
The title of this devotional is “Don’t Be a Worn-Out Alligator.” In it, she shares how the Gator Boys, who live in Florida and are featured on an Animal Planet show, remove alligators from private property. As you might imagine, even if you’ve never seen the show, it ain’t easy to get an alligator to do what he or she doesn’t want to do!
So, what do the Gator Boys do? They wear the gator out first, so they can more easily jump on the creature’s back, tape up its powerful jaws and then transport the alligator to be released into its natural habitat.
Celeste compares how the Gator Boys wear out the alligators to how Christians can get worn down by overwork, by busyness, by overscheduling – to the point where they snap at other people and make decisions that aren’t in their best interests, including being too busy to contemplate God’s word. Busy people often need to get sick before they rest (guilty as charged!) and this is the line that really grabbed me: “Wouldn’t you just rather rest while feeling good?”
Even though that sentiment makes good sense, it sure sounded brand new to me. And, if you’re like me, you can benefit from Celeste’s next paragraph: “I encourage you today, don’t get captured like a wild alligator ready to give up the fight! Sometimes staying in the game means taking time out for you and not wearing yourself out. You will be a much more effective witness, and a lot less likely to chomp someone’s head off! Amen!”
For each devotional, Celeste includes relevant Scripture and room to reflect (meaning, space in the book to write down your thoughts). You can find out more about Celeste and her writing. Something about her that resonates with me, as she describes in her about us page, is how she is drawn to nature and is reminded of the greatness of God when surrounded by it. I feel that same way. And, here is her overall testimony, something else that I applaud:
“My first and foremost love is Jesus Christ. It’s not about a religion, it’s a love story. I love Jesus. I love spending time with Him, and soaking up His Word. I am forever thankful to Him for the life He saved me from. He saved me from myself.”
Further Insight from Celeste Barnard
After I was done writing a rough draft of my book review, I contacted Celeste and asked her what inspired her to write this book. Her answer is as follows: “I wanted women to have something they could start their day with that wasn’t too long because we are all so busy.” She wanted to create something that can “lead them [women] to a closer walk with the Lord. It’s my hope that Reflections helps them to reflect on their own walk and encourages them to pursue God and His Word.”
Interesting in Writing Your Own Devotionals?
If you read devotionals, you already know how they can be a true blessing. A devotional can uplift you when you’re feeling discouraged, sad or lonely. It can help you acknowledge and repent from sins that cause personal rifts and create distance in your relationship with God. It can allow you to feel a keen sense of fellowship with another Christian, even if the two of you never actually meet.
And, if you are feeling called to write devotionals, know that you have a unique opportunity to bless others and make a genuine difference in their lives.
I’m offering a course in writing devotionals for only $12. These steps are ones that I used when writing Everything to God in Prayer: A Writer’s Weekly Devotional and they may be helpful to you, as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!