Book Review: A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
by Katie Ganshert
Rating: 5/5
WaterBrook Press – Fiction|Christian|Romance

For twenty-four-year-old Ivy Clark, life as a supermodel has a shelf life. Her ten years in the biz has shown her that she is nothing more than a shell. When she returns to Greenbrier, South Carolina, for her father’s funeral, she is filled with conflicting and frustrating thoughts. The illegitimate child of her father’s mistress, Ivy has never felt wanted and loved by her father. On top of this tragedy, Ivy is facing the end of her career. Too many young faces are stealing the spotlight from her. When her uncle (her agent) convinces her to do a bridal magazine spread for her stepmother, Marilyn, who designs wedding gowns, she is desperate, yet hesitant to stay in Greenbrier. Marilyn’s nephew, Davis Knight, will be the photographer, and Ivy is uncertain whether or not he is up to the challenge. Tortured by his past, Davis Knight knows all about the world of fashion photography. Having given up his passion in photography, he is reluctant to jump back in, even to help his beloved aunt and benefit his blind sister, Sara. Davis has a gift of seeing more than what’s on the outside; Ivy cannot seem to use her usual seduction tricks on him. Can Ivy find love and redemption in the small town of Greenbrier? Can Davis forgive himself for his past mistakes? Can Ivy and Davis find a way to work together and possibly more?

I found out about author Katie Ganshert on Facebook and was curious to read one of her books. When I found her recent book available on Blogging for Books, I immediately signed up to read it. This story is only her third book. I literally read the book in 4 hours (midnight-4am). I could not and would not put it down. This book is simply one of the best Christian romances I have ever read, and I have read MANY books. The beautifully woven story of faith and redemption is so heart-wrenching and perfectly written. The reader falls in love with the characters and their journeys to redemption. The plot keeps moving along – not too slow or fast. My only concern was that the story ends a little abruptly for my taste. It was a somewhat satisfying end, but the short epilogue was not enough for me. That is how much I enjoyed the book. I just want to thank the author for writing such a powerful story of God’s redeeming love and forgiveness. I was so moved by the story of God’s faithfulness and love, even when we don’t deserve it.

I highly recommend this story for anyone who loves Christian romance. Warning: you may need tissues.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Getting Back in the Saddle

I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed playing on a worship team. It’s always an experience! I’m fascinated by the dynamics of each team which are different. I believe that everyone has a different way that they express worship to God. We need each other’s expression and when we come together to worship, watch out! I got to play with DCF in the large group and in my core group. I just recently played for Davis Christian Assembly, which was a whole other experience.

The way each person worships is unique. And God is forever faithful to show up when we make room for Him to move.

Recently, I had a vision of how much God the Father loves us. I saw this young boy who was dirty from playtime (as boys seem to be). He runs up to his father who has open arms. The father doesn’t tell the son to clean up first. He doesn’t shrink away from his son. The father welcomes the son’s hugs and the son just wants to tell his father about his day. God the Father wants to welcome us into His arms, but many times we feel we are too dirty and must be perfect and holy before we can embrace Him. God the Father loves us – He is not going to turn away from us. Jesus’ blood cleanses us – not us – not me!

Washed
You took all my hurt
You took all my pain
You washed it all away
You took all my guilt
You took all my shame
You washed it all away

By Your blood
By the blood of the Lamb

You washed it all away

Now I’m free to know this joy
Now I’m free to know this love
Now I’m free, I’m free

Chi Alpha Winter Conference 2009

Is it 2009? Wow. Time flies. I was just at a retreat with a few hundred college students from the western US and I am amazed at God’s faithfulness and mercy. His love is truly amazing and life-changing. The way that He draws His children to Himself is irresistible.

All of the messages were really good, but one message was about getting rid of your junk. If any of you really know me, you’d know that I’m a packrat. I don’t like throwing anything away esp clothes, because the time comes that just after I give it away, I end up needing it for something. It always happens to me but it’s okay, I’m learning to get rid of my junk. I tend to hold on to things that I don’t need to hold on to anymore. I realized that I’d been hanging on to past relationships and I needed to let go of it all. I needed to truly move on and not allow those thoughts and entanglements to dominate my thoughts. There were things that I secretly held on to that no one else really knew except God. I gave it all to Him because He is the one in control. It was a very freeing experience. I’m so grateful that God cares enough. He cares about the little things that we care about. I don’t deserve Him.

That same night, I realized that I couldn’t just live the way I’ve been living. I’ve become complacent in my relationship with God where I thought I was okay with where I was at. I realized that I can’t live this way anymore. I had been satisfied where I was at but something just was stirred up inside me and I couldn’t NOT seek God. During the prayer/altar time, I went to the back of the room and just sat in God’s presence and cried out to God. I needed to re-surrender my life. I couldn’t live in the complacency I’d been living in. It wasn’t enough to live that way. I needed God for everything and didn’t want to be numb anymore. I didn’t want to be so critical and self-righteous about everything. I was sick of my religiousness and wanted God to change me to become more like Him – to yearn for His presence the way that He loves me. I wanted to fall in love with Him again. I wanted His heart for Davis. My love is imperfect but His love is made perfect in my weakness. God did some restoration in my life and I’m so grateful to Him.

As the fragance of worship goes up, the weight of His love pours down
As the fragance of worship goes up, the weight of His love pours down

I painted this after the conference. At the conference I sat back and listened to the worship. I saw the worship like a whirlwind being swept up to the heavens and God’s pleasure was shining through. As the fragrance of worship was being swept up to heaven, the weight of God’s love was being poured down on each of the students. It was so beautiful that I wanted to try to get something down on paper last night at DCF large group. It’s not nearly what I saw, but it’s an abstract representation of what I saw. Blues, Greens, Purples, Pinks, and Yellows (btw I used oil pastels). The last color I used was actually gold which I thought was fitting because GOLD is representative of kingship.

Lord Jesus,
Thank You for saving me
Thank You for never leaving me
I cannot hide my love
I cannot deny my heart’s desire
I want You, I need You
I can’t live without You
You are my heart’s desire
You are the Lover of my soul
I cannot be without You
You hold me in the palm of Your hand
You restore my soul
I trust in You
I will follow You
Through every storm
Through every valley
I will trust in You
Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider
You are EVERYTHING
How I love You
How You love me
Can’t get enough of You
Can’t get enough

The World Missions Summit 2

Well, I know it’s a little late to be writing this but I just need to dive in anyway. I think one of the most impacting things was seeing 3700 students on fire for Jesus with His heart for missions. That was definitely a sight to see – to know that there are others living radical Christian lives who are college students like me. I know I’m not alone, but it’s still nice to be encouraged from across the country. BTW the Cincinnati airport is actually in Kentucky so I’ve now been to Ohio and Kentucky. 😉

I was really encouraged and challenged by the different messages and loved the windows to the world and different breakouts. I loved interacting with missionaries on a one-to-one basis during the meal times. I learned a lot and I found new friends. I really liked the international choir because they sang songs in different languages which is one thing that I really enjoy. God speaks every language – His love is the universal language and His presence is the same wherever you go.

I already know that I’m called to China but seeing all of the different countries and the need makes me what to go everywhere. I know that just because I see a need, doesn’t mean I have to fill it, but I would love to travel all over before I’m dead.

I committed to serve at least one year and intend to fulfill that commitment. I plan to teach in China this summer if everything works out which would be really cool and really God. 😉

I’m definitely excited about all God is doing and I can’t wait to see all that He has done in me – most of the time you can’t see what He’s doing deep inside.

I guess that’s it for now. It was an amazing experience. Yay God!

Lord, I want to serve You in anyway that I can.
Take away any fear because that’s not from You.
Take me in Your arms.
I just want to be with You.
I want my life to be a testimony of Your LOVE and GRACE.
Let me be a LIGHT.