Published by Good Book Company on December 1, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Devotional
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Meditations on the Psalms helping women to express their feelings to God.
Many of us suppress our feelings because we’re worried they are ungodly. Others of us are so led by our emotions that we let them dominate everything, including our faith.
In these honest, personal and uplifting meditations on 24 selected psalms, Courtney Reissig looks at emotions we all experience, ranging from shame, anxiety, and anger through to gratitude, hope, and joy. For each, she shows how the psalms give us permission to acknowledge how we feel before God, and how they can help us to use those feelings productively and faithfully.
This inspiring book will give women a language to cry out to God in order to help them process their feelings, as well as help them to grow in their faith. Can be used as a daily devotion.
Courtney Reissig explains that when she experienced her darkest moments, she found the psalms uniquely helpful. When she was dealing with pregnancy complications, fearing her own death and the death of her unborn child, the psalms spoke to her in a powerful way, helping her to process difficult emotions and worship in the midst of her pain and fear. Throughout this book, Reissig explores how Psalms speaks to readers in different seasons of life, and each chapter focuses on a different psalm and the primary emotion its expresses. There are also reflection and study questions at the end of each chapter.
Teach Me To Feel is like a hybrid between a devotional and a Bible study. The chapters are longer and go more in-depth than a devotional reading would, but they are also simpler and more straightforward than a typical Bible study, since the reader does not have to contribute anything. Reissig fully explains and analyzes the psalms she covers, and although someone can study each psalm alongside her teaching and engage with the questions at the end of the chapter, the book also works as a standalone, with sufficient summaries and quoted passages for someone to follow the author’s point without reading each psalm. This book offers thorough expositional teaching, alongside some personal stories and application ideas.
This book can help readers connect with the psalms in a new way, and I appreciate how Reissig shares vulnerable reflections from her own life and includes a variety of possible applications for her readers. Many of her personal stories relate to motherhood, but she also includes examples and applications for women in different circumstances and life stages. However, I found it disappointing that Reissig only directed this book to women, not to the church at large. The vast majority of this book involves spiritual truths that apply to everyone, and men need the same wisdom and encouragement, even when the illustrations would differ.
Reissig never says that experiencing intense emotions or struggling with difficult feelings is just a women’s issue. After all, she’s reflecting on psalms written by men, and she references Bible stories about both men and women. Still, by calling the reader “sister” and making other gendered references throughout, she limits the book’s broader impact and can unintentionally perpetuate stereotypes about men and women in the church. The author may have valid reasons why she prefers to write to a same-gender audience, but I felt uncomfortable with this being directed solely to women, since the message is so universal.
Teach Me To Feel: Worshiping Through the Psalms in Every Season of Life is an encouraging guide to how viewing our experiences through the lens of Scripture can help us endure through suffering and keep our eyes on God through all of the different things that we feel. The author’s many gendered references mostly limit this book to a female audience, but the book is full of biblical wisdom and encouragement for dealing with a wide variety of feelings and types of experiences.