Growing Forward: Book Review

I am excited to share my review of Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back by Laurie Pawlik.

Pulled from her web site, “My purpose is to help women let go of past losses and pain, and blossom into who God created them to be. I write books and articles that are filled with Christian inspiration and practical tips. I help people move through grief in practical, sustainable ways.”

I received this book for free to review and this post may contain affiliate links.

Laurie begins her book with:

“When a season of your life ends—whether by divorce, disease, or death—you know you’ll never be the same. Everything is different! Your life has been uprooted, you’ve lost a huge piece of your heart, and you’re left to pick up the pieces. You have to move forward but you just can’t find the strength. You hope God has a plan for your life, and you’re praying for a new beginning . . . but how do you actually start over?

In this book, you’ll find encouraging and effective ways to walk through an unexpected season of life. Our stories of contemporary and biblical women healing and flourishing after setbacks and devastating losses will renew your hope and faith.”

The book is nicely organized in the following manner. “Every chapter begins with a peek into a difficult loss I or one of my readers have faced. Next, a biblical woman offers a unique, refreshing glimpse into her story, followed by a Blossom Tip for you to explore and weave into your own life.” Each chapter concludes with: Questions for Journaling and Discussion.

Let me share eight little nuggets that caught my attention.

Your Identity

“I began to realize I was basing my identity—and my future—on my sister’s approval and love.”

What do you base your identity on? I think too often we let our families, friends, employers, communities and culture tell us who we are and how we need to act. This is not who we are. We are each unique individuals and loved by God. God wants us to feel free to be our true self: the person Gods wants us to be.


“In fact, most of my biggest regrets are the impulsive decisions that I didn’t take to God first!”

I agree! As much as possible, I try to take both small and large decisions to God. God is my daily partner in life. We both need each other. I often consult God for wisdom, patience and understanding. I am the eyes, ears, hands and feet of God. God needs my action in the world.


“Today, retreats can give us a chance to reconnect with God, deepen our relationships with others, and even change the direction of our lives.”

I encourage you to take a weekend or even a one day retreat. I have done both and I always walk away enriched by the experience. I have created new relationships with people I previously did not know and I deepen my relationship with God.

Loss and Death

“Loss and death often contain the seeds of new beginnings.”

Loss can be the death of a loved one or friend. Our loved one does not want us to stop our lives. He or she will want us to move forward. Loss can also mean the loss of a job. As difficult as it can be, it might be the door to a new and wonderful opportunity.


“It was a fifteen-minute writing exercise that invited us to picture ourselves the way God sees us, and write ourselves a letter from His perspective.”

I once had a spiritual director recommend this to me. In my journal she had be place my name and then write my thoughts to God. Next she had me write God and have God respond to what I had just written. It was a powerful exercise. God always seemed to write from a loving and compassionate posture.

Comfort Zone

“You can’t grow without taking risks, much less blossom into who God wants you to be.”

If you want to grow you must get out of your comfort zone. Clarity comes with action. Each day we need to try something that scares us a little bit. My barometer is that if it excites me and will not harm me or others that I should probably do it.


“Silence and solitude are wonderful places to hear His voice, but they’re not always available. Practice meeting God in the clamor, noise, and distractions of daily life.”

“But now those distractions remind me that God isn’t just found in stillness. He’s alive and waiting for us in life’s daily noise, distractions, and chaos.”

I practice a form of silent prayer called centering prayer. Centering prayer prepares me for my non silent times. Centering prayer is great practice for living my daily life.


“There’s no use worrying about the past, present, or future. Fretting wastes your time and energy. Walk through your worries once with Jesus, if you must. Then leave them with Him.”

During centering prayer I let go of all thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. This includes my worries. I leave them with God. I then get up from my sit and resume my day. My worries will not help me to accomplish my daily tasks.

I encourage you to check out this wonderful book.


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Drawing from the wisdom of monastic life, modern psychology and best practices in personal productivity, the Monk Manual provides a daily system that will help you find clarity, purpose, wisdom, and peace in the moments that make up your life.

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