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Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope out of Ordinary Losses

 
Every day we lose a little bit of something.

Career plans wither. Friendships crumble. Our zeal for Jesus wanes. Whether it’s the demise of ideals and expectations, belief in the church, a previously healthy relationship, or our image of ourselves: we all experiences losses.

So does the God of the resurrection have anything to say to our hurts? Was Christ’s resurrection a once-and-done thing, or is there hope for healing and restoration now?

In Signs of Life, pastor and writer Stephanie Lobdell leads readers into the grand story of God’s saving action and resurrection power. Punctuated with stories of biblical figures such as Sarah, Naaman, Saul, and Anna—who faced ordinary deaths and also God’s reviving power —Signs of Life claims Jesus’ resurrection matters now. In candid and artful prose, Lobdell shares stories of her own depression, loss of confidence, and disillusionment with the church.

Hope isn’t cheap, and you can’t muscle your way through to joy. There’s no sense in pretending everything is fine. Yet through it all, Lobdell claims, God breathes life into what seems beyond redemption. Through it all, the resurrection matters.


 
Reviews
“Stephanie Lobdell writes with the wisdom of a pastor who understands both the beauty and the pain of the wilderness. Vulnerably sharing the wanderings and scars of her own, she opens her own heart and story, and points to the goodness of God’s redeeming and reviving work even in the ashes of life.” (Tara Beth Leach, author of Emboldened and senior pastor of PazNaz)

“What happens when our best-laid plans erode ‘like a beach pummeled by waves’? In Signs of Life, Stephanie Lobdell helps us recognize how pain and weakness can be avenues for God’s grace. With the candor of a close friend, the clarity of a theologian, and the compassion of one who has been battered by rising seas, she is a wise guide, offering hard-earned hope for the weary soul.” (Courtney Ellis, speaker, pastor, and author of Uncluttered and Almost Holy Mama)

“I highly recommend this lovely book by Stephanie Lobdell, in which she takes us deep into the most fundamental truth of Christian faith, the fact that our God is the God of resurrection. She helps us confront the hard realities of daily life and points us to the unchanging goodness of the God who brings life out of death.” (Beth Felker Jones, professor of theology at Wheaton College)

“We all experience loss on a regular basis, but those losses never feel ordinary in the moment. Stephanie Lobdell beautifully weaves Scripture with her story and invites you on her journey of discovery: Is resurrection truly enough for the losses we face? As you turn each page, I know you will resonate with the ‘deaths’ Lobdell brings to the surface. If you want to see new life come from the ashes of the loss in your own life, Stephanie Lobdell will bravely show you the way.” (Stephanie Williams O’Brien, pastor and author of Stay Curious)

“This book is a means of grace. Stephanie Lobdell’s willingness to invite us into her journey as well as her artful writing style make Signs of Life a life-giving testimony to the healing and restoring grace of God. Anyone looking for resurrection hope in the midst of the ordinary losses that are part of life and ministry should sit under this wisdom.” (Jeren Rowell, president of Nazarene Theological Seminary)

“Stephanie Lobdell does an outstanding job of weaving an exquisite narrative that makes us reflect deeply on theological truths. With great transparency, she shares her own experiences, which find a counterpart in the Word of God. For those wrestling with finding hope, this book is a place to see the beauty of resurrection.” (Carla Sunberg, general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene)

“This book, about the way the power of Christ’s resurrection breaks into the mundane and painful events of our lives, is delightfully written yet excruciatingly honest. Stephanie Lobdell masterfully sews together biblical stories and themes with events in her own life to illustrate the way that our ‘walking in newness of life’ bears the marks of the cross. Read this book only if you’d like to go on a theologically informed journey that has you laughing one moment and crying the next!” (Andy Johnson, professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary)

“Occasionally a book comes along that gets your attention quickly. This one did for me. With refreshing candor, scriptural consistency, and theological insight, Stephanie Lobdell offers hope for all of us who struggle with our hopes and aspirations and the reality of life as it comes. You will find this book worthwhile reading—and worthy of reading more than once.” (Jesse C. Middendorf, executive director of the Center for Pastoral Leadership at Nazarene Theological Seminary)

“Stephanie Lobdell has given us a great gift. Signs of Life is an antidote to the lack of vulnerability rampant in the church today. Weaving the biblical narrative into her own story of heartfelt faith in God and struggle with real-world anxiety, shame, and insecurity, Stephanie pulls back the curtain obscuring resurrection light from flooding our valleys of death. Her honest reflection on the pain and setback she has experienced as a pastor is punctuated with redemptive wit and humor as well as keen theological insight. Hope is reborn within these pages.” (Derek Vreeland, discipleship pastor at Word of Life Church and author of By the Way)

“We long for resurrection and hope. Stephanie Lobdell helps us sate that longing as she explores the meaning of resurrection in life now. She writes with grace about her own story and how small deaths that wound us along life’s way can give us hope. The choice for hope, instead of fear, enlivens our imagination to see what is possible. She reminds us that in dying to the false self we are raised to our true self and bring newness to life.” (Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms and author of Love Heals)
 
About the Author
Stephanie Lobdell is a pastor and writer whose work has been published in Christianity Today, Women Leaders, Mutuality, Holiness Today, and Missio Alliance. She graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with degrees in Christian Education and Spanish and holds an M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary. She has served a co-lead pastor with her husband for the past ten years in the Church of the Nazarene. Lobdell now lives in Ohio with her husband, Tommy, and two children, Josephine and Jack, where is the Campus Pastor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She blogs at www.stephanielobdell.com.

Review & Commentary