When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Jill Eileen Smith is a phenomenal writer! She focuses on 12 women of the Bible from the Old Testament with a mix of well-known and lesser-known. I love how she is able to bring these women to life and make them more relatable to us. A seamless blend of fiction and fact. Great use of scripture!
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Jill Eileen Smith is a phenomenal writer! She focuses on 12 women of the Bible from the Old Testament with a mix of well-known and lesser-known. I love how she is able to bring these women to life and make them more relatable to us. A seamless blend of fiction and fact. Great use of scripture and would definitely recommend.
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What a wonderful book in the women from whence we came!!! These 12 women of the Old Testament are the blood and strength that we can draw on to find our own strength. Their hopes, their dreams, their sorrows, their triumphs.....their walk is one that we, today, can learn from and grow from, in our own walks with God. Take your time to study each woman and find your own similarities that you can draw from....don't rush through this book, but take the time to read, study and reflect!!
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If you ever read a book by Jill Eileen Smith, you know that she usually writes fiction. This actually is her first non-fiction and I have to say it is pretty unique.

As with her usual fiction books, this book focuses on the life of Old Testament women. Twelve women are featured in the book, 11 from Genesis and 1 from Exodus. Some are very well known and popular, whereas others are often overlooked or even forgotten.

Each chapter is divided in five sections. What is especially interesting and unique about this book is that it marries biblical fiction and non-fiction. For each women, the author imagines part of their stories in the first person (based on Scriptures obviously) and then explores their lives and reactions further in a devotional way.

I honestly thought this book did a great job at making these OT women come to life and help us relate to their struggle as well as learn from them.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of the book. It did not affect my review.
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For any women who has ever had their dreams not go they way they planned, author Jill Eileen Smith shares twelve stories of twelve different women in the Old Testament who, like us, had their own dreams not go they way they thought they would.

I received an e-copy from netgalley for a review. All opinions are my own.
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You want to know why it has taken me over a week after release date to write this review (and months to post it)?  You want to know why I have a stack of 'read' books waiting to become 'reviewed' books?  And you know how hard that is for me to wait to write a review.  (Emotional reviewer remember!)  You want to know why I'm sitting here bleary eyed and tired at the Old Folks Home writing this review when I would rather be sleeping?  Because this is the intersection of where inspiration and motivation have merged together.  Heaven forbid that happen when I'm in my cozy bed at home!  Well, it might have but I was too busy not paying attention to inspiration or emotion to do the things. . . in this case review.  Because right now Life does not in any way match my dreams. . .mostly.  I'm running ragged at work (which I do love my job), trying to tightrope the balance of electric bills that exceed the rent (thank you extreme cold-naturedness), trying to budget impending vital car repairs, and the cherry on top. . . I am locked out of my Facebook.  I'm sure you are sitting there trying to reconcile that last one with all the rest.  It's about identity.  Someone saw fit to report my name, a name I have been known by for years - over a decade.  A name that has come to represent who I am.  A name I am introduced as to new people by mutual friends, a name that is truly a part of my every day life.  A name that Facebook is making me prove is mine - even though they ask for the name you are called in every day life.  Double standard much?  Much like some women who are highlighted in this book, I feel like my identity is in question, I feel like who I think I am is hanging in the balance, and life is definitely not as I imagined it right now.

Jill has taken 12 Old Testament women, some we know well and other's she has given a name as they are never mentioned, and brought this struggles, their life to relevance in today's world.  I love how she sets up each 'chapter' (I personally see this book as a great benefit in a more devotional setting as well) opening with 'If I Were. . .' taking that woman's story and bringing life and relevance to it.  'In Our World' where Jill takes each woman's story, her life, and weaves it into relevance for today.   'Imagine with Me' where we once again return to Biblical times, what it might have been like, with the insight we've picked up for ourselves.  Each woman has a relevance for today and Jill does an amazing job of addressing these correlations with an emphasis on scripture.  'Ponder This' really ties it together before moving on to 'Taking it Further' which provides questions to truly motivate the reader (and studyer) forward into not only the scripture but into personal understanding and finding relevance in our ancient sisters.

There is literally a story for every woman here.  Infidelity?  Gotcha covered.  Lies and manipulation by friends and/or family?  Yup, got that too.  Trusting God when it seems like he's gone off the deep end?  Yup, have you ever given a thought to poor Noah's wife?!?  Sexual assault?  Nothing too large for God to walk you through.  Sin is as old as time, wait we get to spend time with Eve too!  However, so it's God's love and his mercy.  God sees you when you can't seem to see yourself.  God calls for you when you are buried under insecurities or fear.  For every woman there is a friend.  For every situation there is a for-bearer, it may not be exact as well the world and technology has changed, but human nature has not.  I absolutely adored this book, I found nuggets that I want to go back too and glean again.  I found reassurance as I struggle through my own mismatched expectations and dreams.  I found reassurance that despite my own humanness God is still there.  And he's been there since literally the beginning of time.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
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I didn't really know what to expect with this book so had no preconceptions. That said I've always found fictionalised accounts of Bible characters and stories quiet hard to get to grips with. The author of this book first writes her own version of different female Bible characters and their stories and while I still encountered my problem of not being on the wavelength for fictionalised Bible accounts, the advantage is that you see things from a different perspective and ask questions you'd never thought of before. The author then gives a meditation/reflection and these were enough to get you thinking without being particularly indepth. I can see this appealing to an audience which is perhaps more used to Bible stories and characters 'fleshed out' more by the author's imagination but I'm afraid I still struggled with that wavelength. I was frequently torn between thinking "But the Bible doesn't say that..." and "That's actually an intriguing thought...". In summary, while it didn't have me glued to the pages it's nonetheless a worthwhile exercise in seeing Biblical characters from viewpoints you wouldn't really see before. If you could give half stars I'd give this three and a half...unfortunately you can't so it's a open minded and optimistic three from me! 

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for ARC.
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I enjoyed the fictional depictions of these 12 Old Testament women.  Some of the women are very familiar like Eve and Abraham’s wife Sara, others are not as well known, which I found interesting.  The lives of these women have lessons to be learned for women today, which is why Jill Eileen Smith includes contemporary examples and reflections of her own.  She also includes questions at the end of each chapter for personal use or to facilitate discussions within a group.  Overall, I think that this book has some good starting points for discussion and certainly offers ideas for women today.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are mine.
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Jill Eileen Smith puts her knowledge of the Bible and her gift for weaving engaging stories together in When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams. This the perfect book for study groups, or for your own personal study time.

We’ve all dealt with disappointment, loss, suffering, and pain. But it brings me comfort to know that, within the ‘cloud of witnesses’, I have sisters who’ve traveled similar roads long before I was born.

Smith doesn’t take liberties with the stories we’re familiar with in Scripture. Instead, she takes the bones of the life lived and adds fresh life with her creativity. I saw things I had never considered before now, like...

What did Eve’s sin do to her own life? Her marriage? How did it affect her children, and ultimately affect her?

Noah was commissioned by God to preach and to build a boat. But his wife? She was just along for the ride! Kinda of like a pastor’s wife might be. And why in the world did Lot’s wife look behind her?

Jill Eileen Smith gives us carefully crafted examples from the lives of 12 women, women who lived, moved, and had their lives defined by God. We’ve got a lot to learn about our Biblical sister’s, and ourselves, and Smith’s newest book is the perfect companion for this journey we call life.
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I have read quite a few Biblical fiction books by Jill Eileen Smith, and have always been engrossed from the beginning to the end. So, I was excited to read her attempt at non-fiction, "When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams". Each chapter began with a fictional account of events in the life of a woman from the Bible, followed by the author's thoughts/a devotional. The chapters each ended with discussion questions to consider. There were 12 chapters, and the chapter outlined the lives of Eve, Noah's wife, Sarai, Hagar, Lot's wife, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Dinah, Potiphar's wife, Tamar, and Zipporah. I liked how the author chose to reflect on some women from the Bible that we do not know as much about. I really enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it.
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I have read several of this authors biblical fiction books about wives in the Bible. I enjoyed them and found I had a hard time putting them down. Most I read in one sitting. This new book When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams is similar to her prior works but it contains so much more. I had this on my TBR list for awhile, and yet things happened that I was unable to get to it. I love it when God gives you just what you need, when you need it. That is what happened with Jill's novel. We learn so much from some of the most well know females mentioned in the Bible. Yet there are others we have heard very little about but have great life lessons as well. I enjoy Jill's wonderful since of wonder and creation. She has a way of making a location or setting come to life. I found that to be true throughout this book. Each character has her own little novella. From there, Jill takes us back to modern day to relate those object lessons to things in our own life. This is where I learned so much and God spoke to me about some things in my life. I found myself highlighting several pages in each chapter.

One of the first and very important things that I was reminded of comes form this quote of Jill's.
“Fear simply makes us cling too tightly to what isn't ours in the first place. Everything we have comes as a gift from our loving God. We get to enjoy these things for a time, but they do not belong to us. I needed to let go.” One more great thought and I will stop because I could go on and on.
“We have a loving Shepherd who wants to rescue us. He gives us the picture of the Father who waits for the prodigal to return or the shepherd who searched the sills and fields for the pit where his lamb has fallen (emphases mine.)  He is the one who isn't satisfied with ninety—nine sheep. I would recommend this book to every women to read. I received a copy  from Revell Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions in this review are my own.
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I think this book will appeal to the author's fans, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. Recently, I have read very enjoyable Bible fiction and was hoping this book was similar. Normally, I enjoy reading books by authors with different worldviews and beliefs, baring their hearts and souls to the readers and I respect the author's courage. I just started reading this book expecting something different and less personal, I suppose. 

I received "When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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Words to savor. Jill Eileen Smith knows her Bible and shares digestible truths from her heart and the lives of women before us. Life is messy and broken, yet there are beautiful, redeemable moments as well if we open our hearts and hands to receive them from our Father. Looking at women throughout the Bible, we are reminded how to press into these moments to receive the fullest blessings of grace, mercy and forgiveness. I love the snippets of stories that remind me that these were real women who walked through the valleys of hardships and their truths span all generations. Our world and culture may look different, but the heart of a woman still beats with hopes and dreams. We could all use the reminder to keep our focus and trust in Him when life doesn't match those hopes and dreams. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This book was really well written and informative. I really learned a lot about these women’s struggles, and the fact that nothing I am facing is new or out of God’s reach. Through the eyes of these women, and Smith’s ever insightful and knowledgeable testimony, I feel like I am better able to endure, overcome, and live the life God has planned for me.

I have read about these women in the Bible, and yet I never sat down and just thought about what they must have went through beyond what is written on the pages. Their stories are so much deeper, and thanks to Jill Eileen Smith’s research and tenacity, we can better understand their lives.

Recommendation: I recommend this book to any woman, especially if you are in a dark or tough time in your life. You are not alone, and this book will help you see that.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of the book mentioned above in the hope that I would review it on my blog. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
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This book tells the story of 12 women from the Bible. The author has written their stories, complete with thoughts and feelings that we can relate to, that are part of human nature. After telling their story, she goes into detail about why they likely felt the way she had portrayed them and shows that the problems we have today are the same as they were thousands of years ago. I loved how she brought the women to life, explaining their thoughts and feelings. In some cases, it made me realize that those women likely weren’t the “evil” people I had believed them to be. If we were put in their situation, would we react differently? In many cases, probably not.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Jilll Eileen Smith is one of my favorite Christian authors. I was happy that she written a nonfiction work on the women of the Bible. This book tells the story of these women from Bible like Eve, Sarai, and Rachel. She fictionalizes their story then gives us a commentary about how the racer can learrn from them. She tells us that God has put tears for them to pass and that there is a purpose. I recommend this for those who are looking for meaning in their life.
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I must confess that I was expecting more from this book. The fiction part is short and not very meaningful, the devotional part is too plain and nothing new or interesting. I love the authors novels, but this book was just not what I expected
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I liked how in this book, Jill Eileen Smith, who generally writes Biblical fiction incorporates that into this book. At the beginning of every chapter, Smith includes a story from the perspective of the biblical woman the chapter is about and how she may have responded to the situation she found herself in. Smith then goes on to talk about what we can learn from each woman as they each found themselves in a situation where their life didn't turn out how they probably thought it would. I found Smith's imaginings of what may have been going through the woman's mind to be thought-provoking and brought a different light to the woman in the Bible and that they weren't perfect either.
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Jill Eileen Smith is usually associated with writing wonderful Christian fiction and now I can say that she also writes wonderful non-fiction. When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams is a book about twelve real women who didn't have their dreams come true. These twelve Old Testament women were probably like many of us who once thought that our lives would be one way and then watched them as they became entirely different. It is through the stories of these Biblical women that we can recognize that our troubles can defeat us or they can make us stronger; we can continue to struggle by ourselves or we can turn it over to God and let him fight for us! 

Many of the women's names are familiar: Eve, Sarai (Sarah), Hagar, Rebekah, Rachel, Dinah and Leah. And then there is Noah's wife. Her name is never mentioned in Genesis 7 but Smith has given her the name of Adah for the purpose of this book. Others mentioned are Melah (Lot's wife), Aneksi, Tamar, and Zipporah. They all faced different problems but they all persevered.

This book has twelve chapters that offer a biblical account titled If I Were.... and there are also sections titled In Our World, Imagine with Me, Ponder this, and Taking it Further. These sections allow us to consider how we might have handled the same situations and they also offer understanding and encouragement. 

It is apparent that Jill Eileen Smith devoted many hours to studying Bible scripture and her efforts have helped me gain new knowledge of these women. When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams is very well-written and I  
think that this book would be a valuable resource for organized Bible Study classes. It truly does give "Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible".

I received a complimentary copy of this book but I voluntarily chose to write this review.
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PUB DATE 19 FEB 2019



I am reviewing a copy of When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams through Revell and Netgalley:


There is no denying that life is full of twists and turns.  Ups and downs.  Relationships don’t always work out, careers end.  There are times we may be faced with choices we never want to make and we may have situations we don’t understand thrust on us.  The fact is through it all God is on our side, even if in the moment he feels far away.


Novelist Jill Eileen Smith uses her extensive research on the women of the Old Testament she turns her pain to draw from women like  Eve, Noah’s Wife, Hagar and more.



In this this book readers will learn what these women did right and even what they did wrong when it comes to crushed dreams and dashed expectations. The readers will  come away with the confidence that ours is a faithful God who loves us and is forming us through our trials into the women he longs for us to be.



If you’re looking for a great book on women of the Old Testament  When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams fits that bill perfectly.



I give When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams five out of five stars!



Happy Reading!
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