When God launches your book 5 days early? #Wow #HeHoldsTime

At the beginning of Dragons and Dirt I say how this book, it’s my worship. My act of obedience. My gift to God.

And I prayed from the outset that he would unwrap the gift as and when and how he chooses. I’ve trusted that, by handing him the gift, he would manage for me – hold the tension ofthe strange discomfort of building my platform and resting in his sovereignty.

I’ve asked him to re-gift as he sees fit. To make ways to get it into the hands of the readers he chooses. The One who holds time and the universe and all the glory doesn’t need me or my stakes in this small corner of the internet. (I mean, he once used twelve guys without Twitter to rewrite history?)

So here’s the thing. I had my agenda, and God had his. Guess who won?

He got Amazon quick off the mark and the book went live five days sooner than (I) planned. And, well, social media started doing what social media does, and it’s out there: Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires.

Can I just be totally honest and say that, launching this book, I feel terrified, humbled, overwhelmed and ecstatic – like, simultaneously. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so vulnerable, or so dauntlessly compelled to step out in faith. So this is me about to jump out of the plane, trusting the One who packed my chute.

Thank you. For being my people. Gosh. I’m so very grateful. And looking forward to (*official*) launch night here in Pretoria on Thursday 27th November – Thanksgiving, yes, under African summer skies – and celebrating with so many of those who have journeyed closely with me this year.

Dragons and Dirt FINAL COVER

You’ll be able to get copies of the book:

  • On Amazon (hard copy $9.03 and Kindle edition $4.12). Writing a REVIEW on AMAZON would seriously be an amazing way for you to pay it forward!
  • On Kalahari later this week, God willing (hard copy R180 including courier delivery in South Africa)
  • Right here on dalenereyburn.com (head over here)

It would be incredible if you could share this in whatever circles of influence God has placed you? Half the proceeds of every book sale will go towards Botshabelo’s Preschool Teacher Training Programme in Olievenhoutbosch and other under-resourced communities in Gauteng. Because really, we can change the world.

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Here are some of the reviews already flowing down the mighty Amazon. I’m stunned. Amazed. Humbled. Deeply grateful. In awe of my Redeemer, who lives. (And – for fun – click here for the audio version of the Prologue: Time, Potential and Changing the World. Recorded inside Murray’s cupboard. Sitting on his shoes. While Maria vacuumed the lounge. Because Nkosi Johnson said it well: ‘Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are.’)

‘Many Christian books are laced with Christianese; just enough cliché to resonate with the masses, and just enough to turn the cynics away. Dalene Reyburn’s “Dragons and Dirt” is different: Laced with authentic and raw introspection, Dalene challenges her readers to take stock of their lives and prepare to change the world. The “dragons” are the external pressures that keep us from being all we could be and the “dirt” is the muck of our lives.

Even Dalene’s prose is poetic. Beautiful images pervade this bag of truth-nuggets. She writes for the reader: “Dragons and Dirt” is accessible and difficult to put down. I will certainly be reading it again soon with highlighter in hand.

Prepare for your mediocrity to be challenged! Become a world changer…’

‘Dalene Reyburn’s writing captures the heart and mind of the reader and soothes the soul in what can be a frenetic world. Dragons and Dirt is for anyone wanting to discover beauty within the everyday and vision for a preferred future.

‘As a father of young children, I was inspired by Dragons and Dirt. Dalene Reyburn successfully draws you out of the mundane and demonstrates what it means to pursue living a radical and passionate life. This book is a gem worth discovering!

‘If you are seeking a recipe book for how to be the perfect mom then Dragons and Dirt will only disappoint. Dragons and Dirt is a beautiful read for parents like you, not pastel perfect moms who like to pretend they’ve got it all together. It’s about realising peace and grace where God has placed you. It’s about building godly kids despite yourself. Dragon’s and Dirt doesn’t leave you feeling that you need to attain impossible perfection but encourages you to keep perspective on the gritty stuff that really matters. Basically it’s about faith, grace and cleaning up vomit. It’s about real Christianity, not the consumer kind. Buy your wife a copy and secretly read it yourself.

‘I started reading “Dragons and Dirt” with the idea of using the information to help other people sort out their lives. I counsel and can use books such as “Dragons and Dirt” to enable people to help themselves. It surprised me to discover some of my own “dragons” lurking around in secret.

This book is not only for Christian women. This book is not even only for women. Men should read it, teen-agers should read it. Pastors should read it and recommend it to their congregation. Why? Because “Dragons and Dirt” is filled with honest, experienced answers to life’s challenges. Real situations, real answers. You will think differently (better) about life.

Reading “Dragons and Dirt” will bring you to tears, it will bring you to laughter as you see yourself in its pages. But, it will, more than any other benefit that you may derive from it, bring you to a fuller understanding of the God of the Bible and His personal and intimate involvement in your life, if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, you will want to be, after reading “Dragons and Dirt.

This is the best practical Christian book I have read this year. (And I loved the pencil illustrations)’

‘In her opening words to her readers, Dalene says that this book is her gift to God, and that it is. She also shares that gift with us as she invites the reader to journey with her. Dalene points out some of the life discoveries she has made, and it becomes evident why this book is her act of worship. Her offering to God comes from a heart of acceptance and gratitude. We usually learn about life as we live it—sometimes from our mistakes, sometimes from our successes. Yet there are times when we get stuck and need someone like Dalene to show us how to overcome our seemingly insurmountable obstacles; to lift us up when we sit wearily on the side of the road and lack the courage to continue. If life were easy, this book would not have been written.

‘The title of this book really sums it up. Dragons and dirt. My dragons and my dirt. I started off reading this book but soon realized it was digging deep into my soul. Like putting a new white shirt next to an old one. Impossible to miss the difference.

Dalene writes from her heart and before you know, your heart is exposed as well. I loved the mix between biblical truth, personal experience and wisdom. I loved the writing style – it felt like an extended coffee date with a dear friend.

I will recommend this book to any reader who wants to be challenged in their thinking and is prepared to face their own dragons.

‘Dalene’s book is full of practical down-to-earth wisdom and encouragement. It’s a book that is easy to read and keeps you turning pages. This book should be next to your bed to be read over and over to keep you inspired, offering guidance and practical life lessons. A most inspiring read!

The challenges of ‘Dragons and Dirt’ are presented in Dalene’s characteristic easy-to-read style, full of Reyburn humour and couched in the most amazing language. Dalene’s literary prowess makes this book an absolute joy to read.

‘Practical Biblical wisdom gleaned along life’s way. Shared with humility. God-focussed. Dalene writes in a down-to-earth and considered way that inspires and encourages no matter what road you find yourself on.

‘Firstly, just buy and read this book already.

It is rare to find a book today as real and rough and honest and truly transformative as ‘Dragons and Dirt.’ My deep desire is that it will be discovered by the tens of thousands of people across the world who will benefit from letting its words pour right through them and give them the hope, strength and tools to not just face another day, but to thrive and dominate it in kingdom ways.

I am a huge fan of Dalene’s writing and so when she offered me the gift of reading her book for free before it even came out, I jumped at the chance. Her words seldom fail to inspire, encourage and fill with hope. ‘Dragons and Dirt’ is no different.

This book is a collection of words backed up by honest life experience and authenticity. Dalene writes with such poetic finesse and personal engagement, that quite often I suddenly realised this is my story she is speaking about. She understands what I am going through.

Alongside the hope that changing this world is possible, there are dragons. And there is dirt. As the description in the foreword warns, ‘It is not a safe book. And it shouldn’t be. Because if we expect to make a difference in this broken world of ours, we should expect opposition.’

While I [as a forty year old married male with no children] think absolutely everyone will benefit from reading this book, I imagine that it will particularly resonate with women and especially moms. In the most powerful of ways. If I, as a cry-once-every-ten-years rock, was moved to the edge of tears on a number of occasions, I can only imagine that moms of young children will need boxes of tissues handy.

In the first part of the book, Dalene explores a number of Dragons which hiss, bellow and send fire our way. Negative dragons like criticism, misconception and rejection. But also some which are positive things such as pleasure, possessions and prestige. These chapters are so powerful as she invites you into some areas of her pain through stories which capture the heart and exposed nerve endings of each dragon, but also share how she has been able to conquer each one, at least in part. Methinks these dragons will continue to appear, but Dalene has given us some helpful tools to face these and others we might face in our own lives.

Dalene shares stories and thoughts that invite us to draw close, but then she repeatedly leaves us with a call to embrace the necessary change. Like in this example on Forgiveness:

‘And because finding the courage to forgive can change the world. Forgiveness is our most powerful secret weapon for living full and free. Do you dare?’

It is hard to pick a ‘best bit’ to but the section on marriage I found particularly helpful and will need to read again with my wife. Especially this part:

‘Life is hard because of dragons and dirt. Maybe that’s why marriage is hard. Because when two become one? You’ve got to beat off your own dragons and another’s. You’ve got two people’s dirt under one roof. But this collision of lives is also what makes marriage such a brilliant idea. Because you’ve got someone to help you face the dragons. Someone to shine a light on your heart and offer goodness and grace of their own.’’

‘This is the book I have been waiting for – a book that transcends age and I am reviewing it as a woman but I am certain it will resonate equally with men, who are journeying as we are, through the highs and lows of life.

It is BETTER than I ever dreamed it would be. Her writing is current and very accessible but it is never shallow or clichéd as I experience so much present day Christian writing to be. In my view this book doesn’t presume to give the answers, rather to walk us through some of the ways that she has experienced God with her in the highs and lows of what we all can identify with as life.

Dalene pours herself onto every page – her voice is so clear that you feel as though you know her well after just chapter 2. I had to check myself at times as it felt like I had written bits of this except it was written far better than I could have done!

I wept through chapter 2, cringed through the chapter on cockroaches and perhaps it is her realness that strikes me most about this book. There is no pretence at being a saint, despite the clear message that she clings to Jesus always. It is never preachy or sickly sweet.’

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Illustration credit: Christelle de Vries. Her exquisite artwork opens every chapter of Dragons and Dirt.

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