Book Review, Book Tour, Life

Blog Tour – The Struggle Is Real


About the Book


Title: The Struggle is Real

Author: Nicole Unice

Genre: Non-fiction, Christian life, spiritual Growth

Release date: August 21, 2018

“It just shouldn’t be this hard!”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a day where everything that could go wrong does go wrong—you lock your keys in the car while it’s running, lose control with your kids, make a mistake at the office that results in hours more work. And just when you think not one more thing could possibly happen . . . well, fill in the blank.

The struggle is real, friends. It may not be major stuff. Lives are not on the line here. But it makes us feel awful . . . and then we feel guilty for stressing when other people have “real” problems that are so much more serious.

Yet the fact remains: We live in a world that often feels harder than we think it should be. And so it can be easy to believe the stories we tell ourselves—that we’re doing it wrong, that we’ll be stuck in this place forever, that God doesn’t love us. We struggle to practice gratitude, to make godly choices, and to live our daily lives with confidence and contentment. So what can we do?

Join popular Bible teacher and counselor Nicole Unice to discover why the struggle is real . . . and what to do about it. Nicole offers practical tools to help you navigate the daily ups and downs, and ways to rewrite your struggle into a new, God-centered life story. The Struggle Is Real is an invitation to take the hard, hurtful, and confusing moments and turn them into opportunities to grow in wisdom, strength, and joy.


Click here to purchase your copy!


About the Author


Nicole Unice is a Bible teacher, author, and passionate communicator who delights in bringing God’s Word to life in a personal and relevant way. Her training as a counselor informs her work, as she emphasizes the importance of facing our own reality and embracing the transforming power of God’s grace.

Her heart belongs to Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as ministry director, leading discipleship and Praxis, a full-time ministry residency program for young leaders. In addition, Nicole co-hosts Hope Cast, a podcast on spiritual formation, leadership, and relationships.

Nicole’s invitations to speak have taken her across the world, and her books come to life through her popular video curriculum series found on RightNow Media. Her first book, She’s Got Issues, released in May 2012 and speaks to a fundamental question of faith: Is being a Christian supposed to change me? Also available is a companion curriculum, She’s Got Issues DVD Group Experience, a six-session journey that includes interviews, questions, and teaching expanding on the book. Her subsequent titles—Brave Enough and The Struggle Is Real—help people distill the complicated stuff of life into a simple and clear path to Jesus.

Nicole holds degrees from the College of William and Mary and from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She loves creating a space for ministry and spiritual formation in the everyday rhythms of life with three children, two pups, one husband, and a whole community of twentysomethings who regularly raid her fridge.

Nicole is known for making friends in all corners of the world, especially via social media. Connect with her on Instagram, YouTube, or at—and hopefully face-to-face at one of her upcoming events.


Guest Post from Nicole Unice

There’s a question we throw around that I bet means a whole lot more than we would expect. How many times a week—or a day!–are you asked:

How are you?”

I don’t know about you, but the answer I hear and give the most is something like …. ”fine”, or —“busy but good!”? It’s kind of the socially acceptable answer, right?

A friend asked me this question just this week as I walked into work. I was multitasking as usual while knee deep into a cell phone conversation about yet another problem. I didn’t answer her, because if I did—if I really stopped and answered—I might have started crying, right there on the spot. My lips formed the word “fine” when in reality, I was anything but—at least not in that moment. And life doesn’t always stop long enough to give a real answer….

But isn’t “fine” the socially accepted answer because it works….or does it?

The reality is, we are all struggling, to different degrees and complexity levels, each and every day. The Struggle IS Real, and when you add up both the little and big daily struggles, it’s easy to understand why this hashtag social media rockstar exists—over 3 million deep at #thestruggleisreal.

But if we dig a little deeper into this common complaint, we might discover a much more sinister root—and real help toward freedom and wisdom in Christ.

In my newest book, The Struggle is Real, that’s what I’ve done. I address issues like:


  • Life is much harder than I thought it would be, and I feel bad saying it.
  • There are some things about myself that I can’t change…it’s just how I am, and it frustrates me.
  • I really don’t know if God is interested in my life, and even if He is, I don’t know how to hear from Him.


(and if you are wondering how real your struggle is, I’ve included a Good Life Inventory on p. 14!)

I wrote this book because I know how real the struggle truly is—and I want us to discover the true source of the answer to these age-old problems. My hope is to take my readers through a journey into this gap between our “just fine” lives and the truly good lives we are seeking and are hungry for. To offer hope that we can live the best life we can, this side of heaven.

Yep, the struggle is definitely real. But the struggle can also start the story. It can motivate us to rewrite our lives into a new story. The struggles can lead us to a new source of hope and freedom, and somehow, even the worst of life can become a place of strength and growth. The struggle is real. And the struggle can be good.


My Thoughts

Deep sigh. This is one of those reviews where I’m not quite sure where to start and where to stop. Mostly because, as I read this book, I feel as though the author must have been speaking directly to me! She gets where I’m coming from, where I’m at (totally a God thing!).

With the type of childhood that I had, I think it was ingrained in me that I shouldn’t ever admit when things are hard. You hide your feelings. You try to cover up the bad things in life that you’re facing, and you put on a good front. You at least make an attempt at making it look like you have your act together, and life is all good. Which means I’m not allowed to be real, or to admit that life is hard, and  I’m struggling!

Today I was reading a chapter titled “Reality”. Um…WOW…talk about stomping on my toes really hard. Yeah, this did it!

I’d really like to share a bit right from this chapter, because I think it is written in such a powerful, truth-speaking way.

“The word suffering has this torturous quality to it. We often think it should be reserved for the worst of circumstances–for painful, incurable diseases; for tragic and evil death, for famine and war. Surely we wouldn’t refer to the everyday struggles in our stories that way. But I think we lose when we don’t acknowledge the simple reality that we suffer. Sometimes what was an annoying struggle becomes a painful, long season of disappointment. Perhaps the easiest way to define suffering is a struggle of any kind that isn’t resolved and doesn’t go away–at least not in your way or on your timetable. Your suffering will probably not look like famine or war. Maybe it’ll look more like an aching loneliness or an unspoken longing. Maybe it will look like a thorny relationship that keeps getting sharper. Your suffering might look like a season of gray, a deep fog that settles over your soul. It might look like a long season of disappointment–where the present is boring and the future is bleak. It might look like the stony face of your teenager, that same face you once cupped in your hands but whose generous, loving spirit seems to have vacated his body. Using the word suffering for our lives isn’t giving ourselves an excuse, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Instead, naming our reality for what it is, whether struggle or suffering, is the beginning of seeing the whole of our spiritual story.”

Okay folks. I admit it. I am in a season of suffering. Somedays it feels much more intense than others. Somedays I hardly think of it at all. I think it is hard to admit, because it does make it feel a whole lot more real. It is easier to tell myself, “Oh, what I am going through is really nothing! Come on! Get over it! Other people have real struggles and suffering, stop being ridiculous!!” Which means I am not allowing myself to really process my true thoughts and feelings.

The author goes on to point out that we are told in the Bible that we WILL have struggles and suffering. And this is how God forms us into the person He wants us to become. (But why does it actually have to hurt?! 😦 )

“God says that although the struggle may be hard, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Suffering can be hard and good. Struggles can be painful and fruitful. Life is lived in the gray space between the two.”

“In the mystery of God’s wisdom, He uses struggles and sometimes suffering to clarify exactly who we are and who He created us to be. Through our suffering, He also demonstrates that He is exactly who He claims to be throughout Scripture.”

And, one more short quote…one that really hit me between the eyes…

“The struggle can never be real if we don’t get real about the struggle.”

Maybe you begin to see why I think this book is a hard one. Yet it is so very relevant. I think it is probably relevant to all of us.

How can I let God work in my heart, through my struggles? Let Him use them to help me become who He wants me to be. I think it means embracing them head on, with His help. And WOW–does that ever seem hard.

I know one of my struggles is seeing God for who He really is, and then along with that, seeing myself as He sees me. I think, once I can begin to grasp those realities just a tiny bit more (I mean, how can we as humans ever really comprehend who God is?! He’s way beyond our comprehension or imagination!) I can truly start to live as He wants.

What is so very comforting is that where God is at in my life has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings. Even though I can’t feel Him, He’s with me each step of the way. He’s there in the midst of painful relationships. And even when I feel alone, He is there and He understands. He never leaves me. He wants me to desperately cry out to Him. And realize that He is my only strength.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or shoot me an email ( Tell me I’m not alone in these struggles! Pray for me, and I’d love to pray for you!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 25

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 25

Bibliophile Reviews, August 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 29

Girls in White Dresses, August 29

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, August 29

Carpe Diem, August 30

Multifarious, August 31

Janices book reviews, September 1

Inklings and Notions, September 2

Book by Book, September 3

Mary Hake, September 3

proud to be an autism mom, September 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Margaret Kazmierczak, September 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 6

Godly Book Reviews, September 7

Bigreadersite, September 7



To celebrate her tour, Nicole is giving away a grand prize of a “The Struggle is Real” T-Shirt!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click below to enter.

4 thoughts on “Blog Tour – The Struggle Is Real”

  1. I stopped by your blog on this tour because I love your blog title! Okay — I am praying for you in your struggle. I, too, felt this book was speaking to me. And that passage you quoted was great. Sometimes I discount my own struggles (even to myself) because they don’t feel big enough to “count” when compared to a life-threatening illness, etc. Excellent review.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! I appreciate you praying for me, and will pray for you as well. I understand what you are saying, about personal struggles not seeming big enough to “count” in comparison to things others are going through. I don’t think we need to make more of something than what it is, and yet, we do need to recognize it! 🙂 Have a good week!

  2. Rosalyn, I deeply appreciate your review and words here! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and post. Also, I LOVE all-of-a-kind family :). We are kindred spirits!

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