Hey Pals! Two blog posts in one week. Hollah!
It’s been an intense last four months for us and while I’m not able to share the intricacies of that on here (to tell a story without telling someone else’s story is a dance I’m not quite ready to take on just now) – I will say we’ve added a new kid to our clan and leave it there. For now.
Part of my journey of coming up for air in the past two months has included placing a serious focus on certain aspects of life that I love but have gotten lost. When life comes at you full force, I’m sure you can agree, there are things that just get set aside. But we can only maintain the crashing waves for so long before we gulp up for air.
I’ve found those gulps of air in books. For all of my life books have been my place of rest, of entertainment, and of relaxation. Books have been the place I learn the most – be it biographies, novels, theological truths – it doesn’t matter the genre, there is learning happening.
But then came the internet and everyone seemed to be an expert on something and it became much quicker to just google whatever and find a 200 word explanation and not have to pour hours and hours into books.
Sadly, my attention span has shortened in the last 8 or so years. 800 word blogs became perfect reading, 1,500 words annoying, and an entire book – sooooooo long.
The second I noticed it happening I knew I wanted a change. It’s not how I want to live, in a fast paced, instant gratification way – but I was slipping there without even realizing it.
I resolved to get back to books at just the right time because over the past few months of needing a place of quiet and solace, books have been the hero of the story.
So what have I read in the past few months? I’m glad you asked.
I admit my book choices started from desperation as you’ll see from their titles. But slowly, they’re becoming more varied. I’m a work in progress people.
When I read the title of Jennie Allen’s new book, “Nothing To Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard” I bought it instantly. Her words are life giving to a striving and weary soul. “To the degree that I am able to receive the unconditional love of a God who has adopted me into His family will be the degree that I can reflect that love to Cooper.” (her adopted son) were words this mama needed to hear. “We do not change the world with might and power and creative strategies. We watch God change the world when we pray and abide and believe.” For a girl who was trying to be all things to all members of her newly formed family, this was an intoxicating drink that taught me to truly trust that our God has us, and our kids – running ourselves ragged isn’t the answer and giving up control to our Heavenly Father just might be a better option.
“Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey off the Beaten Path” by Erin Loechner was the next title I gravitated to. Are you picking up a theme? This book was by no means revolutionary. It was an easy read about a life journey and probably the simple that I needed. But truly, chasing slow in life doesn’t feel like it’s off the beaten path anymore. It seems more like the current trend. As a life long slow chaser as well as minimalist, I heard her heart but also appreciated her take on being a minimalist in a household full of humans who value collections and stuff. One is not better than the other (except my way totally is. ha!) and somehow in families we need to figure this out. I want nothing in my house except what I love. Turns out my husband and kids have the same goal except with what they love. And some of us just love more things than others. I’m still working all of this out in my head.
After learning that I had nothing to prove and getting back to the life of slow that I long for, there was another book that was calling my name. Ann Voskamp’s, “The Broken Way”. Because if I’m anything, it’s broken, this I know full well. I prefer Ann’s talks to her books. Her books are flowery and use too many words for my minimal mind but given the season, I thought flowery and lots of words and slow journeys and learning more of living and breathing Jesus in our very messes was something I could use. As always, her points are strong and much needed in this culture of instagram perfection. “We aren’t merely called to get to know Christ; we are called to participate in complete union with Christ.” As if these aren’t the words we all need to hear on repeat.
And in case you think I only read churchy Jesus books – you’re wrong. But I sure do sometimes. When my soul needs truth and rest, they usually offer that. (except the ones that rile me up, but that’s a different post for a different time)
A woman I’d just met sat across from me at a table while I blubbered through tears about life and how I felt like I was drowning. It wasn’t my finest moment, to say the least, but if anyone could understand – this beauty of a woman could. She spoke life to my soul over the next hour and I marvelled at how some people are given so much wisdom and I thanked both her and the Lord that she was using it to pour into others. What a gift. She also recommended a book that isn’t a churchy book called “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This book – wowie. Of course, part of it sucked me in because of where we’re at in life, but the other part became drawn to the misfit characters and their deep stories. I wish these people were my friends. I wish I could sit across a table from them and learn from their life – if only they weren’t fictional!
Two months. Four books. I’d like to say I’m back on track but it’s only been two months. We’re still in the honeymoon phase. I’ll keep you posted after two more.
In the meantime, what are you reading that I should check out?