Who Should Read Fiercehearted by Holley Gerth?
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Do I really want to read a book called Fiercehearted? I wonder what she means by fiercehearted? Hmmm. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to be fiercehearted – if it’s what I think it is. The overactive brain strikes again.
And don’t forget, Lord, I already read Anything not too long ago. Surely I’ve hit my comfort-zone-stretching quota for the year, right?
But Holley Gerth (or H.E. as I now like to call her – you’ll get that after you read the book) is one of my favorite writers, so when I heard she wrote a new book, I jumped to attention. I applied to be on her launch team as fast as I could.
Yay – I’m in! So, I want to disclose to you up front that this book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. And a sincere honest review you will get …
I just finished the book in record time. And I will be reading it over and over throughout my life.
My initial thoughts … Do not pass go. Run straightaway to order Fiercehearted!
Every woman needs their own copy of this book.
I’m not exaggerating.
In the introduction, Holley gives a nice overview: “I wrote about fear and brokenness. I talked about savoring life like the strange, sugary center of white honey-suckle. Fighting the doubts that sometimes wore black ski masks when they rattled my doorknobs late at night. How kindness takes courage. I told the truth about some things I’d rather keep hidden under couch cushions with the dirty pennies and I admitted to both struggles and victories. … When I stepped into this book, I crossed the line. I found myself in a new place of living more fully, loving more bravely, and showing up as I really am in ways I hadn’t quite dared before. This, I discovered, is the vast and wild and beautiful territory of the fiercehearted.”
Don’t you just swoon over her descriptive writing?
And she’s really funny too – there were times I couldn’t stop giggling!
For example, when she was sharing about rewarding herself with a sweet and spicy mango habanero taco after doing a brave, hard thing, she writes …
“Some folks might say we shouldn’t need or want reinforcement for such deeds. We should be inherently and internally motivated. We ought to have a spiritual and supernatural desire that supersedes all this sort of silliness. To them I say, ‘If you’re not going to eat that salsa, can I have it?’ I believe God gave us good gifts – including treats – and as long as we’re not abusing them, then we’re to have at it with joy and gratitude and extra napkins.”
I like her! (and a Snickers after getting my teeth cleaned)
This book is a memoir of sorts, but not in the traditional chronological way. She bounces around the ages of her life in short achievable chapters, but each chapter gets better than the last.
My favorite quote (of many!) came near the end of the book in a letter she wrote to her “younger me” …
“Of all the folks who will come in and out of your life, you only get to keep two for the whole ride: yourself and Jesus. So it makes good sense to learn to treat yourself with the same courtesy you show others.”
Just me and Jesus for the whole ride.
Better think about how I treat those two.
And if you appreciate wisdom …
“As we understand the situation better, we can be tempted to think God must want less for us than we want for ourselves. Otherwise the prayers would be answered, the wishes granted, the gold more than shiny rocks. But the opposite is true. It’s not that the God who loves us doesn’t want us to dream big; it’s that he understands better than any of us that any gift but ALL OF HIM is small. He would not have us settle.”
Fiercehearted is for you if you want insight and Biblical wisdom about …
~ fomo (fear of missing out)
~ and so much more that I don’t have room to list here
But it’s especially for you if you gravitate toward ordinary, like I do. I’ve never seen ordinary painted so beautifully.
“A fiercehearted woman makes gentle the new strong, small the new big, ordinary the new extraordinary.”
1 Thessalonians 4:11a NIV: and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life
Oh, I love that verse.
Holley admits, “I would fill in the blank differently. Make it your ambition to change the world. Make it your goal to do grand things for God. Make it your aim to be busy and in demand. I am in need of a tender edit.
… God, I am discovering, is not interested in the show. He can be made much of in the soup bowl and the sliver of cheese and the eggs turned over on a silent morning. In whatever seems ordinary to us in our lives and work. The diapers and the dishes and the note slipped into the mailbox. Perhaps, this is true because it’s then that we forget ourselves. We become lost in the little gifts and tiny moments. Then they lead us, like bread crumbs, back to the feet of the Maker of all.”
So Fiercehearted is not exactly what I thought it was going to be.
In a really good way!
“I’m still learning grace is not just for getting us into heaven – it’s for getting us through this life.”
Hebrews 12:1b: and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Holly says of this verse, “That one word – endurance – says to me that life is not all sprinting. Faith, as Eugene Peterson says, is about ‘a long obedience in the same direction.’ This makes no sense in our instant world. It’s upside down in the time of social media updates. It seems less sexy and exciting than the fast and the fancy. But it’s reassuring too, isn’t it? To know we don’t have to go big or go home.
We can just be obedient and leave the results to God.
But I hope we sometimes go fast. That there are moments with the wind in our hair, the hearts in our chests pumping wildly, and the ground a blur beneath our feet. But I’m asking Jesus even more that we go far. That we make it around all the bends in the road. Watch the leaves turn from green to amber gold. Take the next step, then the next step, all the way. Let’s keep running the race at our pace. We’re doing better than we know. See you at the finish. “
If I haven’t convinced you to read this book yet, then this amazing piece of discernment ought to do the trick …
“But isn’t all of life really one big story of ambiguous loss in a way? The hello is a preview to the goodbye. The start is the beginning of the finish. … We live smack in between birth and death every single day. There is no other way. And we, frail creatures, want resolution. We want the knowing. Please tell me the facts and the exact future so that I can deal with them. But this is not the way of the heart. What the heart needs to know is that we will be okay anyway. And this is the impossible, inexplicable promise of Jesus – WE WILL.”
Fiercehearted women will be okay anyway – Yes! – thanks to Jesus!
*My prayer for you is … that this blog will inspire you to open your Bible every single day to seek God’s face and write His Word on your heart – because HE’S the key to lasting heart change!
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I am linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart here and here and Kelly at RaRa Link Up and Jennifer at Tell His Story and Lori at Moments of Hope and Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth and Deb at Faith ‘n Friends and Alisa at Salt & Light.
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