We all have a story to tell. I believe that we are all being swept up in a grand tale and if we take the time to look, we just might see it. There is power in recognizing these stories and naming them for what they are – works of God’s goodness. There is power because the temptation and ease of forgetfulness is ever present. Like the disciples in the garden, we grow weary when diligence is needed.
This rough season of life has made it hard to find contentment with my story. I accept that there is beauty, even glory, in the making, but I am a child, content with kitsch art when Michelangelo awaits. So I remind myself.
I have found that the greatest treatment for my heart (aside from the ordained means of grace) is to read through other’s stories. Despair, tragedy, life, it’s all there! The characters live out for me again and again what perseverance looks like in the face of despair. If you can walk with the protagonist through tragedy and heartache and loss and come out the other end stronger, you are strengthened to walk your own path.
My depression has made it especially difficult to read. I have to claw and fight for every single book I make it through. But it is always worth it.
I am sad to say, there are only a few books I have made it through in the last year but here are a couple I would recommend whole-heartedly to you.
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On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson: This is 4 part saga will forever be on my book shelf. Peterson explores the beauty of creation, the power of your given name, and the goodness of the Maker through the Igiby siblings and their quest to claim their birthright. This depth of language pulls you right into another world and gives you courage and hope to face our world. If you have been blessed with children, this is a read aloud for the entire family.
“Sometimes in the middle of the night, the sun can seem like it was only ever a dream. We need something to remind us that it still exists, even if we can’t see it. We need something beautiful hanging in the dark sky to remind us there is such a thing as daylight. Sometimes, Queen Sara,”-Armulyn stummed his whistle harp-“music is the moon.”
– Andrew Peterson, The Warden and the World King, Book Four in The Wingfeather Saga
Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy: If the Wingfeather Saga is the beauty of our world seen in another, Roots and Sky captures the beauty of another world in ours. This memoir follows a year in Christie’s life as she recalls to restoring an old farm and God’s work restoring her soul. I don’t think there is any book I have underlined quite as much. This has been the most well-received book I have ever gifted or recommended. It seems like every person I have given it to as either written or called to tell me how much they loved it and that they are ordering a copy for a friend. Particularly if you are wrestling through depression and failing to see God’s plan unfold in your life, I recommend this book.
In those days, I stumbled on the words of Psalm 20:4: “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” I read those words and imagined my own heart was like a blank sheet of paper. There was not one thing I desired whole-heartedly. I had no plans in which I was confident. At times I did wonder, if my heart was blank, why I still felt such an all-pervasive ache.
I know how that my heart was not blank. It has been emptied, which is a very different thing.
– Christie Purifoy, Roots and Sky
These readings inspire and encourage you to face your own battles and to see the tale of glory that God is weaving throughout your life. So grab a cup of tea and curl up with a good book.