This month’s book review has been written by Kelly, so thank-you to her!
They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but can you judge it by its title? I spend everyday trying to convince myself that life is hard but it’s worth it. On the harder days, I go in search of (or revisit) strong women to listen to and I find them in many places. From the fictional like Xena the Warrior Princess through to the very real Elizabeth Gilbert. The ways in which these women are strong are many, but what I admire most is when they are brave by allowing themselves to be vulnerable and honest.
Enter Glennon Doyle Melton. She introduces herself as a ‘broken’ human who spent a very long time hurting herself for not feeling perfect or whole. She spent many years in search of love in all the wrong places (drugs, alcohol, sex, food…). But then she fell pregnant. ‘Carry On, Warrior’ (2013) is a book that isn’t perfect, like all of us. It’s pieced together from a blog and jumps about quite a bit, but it’s about her journey to be a better individual, mother, wife, friend, member of society, etc. And how her faith has helped her do so along the way.
Whilst the many references to God isn’t something I personally connect with, I still found the raw, honest account of an imperfect life to be valuable. Her mistakes resonated, her fears resonated, her constant urge to hide from the world resonated… She’d find ways and tools to learn the important lessons and talk about it. Through learning to love herself, whatever life threw at her and those around her, she could show her children how to value themselves, challenge bullying, encourage diversity, support those who weren’t strong enough to support themselves, express themselves when it wasn’t easy, and know and feel that they are loved.
I especially appreciated her discussions around pain and how to support others who are hurting. The assurance that sometimes you need time to yourself, even if you have other commitments. That you have a right to be heard, so find your voice and say what needs to be said or nothing will change for the better.
And, if you’re a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown’s non-fiction writings (I am!), you’ll also be familiar with the points around the damage the feeling of shame can cause and how to fight through that. Also, for those needing a reminder, she highlights that healthy, lasting relationships (eg. family, friends, spouses) are founded on, and sustained by, intimacy. But intimacy requires openness and honesty which is scary, but essential. To illustrate, she uses her own life and relationships as an example of how she has personally approached this and how she takes steps to be more open.
Life is hard, but it is worth it. By fighting through the difficult times, we are able to truly appreciate beauty, joy, love, adventure and all those other wonderful things that life has to offer.