I recently had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Rest for the Weary by Shay Mason. This is an incredible book that shares stories of how the author has stepped out of fear into true freedom. And how she has learned to embrace rest for her weary soul. The truths from scripture that this book has intertwined in it’s pages have reminded me of the importance of living a life without fear, a life full of forgiveness and joy.
One of my favorite things about this book is the author’s ability to admit her own fears and shortcomings while refusing to remain in those difficult places. She shares stories of others who have been fearless in the pursuit of life, but admits honestly, “I know I’ve not yet been made perfect, but I also know I have a Father who gives lavishly (1 John 3:1). His love is infinite and always available. The more I let him touch my heart, the more love I receive. It’s actually pretty simple, but it’s easy to get caught up in our heads trying to force a change in ourselves.”
I can honestly say that I have struggled with fear my entire life. Fear of losing those I love. Fear of leaving my children without parents. Even the fear of making the wrong decisions and not being able to fix the mistakes I have made. This book reminded me that no matter what our fear is, God is always there willing to rescue us and give us hope.
Throughout the last few years of my grief journey, I have openly admitted my struggle with forgiving those who have hurt my feelings and who seem oblivious to the pain others feel. When I am not sure which of us needs to forgive the other, I have found myself trying to be content with letting those relationships die out in order to keep my own heart “at peace.”
Woven within the pages of her story, she shares some beautiful truths about love and forgiveness that really stood out to me. She says, “It is profoundly beautiful when God heals a person’s heart to such a degree that they can genuinely experience love and compassion for the person who hurt them. Truly, what could be more Christlike?”
I think deep down each of us knows the importance of forgiveness and how it can allow for not only our own healing, but for healing of relationships and souls as well. The reminders in the book can not be overlooked. Shay says, “Conversely, when we embrace forgiveness, it unleashes power for good. Lives are transformed, families restored, and nations are redeemed. Forgiveness is an inseparable component of love, and it is the work of God. While the world clambers for justice, retribution, and revenge, true forgiveness is so countercultural it can be shocking. Walking in forgiveness is kingdom living. It is radically different from what the world expects.”
Refusing forgiveness not only keeps us from healing, it keeps God from truly speaking to us and using us the way that we can be used. Forgiveness is finding love within ourselves to give openly and freely to everyone, no matter how much they have hurt us!
My struggle for joy in the everyday is one I write about a lot. Shay says, “We are often led to believe that if we experience an absence of peace or joy, we must not be a “good Christian.” In response to this feeling of inadequacy, it is tempting to follow the lead of Adam and Eve by wearing metaphorical fig leaves to cover our sense of failure.”
Being transparent and allowing others to see my struggles is something that I have learned to be comfortable with the last few years. Knowing that no matter how many times I fail, I can keep on trying.
This book is laden with truths and great insight into the struggles each of us have with resting our weary hearts and souls. I encourage you to read it and see for yourselves! It released this past week and if you are still looking for a mother’s day gift for someone special in your life, it would make a great gift!