Isolation & A Book Review: Take Heart by (in)Courage

It’s midday and I’m tucked into bed, laptop on my knee. I’ve been up since 7 a.m. after a restless night. In the accomplishment column, one child made it to school without issue, I gagged down some oatmeal before 7:30 a.m. (I hate early breakfasts), I unexpectedly shuttled the other child to school because the bus didn’t show, and made it into my nuclear medicine appointment with seconds to spare. I spent time listening to a rundown on radioactive iodine and what I can expect over the next few days, weeks, months. Signed off on consent forms, and after an hour of time and a dynamic little capsule, was safely back on the road back home again. I’m in isolation with some distanced visiting for the next few days – I can’t share a bed or a couch with my husband, but I can watch TV in the same room. No kissing, sharing dishes, or using the same washroom, but we can visit a bit and otherwise I’m restricted to my room. I’m anticipating all the free time I’ll have (3 whole days of not being allowed to do things!) and I’ve been making a mental note of what I want to enjoy with this precious bundle of unspoken for minutes. I’m looking at it as an enforced vacation – books, blogging, Netflix, naps, etc. We’ll see if my outlook is as optimistic by Sunday afternoon.

Those who know me or have been following along know that not unlike others, my journey hasn’t been along the smoothest straightest path. Sometimes life really sucks. Hard things happen. Difficulties loom. Health tanks. Relationships strain. Loved ones pass. We struggle… but I am a person of faith and I believe that we are not alone, even in the darkest moments and the brightest of days. I’m not here to preach or pontificate, but wanted to preface the book review I’m sharing below as it’s not a genre I usually post about.

I was privileged enough to be a part of the Take Heart launch team and was provided with a complimentary digital copy of this devotional (through NetGalley, naturally.) For someone who has been experiencing probably the roughest two years of her life, every entry was like sitting down to have a chat with a friend – straight-shooting, honest, heartfelt, and soul-soothing. Some readings made me sit up straight and think. Others were a balm that left me feeling seen and heard. Some made me laugh or cry – or even both at the same time in that awkward snort-sob kind of way.

Written by women going through the same things you and I experience every day, the quality of the topics and the writing is spot on. Quantitively, the entries are quick and easy to read, with a short Scripture (or two or three) and each passage closes with a prayer of reflection. With titles such as “Rest and Be the Beautiful You” by Bonnie Gray, “In the Waiting” by Jen Schmidt, and “The Worthy Cost of Being an Ally” by Michelle Reyes, you’ll find relevant topics with soul-searing truth and beautiful voices sharing encouragement straight from the heart. I highly recommend this devotional for anyone who finds themselves struggling with the mundane or the not-so-ordinary hiccups that come along the path of life as a reminder that you’re not going through anything alone!

One of the most poignant readings for myself was the entry mentioned above by Bonny Gray. The whole thing struck a chord in me and even the prayer is a call of my heart. She closes with this simple statement that reinforces the importance of rest and stillness.

Be kind to yourself and find a place for your weary soul to rest in His irrevocable love for you.

– Bonnie Gray, Rest and Be the Beautiful You,
Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay by (in)Courage

This devotional is now available for pre-order and releases October 20, 2020. The cover is beautifully designed as all titles from (in)Courage are and it’s affordably priced. I can’t wait for my purchased copy to arrive and sit within easy reach on my bedside dresser. My thanks to the publisher and the entire launch team for including me in previewing this timely, relatable title!

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