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I had the privilege of reading early copies of these upcoming book releases over Christmas break: Try Softer by Aundi Kolber and In Want + Plenty by Meredith McDaniel.
Right off the bat I will go ahead and spoil my reviews by telling you that I give both books 5 stars, and I think that they are must reads for Christian women who seek to follow the Lord wherever He leads. I’m sharing these two books together because I think they would be book friends and want to sit on the shelf together. Both are Christian non-fiction / Christian living books written by Christian women who also happened to be licensed counselors. These women bring their professional knowledge and wisdom into their books as well as share their own stories (along with some of their clients’ stories). Both authors are a light in this world whom I have followed on Instagram for the past couple of years (if you’re not following them, go change that now). They bring God’s light and goodness and gentleness into my feed every week, and I am so grateful for it.
Aundi Kolber and Meredith McDaniel both just happen to be genuine and soft and their personalities and voices come through beautifully in their books. While these two books are similar in the way they combine topics surrounding faith and therapy, each book is uniquely wonderful in its own way. Without further ado, let me just get right to each of their reviews so you can read for yourself.
**Please note these are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This is no way affects you, but should you purchase using one of my links it helps support me in the tiniest way so that I can keep writing and sharing with you.
Try Softer by Aundi Kolber (January 7, 2020)
I am so grateful to see more and more conversations (and BOOKS!) taking place in the faith community regarding mental health, trauma, therapy, etc. Try Softer fills a much-needed gap, and it does not disappoint! As someone who has dealt with the trauma of losing a child, who has spent over a decade as military spouse in a world at war, who has uncovered slow childhood trauma, and who has been on my own healing journey — this book felt like a long-lost friend. It was like an open-door invitation into healing and hope with author Aundi Kolber standing there with her arms open wide ready to receive you gently. Ultimately, Kolber extends to us what our Heavenly Father offers. Kolber interweaves some of her own personal stories and struggles as well as those of her clients, but this book really differentiates itself by the wealth of clinical information and expertise Kolber shares in an easy to absorb manner regardless of your background. For someone who loves stories and loves information, this book has both!
Try Softer has helped usher in God’s compassion and gentleness into my life and has helped me relinquish areas of captivity by finding freedom and rest in “trying softer.” There are countless treasures in this book that have taken me over a decade to learn as well as new ones I’ve never before uncovered. Kolber’s knowledge, wisdom, relatability, and the inclusion of practical therapy-based tools were immensely helpful. I have already returned to this book a handful of times since finishing it and will continue to use it as a resource in my own life.
If you’re a fan of Brene Brown (but want something more Christ-centered), if you’re ready to do some “soul work” as I like to call it, if you’re tired from the exhaustion of striving, if you have a loud inner critic, I highly recommend you grab this and start reading. While I read through it quickly, you may want to move slowly through it if you’re new to some of the concepts Kolber writes about. She does an excellent job articulating and explaining the information but some areas by nature may weigh heavy on you. I think you’ll also find the reflective questions helpful in absorbing and finding transformation as you read like I did.
Thank you Aundi Kolber for sharing this work with the world! I know the world is going to be a better place as people learn to “try softer” after reading your book.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
Every sorrow we’ve grieved, every fear we’ve felt, every trauma and all the pain we’ve lived through—it’s all valid, and it all matters. More significantly, the hard things that cracked us open have the potential to create space for deeper joy and resilience. As we try softer with ourselves by attending to and listening to our bodies and emotions, we become vast like the Grand Canyon, because our ability to hold the full experience of our humanity increases.Aundi Kolber
You can learn more and pre-order /order Try Softer here.
In Want + Plenty by Meredith McDaniel (January 21, 2020)
I spent the past decade of my life yearning and longing for relief and rescue from emotional pain and feeling stuck in unhealthy, draining patterns. I have lived with a mindset of lack while longing for abundance and struggling with my faith in the midst. I wish I had read In Want + Plenty 10 years ago when this first started walking through wilderness seasons and dark valleys of grief. As I read Meredith McDaniel’s words, I felt like she was a trusted friend who intimately knew my inner thoughts and struggles. It was as though she somehow saw me along with my innermost wants and needs. How incredible as a reader to experience this! This book loving and gently spoke truth to my heart through McDaniel’s wisdom, her client’s stories, and her re-telling of the Israelites’ story in Exodus.
In Want + Plenty left me feeling inspired and renewed to live with my eyes-wide opened to all that God gives and live in expectation of His manna and provision while surrendering my own expectations of what I think this should look like. I know I’ll be passing this title along to friends for years to come. It’s gentle, truthful, incorporates the added elements of reflective journal prompts and song suggestions—but more importantly, it points the longing soul to Jesus.
If you’re in a desert season, a wilderness season, a dark valley, feeling stuck or struggling, and longing, this book will be manna to you!
I marked my copy up with yellow highlights, but this is one of my favorite quotes:
In our struggle we lose sight of the glory; in our story we must hunt for his hand.Meredith McDaniel
You can learn more and pre-order /order In Want + Plenty here.
So… which one are you going to read first???
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