I found Hannah Brencher’s blog when I was a college student with a broken heart. It was as if she was sitting with me and listening carefully; she knew exactly the words to help me heal. I remember reading excerpts from her blog aloud to a friend in our dorm room one night. She looked at me like I was crazy. I realized she didn’t get it. The weight of these words.
Those early blog posts gave words to confusing feelings I held onto as I sought to grow and heal. Hannah Brencher’s words helped me to find my own voice. Her beautiful poetic prose assured me that God can be found in the words we write; I needed that message. That truth sits with me every day still.
Over the years, I’ve deeply enjoyed growing with Hannah’s works. Some seasons I keep up with her writing more than others, to be honest. But she’s like a Taylor Swift song or the Jonas Brothers. Always there for me.
We’re well past the heartbreak years – praise God – and we’re now in a place of learning how to be disciplined, consistent, and pushing forward into all that God has for us. I’m here for it.
When Hannah announced a new book set to launch, named Fighting Forward, I was stoked. And now that I’ve read it, I can confirm: it’s no coincidence God planned this book for this season.
Divided into sections of essays, Fighting Forward reads like notes of encouragement from a friend. It’s the guide you need to overcome hurdles and start new rhythms. Hannah’s writing is as beautiful as ever, her honesty refreshing, and her practical steps for reclaiming truth and fighting forward are life-giving. Hannah’s storytelling disguised as lyrical, poetic prose will give you the words you need to describe your struggles. Her wisdom will give you to the steps you need to make a change.
I wanted to share with you 3 quotes from this book I absolutely loved, and how they’re carrying me into another week of life and ministry:
“What do I love enough that I am willing to keep stepping into that love when the feelings fade or morph into something I don’t understand just yet?”Hannah Brencher
Just because my feelings are different now than they were last year doesn’t make the calling any less valid. I’m still in the positions God has put me in. I still have a responsibility to be a loving wife. A humble friend. A patient teacher. A willing writer.
None of these places are new to me anymore. And although the initial excitement has worn off, His calling has not. At the start of every day, I keep showing up to these places. And at the end of the day, I know that’s real love.
“At the end of our lives, I don’t think we will compare to-do lists or stack our accomplished goals in a pile to show off. We won’t even really remember those elaborate gestures so much as we will remember people – what they said to us, how they made us feel, how God used us to stitch fight songs back into the hearts of others when all hope seemed lost.Hannah Brencher
Note to self: the to-do lists and goal setting are meant to grow you into a stronger person for the sake of loving others better. If all my to-dos and goals are centered on me, I’ll never be satisfied. Everything is used to glorify Him in this life. And His way of doing that seems to be loving and taking care of people well.
“And then you take those small things and put them on repeat. Discipline stacks up, and those results will come with enough time and enough daily application. Eventually, your feelings of being overwhelmed will start to fade and you’ll miss fewer days and all the small things will morph into habits. And those habits will set you up for rhythms. And those rhythms become anthems you know by heart. And those anthems have the potential to power you into such greatness you cannot even fathom right now.”Hannah Brencher
One of my hopes for this year is to establish a healthy, life-giving morning routine. It can be overwhelming to wake up late to my alarm again and think, Okay, tomorrow I’m going to read, write, pray, and exercise every morning.
Discipline doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t mean immediately waking up into the big things. That’s a recipe for shame and shortcoming.
Discipline is taking small steps every day. She says, “Small things on repeat.” And when you break it up like that, you grow. Change happens. Your brain gets clearer, your body strong, and your will more confident every day.
Because this book is divided up into small essays, I had intended to read a chapter each day. However, I loved it so much I read it over a week. I hope to read it in smaller chunks in the future because there’s so. Much. Here.
You could really read it either way and multiple times and gain new insight from it every time. Hannah writes the depths of truth in a way that is beautiful and accessible to all.
Over the last 8 years of following Hannah Brencher, I’ve learned so much at the foot of her teaching; Fighting Forward is no exception. She is a master storyteller, preacher of truth, the friend to sit with you over coffee, and the cheerleader to help you go for that first run.
If you’re in need of a pep talk. If you need to be reminded that you have a purpose that does not require your perfection. If you need to kickstart healthier routines and rhythms. If you want to be assured that the hurt you feel isn’t wasted – these words were written for you.
Grab a pen and a notebook. Be ready to mark up this book. It’s a good one, and exactly the message we need to propel us into living on mission in 2021.