Wednesday, April 10, 2013

freefall to fly

"If women aren't empowered to cultivate their uniqueness, 
we all suffer the loss of beauty, 
creativity, and resourcefulness 
they were meant to inject into the world."
Rebekah Lyons
Freefall to Fly
Freefall to Fly - Rebekah Lyons
I received an email from Handlebar Publishing asking if I was interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new book Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons to review. I have to admit, the cover of the book drew me in first, followed by the title. I was intrigued and immediately requested a copy. I am so very grateful for the offer, because...

this book as blessed me beyond words!!!

I read Freefall to Fly over the course of two days–it was THAT good. Partway through the first day, I put the book down long enough to contact the author via Facebook to offer encouragement and thanks. Within minutes she requested my friend request and I responded by writing the following post on her wall:

"Thanks for accepting my friend request, Rebekah!
I'm reading your book to write a review for 
Tyndale and can't put it down.
A book hasn't inspired me this much since I 
read Francis Chan! [Crazy Love]
Bless you for sharing your heart so beautifully." 

A few pages into the book, I grabbed a highlighter. So much of what Rebekah shared resonated deeply within my heart. While our life experiences are vastly different, (although she is also a parent to a special needs child), I knew immediately that she was a kindred spirit. She has gone through the fires of refinement and still loves God. I would gather to guess that she is even more in love with Him, just as I am. Not only that, she has found her own unique calling in life.

I greatly appreciated Rebekah's vulnerabilityit's not easy to put oneself out there. I also appreciated her authenticityshe didn't sugar coat her struggles, nor did she share them in a way that would depress the reader. That's definitely not something that is easy to do. There was an underlying thread of hope woven throughout her story. While Rebekah wrote about her husband and children, she did so in an honoring way which allowed her struggles to be her own. Her honesty and humility brought a gentle conviction to my own spirit.

What I treasured most about Rebekah's book is that not only did she invite me in to experience a small part of her own heart journey, she also graciously made room for me to uniquely explore my own journey.  This is a rare gift to find within a book. I have read countless books in the past that have ministered to me. 

Some books, unfortunately, have caused me to feel inadequate or less-than the author. Not once did I experience any negative emotions as I read this book. It is helpful that Rebekah does not leave us feeling as though she has reached completion or perfection. She very clearly articulated that God has brought her through many, many difficult days and months, and, her journey is very much a work in progress. I found this extraordinarily refreshing.

While Freefall to Fall is very much a memoir with personal anecdotes shared, it's so much more.  The author gently includes statistics, adding substance to her story while also making it relevant to readers. I would have to say this definitely isn't a "how-to-fix-your-life-or-get-free-from-anxiety" type book. There aren't detailed directions or lists of things for the reader to work through. And, from my viewpoint, that's a really good thing. 

I didn't feel pressured to do anything. I felt inspired to be and ruminate. That said, the author doesn't leave us hanging, wondering how to get to where she ended up. She does provide some simple questions for personal reflection; as well as uplifting encouragement to seek the unique giftings that God has instilled within each of us. So often we read books that end up unfinished and collecting dust on our shelves because we feel bogged down by more things to do. This book is life-giving, not energy-draining. 

After reading some of the first few reviews of this book, I was surprised to see that others were offended by the author's personal views on depression and the use of anti-depressants. As with all things, I believe it's important for each of us to give each other grace. God is bringing each and every one of us on very unique journeys. What might be the remedy for one person is certainly not the answer for all. Rebekah's approach in her book was very welcoming. Her heart has most definitely been tenderized by the experiences God has brought her throughboth the blessings and the trials. I think that is why her words and story touched me so deeply.

It is with great joy that I highly recommend Freefall to Fly to all women. You don't have to have children or be married for this book to minister to you. Menhusbands in particularwill definitely benefit from reading this book as well. It's just that good. For myself, I'm looking forward to posting this review so I can start reading the book for a second time. This time, I'm looking forward to savoring every sweet word.

Well done, Rebekah! May we all embrace the giftings our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us as graciously as you have. I pray many are blessed through your perseverance, honestly and beautiful gift of words.

If you do buy a copy of this book, Friends, I would love to hear your thoughts. Until then, Keep pressing into the LORD and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With grace and joy,

Disclosure: I received this book FREE from the publisher, Tyndale House, through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.