My goal for several years has been to read 50 books in one calendar year – 52 weeks – but I have always fallen off the rails around 25 books. This year, I’m twice as determined. I will be posting short reviews of each book with my thoughts and any recommendations I received for the book as well as a link to purchase the book from Amazon, (though I recommend checking your local library first). If you have questions, leave a comment! If you want to follow my journey, find me on Goodreads.
I can definitively name two seasons where depression and anxiety have ruled my life. The first was during my sophomore year of colleg:. I didn’t have a name for it and neither did my doctors. I was told to stop drinking so much coffee and take a Nexium. I never really worked through the darkness that covered my life then or the drastic changes I’d experienced; I just hustled to be different and limped along. The second time was in 2015-2016. This was when I started seeing a counselor and went to the doctor (much to the chagrin of those who told me I just needed to “learn to trust the Lord”). At this point, my life was in upheaval and I was doing everything I could to hustle away from it, but it wasn’t working. Jesus + medication + counseling + learning to stay changed my life and brought me out of the woods.
In Come Matter Here, Hannah Brencher details her darkness and her story of coming out of the woods. This book is so relatable – to everyone – because we all experience fear and know people who have experienced it. Fear wants to trap us in a self-made prison and keep us from living. Hannah rips the mask off fear and exposes it for what it is, following up with truths and mantras to live by. Her story of overcoming the darkness of depression and anxiety is inspiring and challenging. I used an entire pen’s ink writing in the margins of this one. Explaining something like this is difficult because the lies creep while you’re working out the words and tell you that your story is too much for people, that your crazy is too heavy for other people to stick around. Hannah defies all of that by speaking anyway. She talks about BUILDING a home instead of always wishing for one, being the invitation instead of always waiting on the invite from someone else. Taking slow, steady steps changes life in deep ways that arranging your coffee mug in the perfect light for an Instagram photo can’t ever do. Being honest with people, showing up for people, and sticking around — these are the things that begin to push out the fear and the anxiety. No one can find you if they don’t know where you are, she says.
In addition to identifying deeply with everything Hannah writes here, I have had the honor of meeting her on several occasions– the first being at the sweet little retreat center she mentions in the book, complete with the chicken decor and the closets full of God moments. Reading her description of that place gave me all of the emotions – that’s where God showed me that I matter here and where I learned to grow where I’m planted – rooted. I could tell you story upon story of the hospitality in that place that changes the world on a daily basis. It’s one of the greatest gifts to cheer alongside one of your friends as she tells her story, shares her messes and her triumphs with the world, and proves that fear doesn’t win. Hannah – thanks for writing your heart and sharing it with us. Everyone else – go buy this book. It is available today: Amazon + B&N + everywhere else and is so worth every minute you will spend reading it.
Goodreads rating: 4.92/5
My rating: 5/5 stars
Days read: May 18-28
Recommend: Resoundingly, yes