When I heard that Hannah Brencher was coming out with a new book, I knew I had to have it. I had read her book “Come Matter Here” a couple years back, attended her writing conference in the fall of 2020, and followed her encouraging socials. She is a gem: a true gem. She is honest even when it’s ugly, challenging when it hurts, and tender when we need tenderness. If you want to be challenged, put in your place, and provoked to deeper thought, please consider putting this book in your Amazon cart, and following @hannahbrencher on Instagram.
As 2020 turned to 2021, I found myself in a season of searching. Not lost in the woods searching, but looking at where I am and wondering, is this all there is? Not that I’m unhappy in my life: quite the contrary. I’m content and part of me wondered if content was becoming stagnant; content does that if we’re not careful. My contentedness with my spiritual life was tipping over into stagnancy and I was at a loss on how to right the ship. I needed a wake up call, a spiritual knock in the head to get me back into a spirit-led life.
“Fighting Forward,” by Hannah Brencher has helped me push into this stagnancy and not run away from it. She encourages readers to not despair at what’s going on, not despair at your place in life, but continue to fight forward. Don’t sit back and wonder what’s happening but actively look to change it.
“I was looking in the rearview mirror, waiting for God to show up in the ways he normally showed up for me. And it turns out that God wanted to do something different. Because that’s just what he does. When you feel ready for more of the old, he comes up close and says, ‘Hey, I’m in the business of doing new things.’” (118)
It’s not your average self-help book with things to check off and make habits of. It tells the story of how she went from zero to something other than zero. And not just in the striving to not be zero, but in striving toward fighting for herself, and for her life with God.
“It may seem bleak. But God knew you could be in this fight, and he knew the outcome of the fight before you stepped in.” (85)
It’s called “Fighting Forward” because it began as a series of fight songs she wrote when she was in a very dark place. She wrote them to help fight her way out, but also to help future-her continue to fight her way out should she ever go back again. And lastly, to help us fight forward when all we want to do is retreat.
“When you know stories about the dark, you become a light to others. You get to show the way.” (90)
So if you need the encouragement to fight forward in your life, if you’re feeling stagnant, or lost, or not sure what’s next. Pick this one up, I promise you won’t regret it.