This post may contain affiliate links.
I recently finished a book that I now consider among my favorites, Fierce Hearted by Holley Gerth. Her humble and heart-warming style made me feel like I was sitting down to tea with a friend. The stories she tells make me laugh and cry.
Holley Gerth is a bestselling author, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this new book of hers would become another best seller. She genuinely cares for other people and is heavily involved in many different forms of ministry. For example, one of the stories she tells in this book is of how she adopted a 21-year-old woman who had aged out of the foster care system. Holley Gerth is a woman I would like to emulate, especially her vulnerability to her continued struggles as she is made more like Christ every day.
Her writing is beautiful and immerses you in her stories with all five senses. I have never read a nonfiction writer who uses the senses so well and so frequently to make me feel like I am there. Because of this immersion, the stories, and the truths they represent sink deeply into my soul and help me overcome my fears. God works through Holley Gerth’s writing in a beautiful and radical way.
As I made the incredible journey through this book, I tweeted my favorite quotes. Here are some of them:And there is a time for being still, for waiting. But if we know that this is not what we are doing, that we are simply delaying because we're scared or feeling a bit inadequate, then it's time to go anyway. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two, so I always have to ask God for discernment. Fear has stopped me so many times in my life from pursuing my dreams or doing what needed to be done. The Recovering Perfectionist itself is the result of a leap of faith. It is quite scary to put my thoughts out there for the world to see, but the joy of helping others far outweighs that fear.Because when we do what is life-giving and worthwhile and beautiful, we will always face resistance. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
I have a tendency to look at resistance as a sign that I shouldn’t be doing what I am doing or that I am doing it wrong. Resistance, although it provides helpful time for reflection and reevaluation, is not necessarily a sign that I am doing something wrong.I do not control how other people respond. Other people do not control how I respond. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
So many times, I take others’ reactions to what I say or do to heart, especially if it is a negative reaction. I assume that I didn’t say something right or do something right. This is not always the case. Many times others’ reactions simply show me the state of their heart with no real relation to me. I do not have to take what other people say to heart. My husband calls it, “They don’t have the right to speak into your life. Don’t give it to them.” I talked more about this in my article on how to deal with toxic people.So let's not allow fear to keep us from embracing what God has for us. When I watch people fully engaged in celebration, there is a humility and self-forgetfulness and childlikeness that I need more of in my life. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
In this section, Holley Gerth is talking about going to a wedding and watching people dance. There was a self-forgetfulness that was beautifully described. I love dancing. Dancing is the only activity in which I feel completely free from my own self-criticism. My husband said that my dancing was what first attracted him to me. I believe that the way I feel when I dance is a result of complete letting go, of basking in joy. As I pray to God to grant me that self-forgetfulness, I picture that, someday, I will feel how I feel dancing living my everyday life.Let's make this our declaration: instead of trying to have it all together, we will dare to do real, messy, imperfect life all together. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
I’m messy. I’m imperfect. Once I am okay with letting people know that, my self-consciousness no longer has a hold on me. When I invite people into the mess, i.e. invite them over when the apartment isn’t spotless or when I am having a fibro-flare, there is a part of me that lets go, that dances.I want things to be different. And I'm willing to ask for help. Click To Tweet
They are the most humbling words, but humility is the companion of healing. The more I let go of my vision of a perfect self, the more I am able to take steps toward the person God desires for me to be.But it's not a failure on my part that I have this condition. It's simply a medical reality. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
Holley Gerth is talking about her battle with depression. The part about “medical reality” struck me because it reminded me that my fibromyalgia is not my fault, that it is a medical condition. This was such a relief. It is a truth that I must teach myself over and over again!You have enough enemies to fight without adding yourself to the list. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
Well, ain’t that the truth. I am always my worst enemy. I can commit the best psychological warfare on myself because I know my mind. As I pray to God to help me to become a friend to myself, life is much easier to live.We need to let people see our faces without makeup and our souls without scripts and our lives our lives without the polish and practice. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
I find this rather difficult. I love writing and scripts because I know that I am saying exactly what I want to say when I want to say it. Letting this go is part of giving up control to God. Why is it so difficult to do so? He has kept the entire world together, of course, he would be able to keep my life together. Lord, open my eyes to this reality.You are not here to impress them. You are here to bless them. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
I have terrible, I mean feel physically ill and keel over with stomach pain terrible, social anxiety. This thought actually helped me to go to a group regularly at my church where I eventually met my husband. They even asked me to greet because I had been so focused on making others comfortable. It is truly beautiful how you can forget yourself and your fears when you focus on other people and their needs.I'm still learning grace is not just for getting us into heaven - it is for getting through this life. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
There is no way that I could go a day without grace. I am learning to rely on grace every minute. My awareness of grace is made acuter by my physical needs every day.Because friendship is really all about helping each other become who God intends for us to be tomorrow. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
This is so beautiful that it belongs on a Hallmark card, oh, wait, Holley Gerth worked for Dayspring making cards, now it all makes sense. I am so thankful for the friendships that God has given me to help me become who God has made me to be.So be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can. - Fierce Hearted Click To Tweet
This is beautiful. I read once that we should speak to ourselves like we would to a friend. This is really great advice. I also read somewhere that you will talk to others as you talk to yourself when you are stressed or angry. I am learning that, if I am kind to myself, I am much more kind to others.
Buy the book! It is very reasonable and well worth the investment! Just to be honest, I would get a little money for my tea collection if you buy it, but it won’t cost you any extra.
There is a companion challenge as well as more information on this book’s website.
Love Holley Gerth’s writing style? Check out her website! She has a blog, information on other books she has written, and a whole lot of other fun stuff!
I hope this review was helpful for you, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the book!
What are some fears that you are currently facing?
How has God helped you overcome your fears?
What is your favorite verse to remind you of your identity in Christ?