“We have to pull up a chair at the table of our souls and invite all of the fractured places within us (the memories, stories, and unpleasant feelings) back together and stay there with Jesus. Only then do we realize that Jesus is the kind host, inviting us to linger, spill the milk, break a dish, be known, and stay, not as guests, but as daughters.”

From “Stay” by Anjuli Paschall

Reviewing “Stay” by Anjuli Paschall is no easy task. The book spans, in bite sizes, her nearly forty years of life! It is complex, absorbing, insightful and wise! But it is also funny, poignant and tough to read. This book is a journey, once begun, you won’t want to stop but I enjoyed slowly, a little each night.

Each chapter is an invitation and reflection. It highlights a happening from Anjuli’s life, it’s impact and it’s broader connection to a Christian life truth. Some are brutal, like grief and pain, and others are fun and joyful. In each there is a call to stay. To pause in the experience, whatever it is, with God and find appreciation and healing in it. To work through it so that we move forward as whole and healthy people.

“Christ searches my heart, not as a reckless force knocking down my structures of sin, but as a kind shepherd, sitting patient and present. He isn’t about ripping up, breaking down, smashing, and managing my behavior, but comes quiet and gently. I am being replanted from a foundation of concrete, tangled cords, and shattered glass to a soil rich with nutrients. A ground that absorbs my neediness as a source for my growth and good.”

From “Stay” by Anjuli Paschall

In each chapter, Anjuli shares practical ways she’s tackled each invitation, where she’s gone wrong and she is beautifully honest. The reader feels one has found a friend, someone who gets how messy life really is.

“When fear presses down over me, I uncurl my chest and stretch out my spine. I pry back my body and open all of me to Him. I resist my tendency to defend, attack, protect, and panic. My soul’s discipline in surrender is to relinquish life on my terms.”

From “Stay” by Anjuli Paschall

The subtitle promises the reader a discovery of grace, freedom and wholeness and “Stay” definitely delivers! It is not a self help book or a how to book but rather a meditation book, an opportunity to, through Anjuli, pause and ponder one’s own life. As such, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale and highly recommended.

From the back cover:

As women, we are exhausted. Our hearts are being wrung out to dry–squeezed and yanked in every direction. We take care of everyone but ourselves. We’ve gotten lost in bedtime routines and our Costco lists. We have lost our voices in the storm of everyday life. We need to be reminded to reach inward and heed the quiet voice whispering, Stay.

This book is for anyone who longs for a connection with God and his people but can’t seem to escape the haunting feelings of guilt, shame, loneliness, and fear. Through raw, authentic stories, (in)courage writer Anjuli Paschall invites you to stop running from your pain and to recognize that the deep end of your story is the way to intimacy with Christ. Alongside Anjuli, you will encounter a loving God who invites you to stay with him at the table of your soul, where you are free to spill the milk, to fumble through your words, to embrace the awkwardness and the joy, and to taste and see that he is good.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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