cover image Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World

Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World

Charaia Rush. Baker, $18.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-5409-0343-3

Rush debuts with a vulnerable ode to the faith that helped her overcome marital challenges, divorce, and self-doubt. Faced with her husband’s repeated infidelities, Rush questioned why God had allowed her marriage to unravel and concluded “if I was going to survive, I needed to armor up, even against God, who... would not protect me.” After moving back to her Colorado hometown and reconnecting with members of its church community (including a friend who welcomed her home after she shared her heartbreak and in so doing “breathed on the dying embers of my hope”), she came to understand the value of suffering “softly” by acknowledging God’s presence amid her pain, accepting others’ help, staying hopeful, and resisting cynicism, and gained the fortitude she needed to heal. She’s clear that staying “soft” doesn’t mean suffering through a toxic relationship, people-pleasing, or staying silent to keep the peace. Instead, it’s a “resilience that acts like water: fierce enough to cut through rock and gentle enough to keep us afloat.” Though Rush writes with a sense of hope and an open heart, she doesn’t sugarcoat—woven throughout the narrative are the wrenching details of her marriage’s last days. Ultimately, she praises the freeing power of forgiveness even as she admits that getting there was sometimes a rough and rocky road. Believers seeking the strength to surmount their own obstacles will find comfort in Rush’s hard-earned wisdom. (Mar.)