FAITH NEWS SERVICE – The pain of a broken marriage was difficult to bear, but despite the struggle, Australian author Sherylle Wells made the decision to document her journey.
40 Days with Grace is a devotional book with a difference. The author has a wonderful way of expressing herself and sharing the journey. The layout, style and format make it easy to read and the content is easy to digest. I found everything about it encouraging and inspiring and it was hard to put down. The text was not heavy going or gloomy, and had a sprinkling of humour which brings the light of God into each situation.
I read through the writer’s reason for penning her story and admired her honesty and openness. Her vulnerability touched me as she wrote about her extreme pain at the end of her marriage. From this pain, I concluded that she chose to use the following stories to encourage and support others who may be going through a difficult time.
These experiences which the author has transcribed into stories became powerful in their message, so being intrigued, I kept on reading. In her own words, she expresses that “as she started to write, more words would naturally flow”. These she attributed to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He helped her through those difficult times and many lessons were learned. These stories were strongly impressed on her by God Himself. She then followed that leading and began writing in order to help other people out of their own personal calamities.
The author has travailed along a treacherous pathway and has discovered her God through each one. Descriptions are presented in an appealing way that the reader can relate to, some are semi-realistic and many are from personal experience. All held my interest.
In her explanation of The Hole, which vividly describes her difficulties and loss, I finally understood her pain and confusion. She tells of a traumatic time that she and her young family had endured. I was captivated by the writer’s depiction of that time. She had graphically and picturesquely portrayed a message that could be easily understood. The pain was entirely relatable to many of us, and let’s face it, most of us have a history of personal pain, be it anxiety, abuse or humiliation. We all struggle at times.
It takes courage to share The Hole that many of us find ourselves in. With candour and grace, Sherylle takes us on a journey of embracing the pain of our past, teaching forgiveness and above all, reaching hope. When she recounts The Story, she recognizes the impact of pain and tragedy to all, rather than to herself, alone. Our circumstances may not be the same, but we have all suffered betrayal, disappointment and being let down. She uses her experience to reach out to others who are suffering. Her overriding themes are forgiveness and love.
She takes the everyday moments of life, and finds in them, the sacred. She shows us how God speaks to us through the ordinary, if we are willing to hear Him. Her simple every day observances and listening for the Holy Spirit, encourage us to apply God’s Word and His works to our everyday life. She teaches us how to listen and embrace His Presence.
The language is clear and direct, simple enough to centre our thoughts and eyes on God each day. There is plenty of scope for those who want to dive deeper, using the scripture for further study or to journal our own response, or to begin a dialogue with God, through prayer. This devotional guide can be used daily or for those wanting to savour its message, weekly. I didn’t want to finish it too soon and found each chapter had an application for what I was experiencing at the time.
This writer offers an opportunity to journal our deepest thoughts, feelings and longings. Through these 40 devotions, we come to understand what God desires for us. We must let go of the past to move forward and embrace the future. We do this in the present, as we come to Jesus, surrendering our circumstance to Him.
Over time, I completed 40 Days which had been an interesting journey and throughout that trip, I had learned some important lessons about trauma and forgiveness. The author gently guided her readers to choose God’s way in handling difficulties when they arise.
Sherylle, a former teacher aide worked for many years in various schools, with children. This being her first book has left me hoping that there will be others to follow as I have enjoyed the pathway. While aimed at the adult, it has something for everyone and I would recommend this book to anyone with hurts. Reading this and learning from it will promote and encourage a deeper faith and knowledge of God, our Heavenly Father.