A little empathy goes a long way toward living wholehearted. And there were so many good reads to sooth heavy hearts this week, I just couldn’t keep them to myself.

Brokenness is common to our humanity and what is also common to us all is the belief that we are the only ones who struggle with inner unrest.

As you read this collection of stories from friends around the web, take heart and remember that you are known and you belong. We are on the path of life together and that makes the hard times a bit sweeter, yes?!

Yep, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Holley Gerth

Thirsty by Mark Buchanan

A True Story About a Woman I Knew by Dea Moore

The Gift of Limitations by Sara Hagarty

The Generosity of God by Kimberlee Conway Ireton

And some new books launched into the world this week that you don’t want to miss.

It’s Simply Tuesday Adult Coloring Book by Emily Freeman

In Chapter 11 of Rhythms of Rest, I write about ruminating practices – “those simple actions that miraculously calm the hurricane of internal processing so we can rest well.” And coloring is one of my favorite ruminating practices. When we struggle with a lack of inner quiet or find sitting still a miraculous feat, consistently adding a ruminating practice to a Sabbath rhythm can mean that peace – and the truth – will come to mind, spirit, and soul more quickly. Emily’s new adult coloring book is a perfect companion to a Sabbath rhythm.

One: Unity in a Divided World by Deidra Riggs

In the early years of blogging, Deidra was one of the first people I met online and experienced an immediate meaningful connection. Warm, inviting, and real, she made me feel right at home. Deidra illustrates loving well through her life and her new book shows us how we can build realistic bridges through Jesus’ example. One is on my list of must reads, not just because she is my friend but because she is very wise.

Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships by Lisa-Jo Baker

As the community manager at the website incourage.me since 2010, Lisa-Jo Baker has had the chance to engage hundreds of conversations with women about friendship. I found Lisa-Jo in the early years of blogging when she hosted a community of women for a free writing link-up called Five Minute Friday. She has been cultivating relationships between women with an honest, authentic, empathetic voice for as long as I’ve read her words. If you have questions that lurk under the surface of friendships, Lisa-Jo is a trustworthy mentor.

I’ve become (a little) addicted to the beauty that is Instagram for the past year, posting a few photos a day from my tiny corner of London. And this month, I’m honored to have Sara Hagarty @everybitterthingissweet share my photos with her giant following. She’s making my photos look even better with word overlays infused with adoration from scripture.

When you feel heavy-hearted, may God show up with an empathetic shoulder, a kindness unexpected, and beauty scattered about your everyday, ordinary, errand running life. As you rest this weekend, listen to birds chatter from the tree tops, bells ringing in the distance, and crickets humming in the background. Remember God cares about what you care about. You are known and belong.

Happy Sabbath Friends!