Purity is one of the key themes of my blog and a major component of purity is true intimacy with the Lord. This is a huge theme in Memory’s Mind. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I reached out to author Erika Matthews to request a giveaway copy of the novel. Erika so kindly has agreed to donate one paperback novel as a giveaway prize. To enter the giveaway, please comment with a favorite Valentine’s day verse or moment with the Lord 🙂 You can also gain an additional entry using the Rafflecopter, by following Erika Mathews on GoodReads. Giveaway ends 2/27, though the prize will arrive a bit later.
- Author: Erika Mathews
- Series: Truth from Taerna (Book 5)
- Synopsis: Kelton Ellith is delighted when Adon Olam calls him to solitude and meditation. His spiritual journey ends up being much more challenging than expected, but with it comes increased intimacy with Yeshua.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.Rom. 8:26
This book has a strong, beautiful emphasis on meditation and intimacy with Jesus. The main character, Kelton, has a deep desire to truly know God. In the process, he does a lot of striving but also experiences moments of richness and rest. (How realistic is that?!) Throughout, he is learning to “empty” himself to be filled with Christ. There is a lot of struggling and a lot of sinking into the Lord, returning to Him moment by moment. And it’s wonderful.
With meditation at its core, the novel also deals with some important nuanced questions: What takes precedence– meditation or the immediate and urgent needs of day-to-day life? What if your parent needs you when you have been called to a time of intense meditation? How can I stay focused for more than two seconds at a time?
I chose the Romans verse because so much of Kelton’s eperience, as he attempts to meditate, is a struggle. He has the strong desire to pursue Christ, but no idea how to do it. But, God reveals to him that He is the One– not Kelton– to bridge that disconnect.
Mathews also does an excellent job of exemplifying the “quiet life” (1 Thess. 4:11), through Kelton’s life, as he walks with Yeshua in what he has been called to.
Truth from Taerna is a six book series, and Memory’s Mind is book five of six. So far, I have read books four and five and I know that each book works well as a standalone. From what I can tell, each book is (largely) from the POV of one sibling of the Ellith family. I think there are also some chronology shifts between books (with timelines overlapping between stories).
In both of my experiences reading the series, I have found myself delighted within the early pages. Author Erika Matthews maintains a website called “The Resting Life” and her Twitter handle is AtRestinChrist. And that beautiful sense of rest and peace flows through her words. I praise the Holy Spirit for the ways He is using these books in my life.
What I Liked
I was delighted with the novel’s release in proximity to Valentine’s Day. In past posts, I have spoken about the ways the Lord has ministered His tenderness to me in a romantic way. Valentine’s Day has long been a very weird holiday for me, with lots of feelings of disappointment. In recent years, the Lord has called me to look to Him in this holiday, in light of the beautiful relationship I have with Him. He is truly the bridegroom!
I bring this up because Memory’s Mind is all about meditation and drawing near to the Lord, in a distinct and separate way. As I have been looing to the Lord with the approach of Valentine’s Day, He ministered to me so strongly through the first few chapters of the book. I had paused reading another book so I could review this one in time, and those first few chapters were SUCH a confirmation that the Lord was calling me to read this book.
Having said that, here are some of the specific things I appreciated:
- I feel that Erika’s writing is a testament to her walk with the Lord. Her books minister God’s grace, love and peace. Honestly, so much peace. Yes, it’s the writing, but I also believe that it’s the Lord’s anointing of her words. There is a sweet simplicity to her stories– a wholesome earnestness that draws the reader into deeper fellowship with the Lord.
- Message is at the forefront of Memory’s Mind. Like Kelton, himself, the novel isn’t at all flashy. In fact, the plotline could be described as “meandering,” but that is so fitting for the subject matter. None of the events of the book detract from its central theme, which is so clearly meditation. We are CONSTANTLY reminded that Kelton is seeking Adon Olam— and his determination is beautiful.
- BUT, that same determination is not, ultimately, what’s lauded. Instead, Kelton is learning that his efforts at meditation aren’t enough to sustain him. Throughout the novel, he learns more about “emptying” himself and allowing Yeshua to perform the work of meditation and delighting in His words.
- The meditation scenes offer a realistic picture of time with the Lord. They convey the frustration of not even knowing how to spend time with the Lord, paired with a resounding message of grace in our need. There are so many passages I bookmarked, throughout the novel, because of their truths. Honestly, the book read more like a devotional, a lot of the time, but I really appreciated the story format used to convey these messages. (As a note, I use the word “devotional” in a positive sense, as the Lord often uses devotionals to minister His truths to me.)
- This is the first book I have read where meditation, in the context of separation and retreat, furnishes the central plotline of the novel. Typically, we may see a character meditate before, say, making a decision. In this case, though, meditation becomes a central rhythm of Kelton’s life, so that he is much more equipped to hear Adon Olam‘s voice, even when he has returned to “regular” life.
There’s really not a lot of content to flag. Romance is minimal and only involves secondary characters. Below content notes are about things that I, peronally, feel the need to flag. (Many reviewers would not).
This is super nitpicky, but one line, about the country “returning” to its former prosperity caught my attention. I’m not sure if this was in any way an allusion to our “Christian” nation returning to its roots. I’m sensitive toward that kind of reasoning, because of the wickedness that “Christian” settlers used religion to justify. It is very possible that this had nothing to do with America and I am referencing a single line.
There is a character who learns of unexpected paternity. I would have liked to see more of her perspective on this, because it is such an earthshattering discovery that so many people are making in the time of DNA testing. This is one thing that did feel a bit more like a plot device, introduced more to further the story. Obviously, that’s the point of plot. I’m just making a note because this is something that really matters to me.
This is definitely a book that I would highly recommend. It’s such a beautiful call to oneness and intimacy with Jesus– the kind of book I’d recommend reading over time, like a devotional, rather than quickly. This is not a gripping novel. It’s one that’s great for slow rumination. Personally, I’d recommend it for adults, simply because I don’t think I’d have gotten the nuances as a teen.