Fortress Press

Receiving This Life: Practicing the Deepest Belonging

Receiving This Life

Practicing the Deepest Belonging

Kara K. Root (Author)


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Amid a frantic pace of life that often leaves us feeling disconnected and ungrounded, Receiving This Life helps the reader engage with life and become attuned to their belonging to God and each other. Kara K. Root empowers the reader to embrace life as sacred and receive it as a gift.

The book offers reflections on living a life of presence and receptivity that seeks meaning and responds to God's promptings. It invites and models a stance of attunement that orients us toward receiving life's ordinary, holy moments as a gift, returning us to our deepest belonging. It includes prayers and liturgies that can be used by individuals, families, or congregations over and over again.

Receiving This Life is a natural follow-up to Root's first book, The Deepest Belonging--pairing prayers and liturgies with further devotional essays on many of the topics covered there, such as death, disillusionment, sabbath, hope, and connections between human beings.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506488905
  • eBook ISBN 9781506488912
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 306
  • Publication Date December 19, 2023


I loved this book! Being with Kara Root in these pages is a pure gift. Part spiritual director, part kitchen-table friend, Root gently unzipped every article of anxious faith I own and left my "worry time" self on the floor. Every chapter was a flood of relief. Don't reach for this book. Receive it.

Kenda Creasy Dean, Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church, and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary, and author of Innovating for Love: Joining God's Expedition Through Christian Social Innovation and Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church

Receiving This Life is a blessing. Kara Root's honesty, relentless hope, and fearless imagination empower me as a pastor to accompany my community of faith courageously in uncertain times. Root is a cheerleader, guide, and companion along the way of God. Through stories, practices, and prayers, she shares her thoughtful exposition on life lived in faithful rebellion against the way of fear. Her voice is just what I need as a follower of Jesus in order to retune my heart and rediscover my belonging in this noisy, busy world.

Rev. Jessica Daum, senior pastor, First Lutheran Church, Brookings, South Dakota

Reading Receiving This Life is like coming up for air. Kara Root's words are comfort to those of us who are still reconciling ourselves to the lives we have rather than ones we want. She reminds us that it is in the disillusionment of our own ability to be extraordinary that we find God's gifts of grace and hope. The book reminds us that extraordinary glory can be found in the everyday. In the knowledge that we can only come as we actually are, Root shares her practical guidance to draw us back to the God who is waiting for us to stop and take notice.

Becca Dean, senior lecturer in youth ministry, Ridley Hall, University of Cambridge

Receiving This Life is a true gift of a book. Root is an inspired storyteller, and the wisdom and care shared in these pages will be life-giving and faith-shaping for pastors and lay readers alike. I will be quoting from this book and drawing from it as a resource for my own ministry for years and years to come. Again, what a gift.

Austin Carty, author of The Pastor's Bookshelf: Why Reading Matters for Ministry

As a parent and a pastor, I'm constantly on the lookout for multisensory, intergenerational, interactive rhythms and postures that will ground and guide the imaginations and daily experiences of my children and my congregation in the way, truth, and life of Jesus. Receiving This Life checks all those boxes. The reflections, prayers, and practices provided by Kara Root are simple without being simplistic. Whether you are young or old, inexperienced or seasoned, you will be guided into a deepening awareness of the always-everywhere presence of God, and you will be inspired with practical ways in which to play your part in the "deeper, truer story" in which we are "saved by God acting through our smallness to achieve remarkable things." Because Root provides examples of "kid-friendly contemplative," grassroots-y ways in which we become fully alive human beings who bear the image of God in the likeness of Christ, this book has already become a go-to resource for me.

Jonathan Janzen, pastoral elder, Highland Community Church, Abbotsford, British Columbia

In this excellent book, Kara Root weaves together deep theological insights with stories from everyday life. Real takeaways from the book are the prayers and spiritual practices that help the reader attune to God, searching for times and places where God is revealed to us in our lives. As a minister, I would gladly recommend this book for personal use, at congregation retreats, in Bible-study groups, or as part of spiritual counseling. It is the kind of book you did not know you needed until you started reading it.

Rev. Kjersti Gautestad Norheim, vicar, Church of Norway

From the moment I began reading, I knew I was going to love Receiving This Life. It didn't disappoint. Kara Root anchors the book in relatable moments. Full of wisdom, gentle reminders, and helpful practices, it calls us deeper into God and ourselves. Root reminds us over and over again that our chief identity is beloved children of God, belonging to God and one another. She calls us back to ourselves, helping us receive our lives as gift. Root has such an authentic voice, and she doesn't shy away from the ups and downs of life. This book takes us on a journey with her in such a resonant way, affirming it all and showing us a way through to the other side, where there is freedom, rest, and joy.

Shannon Hopkins, cofounder of RootedGood

Kara Root's luminous Receiving this Life reminds us that we were created for freedom and joy. Both are inextricably bound up in our life together. We were created to give ourselves to others and this world freely, to experience the joy of belonging to God and each other. Yet we often forget that. We are daily bombarded by messages to the contrary that seek to convince us that we are not free, that we must earn or win or strive for something more, tricking us into missing the blessed and joyful present God has created and given us as a gift. Which is why Root writes: to remind us; to call us back to God's purpose and delight; to teach us to discern the gift in front of us. Through her incisive wisdom, poetic writing, and the prayers and practices she provides, Root seeks to help us receive this life once again in freedom and joy. And in doing so, she offers us a precious gift.

David J. Lose, senior pastor, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, and former president, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia