Review

Come, Sit, Stay: Finding Rest for Your Soul

by Ellen Vaughn

If a potential reader saw only the title and cover photo of this book, she might think that it should be categorized in the “dog training” section of a bookstore. (Actually, there is pet book available with this very same title.) But, no, the subtitle and tag line reveal a more humane topic: “finding rest for your soul” and “an invitation to a deeper life in Christ.”

"Vaughn and her family, including teens, are very connected to and active in mission work, especially in the Dominican Republic. Her international awareness and viewpoint, including anecdotes, are a refreshing reminder of our often myopic vision and of God’s work in the world beyond our narrow boundaries."

Writer Ellen Vaughn has been the “with” byline writer of a number of books by notables such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Denise Jackson and Charles Colson. She’s also the author of fiction and nonfiction titles that include RADICAL GRATITUDE. Here in COME, SIT, STAY, she jumps off from Jesus’ exhortation in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” From there, it’s obvious that, yes, her household includes a dog; her biblical insights are loosely wound around canine metaphors. To the three obedience commands in her title, her outline adds a fourth verb: rest, which she draws from Jesus’ use as a resultant noun (“you will find rest for your souls.”).

Vaughn takes considerable space introducing and describing the God with whom we are to come, sit, stay and rest; the book sometimes feels to be as much about God’s redemptive plan as it is about us --- her presumably female readers. For example, several chapters in part one (“Come to Grace”) dealing with overcoming shame are largely biblical teaching, through Old and New Testament passages. 

When you pick up this book, don’t expect a manual explaining how to find and rest in God. A Catholic writer might have laid out instruction in classic methods of prayer and scriptural meditation, but Vaughn stays away from any advised pattern: “Life in the Spirit is no formula. It is a relationship with a living Lord who will live in us and guide us if we yield our precious control to Him.”

Vaughn and her family, including teens, are very connected to and active in mission work, especially in the Dominican Republic. Her international awareness and viewpoint, including anecdotes, are a refreshing reminder of our often myopic vision and of God’s work in the world beyond our narrow boundaries.

The final chapters, about resting in trust and blessing, describe God’s rest for his children and also include stories of Christians reaching out to provide respite to others, especially overburdened caretakers of children with handicaps. The rest God provides sometimes comes by way of fellow travelers. And the ultimate rest, she concludes, is found in the world to come.

Reviewed by Evelyn Bence on July 18, 2012

Come, Sit, Stay: Finding Rest for Your Soul
by Ellen Vaughn