Recap: The main idea in these Unhurried Lent posts is that I’m taking time each day during Lent to slow myself down by reflecting on and creatively responding to a theme.
When I started to think of this theme I thought, “I could just put up a selfie and that would say it all.”
And then I thought, this is a great opportunity to review Alia Joy’s book Glorious Weakness.
About the Book:
As a girl, Alia Joy came face to face with weakness, poverty, and loss in ways that made her doubt God was good. There were times when it felt as if God had abandoned her. What she didn’t realize then was that God was always there, calling her to abandon herself.
In this deeply personal exploration of what it means to be “poor in spirit,” Joy challenges our cultural proclivity to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.” She calls on readers to embrace true vulnerability and authenticity with God and with one another, showing how weakness does not disqualify us from inclusion in the kingdom of God–instead, it is our very invitation to enter in.
Anyone who has struggled with feeling inadequate, disillusioned, or just too broken will find hope. This message is an antidote to despair, helping readers reclaim the ways God is good, even when life is anything but.
First I want to say that Alia is a beautiful writer and that this book has some really encouraging and powerful things to say. BUT, as it says in the introduction, this book is not for everyone.
Alia’s story spans a number of themes and I kept getting broadsided by things that I didn’t see coming. If you have had medical or sexual trauma in your life or you have unresolved/unhealed wounds around transitions, family, church, mental illness or end of life losses take some caution approaching this book. When the publisher’s description says this is a deeply personal exploration they aren’t kidding. These are the kind of stories that I hear often as a spiritual director and several times I set this book aside feeling a weight of compassion fatigue just from reading what Alia so openly shared. It is one thing to hear tears dripping through your telephone line and have the opportunity to be present with someone. It is another thing altogether to read about raw pain and have no way to interact with the one telling you the story.
The thing that I love is that in the telling of these deeply moving and personal stories Alia kept finding the places where God was filling her own lack with His fullness, even when she couldn’t see it. I also loved how she kept returning to the idea of living out the language of hope in the midst of our circumstances.
In summary I think that Glorious Weakness was a beautifully written, but emotionally demanding memoir of finding God in our weakness and seeing His hand-print of glory on our lives.
I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.