Unhurried Lent Day 33: Book Review – Glorious Weakness

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.

Something Weak

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.

My Thoughts:

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.

Unhurried Lent: Day 31 & 32

Something Old, Something New

I had an eye exam yesterday so I didn’t get around to posting since my eyes didn’t want to return to normal after being dilated. But I thought these two posts go well together anyway.

I love that here in the UK you can find “something old” everywhere you turn. I found these two old glass cosmetic jars from 1820 in a little shop in England and I think they are lovely. And the book is about Llantwit Major, specifically about the university that existed here in the 5th century. This book was published in 1893. I think it was such a fabulous find, especially since I didn’t even find it here locally.

Something Old

I wasn’t entirely sure what to post about something new. I mean, I bought a new tube of toothpaste this week, but that didn’t seem very exciting. So here is a new-ish vase that I made last month. I like the way the shape turned out.

Glass Vase

Unhurried Lent: Day 29

A Thought

My thought for today is from the book Defiant Joy by Stasi Eldredge. Sometimes it is such an encouraging thought to know that I am wrong.

Too often I run away from my own heart out of refusal to engage it. It takes energy and space to become present to the truth of my inner world, and when I am overwhelmed, the thought of such activity is, well, overwhelming.

It’s overwhelming, anyway, until it can no longer be ignored because God places a roadblock in my path that forces me to face the fact that I am in need of a Savior. I get to the place where I am pressed to accept my own weakness, and it causes me to hold my life and heart open before the merciful eyes of a loving Father. It draws me up short to see where I fall short in my own strivings so that I may once again discover the source of my identity, which is found right where I am, smack-dab in the middle of God’s loving gaze.

God calls us to run away to Him, not from Him. He asks us to not fix our gaze on other people’s lives and compare them to our own but to look to Him for the source of our worthy life. He asks us to find our rest in Him. He is our resting place. When I am exhausted, the temptation is to turn from God, thinking that He requires more from me than I have to give. I may believe I need to muster some passion from a dry well and focus on improving my performance. I may think I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps when I’m too tired to put my shoes on. I am wrong.

Stasi Eldrege – Defiant Joy

Book Review: The Governess of Penwythe Hall

About the Book:

https://amzn.to/2FKC6oe

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request for her to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she’s tried desperately to forget.

Jac Twethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced, he battles both grief at his brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess, and the mystery shrouding her past, proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

My Thoughts:

Sarah Ladd is a captivating writer who excels at telling stories of intrigue and romance. I enjoyed the setting of Cornwall and another look at free-trading apart from what I’d seen on Poldark. I found the book entertaining and engaging. The only other thing I’d mention is that Sarah Ladd writes clean stories with a pinch of faith, rather than stories where the characters exhibit a vibrant relationship with Jesus. So if you are looking for a well written tale, this is your book. If you are looking for a story that is particularly Kingdom oriented this one won’t fit the bill.

I received a free digital galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Unhurried Lent: Day 27

A Word

So I’ve been fighting a migraine all day, which gives a person plenty of time to think while trying to take your mind off the blinding pain…at least until the prescriptions knock you out. So I didn’t do any creating, but this is the word that I’ve been dialoguing with Jesus about today.

Trust

This image came from a calendar. I don’t own the rights to it or know who to credit.

In fact this may be the word that I have spent the most time dialoguing with Jesus about over the course of my life. I like the image above, but it is the flowery version. I think I experience trust as something much grittier, like an “all in” cliff diving type of image. I have a board of Pinterest that gives me some visual reminders.

Trust is like Cliff Diving
It’s an “all in” kind of thing

Visit my Pinterest board here

Unhurried Lent: Days 25 & 26

Somewhere Distant – Somewhere Close

When I started thinking about somewhere distant I could hear the lyrics of Rich Mullins in my head…”the other side of the world is not so far away.”

Maybe it comes with age, technology and travel, but no place seems particularly distant anymore. The one thing that feels distant to me is the new heaven and new earth. I long for that kingdom with every fiber of my being, but sometimes it feels so very far away.

And then again, it also feels close. I see God at work, redeeming, restoring, making new, and suddenly I remember that the kingdom is coming every day. It is close. It is right around every corner. It is as certain as spring after a long winter season.

So I decided to make yesterday’s post and today’s post a combination.

Perspective: A long way off or just around the bend

If you haven’t been following along the blog thus far, the main idea in these posts is that I’m taking time each day during Lent to slow myself down by reflecting on and creatively responding to a theme.

Unhuried Lent: Day 23

Somewhere Warm

I’m pretty much always going to choose someplace cold over someplace warm, unless that someplace warm is cuddling under a blanket, in front of a roaring fire drinking hot chocolate and watching the snow fall outside. But, since I don’t have a fireplace handy for a photo op I’ll let Thailand serve as my someplace warm. Though in truth I think of Thailand as someplace ridiculously hot and not just “warm”.

Isn’t it great that God is creative and has made such diversity? I know a lot of people who prefer warm climates to cold ones. There is beauty in that uniqueness.

Rural Thailand
Elephants are amazing and they like warm climates