There are many reasons why I sit at this laptop and type away and click “publish.” One of the reasons is that I think it’s important to share stories and offer hope-in my case, Jesus. Friends, I have recently reached my 100th post in this space! I was thinking about how to celebrate this milestone and then it dawned on me… but it won’t make sense unless you read this post, and I’ll give you the info at the end.
My husband asked me a few days ago if I would be willing to be one of the speakers this summer in the series he offers our middle school students. I’m hesitant because our daughter is one of those students. She knows my story-we feel like honesty is really important around here. But her knowing my story versus her friends knowing my story? Two totally different things. It got me to thinking about my middle school and high school years.
I was not churchy enough for church but I was too churchy for my school friends. There was a big disconnect for me-in 8th grade, one of my school friends told me all about losing her virginity. A few days later, I sat with my church friends while they talked about the evils of Disney movies. I wasn’t either extreme, and I didn’t know where I fit. So, without going into detail, those years were filled with lots of searching. I was active in church and I did love God, but I also hated being left out of parties because I didn’t drink. I was always so afraid that if anybody from church REALLY knew me, they would be disappointed and angry with me. I lived lots of life with shame, carrying that shame into my relationship with my now husband because he was a good guy. He hadn’t made some of the same choices I had and I felt like I didn’t deserve him. It took a few years (even into marriage) to fully process this and receive some healing.
So there’s a podcaster and writer that I love. Her name is Jamie Ivey… she wrote this book about her journey through her high school and college years and the shame she carried into her own marriage to a guitar playing youth pastor. In so many ways, our stories run parallel. They’re not the same, but they are similar. And it got me to thinking… If I had these feelings and this shame, and if SHE had these feelings and this shame, and all of the ladies commenting on her book did too, maybe there are some ladies around me that are silently dealing with this.
Here’s what my earnest desire is. I long for community that is honest and vulnerable and looking towards hope. I want to get things in your hands that spur you in that direction. So, in honor of all of our stories and the stories I share here (100 so far!), I want to give away two copies of Jamie’s book, titled If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free.
Here’s what Jamie says about her book:
What if you knew all the moments of my past that I am not proud of? What if you really knew me, the messy parts that I’ve hoped to forget and worked hard to conceal? For so long, my greatest fear was what you might think of me if you only knew the whole story.
It’s exhausting, this guarding of our stories and struggles. Fear of being found out had caused me to hide—but I wasn’t just covering my flaws, I was unintentionally blocking the beauty of God’s grace. My journey to real freedom began when I quit running from my mess and started trusting Jesus to make something beautiful of it.
This book is that story. It’s stepping out of shame and insecurity into gospel freedom. It’s letting God turn our failures and frailties into testimonies of His faithfulness. I’ve discovered that when we quit hiding, God gets the glory and we are able to fully embrace not only our relationship with Him, but also with one another.
Transparency brings freedom, and in every moment, we’ll find that God can absolutely be trusted.
YES AND THANK YOU, MA’AM. This book would make a great gift for a high school or college grad, or for any young adult lady in your life. It would also be a great book for moms-you need to read it and let this inform you about what your own daughters may be dealing with. The portions where Jamie’s parents respond to her struggles were really difficult and beautiful. To be entered into the giveaway, just comment on this post or on the Facebook or Instagram posts it is shared on. The winners will randomly be chosen on Monday May 21st, at 6pm.
Thank you for reading with me, for sharing stories with me, and for chasing Jesus with me. I love this community I’ve been placed in and can’t wait to see what God has around the next corner.
(Jamie Ivey has no idea who I am and is not sponsoring this post or the giveaway.)