I've recently been reading BITTERSWEET by Shauna Niequist and I can't begin to tell you how much I'm loving her book. It is a super easy read with short chapters. It's almost as if you are sitting down for lunch with her at a cute little bistro and she's just telling you her story. It feels very personal and intimate and for that I'm in love with it.
I've been underlining like crazy and feel as though so much of what she's saying I can relate to, or completely describe my life at different times.
From the first chapter:
I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.
But for a long season, I forgot all those things. I didn't stop believing in God. It wasn't a crisis of faith. I prayed and served and pursued a life of faith the way I had before that season and the way I still do now. But I realized all at once, sitting in church on a cold dark night, that the story I was telling was the wrong one – or at the very least, an incomplete one. I had been telling the story about how hard it was. That's not the whole story. The rest of the story is that I failed to live with hope and courage and lived instead a long season of whining, self-indulgence, and fear. This is my confession.
I read that a few weeks ago and immediately felt a connection to those thoughts. I felt as though I got it. I live in fear. I life in self-indulgence. I live in a state of whining.
You ever feel as though you have lost a part of you? As if you somehow without knowing it have changed and you're not sure when it happened or how it happened? I mean you are the same you, but something is different. For me I feel as though I'm going through a change like never before. Fighting fear. Fighting change. Fighting pride. Fighting insignificance. Fighting everything Satan is throwing at me. Some days I feel as though the fight was lost. Other days I feel as though I kicked fear, failure, self-indulgence, change and pride right in the behind. It's like for the first time in a long time change is hard and I'm not doing well with it.
She finished out the first chapter like this:
If you dig in and fight the changes, they will smash you to bits. They'll hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you. But if you can find it within yourself, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you'll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there's truly nothing sweeter. Unclench your firsts, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you.
Oh my goodness, did you catch that. “Trust in the goodness of God” What a good word for today. TRUST IN THE GOODNESS OF GOD. When change is hard. When you feel like a failure. When you feel as though you are nothing. When you feel as though you are drowning in disbelief. It is there that you allow the goodness of God and the truths that you know to wash over you and support you even when you feel as though the change is overcoming you. TRUST IN THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
I finished this book a couple of months ago and loved it! So bear and raw at times – praise the Lord for women who are willing to share their story and their “mess”…may it give strength to the rest of us!
Just read this quote from Elisabeth Elliot today that I think relates:
“He never gives a thorn without this added grace, he takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides his face.”
If it takes a thorn, a disappointment, a setback, if it takes that, to pin the veil up so that I can see Jesus, bring it on!
I JUST finished this book yesterday! I agree…really good. As I was reading it, I thought of so many people that I wanted to gift the book to. Plus, it made me want to have a dinner party ASAP. 😉
you read so much!! love it. super inspiring.
Thank you for posting this. I REALLY needed it. I have been dealing with those feelings for a while and they are smacking me in the forehead and this just really puts it into clear, concise words. I need to be trusting in the goodness of God. I’m not through it yet, but I’m almost there.
I read this book with our Moms group that meets once a week. As we were finishing the book one of our members who was a single expectant mother lost her baby full term. It rocked all of our worlds! But it was incredible to see God’s timing of this book in all of our lives! This book lead us through several really dark times in life. But had so much encouragement for us all! Enjoy it and learn from it! =) thanks for the great post
One of my all time favorite books! I will look forward to reading your thoughts as you go through the book!
Next on your list… “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. It will equally rock your world.