If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey

To be completely honest, I was drawn to this book by the beautiful cover. Yeah, yeah, I know. I just completely violated that whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” cliché. However, working at LifeWay, I come across quite a few books. New releases are nothing new (Ha!). One January morning, however, I noticed that copies of this book had flooded our receiving room with a sticky note declaring its release date: 1-30-2018. Its beautiful red cover caught my eye, and I immediately picked it up and skimmed the back. I was sold.

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Now, I must admit: I have a habit of buying books. Books upon books upon books. Books that I read in a day. Books that I begin and… well… I don’t get around to reading for a while (admittedly, the latter situation happens a tad bit more often). When I started reading this book, though, I knew that I had to finish it.

Reading Jamie’s writing is like having a conversation with an old friend. Through the pages of this book, she opens up and tells her entire story – with no fluff or holding back. She’s thorough. She’s honest. She writes about her mistakes, her insecurities, and her tendencies to mentally “pin” letters of insecurity and shame to herself (like Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter).

Reading Jamie’s story felt like taking a long sigh of relief. Her story includes heartbreak and sadness, but also redemption and God’s faithfulness. Her story is a beautiful reminder that we are not alone in our heartbreaks and failures and moments of not feeling like we are enough. It declares loudly that when we share our messy, imperfect, mistake-filled stories, we reveal God’s glory and mercy. When we are vulnerable and authentic, we show others around us that letting down our walls is okay. When we open up our struggles to people who love and support us, we give them the opportunity to open up, too, and we ultimately take the weight and pressure to be perfect off of our own shoulders. Instead, we reveal the glorious grace and mercy of Jesus. As Jamie beautifully writes,

Being vulnerable – sharing our need for a Savior – points people to Jesus and not ourselves. And He’s who they need to be looking at, not us!

Thank you, Jamie, for sharing your story. This book encouraged and inspired me. It was an awesome reminder of who God is, and who I am in Christ. I know it’ll be one that I find myself returning to again.

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You can pick up a copy of Jamie’s book from Amazon, or your local LifeWay or Barnes & Noble. You can also visit your local LifeWay on Monday, April 9th, 2018 at 7 p.m. to attend a book club where we’ll be discussing the book (I’ll be leading the one at my store! 😉 ).