Both in my back yard — a family in my community — and all across the globe, loss seems to prevail. Sometimes you catch yourself with the deceiving thought: who’s really winning, here?
I have a little girl who pads down the stairs after bedtime. She can’t sleep. What if they come after me too, for my faith? she asks. And she only knows a small part of the earth’s rumblings.
We all only know a small part. Every story holds mystery for all but Him.
And here I am, six weeks until my own layered, nuanced, story comes out. How does it all fit? The earth groans and people’s lives are slain and I’m like my little girl, padding down the stairs at night, wondering “how do I fit into the world’s story?”
He assures me of thoughts much bigger than mine and all I need to do is say, yes, God. Yes to You. Yes to my part in history, in this mystery.
So I prepare to launch a book. And pray. And say another yes under my breath.
Though we’d planned to let you in, today, on a special something we’ve been preparing, to introduce the book — we’re a bit behind in getting it ready. (With five kids, hours or a day behind — is right on time.)
In the meantime, I want to share with you the words of my friend Katie who is walking with Him in such a way that has made many others hungry for more. You can see it in her words. I can’t imagine a better introduction to my book and am pretty giddy about having this friend, in this way, be a part of the story. Her own story is a game changer, if you haven’t yet read it.
Here, from the foreword of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet:
I open my computer on an impossible day, and without fail there is an email from Sara. How did she know? I wonder. But really it is not surprising. Sara hears from God. Her spirit is so tuned in to His heart that I am never surprised when the prayers she prays over me via email match up exactly with what I am feeling and thinking and learning, even without my having breathed a word of it to her.
Isn’t it amazing how God loves us? It is rare that such a cherished friendship could be forged across an ocean after only very brief interactions. I am amazed that God cares about me so much that He would take the intimate, sacred pleas and whispers of my heart and impart them to someone so far away. And I am amazed at Sara’s continued faithfulness to pray for and over me, my heart, and my family. God uses this woman to speak to me, and it is my prayer that as you read her words, her heart laid bare here on these pages, He will speak to you too.
Sara understands deeply something that I am still slowly learning, reaching to grasp. She knows what it is to hope when it doesn’t make sense, to seek God with our hearts when our flesh wants to run. She knows what it is to seek Him out of obedience, to trust Him and even hope in Him as a sacrifice of praise. Sara knows who God is in the long dark nights, and that He is that same God on the warm spring mornings that burst with new life.
Sara knows communion with the Father. She calls it adoration, and I know that it moves His heart. Sara has learned that God is much more concerned with who we are becoming than with what we are doing, and she shares it all here as she cries over carrot peelings and rejoices in the miracle of a tiny bit of growth in her child’s heart.
I have been learning this lesson for years and I learn it anew in these pages: Our God, He can make baskets of bread out of the tiny loaves we hand Him. He can make a life of glory out of our weak-kneed, timid yes to Him. As C. S. Lewis said, “To love is to be vulnerable” — open to love and then, too, open to disappointment. Too often we try to avoid that scary place where we love so deep, so much, our hearts could break. But without the bitterness, we would never appreciate the sweetness.
It is my great privilege to introduce you to my friend Sara. This is a book for those hearts who long to see Him in the mess. It is Sara’s personal story, written with eloquence and grace, about a God who rescued her from barrenness and carried her to a land of abundance, dripping with milk and honey and all things His goodness. She teaches me again what I have already known; she teaches me to hope anew. He is the candle in the darkness, the light that radiates glory and sprinkles new mercies every morning. My prayer is that as you read these words, you will be drawn to a hope, to the Father, whose extravagant love never ceases to amaze.
In six weeks from today comes my basket of bread.
For those who pre-order Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Zondervan has made accessible (i.e. made some pretty sweet gifts out of) a 16-Day Walk Through Adoration AND a compilation of Printables from some of the favorites on this blog.
To receive these two gifts, please email a copy of your proof of purchase to: EBTISbook@gmail.com
Photos courtesy of Cherish Andrea Photography. All printables on this blog designed by Mandie Joy.