It’s been awhile since I’ve recommended a book on here. To be honest, these days I find myself reading articles on my phone more often than finishing a book. This year I’ve been trying to stretch my brain back into books, but I feel myself getting board half way through a chapter, as my mind has gotten used to someone getting to the point in 2,000 words or less.
When I heard that Alia Joy was writing her first book, I was thrilled and followed her closely to get in line to be on her launch team that could preview the book before it was out. I’m going to be honest, (and probably look bad doing it) I started following her on twitter because I read someone somewhere a challenge to white theologians to not discount the theological voice and perspective of people of color. In my ignorance, I figured there just weren’t a lot, and I started seeking out Christians who loved the Lord, and loved his Word, and were a different race than me. (I found a lot of them, actually!) Going on mission trips as a teen, I caught a glimpse of the wonderful dimensions that the global church enriched my faith as opposed to my white, suburban, American Christian exposure. I realized I needed that in my adult life too.
Alia Joy is an Asian-American, and so she’s one of the people I followed just for the sake of listening. Her words are honest and grace-filled. I had no idea at the time that she would speak so clearly and directly to the deepest parts of my heart.
Let me start off by saying that this isn’t a book about racism. She does mention her struggle with it, and it’s part of the bigger picture, but this book goes so much deeper and broader. This is a book about weakness. It’s a book about not being good enough. It’s a book about living in pain.
Alia Joy talks about her childhood on the mission field in Nepal, and how they had to rush her to Holland when she was diagnosed with childhood leukemia. Then the “failed missionaries” returned to their home in Hawaii, where their pain was misunderstood and discounted by their church and they lived in dire poverty.
She talks about sexual abuse, feeling like you destroyed your parents’ ministry, chronic illness, and as an adult, living bipolar, begging God to heal her…and he doesn’t.
This isn’t a “downer” book. Don’t get me wrong, I cried. This isn’t all memoir either. There is the best handbook for handling pain and lamenting as a Christian I have ever read.
Lament isn’t something we talk about much in church. Grief is a mystery to us. Plainly said, this book is about comfort for those who are hurting.
It’s a book how God draws near to the brokenhearted. It’s the most honest thing I have ever read.
It comes out next week, and I already have a long list of friends I want to give it to. My friends, this book is a balm for your soul. It will make you brave to address the deep hurts, pains, and questions you have been trying to hide from God in an attempt to be a “good Christian.”
Most of the pages of this book look like this after I’ve read them:
Friends, this book held my attention from start to finish. I could barely put it down. I brought it on the plane with me. I’ve been carrying it in my purse, just so I can talk about it.
Am I allowed to show any more quotes without breaking copyright laws? I would quote the whole book if I could.
Being in a big writing group, I get asked to review books often. I have so little time to read, that I don’t often finish books that are sent to me. But this one held me captive, and convicted and comforted me all at the same time.
If you want to preorder this book coming out April 2, you can do that HERE. Do it because you’re tired. Do it because you know your weakness, and you want to see where God is in your pain.