Gracelaced Book Review

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.
~James Bryce

About six weeks ago I opened up a box with one of the most beautiful devotional books I’ve ever had the privilege of holding.  I immediately began to thumb through page after page of gorgeous artwork and photography kind of enamored with the thought and skill laid into each one.  Design wise everything about it called out to me.  It made me want to curl up on the couch with some coffee and chocolate because chocolate and coffee are two things that take a book from great to amazing. 

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While l as an artist would like to judge this book solely on how pretty it is I know I can’t.  A book is not measured by how beautifully it was designed, I have read some pretty terrible beautiful books, it’s measured by the truth we take away from it.  A good book, any good story really, should feed our souls and reveal truths that sometimes get lost in our day-to-day realities.  

This book in particular, Gracelaced by Ruth Chou Simons, delivers on ever count.  Not only is it beautiful, it is authentic and overflowing with the deep truth, think coffee table book meets devotional book.

I’ve read Ruth’s writing for several years and have always been impressed with her ability to use words not only to convey truth but to point us to the Truth Giver in a way that is not demeaning or self righteous but encouraging and equipping.  The book is laid out into four seasons winter, spring, summer, and fall with each season serving a different purpose.

Winter is for “Resting in who He is”

Spring is for “Rehearsing the truth” He says about you

Summer “Responding in faith” to those truths

Fall is for “Remembering His provision”

Lately I’ve been wrestling with being overwhelmed while preparing for our school year which begins next week.  I’ve taken the last month away from social media so that I might get some clarity and focus but when I think about all I’d like to do:

  • grow a small business
  • minister to women
  • raise my kids
  • love my husband
  • home school
  • church
  • keep the house clean
  • get to know my neighbors
  • pour into friendships
  • have time in the Word

I can almost immediately feel my chest tightening and anxiety take over.  I’ve never been an anxious person but here dwelling in my list of to do’s I realize how short I fall and I begin to measure myself by those bullet points.  They scream at me “failure” and in that moment I want to throw in the towel and just give up.

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A few weeks ago as the overwhelming anxiety once again began to creep in I was reading the fall section of Ruth’s book.  I turned to that first devotional and read the words:

“God makes us needy that we might find him generous; He allows us to feel to weak to handle all of the details that we might delight in His sovereignty.” *

There it was.  I was needy.  I felt crushed and broken under all of the priorities I’d made for myself and in a moment My forgetful heart was reminded of the One who holds the world together.  She continues later,

“You’re held, not because you can handle it all, but because Jesus can.” *

I can’t handle it all.  I can’t juggle anything really, I’m a terrible juggler, but I don’t have to.  I needed the reminder that I am not measured by how much I can accomplish my Savior has already finished the most important work and He can more than handle these burdens I carry.  They aren’t mine to bear.  I am a finite person with a limited bandwidth but I serve an infinite God.  

Over and over throughout the book Ruth reminds us of who God is because, when we know who He is we can fully understand who we are.  We get real clarity when we look at life through the lens of God’s character.  We see what matters most.  I realized a few weeks ago while lying in bed reading this book that most of the things causing me anxiety were not the most important things and that if God calls us to something He will equip us for it but friends, He is not always calling us to all the things.  There are seasons, life ebbs and flows, so today breath in His grace.  Let Him carry the burdens that feel to heavy for you.  Remember you are not measured by your to do list, likes on Facebook, Instagram, or how outwardly successful you are here. 

You are measured by Christ’s finished work on the cross.

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I would highly recommend Ruth’s book to everyone.  Find it on her website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local Christian bookstore.  

P.S.  I also loved that I felt like this book gave me permission to doodle all over it.  Seriously, you need this in your life.  You’ll thank me later 🙂


*All quotes from Gracelaced book by Ruth Chou Simons Copyright 2017
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Renew Lock Screens

In celebration of this weeks release of our new sermon journal we’ve decided to offer a few complementary lock screens!

There are coordinating screen savers to choose from.  Enjoy! 🙂

Beginning the Good Work

 Well this is my first official blog post.  I’ve had this site for about a month and haven’t done much with it.  Consider this a belated apology to all of you who have visited the site and wondered where the actual content was.  Hopefully you read the about page and about our mission.  It’s been kind of a rough start.  Not the way one normally wants to start a business but never the less this is how things are.  I had every intention of opening up shop the week I bought the domain name for this blog.  Which was about five weeks ago.  July was a crazy busy month for our family.  My husband literally was home for three days.  But amidst the wonderful chaos (because it really was an amazing month) we made a huge life changing decision.  Which I will most likely explain on a later date.   Because of everything that happened last month this new little business of mine was put on the back burner.

Now I’m going to be real honest here.  I have the tendency to get super excited about something put all my energy into it and then get totally burned out.  This may or may not have contributed to the delay as well but I think the deeper issue here is my own insecurity.  I love to do what I do.  I love to paint and design things. I am by nature a creator.  I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t work with my hands.  I’ve always wanted to start a small business and have tried here and there.  So this is kind of a perfect fit for me.  An online shop gives me the freedom to make and sell while also being able to focus on my family.  And to be completely transparent there is probably going to come a time in the near future when we may need the extra income.  But in the back of my mind there are the doubts that creep in.  It’s like they are there just waiting.  I begin to think things like “Nobody’s going to buy this.  You’re going to fail.  There are so many people way better than you why even start.  You are not good enough.”  And in this world of mom-preneurs it can be easy to fall into this.  Don’t believe me.  Go check out some of the amazing people I follow on Instagram.  Sometimes the amount of talent is overwhelming.  People are opening print and art shops everywhere.  How is it possible to compete?  So, I almost gave into the pressure.  The lies that if you may not succeed you might as well raise the white flag of surrender and not even try to begin with and then yesterday happened.

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It started because I saw the sign I made that says “Just Begin the Good Work” and then yesterday morning I read this post from gracelaced.com.   It impacted me on so many levels the main quote was from G.K. Chesterton and said “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”  Finally at about 4:30 I was able to do my devotions which happened to be Hebrews 10 (one of my favorite passages) the last couple verses say this:

“but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

All year long I’ve seen posts about being “brave” and while that’s wonderful I was kind of tired of women telling other women to “be brave.”  It became cliche.  But really that was my problem I was allowing my fear to dictate my decisions.  Actually I do this a lot.  Fear can be crippling.  The enemy can use it to keep us from doing things that are really important.  Not that this is one of those things.  But the reality is if I can’t trust God in this simple thing.  What does that say about my faith?  So yesterday I decided whether I fail or not I am going to try.  Pretty heavy for my first post.  I hope to have everything listed in the shop by Thursday.

Happy Tuesday Everyone.

Cassi