The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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 🙂