it's filled w/the nitty gritty, ugly toughness of real life and a pursuit for the realness of God in all of it...so, naturally, it has me thinking of the challenging lives (that's putting it lamely and almost offensively mild) of many friends and family.
praying it speaks to you as well:
"to live full of grace", how do u wake up to joy & grace & beauty & all that is the fullest life when there's so much loss and crushed dreams and all that empties one out...how does one fully live when life is full of hurt. The human inheritance, the legacy of the Garden: "No, God, we won't take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and I didn't sign up for this and this is a mess and can't You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I'll take it from here, thanks. And God? Thanks for nothing." (the serpents hissing lie, p14) ...instead of knowing the material world for what it was meant to be: the means to communion w/God (p16) we look and swell w/the ache of a broken, battered planet, what we ascribe as the negligent work of an indifferent Creator. Do we ever think of this busted-up place as the result of us ingrates, unsatisfied, we who punctured it all w/a bite? From that Garden beginning, God has had a different purpose for us. His intent has never been to slyly orchestrate our ruin. He means to rename us - to return us to our true names, our truest selves; to heal our soul holes, to return us to our full glory. Us, unworthy. Us who took a bite out of the fruit and tore into our own souls, that drain hole where joy slips away. He means to fill us with glory again. With glory and grace. (p17) To choose to live as one filling w/His grace! Choosing to fill with all that He freely gives and fully live - with glory and grace and God. It is a choice. Living with losses, one may choose to still say yes. Choose to say yes to what He freely gives. The choice to replace the closed, clenched fists with open hands to freely receive whatever God gives.
One more excerpt, I won't ruin the rest of the book for ya, I promise😉:
there's a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means...His secret purpose framed from the very beginning [is] to bring us to our full glory (1 Cor 2:7). He means to fill us with glory and grace again. Grace - it means favor, a free readiness; a free & ready favor...it's about choosing to live as one filling with His grace, choosing to fill with all that He freely gives and fully live - w/glory & grace & God; the choice to open the hands to freely receive whatever God gives - could I choose to live that? The choice to say yes or no to Gods graces is the linchpin of it all, of everything.
We think we control so much...really, we control so little. It's God who decides it all. Not us.
I may not know why everything happens the way it does, but do I have to? Maybe I don't want to change the story because I don't know what a different ending holds. Maybe it's accepting there are things we simply don't understand. But He does.
When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose. When we are despairing, we can choose to live as Israelites gathering manna. For 40 long years, Gods people daily eat manna - a substance whose name literally means, "What is it?" Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning. More than 14,600 days they take their nourishment from that which they don't comprehend. They find soul-filling in the inexplicable. They eat the mystery. And the mystery, that which makes no sense, is "like wafers of honey" on the lips.
I wonder if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. See thru to God. That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see thru the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.
How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-thru-to-God places? To more-of-God places?
How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion?
To fully live - to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly.
(The rest of her book takes u on her journey to this "emptier," fuller life! Its entitled "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. Additional info can be found on her website: http://www.aholyexperience.com/) :)