My Favorites: Sarah Bessey and Audrey Assad

There is a book I’ve read recently that I’ve been dying to talk about. I knew from the beginning this book would be important for me, and it has been more than I imagined. It took me so long to read it because I wanted to savor every page, to journal my thoughts as they came, and to let God do the work I knew he wanted to do in me through it. Sarah Bessey is one of my favorite writers, mainly because her genuine love for Jesus oozes out of every line. She’s not afraid to challenge the status quo, but there is not an ounce of bitterness, cynicism, or arrogance in the way she writes. She is simply following Jesus. And hasn’t following the King of Kings always been subversive, both to the ways of the world and to the religion-obsessed?

outofsorts

In Out of Sorts, Bessey eloquently describes her evolving faith, and how God led her on a journey of trading in assumptions and easy answers for a living, thriving, intimacy with God. It’s a journey of both grief and freedom. She describes her widely varied church experiences with such tenderness and accuracy that all of us can relate to it somehow. I found myself laughing, tearing up, and reading my own story in the pages of hers.

Out of Sorts is warm cup of tea and an arm around the shoulder to those of us who feel, or who have ever felt “out of sorts.” It’s a place to know we are not alone. It’s a place to give voice to the grief we experience in life in a way that doesn’t diminish the pain, but welcomes God’s genuine comfort. It’s permission to admit that we have questions, and a comforting reassurance that God is plenty big enough for all of them. It’s a safe place to open our hearts and take an honest look at what we see, even if it’s not all shiny and perfect. It’s a story of hurt, yes, but of healing and redemption and beauty from brokenness.

Out of Sorts is a scary but wonderful invitation. It’s an invitation to face the questions, to look them square in the eye and begin sorting through them. It’s an invitation to “set out” and search for God, and to not be afraid of where that might take us. It’s an invitation to be liberated from beliefs, practices, or traditions that have shackled us to unhealthy views of God. It’s an invitation to those of us who’ve been hurt by our faith family to begin the process of healing. It’s an invitation to widen our view of God and begin to see him for how truly wild, gorgeous, and big he is.

Reading this book has helped me to dust off the cobwebs of boxes of beliefs I’ve accumulated over the years. It’s been such a tremendous help in sorting through what is really of God and what is actually manmade. In the end, those manmade things will blow over like a house of cards. I want a faith that is not shaky and won’t crumble at the slightest questioning, and I want the freedom to get to know God for who he truly is. And it’s to that that Sarah Bessey calls us all in this wonderful book. Please read it. I know you won’t regret it!

It comes out November 3, so mark your calendars, put the reminder in your phone, or pre-order here! (In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not paid a penny for saying all that. I feel privileged to be on the launch team, but that just means I got to read it early, and if I liked it and felt so compelled, to tell you just that. So there you go! I LOVED it.)

Normally, this would be the part where I’d tell you the music I’m enjoying lately, and I will. But I’ll also give you the link to the “Out of Sorts Playlist,” because it’s just such a perfect soundtrack to the book. If you grew up in the church, just reading it will make you giggle. But let’s be honest, you’re gonna LOVE every second of that trip down memory lane. And maybe you’ll even experience some of it in a new light after reading the book. So if you’re curious, that playlist is here.

evenuntodeath

Now for what I’ve been listening to lately: Audrey Assad. She’s one of my all-time favorites forever and ever amen. Beautiful voice, deep and thoughtful lyrics, challenging and mind-renewing stuff. Lately I’ve been LOVING “Even Unto Death.” But she’s also a part of a group called LEVV. They have a new project out called “Strange Fire” and I absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, fresh, and—dare I say—riveting. Check it out:

strangefire

Well, folks. That’s a wrap. I wish all of us a happy weekend, and all of us parents whose kids will be overloaded with sugar, an extra dose of patience.

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