I used to belong to a legalistic church. A myriad of rules were the gauge by which worthiness was measured. You can imagine that, while many of the congregation were sincere in pursing their faith, they were easily distracted by the need to measure up. Emphasis switched from grace to works. Judgement quickly followed. Appearances were deceiving because people felt pressured to appear a certain way on Sunday that didn’t necessarily reflect their true selves the rest of the week. That disconnect was profound and I honestly think we see it to some degree in all our churches. We have this need to be good so we will be loved because our finite human minds can’t conceive of the unconditional love our Savior extends.
As I’ve said before, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but the title of this little book caught my attention: Beloved Mess : God’s Perfect Love For Your Imperfect Life. It’s quite the gem. Simply written. Powerfully direct. Kimm Crandall delivers a truth we all need to hear. “What we are seeking after most – to be loved completely and unconditionally – we already have!” (p 117) Bearing witness through personal story, Kim addresses all the messy stuff in life. Doubt. Guilt. Fear. There’s no pretending here. Her candid approach is appealing…and compelling. “The good news of the gospel gives us the courage to be honest about our doubts and our fears without being destroyed by them.” (p 110)
I love the way the material is presented. It’s easy to read with highlighted quotes on nearly every page. The kind of book you can read cover to cover or just pick up and easily browse. Great accessibility for every kind of reader. And there’s this great scripture appendix of messes (my term not the author’s) with headings like Gospel Truths for…when you’ve blown it…when your heart hurts…when you’re discouraged etc. A very approachable and refreshing look at the true meaning of grace.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.