I first learned of the Ivey family through a video showing their family going through the adoption process during the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. The longing for their children to be home, while at the same time praying for God to comfort and be near resonated with my heart. It was one of the key pieces God used to draw us into adoption, and why my family is comprised of a feisty 16 year old, two almost-30 year old parents, and 12 bonus foster children who have come in and out over the last 4 years. (Yes, we will be 31 when she graduates!) Their telling of their adoption process didn’t skip past the hard in between spots, or even the rough patches of parenting. Their vulnerability and trust in God struck something deep within and catalyzed us.
Fast forward a few years, and I discovered the “Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey” podcast. It is by far my most listened to, and recommended podcast in my life for the very same reason– vulnerability. Deep trust in God that touches all of life is constantly on display, and the interviews of actual people who God has used in varied ways remind me of the depth of people opposed to the two-dimensional instagram version.
I was ecstatic to get to be a part of the “launch team” for Jamie’s first book, If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free. I received a free ebook copy (after preordering) in exchange for telling YOU about it. For those of you who know me, I would have anyway!
I have to tell you. She did it again. I love this book and have told someone about it almost every day since I started it.
I’ve been a “church girl” for a long time, and am familiar with how things go. Often instead of walking in freedom, we sanitize our story, hiding the messy details and covering up the very places God is most at work in our lives. Our sin and struggle become things to manage. There are topics we don’t touch, or if we do, the story is about someone else or a long time ago.
Jamie challenges this tendency,
“When seen through the eyes of the gospel, our stories are not obstacles to our freedom; they are actually the key to unlocking it.”
This book is Jamie’s story of how God worked in her life. It feels a lot like reviewing the tapes of her experiences and speaking the gospel over the girl she was. Telling the truth she wished she knew at that point.
Let me tell you, we all need that. Whether it is the girl you were, or the woman you are today, the Gospel of Jesus intersects every bit of your life. Sin. Struggle. Failure. Success.
He knows it all, and loves us enough to die for us. Especially the parts we don’t talk about. Somehow the very things we want to hide are what God can use in the lives of others who may not know His love.
“When we hide the mess we’ve been through, we also hide the redemption that God has lavishly poured on us. We can’t proclaim His grace until we expose our mess.”
I’m convinced that the vulnerability that Jamie shares with us in this book is what women in the church are longing for. Even more, it is for women who want to love Jesus, but think their past (or current) life somehow disqualifies them from being a Christian. I cannot think of another book that so pointedly proclaims that sin is sin but Jesus is greater, and He is our only source of freedom.
You can find all the info for her book at http://ifyouonlyknewbook.net/ and until November 6th they have some awesome perks for pre-ordering including 20% off from Waterloo Style (aka Jamie’s awesome earring source) and 5 entries to win a 2-day getaway for two to Green Acres with travel included, a dinner with the Iveys, and a basket of Jamie’s favorite things.
If you win, I’d be happy to be your second person!
Holly is a wife of 6 years as well as mom to a teenager (by adoption) and a child she’ll meet in heaven. She’s been foster mom to 10 kids in the last 3 years, and works part time as a church bookkeeper. She loves interacting with people who are hungry for change and ready to see God at work in their lives. She studied Intercultural Studies at Corban University and loves to build bridges between cultures and people. She writes to tell the stories of what God has done, especially through her experiences of infertility, foster care, and adoption. These days you’ll find her catching up on housework while listening to a podcast, trying not to have dinner be a Pinterest fail, and sipping coffee while teaching her daughter to drive.