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I have had this book (and every single one she's ever written) on my wishlist since I first heard a podcast with Jen Hatmaker and Annie F. Downs. Who knew that this music gal would ever love podcasts, but I would say I listen to them as much as I listen to music nowadays. Starting with Jen's, which you can find in your favorite podcast provider as "For the Love with Jen Hatmaker." However, I anxiously await Annie's new podcasts each week, too. Find her at "That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs."
So now that we have that down, I want to tell you to read this book. I underlined things in the foreword, all through the book, the epilogue...and even the "thank you" section if I'm honest. So many of her struggles I relate to, and so sometimes it was as if I was reading my own struggles and thoughts in black and white (which is both scary and awe-inspiring).
Scripture is woven throughout the entire book. I love that she refers to stories, sections, people I know from the Bible. The chapter about tragedy was pretty much all underlined and read and re-read. Reading that sometimes looking for lovely in tragedy is about feeling the pain, calling hurt what it is, not pretending everything is ok, and just living without ignoring the hurt. (p. 76 loosely quoted)
She quotes Psalm 126:5 in another chapter, which I've read how many times but never has stuck out to me. But that day? Someone I loved was in crisis. I couldn't help. If you know me, you know that I cry when I feel anything, so I was doing a lot of prayer crying. It was perfect timing, or as I like to think of it - me being reminded that I am not alone, He sees, He knows.
She talks about music. This quote from p. 102 resonated so deeply with me about music:
"That's what music does. It holds you together when you think you'll fall apart. It reminds you of truth. It grabs your hand as you try to cross the finish line. It fills your ears with peach when it feels like there is no peace."So good, right?
In another chapter, she reiterates the need for "your people." I need more people. I have some. I need to invest more in the ones I have and the ones God is laying on my heart. She talked about the story in Exodus 17 where Moses needed his arms held up because that's when the Israelites were winning, and how different people had to help because he physically couldn't do it after so many hours. So good.
One of my favorite quotes in the book...I could not underline it enough (may it be the cry of my heart):
"As I'm collecting these moments that matter, I'm actually just seeing more of Him. Because in the end, that's what it's all about. When you find Jesus, you have found lovely. He is everything we need."Yes, yes, yes. All the praise hands.
Thank you, Annie F. Downs, for a beautiful introspective and honest piece of art. I can't wait to read all the others.