Last week, in preparation for my upcoming book, Glorious Weakness: Discovering God In All We Lack, I opened up book launch team applications. One of the questions was simply, “Why do you want to be on Alia’s launch team?”
I read the answers with tears of joy because even though writing this book often felt like it cost me everything, I’m passionate about it, and the love being poured out in support astounded me. God’s tenderness wrecked me.
I’ve spilled words online for the last seven years. You’ve offered your stories back to me. We’ve said me too, and our prayers mingled with our tears. I’ve felt space made for me as I’ve made space for you.
C.S. Lewis talks about the nature of praise and how it doesn’t come to fruition until it’s shared. Not in an oversaturated, plugged-in-online-24-7 way but in the nudge of the person next to you while saying, “Did you see that? Wasn’t it glorious!”
Wonder is consummate when we connect to the divine, when we are blown away and we can’t help but gasp and say, “Wow God, nice job!”
I continue to be astounded by God’s mercy. In the midst of anxiety, depression, sorrow, life in general, God’s goodness is a resounding truth.
If I shared the naked facts of my life, you might wonder if I was deluded believing such things against the constancy of suffering. But the facts don’t reveal the whole truth. If the truth of God’s goodness is unknown, it seems nothing but foolishness to the world.
Mostly, my writing is that conversation. It’s my space to say, “Can you see? Because God’s glory is everywhere, and it’s too much to absorb and hold quiet.” Even when I hurt, Jesus is near. Even when I don’t understand, He knows. Even when I am scared or alone or doubting, I am never forsaken. And neither are you.
God’s intention is always our flourishing and His glory, and they are never dissonant purposes. I know this now.
Are you listening to God’s lovesong? The chords are strung everywhere. I hope you hear them here when you read my words — even the ones I’ve written in the dark.
A wonder-filled life is simply bearing witness to our loves. We notice and acknowledge that we are loved through strong tea and warm mugs, crackling fireplaces and blushing sunsets. We are loved by the grasp of neighborly hands offering help, faithful tongues gathered in prayer, and the angelic swoon of old hymns. We are loved by our dog’s unmitigated adoration and hot soup. Goodness, soup should be its very own love language.
We are loved by peonies blooming in April, unraveling their petals like the arabesque of a ballerina’s tulle skirt. We are loved by brilliant words and good stories and the musty splendor of an old book. We are loved by kind eyes and me too’s.
We are heartsick for wholeness, and only God fills the emptiness. But it’s done in a thousand different ways. God is love — wouldn’t it make sense we’d feel Him most when living with our whole hearts?
Ask anyone suffering from anxiety or depression how easy it is to recall wholehearted living when their mind is sludge or racing so fast they can’t capture a clear thought.
Ask anyone struggling how easy it is to wonder at the goodness of God, instead of finding God’s goodness in wonder.
It’s no secret I’m rubbish at multitasking. And I have a lot of tasks, the least of which is surviving bipolar disorder. So in this season of launching my book, I’m holding to goodness with both fists.
The allure of fame has never known my name. I’m content with small. I’m content with personal and close and knowing my readers by face, name, and often story. It’s hard for me to know how to steward bigger spaces this book might bring, but I want to be faithful.
My family, friends, and readers remind me it’s okay to take time to steward these words. It’s okay to say it’s necessary and right to do what you love. It’s a way we are loved. To love something and commit to it because of the enjoyment of it, because the praise in it points back to God — that’s what I felt when I was reading those reader responses.
There is no divide between secular and sacred. Do the things you love; do them well. Enjoying God is the strongest proof that the gospel is real and enough.
So cook Julia Child’s beef bourguignon recipe, paint a watercolor sunset, sing at the top of your lungs. Write poetry on the backs of receipts and scraps of paper with your to-do list. Play in the snow and make angels with your arms spread wide like worship. Run till your heart pounds in your ears. Stop to pick wildflowers along the side of the road. Eat pie and burn the good candles on a weeknight. Browse the golden-paged stacks of the used bookstore. Pull out Settlers of Catan and invite the neighbors over for game night. Hold someone in your arms and let them hold you back.
We are loved by a good God.
In the past year of writing this book while battling chronic illness and the roller coaster of bipolar moods, God solidified my resolve to see His goodness, to understand it in a way that isn’t shattered by circumstances.
The language of hope must be practiced to stay fluent, and the syllables are love.
We are heartsick for wholeness, and only God fills the emptiness. - @AliaJoyH: Click To Tweet