“What if people knew all the moments of my past that I am not proud of? What if you really knew me, the parts that I’ve hoped to forget and worked to conceal? For so long, I was so afraid that if you only knew the mess I am so good at creating in my life, then things would be different. In many ways, my greatest fear was what you might think of me if you only knew the whole story,” (from the publisher).
Those words—“if you only knew”—paralyze and isolate women every hour of every day. We create masks to hide those things that we believe define us: our pasts, our mistakes, and the deep dark desires of our hearts.
For years, Jamie Ivey has cultivated an environment of vulnerability and grace in her podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Now, she shares her own struggles with “if you only knew” and how God transformed her deepest fears into opportunities.
Coffee with Jamie
Reading If You Only Knew was like sitting across from a friend with a mug full of steaming hot coffee. Jamie wrote these words with tenderness and vulnerability that shone through in every single chapter; she used her story of shame, discovery, and transformation to communicate vital gospel truths. Jamie says,
“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,” (Location 1208 in Kindle version).
I especially enjoyed Jamie’s challenges to the church and its leaders. In an age of #metoo and #churchtoo, transparency and openness about sin has never been more important. She claims,
“No one should be left wondering if those in positions of spiritual authority are above having any struggles. If the leaders of your church have never admitted to sin struggles from their platforms, you might need to find some new leaders,” (Location 1363 in Kindle version).
Jamie continues to show that she is a leader worth following; not only does she offer the good news of the gospel and its radical transformative power, but she illustrates it in her own life. She lives out her roles of wife, mom, Christian podcaster, and all-around influencer with compassion, courage, and joy that is simply contagious.
My only critiques of Jamie’s writing are its repetition and conversational style. She speaks with confidence and persuasion but that doesn’t exactly translate to her writing in the book. I admire her step of faith of telling her story in print, but her writing style is not up to par with her vocal communication. Even so, her heart and the gospel shines through.
I already loved Jamie from “The Happy Hour” but now I enjoy her even more. Knowing the journey she walked with God is encouraging for my own spiritual life and my pursuit of authentic community.
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from B&H Publishing Group and NetGalley. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own.
(Cover images courtesy of http://ifyouonlyknewbook.net/.)