I was thrilled when I was selected to be a part of Sarah Bessey’s launch team for her new book, Out of Sorts. I got an email telling me about the opportunity and I quickly applied. She had 100 spots to fill and I thought for sure that I was going to miss out. Turns out 300 applied within the first 24 hours. Sarah went to her publisher and said she wanted all of us. There was no way she could pare it down to 100. All 300 of us were her people. Since there were only 100 hard copies of the book to give away, we were all given a link to download a digital copy of the book. That was quite the process. I thought I would never find a compatible way to get the book on my Kindle app, but finally I was met with success and I happily dove into the new book of one of my favorite authors! It was certainly a treat. Later I found out that I was randomly selected as one of the 100 people who will get a hard copy of the book as well. I was over the moon. It felt like winning the lottery (because I am weird and bit overly dramatic these days).
Let me start off by saying that I discovered Sarah Bessy’s blog at the perfect season in my life. I was feeling out of sorts in a lot of ways. I was contemplating ministry and what place it would have in my life. I was also thinking about entering motherhood and that thought completely scared me and yet I was drawn to the idea of being a mom and investing in my own kiddos. Sarah’s writing validated a lot of what I was feeling. It helped me work through my thoughts on vocational ministry. Her writing also made me want to be a mother. Sarah wrote about motherhood in a way that made me want to experience it. She was real and honest. It wasn’t sugar coated, but the fact that she found such joy in motherhood really inspired me. She has a beautiful writing style and her words spoke life to me in a very important crossroad of my life. I will forever be grateful for the kindred spirit I have found in her. She is a treasure!
Out of Sorts is about Sarah’s faith journey and how she has arrived at the place she is today. She has seen many different sides of the church and different ways of life. She has used all her experiences to help sift her worldview down to Jesus and what he means in her life. I love the freedom that Sarah brings to her writing. She calls her self a recovering know-it-all and that she has spent time getting over her evangelical-hero-complex. She gives you space to ask questions and to have doubts. Sarah had to look at her past and decide what part of her faith she was going take with her and what parts were just baggage that Jesus never asked her carry. There is a time when we think we have it all figured out in a simple, childlike way and then we realize that things are bit more complicated than we would like. Not everything has an answer this side of heaven. It’s okay to wrestle and grow and let your faith develop with you. This is healthy.
Each chapter is full of good stuff and I honestly want to reread it so I can absorb it all. Being pregnant and super tired doesn’t make me the most critical thinker right now, but I will say that many points really touched me. I love Sarah’s stance on being “used” by God. I won’t do the chapter justice, but I so often we think it’s all about what we can do for God, how he wants big things from us. So often we think we need to measure up and that if we work hard enough or be something than God will be pleased and love us or bless us. The truth is God just wants us. He wants a relationship. He wants to be close to us. There is something about being loved just as you are that can be missed in our can-do, will-do culture. I’ve always been good at making lists, checking off boxes and living up to a certain standard. In my life I can see how I thought that the more I did for God, the more he would love me and bless me. This is craziness. I will never be good enough. That is why I need Jesus to be my savior. I can’t do it on my own. No matter what I think. Sarah’s encouragement to set aside the “used” mentality is what I needed to hear. I just want to be with Jesus. I want to love Jesus and receive his love. I want to be confident in my relationship with God and that it has nothing to do with how awesome I am or what I can do. I think our best life work comes out of that loving relationship. Not trying to keep up with others or be something I am not.
Another part of the book that really spoke to me was Sarah’s chapter on vocational ministry. Once upon a time I was on the church payroll and that really defined me. I thought I was doing “ministry” full time and I was really living my calling. True, I loved my season of full time ministry right alongside my husband. It was great time to grow and develop with Jeremy as a leader and a Christ-follower. Then I decided to become a stay at home mom. It seemed less glamorous… However, I can’t think of anything more important than influencing my young family to know and love Jesus. Investing in my kiddos is best work I can possibly do and I am grateful for the chance to do it. Sarah discusses how there is no line between sacred and secular work. All work can be done to the glory of God and all work is important. What a pastor does isn’t more important than a carpenter or a doctor or a janitor or a stay at home mom. We all get the chance to love Jesus and minister where we are at. All work is holy work when done with the right attitude and intention. I love being a part of the church. I love that my husband is a pastor. I am still very involved with ministry, but the pedestal of the “ministry lifestyle” broke for me a long time again. It’s always reassuring to hear that I am not the only one.
Sarah writes about her family, her faith journey, her kids, her church, her husband. She writes about wilderness seasons. I love to hear other people’s faith stories. I love to see where they have been and how they arrived at who they are now. I know that I am not the same Amy as 10 years ago. I have grown and changed. Sarah’s honesty gives us permission to be honest with our own faith journeys. Her writing is empowering and passionate and tender. She cares for her reader and really wants them to find the same freedom she has found. The thing that I love the most about Sarah is that Jesus is at the center of it all. You might see the subtitle of this book and think something about evolving faith is weird or new age-ish. But it’s not. It’s all about Jesus. It’s about loving him and loving his people and making a difference in the world where you are at and with what you have. What a sweet message and one that I hope to embody.