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When Your Book Meets You Right Where You Are

Have you ever read a book, where the entire time, you think, “You too?? It’s not just me??” Maybe you laughed along because someone thinks and does the same ridiculous things you do. Perhaps you even cried, as you revisit past hurts and experiences that you keep locked away. If you could hug the writer, you would, because she put into words all the thoughts and feelings that you’ve been too embarrassed to admit out loud. You sigh with peace, as new perspectives have been shared, presenting things in a way that what once puzzled you, now makes more sense. All the while, the author weaves details throughout the writing which are so personal and unique, because they are details of a most intimate journey…a faith journey. Well my friend, if you haven’t experienced that entire emotional roller coaster in one book, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite book, Satisfied Finding Hope, Joy, and Contentment Right Where You Are by Alyssa Joy Bethke!

I was on my drive back from Seattle, when I couldn’t settle on what I wanted to do to occupy myself as I buckled in for the 3-5 hour drive. None of the Podcasts were calling my name, I was too drained from my trip to call any of my family and friends to catch up, and I didn’t have an audio book in queue that I was in the mood for. To be honest, I have no idea how I happened upon Satisfied. I wasn’t familiar with the author nor the book, so wouldn’t have searched for it. Divine intervention? Our Father has a way of knowing just what we need, just when we need it…

At the time, my faith journey was at a quiet hum in the background of my day to day. I attended church as often as I could, read devotions with my family around the dinner table, praised God for his wondrous creation amidst a beautiful hike…but that was about it….

I was in a peaceful and steady valley in my faith. I didn’t realize how badly my faith needed some love, care, and reminders.

I needed to be an active participant in my faith again, and this helped put me back into motion.

After finishing Satisfied on my drive back from Seattle…and while I was doing the dishes…and my makeup…and any other time I had a moment to myself, I knew this was a book I wanted to read and refer back to again and again, so I bought a beautiful copy to hold in my hands. Alyssa Joy Bethke presents such simple truths in our faith journey, but does it with a refreshing and honest perspective. Each time I listened to her and read her words, I felt as if I was out to coffee with a dear friend, one whom I could open up to, share everything with, and not for a moment feel judged or embarrassed. While we exchanged our stories over a cup of coffee and flakey buttery pastry (in my head at least), the stories all tied back to our central anchor: hope, joy, and contentment are found with Jesus. We will always be sustained, filled, and nurtured far more with Him, than in our circumstances, loved ones, or goals we have set. As someone who is always planning the next steps, the next goal to achieve, or thinking, “If I accomplish this…..then I will be truly happy”, I needed Alyssa’s loving reminders. Those accomplishments might temporarily bring fulfillment, but not for long. It’s only a matter of time before I set that bar one notch higher or set my sights on the next thing. Perhaps what I love even more? Alyssa was not afraid to approach just the opposite, those times we feel we have failed, we didn’t get it right, circumstances didn’t go according to plan, we find ourselves in a dark place. We experience such despair in those moments, and are afraid to let anyone in, even Jesus. Alyssa showed us through her own journey, that when we turn to our Heavenly Father in those deep valleys, we find He was hiking with us the whole time. He is the expert guide, knowing each trail perfectly and how to bring us back to brighter heights.

For my friends who are spreadsheet lovers, adore curling up with a good how-to guide or blueprint, and calculus was the greatest class ever, this book does not resemble a textbook or manual. Instead, this book delivers sweet nudges towards what you may know already, delivered by someone who feels like a close friend walking with you. For those who haven’t explored these truths or a relationship with Jesus, Alyssa presents relatable experiences that can inspire a person to start considering. The book is beautiful (almost feels like a coffee table book) and one I enjoy reading and underlining. I just might have a few pages where practically the whole thing is underlined! As an avid highlighter and writer in all my books, this one I gently underlined and wrote in pencil, I like pretty things, and wanted to keep this one pretty.

I don’t know where you find yourself today friend, but I would venture to guess that somewhere, you could use a little encouragement, you could use a reminder that you are not alone in what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing.  Questioning God? You are not alone. Experiencing profound and isolating grief? You are not alone. Tired, worn out, waiting for a miracle? You are not alone. Fearful, self-conscious, downward spiral of comparison? You are not alone. Feeling inadequate, not sure who you are anymore? You are not alone. Need a reminder to pay closer attention to the small things, to laugh, be content, to be thankful, power through? You are not alone.

While my hope is that you are excited to listen or read this book for yourself, my prayer is that it’s only the beginning. I pray that you give yourself permission to think about what you’ve been trying to bury. I pray that you open up and confide in those closest to you, but more importantly to the One Who Loves You Most. I pray this book reminds you or introduces you to the deepest truths that are waiting to be revealed, and you pick up a bible and explore those truths for yourself. Ponder, ask questions. I pray that you notice the small whispers of love, support, encouragement, and relief He has been speaking over you this whole time. I pray for you friend.

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