Monday, June 25, 2018

Giving Back in Return

When Lacey Sturm wrote her first book, The Reason, I realized that one of the reasons I had connected with and enjoyed Flyleaf's music so much was Lacey's writing. And she also has an incredible testimony, so getting to hear that story in detail was a gift. Her second book, The Mystery, I found even more applicable to me on a personal level--at least, in the sense of pondering some things in the present and some things before they happen so as to be prepared for when you do come into certain situations. And, you know, God has a way of bringing us exactly the things we need at exactly the right time. Lacey's third book, The Return: Reflections on Loving God Back, was kind of like that.

It was also interesting (as I thought it might be, which is why I chose to read these books in this order rather than vice versa) to come into this book straight after reading Ashley Eckstein's book, It's Your Universe. To me, that book was kind of like the bare bones, straightforward, think on good and do good, live well and be well type of message; then this one came in with more detail and explained the why behind it all.

I've mentioned in some other posts that I have been discovering, like I never knew before, what worship means and what prayer means--and craving them both. I think that if I hadn't been in this stage of realizing all this in a different way than before, then maybe I wouldn't have been able to take in Lacey's words in the same way (or maybe then they just would have introduced me to what I was missing, who knows). As it was, so many time I would read what she said and think, yes, I know exactly what you mean. Or, oh, you're right, I need more of that or to remind myself of that.

Rather than being in typical narrative form, this book is a little different. There are chapters and part of the chapters are regular text. Part of them, though, are journal pieces from the past twenty years. The journals have Bible verses listed (the verses themselves aren't there, so at least sometimes you'll find yourself reaching out to look them up and read them as you go through), prayers, lists of kind things to do, song lyrics, and recipes. So you're truly going through and seeing Lacey's journey from being a young Christian to the Flyleaf days to having her family to the solo music days and up to the present.

She brings up some topics, like music and fame and family and temptation and depression and health and work and rest and worship. But the most significant thing about it all is never a specific topic: it's obedience to God--and obedience stemming from genuine love and true desire to serve God. Freedom, not bondage. So it's never about do this or do that. It's all about listening to God and reaching out to him constantly and in all things.

When I walk from my car to work, I look at the mountains and I look up at the sky and I feel myself here on earth reaching up toward heaven and I ask to be God's light to whoever it is that I come into contact with. This book feeds that perspective. That perspective of where am I today and right now and what should I be doing today and right now for God? There is a person; let me smile at them. There is something dirty; let me clean it. There is a task; let me attend to it. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

There are plenty of great lines in this book, great ways of putting concepts. But I'll let you read all that for yourself. The main message is to listen and to reach. Never forget the beauty of creation, of which we are all part, and the glory of its Creator, from whom all good things come.

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