A few weeks ago I was asked to think about what I am truly passionate about. The obvious things came to mind: my people, music, coffee, books, my dog. For some reason, I stopped before I began to say any of those things and a thought hit me – the thing I am absolutely passionate about? Stories. In whatever format they come, fictional or not. I love a good story, especially a good redemption story. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I love to see people realize that they have a story and that their individual story is significant and should be treasured. I hope that every person who does not want to keep living their story will read just one more sentence, one more page, and give that story another chance.
I knew when I started this blog that the underlining theme would be about stories. Tales From A Bibliophile is an outlet for me to share how Jesus is redeeming my story, and a part of my own story is rooted deeply in books. I was practically raised in a library and am now a Children’s Librarian. Stories, and their power to remind us that we are not alone, played a huge role in shaping my life. That being said, one of the regular posts you can expect from me will be a new book update every Tuesday. Somedays it will be what I’m reading, or what I’m excited to read, and others it will be a review of a book I’ve finished and think you should read.
Today, I want to share with you a book that has made more of a difference in my life more than any other book I’ve read this year. A few months ago, I tried to put Nothing To Prove by Jennie Allen on hold through my library, but it was too new so I either had to wait or purchase it. I am trying so hard to not buy books unless they are absolutely something I want to keep, so I decided to wait. I put it on hold again recently and just finished the library copy week before last. It took every thing in me to not highlight that book and write in the margin, God spoke to me so much through this book. I restrained from highlighting the library copy, but I did immediately go purchase a copy. It came today and I’ve already marked my favorite passages. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am about to read this book, cover to cover, again this week.
Here’s a quick video of Jennie talking about her book. Honestly, I can tell you all about it, but I wanted you to hear the honesty and trembling in her voice when she talks.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I talk a lot about light and darkness. I have had many days where I thought I might drown in the darkness. Hearing Jennie talk about the light and darkness in this video was so refreshing, so reaffirming to the things God has been telling me about my depression, about the darkness I have experienced.
Jennie’s book is so honest. She knows what it is like to be exhausted, to constantly try to be everything we feel like we should be The constant message of her book is that we are not enough, but that’s okay because Jesus is enough and he is all we need. After the initial introduction section, each chapter starts with a story from the book of John. Several of you will be familiar with many of the stories, Jennie used the story of the woman at the well, the feeding of the 5,000, and the death and resurrection of Lazarus. The stories are short and written from the perspective of the main character in the story and it really pulls you into what is happening. The stories from John tie into the rest of the chapter, and at the end Jennie has an experience guide. This guide includes a relevant scripture passage, and four sections to reflect on how the chapter topic relates to your life. Each of these sections are a different level of complexity, and include Step Into the Stream, Wade in Deeper, Quench Your Thirst, and The Overflow. There are also various prompts throughout the chapters to reflect on specific questions. This is a really good book to sit down and work your way through with a pen and highlighter, which is why I needed to purchase my own copy.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Nothing To Prove:
“Jesus has a plan for our suffering, but that cannot be accomplished if we keep trying to push it into a safe, tidy place in our closet. His plans in us are accomplished as we move into the pain. We can face the suffering because Jesus is there in the midst of it.” –Jennie Allen