Glorious Weakness Book Review
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
A few months ago a red book came in the mail and it took me on an unexpected journey. I sat with this paperback atop my lap in a dimly lit room while my earbuds released tunes from SYML, Nick Wilson, Audrey Assad, Sarah Reeves, Sam Fender, and probably Hollow Coves sprinkled with a dab of Paramore. I like it all.
I flipped the pages to find a gripping forward by Seth Haines whose work I am now adding to all my TBR piles, and will fight stalking his Twitter account before I can get my hands on a book.
He opens up with a raw scene from inside a hospital with his sick son and writes about his experience receiving phone calls from church members.
This beginning story set a theme: We can live scripted or get real.
Right away, I knew Glorious Weakness was for me. I had to cut about 1,000 words out so I wouldn't go to jail for over-sharing (is that a thing?) but someone willing to share their hardest crud and we weren't being rushed or trying to fix each other?
Yes. Keep the words coming.
How Glorious Weakness Impacted Me
I have fought writing this review for two reasons. One, because I felt nothing I would write would give it justice. And it won't. You just have to read it, but that's not good enough for a review so I will dive into more of why below.
Two, because it brushed elbows with a few areas of my life, and I wasn't sure I would be able to muster up the courage or keep the keyboard dry. Reading many of Alia's words were like reading my own journals, except her writing is beyond exquisite.
You'll float along the sea of sentences and forget you are not there with her.
One day I was hunched over the pages holding in a large breath during one of the chapters that hit close to home. My daughter was in the next room warming up for her first ballet recital, and I thought, "This is what is needed in the world. This message. More of this."
Right away Alia made me feel not so alone with words admitting mom-weaknesses; the kind that we think but rarely share.
Each chapter is thoughtfully named and includes a powerful, thought-provoking quote. The kind I want to tape on my wall, and sometimes do, and stare at for longer than I care to admit.
"I hurt to much to pretend," she said, right at a moment I was fighting to hold my own crap in.
She writes the real, the raw, the downright ugly parts we of the faith, whatever that exactly means--have a hard time letting slip from our lips.
I needed this, y'all. Her book broke down something inside me that's been banging to get out.
If you are tired of flowery words and just wish someone would sit with you for a while, Alia's collection of stories that come together in a masterful way creating this memoir-type read will do just that.
More from the Book
"Being seen and understood goes a long way toward killing the pain." - Alia Joy
Refreshingly sorrowful might not be the best way to describe the chapters that hit close to home for me, but I'll go with it for now. With a head nod and a blow of the nose, it was nice to know another sister out there existed, who understood the dark paths but also wasn't afraid to talk about them. I've held so much in, no wonder I have felt fakish, practiced, and lonely.
The author of this tear-stained read admits that, "we learn early on that lack is embarrassing."
I don't know about you but I have spent years striving for (even the gifts) what others have. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the Instagram square.
Why You Should Buy This Book
I wish I had this book as a teen.
Five years ago. Two years ago. Last Christmas.
This message is needed: "We associate God's favor with a clean bill of health, a flush bank account, and the ability to bless others.
We don't believe our ability to bless others might result from our poverty. Our need might be the thing that most blesses the body of Christ."
"We love to make excuses and write off pain as a lack of faith and offer remedies and platitudes and never push in deeper to community to help carry a burden stretched wide and intended for the whole church to bear."
I am sitting here eating chips and salsa tearing up again from both this review and the snack, as I recall all things I wanted to say. I knew this would happen. I knew it. I knew when I sat down to fully flesh this out, nothing would be good enough.
If you have (n)ever read my reviews and taken me up on a recommendation, definitely do it now. Please just buy this book.
Reading Alia's gift of words will open your heart up wider than you bargained for, and leave you weeping, feeling loved, at some point--I pray.
Our experiences reading this will differ I am sure. If you have already read it, I would love to hear your thoughts. I am still soaking up the words, and having gone back over it to write this review, it's like reading it for the first time.
I don't know that I've read a book this earth shaking for me, but it was on point for where I am in my life, so the timing has my jaw on the floor.
My Amazon Review
"I received this book months ago and normally it doesn't take me this long to get through a book to leave a review, but Alia's memoirish masterpiece left me breathless at every turn.
I posted a photo of the tab frenzy. So many sentences were dripping with deep thoughts that left me nodding, feeling not so alone, or left my jaw on the floor for how eloquently she stated the very things that have troubled my own heart for so long.
This book had me mostly in tears, and I've been doing my own soul-searching so to find someone that seems like they're "in your head," is priceless--but also unexpected when it actually happens.
I would recommend this book to anyone, first off. After that, for those who feel alone, are mourning, know someone who is mourning, hurt by the church, confused by God and his ways, church-goers, lost, is grieving a loss of any kind at all--this is for you.
I had to drink this book in like thick medicine and chew the chapters for how much she offered in each. I recommend having a notebook and pen on hand. This book was needed in the world. Make it one you read this year.
If you're like me, the forward by Seth will hook you right away.
I received my copy from Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own."