What if you knew?

{This is my monthly book review.  Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts.}

What if you knew me, really knew me? Would you approve? What if you knew my past as well as my present, would you be appalled at my imperfections or could you overlook my failures, those things I try to carefully conceal? Would you still love me or even like me?

These are questions author Jamie Ivey seemed to struggle with as she grew from teen to young adult and even into her married and family life.

We women are masters of cover up. We learn to dress and highlight the positive while camouflaging the other, what we see as less than. We add make up to our faces and highlights to our hair in hopes we look better. Sometimes we wear a smile that hides the internal struggle.

Jamie Ivey wrote a memoir revealing her whole truth. Jamie is creator and host of The Happy Hour podcast where she interviews people, asking questions that call for real conversations, encouraging truthfulness and authenticity.

Her book, If You Only Knew, My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free, is a candid look at her past mistakes, failures, sins, and how she tried to hide in order to maintain the “good Christian” persona. As she admits, it was a hard act to keep playing.


Ivey’s writing style is conversational. She leaves no stone unturned in telling the truth of the life she lived while trying to get to freedom in Christ. She discovered – or at least finally believed –  that Christ loves us even when we fall down, again and again, that His mercies endure forever, that His forgiveness knows no end.

Today she is a pastor’s wife. She ministers to women in prison offering hope beyond their failures. She urges women to be open with one another, to share struggles and quit acting like we have it all together. She assures us when we are vulnerable with each other, we invite others to be vulnerable too. Hiding ourselves is exhausting. Freedom is beautiful.


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NOTE:   I received a copy of If You Only Knew, by Jamie Ivey provided by B&H Publishing, for an honest review.  The book was free.  The words are my very own.

Friday’s prayer

On Fridays I pray for my country.

I watch the news sometimes or hear Sweet William recount the latest offering from opposing stations and perspectives. It never seems to be good news. Opinions are argued out, people talk over one another, and I shrink, trying to make sense of it all.

Each side proposes to have the answers. Do they? Can they back up their words with actions? Can they bring promised change? Can they make life better?

As we approach election day in the United States, the future is uncertain. By mid-November, one side will celebrate and the other side will wail that we are destined for inescapable disaster.

I can easily get caught up in the rhetoric, the reports that have no basis of reality but only seek to stir up controversy. As I watch and listen, I begin to think it is all about controversy.

I ask a question posed by Pontius Pilate to Jesus over 2,000 years ago: What is truth?

Truth stood before Pilate, but he was unaware, consumed with other agendas. I perceive we are guilty of the same. We are consumed with our own projects and plans. Truth has become selective, personal, changeable, situational. It has been reshaped until it is not truth at all. No wonder our foundations are shaky.

I pray for my country, the coming elections and for people to take responsibility to vote their conscience and exercise their rights as citizens. I pray that people will do the right thing. I pray that love would replace hatred, that light would shine in darkness, that good would overcome evil. I pray that God will be honored and we will see who He is. The I AM. The Self-Existent One. The essence of love as well as consuming, burning holiness.

I won’t give in to fear though it is frightening in the cities and country towns. I remember God is sovereign over the elections, over our country, and over every thing that lives and breathes and moves in the vast creation.

He is righteous and will set things right though He tarries long. He reaches for the sinner, the fallen, the lost, the self-righteous, the wanderer. His love is unending. He is faithful and just, awesome in power, completely other than all else. He is holy. And He is good.

What is truth? I know what it is. It is Jesus. And no matter what the newscasters report or what the world looks like around me, He is Lord over all.

And that is undeniable reality.



Strength will rise

Lines were drawn in the sand months ago. The games have begun; opponents faced off; and I hear in the distance, “Red Rover, Red Rover, we dare you come over.”

This side says one thing. The other side contradicts. The first side rebuts. And the air feels hotter than my outdoor thermometer indicates.

Who do I believe? When the words are conflicting, but each declares it to be the honest-to-god truth, who really is the truth teller?

Can one look polished, smile and shade the truth while reading from a telemonitor?

I wonder who we are. One nation under God? Indivisible? With liberty and justice? For all?

My mind whirls. There are choices to be made, and I must choose wisely.

In the thick of spins and commentary and promises that sound convincing and too good to be true, who is really speaking the whole truth and nothing but? I wonder.

The atmosphere is tornadic. Yet I hear a melody in my heart, coming from somewhere deep, my spirit connecting with the Spirit.

And He sings,

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles


There is One truth-teller. There is One who always keeps His promises. There is One who is strong and able to do what seems impossible. There is One who gives hope to the weary, the downtrodden, the helpless, the defenseless.

He is the Everlasting God. I will lift my eyes to Him, away from the noise and fray of the crowds, so that I am not afraid of the future.

Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord.





Sunday grace and truth

Truth.  What is truth?

Popular opinions fluctuate continually.

Current fashions are created by designers and advertisers.  And we buy into it.

Scientists still search for truth.  They used to think the world was flat.

Medical practices change with new discoveries.  What was standard procedure in the early 1900’s is taboo today.  And it might just kill you.

Dietary advice adjusts regularly telling us what’s good to eat and what’s not.

What’s a person supposed to believe?  What is truth?

“Truth is God’s opinion on any matter.”  — Priscilla Shirer

It does not change with every wind of teaching that blows and tosses us around.

The enemy lies.  God tells the truth.  The enemy deceives.  God reveals Himself.  The enemy is darkness, hiding, concealing, tricking us.  God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all.  He is not holding out on us.

Seek the truth.  Know the truth.  Apply the truth.  Walk in truth.  It is strength, freedom and light.  And it does not change.

Sunday grace.


The journey to the cross – the trial

Day 38 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Read about Jesus’ arrest and trial.

(Matthew 26:47 – 27:26; Mark 14:43 – 15:21; Luke 22:47 – 23:25; John 18:1 – 19:16)


When I see the word “trial” above,  I must shake my head in disgust.  Jesus had no trial.  His doom was embedded in the hearts of evil men intent on having their way and getting rid of this rabble-rouser once and for all long before Judas ever struck a deal for 30 coins.

Jesus had disrupted their Sabbath services by healing the sick.  He had trashed their traditions by pointing to the true intent of the Law.  He had threatened their political clout and watered down their power by pointing people to a relationship with an Abba Father who loved them.

Oh yes, Jesus was in their cross-fire, and they would stop at nothing to accomplish their goal.  How little they really understood the Law and the Prophets and knew the God who spoke through them.

They refused to see God in the flesh standing there.

But others saw a glint of glory.  Pilate’s wife warned her husband to have nothing to do with this just man.  Pilate himself said he found no fault in him.  Even the betrayer returned with his contract payment and admitted he had betrayed innocent blood.

And one of the thieves on the cross, guilty as sin, saw a glimpse of a King about to return to His kingdom.

It was a mockery, this thing called a trial.  Yet, Jesus own words to Pilate reveal what was actually happening.  “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.

Then Pilate asked, “What is truth?”  The world still asks that question.  They are still looking for truth.

The Way, the Truth, the Life stood before Pilate, face to face, eye to eye.  This was Pilate’s moment to see, but instead he gave in to the crowd, he caved to their pressure.  He washed his hands and walked away from his moment of decision.

The same moment of decision comes to each of us as we determine who Jesus really is.  Is He a king?  Is He the Messiah?  Is he the One who came as a lamb to die for the sins of the world?

Examine His teachings, His actions, and His life.  You will see that Jesus was guilty of one thing.  He loved this world to death.

The truth you seek is embodied in the One called Jesus.