I had such big dreams when I moved overseas. I was going where no one else was heading, sharing Jesus with those who had never heard about him before. There would be churches and movements, transformation and discipleship and oh, the amazing stories I would be able to write home about.
A few months in to living in an isolated village area, I fell off my cross-cultural worker pedestal as it crumbled to the ground. How was I supposed to love the people there when I could hardly get along with my teammate? How was I supposed to see big things happen when I could hardly force myself out of bed? How was I supposed to share Jesus with my neighbors when they cut the electricity wires to our home, shut off our water, and gossiped about me within earshot?
Mostly I didn’t want to admit I was weak. It was too hard.
It’s not something that’s easy to talk about, is it? We don’t want to admit the places in our hearts and minds and bodies that are weak. We don’t want to talk about lack.
So, sisters, this space is going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to be vulnerable. And I think it’s going to be holy.
As we slowly ease into our next book, Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack by Alia Joy, I hope we can make a few commitments to each other.
First, let’s celebrate Alia’s courage to share so honestly about her story. There may be things that we identify with and other things we don’t. There may be stories that are hard for us to read. But I want to reach through the computer screen and the Kindle screen and hug this woman for her brave and beautiful words.
Second, let’s celebrate each other. As you feel your heart stirred by the words you are reading, I hope you will take a brave step and share your thoughts in the comments. Are there stories in your own life that need to be shared? It might even be just admitting, “I’m weak”. Or, “I’m struggling”. Let’s link arms across the pages and continents and help each other do that.
You aren’t alone in your weakness, and neither am I.
In Chapter 1, Alia Joy says, “To believe that the experiences we have are valid, that the feelings and expressions of them are true and real and worthy of being listened to, is one of the greatest mercies we offer each other.”
I love that we have the opportunity to do this for and with each other in so many ways through our community, and I look forward to seeing what the Father has in store as we read Glorious Weakness over the coming weeks!
There are a lot of painful things in Alia’s story, and I want to gently give you that warning as we start this book. Stories of sexual abuse, mental illness and suicidal ideation could be triggers. I hope this will not stop you from reading this book and dialoguing honestly as a community, but also take good care of your heart!
I love this quote from the introduction to the book: “My saltwater tears have mixed with the ash from the Refiner’s fire, and they form the ink to pen my story, a story that helps me find my way to the beauty that was always buried and waiting.”
In chapter 1, Alia shares a story of going to the ER and how things changed in the way she was treated when the doctors figured out what was seriously wrong. Do you have a story of what feeling seen and understood is like? What are lessons you have learned when you’ve had to admit you are weak in a certain area? What thoughts are being stirred up to the surface as we start this book?
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:
October 15: Chapters 2 & 3
October 22: Chapter 4
October 29: Chapter 5
November 5: Chapters 6 & 7
November 12: Chapter 8
November 19: Chapter 9
November 26: Chapters 10 & 11