Title: A Perfect Mess
Author: Lisa Harper
Publisher’s Synopsis: On those days when French fries litter the floor of your minivan, when you think bad words about other drivers, when your smile hides an anxious heart–in those moments when you fall short of all you’d hoped to be–what does God see when He looks at you?
In your less-than-lovely moments,
God sees a precious daughter in need of His perfect love.
In this liberating look at how God adores and transforms imperfect people, Bible teacher Lisa Harper weaves poignant stories of her own personal foibles with a fresh take on selected Psalms to reveal a loving Father who remains your greatest champion even when you don’t feel anywhere close to holy.
Join Lisa in discovering what happens when we stop trying to hide our inadequacies and doubts and instead trust God with our anger, frustrations, flaws, and regrets. As you accept God’s loving invitation to exchange your junk for His joy, you’ll find the imperfect pieces of your life shaped into a glorious pattern of divine grace.
Oh I was looking forward to this book. When the email came into my inbox, I nearly danced. I was so excited. Any time a book focuses on God’s deep love for us while acknowledging that nothing we do can earn that love, I get almost wiggly in my anticipation to read it. I mean, let’s face it. We’re flawed. Anyone who knows me at all can probably give you a list in either alphabetical or chronological order of every last one of those things. I know I can. So, like any human, I need… crave that reassurance that the Lord truly does love me in spite of myself. My head knows it at all times, but my heart just needs a little reassurance now and again. I like to remind myself that “I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12 and 10:17).
So, when I picked up this book, I was ready for another infusion of “you are precious and loved by the Lord.” I wasn’t disappointed. I was, however, very surprised. You see, I didn’t know that it was a journey through a few select Psalms to see just how deeply we are loved by the Lord. I didn’t realize that I was going to be regaled with hysterical stories of climbing hills with dead goats and dropping bottoms. I didn’t expect to read about how she called the police on a policeman or how she rappelled from the rafters as a stunt at a women’s conference and somehow, in the middle of this hysterical book, make it all relevant to the general theme that the Lord treasures us. He paid the ultimate price for us. How could He not consider us precious!
I’ll be honest; I didn’t know if it’d be a fluff piece about “warm fuzzies with Jesus” or if it’d really delve into the Word while showing us the reality of our worth in and to Jesus. These kinds of books often are what my father calls ‘spiritual bubblegum’. Tastes good… gives the jaw a convincing workout… but in the end, the flavor is gone and you’re still hungry. This book was more like a really tender slice of roast with potatoes, carrots, green beans, and a cherry pie for dessert. (After all, those stories, while not necessary to the nutritional aspect of the meal, sure do give it that extra pizzaz that makes food a meal.) It had all of the meat and nutrition needed and the extra goodness of dessert.
At the end of each chapter, there are a few soul-searching questions under the heading, “Enough about me, what about you?” I’ll confess, while reading the book, I skipped over them. However, while writing this review, I started looking at them closely in order to make a semi-intelligent comment about them. In the spirit of full disclosure, I found myself reading through all of them and doing some deep introspection and questioning… just me and the Lord hashing out my innards… you know, the kind that a doctor couldn’t fix if he wanted to. (I assure you, any wise doctor wouldn’t want to.)
She asks some of the most interesting questions. This is not your typical, “What did you get out of this chapter?” type question list. These are soul stirring thoughts to really make you think. Some are funny, “Would you describe your relationship with Jesus as a fast dance like a fox trot or a samba, or a slower number like a waltz? Why?” Others really make your imagination chug to life again. “If you were to plan a non-traditional Bible study, describe some of the main components. For example, where would you meet? What would the schedule entail? Would it be interactive or more lecture oriented, like a classroom?” OY! How about, “What’s your favorite movie scene depicting a character overwhelmed with gratitude?”
Finally, if for no other reason (and there are plenty of others I assure you), this book is worth every penny if only to read the story of how her father taught her a lesson as he pulled her off a table. I think I’ll use that in my own life a million different ways.
This is one of those, “Buy the book. Do not go past GO, do not collect $200 dollars.” (The book is only 13.99 after all!) I’m really struggling with whether or not I want to give up my copy so I’m not telling yet. Meanwhile, I have AT LEAST one copy to give away to a blessed commenter compliments of Waterbrook Press. I’ll give it away sometime this weekend. I’d say when, but frankly, I don’t know when. Depends on how my mouth is doing.