Have you ever read a book that you felt you could have written yourself? That asks and answers the exact questions you have about life and God and religion? That touches you deep down in your soul and brings you comfort like none other before? Beloved Mess: God’s Perfect Love for Your Imperfect Life by Kimm Crandall is that book for me.
Kimm describes Grace perfectly. “As you likely know, the process of stain removal is not so much about the stain disappearing as it is about transferring the stain from the soiled garment to the clean cloth. It is suggested that you use a white cloth as a blotting rag. This way, when blotting the stain with the rag soaked in stain-removing solvent, you will begin to see the stain transfer onto the white rag. There is an exchange that happens between the two pieces of material. The dirty one becomes clean as the stain is transferred to the clean white blotting rag. What once was dirty has become clean because what once was clean took the stain onto itself. Grace is the solvent that allows the stain to be lifted.”
What a perfect description on what Jesus has done for us. She also reminds us that Grace is messy. That “it is often not given to the person who we think deserves it.” That it is “shocking, unnerving, and doesn’t make sense.” That HIS grace is perfect and no matter what we’ve done he continues to extend us that beautiful grace, over and over. And His grace is stubborn, “The very moment I am sure I have infuriated God is the exact moment that gives him reason to love me all the more.”
Crandall’s chapter on Doubt has been a life changer for me. As Christians, we often worry that if we doubt God or occasionally question his existence we are not truly saved. “The weakest believer among us receives the same strong Christ as does the believer whose faith seems unmoved.” And that, “strong faith-or, more appropriately, your lack thereof- is not connected to some cosmic feeding tube of God’s grace. He does not dole out his love and faithfulness based on the strength of our trust.” She reminds us that when we struggle with unbelief that we don’t have to sink, that we can rest knowing that these doubts may be part of our growing process in Him.
If you’re looking for a book that let’s you know you don’t have to be perfect or have it all together to be beloved by our creator- this is it. We are his beloved. In our mess, in our doubt, he is reaching for us. Wrapping his arms around us and he never, ever stops loving us. He forgives us over and over. We’re all sinners and fall short of his glory, and only by this grace are we saved.
This book was such a comfort for me this week, before I underwent my surgery. It helped me immensely. It was balm for my scared and doubtful soul. I am passing this book on to a friend this week, and I hope she continues to pass it on.
We all need a reminder sometimes that we are loved. We are cherished. When we feel alone, when we’re scared, it doesn’t matter- he’s there. Waiting on us with open arms.
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review- all opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.*