Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The Return by Lacey Sturm

Back Cover: 
Have you ever asked yourself, "What's the point?" of this life. Of the same everydayness that can weigh on us. Is life really a gift from a loving God? If so, shouldn't our souls burn to love him back with our lives? What does that look like? 

In The Return, bestselling author Lacey Sturm offers a collection of thoughts on how Jesus helps us see the world with new eyes and makes the mundane things in life beautiful. It's a guidebook from a fellow traveler on how grace helps us--to overcome darkness, to release our empty rituals, to shine with his light. Not so God will love us more but because we long to love him back. And a life lived loving God back is a life that shines with heaven's glory. 

Are you striving to make life happen? Waiting to get to the real purpose of it all? Coasting in limbo or heading down the wrong path? Then may this openhearted take on responding to God's love give you hope and direction. 

This book is a mixture of art, stories, journaling, song-writing, poems, and thoughts. As one who journals frequently, I loved reading through Lacey's prayers, songs, and thoughts as she grew in her responses to God's love for her. Throughout the book's chapters you'll find two pages alongside one another that record a short personal Bible study, a prayer, a to-do list (or RAK: random acts of kindness), a new song, a recipe, and the evening Bible reading.

I love the practical way Lacey writes and records her thoughts. They stem from a solid foundation of Scripture and thought-patterns, so I would only recommend this to a mature believer. She doesn't necessarily include Scripture references for all her thoughts, and if taken too far, one could reach conclusions that she never meant.

Her past is a story of redemption, and she references it here and there throughout her mental and written journey. She has learned to live in worship, and she was born to sing and worship through it. Some find their strength in prayer or Scripture reading or meditation, but it seems like Lacey finds it through singing and composing music.

Lacey's chapters cover all parts of life including plans, opportunities, sacrifices, works, judgments, hospitality, and her body (to name a few). Each of these she writes about whether song, story, poem, or diary form and gently shares her personal thoughts and journey as she returns each of these parts of life to the Lord. It's a book about surrender really. How to return our bodies, thoughts, emotions, and actions to the Lord instead of hoping for the best or following rules to achieve what we want. It's about dealing with sin in the love of Jesus--not lingering in it because of the passion and communion we share in the Lord. It's about seeing grace and mercy--because it was first shown us at the cross. It's about making our lives shine with the glory of the Trinity.

While I thought some parts were more emotional and leaned toward the charismatic side of our faith, I could not find error in it, though I may not have the same practical lifestyle. I love Lacey's heart for the Lord and if we could all be in her place in her journey, perhaps we would love the Lord more and fellowship better.

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