Today is the day! Yay! For more than a month I have been looking forward to this day!
Annie F. Downs’ new book Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter launch day!
You know when you sit on your back porch or in a coffee shop or in a living room or even late night over the phone and connect deeply with a friend? Everything she is sharing; you are like, yes, yes, YES! And she is listening intently to you and nodding and you are growing together right there in the sacredness of mundane spaces and lives? In the midst of pain and suffering and doubt and struggle, beauty is found. In connection, in community, in transparency and vulnerability.
Looking for Lovely is like that. Annie shares her heart and parts of her life that she lovingly calls, “broken-crazy.” (I am totally stealing that by the way! ) Although our paths are very different, we have weathered some of the same storms. I would guess we all have in one way or another and I think that is what makes this book challenging, life-giving and healing all at the same time.
Reading this book changed me. Oh, my life is the pretty much the same on the outside, but my perspective has shifted. There is beauty in suffering and benefit in pain and lovely in difficulty. The good part doesn’t negate the struggle, but it does gives it value. It is not the first thing you see and you might miss it, if you are not looking. And sometimes, it takes a while to look lovely. It’s only when we look back, we can see it.
God gives us permission to feel. There is no demand on your life to bite the bullet and be stronger than the hurt and pain. Yet the directive is the same. rejoice in your sufferings, persevere in them, let your character grow and watch as hope blooms.” (72)
Honestly, I have had this sneaking suspicion that it was ok to feel this way, but it is awesome to hear someone you admire say so. It reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis, “Friendship… is born at the moment when one man says to another, “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…”
One of my favorite quotes comes near the end.
I feel God pushing me a bit to embrace my broken places and appreciate my weaknesses as much as I appreciate my strengths.” (176)
Stop for a minute and think about that. What if your weaknesses are just as purposeful as your strengths? What if the thing you spend time trying to change or hate yourself over IS the thing God wants to use to bring you closer to Him or to encourage someone else? Just a thought…
I hope we will look for lovely together. Cheer one another on. That you will buy this book and share it with your people. And that we will walk with one another even when the only lovely found in a situation is Jesus Christ Himself.
Join us! I would love to hear your thoughts.
Oh and Austin people, I think we need to reserve a few nights on my porch in June to share how Looking For Lovely has impacted our lives. Consider this my invitation to you.
Annie, you are welcome to come sit on my porch anytime you are in Austin! Cause, you know, you are one of my people now! Oh, and feel free to bring your people as well.