if you only knew [book review]

Non-fiction: Memoir

What if you knew all the moments of my past that I am not proud of? What if you really knew me, the messy parts that I’ve hoped to forget and worked hard to conceal? For so long, my greatest fear was what you might think of me if you only knew the whole story.
 
It’s exhausting, this guarding of our stories and struggles. Fear of being found out had caused me to hide—but I wasn’t just covering my flaws, I was unintentionally blocking the beauty of God’s grace. My journey to real freedom began when I quit running from my mess and started trusting Jesus to make something beautiful of it. 

Transparency brings freedom, and in every moment, we’ll find that God can absolutely be trusted.
— Jamie Ivey

Two years ago, a friend told me to check out The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. She's from Texas, and her husband is in the ministry, so my friend told me she thought I'd really like her. 

I spent the next year catching up on over 100 of her podcasts because I loved listening to her.

On The Happy Hour, Jamie interviews a woman who loves Jesus and has been through some sort of unique experience--a struggle of some kind that led to a redemption of some kind. She invites vulnerability and mixes the sadness with a celebration of what God's done and is doing. And most the time, she exposes her listeners to a couple of brands they should love. Noonday Collection is her favorite one to talk about, but her guests give three things they're loving as well.

Someday, I'm gonna take a girls trip to a Happy Hour Live and meet Jamie face to face. Her podcast has made such a positive influence on my life.


A couple months ago, she posted on her Instagram story that she was writing a book. And then I began to hear more about this book in her podcast, and when the book was available for pre-order in September, I bought it. Later that month, I got an opportunity to be a part of the Launch Team.

Y'all, I love being part of any kind of Launch Team. I'm nosy and supportive, and I love to boost other people's stuff. Just put that in your pocket for later, if needed.

I got the PDF version of the book on my kindle, and I quickly read the whole thing, wiping my eyes and laughing out loud all the way through it.

Jamie has been open about her life on her podcast, but I was missing some pieces in her story, and If You Only Knew filled in the gaps for me. Her story is one most girls can relate with, whether they love Jesus or not. She's super vulnerable about some years she spent searching--and not knowing she was searching, about how she feared the church would treat her, about how she finally gave her life over to God.

[I was] trying to figure out how to do two things at once: stay pure for God while also getting the attention I craved. And I was discovering these two things might not fit into the same heart.

Doesn't that sound like a problem we all face? Staying pure doesn't just mean in a sexual way, although that's what she's referencing here; staying pure refers to every piece of us, and my struggle is in my mind. My motives. Is my heart pure when I'm doing things to get attention? Who--and how--do I talk to about all this? Who can I be vulnerable enough with to talk this out? And is it worth it?

Jamie addresses a lot of those questions with answers she lived through. It's tough because it's real life, but that's what makes it beautiful.

Favorite Quotes

We don't always seem to know what's good for us. Maybe we somehow feel safer doing life the way we've always done it, even if it's done nothing but hurt us. Maybe we're almost scared of trying anything different.

When seen through the eyes of the gospel, our stories are not obstacles to our freedom; they are actually the key to unlocking it.

Let's not be afraid of showing how much saving we need. Let's show them, through our need, the greatness of our Savior.

Spending time at church and living like you are the church are not the same.

To be known is the constant struggle of the darkest places in my soul.

[N]othing good comes from not being known.

Struggling through your faith is not an indication of lack of faith; struggling through your faith is an indication that you are fighting for your faith.

We can't proclaim his grace until we expose our mess.

Sin shock is in many ways no less damaging than the offending sin itself.

When you're vulnerable with your friends, you give them permission to be vulnerable with you.

What prideful people we are to think that we are actually too much for God.

Faithfulness to Him comes from remembering all He's done for you.


This book is not yet for sale, but you can pre-order it to have it when it releases on January 30th!

Check out Jamie's Podcast!

Each Happy Hour is one hour, but she's doing a series of 20-30 minute episodes called, If You Only Knew.

BooksJessica LittleComment