Beloved Mess, by Kimm Crandall, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016, 160 pp, paperback, ISBN: 978-0801019005
“When we stop stuffing down and hiding our failures, we see that God really does love us just as we are. This is freedom! We are no longer enslaved to our shortcomings. We no longer have to hide in shame.”(67)
Beloved Mess: God’s Perfect Love for Your Imperfect Life, by Kimm Crandall, started out as just another book to blog about, one that is outside my usual sphere of reading. What I found was a book that impacted me deeply – an intelligently written book that speaks straight to the heart – and it has left its mark on me.
Beloved Mess addresses those Christians who don’t have it all together, who are a mess, struggling with sin, addiction, brokenness, or just the craziness of life. It proceeds to show us that we are all messes, and that we are deeply loved by God, not despite our mess, but right in the midst of it. “The good news,” Crandall writes, “is that God loves the real version of you, not the cleaned-up, funny, talented, presentable you.” (57) Using personal stories from her own life and a strong theology of grace, she sheds light on the messes of our lives and implores us, over and over, to understand that we are God’s Beloved. Reminiscent of Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel, Crandall’s book takes the reader by surprise with its frankness, breaking down walls of so-called propriety so that the truth can get through – and what a sweet truth it is! The book is extremely accessible, and is an enjoyable read.
We all need to be reminded from time to time of the radical love of God, and this book does that very well. I highly recommend that every Christian, especially those who, like me, struggle with doubt, self-worth, and sin that leaves us wondering about the real extent of God’s grace. Beloved Mess is sure to leave you changed.
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