I got the book on Christmas Day as a gift from my sister. As someone who has been a fan of Bethke's work since this poem was posted by one of Facebook friends back in 2011, I was so stoked for Jeff when he released his first book, Jesus >Religion, which I reviewed last year. The book went on to be a NYT bestseller. No surprise there. If you haven't read it, that's ok. His new book is in no way sequential to this one.
This book is just as good if not better because it makes Jesus the portrait and again takes all that you and I think about Christianity and dissects it in such a gentle way that it quickly becomes background noise to all that Jesus did, and who he really is.
Who is the Jesus I met while reading Jeff's book? A Jesus who not only loves and cares for me but is always in pursuit of me, and encourages me like a best friend to become all that I can be but still manages to accept me just as he finds me. Even if that person is broken and feels like her life's purpose is becoming blurry instead of clear.
On that note, I feel it's time for a story.
Last week, on Monday my dryer officially broke. The timer stopped working and the dryer wouldn't run. Living without a dryer is bearable so I thought nothing of it since my family lives close to a laundromat.
Tuesday was one of those days that could be considered the calm before the storm. I took the week off from writing and was watching Michael Cera movies which I hadn't watched in a long time. I think it was a subconscious decision. Before this week, it had been two weeks that I had been given any hours at Best Buy, and I was becoming nervous.
The next morning, I took my usual shower only to wonder why the water was lukewarm. Turns out, our water heater completely crapped out. And just like the story usually goes, timing could not be any worse. The temperatures outside were dropping, much like my faith or expectations for the new year. A week later, I now know what hypotherma feels like as cold showers in the cold literally take your breath away. Later that day, I picked up my phone only to find two notifications flashed across the screen. 1 missed call from my supervisor at Best Buy, and one voicemail. I waited about five minutes before I dialed my voicemail in order to playback the message he left me. Yet, nothing could prepare me for the heavy weight his words would carry as he was calling to let me know that at this time, Best Buy wasn't going to hire me as a part-time employee.
I'll be honest, I bawled my eyes out after that phone call. I laid all my cards out on the table, and was ready to fold. Best Buy was one of three money-making projects I'd been giving my time to, and of course, when I got hired, I knew that this wasn't a permanent career move but instead a stepping stone on the path to my destiny. Still, I needed that job because my freelance career hadn't been too fruitful as of late, and I was okay with it. I loved my merchandising job at Best Buy. It got me out of the house, and out of my head. It got me around like-minded people.
So far, 2016 wasn't what I thought it would be. It was actually my worst new year yet.
After I finished crying, as I headed out to Chilis for a night out with my mom, I got an email notification on my phone.
I opened it outside my local Chilis only to see that Mandy Hale had replied to the email I sent her. (Cue the fangirl excitement and fanfare). I had asked her for help in what to do in order to further the process along in terms of getting representation for my memoir. She suggested I create a platform in order to show I'm an expert in what my memoir's themes are: dying love and my near-death experience.
I'm pretty sure that's what I already showcase through this blog page but I decided I would bring it into the throne room and pray about it. God would let me know what I should do.
Recently, my freelance career has been incredibly frustrating. I struggle with the art of surrendering control when it comes to my writing. Sure, I want my writing out there but I want the final say in how it is worded, as well as I don't take editing suggestions too fondly when I feel they come across as unnecessary and from someone who doesn't see the subject or piece the way I do. Since I wrote it, only I can know what I meant, how I saw the subject or person, what I want people to know about it. Lately, when writing articles, I felt as though I was a little child learning how to write her name for the first time. As much I saw my work as straight and a perfect fit along the three dotted lines of what they wanted me to write about, they kept slapping my hands and making me never want to write again.
The only reason I became a freelance writer in the first place is because that was my only job option at the time. Now that I'm in the same boat again, I'd rather lay inside the boat and let the waves rock gently against the side of it until my new opportunity comes about and saves me from dying out at sea.
2016 so far has taught me that a college degree is as fickle as sand in an hourglass in terms of securing you a job or even a career.
So in order to follow the message of Mandy Hale's upcoming book,Beautiful Uncertainty, I took a leap of faith toward making my dream of becoming a full-time writer a reality. I realized that people who love things in an obsessive way called philes. For example, if like me you love books, you would be considered a bibliophile. So I further explored this and found out some other philes I would consider myself:
Cynophile: A dog lover (That one everyone knows)
Cinephile: A film lover
Melophile: A music lover
Considering I have a college degree and have always been very smart, I decided I would call myself The Smart Cookie, (this is also somewhat of an inside joke between me and Geniveve because during her life, I always used to call her that).
Thus was born, my new site: https://thesmartcookiephiles.wordpress.com/
And you can even follow me on Twitter: @TSCPhiles.
I started this site in order to write my own review articles without feeling like I have to answer to anyone for what I write and how I write it. And I also hope it showcases my talent as a writer, and it ends up with a book deal for my memoir.
I would appreciate your support. You can follow all my blog posts via email by following the instructions in the newest post. I will be posting two new reviews this Friday!
Even though all this is happening in my life right now, I still believe 2016 can turn around and will be a year of answered prayer. I also pray this for each of us: Thank you God for the strength to stop reliving the past, to start living in the present, and to walk in the beautiful certainty of knowing my future lies with you. -#BeautifulUncertainty
Until next time, remember: God can open doors of opportunity for you that no man can shut. When God shuts the door on you, no man can open it. -Joyce Meyer.
Love Times Infinity,
~Just Keep Swimming~