Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
In Bloom by Kayla Aimee is an encouraging and witty memoir on Christian living. Kayla artfully deals with the hefty issues of identity, shame, insecurity, and God’s kindness to us.
Kayla leverages the things that God has taught her through tough experiences – from middle school slights to more contemporary self-talk battles and parenting pressure points – to show how we can rise above the ashes of condemnation and struggle when we agree with God’s Word and hide it in our hearts. In fact, she believes that God has purposed to use those particular struggles to bring comfort to others and glory to Himself. She says, “We are each made for our right-now moments. God moves us into position to take our messy moments and turn them into a message of redemption.”
But, that road to redemption can be hard fought. According to Kayla, “Assimilation is so much easier than self-acceptance. Fitting in is easier than standing out. We become so obsessed with fitting the mold that we forget our blueprint, the one that was intricately designed with our uniqueness in mind.”
And, we look to others, their opinions of us, and their treatment of us as a barometer of who we are and how “valuable” we are. We have to fight “our tendency…to assume the negative because our fear clouds the truth that our people are for us. That God is for us.” Instead Kayla counsels us in a different direction. She says, “Here’s the thing: no one is allowed to tell you who you are. In a journey of self-discovery the only true author of your story is the One who spoke the universe into existence.”
Which begs the question, how do we allow God to show us who He made us to be? So glad you asked. Kayla believes, “We will find ourselves by using the Word as a lamp unto our feet, letting it light our path. We just need to learn how to let it illuminate what God has already consecrated.”
To take hold of the identities God intended for each of us, we need to work to leave behind our fears and insecurities. Kayla says, “Replacing our inner critic with words that speak truth and life is the first step to overcoming our insecurity. Listen to what God says about us, about you, and put that refrain on repeat like a record until it becomes your heart song.”
She continues, “When we chase validation instead of sanctification, we never find a reprieve from our own self-doubt. … It’s an excruciating thing to seek acceptance where it should be given freely, and it’s a freeing thing to find an everlasting acceptance that doesn’t have to be sought.” What a blessing to know that God offers us complete and utter acceptance through His Son, Jesus, and that acceptance offers eternal security and love if we’ll only submit to His Lordship.
I enjoyed Kayla’s playful, funny writing style paired with her honest and redemptive approach. She uses personal stories and spiritual growth to pull back the curtain on how God has worked in her life and may be working in ours. I would recommend this read, especially if you have struggled (or are currently struggling) with shame, identity, and the application of God’s Word to your heart and mind. (Don’t we all fall into one or all of those categories at some point in our faith journeys?)
I trust you’ll walk away encouraged and refreshed. While I was reading In Bloom, I almost felt like I had been eating brownies that someone laced with spinach. The book made me laugh; I had a great time reading it. But, in the end, I felt spiritually strengthened – I didn’t see it coming. (Kayla hides the meaty theology in the guise of approachable, easy going prose. So, everyone wins.)
I’ll leave you with some final words from Kayla, “What I want you to know, for you as a woman, is that your worth isn’t determined by your standing adjacent to other people. We are made worthy by redemption and that isn’t something we can earn or attain. It’s just a gift.”
Yes and amen. Praise God for His gift of salvation, love, and acceptance.
Sarah Doss is a Content & Production Editor with LifeWay. She loves a quirky sitcom, baking as therapy, and travel (international or otherwise). As a recovering Lisa Frank enthusiast, she maintains a healthy affinity for school supplies and all things letterpress. Keep up with her on Twitter (she loves Twitter friends) at @sarahdossy.