The subtitle of The Return, the third book by Lacey Sturm - former lead singer of hardrock band, Flyleaf - is Reflections On Loving God Back. I bought this at the same time as her first book, The Reason (if you’re curious, I posted a review a few months ago), but I tend to skip around on my To Read Shelf, depending on where I’m at mentally and spiritually. What a witness, what a great example. I’ve known Jesus my whole life and my gratitude and love for Him isn’t anywhere near hers. I pray it will be some day.
So, the subtitle. I suppose at first glance, it sounds kinda cliche, kinda boring. But how many of us really think of God like that? We know it takes two to tango in human relationships. But when it comes to God we either think He is removed from our personal lives as long as we’re following the rules or that He should be forcing His will on us all. Since He’s God and all. Why doesn’t He just snap His fingers and fix it? Prevent the pregnancy from failing? Reverse the cancer? Deflect the hurricane? Castrate the pedophile? Cut off the abusive father’s hands? Prevent setbacks and failure and frustration?
We wouldn’t say it out loud, but we think of Him as either a distant judge or a genie. Depending on whether we are religious or prosperity gospel proponents. I don’t understand God’s ways anymore than I understand the complexities of the universe and how to recreate it, but I do know that God has made it clear He is good. And whatever I don’t understand is on me. Because I’m human. Not on God and any lack of goodness or mercy.
In The Reason, Lacey shares how God rescued her the day she was planning to commit suicide. In The Return, she opens up her journals, to-do lists and inner processing for us to show what returning her Rescuer’s love looked like for her. And there are three things that stood out for me, three things I am still thinking about and how I can follow her example.
When God saves us, it’s not just a one time interaction. It’s ongoing growth, and ongoing conversation. Lacey is constantly talking with God and longing to be alone with Him.
And that love for him carries over in her wanting to bless others daily. To make sure she is remembering to serve others on a daily basis, she adds random acts of kindness to her to-do lists. For example, her lists included giving specific books to people, helping her mom clean, making food for her bandmates, cleaning off her husband’s desk, weeding a friend’s garden, planning a mom/son date, etc. I LOVE this. How often do we put these random ideas to bless others into our calendars? I don’t as often as I should, but when I do, it makes a big difference. It puts feet on the whole “welp, I’m praying for you. Take care!”
Lacey shared something Jesus impressed on her at one point - “You are in strife and you are operating in Adam’s curse. Come into the Sabbath of Christ. My love is beyond necessity. Live here where I am free to love you extravagantly and you are free to love extravagantly like me.” How often do I love beyond necessity? In my marriage, in my parenting, in my involvement at church, and in my worship? If you think about it...what else is there? What have we to lose by doing so?
Even if you aren’t a huge fan of Lacey’s music, I still would recommend this book because she provides such a great, intimate example of what it looks like to follow Christ in the everyday.