Before posting anything to this website, I promised myself that when I started blogging again, I would be respectful of a writer’s work and dedication. Writing is not easy. It’s scary and time consuming. It follows rules that much of our population does not truly have a grasp on. Before posting to this website, I made another promise though. I also promised myself that I would be honest with the public even when it’s hard and not what I expected or wanted to share.
So, let’s dive in…
First things first, I love Jamie Ivey!
I started following Jamie when I was 18 years old. 18!! That was ten years ago.
My sister Amanda was attending the Austin Stone at the time and casually sent me one of Jamie’s blog posts on adoption. The Iveys quickly became something we discussed frequently via text and over holidays because we loved what they were doing for their city and the kingdom. The night they brought home Amos, their middle son from Haiti, Amanda and I followed the story on Twitter. We cried and prayed with them as they anxiously waited to hold him on American soil for the first time.
All of that to say, I feel like this family has been a part of my life for quite some time. I relate to them so much and enjoy knowing what they are up to. I admire the relationship Jamie has with her husband and her children. I am beyond proud that she wrote this raw, vulnerable book to share with the universe because vulnerability leads to more vulnerability.
If You Only Knew is a beautiful example of how God continuously works in our lives from day one. He doesn’t ever leave us. Although we are sure He has forgotten us, or that our sins are too great, Jamie bravely shares that there’s no way that is true because her story, like yours and mine, is plagued by truly ugly sin. She shares about loss, lies, and love. She shares about the guilt and shame that can eat away at your soul. She shares personal stories both upbeat and heavy.
Throughout reading If You Only Knew, one thing was made clearer to me about myself. It can be hard for me to transition from Mrs. Wilson the writing teacher to Taylor the reader. I found myself revising chunks of the story and editing a handful of run-on sentences along the way. As I mentioned before, the English language has a lot of rules- some that are a writer’s style choice and some that should never be ignored.
By far my favorite part of If You Only Knew though is when Jamie shares one of her most intimate conversations on the beach with her future-husband to be. Without sharing too much of the story, Jamie writes that she was “trusting Him enough to share [her] mess with someone [she] loved.” This was her first time dating a godly man, and she chose to confess moments from her past that had brought and were continuing to bring her great regret. If you have been there before, you know the weight that is lifted off of you when you are accepted for what you believe is so unlovable.
So, if you’re looking for a book that makes you feel understood, known, or accepted, I recommend If You Only Knew. Just go in knowing that from a literary point of view, errors are present.