Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Return by Lacey Sturm

In The Return, bestselling author Lacey Sturm offers a collection of thoughts on how Jesus helps us see the world with new eyes and makes the mundane things in life beautiful. It’s a guidebook from a fellow traveler on how grace helps us–to overcome darkness, to release our empty rituals, to shine with his light. Not so God will love us more but because we long to love him back. And a life lived loving God back is a life that shines with heaven’s glory.
(Excerpt from back of book)

Although I listened to Sturm's band Flyleaf  in college this was my first introduction to Sturm as an author. Overall, I was pleased with the book but there were a few points of concern.

First the style, this is not your typical novel length book and I loved the eclectic and artistic format. Each chapter included Scripture verses, prayers, recipes, and song lyrics set up as though reading the author's journal, actual journal entries were published along side Strum's poetry, and exposition summing up the chapters theme wrapped up each section. 

The strength of this format allowed for increased interest as heavy chapters were broken up by artwork and poetry appealing to those who connect with different forms of written word. The material connected on different levels as concepts were discussed in traditional exposition and artistic venues, and the wide range of materials included helped bring the author and her heart forward in what felt like a more intimate and more vulnerable way.

I also appreciate the way the material covered the author's lifetime. Topics  ranged from mental health, motherhood, performing, marriage, etc.. . Readers "watch" the author grow in her journal entries and see how perceptions change and season pass which I think can be a helpful reminder in hard seasons. 

That said, there were times, that although the author commented how her decisions did not reflect on another person's choices, at times felt harsh and noninclusive of those who differed from her. There also  wasn't a lot of room for differing personalities. I know and love a lot of analytical people. I know a lot of  people who believe without having the overwhelming emotional connection the author does and at many points it felt as though the author felt that this lack of emotion meant their faith was lesser or not genuine. For that reason alone, I couldn't recommend this book to a large portion of my community.

3.5 stars out of 5 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

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