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On my wandering path of living outside the church, I find that I am eager to hear voices of imagination, clarity, and wisdom from within her walls. People who I can trust are attempting to live in an integral, albeit imperfect, way. People I admire for their creative gifts that shine just as brightly as those outside the fold. People who are not hiding their fire, their inner light, away for fear of offending the uptight and unimaginative within the fold.
Sarah Clarkson is one such example: a lovely voice of poetic, wild, imaginative, and artistic love for the world and for her Maker. Her new book, This Beautiful Truth, tells a tale that might seem surprising to followers of her blog and Instagram, to folks familiar with her exquisite portrayal of everyday life–the message of finding of beauty wherever one is.
In this book, she lays bare her soul and shares about her experience living with a rare form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since she was quite young. She shares how she has related to God through it all, the seasons of anger and railing against, of grief and despair, and the times and places where beauty shines its golden hope through the darkness.
Sarah weaves in stories from her childhood to the recent past, told in her own delightfully vivid style. She tells of how she met her now-husband Thomas in Oxford and how love grew between them. (As an Anglophile, anything in an English setting thrills my heart.)
I appreciated her honesty and the depth of suffering she was willing to share with her readers. The messaging isn’t “Become a Christian and everything in your life will get easier.” Rather, through the appreciation of beauty in art, music, drama, literature, nature, and other people, she experienced, over and over, “the goodness of God in the land of the living”. (Psalm 27:13)
She encourages us to cultivate a sense of wonder by creating, loving, discovering, and expressing beauty in our own way, in our own lives. To realize that the kingdom of heaven is here, inside of us, in our homes and in our hands, in the ordinary time and place in which we live. In each of our own stories we will receive grace and “beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning.” (Isaiah 61:3).
If this message appeals to you, if you’re a seeker, or a person of faith, I recommend Sarah’s book. I think it will be water to your soul.