I first became acquainted with Mary DeMuth in 2009 when I heard her speak at a writer’s conference at Wheaton College.
I remember being profoundly impacted by her message then, and even now when I’ve had the privilege of learning from her — either on paper, on the screen, or at a conference, Mary always leaves me wanting more of Jesus. She has a way of stripping away the polish and tearing the veneer until we see Him for who He is: the Savior who loves us desperately.
Her latest book, Everything: what you give and what you gain to become like Jesus, is no different.
Sometimes I forget, though, that He is everything, and everything is Him. I meander down me-first paths, hoping achievement or people or success will fill up every part of my heart. I chase unsatisfying ghosts, hints of fulfillment that dissipate the moment I reach them. I even despair, as I did in France. But Jesus keeps reminding me through His presence and His realness that He is everything. And I stumble back to Him. (xvi)
Everything is a book about relinquishing control. It’s a book about letting go of worry and reconciling failures. It’s a book about healing and throwing it all to the wind in order to follow Jesus. Everything is a book about becoming less of ourselves and more of Him.
How to become more of Christ
A good friend of mine once told me: “To see if you’re truly living the Jesus life, you have to examine your fruit. You have to become a fruit inspector.”
In Everything, Mary coaches our fruit inspection by guiding us as we examine all aspects of our lives. She hangs words on the shadowy parts of our humanity with such gentle honesty that we realize we are not alone in our struggles:
- do we count it all His? even–and especially–our money?
- are we diligent to keep in step with the Spirit?
- have we learned to give up control?
- are we infectious followers, drawing others to Christ with happy hearts and the joy we display?
- have we worked to heal the hurts that might otherwise fester into bitterness?
- do we trust him enough to lean into our brokenness?
- do we work to forgive, even when it’s hard? rest, even when we don’t want to?
She challenged me in more ways that I have space to convey in this post (see copious dog-eared pages to the right). She pushed me to sit on tough truths and wrestle-worthy concepts and do the hard work of evaluating self.
Everything: what you give and what you gain to become like Jesus reads like a modern-day creed. It’s the B-side to doctrine. It’s the answer to the question, “Now what?”
[We should] so imbibe in the Holy Spirit within us that we dare to love others, live without walls, and become fully who God created us to be — dependent, surprising, infectious followers of Jesus Christ. (94)
If you’re ready to take your faith walk deeper into a radical life exchange, you’re ready for this book.
If you long for Jesus to become more to you than a Sunday morning ritual or the recipient of empty prayers, Mary DeMuth offers the encouragement we need to make Him our Everything.