The Reason written by singer/musician Lacey Sturmwas the voice behind the platinum-selling international rock band Flyleaf and is now a solo artist. She speaks for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its 'Rock the River' events. She co-founded 'The Whosoever Movement' and helped begin the 'RESET' movement as one of their key speakers.
The cover has a beautiful picture of Lacey Sturm dressed in what appears to be a white wedding dress looking upwards with snow scattered throughout her hair. I feel as though the amount of white represented in this cover could symbolize her sins being clean and purified as well as being alive with a new identity as she shares her revelations of a rock princess.
Sturm comes from a difficult upbringing. It is a miracle that her published work even exists as she barely survived as a baby and was almost aborted. Her dad was an alcoholic and at one point Lacey shares that she was almost lost in a fostering home. The Reason is Sturm's honest reflection of her life from her years growing up. She gives an honest and meaningful analysis of her thoughts and feelings amidst the challenges she faced growing up. One example was how she used jazz music from her early memories to describe her mother during a time where they barely got by as a family. From that description alone, I knew I was going to enjoy Sturm's gift with words. Sturm explains her darkest feelings that most would not know how to explain in words. Yet she explains her feelings in ways that actually make sense. Her words are crafted so beautifully, that readers can actually understand and feel what she is going through. Her deep dark depression led her to plan her own suicide which never materialized as she was interrupted from miraculous events and an unimaginable encounter with God. From there, God's love makes himself completely known to Lacey as life takes on a complete new meaning and journey for her.
I find some of the strongest aspects of her writing come from the smallest details. There are the occasional small illustrations of Lacey almost as a cartoon which at the moment depicts how she is feeling throughout the book. These small drawings are clever. The side quotes which is not uncommon always adds a great touch and insight to her feelings and message Sturm is trying to share. The mini chapters within chapters again are great for the reader to use as a check point if they need to step away from the book or only have a few minutes to read. While these are small details, they go a long way towards an enjoyable reading experience. Her greatest strength as mentioned earlier, is her ability with words to articulate the feelings and emotions she is experiencing.
"I thought I had to be the best god I could be, because if there was a Godwhich I doubtedhe was obviously not going to help us." - page 44
"Darkness can feel honest, and honesty can be beautiful and feel so inspiring. But darkness stops short of resolution. It's deceptive." - page 55
"I didn't know that you don't have to be suicidal to be brave enough to call society's bluff, and you don't have to be eternally sad to rebel against it." - page 61
"Although forgiveness and true love were outstretched before me, all my life, it wasn't until I chose to believe it that I could actually receive it." - page 115
"I began to laugh at the romance of it all. The mystery and beauty and wonder of an ancient, intricate, creative, thoughtful, mathematical, brilliant, artistic, playful God." - page 120
"I wanted with all my heart to go to those places that are an eerie foreshadow of Hell - and pull people out." - page 152
"Don't neglect what you know you should do with the short time you have on this earth." - page 174
"God made us so he could love us. We will feel restless and empty, and always come up short, if we try to find purpose anywhere else." - page 188
While I love the way Sturm articulates herself with her words and style of writing, there are areas of her book I wish more details could have been shared. When some intriguing events in her life were mentioned, I was hoping to have received more back story or developing details. Instead, it felt like she brushed by some of these moments too fast. While she did describe these events, I was hoping to learn more about her life being an atheist, how she got into smoking weed, the ways she displayed her hatred towards others, her relationships with her ex boyfriend and ex girlfriend, her unimaginable encounter with God, and her time with Flyleaf. Perhaps some of these topics were difficult for her to express in further detail which is understandable. However, I really wanted to gain more perspective through her beautiful ability to explain her thoughts and feelings. More details of those events could have helped the reader gain more insight about Sturm. Instead, I am at times left scratching my head to my own imagination and speculation as to what could have happened.
Sturm's raw emotion bleeds through her words. By the end, I could sense Sturm's relentless desire to share the simple message of how much we are loved by God. While mostly anyone can pick up this book and feel inspired; Those that are battling deep depression, suicidal thoughts, and just a longing to be loved, The Reason will speak to them the most. Considering this is her first ever published book, she has a very promising future in writing. I am most certain this will not be her last entry, and that her future work will only lead more people to appreciating the value of life the way Lacey does.
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