Annie F. Down’s most recent book, Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter arrived in my mailbox in an envelope full of sequins. Yes, sequins. I was privileged to be part of the book launch team and join an awesome group of early supporters.
The very first words that Annie pens in her foreword read,
Dear friend, I am changed. I am different. I have never been the Annie I am today, and that’s because God has done something new and miraculous in my life.
What a beautiful opening to her book! Praise the Lord that He has miraculously transformed our sinful hearts into hearts that beat for His glory!
This book is Annie’s outpouring of how she has accepted the Devil’s lies for too long and found herself desperate for beauty in anything she can find it. She shares how she has been persevering in hard times and rejoicing in suffering because she now understands that, when she endures, there is beauty on the other side.
Here’s a sample from the introduction that gives a great example of Annie’s heart toward us, her audience.
I want you to finish what you start. I want you to be the kind of woman that is absolutely full of hope to where it overflows and splashes on your people. But that comes at a cost. And I hate to tell you this so early in the book because I don’t want you to quit reading, but if you want to be full of hope, you have to suffer a bit. You have to find purpose in the suffering so you don’t give up. You have to persevere. And when you persevere, your character, your proven faith and tried integrity, grows. And the hope. Hope arrives.
Annie isn’t simply hoping for a miracle with her fingers crossed or wishing that “lovely” will happen, she is actively watching and waiting, trusting God will provide and be at work.
And shouldn’t we, too, be doing the same? I was encouraged while reading Looking for Lovely. Annie’s tone is extremely friendly. Reading about her stories and failures was like having a conversation with a close friend. I felt like the intended audience was older than I expected, but that’s probably because I first encountered Annie at a youth conference. Due to the straightforward way that Annie discusses her struggles, I would suggest the minimum age be late high school students. But there’s no age cap to her audience! We all can learn from her.
Annie gave challenges and actions along the way like wake up early enough to watch the sun rise and read Psalm 19 or even dance to Shakira’s “Waka Waka!” She mingles Scripture with story to help emphasize the lessons the Holy Spirit has been teaching her.
This is my second book to read by Annie F. Downs. Perfectly Unique was the first. Now I’d like to read Let’s All Be Brave by her.
For more thoughts on Looking for Lovely including quotes from the book, follow me on facebook (@PedestrianGod) or twitter (@R_Adelsberger).