Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack

Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack


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As a girl, Alia Joy came face to face with weakness, poverty, and loss in ways that made her doubt God was good. There were times when it felt as if God had abandoned her. What she didn't realize then was that God was always there, calling her to abandon herself.

In this deeply personal exploration of what it means to be "poor in spirit," Joy challenges our cultural proclivity to "pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps." She calls on readers to embrace true vulnerability and authenticity with God and with one another, showing how weakness does not disqualify us from inclusion in the kingdom of God—instead, it is our very invitation to enter in.

Anyone who has struggled with feeling inadequate, disillusioned, or just too broken will find hope. This message is an antidote to despair, helping readers reclaim the ways God is good, even when life is anything but.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801093340
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 232,279
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Alia Joy is a speaker, writer, and ragamuffin who weaves beauty through even the most broken stories. Her raw vulnerability and unique perspective make her a trusted voice writing about mental and physical illness, abuse, race, body image, poverty, and hope. She lives in Oregon with her family, where weakness and glory converge daily.

Table of Contents

Foreword Seth Haines 13

Introduction: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit 17

Part 1 Weakness

1 The Nakedness of Need: The Glorious Weakness of Poverty 25

2 The Ransom of Words: The Glorious Weakness of Longing 45

3 A Secondhand God and a Place to Call Home: The Glorious Weakness of Lack 65

Part 2 Hope

4 I Am Not Labeled, I Am Named: The Hope of Identity 83

5 Uncomfortable Love: The Hope of Community 99

6 I Walk with a Limp: The Hope of Brokenness 115

7 Where Home Is: The Hope of Ordinary 131

Part 3 Strength

8 Let Us Rejoice and Be Sad: The Strength of Lament 145

9 Starving to the Feast: The Strength of Dependence 163

10 The God of the Lost: The Strength of Being Found 179

Part 4 Glory

11 And If Not, He Is Still Good: The Glory of the Beloved 205

Acknowledgments 223

Notes 229

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Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
DABofSonshine 4 months ago
"What does it mean to become foolishness, to confound the wise? To become weak to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1: 27)? To be broken in order to be used? To trust even when trusting seems like the stupidest option of all?" Alia Joy exquisitely explores these questions in Glorious Weakness. With the soul of a poet, she weaves her story of finding God in all that she lacked. Alia writes from one heart to another, making me feel I'd found a kindred spirit, a friend, a confidant. If you've ever felt broken and weak, this book is for you. Alia knows what it means to be broken and she shares those stories with grace and vulnerability, always pointing toward hope. As Alia says: "And maybe that is the gift of suffering, the gift of weakness, of being poor in spirit. Maybe being poor in spirit is the invitation to truly see the kingdom of God as one who is so loved, so valuable, so recognized by Jesus, a person can come reeking with need and not be found wanting."
summer_no9 13 days ago
This book was fascinate writing, encouraging and compelling to read with that also had a best story telling that will helping to all the people to see the short cut find the way out of suffering and from their weakness buy using that weakness fighting it back. This book will be for everyone who needs to know that being poor in spirit is the riches place of all. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “I received complimentary a copy of this book from Baker Book Bloggers for this review”.
JViola79 28 days ago
She had my attention as soon as the introduction was read as she explained who should read the book: “It’s for everyone who doesn’t understand their identity as beloved. It’s for everyone who can’t imagine their weakness might be their greatest strength. It’s for everyone who thinks strength comes from trying harder and doing more. It’s for everyone who struggles and for everyone who loves the struggling. It’s for everyone who’s sat in the dark with a silent God, looking for a glimmer of hope that they’re not alone. It’s for everyone who needs to know that being poor in spirit is the richest place of all. That’s where the treasure is buried.” (from page 22) Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy is a journey through the hard and dark stories of her life. But they are more than stories for in each story, she tells us of how God met her in those very places. She brings this truth to life – that it is through weakness, and not through our strength, education, and experience – that we best display Jesus in our world. Her story includes poverty, illness, abuse, racial injustice, and disability. She vulnerably shares her pain and doubt only to reveal her discovery of God in each experience. The book is hard to put down as Alia Joy writes in a beautiful and vulnerable way, her words drawing you into her journey. Upon reading the last page, I heaved a big breath and was filled with hope. Our journeys will each be different, and in many ways alike. Things in this life will never be right, or as we desire, or expect. But we always have hope, for hope is found in Jesus, our Redeemer in and from all things. This truly is a book for everyone. **I was provided a copy of this book by Baker Publishing Group. All opinions are honest and my own.
TennilleS 4 months ago
This book is beautifully written. It is thought provoking, filled with raw honesty, and has a realness that is totally refreshing. “Glorious Weakness” is heavy and hard at times, but there is also hope. It is truly a great read and I highly recommend it. Initially, you may think this book is not for you. You may not feel weak or may not have experienced lack in a way that brings you to the end of yourself but believe me, this book is for everyone. Alia Joy shares experiences and thoughts that encourage, invoke empathy, strengthen, and point to the ultimate hope.
BookLover 4 months ago
Alia Joy takes the reader on a journey of her life, plumbing the depths of pain in such a powerful and poetic way, that you're invited to delve deeply into your own life and discover the beauty that lies beneath the surface. Without apology or self-pity, Alia writes with the deft hand of a seasoned artist allowing us into her story...and our own. Reading her words I feel seen, known, and accepted as Alia describes in detail and courageous vulnerability a life shaped by circumstances beyond her control and a commitment to continue on the journey. I recommend this book to anyone who's hurting and in need of hope...and to those who love them.
sarahjrobinson 4 months ago
I’m absolutely in love with this book; it’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time. This is for anyone who has felt unwanted, been broke, believed God wasn’t good, and been deeply wounded. Alia’s beautiful storytelling draws us into deep truth that we need to know: our poverty, weakness, and lack brings us closer to the God who is with us in our brokenness. Alia vulnerably shares her heartbreaking experiences with hard things like mental illness, sexual trauma, and poverty, all the while drawing our eyes to the God of hope who is present in our lack.
Visne 4 months ago
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars by the time I got to page 83. And the last page 229 did not change my mind. I commented on Instagram that the book was so compelling I could not wait to turn each page and yet I at the same time wanted to re-read each sentence to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. There are a variety of reasons Alia Joy, from childhood to today, has experienced major weaknesses. This is the most vulnerable “memoir” I have read - there are times of crying, laughter, and ‘oh no’ comments from me. Alia Joy shows how our weakness can shower glory on God. She goes from Weakness to Hope to Strength to Glory. This is a book you do not want to miss. #gloriousweakness. #gloriousweaknessbook. #AliaJoyH
Caryn-C 4 months ago
It's been a very long time since I've read a book that I couldn't put down once I began, but I read Glorious Weakness from cover to cover in two days! I was completely gripped by Alia's story. Her ability to weave words together in such a way as to invite the reader into her pain and disappointments, beginning with childhood sickness and trauma to her present day struggles with depression and bipolar disease, kept my rapt attention throughout the entire book. I also appreciated Alia's call to the present day Church to actually live out the Gospel in tangible ways to the needy, poor or disenfranchised. Conversely, she reminds us that too often as Christians, we tend to say, "We're fine," when in reality we might be hurting, suffering, depressed, or in grave need. With brave vulnerability and transparency, she shares from her own experiences that to admit weakness is to allow others to participate in ministry and relationship they might otherwise miss. Her insightful perspective left me thinking for days. I pray this book will make its way into the hands of all those who have had similar experiences and/or who are struggling with chronic illness because even though hers isn't an easy story to read, Alia clearly captures the very essence and heart of God with an astounding message of hope and faith.
alaskamom 4 months ago
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Alia’s book! She speaks to the hurts we feel, but try to ignore and avoid. We each have our place in the body, and we need each other. What I remember feeling is how in each story, Alia constantly brings us back to God is in every intricate detail of our life, there may be circumstances we see differently, but He has a purpose. One of MANY quotes at the beginning of the book that really resonated with me, “There is a helplessness in poverty that precedes the move of God in our lives because we understand an aspect of grace that so many miss: we do nothing to earn it. When we understand this, all becomes grace.” (38) Alia writes in a way to tie many thoughts and truths together. I absolutely would recommend this book to anyone. Even if you don’t think you particularly feel lack, we are human and we do have lack in life. *I did receive a book in advance, but this review reflects my personal thoughts and feelings.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Raw, unfiltered honesty is Alia Joy's writing style in Glorious Weakness. No offerings of Christian cliches and platitudes here! She shines a light on her deepest weaknesses and rawest emotions bright enough that we can see our own. Weakness does not seem glorious, but when we come face-to-face with Christ in the middle of it, His glory meets us right there. And as Alia found, He is always right here holding us. A book to be savored and shared.
Jennifer Holmes 4 months ago
This book was all I hoped it would be. Alia's beautiful writing style combined with scriptural truths made for a lovely and helpful read. As someone who struggles with the desire to be self-sufficient, this was an important reminder of my need for God and others. I constantly need the reminder that in the Kingdom of God, our weaknesses allow God to show His strength. And that is exactly where I need to be - aware of my weakness so that God can work on my behalf. I highly recommend this book to anyone, because we are all weak. And we all need the reminder that our weakness is glorious when it drives us back to God.
Leah Everson 4 months ago
This is the book I didn't know I was waiting for. And if you feel like life isn't what you hoped or expected, if you feel like you are lacking before God and others, I think it will be that book for you, too. With tender vulnerability and words that turn sentences into songs, Alia Joy openly shares her life with us in Glorious Weakness. From the opening chapters where she teaches on the beauty Jesus sees in our poverty and weakness to the end when she opens her life up for us to see her life with mental illness, Alia Joy provides a clear picture of what it is to be loved by God despite what we think we need to be accepted by him. Beloved is how Alia Joy trusts God to define her and I come away from this book believing that I, despite my weaknesses, failures, and my own mental illness, I am beloved, too. I didn't know I needed to hear another woman talk about her mental illness until I started reading Alia Joy's words. I didn't know how desperately I needed someone else to speak of her experience, to understand what it feels like to be unable to change her feelings. More than that, Alia Joy speaks truth in the face of the lies the people of the church speak about God's love for us. That we are blessed because we are poor in spirit, not in spite of it. For that alone, I am so grateful.
AmplifyHope 4 months ago
Have you ever read a book that immediately read you, pricked your heart with wonder, and made you feel an abiding kindred of experience and heartache? That is what reading Alia Joy’s book was like for me. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I knew I’d find beauty in her story telling - the kind the invites you to come sit and the table because this story seems like your own in so many ways. This book is for all of us - every. single. one. of. us. If you've suffered heartache, pain, loss, or any kind of gut wrenching, soul stirring, aching pain - get this book. If you have grown weary of prosperity messages, trying to always be strong, overwhelmed by the weight of your pain - get this book. If you've suffered the shame of poverty, riches, hyper spirituality, tattered hope, broken faith, or feeling neglected - get this book. This is the book you want and need to read so you can remain “fluent in the language of hope.”
ErikaShirk 4 months ago
This book was so good. I feel like the words I try to say about this book will just diminish the scope of what it is. But here’s for trying. Sickness, poverty, depression, bipolar disorder, and more sickness piled onto more, more, more of less than expected life circumstances; Alia Joy has been through a lot more than many of us. This book is powerful not only because of her life stories, but because of the way she reframes her life stories to reflect a bigger picture of God and challenge our own assumptions about weakness in general, our own weakness, and those we might consider weak among us. This book is life, and hope in life. I really appreciated Alia Joy’s honesty and straightforwardness about poverty, growing up poor, coming to terms with her faith, and battling through illness, asthma, and mental health diagnosis and the stigma attached with all of it. Her writing is vivid, clear, and sometimes humorous as she shows us all the ways God is there for us in our weakness and how weakness is actually a strength. “My deficiency was the strongest thing about me because God was fully present in my lack.”Joy p. 169 We are not all weak in the same ways, but we are all weak in many ways. Alia Joy has given words and hope to the way our hardships, weaknesses, and failings can spring up new life in us instead of death. She tells about a Jesus changed way of thinking, not a Jesus-fix-it way. “I had no idea that the cross God would call me to carry was a life of ordinary faithfulness. That I would instead be tasked with recognizing the poverty in myself and bearing witness to the goodness of God in a life I never wanted.” Joy p. 33 Alia Joy gives us hope for the ways weakness is a ministry. She challenges us to faith in a God who is there in the midst of our struggle, instead of faith captivated by our ability to serve God before, after, or in spite of struggle. It made me feel all the feels. Underline on every page. And say ‘yes to this’ again and again. I think this book is actually for everyone.
GPCho 4 months ago
Alia is an expert writer, one who can weave beauty and truth together, and a witness of God's faithfulness through poverty and lack and weakness. She speaks from the inside, from a place of continued struggle, so when she speaks of hope, she speaks as a guide who can walk with us in the journey. I keep coming back to the beautiful writing in this book and the truth that I can depend on God in all I lack, knowing Alia has done the same and continues to do so. She writes in her introduction that this book might not be for everyone, but I believe it is. All of us experience lack at some point in time in our lives, and when we go through the depths of those times, we can hold onto the testimony of her story: God is present, and our weakness is an invitation to experience His grace.
caroline teselle 4 months ago
"We can't escape our storytelling souls." I'm so thankful for Ali and how she has cracked the door wide open and shared her soul with us in this beautiful book.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This book is astonishingly good. Alia writes with a raw, poetic, relatable style that leaves me crying, laughing, in awe and nodding in agreement. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I highlighted this much of a book! I've been going through a tough time lately, and Alia not only helped me feel like it's ok to be in this place, she gave me hope that God will meet me here in and use it even more powerfully than if I were where I want to be. This is a message sorely needed in the church, not just for those who know they don't have it all together, but especially for those who are trying desperately to still pretend that they do. It's an invitation to enter brokenness, weakness, poverty of spirit, need, and find Jesus there loving us fully. I can't recommend this highly enough.
LVE 4 months ago
Stunningly beautiful. She is able to explain the deepest expressions of our hearts with words. Her message is powerful and needful. In a world defined by greatness, Alia Joy reminds us that our weakness is where we find God’s glory. “We count ourselves among the poor in spirit, the hemorrhaging, the unclean, the broken, the thirsty, the outcast, and the other because we know Jesus came for just such ones.” Our world would be a deeper, more compassionate reflection of Jesus if we approached life through Alia’s lens. She leads us into holy hope amidst suffering. She gifts us with joy even when we battle sorrow.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I have loved Alia Joy’s words for years, how she pours the out onto the page and makes me feel less alone in the world. this book was no exception. her words are vulnerable and hide little, but they did not make me despair. instead, they brought me hope. hope in the midst of the brokenness in so many things gong wrong in the world. if you are feeling broken and alone and lost, read this book - if nothing else, it will help you feel less alone. you will not regret this purchase!
NKT 4 months ago
Every word of Alia Joy’s vulnerable memoir Glorious Weakness is spectacularly written. I cried over the beauty of Alia’s words and the message of great hope for the weary heart. God has gifted Alia with a unique voice. I almost exclusively read Glorious Weakness while nursing my baby, which means I had small pockets of time reserved for reading and would often put the book away mid-paragraph in search of a burp cloth or to change my baby’s diaper. When I resumed reading at the next feeding, I intentionally backtracked so I could once again get lost in the beauty of Alia’s message of hope. Although I am not a warrior living with Bipolar Disorder, I could relate to much of what she shared regarding grief since I lost my beloved dad to cancer when I was seventeen. Wether you are living with loss, poverty, a mental heath illness or want to develop empathy for someone who does, and especially if you’ve ever felt alone, not enough, or broken in this dry and weary land, this book is for you.
JennIsh 4 months ago
Culture teaches us to be self-reliant. As Christians, we know that Jesus said, "apart from Me you can do nothing." And yet rarely, if ever, do we embrace that. We don't admit we need help, we struggle through much because we would rather die than appear weak, and when unable to complete something, we will heap on guilt, shame, and condemnation finding all the reasons for our failures, except the most obvious.....we tried to do it in our own strength which is the guaranteed way to fail every single time. This book is a poetic call to honesty. Enter these waters with anticipation, knowing from the beginning, that God is using Alia's words to draw you closer to His heart and love for you and others.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This is the first book in a long time which I have read cover to cover. Yes, I read all of the acknowledgments! Alia Joy writes with such honesty and vulnerability about hard things: her struggles with poverty, bipolar disorder, childhood leukemia, anxiety, and sexual abuse. Glorious Weakness is truly her testimony to God's goodness through all of it. On the good days, the bad days, and the in between days, she writes about how it feels to believe that we are less than, not enough, and not worth it. How growth is not linear, but like tree rings. And mostly how, like Job realized, He is still good. And through Him, we are strong. We are enough. We are more than our trials. We are worth it. Thank you Alia for sharing your story and encouraging this weary heart. We need more of these conversations in the church and your story is most definitely needed and valuable. It is crucial. 6 out of 5 stars. Grateful to have received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher.
EmilyBoyMom 4 months ago
"Glorious Weakness" by Alia Joy is one that will stick with me. I highlighted such beautiful passages that there is no doubt I will return to her words over time. Alia shares her roller coaster of a life: from defeating leukemia in her childhood, living on the mission field, experiencing abuse, to overcoming doubt and fear as she learns to live with being bipolar. I don't know if I have words adequate enough to describe the depth found in these pages--the transparency and vulnerability seep through the paragraphs. The reader can tell this book has been well thought out and ruminated on for some time and for that I am thankful. While "Glorious Weakness " is not an easy read, there are many lampposts of hope throughout the book. In the midst of challenging circumstances, Alia shares the ways Jesus has led her, provided for her family and changed her perspective on her illness. Life may be hard, but we can persevere, even in our weakness. I loved the way Alia chose to confront the things she can't control--instead, leaving Jesus to handle it, admitting she wasn't able. Often as Christians we try and slap a smile on weary faces, choosing to only show the good sides of ourselves. We forget that when we do that, we lose the opportunity to minister through connection, vulnerability and honesty. To not be afraid of being weak, to admit we are not a perfect, Sunday School Christian has a power few understand. Alia deftly describes new motherhood, family dynamics, depression and self image issues that many of us can relate to. I found myself reading portions aloud to my husband, as they have been mountains we, too, have traveled together. I was truly sad to come to the conclusion of the book. I was part of an early reader group and feel very blessed to have taken part. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a review. "Glorious Weakness" is a book that will challenge and inspire. Please do not miss out on this one!
THenness 4 months ago
There are a million books out there that inspire you with stories of overcoming. There are so many cheerleading, you can do it reads that make you believe you can live your best life if you just wash your face, eat greens, and hustle. This is not that book. Which is why I wholeheartedly recommend it. Glorious Weakness turns all that on it’s head and speaks into the places of pain that never goes away, prayers that never get answered, and how none of us were in fact ever created to be enough on our own. Alia Joy has a poetic way of describing some of the hardest and most shameful stories of her life in a way doesn't elicit pity so much as it normalizes our human weakness. She invites us to stop hiding our weakness and failure, as if our brokenness could ever stop God from loving us or using us, and it's convicting. What if we stop striving to work past our weaknesses and heal through our hurts FIRST? What if we start by embracing God in all of our foibles and frailties? Alia Joy shows us what it looks like to glorify God by telling the stories of our weaknesses, our prayers unanswered, and our hopes yet fulfilled. I got an advanced copy to provide my honest opinion. This is a beautifully written book that includes some very difficult, topics (sexual assault, suicide, poverty, miscarriage, etc). I've never read anything like this. We don't see enough of this kind of raw and vulnerable story telling.
ADelightfulGlow 4 months ago
Glorious Weakness leans into soulful lament, into our weariness, our need, our lack, and our weakness. Alia Joy has been gifted with words that flow from her pen onto the page, and invite us in to sit and ponder. In poetical, lyrical language, she invites us into this, her story of poverty, disillusionment with God, and too many hours in a hospital. She takes us with her as she journeys away from God, but finds God won't abandon her or His pursuit of her. God's grace and love shine forth as Alia begins to recognize His unfailing strength carrying her through glorious weakness, pain, and grief. This is a story of hope and redemption and recognizing the opportunity opened by what we lack. It is a masterful beauty of a book. I received a copy to review and all opinions are my own.