The lead title in the new Loving Jesus Without Limits series by Shannon Ethridge invites women to connect with God through a personal relationship. COMPLETELY HIS is written to remind readers that God loves them lavishly and irrevocably. He treasures them beyond measure and chooses them to be connected to Him.
The book opens with a personal story of killing another woman in a car accident while still in high school. Ethridge shares the feelings that she should have been the one killed, though she didn’t receive even a single scratch. She was further shocked when she found out that the husband of the deceased, Gary, was concerned for her and wanted to meet her. His warmth and kindness were almost too much for the young Ethridge to handle. On that fateful day, Gary told Shannon, “I am passing [my wife’s] legacy of being a godly woman on to you. I want you to love Jesus without limits, just like Marjorie did. I want you to let Him use you for His glory, Shannon.”
Those words have never left Ethridge. And the experience still reminds her that nothing is beyond God’s redemption. He can take the ugliest of situations and turn them into something beautiful. In fact, she describes the accident as a “burning bush” experience that welcomed her into a deeper relationship with God. She no longer desires to “do the minimum” to get to heaven, but instead wants to love Jesus without limits.
Throughout the book, Ethridge tells stories from her own life and experiences. Some are tender and serious, while others are funny --- like the time she discovered Miss E, the family cat, in the dryer. She also draws from other women who have shared their stories.
Ethridge says that she pursues the presence of God each day. In the shower she’ll thank God for clean, hot water. While driving to school she’ll pray out loud for protection and blessing with the kids. On the way home she’ll sing songs of praise or share what’s in her heart --- imagining God beside her in the passenger’s seat. She prays on her way to the mailbox, as she writes, and as she climbs into bed. God’s presence is welcome all the time.
The author also recognizes God as a gift giver. Our God offers redemption from our pasts and resurrection power for today. As we are recipients of God’s gifts, we are invited to give and even multiply our influence.
Interspersed in the book are little notes or lists in lovely two-page spreads. They offer tips on how to read the Bible and discovering the dreams God wants to bring alive inside you.
One of the most tender moments in COMPLETELY HIS is found in the Afterword. It is an entry by Gary Jarstfer, the man who lost his wife in the car accident when Shannon was a teenager. This precious letter is full of compassion, love and hope. And it’s a beautiful demonstration of the message of this book --- that nothing is beyond God’s redemption, so we are free to love Him with everything we have.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on November 13, 2011