“So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table.” 2 Kings 25:30
When I first read the title of this book Orange Jumpsuit, I didn’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m more of a black and white kind of person that imagery doesn’t always make sense to me right away. However, it didn’t take more than ten minutes for me to get hooked. I honestly have never read a book faster. I just couldn’t put this one down. I’ll give you a sneak peak of what captured me, but ultimately I just want you to pick up a copy for yourself. This is one of those “grab a good cup of coffee, snuggle up for a few hours, and read until your heart is content” kind of books. Ok, here goes…
As I began to read Tara Leigh Cobble’s story, one thing became clear to me rather quickly. Although we are two very different people, I couldn’t help but feel so connected to her heart. Our stories really aren’t all that different. It was as if she were telling my own story at times, a story of trusting God from childhood yet in many ways still living bound and imprisoned to my fears (hence the orange jumpsuit, a.k.a. prison clothes). I don’t know about you, but I love when I feel that I can relate to the author, when what he or she says completely resonates with my soul. It was through her vulnerability in unveiling pieces of her story that God spoke something so beautiful to my heart. God uses messed up, broken people like you and me. I don’t understand it nor do I deserve His grace in such a way, but He simply delights in using us. Despite the fact that you and I continually return to the fears that He has set us free from, God chooses to daily meet us with His love and pull us back to His side. That is astounding!
So, what did I take away from this book? A lot! But just to get you intrigued enough to read this one for yourself, I’ll only share with you a few points that spoke most to me.
1. God’s calling on your life might not make sense at first and might even cause pain if you choose to follow after Him in obedience no matter where He might lead you. BUT, He’ll never lead you or I to a place where His presence will not also be. In my own experience, God has called me “away” from many things: people and things that I love, places that I treasure. Letting go of those things, although difficult, allowed me to fully take hold of Christ and pursue Him and not the things of this world that I love.
2. When obedience becomes more of a pattern in my life rather than a battle, God’s voice becomes louder and clearer. I’m reminded of Ephesians 4:30 where the apostle Paul exhorts us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. I can’t help but think that every time we hush the voice of God in our lives with our own rationalizations or reasoning, His voice grows quieter. Our disobedience quenches the Spirit in our lives. But when we choose to receive God’s Word and what He’s asking us to do and believe Him in faith that He will accomplish His purposes in and through us, our hearts become more interwoven with His. Our desires become linked to His. Our ears grow accustomed to the voice of our Shepherd.
3. Freedom is ours to forfeit or embrace. It amazes me how many times I’ve allowed fear to keep me from freedom. Fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, fear of failure, fear of man, fear, fear, fear…fear hinders me from walking in freedom. To fully embrace Christ and His calling on my life, I must take off my prison clothes (the ones that I myself put on), lay them down at the feet of Jesus, and choose to clothe myself in the robes of righteousness that He has waiting for me. Freedom in Christ is certain to look much different that you probably expect it to, but it is far more incredible that you could ever imagine!