I recently finished reading Lecrae's book, Unashamed. You guys. All I can say is it was an honor to read it and I will never be able to shake his story. And I don't want to. When you are invited into someone's story of pain and redemption, there comes with it a responsibility to listen intently, learn from experiences different than your own, and grow in compassion and respect for others. And then there is a choice to walk away and live a little bit differently than you did before. Unashamed can truly be life changing.
I've been following Lecrae in his musical journey for several years now, especially from a summer of working at Kids Across America. I have always been intrigued by his writing ability and way of communicating hard things and gospel truth. He has a way of using music to make you think, to expand your viewpoint, and to point you to Jesus and eternal things. He is real and raw, encouraging and challenging. Over the years his music has gotten better and better and his influence has continued to grow.
When I heard Lecrae had a book coming out, I knew I wanted to read it. I've heard bits and pieces of his story and know his music, but I still didn't know much about his life. I knew he would use his book to display the gospel and I was excited to dive in.
Lecrae takes the reader through a very personal and intimate look at his life, from childhood to today. He addresses hardships and trials, sins committed against him and sins he committed. He doesn't hold much back and truly shares his story with brave vulnerability. There were times it was hard for me to read. The words itself are wonderfully written. Lecrae is a very good communicator and writes very well. But the experiences and heartaches he shares are heavy. I found myself wanting to get to the part of his story where redemption happens, where Jesus breaks in the darkness with His light, because the burden of the darkness was great. But pushing through reading about the dark, hard places was so worth it. My eyes were opened to the realities of a life unlike my own, and the light and miracle of grace shone brilliantly through Lecrae's courageous openness.
Each chapter tells of a significant season of Lecrae's life and starts with lyrics to one of his songs:
0 Red Carpet Treatment
1 Daddy Issues
2 Nowhere to Run
3 A Fragmented Life
4 Lost Man on Campus
5 Take Me As I Am
6 Who Am I Foolin'?
7 Welcome to Rehab
8 Confessions of a Christian Rapper
9 Memphis Moment
10 Kicking Down Hell's Door
11 The Outsiders
+ God's Poetry
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Unashamed:
"If you live for people's acceptance, you'll die from their rejection." (page 09)
He includes pictures throughout the book, including pictures of journal entries. It was interesting to learn backgrounds behind his songs and albums. I found myself growing in respect for him and in appreciation for choices he has made regarding his career. I really admired the way Lecrae talked about art and how to live as an artist who is a Christian. It can be hard to navigate that road, and he does a great job of explaining his decisions in regards to his own career. He eloquently describes our work as Christians and how to reconcile so-called secular work with our sacred callings. The honesty displayed throughout Unashamed reveals the importance of having mentors and examples to look up to, being encouraged in your creativity, standing firm in your convictions and callings, living in grace, and having a Biblical worldview.
Unashamed provides the opportunity for the reader to see beauty beyond brokenness and hope beyond despair. I definitely recommend it. It is a much-needed story, especially in today's society, as it will help open your eyes to the lives and experiences of others. It may very well be a catalyst for change in our culture. I'm grateful for Lecrae's willingness to share his story. His story, while specific circumstances may be quite different, is just the same as mine. I was lost, but Jesus rescued me. I was dead in my sin, but Jesus raised me to new life in Him. I am prone to striving and legalism and trying to earn favor with God and man, but Jesus continually reminds me of grace, brings me back to it, and covers me in it. It is clear Lecrae has chosen to share his story in order for the hope of the gospel to reach many and for the fame of Jesus to spread.
And you can buy the book here!
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Disclaimer: I was given this book by the publisher for an honest review.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.