This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever had to walk through a transitional time in their life. Alicia Britt Chole writes beautifully about recognizing the riches of uncelebrated seasons of our lives.  She reflects on the quiet times (not revealed to us in the Bible) during Jesus’s life and what He would have had to be doing to prepare for all that occurred later in His ministry.  The book focuses on His 40 days in the Judean wilderness and his response to each temptation from Satan (described from Matthew 4).  Jesus’ response to the temptations in the wilderness and the outcomes of his public ministry must have had a direct correlation with his actions during those undocumented hidden years. The author also challenges the reader in different ways, asking the question, “what are you doing in your hidden times to prepare you for challenges to come?”

It is easily one of my favorite books for three reasons:

“In seasons of hiddenness our sense of value is disrupted, stripped of what “others” affirmed us to be. In this season God intends to give us an unshakable identity in Him, that no amount of adoration nor rejection can alter.” 

-Alicia Britt Chole, Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years… and Yours

My heart was open to receiving the treasures articulated in this book. Heart condition is key for not just retaining words, but absorbing them into our souls! I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear some of the truths given in this book, until I was flying through it.  I became hungry to hear the author’s perspective, as I realized I recently was in what would be classified as a hidden season. During that time, instead of looking to God at first, I was desperate to keep my schedule inundated with meetings, activities, hobbies, and jobs. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t doing a lot of those things for God or even myself at times.  I felt the need to justify what I did because I had just left a “successful” job. Not pursuing a “successful” career in the season following allowed me stand out among the crowd, and led to questions from people, like “What do you do all day?” or “What’s next?” I had a burning self-righteous desire to tell people what I was doing with my life, even though I had no clue. I was desperate to fill every minute of my day also because it NUMBED me. When you are so busy, you don’t have time to face your own thoughts, fears, or failures. I came to eventually find the most peace, fulfillment, and hope in the moments spent in utter stillness with the Lord. It was there He began molding my heart more to make me believe in my identity through Him- that I was perfectly and beautifully created by Him for a purpose and there was no need to prove that to anyone.

 

“There in the poorly lit crawl spaces of life (transitions, prolonged waiting, new additions to the family, predatory education, relocation, retirement, unexplainable loss, extended illness, irresolvable conflict, and all else that tends to hide us) God builds within us a sturdy support system for our souls. If we do not respect his craftsmanship in unapplauded seasons, all that is visible in our lives will rest on a fragile foundation, and eventually- through the added weight the visible brings-we will experience collapse.”

-Alicia Britt Chole, Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years… and Yours

This book hones in on the fact that life was never intended to be easy. People have this misconception that when you become a follower of Christ, everything falls into place and your life is perfect. I think people get this misconception from Christians that act like their life is perfect, or from modern society. But it’s far from the truth! We’re told in John 16:33, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Romans 8:31 also says What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” WHEN, not IF, we face tribulation in our lives, God will give us peace and strength.  That knowledge is life changing.  Confidence, when rooted in God and His character, prevents us from getting our hopes and spirits crushed when something goes wrong. We can live in the hope of Christ, relishing on the character of God, and not our own ability to save ourselves. It’s the idea that we can do it all on our own that seems to lead to experiencing “collapse”.

I experienced my own collapse (one of many, let me assure you) just after my dad’s passing in college. I didn’t understand how God could let something so painful happen to our family. I was clueless and young… so I rebelled. I put God on the back burner, and tried to do everything on my own. I looked for fulfillment everywhere. Just as most people wonder through life trying to fill the gaping holes in their heart… I walked through the first few years of college trying to do the same. No matter how many activities I signed up for or how many guys I dated, that hole was never filled. It wasn’t until years later that I would TRULY understand that God is the only one that could ever fill that hole.

 

“Jesus appears to have walked unstressed and unhurried. His peaceful pace seems to imply that he measured himself not by where he was going and how fast he could get there but by whom he was following and how closely they walked together.” 

-Alicia Britt Chole, Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years… and Yours

Lastly, this book reminds us of God’s character, and how His character reveals that He cares more about a real relationship with us than anything. Sometimes I have to laugh at myself when I realize how fast I’m moving or how hurried I find myself running through the day. I’ve always been a big stickler about being on time and in some cases, this could be good, but in other ways, it translates to control issues. I love that Jesus walked comfortably and confidently through His life on earth, undoubtedly because He was comfortable and confident in His shoes as the Son of God. Praying that all of us can experience that same confidence and comfort as we go about our days, more focused on leaning into our relationship with the Lord and those around us, rather than the 50 things on that checklist.

 

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you pick up this book sometime and enjoy it as much as I did.