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If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free
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If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  4,074 ratings  ·  504 reviews
What if you knew all the moments of my past that I am not proud of? What if you really knew me, the messy parts that I’ve hoped to forget and worked hard to conceal? For so long, my greatest fear was what you might think of me if you only knew the whole story.
It’s exhausting, this guarding of our stories and struggles. Fear of being found out had caused me to hide—but I
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by B Books
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Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a tricky book for me to review.

Based on the message and heart of this story and the author's testimony, I'd give it 5 stars! So many truths and freeing ideas put into an easy to read conversational style.


If I'm rating on the writing, it's a 3 star review. Hear me out - it's not that a person needs to be an accomplished writer to produce a good book, but they should have an accomplished editor.
Honestly, there were just so many words.

First, acknowledgments in the beginning of the
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The writing isn't spectacular, but her goal in her writing as she states in the beginning is to tell her story as if you are both sitting at the table in her back yard. She intends the book to be very casual. I really appreciated her honesty about her past and how God used difficult and shameful circumstances to draw her back to him. I am even more encouraged by her confession of how her past shapes her current sin and heart struggles and how she presses into a gospel centered community in those ...more
Shannon Whitehead
Unlike many reviewers, I had no idea who Jamie Ivey was prior to receiving this book for review and had never listened to her podcast. I feel that I got a chance to get to know her through reading "If You Only Knew" and appreciated the book for its vulnerability and Gospel-centered message—I mean truly Gospel-centered, as in she tied the work of Christ back into every mistake she's made and lesson she's learned—and for that reason alone I would recommend this book because I believe that God can ...more
Allie Thomas
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The introduction says it all: Stories are important. When we see our stories not as "obstacles to freedom, but rather as the key to unlocking it," a book like If You Only Knew becomes a MUST READ.

In her first book, Jamie Ivey does just this - shares her beautiful, broken, and redeemed story - to encourage her readers to remove the labels they put on their own journeys and to own how the gospel can truly work in our lives. She reminds her readers that "our stories are not really as unique as we
Amanda Espinoza
I read this book in one day, because it was that compelling. This book surprised me, because it isn’t the precious commonplace story I’ve come to expect from Christian women writers.

Jamie Ivey sets up the reader sharing about other sinners from the Bible, then she dives into her own story of how Jesus rescues her. Along the way she steps on various soap boxes. She encourages women to be vulnerable. She urges Christians to stop being shocked by sin. Finally, she encourages the reader to seek out
Megan Wright
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The pages of this book are drenched with ‘me too’ tears, poured out over a so-far lifetime of failing and following, failing and following. Yet God has forgiven me, just as God has forgiven you. And even on days where we may see more losing than winning, His faithfulness and forgiveness will hold us together. For as bad as it’s been and as bad as it can get, Jesus is better. Let us all be women who believe that to be true.”

I really enjoyed this book. It’s very convicting as Jamie sheds light on
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book because I love her podcast! This is her story to finding freedom from the bondage of sin. She is incredibly vulnerable in these pages and encourages others to be the same because walking around like we have it all together doesn't help anyone. She talks about the importance of having a fight club; friends that you can open up to and they will speak truth in your life, point you to Jesus and pray with you and for you. She speaks truth in this book and talks about the importance ...more
Zachary Houle
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I think everyone’s got a skeleton or two in their closet. I know I certainly do. This isn’t the time or place to really talk about the bad I’ve done in my life, but, suffice to say, it’s enough that I was curious about Jamie Ivey’s If You Only Knew. The book — while aimed more so at women readers — is about all those sordid mistakes you’ve made in the past, and how you might be able to come through them to a place of peace. Given that the author is a conservative Christian from Texas, you know t ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The easiest thing to think that the way things are is the way they are supposed to be. That we have no choice in how things in our lives will go. Though I do believe in some destiny I also believe that we can make choices to direct what that destiny will be. I believe we must listen the to guidance in our hearts. Reading through Jamie's story made me realize how much hiding we do in this world. We hide the feelings we have about what we really want, really believe. We hide the way we feel about ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a truthful, gospel-centered memoir, that doesn't hit on the tired themes of "girl power" and "follow your dreams" or "woe is me, I'm so wounded" but tells a story with a purpose and goes back to Biblical truth throughout. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, or learn from it as much as I did! My history is not at all like Jamie Ivey's, but that didn't matter, as truth is truth no matter what and what she gives in this book is just that. I wasn't expecting to like If You Only K ...more
**I received this book for free from the publisher through Netgalley. My review and opinions are my own.**

Many of us have, at some point, thought "if this person knew who I really was, they wouldn't speak to me again." This book is for us.

Jamie Ivey writes about her past openly and honestly, and follows every part of her story with how the the gospel frees us to be honest, vulnerable people. It's a gospel-soaked book and a joy to read. I don't tend to like books that rely heavily on the author's
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book for the woman who suffers from the shame of past sins about forgiveness and our new identity in Christ. Ivey is vulnerable and honest in her account of her struggles and gives you a fresh understanding of things we already know or should know = Christ has forgiven us and we are a new creation in him - our sins do not define us. She puts a lot of emphasis on community in Christ too - finding friends you feel safe with and who will hold you accountable. Another important point is ...more
Amanda Jack
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Talk about being an open book! This memoir, while simply written is of a woman growing up in the church who has failed, many times before she came to know Christ and struggled even after coming to know him, and about the freedom and fullness of grace experienced in confession and repentance. One of the most relatable books I have read in a while.
Hannah H.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I recently discovered Jamie’s podcast and was excited to see that she’d written a book as well. While the writing isn’t stellar (is it ever really that good in biographies by non-writers?), the story is clear and compelling.

Jamie does a great job of speaking truth from her life, coupled with truth from the Word. And when so many of her experiences of imperfection and fear resonate with all of us, that makes for a really encouraging and faith-building book.
Jen Anderson
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I appreciate Jamie’s honesty and vulnerability! She makes you feel heard and understood while still telling her own story.
Mary Rachel Fenrick
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved reading Jamie’s story of redemption, which reminds me so much of my own. She writes exactly as she talks in her podcast and is careful to bring all glory back to Christ in both her struggles and her victories. This book emboldened me to share my own “story of rescue” with others. A quick, challenging read. Only negative thing for me (though very minor) is that her themes started to feel somewhat repetitive toward the end.
Angie Pace
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I don’t think this book will win any awards for writing prose, but I sure enjoyed & gleaned from it. Her honesty & transparency were at times shocking, yet refreshing. As a fellow pastor’s wife, I can relate to many of her experiences & struggles with not always feeling enough. I’m super thankful that Jamie Ivey shared her life with me. ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
For someone who has spent most my adult life avoiding people of my youth because I was ashamed of who I was back then, this was an empowering read. Jamie is one of the most courageous women I know right now for not holding anything back and putting herself out there.

May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ooooooh, Jamie. I just love her complete honesty. Beautiful story. Humble honesty. God is in every word. "Shame never brings freedom, but Christ came to purify our conscience." Yes and amen.
(Audiobook read by Jamie= GOLD)
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
I love Jamie Ivey's podcast The Happy Hour. She interviews amazing women who are doing wonderful things! I love following her on social media too. She is so uplifting and fun. I was super excited to read her first book.

This is most definitely a book about Christianity by a Christian writer. It was 90% preaching and 10% the author's personal experiences. It was heavy on the preaching/sermon side. I am a church goer and I found myself is a lot. I wanted more of her own story.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars. I feel almost guilty not rating it higher because I don't want to disparage the message of the book -- my issues with it were mainly stylistic. The conversational tone that is so prevalent in Christian women's books gets old to me over a whole book, and I would have probably enjoyed it more in blog posts. Also, the author spends the introduction and the whole first chapter building up to her story so that by the time you finally reach what she's been building up to (over 1/4 through t ...more
Rachel (Words With Rach)
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this book. Just read it. You will not regret it.

I love to read. I read many books and especially love books that point me to Jesus and remind me of truth. This is one of those books.

Through sharing her own story Jamie Ivey talks about the freedom that comes with sharing our stories. We all have them. She talks about the importance of vulnerability and community. Above all she shows us that Jesus is Better and points us to Him.

Beautiful, honest, encouraging, uplifting and convicting. This b
Heather Wooten
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read many Christian women authors and sadly this is the first one to actually acknowledge REAL, CURRENT struggles and mistakes made as a Christian. Most talk only about struggles prior to becoming a Christian, selling a lie that once you follow Christ your life will be easy and struggle free. So thankful that Jamie Ivey was brave enough to write her real story. It’s good to hear someone talk about how we do screw up as Christians and there is grace for that and we don’t have to hide from it ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rarely do I read a non fiction, Christian book all the way to the end. This book was so full of little gems that inspired me and broke me down that I couldn’t stop reading and rereading Jamie’s words. A must read for all women. A couple of my favourite excerpts:

“We’re either the church people that others feel too ashamed to be themselves around, or we’re the bottled-up people whose sense of failure or inadequacy makes us want to hide and maybe hate you.”

“Who am I to think I have the right to hol
Karla Osorno
Each Wednesday, I look forward to sanctioned eavesdropping on conversations between Jamie Ivey and an invited friend on her podcast THE HAPPY HOUR WITH JAMIE IVEY. I love that Jamie is authentic and funny. Her voice makes me happy and her guests are always insightful and real too. So when I learned of her book "If You Only Knew", I was just as excited to get my hands on it.

Jamie did not disappoint. I read an electronic copy of her book but felt as if Jamie herself were sitting across from me at
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While this book is not a "super theological" read and I have seen some disappointed reviews that obviously expected as much, I really enjoyed it.

Jamie speaks of truths that seem simple on the outside, but can be hard to actually accept as truth in the midst of battling our flesh. This book is an easy read and speaks a lot on where our identity lies and how to deal with the shame and guilt we face as believers due to past and current sins. Because of the simplicity, I think this is going to be a
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like many of the other reviewers, I read this book in about 1 week. It is a very quick read but nonetheless an important message. It is written in the same voice and style that Jamie uses on her podcast -conversational and candid. Her vulnerability and honesty about the lifestyle choices she made at a young age and the heartbreaking consequences that resulted, are so desperately needed. I think it is especially appropriate for young high school and college aged women who are asking those questio ...more
Patti Whitson Stephenson She Lives to Read
This book is compelling because of the author’s openness in telling her story; but also for her compassion for others that permeates the whole book. She knows what it’s like to have sinned; grieved over her sin; and to have received the overwhelming love and forgiveness that Jesus offers to all of us. This book is a call to the church to have a renewed sense of compassion for those who are hurting because of sinful choices. I am glad to have read her story. It’s developed that renewed sense of c ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jamie is my favorite podcaster (please check out The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey!) & is a super talented author too. However, her book isn't good necessarily because she's such a terrific writer (although she is!), but it's good because she is so authentic & real with her failures, how she perceives them & how freeing being vulnerable can be. Her definition of 'sin-shock' really hit home for me & reminded me to watch my attitude towards the mistakes others have made. We all sin. We all need the g ...more
Amanda Shook
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have gotten to know Jamie Ivey through her podcast over the last few years, so I knew I was going to love her book: "If You Only Knew". I am so grateful to her for being painfully honest and open about her sins and how she over and over again pointed it back to Jesus. This book is a great story and weaves the Bible all through out. Thank you, Jamie, for sharing this book with the world; you are truly a world changer - He is doing far more than you could ever imagine in you!
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Jamie Ivey believes in women and wants big things for them. She wants them to know and believe their worth in this world and to the Father. Through her podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, she uses a raw and intimate approach to connect with her audience. Jamie’s prayer and hope is for God to use her words to encourage and show others that they are not alone, while constantly pointing them to ...more

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