“This is beautiful and brilliant stuff, profound and plain, incredibly human, wise and charming. I trusted and enjoyed every word.”
–Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author about Looking for God in Messy Places

Looking for God in Messy Places: A Book About Hope

By Bishop Jake Owensby





Life is messy. We can get discouraged by setbacks, overwhelmed by busyness, and shaken by worry. Hope is the power that gets us out of bed in the morning and gives us the courage to face adversity. Looking for God in Messy Places by Jake Owensby is a book about hope. How to find it. How to practice it. How to grow in it. Hope begins when we recognize that God is in this mess with us.

This book is for anyone who has ever been frozen in place by loss or regret, anyone who has endured suffering, cruelty, or rejection. From word to word and page to page, readers will experience themselves as God’s beloved—so that they can be hopeful.


From the introduction
[This book is] For those whose struggles have been long and for those who are growing weary from heavy burdens. For those facing an unforeseen crisis or for those enduring a slow personal train wreck. For those whose throats have grown raw from crying for justice and for those whose wounds have gone unhealed. This is a book about hope, and I have written it especially for those who refuse to yield to discouragement and despair.

Topics include:
- The power of love to give us hope
- The ways that God shows up in our daily lives
- Recognizing God’s call in our lives
- Becoming your true self
- Having a sense of belonging
- Forming a friendship with Christ
- Contemplative faith

More praise for Looking for God in Messy Places

For any who feel frustrated and world-weary, and who want more than just wishful thinking or superficial spirituality, this book is for you! In these pages, my friend Jake Owensby poignantly shows how LOVE is what can truly give us hope to carry on: real love, God's love for us, our love for each other, right here, right now in all the struggles of this messy life. And God knows, we need this book NOW!

—Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and author of Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times


For any of us who have struggled to hope in these dark days, Jake Owensby illuminates the most important theological truth I know: If God is truly a God who loves, then help is always on the way, and hope is never in vain.

—Greg Garrett, author of A Long, Long Way: Hollywood's Unfinished Journey from Racism to Redemption and (with Rowan Williams), In Conversation: Rowan Williams and Greg Garrett.


Jake Owensby doesn't hide from the messiness of life. He invites us to live with our eyes wide open, finding God in beauty and pain, wonder and sorrow, clarity and mystery. This is a book to heal broken hearts and restore weary souls.

—Brian D. McLaren, author of Faith After Doubt


I read a lot of books that leave me feeling smarter, funnier, or more entertained. When I put down the Rt. Rev. Jake Owensby’s Looking for God in Messy Places, I had grown wiser. In these times when we could easily despair, Owensby digs deep into his life and the human experience in order to unearth a solid hope, rooted and grounded in faith.

—Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, Senior Pastor of Bedford Presbyterian Church and author of Healing Spiritual Wounds


Jake Owensby shares more about each section of Looking for God in Messy Places in these five Amplify Originals video sessions.

All videos are available to watch on AmplifyMedia.com.

Episode 1 can be viewed without a subscription through the Amplify Media's First Look program offering free previews of the most popluar video series, a subscription to Amplify is needed to watch the rest of the videos.  

Episode 1: Jake Owensby explains the role of hope in the first section of his book Looking for God in Messy Places.





Episode 2: For the second section of the book, Jake Owensby discusses what it's like when God shows up in our ordinary lives.





Episode 3: Jake Owensby discusses how responding to our call gives us hope..





Episode 4: This episode looks at the importance of the "authetic we" - one that is truly a loving community. 






Episode 5: In the final session, Jake focuses on Jesus' teaching that faith is friendship.

Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Looking for God in Messy Places

Jake Owensby

Jake Owensby is a writer and speaker whose work focuses on the spirituality of everyday life. He is the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana and author of five books including Looking for God in Messy Places, A Resurrection Shaped Life, and Your Untold Story.
Before entering ordained ministry, he earned the PhD in philosophy from Emory University and served as a professor at Jacksonville University. He has always been interested in how people find meaning and purpose in their ordinary lives. And he sees himself as a kind of midwife, helping his readers and those who participate in his workshops give birth to their own sense of what makes life worth living.
He has three adult children and lives in Alexandria, Louisiana, with his wife, Joy, and rescue pup, Gracie.
He blogs about looking for God in messy places at JakeOwensby.com.