Have you ever met someone who captivated your attention, enlightened your thinking, touched your heart, and left their mark on your life in such a way that you knew you would never be the same?
I absolutely love a good story, and these are the best ones! The things that touch us deeply enough to permanently alter us. The events, yes, but even more so, the people! The wonder of the human spirit, and how it responds to life’s defining moments, is mind-boggling.
I’m so curious! I want to know what other people saw, felt, thought, questioned. I wonder what touched them most and why? Was a deep need met? A question answered? Sudden “light-bulb” understanding granted about something troubling them? Wounds healed, emotionally or physically, or spiritually? Did they make a new discovery? Did their own response surprise them? Frighten them? Excite them? Were they spurred into action in some way?
When I have the chance to hear someone else’s story, I am all ears. I do my best to listen well, without asking too many questions. But in times of later reflection, I often ponder how their story helps me understand my own.
My absolute favorite stories are about women in the Bible. Ladies just like me who encountered the one true GOD in the Old Testament or met face to face with the LORD JESUS in the New. The LORD revealed Himself to each of them in wondrous ways and they were forever changed! Their stories are real and raw, but also firmly grounded and gloriously lifted by HOPE.
Through CHRIST we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, we rejoice in hope of the glory of GOD…
and this hope does not put us to shame, because GOD’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
I was recently introduced to a kindred spirit in Dorothy Valcárcel. In the introduction to her new book, The Women Who Met Jesus: New Testament Stories of Lives Transformed by the Savior, she tells how her life-long love of libraries and great stories began when her mother gave her a library card at age seven. Her appreciation for the very best stories drew her again and again to the Bible:
“My insatiable desire to read motivated me to seek out books on historical events, classical literature, philosophy, and religion. But of all the books I read, one of the most fascinating was the Bible. This book was filled with personal experiences that plumbed the depths of human love and tragedy. I was fortunate to have parents and teachers who not only supported but encouraged my study of the Bible, even when it meant I asked some difficult questions and, at the same time, demanded answers to some of life’s most perplexing problems.” (p.11)
Dorothy also shares that this book was birthed from a skeptical challenge from a close friend who couldn’t imagine that the Bible could be relevant to her life or that JESUS knew anything about women! As Dorothy studied, her heart swelled to realize just how MUCH He really does know about each and every individual, women included! And more importantly, how tenderly He loves them and how abundantly He provides for them! It was equally stunning to her to realize that every woman who met JESUS face to face experienced life-altering transformation!
It has been a joy to read her insights about these Bible stories, woven amongst her own personal experiences (followed with scripture references for my own study and wonderful questions for reflection)! I encourage you to let Dorothy help you get to know these precious ladies in the New Testament. You will not be disappointed! Their stories are touching and the discoveries about our Savior are sweet!
In her conclusion, Dorothy echoes my own heart:
“These stories originate with the Man who loves women. He is the same Man who loves women today. I have fallen in love with JESUS all over again. I hope you have too. Because if you have, His love will fill the empty spots in your life and make you whole. His love will change those things about you that you may have thought were unchangeable. And His love will empower you to do things you never thought you were capable of doing. You’ll have the courage to shout from the rooftops that your “Dad” loves you just the way you are. You’ll go to the ends of the earth if He asks you to, because His love will give your life purpose. And you will give everything you are to this Man who has given everything He is to you.” (p.260-261)
Take a fresh look at the stories these women tell, of real life, and of a Savior who makes all things new… and be emboldened to share the unique piece of His story He has given you to tell!
“We love to tell the story… of JESUS… and His love!”
Katherine Hankey, 1866, Philadelphia
Dorothy Valcárcel’s book, The Women Who Met Jesus: New Testament Stories of Lives Transformed by the Savior, published by Revell Books, is available wherever books are sold. Also, be sure to visit TransformationGarden.com, “a global website designed to encourage women in their walk with JESUS.”
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