I could not possibly tell my story without including the testimonies of women just like me, whose lives date back to the beginning of time.
Seeing how women in the Bible encountered GOD, and how He marvelously worked in and through their circumstances to meet their needs and win their hearts, has brought comfort, clarity and peace to me! Imagining the real and raw details of their experiences has helped me know I am not alone. Their growing faith in Him has emboldened my own!
Our Savior has made Himself real to each one of us. He has bent low, making His presence known and dear to us in the hard places and in the joyous ones. These treasured women surround me. Together, we tell of His heart as we share our stories.
We love to tell the story. The story of JESUS!
The personal and intimate story He has given each of us to tell.
When I was deciding which stories of women in the Bible I wanted to share along with my own, I discovered a wondrous string of pairings! For each chapter in Held and Beloved, there is a woman from the old testament and one from the new (or multiple from each, in some cases), who walked through circumstances unique to each of them, but who shared a similar encounter with an aspect of the heart of GOD.
Sarah and Elizabeth both experienced GOD doing the impossible within their physical bodies. Hagar and Mary Magdalene both heard the LORD speak their names. Women who reached out to GOD’s prophet Elisha and women who desperately needed JESUS’ healing touch all came to know the LORD as the One who is never limited and never too late! And more . . .
It was remarkable to see an outline forming, these women’s stories falling perfectly in line with the pieces of my own story I felt compelled to recount. Our GOD delights in the details! He never ceases to amaze me!
I thought I knew most of these stories well. But taking a closer look at them led to fresh and amazing discoveries! I am deeply grateful to a small circle of friends who gathered weekly in my living room this summer to share insights from these passages!
If these stories are not familiar to you, at the end of each chapter, please look for the Bible references we used to read their full accounts, and questions that helped us to delve into the experiences of these women and reflect on our own.
Lingering over these stories, imagining what it might have been like to stand in these women’s shoes, helped me to better understand my own times of struggle, questions, doubts and pain!
Joining the conversation with them, giving honor to the One who meets us in each and every one of those moments, brought clarity and healing I didn’t expect. At times I was simply overwhelmed to realize the hand of GOD upon my life – the threads of His purposes woven through decades, but also through the trials of recent years that sometimes still feel fresh and raw – all leading me to know Him, the exactness of His plan, and the immeasurable depth of His love!
. . .
I hope it will be a joy to journey through the pages of this new book, rejoicing in the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever! What was true of Almighty GOD to each of these women has been true for me – and likely true for you too! Dear reader, will you come along with us and join the conversation?
I pray that as you see His hand working and moving in our stories, you will begin to recognize His presence and His touch on your own. That you will know, really know that you, too, are Held and Beloved by the One who gave everything to be your Savior! That you will find your own voice to tell the story He has uniquely and wondrously given you to tell!
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