As a young girl, I was very damaged and messed up. The pain was at times unbearable —and my coping mechanisms resulted in my being an even more complicated and difficult person to be around. The grace that God showed me as I grew up in these broken circumstances was the Church. No matter what sort of desert I found myself in, God always provided the river of Church life to flow alongside me, bringing His comfort, shelter and love. I “gave my life to Jesus” about 10 times before I actually fully committed and surrendered my life to Him at the age of 18, when He flooded my life with His Holy Spirit.
Since that day, when I fully acknowledged who He was and grasped something of the immeasurable love and sacrifice demonstrated at the cross, I’ve been on a mission: to know Him more, to love Him more, to become more like Him and to make Him known to others. Even though for much of the time I was still in the same circumstances, I was not the same old me—I was a new creation. I may still have had the same reputation and labels that those in my neighborhood and church had known me by, but Jesus had cleansed me and was continuing to change me: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). That was just how I felt and how I still feel today.
If ever there was a messed-up sinner in need of a hope and future, it was me. The last 10 years, though, have taught me that to press into God, being honest before Him and confessing my sin, leads to a life of wholeness and freedom. Whatever sadness, sin, suffering or crisis we may come up against, He is able to deliver, heal and restore us. The awesome God of heaven, who is surrounded by angels calling out His holy name, longs to know us and change us. Jesus—worshiped as the glorious, stunning Savior—changes lives and brings us a hopeful and glorious future. Our God brings beauty from ashes, displaying His beauty within us—and even transforming other people’s broken lives through us. It’s a mystery. It is undeserved. It is beautiful!
At the cross, our broken past dies with Jesus and our new lives rise, just as He rose. In His light, our fractured past should no longer dictate who we are or what we will become. We don’t have to inherit the sin of previous generations or carry yesterday’s baggage. I know who I was before I met Jesus, and I know what sort of woman I am today. And although I’m still on the journey, I’ve discovered time and time again that the more I cling to Him, the more He is made beautiful and glorious in my life.
So many of us women struggle with insecurity, the need to compare ourselves with others, unforgiveness, gossip, jealousy and the everyday challenges that womanhood throws at us. But when we as Christian women gather together, we have the opportunity to throw off these things and reflect Christ in a beautiful and glorious way. We don’t have to live in the old. The new is beckoning.
I want to be a beautiful woman of God—an uncomplicated follower of Jesus who breaks free from the cycle of the past and lives a “big life” for God. I want to leave a legacy behind. And, through this book, I want to encourage you to do the same. May these pages draw you into God’s presence and cause your spirit to cry out to Him. Let’s not stay the same as we once were.
He is calling us to dedicate our lives to Him, to be women of God who bring Him much glory. Each chapter in this book is a prayer to be more like Him. The chapter titles in this book are not meant to be childish demands, but instead they are the passionate prayers of a woman desperate to take hold of the things that Christ Jesus took hold of for me. This book is my prayer, a sobering look at who I am without Him—and a glorious peek at what the future can be like because of Him.
God bless you on your journey, beautiful woman.
Love and grace through Jesus,