I’ve read a number of Christian living books that were written specifically for women. I feel that many of these are a bit cheesy or superficial. This may be because I’m not a “girly girl” or because I’ve benefited so much from books written for broad audiences. Regardless of the reason, I was uncertain what to expect when Moody Publishers generously provided me with a review copy of Pierced and Embraced by Kelli Worrall.
The back of this book indicates that it explores “how Jesus uniquely pursued women in the Gospels, and how He still does today—often tenderly, sometimes painfully, but always powerfully.” According to Worrall, God’s embrace of us is often piercing. In other words, “the life Jesus longs to give us can often only be found on the other side of such painful, yet grace-filled jabs” (p. 16). She elucidates this point by exploring how Jesus interacted with various women in the Gospels:
- Mary, Mother of Jesus
- The Woman at the Well
- The Woman with the Hemorrhage
- The Woman Caught in Adultery
- Mary and Martha
- The Woman with the Alabaster Jar
- Mary Magdalene
The story of Mary, Mother of Jesus probably illustrates the concept of a piercing embrace better than any other of the examples. Mary experienced the deepest, most piercing pain a parent can possibly know (the death of her son), but she also experienced the unspeakable love of God’s embrace (being favored by God to carry and raise His son).
Though this book tells the stories of women, I don’t feel that it is a book for women. The personal accounts shared by Worrall and the stories of how Jesus interacted with the women are just as relevant to men as they are to women. Moreover, I found that the stories highlighted a number of important truths that apply to everyone:
- God calls ordinary people to seemingly impossible projects (p. 28).
- When we first encounter God, He meets us right where we are (p. 60).
- God is no respecter of persons. He cares for everyone—rich or poor, male or female, popular or ostracized (p. 90).
- We often become too comfortable with our shortcomings. We justify and even sometimes embrace what the Bible calls sin (p. 121).
- The Lord does not hurry. He proceeds with His own sense of timing (p. 148).
- Our devotion to Jesus should outshine all of our other endeavors (p. 182).
Worrall doesn’t delve deep into the theology of suffering, but she does provide examples of how God’s love pursues and sometimes pierces us in order to redeem us. Though the book is relatively short (just over 200 pages), it is a deep, thought-provoking read from which both genders can learn as they consider how God is embracing them during the painful moments in their lives.
If you are interested in getting your own copy of Pierced and Embraced, you are welcome to take advantage of a 40% off promo code. Simply visit Moody Publishers via this link and enter the following promo code when purchasing the book: EMBRACED40. This code is valid through 9/30/17. Pierced and Embraced is also available on Amazon and at various bookstores.
Have you ever been pierced and embraced? How has God pursued you in the painful moments of life?
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