By: Jordan Sparnroft
One woman is living the horrors of Nazi-occupied Europe. One woman is struggling with same-sex attraction in a culture that is telling her to submit to her desires. Another has been robbed of all physical mobility in a horrific diving accident at the young age of 17. What do all of these women have in common? The same timeless God, Who is in the business of making beauty out of piles and piles of ashes. Here are three of my favorite books on women who radiate the glory and power of God to me:
The Hiding Place; Corrie Ten Boom
I could probably write an entire blog post on this book alone. But I’ll let you dive in for yourself. Corrie is a beautiful example of how God used the mundane day-to-day faithfulness throughout her early years to shape and prepare her for the biggest battles of her life that didn’t come until she was in her 40’s and 50’s.
Corrie was the daughter of a watchmaker in the Netherlands. She operated one of the biggest underground programs to provide safe hiding places for Jews, which landed her in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Her biggest victory was not the saving of the lives of dozens of Jews but instead later ministering to the very people who killed many of her loved ones and the Jews she was trying to save. Corrie’s story of faithfulness proves that you are never too young or too old for God to use you. Most importantly her story radiates the radical forgiveness of Christ and how it can be given to anyone, including a Nazi.
Gay Girl, Good God; Jackie Hill Perry
Jackie is an extremely gifted African-American poet, writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who just so happens to struggle with Same Sex Attraction. She shares her story of how God captured her heart in the midst of her suffering, temptation, and sin and by His grace aligned her heart with His. (Notice I didn’t say God took her temptation of same-sex attraction away). Her gift with words makes this book a pleasure to read. Jackie’s transparency, bravery, boldness, faith, and love for Christ in the midst of a culture that tells her to submit to her desires and not to her God, are refreshing to the mind, heart, and soul.
Joni; Joni Eareckson Tada
I stumbled across this book in a local cafe in my small town for three dollars. The cover is extremely cheesy and dated (It was published in 1976). But the story inside proved to be priceless and timeless. At the age of 17, Joni suffered a diving accident which resulted in permanent paraplegia. She shares about her physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual sufferings and how God chose to reveal himself to her. It’s fun to read her perspectives and some of her fears at the time she published this autobiography while knowing how much more beauty God had in store for the next 45 years of her life. Joni is a gifted artist, speaker, and author. She is founder of a non-profit titled, “Joni and Friends” that provides wheelchairs and adaptive equipment to those who cannot afford them.
In the words of my friend, Andy, “When God moves, we share. When we share, God moves.” These three women decided to share their tales of God’s glory in their individual stories and I’m so glad they did! What are your piles of ashes? Are you sharing with others what God is doing in your life?
Hebrews 13:7-8 exhorts; “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
I pray that I can imitate Corrie’s faith as I face a difficult situation to forgive or when God calls me to be obedient even if it means significant danger. I pray I can imitate Jackie’s faith as I face a temptation that seems impossible to resist; and have Joni’s faith, when I don’t think I can endure after God has taken something precious from me.
Not only have these stories prompted my heart to imitate the faith of these women but, more importantly, these stories have prompted my heart to glorify the God who authored their stories; the God who makes all things new and loves to transform ashes into beauty.
Jordan grew up on a farm located in a small town in Virginia. She married her NY native husband 8 years ago. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Jordan was a professional mental health therapist. Apart from raising her 2.5 year old daughter with a complex medical diagnosis, Jordan also teaches English to kids in China online. Through numerous trials involving grief and loss she endured in her 20s, Jordan fell more in love with Jesus and realizes her need for Him everyday. Her passion for studying God’s word and knowing Him more deeply grows with each passing day.