This book has had many titles, but the idea of a cover girl really grabbed my attention, so I ran with it. When thinking about doing something for the Lord, it's pretty deceptive to imply that it will be beautiful only. So many of the women used by God throughout history have clothed themselves in humility and obedience, trading in the vanity of outer beauty accouterments. This book celebrates the women who answered the call of God in their lives and with the output of their lives. The Cover Girl celebrated in this book is the Proverbs 31 woman, remixed! Was she born with it? No. But in each case, but she is remembered for it!
Because we are the only Bible some people will ever read, we are living epistles. In this sense, cover girls are a walking testimony of the goodness of God, the power of God and the limitless potential existing in all believers. Learning about these living epistles and their overcoming faith will help you comprehend the love of God, and better understand the will of God as it pertains to His daughters. If I were to ask many of you what you see when you stand in the mirror, you'd probably tell me about your imperfections. Many of you may be recovering from the sight that only saw flaws. What would it take for me to show you a reflection that resembles Christ in you? If you don't see it right now at the beginning, I hope you will by the end of the book.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
The women in this book are women who, in response to the call of God to prophesied, served, helped, supported, and even delivered the Savior and His forerunner. The depth of their stories remains untold and, in some ways, misunderstood. I plan to tell the stories in such a way that clarifies the truth of scripture and helps readers see themselves in these stories. If you can see yourself in the story, I believe you will see these women of God in the real world, no longer resting in obscurity on the pages of life. These women though sometimes called to do hard things, are worthy of cover girl status, and I want to take this time to grant it to them as I tell their stories to help you follow in their footsteps. I believe the Lord is illuminating these truths for this season, and I have leaned into lifting these stories for our reading. So many of them have gone for centuries unreported and underreported, but I want to make them common knowledge.
I want to make them so clear that you understand that God can use you where you are as a woman. You don't have to become rigid or mimic a man to accomplish what he gives you. There's purpose in the softness of your skin, the lightness of your voice, the way your perfume wafts in the air to announce your presence, the light in your eyes, and the way your hands hold the heart of a man and the future of your children. There's beauty and purpose in you, and you don't have to give any of it away to be used by God. I intend to clarify in this book that God wants to use you as a woman to do what He has designed you to do! In the case of Mary, only a woman can give birth, so her assignment so God uniquely designed for her. Other stories we'll read will highlight the inner beauty and sanctity of the women God used throughout biblical history.
“Nothing is more beautiful than a woman who is brave, strong and emboldened because of who Christ is in her.”
In Judges 4, Deborah, Israel's reigning judge, summons Barak to her. She, in essence, asked him why he hadn't obeyed God and gone to war against the Canaanites. He told her that he would go if she went, and Deborah agreed to go. In her agreement, she dropped a bomb on Barak, telling him that a woman would kill Sisera and not him. As the Israelites prevailed against the Canaanites, Sisera, the captain, fled and took flight in fear of his life. Because there was peace between Heber the Kenite and Jabin, he went their way instead to Jael's tent and not her husband's. By doing this, he was deserving of death, even though they were friends. The culture predicated it, not the war! However, God allowed it, and Sisera died. To quote current pop culture, she understood the assignment!
Jael killed Sisera as Deborah prophesied a woman would instead of Barak.[i] Here's how she did it: Sisera accepted Jael's invitation to her tent because, as scripture says, there was peace between King Jabin and Jael's husband, Heber the Kenite. Conjecture could allow you to guess that it was either her mere presence as a woman or the peace between them and the King that let Sisera's guards down, but it proved fateful. Homeboy even got so comfortable that he took a nap! Jael wasn't playing, though. As he slept, Jael drove a stake through Sisera's temples, killing him and fulfilling Deborah's prophecy.[ii] Sisera's death at the hands of Jael proves that what a man won't do, there's a woman who will. God knows that. The enemy knows it, too; we don't seem to be too keen on that truth. Please make no mistake about it; Jael is a cover girl. Deborah, who served as judge over Israel at the time, is a cover girl, as well. If you're wondering, our baseline for cover girl status isn't beauty as much as it is obedience to God and His interests.
Jael played a significant role in bringing twenty years of Canaanite oppression to an end. By doing this, she also prevented the rape and torture of their women should there have been a Canaanite victory.[iii] Barak was guaranteed victory, but he trusted in Debora's contact with God more than he did the word of God than what he had already heard.[iv] Jael's move shamed both Sisera and Barak. Sisera was shamed in that he was subdued and killed by a woman and Barak that he was robbed of his guaranteed victory by the same woman.[v] Following the death of Sisera (King Jabin's captain), the Israelites prevailed against King Jabin and his army and the oppression of the Canaanites and dwelt in peace for forty years.
Women can be anything, even a warrior, if need be! In response to what God has either called them to or what He has allowed (Jael), there is no limit to what a woman can do! We have discovered that even the ugly stories and realities are useful in the end, because as Solomon said, it's God who makes all things beautiful in His time.[vi] The women I'll use to inspire and inform your purpose journey are just like women you know and love; all cover girls in their own way!
We are greatest than even our greatest fear, yet we remain compromised by our greatest fear. We fear that we are inadequate but the truth is that we are powerful beyond measure. What frightens us is not always negative, but the positive life wants to give. The human condition robs us of seeing greatness manifest in us. This is why we shrink back in moments of greatness and disappear when the spotlight is on us. Simply put, we are our greatest fear. It's time we do something about it. We're not afraid that nobody knows us, we're afraid that people will need us. We're not afraid to share the answer, we're afraid to speak up. In protecting the you you don't want anybody to see, you hurt others. They'll never get the answer they seek. Some may never see boldness and courage on display and that young impressionable dreamer? They'll live the rest of their lives believing the lie that their dreams are impossible. We need you. We need you to shine your light.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
Have you ever thought about it? Light doesn't reflect in a straight line. Shine your light for the people you'll never meet. Do it for the people whose thanks will be shared in a foreign language, in a foreign land or in a foreign method of communication. You see, you will never discover just how bright the light within you will shine until you allow it opportunity. Until you peel back the curtain for the world to see, starting with you, it's just a meager possibility. But we want to live in the reality of your shine! What are you waiting on? Who said you're not good enough, smart enough, tough enough, tall enough, brave enough, or you enough? There's a light in you that's bigger than you! The light that manifested when God said "let there be light" is alive in you! It's so big...it's big enough to outshine doubt, defeat and detours. You smiled a little bit, didn't you? You thought about life in the light for half a second.
Think about it, again. The light is peaking through, you're at least thinking about it. That's a great start. You may not shine today, tomorrow, this week or even this year. But remember, you don't have forever to shine. With each passing day, our lights get a little dimmer. With each wasted moment, another opportunity is missed to brighten someone's day or show them the good that's in the world. One day, all we'll have is memories of you. We'll remember you shining or shrinking. It's up to you. You don't think we know, do you?
We know what's in you, we're surprised you conceal it so well. If we could reach in and pull it ourselves we would. But the light needs permission. Not from us, but from you! You have to say it's ok for the light in you to come out and play! It doesn't matter if your young or old and gray! Light is light, so do all you can with all your might! Make life brighter for someone by sharing your light. See, you're not inadequate. You're too much to bottle up! We could never, and don't plan to, either!
So, shine on! Shine your light and don't you dare dim it for anyone!
In 2015, Pastor Ronald Daugherty released a book of inspirational poetry. One entry spoke volumes to me, and I want to share it with you. In the poem, Pastor Daugherty reasons why many of us don’t allow our light to shine. Many of us share the same excuses and trepidation that keep us from letting it shine.
What I discovered in this poem is that many of us don’t let our light shine because we would much rather it be something else! In “The Journey to Genesis,” readers have been encouraged to “return” to their point of creation for an understanding of why God made them and to then do what He assigned them. Welcome to the next step of walking it out and in so doing, letting your light shine!
I thought I would sing for the Lord or from memory a verse I could quote,
Mighty Pen Publishing
In our book blog, we're continuing the conversation with readers. We know that writing a thought provoking book will make you think, but what do you do then? Well, we hope to continue the conversation began by reading the book with posts here.