Do you ever feel misunderstood? My friend Mary DeMuth understands. She also digs deep into Scripture to share about The Most Misunderstood Women of the Bible: What Their Stories Teach Us About Thriving. Mary is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, and her podcast Pray Every Day is one of my favorites.
The Most Misunderstood Women of the Bible
I will say right now that I love Mary’s books. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time (I expected nothing less from my friend — but wow it blew me out of the water). When you listen to the podcast, you’ll notice my voice sounds a little rough. I just got back from keynote speaking for the Mt. Hermon’s Writers Conference. I love being in the company of writers and speakers who are working hard to hone their skills to put out books. There are so many great men and women of God prayerfully seeking God to bring great resources into your hands.
I talked almost non-stop the past three days, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During breaks, I would prayerfully walk asking God who I needed to inspire and help. I had no agenda except for my keynote, so I would just walk along, and pretty soon there would be someone that asked to sit and chat or friends that would seek me out for prayer or encouragement. It’s such an amazing thing to be able to do that.
What I came away with from this weekend, although we try so hard to make sure we hone our craft and work to make sure we’re the best writers and speakers that we can be, it really comes down to connecting with God, and I wanted to share a little from my book Heart Happy: Staying Centered in God’s Love through Chaotic Circumstances which comes out on April 19th.
There’s a difference between knowing the rules of Christianity and personally connecting with Jesus. The Pharisees were a religious group of men who made following God’s laws their life’s work—but when God walked among them, they missed Him. I understand this.
One day, I was in the middle of my very ritualistic morning Bible reading when I felt God tap my heart. “You spend a lot of time learning about Me. Are you ready to connect with Me?” He said. The answer was yes.
I put aside my study guide and simply sat. I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the back of the couch. I pondered my journey with Jesus. I thought of the little girl who’d heard about His love in Sunday School and who whispered prayers to Him in her dark bedroom, feeling His love in return. I remembered being the teen who attempted to find love to fill the chasm within her heart and instead finding herself pregnant and abandoned. And then, when she surrendered, discovered Jesus loved her no matter the state she found herself in.
As I thought about all these things, my chest warmed, and a quiet peace fell over me like a soft blanket. Knowing that Jesus stood at His father’s side yet also reached down to me at that moment caused fresh tears of joy to spring to my eyes. The worries of the day fell away from the forefront of my mind as my soul reminded me that Jesus created me for Himself, not for all the things I could do for Him.
That day started the same as a thousand other days, yet it shifted my outlook. It was similar to pulling back a curtain to allow in the sunshine. I’d been able to see just fine before, but pushing aside the “work” of spending time with Jesus allowed new light to flood in.
Like most followers, when I dedicated my life to Jesus, I separated things into two categories: do and don’t do. It became easy to focus on the don’t-dos and then beat myself up for not being a good enough Christian. As much as I willed myself to be joyful, kind, loving, and patient, I could never achieve that goal. And when I tried to stop being drawn to the wrong type of television shows or books, I wondered if I should be trying to tell others about God when I didn’t have my act together. I mean, why should people listen to me when I claimed to be a Christian and still messed up again and again?
The more time I spent just being with Jesus, enjoying His presence and His love, the more I found myself no longer drawn to the media that the world offers. It became distasteful to me. Like how, after I learned to cook from scratch at home, those boxes of mac and cheese just didn’t cut it anymore.
When we focus on a relationship with Jesus over religious rules, we experience God’s presence in our lives in ways we didn’t believe possible. Faith is not a formula. We can believe in Jesus and live a pretty good life. Yet when we experience God, feel His love, and join Him in His work in the world around us, everything changes.
This is really the heart behind Heart Happy and in today’s episode, Mary talks about how these women she’s written about are real women and how they connected with God or struggled with their connection with God.
Friends, I hope you’ll be encouraged by this chat with Mary. I pray that while you listen to us talk, you’ll think about the misunderstood-ness of doing all the things to please God. I pray that these stories that Mary has to share will remind us that the most important thing is to just go before God—no matter our past or current situation. Mary shares how writing this book helped her to overcome the trauma of her early life. She also gives wonderful advice if you’re going through a season of being misunderstood. You’ll be blessed by this podcast!
Scripture to Ponder
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
If you are enjoying the show, I have a quick favor to ask! If you haven’t yet hit the subscribe button and left a rating and a review on iTunes, please take a moment and do so! I love reading your reviews and it keeps the algorithms happy so new listeners can find the podcast as well!
Mentioned in This Episode
The Most Misunderstood Women of the Bible | Mary DeMuth
The Day I Met Jesus
Ordinary Women of the Bible: A Perilous Journey, Phoebe’s Story | Mary DeMuth
Ordinary Women of the Bible: The Elder Sister, Miriam’s Story | Tricia Goyer
A Grief Observed | CS Lewis