Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels (Colleen C. Mitchell)

This is a guest review from my wife who was the first in our house to get through this book. Gentlemen–Christmas is coming, and this would be a great addition to your wife’s library. Enjoy.

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Nearly 9 nine years ago, I came across a handful of blogs written by mothers who–unbeknownst to them–became mentors and guides to me in my earliest days of motherhood. Colleen Mitchell was one of those mothers. I found her blog and enjoyed reading along, searching through ideas on living liturgically and educating at home. I found joy and hope in her blog as ideals for my own family life were formed. Then, her blog became quiet upon the death of her infant son, Bryce. Hundreds of miles away, across the country, I–a stranger to her–wept with her over her tremendous loss, and prayed for her consolation.

Seven years later, when the news of Colleen’s new book danced across my computer screen, I was eager to read how her journey had unfolded since I had last read her blog. Not knowing what to expect, it certainly did not disappoint. In fact, when I picked it up it was exactly what my heart needed.

Each chapter of Colleen’s book centers on the story of one female biblical figure. While these are stories many of us have heard repeatedly, Colleen’s reflections are beautiful, thoughtful, and unique. In her introduction, she tells the reader that the book is the fruit of her prayer sitting at the water’s edge in Costa Rica begging God to heal her heart, while her boys played around her. And reading the reflections, it is clear to me that these are indeed the thoughts of a woman deep in prayer and enlightened by the grace and wisdom of God. Her insights are rich and frequently revealed layers of the biblical stories that I had never before considered.

Along with the story of each woman, comes a reflection which the reader can apply to her own life. The reader–you and me–is assumed to be another woman of faith, journeying though life, but one who is broken, hurt, despairing, hopeless, or overwhelmed. Colleen says, “We’ve all got an open wound that needs healing, don’t we? A wound that continues to bleed no matter how we try to treat it ourselves? Aren’t we all really hemorrhaging women, banged and bruised and bleeding from trying to live in a harsh world where our tender hearts get pricked so often that we’ve kind of gotten used to the pain?” (46)

And in that place of darkness, each woman needs to hear the answer to the question that the book’s title poses: “who does he say you are?” Through the lives of the Scriptural women and Colleen’s thoughts, the reader is convincingly told that she is good, she is loved, she is worthy. A reality that our minds can concede to be true, but our hearts often need to be convicted of the limitless and unending love that God has for us.

“[Jesus] is complete in his love for you, complete in his mercy, complete in his promise to give you a new life. He restores your dignity, your worth, and your identity by raising you from the dust and standing you up again. And he sends you out to live again, assuring you that although you are a certain sinner who can at once be she who sinned and she who will sin no more. You are free.”  (61)

The message of this book is one of hope and tremendous love. Colleen gently guides the reader as a friend to one who needs to be reminded of who she is, and whom she was created to be by her loving God and Father. There are women in my life who have experienced the loss of a child, or are struggling in their marriage, or are painfully aware of their own shortcomings as the strive to live up to the high ideals of their holy vocation. I want to press this book into their hands and encourage them to read it when they are ready. Prayerfully written, this is a book that will bring healing and hope as the reader is reminded of exactly who they are in the heart of God. For “He calls us daughters. He says we are beloved, his, known by the heart of the Father.” (51)

For a complimentary copy of the book, we were asked to provide an honest review. You may purchase this book here.

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