How would you describe the love of God?
Throughout the Gospel accounts, Jesus engaged women differently than He did men. Sometimes the difference is subtle. Sometimes it is stark. Always it is profound.
Sometimes the love He offers them is gentle. Sometimes it is fierce. Always it is powerful.
Sometimes that love feels like a warm embrace. Sometimes it's more like a piercing jab. Always, it changes everything.
Women today long to experience the same sort of life-changing love that Jesus lavished on His followers 2000 years ago. We still want to be completely seen and known and valued and set free—as painful as that process might sometimes be.
Pierced and Embraced digs deeply into seven encounters that Jesus had with a wide variety of women in the Gospels to show how His love can be equally transformative in our lives today. It mixes attentive Scriptural engagement with personal narrative and relevant application, making the content fresh, accessible, engaging, and practical.
Includes study/reflection questions at the end of each chapter, inviting women to dig into the passages for themselves.
Winner of the ECPA's Top Shelf Cover Award 2017
I love my job. Really, I do. Sometimes I feel like a broken record or that people don't believe me when I talk about how much I love the work that occupies the most productive hours of my week. I would never say that every day is easy- not every day is enjoyable. Some days are stressful when I feel I have a million things to accomplish for a million different people. Some days are heartbreaking when a young woman shares some of her deepest hurt with me. Some days are just downright exhausting as I jump between discipleships, meetings, and Bible studies. Some days are sweet and others are difficult, but I am thankful every day for the work I am blessed to do full time.
It has been one year since I stepped onto campus in a full-time ministry role. Over the past year, I have seen lives transformed by the truth of the Gospel and hearts opened as they grasped the love of Christ for the first time. It has been so life-giving! But I have also seen women struggle through the darkest times of their lives and a student in East Asia stare blankly at me when I asked if she have ever heard the name "Jesus." So when, in chapter one of Pierced & Embraced, author Kelli Worrall posed the question "Has your calling come with a piercing part? How have you seen God equip you and sustain you when you responded to His call?" I felt like she knew me personally as I analyzed God's call in my life in ministry, marriage, family, and so many other things!
This book is officially on my Favorite Books list. And I don't take that list lightly!
Pierced & Embraced is a beautifully written, highly practical, Christ-centered book about seven encounters in the Gospels where we see Jesus interacting with women, what those interactions reveal about who He is, and why that continues to matter in our daily lives so long after the Bible was written. Each chapter also contains study questions that are deep, thought-provoking, and God glorifying. I loved that the author includes the Bible passage to read, but doesn't type the Scripture out in the book...which means the reader is encouraged to actually pull out their own Bible and study the passage! And the Scripture readings for each chapter are entire stories or chapters, not just a verse here and there. I love this because it causes the reader to spend extended time in the Word while reading Pierced & Embraced.
My rating? 5/5
Pierced & Embraced caused me to look more closely at the way Jesus interacts with people in Scripture, and helped me to see what these often-read portions of the Gospels tell us about the person of Christ! I plan on reading this book again at least once, and have already recommended it to several friends!
Pierced & Embraced: 7 Life-Changing Encounters with the Love of Christ by Kelli Worrall is an enlightening book that provides a unique and insightful perspective of Jesus Christ's love for us. This book should be read by anyone who has a desire to gain a fuller perspective of the ways in which God loves us, especially during the tough times.
Something I found very fascinating about this book is its delicate balance of biblical teachings and Kelli's personal experiences. I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of books that are loaded with personal stories and experiences of the author's that drown out the true message and essence of the book. Thankfully, Kelli did not do that at all.
Kelli has an uncanny ability to wonderfully weave her experiences into the examination of each of the seven women and the way that Jesus Christ demonstrated love to them. I was honestly shocked that the personal experiences she shared truly drew me in. I really enjoyed reading how experiences in her life correlated with each of the women's encounter with Jesus. It added depth to the points that she was making and did not overshadow the most important lesson readers are to take away - Jesus Christ's love for them.
One of my favorite things about this book is the Scriptural context that Kelli provides along with the passages of Scripture that she explores. This is something that very few writers tend to share when examining Scripture. I really liked that Kelli understood the importance of readers not just reading the Scriptures she shared, but understanding the context surrounding them. This was a wonderful addition and something that I believe more authors should consider included in their works, when applicable.
This book excels when it comes to shedding a refreshing light on the love of Christ. Many people may think they have a decent understanding of the love of Christ, but I've discovered that there is always more that we can learn about Christ, including this love for us. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to discover a unique perspective of Christ's love for us and to anyone who may be struggling to see how Christ truly loves them amidst the trials and troubles they encounter in life.
This book was an interesting read. I was honestly not sure what to expect, but it far exceeded anything I was anticipating. This book is all about the multi facets of God's love which is so complex and amazing. This book shows Christ's encounter with 7 women of the Bible and the different ways his love was lavished on them and how that same love is offered to us today. Written with warmth and in an engaging manner this book was very thought provoking and engaging read that really made me think of the love of Christ in a different light.
I loved the opening chapter of the story of Mrs. May and the menacing bull. I loved the comparison between the persistent bull and God. It is a thinking story; and it’s not a story where at first reading I readily understood. I first read the chapter and said, “wait and minute, I need to read that chapter again.”
Worrall shared intimate circumstances in her life. Some examples are infertility, caring for aging parents, and adoption. By sharing these details, I was able to identify with her and the book personally spoke to me.
Two favorite chapters of mine explored the “call of God,” and child development and attachment.
From chapter one on obeying the call.
…hearing and heeding the call of God shouldn’t mean searching for something that is self-satisfying. Rather, it often means following His footsteps into the hard and even impossible places. It sometimes means being willing to stay in that space for as long as it takes-maybe even for a lifetime. Page 50.
From chapter three on insecure attachment.
All of us have emotional wounds that need to be healed. These wounds might come from obvious traumatic experiences-the death of someone close to us, an accident that took away our sense of safety, the divorce of our parents, some sort of abuse. But wounds can also occur more slowly and subtly. Wounds can even happen from seemingly small situations-especially, if, as a child, we aren’t afforded the help we need at the time to process these things…Sometimes we choose to ignore the pain, and we assume that time alone will take care of it. Sometimes we stuff or numb the pain because the thoughts of facing it head-on is too much to bear. Sometimes these old pains run so deep and, as adults, they are so much a part of who we are that we get used to them. Page 85-86.
Both of these chapters addressed problems I’ve struggled with. These topics are personal to me. The call of God is not necessarily a place I always want to be. But, it is the place where God has planted me. There are things that I can not see that needs work. And, I trust in Him to see me through. On the topic of stuffing emotions, I explain this as being numb. I lived this way for most of my life. I am not numb anymore. I will say that a deeper level of faith has developed, after I confronted and began to process the pain and suffering of the past.
Chapter five is on waiting and being patient. Worrall reminds me that modern life provides quick fixes and responses. The Bible reminds me that God often requires us to be patient. For example, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph.
God uses long periods of waiting to draw His people closer to Him, to increase their dependence, to reveal His glory. Page 152.
Original review written at Impressions In Ink
Free paperback copy from Moody.
I was honored to receive an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review on my blog. (www.JennyZentz.com) What a blessing! With transparent glimpses into her own piercing journey, Kelli beautifully unwraps the wonderous way Christ had of relating to the women who crossed His path. In this book Kelli walks us through a close examination of Jesus' encounters with 5 different women in scripture. Read it with your Bible close at hand! Wherever you are on your journey, this book will open your eyes to where He is…right there with you ready to wrap you in His warm embrace.