I went out on a limb recently. I agreed to read and help promote a book for someone I don’t know. The author belongs to the literary agency I’m blessed to be a part of. I firmly believe you reap what you sow and I believe in serving my fellow authors. Someday, when I’m in the process of launching a book, I will need many willing readers to review and share it with all their closest friends (hint, hint). So I jumped at this opportunity.
And then it hit me. . .
What if I don’t like the book? That would put me in an especially sticky predicament. But I’d already said yes.
Days later, my copy of the book arrived and I dove in.
Guess what, friends? I didn’t like the book.
I loved the book. Whew! And I think you’re going to love it too.
A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called by author Andy Lee looks into the hearts of five different Marys in the Bible juxtaposing their imperfections with their divine purpose. This book isn’t simply a study resource but a tool for women to consider their own hang ups and dreams, and how God might use both for His greater kingdom purposes.
As Andy visits the Marys of the Bible and describes their interactions with Jesus, she doesn’t tell us what happens. She takes us into what happens, engaging the reader with five-sense descriptions and vivid details. Chapter after chapter, readers will be transported to:
- a road outside of Bethany where grief-stricken Mary (Martha’s sister) throws herself at Jesus’ feet after her Lord delayed his visit two days past her brother Lazarus’ death
- the tomb of Jesus at the very moment He speaks Mary Magdalene’s name and she recognizes her risen Savior and Lord
- Zechariah’s doorstep, where pregnant Mary of Nazareth greets her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. Readers look on as Elizabeth’s baby leaping even before Mary’s lips burst with the angel Gabriel’s good news that she was pregnant with the long awaited Messiah
- and more!
Through the effective use of probing questions, Andy wonders (not wanders) through each Mary-Jesus interaction:
- I wonder how Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet, while Martha toiled away, could be useful?
- I wonder why five men divorced the woman at the well and the sixth refused to marry her?
- I wonder if it ever slipped Mary of Nazareth’s mind—given that Jesus had become very much her son—that Jesus was also God?
As I wondered right along with the author, Andy dug deep into the original Greek or Hebrew (and sometimes even Aramaic) words that acquaint us with the Marys and lend depth to their thoughts and interactions. Her relentless inquisition of the text, creative imagery, and strong Biblical foundation made this book a stunning read. (It’s no wonder. Andy has her ministerial certificate degree from Eastern Nazarene University and has taught Bible studies for over twenty years.) Line by line, her experience and depth of biblical wisdom lend weight, wisdom , and wonder to the reader.
Also included in A Mary Like Me are:
- Discussion questions following each chapter
- Topical journal prompts to create dialogue between the reader and Jesus
- Appendices: a Bible study resource guide, intercession guide for ministering to women suffering from depression/mental illness, and steps for leading a Mary study/discussion group
The cherry on top of my Mary Like Me sundae was when Andy got personal. I didn’t expect God to use this book in my life. I set out wanting to bless a writing colleague. But in His boundless grace and wisdom, God had other plans. As Andy uncovered the human frailty of these women, I began to catch glimpses of myself. The Holy Spirit whispered to me about my flaws, my dreams, and my calling, and reminded me of His grace, His faithfulness, and His favor.
Joyful tears stained my cheeks as God used A Mary Like Me to remind me of buried dreams and boost my passion to pursue current ones. God has a habit of doing that. He begins by inviting us to bless others and He finishes by blessing our socks off.
One more thing about this book—make that one more word. It’s a word I use rarely and selectively.
Andy’s writing is anointed.
I believe it is touched by the Holy Spirit. I think it no coincidence that it took a total of seven years for her to write and publish this book and seven is the heavenly number of completion.
I wonder if God might use this deep and colorful examination of God’s flawed-yet-called Marys to speak to you. Enter a comment below and one week from today I will randomly choose a winner to receive a free copy of A Mary Like Me.