She Walked Before Us
Jill Eileen Smith artfully lays out the possible emotions and actions of 12 women of the old testament in a format similar to the Ignatian spiritual exercise of placing oneself into biblical stories. She provides an intimate window into the world of familiar characters such as Deborah, Ruth, and Bathsheba. In addition, she reintroduced me to lesser-known individuals such as Peninnah, Michal, Aninoam, and Maacah.
Often overlooked and usually mentioned only briefly, I realized I usually breeze past these women, almost like they are a footnote, forgetting the role they play in the history of salvation. I am grateful for the opportunity to contemplate the deeper meaning of their lives and contributions. The book is dedicated "to every person who has faced life's trials...and found a way by God's grace to walk through in victory." These are the stories of women who may not have always had a happy ending, instead, dealing with heartache, reacting to God's character correction, or dealing with an out of control life. Relatable for many people, each woman's story points us toward God even in the worst circumstances.
Written as more of a conversation, Smith affectionately presents possible thoughts and emotions of each figure. As each became more human to my heart, I was reminded of their scriptural place in holy history. I found deeper contemplation easier with the reflective questions at the end of each courageous woman’s story. I suspect I will return to these meditations repeatedly for years to come.
She Walked Before Us is available from multiple bookstores including Amazon for 14.99. It will be a great addition to your library.