“My first lesson in my limitations as a female took place at the breakfast table soon after he became my stepfather,” writes Lisa Harper in Untamed. “As I reached for a piece of bacon, he popped my hand with his butter knife, saying, ‘Girls shouldn’t eat bacon, or they’ll get fat.’
“I quickly found out I’d better not ask for second helpings of anything other than salad, much less pilfer from his Oreo stash, because according to [my stepfather], ‘Men aren’t attracted to big women.’ My final exam in gender inequity took place about ten years later when he said he wouldn’t spend a dime on my college tuition because most women who went to college just got married and had babies and never ended up using their degrees anyway . . . I don’t remember making a conscious decision to believe that boys are more valuable than girls, but until a few years ago, that distorted assumption was etched into the deepest grooves of my heart.”
“Given all the ‘boys rule’ messages that have assaulted my heart over the years, it’s been a wonderfully liberating surprise to learn that Jesus is wildly pro-woman.”
Jesus showed His heart for women by adding them to His entourage, and—as Lisa says—providing “an aha moment for an entire culture . . . Men across Israel cocked their heads sideways, thinking, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize my daughter had the potential to travel and study and minister with the Messiah!’ . . . The inclusion of women in Jesus’s inner circle proves He considered women valuable. He treated them as trusted companions and worthy ambassadors of the gospel.”
As the excerpt above shows, author Lisa Harper seeks to dispel common misconceptions about Jesus and reveal our Savior in all His compassion and power in her book Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon. Her story topics range from personal memories to baseball to current events and more. They’re varied enough to impact women of any age and from any walk of life.
The chapter I shared here especially touched my heart because my dad was also a bit old school when it came to girls and college.
During my junior year of high school, he sat me down to impress the realities of life upon me. He told me he didn’t have any money for my college tuition—and he really didn’t. As a man who had never finished high school himself—though he had fought in a war—he advised me to take secretarial courses instead of college prep and be content with a high school diploma. Dad couldn’t see how I’d ever reach my goal of becoming a teacher.
At that time, he had little personal experience with the Savior who eventually led me to college out of state, helped me overcome my incredible homesickness, paid all the bills, and continued to provide for me during every moment of my twenty-five years in Christian ministry. I’ve lived it; I know firsthand how Jesus treasures women. He understands our need for security and yet challenges us to become all He imagined for us.
And I loved this little aside Lisa added about Bible women . . .
“The Bible is filled with awesome examples of our Creator using women to carry out His purposes and even lead His people. One of the best-known cases is that of Deborah, who led the nation of Israel into battle after Barak—Israel’s highest-ranking military officer—balked and said he wasn’t going anywhere unless she went with him. And the most colorful chick has to be Jael, who drove a tent peg through Sisera’s temple (a wicked warrior) while he was taking a nap. Which just goes to show that being handy with a hammer isn’t limited to the males of our species.”
“And our God chose a woman for what could be accurately described as the most important job in history. Mary Magdalene’s slender shoulders are the ones on which the testimony of His risenness rests. Pretty cool, huh?”
***Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah for providing a copy of Untamed for me to review. Follow this link to purchase a copy of the book for yourself. And you can click here to read about Lisa at her website.
About Lisa: Rarely are the terms hilarious storyteller and theological scholar used in the same sentence, much less used to describe the same person. But then again, Lisa Harper is anything but stereotypical! She has been lauded as a gifted communicator, whose writing and speaking overflows with colorful pop culture references that connect the dots between the Bible era and modern life. Her style combines sound scriptural exposition with easy-to-relate to anecdotes and comedic wit.
Her vocational resume includes six years as the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry where she created the popular Renewing the Heart conferences, attended by almost 200,000 women, followed by 6 years as the women’s ministry director at a large church in Nashville. Her academic resume includes a Masters of Theological Studies with honors from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Now a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker, Lisa is currently featured on the Women of Faith tour. She’s written nine books. She also served as a key contributor to the Becoming Devotional Bible for Women and as a columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine.
Yet in spite of her credentials, the most noticeable thing about Lisa Harper is her authenticity. When recently asked about her accomplishments she responded with a grin saying, “I’m definitely grateful for the opportunities God’s given me; but don’t forget, He often uses donkeys and rocks!”