Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
We at LifeWay Women are big Jackie Hill Perry fans. As soon as we heard she was writing a book, we were all ready to abandon our to be read piles and put Gay Girl, Good God at the top of the stack.
Gay Girl, Good God tells Jackie’s story, but more than that, the book tells of God’s story in Jackie’s life. She opens the book with these lines in the introduction: “Before writing [this book], I lived out the words. A gay girl once? Yes. Now? I am what God’s goodness will do to a soul once grace gets to it.”
The details of Jackie’s life don’t match mine and may not match yours, but the truth of the good news of a good God is universal. Jackie points to Him on every page, encouraging believers and non-believers to love Christ more than their sin. This is a book for every person, and especially every Christian. Through Jackie’s journey of accepting the goodness of God and enjoying Him through obedience to His Word, we see how we can do the same in working out our salvation. Our temptations and trials and relationships may be different, but we serve the same God who forgives and sanctifies and is ultimately better than all of those things. That is the journey we read about in Gay Girl, Good God—the journey, as Jackie says, “to be made into a woman that loved God more than anything.”
Another thing I love about Gay Girl, Good God is the writing. You may or may not know that Jackie is a poet. Her book may be written in prose, but she wields a poet’s pen. I love this section right after she talks about how everything God made in creation was good:
What about Adam and Eve? What about their eyes, and how their mind made them see the same thing through a different lens? Or their hands and how Adam’s were wide enough to hold a hoof or two and Eve’s small enough to fit a bird in it. Or Eve’s voice and how it sounded like morning and his, sounding like he’d just spit out a mountain. Or his brow bone, strong as a fist. Her face, soft as an amen. All of this, God said was a very good thing. Why? Because a good God made it.
As an editor, I loved reading words so thoughtfully chosen. I was always the nerd in my book clubs, pointing out sentence structure and word choice over plot lines and drama. Let me tell you, I’d have a lot of beauty to point out in these pages.
This book details Jackie’s conversion, her transformation from death to a new creation. She describes what it was like to be tempted with same sex attraction and offers guidance to those with the same temptations or with loved ones who struggle in similar ways. She points out how the church loved her, wanted to know her name, and welcomed her in as she learned what it meant to rely on God to make her new. In the back of the book, she offers practical helps and truths for those fighting similar battles.
While we don’t all fight the exact same battle, we do all fight. We fight against same sex attraction and anxiety and pride and unbelief and gossip and fill-in-the-blank. Jackie says:
The root of all sin is unbelief in God. The fall began when Adam and Eve doubted what God said about Himself. It is the identity that we ascribe to God out of doubt or faith in His Scriptures that will determine the identity we will give ourselves and ultimately the life we will inevitably live. If He is the Creator, then we are created. If He is Master, then we are servants. If He is love, then we are loved. If He is omnipotent, then we are not as powerful as we think. If He is omniscient, then there is nowhere to hide. If He cannot lie, then His promises are all true. It is faith in the truths of God’s character that has the power to completely revolutionize how our lives are lived out.
She further explains, “The reason to turn from sin has always been so we can turn toward Jesus.”
There are so many more things I’d like to tell you about Jackie’s book, but I want you to read it for yourselves. Jackie is inviting us into her worship by telling us what our good God has done for her, once a gay girl.
Pre-order your copy of Gay Girl, Good God online or grab a copy at your local LifeWay Store!
Elizabeth Hyndman is a content editor and social media strategist for LifeWay Women.