C.H. Spurgeon describes Psalm 119 as a kaleidoscope. In his admiration of the psalm, he describes the beauty and various shapes as one turns and shifts the glass back and forth. He exclaims that the psalm is “equally delicate and beautiful.” His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God, which focuses on this psalm, exalts the name of God. Throughout the testimonies of these 28 authors you will find yourself turning the pages as if you were shifting a kaleidoscope back and forth, and you will find yourself utterly captivated with our inexhaustible God.
The individual stories are communicated through a variety of mediums, including song and poetry, with one constant theme: God’s Word is supreme. Kristi Anyabwile and the rest of the contributors have created a devotional that is theologically robust, yet easy to read across a variety of reading levels and stages of life. My best friend, for example, is a mother of three kids under the age of 4 and could easily find encouragement in reading this in the midst of her schedule. Rebecca, an older believer in her 50s who is struggling with the promises of God and obedience to his commands, would also benefit from this book. In reading it, she would be reminded that although God’s law is hard and obedience means lonely nights spent resisting temptation, it is good.
I found myself reading each chapter wondering about the many stories behind the words written by these beautiful women of color spanning generations. Each chapter shows a glimpse of life, and it is as if you are peering into applied theology at its finest. Each woman provides commentary of a section of the psalm with a commitment to the sufficiency of God’s Word. They approach their problems with transparency and the text boldly, mining it for all that it is worth. It’s because of this that I believe those who read this book will benefit in several ways:
Invigorate your desire to read God’s Word: There are times Christians lack a desire to read and obey God’s Word. The reasons behind a lack of desire may vary, but the treatment of God’s Word as a treasure will encourage you to read. It is through the knowing of God’s Word that Christians can fight. One author states, “We want to be women who declare as the psalmist does that God and his word are valuable, a necessity to our lives, and that we will seek him with urgency (34).” The authors are upfront about the sorrows of this world; they don’t mince words. Each author is winsome and unapologetic about our need to be filled with his Word for our sake and for his glory.
I came away from reading this book encouraged that I am known by the all-seeing God who is intentional in his redemption of the nations.
Build your faith as your reflect on testimonies: As the various authors exposited Psalm 119, I felt as though I was invited into their living room as a guest and asked to take a seat. I read through stories that made me feel seen immediately. I was especially drawn to the testimonies from my sisters of other ethnicities. Although I have not experienced their challenges, I was brought to worship God as I read about their lives. They helped me trust the Lord and encouraged me to praise him for his sovereignty.
Delight in God’s redemption: Read this book to increase your worship of God. Read to be reminded that God, before the foundation of the world, knew you and purposed that you would be his. He has not left us alone, he has given us himself and his Word to remind us of our lineage, made possible through his Son. This lineage is the reason that we find our heritage in the Book of Life.
These women helped me realize that God is indeed a God who sees. I’m reminded that my ethnicity is being woven into a beautiful tapestry together with every tribe, tongue, and nation. I was able to celebrate freely my heritage as a black woman of Haitian descent and a child of immigrants. I came away from reading this book encouraged that I am known by the all-seeing God who is intentional in his redemption of the nations.
This work will undoubtedly inspire other women, often unheard and on the fringes, to search the Scriptures and discover more about our inexhaustible God. I’d recommend it to anyone—men and women. You will find Christ all the sweeter, and God’s Word as balm for the weary soul.