I came across The Lipstick Gospel some months ago, and thought it was a refreshing, honest account of how a sorority girl encountered the power of grace and the gospel, in the midst of aimlessly partying through university.
It’s not a heavyweight read like the tomes by the Puritans, but it’s written well, and thus easy, meaningful as well as interesting to read. I thought it would be especially apt for tweens and teens, since they tend to find Christianity stuffy and having little to do with the culture they find themselves in today.
Through her life story, Stephanie May Wilson authentically relates her journey of resisting and then finally grasping on to the gospel. It’s called The Lipstick Gospel, in part because she saw a bible verse scrawled in lipstick on her best friend’s mirror, and in part to reflect the fact that the gospel isn’t owned by plain Janes, and that Christians can and often do wear lipstick. *wink*
Her life story is nothing short of inspiring, as traces her ups and downs even after she confesses Christ. A year away in Spain, going on a life-changing mission trip thereafter… the best aspect of the book is how she writes in a way that young people can easily relate with, not sounding preachy or holier than thou.
Her writing and her mission resonates with me, so I thought I’d share more on her recent work. She has recently come up with a second eBook, called “Dear Best Friends, Where Are You?“. It tells the story of how she moved across states (from Colorado to Nashville) and had to start from scratch in finding friends and community. In this day and age when we are constantly travelling, relocating, joining new churches, new companies, new schools, a book like that is certainly helpful. In her words, it’s not “advice from people who have never struggled. It’s like having a math tutor who is one of those frustratingly smart people who always just “got math.” (It’s) advice from someone who failed and figured it out, someone who found themselves in my shoes, in my situation, and dug a way through.”
This second eBook actually introduces and segues to a Small Group Guide for women. Stephanie’s premise has always been on the importance of community for growth and accountability as a believer. I’m actually writing this post because I do believe that too.
How to take your friendships one step further and create the community you’ve always wanted.
What it is…
Our life is a journey of piling things onto ourselves—covering ourselves with layers and layers of how we want to be seen, and who others expect us to be. The more layers we pile on the harder it is for anyone to get to know us, for us to be able to show anyone who we truly are, for us ever to feel connected. Because to feel connected, to feel truly understood and loved, we have to be known—not for our layers but for the beating heart underneath them all.
So that’s what we’re doing. In 6 weeks. We’re going to do the hard, beautiful work of revealing the true us to the women around our table, and the relationships that will form along the way will change our lives. Friendships like that always do.
This guide is suitable for:
– A group of girls who casually know each other but are looking to form the kind of deep community we all so desperately need
– A group of friends who already know each other well but want to go deeper in their friendships
– Small groups/life groups/Bible studies
– The small group time during a women’s retreat
I found Stephanie’s blog very insightful too, with honest accounts of life as a newlywed. I was particularly touched by this post “The Truth About Being A Newlywed (That Nobody Wants To Admit Out Loud)”, and found myself constantly nodding. Its exhortation to create a community so that we can spur one another onwards to guard our marriages also resonated with me, given how marriages are being assailed in our society today.
Here are some excerpts:
The last week of marriage has been one of the hardest we’ve had yet.
I like to believe that my husband and I are good fighters. We have a conflict, address it immediately, talk through it, figure out what went wrong, and decide together what we’re going to do differently next time.
It’s a well-oiled machine. Or so I thought.
But this last week has been different. This last week we have been extra sensitive, extra insensitive, graceless, slow to forgive, nit-picky, and frustrated by pretty much everything.
We left the weekend feeling disconnected and walking on eggshells. We felt like ticking time bombs, waiting for whatever it was that was going to set us off next.
This is the first week we’ve thought, “Marriage is actually really hard! Living with you is kind of hard if we’re going to be honest here.”
The worst part about it was that I didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want to tell anyone that we were anything but totally happy 100% of the time. It’s scary to tell people you’re not doing well.
Somehow you can say, “I’m not doing well,” about yourself, about your health, about your job, about anything else in your life and nobody’s going to freak out.
But when it comes to your marriage if you say, “we’re not doing well,” it instantly sounds like you’re on the brink of divorce.
I am not for a second going to pretend to be a marriage expert. But from almost a year in, this is what I know to be true: Nobody’s marriage is as perfect as you think it is.
Everyone has struggles, frustrations, and battles they’re fighting. Everyone has things to work through, and things they haven’t worked through yet.
You are not alone.
That’s the kindest thing we can ever say to one another, and so that’s what I want us to tell each other today. In the comments, I’m going to ask you to share the thing about your marriage that you don’t have figured out, the thing you’re ashamed to admit because you feel like you’re the only couple who doesn’t have it all together.
Let’s be honest, and give each other the permission and the courage to do the same. Because honesty is like a stab to the heart of comparison and isolation, and I think we could all use that today.
[And she goes on to share 11 really insightful points.]
So, download her free eBook and start your journey of building your village, or strengthening the village that you already have. Press on!
Note: All images belong to Stephanie May Wilson.