I've just finished reading Virginia Smith's book, Just As I Am. It's brilliant, funny, tender, saucy, heart-rending, heart-warming and full of surprises.
The first surprise is Mayla.
Mayla Strong is the last person you’d expect to get dunked by the handsome young preacher into the baptismal font. She even surprises herself, but somewhere on the way down the aisle to the front of the church she finds Jesus, or maybe He finds her, and she goes under without a thought about how her purple hair will affect the water or how the water will affect her multiple body piercings.
Her baptism is the first in a series of delightfully unexpected happenings—in her life, in the life of the small country church that cautiously receives her into the fold, and in the lives of her non-Christian friends, who stare, dumbfounded, until they begin to see the results of her “screwball” decision and decide it might not be such a bad thing after all.
Just As I Am is a beautiful picture of how God loves us, redeems us, uses us and delights in us, just as we are. It’s a picture of how He changes us, yet leaves our unique personalities intact, for His own personal enjoyment and for the benefit of others whom He loves and longs to bring into His arms as well.