Copyright © 2011-2018 | Esther Joy Fajoye
Beauty for Ashes is a collection of powerful testimonies from women all over the world that will be sure to inspire, equip and encourage women. Written by international beauty queen and entrepreneur Juanita Ingram, she addresses contemporary issues such as: purity, suicide, illness, marital issues, salvation, deliverance, abortion, forgiveness, offense, self-worth, and domestic abuse with transparency and authenticity.
Juanita Ingram is an American lawyer, entrepreneur, mother of two, and an international beauty queen and speaker, who resides in London, where she represents the contemporary global woman with grace, humility and style. Over the past few years, Ingram has published numerous lifestyle and faith-based books for both adults and children, such as Winning For Christ, and more.
Orders can be made on Amazon for both the paperback and digital versions; it is also available on Google books store as well as other retailers:
The title of the book stems from Isaiah 61:3 (NIV) – ‘He will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour.’
I have read many inspirational Christian books and some specifically for the female audience. When I saw this book, I wondered how different it would be to any other book to empower Christian women. However, I was extremely touched and I believe that this book contains every topic, situation and feeling that every woman, regardless of their race, age or background, can relate to, or have been through at one point in their lives.
We all face challenges and difficulties in life. We get through them in various ways. However, the key to overcoming them is through the strength of God and also by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).
The book contains testimonies from women who faced various struggles in their faith or in various aspects of life and how they overcame it with God. Many of the issues featured include suicide, healing, low self-esteem, abuse, forgiveness, fornication, relationships, etc. In their various lessons and individual relationships with God, they all had something in common: They acknowledged God’s unfailing love, His hope, His perfect plan and purpose for their lives which prevails above every obstacle or negative situation. They learned that regardless of what we have been through or have done, God fulfils every promise in our lives, gives joy for our shame and beauty for our ashes.
Some examples of lessons learned after pain was that, 'God uses even the most painful moments in our lives to deepen our trust in Him and to give us more compassion for others.’
The beauty of forgiveness - ‘enabling us to move on to better things and opening the opportunity for God to restore and bless us as we take the focus off of the offence and place it back on God.’
There were a few testimonies that resonated with me, which is why I want to share what I have learnt from this book and recommend it for any Christian woman striving to live out God’s will in their lives.
The testimony that really touched me the most was Testimony 2. This was about a woman who grew up in the church, but took some time to grow closer to God and to develop a relationship with Him. She, like many Christians, made growth but sometimes ended up taking one step forward and then two steps back. Many Christians feel that when they are saved, they can manage sin and temptation better, but feel heavy guilt and conviction if they fall. Being a Christian does not mean that we are perfect and have it all together. It merely means that we are saved through Christ and depend on Him and His strength to live our life and to handle everything that we face. The woman in the testimony struggled with sin, keeping God’s word and with the demands of the world. This was often linked with low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.
This was turned around when she remembered to consciously acknowledge that she was saved for a purpose.
We sometimes feel that we are worthless and bound by sin even whilst struggling to balance a righteous and pleasing life to God. Therefore, we feel as if God cannot use us. God does not condemn us by our past.
When we confess to God and turn to Him, He blots out our transgressions and remembers our sin no more (Isaiah 43:25). Therefore, we cannot be bound by our past. God can use every person, regardless of their past or circumstances. The key is to allow Him to use us and to re-invite Him day by day because His mercies also renew daily, therefore we must also renew our faith. It is not something that we do once.
God intervenes in ways beyond our imagination to bring us back to Him and to remember our worth.
He used all of the women in the book that felt bound by their pain and struggles.
They felt hopeless, unworthy or unloved due to mistreatment and abuse.
The testimonies of the women in the book detail how God redeemed and restored their broken hearts, granted their heart’s desires and used them for His glory. God restores pain, rejection and every mistreatment we face as long as we don’t give up on Him. He gives us praise for our despair and indeed, beauty for our ashes.
More about Juanita Ingram: