You see, ultimately, a woman invites us to know God. To experience through her that God is merciful. That he is tender and kind. That God longs for us--to be known by us and to know us. She invites us to experience that God is good, deep, loevely, alluring, Captivating. We know many of you are feeling "but I'm not there, I'm not that kind of woman." Here is where we "work out" our salvation as God works in us (Phil 2:12-13). As you begin to live like this, you discover the places in your heart that still need the healing touch of Jesus. That's how it goes. We don't get to stay in hiding until we are whole: Jesus invites us to live as an inviting woman now, and find out healing along the way. ~Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge I really relate to this passage of Captivating. I've wanted to hide. I used to tell myself that I'd forgo school or a good job and "work on myself." I've longed to go on a hiatus so that I can work out my eating and weight issues. I've said to myself, "If I could just go somewhere and get a good clean start, things would be different for me." A pastor at my church has a great saying...."Wherever you go, there you are."** Hiding doesn't help, going somewhere far away doesn't work. Wherever you run to, wherever you hide, your problems go with you. Your chains are still there, you're just wearing them in a different place. Geography doesn't change your heart. The key is getting those chains off and the first step is admitting to yourself and to God that you are in bondage. Everyone's knee jerk reaction when they discover something about themselves that is less than beautiful is to run, to hide, but a woman of beauty knows that she must be courageous and ask for help for the things that hold her in bondage. This means you've got to be the V word....vulnerable. Vulnerable to God so that He can work in you, vulnerable to others so that they can pray with you and help you. Opening our heart is painful and often we find things we'd rather not have known or had to deal with, but it is when we are at our most beautiful. A woman who is hiding invites others to hide as well. You've seen it, I've seen it. We use words like "fake" "insincere" "disingenuous" to describe what we know to be true about someone. They are not being vulnerable. They are hiding, often behind pride, false humility, physical beauty, or position. But you can sense it, you can feel it. Something is wrong. When you open your heart, you give permission for other women to do the same. That's when we can really get to know God's heart and others hearts. That's when true healing comes. That's when we're our most beautiful. Come out of hiding dear one. God's waiting. **This comes from Pastor Bob Hamp of Gateway Church in the Foundations of Freedom series.