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Just As I Am


Just As I Am

22-year-old Mayla Strong --- with her purple hair and assorted
facial piercings --- makes the walk down the aisle to publicly
commit her life to Christ, the congregation gapes. But Mayla
doesn't care. She's used to stares, rude comments and the like.
Somehow, Mayla's choice of hair color, clothing and jewelry make
her distinctive and noticeable, and that's the intent. So the long
walk to the front of Salliesburg Independent Christian Church is a
piece of cake for this independent, strong-minded young

It isn't until the pastor mentions baptism that Mayla's heart jolts
some. Before the next heartbeat Mayla agrees, and her mom, Angela,
is leading her to a side door to get dressed for this special
occasion. Not expecting to being up front and center with a
baptismal gown clinging to her body, Mayla's hot pink panties would
be pretty obvious (and distracting), so Angela pulls off her own
slip and Mayla is set to go.

With such a morning as becoming a Christian and being dunked under
water by a young and handsome preacher, Mayla wouldn't have been
surprised by anything. Yet the afternoon's welcome to the church
family picnic stirs in Mayla some interesting and thought-provoking
questions. Should she get rid of the nose piercing and labret stud?
What about her hair color of choice? Mayla also works as a server
at the restaurant/bar, distributing liquor to customers. Does this
matter? With some not-so-subtle remarks Mayla is immediately thrust
into the world of Christian do's and don'ts, but she isn't taking
anything lying down. In her own style, Mayla is determined to
discover what God's Word says about such things.

During the following days and weeks, Mayla immerses herself in
daily Bible reading, asking poignant, thoughtful questions of her
mom and pastor, and tries to find her place in this church world
community. Despite some setbacks, her non-believing friends thrust
Mayla into Personal Evangelism 101 and her experiences are
delightful, humorous and genuinely real. This new-to-the-faith
young adult must overcome friends' disappointments and prejudices
from Christians who hurt them. She meets and befriends a young man
dying of AIDS, all while attempting to live a life alive to God and
in service to others.

Throughout this lively and often comedic text, author Virginia
Smith successfully bridges the gap between Christians and their
failures in reaching a hurting world with a message of hope through
kindness, love and transparent humility. Excellent reading!


Reviewed by Michele Howe on October 18, 2011

Just As I Am
by Virginia Smith

  • Publication Date: November 8, 2011
  • Genres: Christian, Fiction
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications
  • ISBN-10: 0825436931
  • ISBN-13: 9780825436932