ON THE ROAD WITH RGM — NEW YORK CITY

Carrie Bradshaw said it best: “Every year, twenty-something women come to New York City in search of the two Ls: Labels and Love.” What a perfect way to describe the quest that defines most women’s lives. I’m pretty sure the screenwriter had no intention of writing a profound statement about the state of women’s souls, regardless of his intention, he nailed it. Young women today are indeed on a search, at times a desperate search, for “labels and love.”  Trust me, I know from personal experience.

Forget about Dior, Channel, or Prada, women are anxiously pursuing a bigger label than any of these designer names, one that defines them, tells them who they are, and what they are worth. This label is not found on the latest must-have handbag or pair of designer jeans, the label that women are searching for is one that covers their hearts and reads “Loveable,” “Treasured” and “Adored.”  All too often though we turn to relationships or our appearance or something less significant to define us and in doing so, we can struggle with insecurity and self-doubt.

And let’s be honest, women are flat-out looking for love… one that makes them feel whole, accepted and complete.  This quest for love transcends dating relationships, friendships, and even marriage, because even when all of these are present, there is still an ache, emptiness, and a hole in the soul that isn’t filled. The quest for unconditional, soul-filling love continues. So, the search continues…

Since my book Sex and the City Uncovered was first published in 2007, I have spoken to thousands of young women across the nation at Redeemed Girl Ministries’ Girls’ Night Out events.  At these events, I tell my story of “looking for love in all the wrong places,” and how I, too searched for the “2 L’s only to find emptiness, heartbreak, and shame.

Until I met Jesus, that is. When as a young twenty-something I heard the Gospel and surrendered my life to Christ, I experienced freedom from those old labels and received a new name—Beloved. I love to tell other women about the transformation that occurred in my life because of Jesus Christ—I am free, whole, alive, loved, secure and forgiven.

It never fails, following each talk I meet with young women, whose eyes are filled with tears, and listen as they tell me, “Marian, your story is my story.”  Sadly, until that moment, most of them thought they were alone in their pain. They go on to describe their regrets, their heartbreaks and their desire for a fresh start.  Each of these beautiful young women is confused, hurting, and ready for God’s love to fill the emptiness in her heart.

Here’s the deal, these women are confused because the messages they’ve heard from media about what defines them and where they should find love has left them with emotional baggage and physical consequences they were not expecting. Life didn’t have the happy Hollywood ending. They are hurting because they are looking for love and acceptance in all the ways the world tells them to pursue it, and yet, they still haven’t found what they are looking for.  I can so relate to their turmoil. Therefore, I have no greater joy in life than introducing women to Jesus—the One, who alone defines them and can fill their empty hearts.

Honestly, I had no clue what God had planned when He called me to share my experiences and write Sex and the City Uncovered. I didn’t know that He would so beautifully redeem my story of “looking for love in all the wrong places” so that other women could discover God’s unfailing love.

This past week our team traveled to New York City to share the redeeming love of Jesus with women. Our first gathering was an incredible group of Christian women from Apostles Church in NYC. I fell in love with these girls. They are Jesus-loving young women, working in Manhattan, pursuing their dreams and seeking to honor God as they do. They are living for Jesus in the midst of a culture that makes that not so easy. The Lord placed a word on my heart for them about “Waiting for God’s Best.”

I loved digging into God’s word with them and offering some guidance from my years as a single woman.  Waiting for the desires of you heart can be hard for anyone, but especially for a young Christian woman in New York City; when it seems like there aren’t any men who share your faith or passion for Christ. My greatest blessing was the privilege of praying for my sisters in Christ to stand strong and asking our Good Father to bring the desire of their hearts.

The next night was straight out of my prayer journal! God opened the door for our team to host Girls’ Night Out on the campus of NYU. Years ago, when I wrote my first book I would pray and dream about where I would share this message and dream of standing in the middle of Manhattan proclaiming to women that Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life.”

God is the dream maker.

How exciting it was to see women from diverse cultures—what a picture of NYC—fill the auditorium for the event. Our ministry partners prayed and planned for over a year, and we witnessed the Lord honor their prayers. As I shared my story, you could see them relate and nod their heads in understanding. As I told of Jesus’ unconditional love and grace you could feel their hearts melt before His Presence.

These young women walked in that night very much on the search for labels and love. But that night, Jesus intersected their lives and told them that they were “worth dying for.” Oh, the sweet, sweet, love of Jesus.

Have I mentioned I love my job? There is nothing in the world like watching a woman fall in love with Jesus. That night 37 young women trusted Christ for the first time. They are now Redeemed Girls!

Please pray for both of these groups of women. First, for the Christian women in New York City, that they would stand firm in Christ and shine as a light in the darkness. Also, pray for the new believers that they would get involved into one of our discipleship groups and grow in their new relationship with Christ.

For those of you who pray for and support RGM, let me just say, none of this would happen without you. I am so grateful for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support—in this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for you!

Much love,

Marian

P.S. Should you find yourself in NYC, on the Lower East Side, the Brussel Sprouts at Saxon and Parole will change your life.

Apostle’s Event | Photography by Kat Harris | @thekatharris

Girls’ Night Out at NYU | Photography by Fatima Betts

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