This is a guest post from Courage for Life founder, Ann White. In episode 96 of the BoldIdea podcast, Ann talked about the Women’s Audio Bible Project, the first-ever female voiced audio Bible in the world.
Like many individuals, I was shackled by shame and hurt from my past for a long time, and I carried the burden silently, which is exactly the opposite of what God wants us to do! But when I allowed God to soften my heart and nourish my spirit with the truth of the Bible, he compelled me to start bringing the word to incarcerated women.
I had always had a passion to help at-risk women, so when God turned a new leaf in my life and ignited the fire in me to teach His word, I wrote a book about my freedom-journey called Courage for Life and started teaching the principles I had learned to women and girls in our local jail cells.
I believe God calls us to do everything with excellence, so I started researching how I could best help these wonderful women who need God’s grace just as much as I do. The research I came across was groundbreaking for me; I had no idea that countless clinical studies showed that at-risk women need gender-specific help in order to thrive!
As I pondered this phenomenon and how I had been working to help these women get their hands on the Bible and understand its truth, I realized there was a lack of female-narrated audio Bibles. Many of the women I’ve ministered to have abuse in their past, so hearing a male-voice is both deterring and triggering for them. As Christians, the last thing we want to do is frighten people away from the Scriptures!
I learned from the director of the Department of Corrections in one of the states we serve that imprisoned women are hungry to learn, but being incarcerated can be such a lonely, debilitating experience that they often re-enter society worse off than before, feeling crippled by shame and feelings of abandonment. Learning this information made me want to do even more to help these at-risk women overcome their painful pasts.
It wasn’t long before God made it clear to me that I should be part of the process of bringing a fully female-voiced audio Bible to not only incarcerated women but to individuals everywhere. It turns out that lots of people would enjoy a female-voiced Bible! An Ad Week Media/Harris poll showed that 92% of respondents are soothed by female voices. We see this statistic supported in the Scripture as well, which describes God as one who provides the comfort of a mother in Isaiah 66:13.
Humanity depends on the voices of women for encouragement and comfort, and this is no less true for our sisters in the prison system. Through God’s guidance and collaboration with practiced and passionate voice actresses, my team and I were able to produce the first fully-female voiced New Living Translation Audio Bible App, completely free of charge.
The Courage for Life app isn’t just here for imprisoned women; it’s there for at-risk women in battered women’s shelters, for women facing unplanned pregnancies visiting crisis pregnancy centers, and for any individual who needs the courage of Christ in their life.
And that’s every single one of us.
Going on this amazing journey of rising up from the ashes of defeat in my own life has ultimately instilled in me that we all need God’s Word. Whether we are out and about in society or behind bars, the truth of the Bible is what will set us free. And you don’t have to be able to read to digest its truth: as the Scripture says, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Whatever facet of ministry God is calling you to, whether that be with the local community, the prison system, individuals in your church, or with those inside your own home, I urge you to go back to the Bible with everything and to nourish yourself with its Word in whatever form that is best for you, whether that’s by reading or listening to it.