This hard time made her open to reading that Bible her mom had packed into her suitcase. But Kathy Ireland admits she wasn’t sure where to start. “I’d never read one in my life. I opened up the Book of Matthew,” she explained. “And as I’m reading in the middle of the night, I knew I was holding the truth in my hands.”
The former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model explained that she wanted to follow Jesus that night, and it wasn’t because a certain person was telling her to. Certain denominations weren’t even on her mind. The truth of Jesus was just speaking to her. Kathy Ireland explained, “I was drawn to how powerful Jesus was. How loving and honoring he was of women.”
Having been around many shady guys in the modeling industry, Jesus’ integrity stood out to her. “It gave me such comfort. And so, he became my Lord and Savior. The experience forever changed my life,” she said.
However, as is true with anyone who has come to know Jesus, her faith was a journey and a learning experience that grew her over time. And this growth happened over years, in the midst of a skyrocketing modeling career that was at the least distracting.
Nevertheless, she read the Bible and tried to understand it. She said, “Some things I would read and really love. And other things, I would read and say, ‘Oh, that must be a typo.'” The former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model explained, “I was picking and choosing what I liked and neglecting the rest of it. I was trying to mold God into what I wanted Him to be.”
At age 44, Kathy Ireland says she finally read the whole Bible. And over time she learned to surrender to Jesus and let Him form her rather than the other way around. She describes God as patient with her and possessing a goodness. The message she has eventually come to take from God is that when she puts Him first, it is what’s best for her family and herself. Laughing at the times she doesn’t get up early to spend time with God, Kathy explains that her day doesn’t go quite so well. “Because if I open my mouth to say something, I’ll be apologizing before 8.am.” she says.
Today, the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model describes the gospel as “the core of every decision” she makes.
Just a few days ago, Kathy Ireland reminded us how our Christmas celebrations are part of that gospel message.