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January 31, 2008

Three girl-book reviews

Let Me Be a Woman by Elizabeth Elliot
What can I say? Elliot's books are classics. She not only is a talented author but she shares real truth. If you're like me, it is best to buy your own copy so that you can highlight whatever you want. It would be faster than copying down all the good quotes. The book is comprised of letters that Elliot wrote to her daughter before she was married, but the book has truths for women in each stage of life.
"Womanhood is a call. It is a vocation to which we respond under God, glad if it means the literal bearing of children, thankful as well for all that it means in a much wider sense...the unconditional response in Mary the virgin, and the willingness to enter into suffering, to receive, to carry, to give life, to nurture and to care for others. The strength to answer this call is given us as we look up toward the Love that created us, remembering that it was that Love that first, most literally, imagined sexuality, that made us at the very beginning real men and real women. As we conform to that Love's demands we shall become more humble, more dependent--on Him and on one another--and even (dare I say it?) more splendid." (p62)
Who Calls me Beautiful? by Regina Franklin
Another skilled writer, Franklin, who has had years of experience with youth, addresses the topic of female's perception of her own beauty. This book is aimed at single or married ladies, in hopes that they will learn to define beauty the Lord's way and pass it on to the younger ladies around them. I was watching out for "self-esteem" (as opposed to Christ-esteem!) talk, since I imagine that would commonly be discussed in this arena. But for the most part I was quite pleased with Franklin's treatment of the topic. She teaches women to find their beauty in Christ and to listen to the truth of God's Word rather than the lies of the world or even just people who speak carelessly. The following are a few quotes from the text:

“Scripture is the mirror of beauty through which we view ourselves.”

“In worship, false pretenses and artificial longings—our own or those of others— fall away before a holy, awesome God. When I stand and consider the majesty of His name and the works of His hands, my weight, my height, my cup size, and my hairstyle cease to matter.”

“The world is all too ready to plant its philosophies regarding women and beauty in the hearts of young girls.. .the message is...a girl’s sexuality is her beauty. However, it is a message of death. Satan desires to destroy the hearts of young girls through the destruction of their bodies.”


Lady in Waiting by J. Kendall and D. Jones
This book has an excellent premise: Spend your single years developing beautiful, godly character. The characteristics that ladies are encouraged to develop "while they wait" are as follows: reckless abandonment, diligence, faith, virtue, devotion, purity, security, contentment, conviction and patience.

Although they may mention singleness a few time in the book, the book seems to presumes be "You will get married someday. You will marry a prince if you wait on God. So hang on!" I know that some women never marry, and I think it only gets girls' hopes up to suggest that all Christian women will marry...and will marry virtual princes. This book could easily be a book on developing godly character with less emphasis on the fact that you're "waiting". Perhaps one of the reasons that I appreciate Elizabeth Elliot is because she is more serious about the fact that some people will never marry.

This book (journal edition) also promotes the practice of "contemplative prayer", "a lost art in our Western society"...this smacks of eastern thinking.

January 03, 2008

i have told You that You are unfaithful,
when i expect things from You that You haven't given me...
when really it is i who am unfaithful,
running to gods that promise temporal pleasure,
giving up on the spiritual pleasure you offer forever.

i have told You with my actions that You are unloving,
because You haven't always given me what i want...

when really it is i who haven't loved You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength
...for if i did, i would set my mind to remembering Your love.

i have said You don't provide,
because i don't have every material thing i might want...
but Your promise was "every spiritual blessing", not "every material blessing".

i have told you that Your ways are not the best ways
when i've decided to do things my own way, or wished i could live the Egypt lifestyle.

But Your ways
are the best ways.
Forgive me, Lord. Help me to really believe Your Word.