Friday, November 27, 2015

Let Me Be a Woman, by Elisabeth Elliot

I've thought about Elisabeth Elliot's books over the years, especially regarding her husband's death among the Auca Indians. This year, with her passing and memorial service, I've thought about them even more. She was one of those good authors I heard recommended and never got around to picking up.

Joy C's warm praises and sweet gift of Let Me Be a Woman made it possible. I have treasured, savored, loved, and pondered over this book for the last few weeks, drinking in the tender advice this mother poured out to her daughter before her upcoming marriage. It felt like a peek into an intimate and loving conversation that I can benefit from too.

The Book (from back cover)

Who are you?

Many Christian women rarely, if ever, ask themselves that question. But knowing who you are as a woman--and as a Christian--can make a real difference in how you see yourself and others.

Elisabeth Elliot can help you find answers that make a difference. She suggests that the place to start is by asking not "Who am I?" but "Whose am I?" In Let Me Be a Woman, she writes candidly about what it means to be a Christian woman, and she unabashedly tackles tough issues, including:

Subordination
The Single Life
Self-Discipline
Masculinity vs. Femininity
The Right Kind of Pride
What Makes a Marriage Work

Whether you are young or not so young, single, engaged, married, or widowed, you will better understand how you fit into God's plan, and you will come away with a wonderful sense of peace about who you really are as a Christian woman.

My Thoughts
I think this is a book I'll be going through again with the highlighter and pen to underline many favorite passages. It's a book that is so foundational to the struggles of womanhood that it's worth reading periodically over and over again, just to re-tune yourself and root out some lies you've fallen into believing.

There were many lessons I appreciated about this book. One huge one was the lesson of discipline and faithfulness in what God calls me to do: in every season of life and spirituality, to obey the journey process. I was struck by her example of the Israelites. Moses chronicles every place the Lord guided them to along their journey, but not every stopping point had something spectacular happen at it. Some of them were merely steps of obedience toward the end goal. I also appreciated her illustration of the sailing ship--free to go wherever it wants on the water, but only because someone has followed the rules of good craftsmanship in putting it together. Women find freedom in obeying the structure and design God created them with.

I loved the chapters about husbands: that they are men, sinners, individual people, heads of the family. Such good, simple truths that I embrace wholeheartedly in my mind, but have no doubt that I will need much grace to practice, because I deal with a fallen nature. The chapter about individual personhood especially struck me: that for a husband, there are certain deep places of the soul that he can offers only to God, and a wife should not be over-possessive and try to force him to confide those to her. I think that principle holds true with not just husbands, but friends, siblings, children, and fellow believers as well.

Marriage seems such a wonderful mystery--so intimate and loving, funny, self-denying, like a beautiful partnership when both partners follow the guidelines God has given them. I am only twenty-one, but I am old enough to experience a yearning and even occasional loneliness for that kind of partnership. Her book makes me look forward to it, while at the same time, reminding me of some common pitfalls and broken mindsets inherent to my fallen womanhood that I can work on addressing now while I wait.

Much of this book is about marriage. But Elisabeth also talks about the gift and fruitfulness of singleness as well--and through and in each chapter is a love and submission to the Heavenly Father that all women in all walks of life can drink in and benefit from. This book is written in a loving, practical, often humorous style of conversation--making you feel as if you were sitting beside her on the sand in front of her cottage while she writes these chapters.

I feel mentored by a kind older woman and enfolded in the love of God after having read it. I heartily recommend Let Me Be a Woman.

10 comments:

  1. Very nice review. I loved this book, too. <3

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    1. It is one well worth loving. I'm glad you like it too. <3

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  2. I think I'm in the same boat you were - I've heard good things about this book but never read it. But it sounds like I should change that. :) Thanks for the review and recommendation!

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    1. Definitely recommend it highly, Jessica! I hope you enjoy it! :D

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  3. I'm so glad this book was a blessing to you, Schuyler! *happy smile* I was so blessed by it as well, and really felt mentored and encouraged in God's call for me to be a godly woman! :)

    Elisabeth Eliot is probably one of my favourite Christian heroines of the 21st century, right up there with Corrie ten Boom - her life story and how God used her is truly wonderful and challenging! I've only read a few of her books so far - "The Shaping of the Christian Family" "Through the Gates of Splendour" and "Secure in the Everlasting Arms" but they've all inspired me deeply and encouraged me, especially in that area of faithfulness, perseverance through trials and sufferings, the lesson of waiting on God patiently, and the meaning of Christian love and obedience that you mentioned in "Let Me Be a Woman". I'm hoping to read more of her books through the summer. . . thanks for the great review :).

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    1. Yes! I would put her up with Corrie Ten Boom as well. Such loving, motherly counsel. I can't wait to read more of her books too! :) <3 It would be fun to do a read-along sometime, wouldn't it?

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  4. This post made me smile. :) So glad that you got to read this.
    One of my earliest memories is of Mum showing Let Me be a Woman to me; her copy has a picture of Elisabeth Elliot with her daughter, Valerie, on the front, and Mum would tell me of how Elisabeth wrote it as a gift right before Valerie's wedding....and she would remind me of how I would one day read it. :)
    So, I ended up reading it a year or two ago when someone gave it as a gift for my grad. T'was so good...need to go through it again soon.
    Love,
    Kyla <3

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    1. We own a copy of Let Me Be a Woman that looks like the one your mum showed you too, Kyla :). Did you know that Valerie homeschooled her 8 children? :)

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    2. Your comment made me smile, Kyla! <3 I can just picture you looking at it with your mom. That's so cute. :) Isn't it fun how many books we looked forward to as little girls? :)

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  5. This looks great! Maybe I can borrow it from you? ;) <3

    @Kyla--that sounds so cute!! ^_^

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