Thursday, September 8, 2011
From My Library: Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
When you first pick it up, this little book looks like it will be a deceptively quick read. Written as advice to her daughter upon marriage, each chapter is very short. What you won't realize until you start reading is that each chapter brims over with wisdom, the sort of wisdom that will make you want to savor every word. This isn't just a book about marriage; it's really a book about God and womanhood. The author acknowledges as much when she says things such as, "In order to learn what it means to be a woman, we must start with the One who made her."
The early chapters of the book don't deal directly with marriage, but talk more about being a Christian woman. We get to follow along with Elisabeth Elliot as she discusses what it means that God created us man and woman and the godly pride we should have in being a woman of God's creation. And even though this is a book of advice for a soon-to-be married daughter, there are several wonderful chapters on single life and how it too can be a gift. One of my favorite quotes is this:"The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived - not always looked forward to as though the "real" living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow."
Elliot then goes on to discuss discipline and freedom, tying these ideas into what it means to be a woman. She very obviously sees womanhood as a high calling from God and states with pleasure, "For I have accepted God's idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be."
Some books about biblical womanhood can be offputting because they discuss biblical truths in rather harsh fashion, with an attitude that implies we may not like being women, but since we were born this way, we're going to have to take up certain duties. A life of dreary duty as described by an author who makes it sound like prison? Oh please - sign me right up!
What I truly appreciate about Elisabeth Elliot is her perspective. On the one hand, she sugarcoats nothing. She tackles difficult subjects such as self-sacrifice, humility, or the fact that a marriage relationship is a relationship between two sinners - and they will sin. She also talks about submission in marriage - a topic all but taboo in some circles. However, she also brims over with true joy for her subject.
The author's tone is firm but gentle, and one can tell after only a few chapters that she loves being a woman and that she sees God's calling in her life not as onerous duty but as a source of joy and identity. She does not shrink from giving advice but she shares her insights in an encouraging tone. Full of wisdom and written in beautiful style, this book is one I would recommend for every woman's library.
"The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman."
- Elisabeth Elliot