Hey gals! I hope you have had a wonderful weekend savoring God’s creation and enjoying fruitful work. This is the kick-off post for our Recommendations Series. Every other week I will be sharing books and articles I am reading, podcast and sermons I am listening to, and all around anything inspiring or encouraging that I think you might appreciate. Priscilla will also be sharing as she able to fit it into her schedule! So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things from the past couple of weeks…
Eve in Exile by Rebekah Merkle (Book)
Christian women around the world need to hear the message of this book, Eve in Exile, as a voice of reason and wisdom in the midst of so much confusion. Rebekah is engaging, witty, and persuasive as she fleshes out two commonly held, but incorrect, views regarding womanhood that we see infiltrating the church today: feminism and the idealization of the 1950’s housewife. She goes back to Scripture as the blueprint for the incredible calling God places on women’s lives, and an inspiring, insightful book is the result. I have read many books on the topic of feminism and biblical womanhood, and yet this one stands apart as one that I could hardly put down. The angles from which she addressed these relevant topics were so refreshing. Since January I have read it twice, first on kindle (it is free on Kindle Unlimited), and then I purchased a physical copy to underline and keep for referencing later. It is intriguing, interesting, and extremely applicational. I highly recommend it.
As to negatives, my one criticism is that she primarily fleshes out womanhood in a way that is more relevant to married women and mothers, and since she was writing a book regarding the creational design of women, I wish that she had explored the application for singles and married women without children more. One of the moments where I felt this was when on page 169 she says, “Now, it goes without saying that if God has not given you children, whether because you are single or because you have never been able to conceive, of course you can still be fruitful, glorious, productive, and blessed by God in your femininity and calling.” To which I say, for many women, it does not go without saying. So I wish she had said it more. She also will sometimes say things in a black and white way that could easily be misinterpreted as judgy by a more sensitive person. That said, I have listened to her in a few interviews, as well as occasionally on her podcast What Have You, and I do not believe that that is her heart. She (like many of us) is discouraged by our culture that stands against so many of the things that Scripture explicitly calls good, such as a woman working in her home, submitting to her husband, and bearing children, and so she speaks strongly against those kind of sentiments.
Every author has to go through the difficult decision process of what things to include and sometimes more painfully, what things to leave out, but even with her inability to flesh out some of the issues that I believe would’ve aided in clarity, any woman can take the principles of the book and apply them to their own lives. And that is really her point anyway! On page 122 she says, “Women are built to enflesh. To translate. Sometimes we do it without thinking, and sometimes we just can’t help it… We translate and enflesh when we take an abstract command like ‘hospitality’ and turn it into a party with great music and good food. We embody, we enflesh, we multiply, and we transform cultures. Eve is fruitfulness.” If you read this book, you will feel equipped to confront wrong thinking about what Christian womanhood should look like as well as inspired to explore how you in particular can make gospel realities taste with your life.
Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman (Book)
If I could pick one living Christian women’s author to be friends with right now, I think it would be Gloria Furman. She has a quirky sense of humor, a vocabulary that exposes how deeply rooted she is in the Word of God, and keeps everything about the gospel. She does not write light, fluffy books for women, but rather actively practices what she preaches, which is that spiritually rich women have theologically rich understandings of the scripture. On page 14 she says, “I’m convinced that the seriously precious moments and exhilarating love of a mother for her children and a woman for her disciples reach new heights when the theological ground underneath is solid rock,” and then on the next page, “Missional motherhood is a strategic ministry designed by God to call people to worship the One who is seated on the throne of heaven.” While Eve in Exile left me with a list of things that I wish had been added or said, Missional Motherhood conversely does a excellent job of hitting all the angles. She states explicitly in the introduction that her book is not just for physical mothers but also spiritual mothers (Christian women making disciples), and she is faithful to bring it back to that point again and again.
Now, to be honest, half way through this particular book I didn’t even know if I liked it. For me, it was not a good book to read while being frequently interrupted by a two year old. But as I fought to get through to the end, I became more and more convinced that I didn’t just like this book, I needed this book. I was challenged, humbled, convicted, and inspired by her commitment to connect deep theological realities to everyday life and motherhood. My plan for the next time I read it (because it is definitely a book I will be reading again!) is to include it as apart of my quiet time, reading maybe 3-5 pages each morning, in addition to my bible study. That way I won’t have frequent interruptions, and the nature of the book will easily draw me deeper into the Word, making it a bonus blessing for that time.
My one critique of this wonderful book isn’t really a critique so much as an observation and subsequent warning. Gloria Furman embraces covenant theology, which does affect particular aspects of the first half of the book when she does an overview of the Bible. It is not a significant portion, but she will occasionally reference the “covenant family” or talk about the church as “eschatological Israel.” As someone who embraces premillennial dispensational theology and believes in a literal restoration of Israel, I was unable to agree with her when she inserted the church into promises that I believe are directed to physical Israel as well as when she said that the end-time tribulation, “will persist in the church age.” This issue was most notable primarily on pages 94-95, although occasionally less obvious vocabulary is inserted throughout. This is in no way the main point of her book, and I believe the good in it far outweighs the few places where I am persuaded that she has errored in her theology. But as someone recommending it, I felt it was necessary to at least point that out. Even still, I am grateful that I can learn so much about missional motherhood from a woman who truly loves the Lord and esteems the gospel so highly all throughout her writing!
Mom’s Need Theology, Too (Article)
“What we believe about God, who he is, what he has done, and who we are in light of all that, isn’t just for mere study and debate. Words like imputation, justification, atonement, and election affect the very course of our lives day in and day out. They mold who we are.”
This article has such wise counsel that is really for all women, not just mothers. This topic, of women in all there varying life stages seeing the deep study of God’s Word as a necessity to their lives, is so important to me. This article is a quick and convicting read.
Is He Worthy? (Song)
I have been listening to this song on repeat! What better thing to meditate on than the worthiness of the Lamb? And the video is beautifully done as well. Enjoy!