Saturday, October 01, 2005

Reading Round-Up

I am embarrassed to report I haven’t been reading too much lately. I’ve been too busy keeping my head above water in other areas. Yet my lack of reading time has not affected the amount of books I keep BUYING. That seems to be moving ahead at a normal, fast clip.

So when I get the time, I’m going to read the following new books I’ve recently purchased…

Murder is a Girls Best Friend (Matetsky)
Murderer’s Prefer Blondes (Matetsky)
Murder of a Smart Cookie (Swanson)
Visioneering (Stanley)
A Dad-Shaped Hole in my Heart (Wright)
A Beautiful Offering (Thomas)
True Devotion (Henderson)
High Stakes (Herman)
A Fine Line (Herman)
Courting Trouble (St. George)
The Hanover Square Affair (Gardner)
The Glass House (Gardner)
Winning with People (Maxwell)

And that’s just a few of the pile….

I did start a book/workbook that I bought in Nashville at the NWMA. It is called Captivating and is by John and Stasi Eldredge. I am only finished Chapter One so far, but it is really good. The subtitle is “Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.” I have a feeling this book is going to be a life-altering as “The Sacred Romance” was for me. I’ve almost been scared to pick it up and start reading. My life changed so drastically after I read “The Sacred Romance” and worked through the workbook. Of course it all turned out well, but was painful to go through. So here I am again, willingly going into a scary place again. I’m just a glutton for punishment…

Here are a few of the quotes from Chapter One I felt particularly profound:

Oh, we know the expectations that have been laid upon us by our families, our churches, and our cultures. There are reams of materials on what you ought to do to be a good woman. But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal really should be…The church has been part of the problem….Seriously now - picture the women we hold up as models of femininity in the church. They are sweet, they are helpful, their hair is coiffed; they are busy, they are disciplined, they are composed, and they are tired.

{And might I add, they are boring? Growing up in church and being in churches all my life, I learned early that a woman should tap down her personality and personal likes, dislikes and attitudes to conform to the Godly Christian woman model. As a result, there was nothing unique, creative or special about any of them. They were, in a word, boring. I’ve always wondered why that was because if God could create the myriad of birds, insects and flowers so intricately and uniquely, surely he enjoyed individuality and creativity from His children as well.}

An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is Shame, the universal companion of woman. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding on our deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone.

We feel unseen…we feel unsought…we feel uncertain.

Most of our addictions as women flare up when we feel that we are not loved or sought after.

And what about women like Esther and Mary and Ruth? They were Biblical characters who had irreplaceable roles in a Great Story. Not “safe” and “nice” women, not merely “sweet” but passionate and powerful women who were beautiful as warriors….We long to be an irreplaceable part in a shared adventure.

The longings God has written deep in your heart are telling you something essential about what it means to be a woman, and the life he meant for you to live. Now we know - many of those desires have gone unmet, or been assaulted, or simply so long neglected, that most women end up living two lives. On the surface we are busy and efficient, professional, even. We are getting by. On the inside, women lose themselves in a fantasy world or in cheap novels, or we give ourselves over to food or some other addiction to numb the ache of our hearts. But your heart is still there, crying out to be set free, to find the life your desires tell you of.

I am going to start Chapter Two this weekend and I’ll continue to post my thoughts on this book as I read. Just keep in mind, I’m doing a workbook at the same time so it’s slow going.

As for fun reading, I plan to finish the book I’ve been plodding through all of September sometime this weekend and move on to some mysteries. I’m hoping with getting Flourish up to date (more on that later) I’ll have more time to read now.

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