Sunday, February 26, 2012

Captivating:Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul - John & Stasi Eldredge

Kevin and I are diligently trying to prepare for pre-martial counseling by reading a few books together.  This was the latest in that line-up.  I had read this book in high school, so it was a re-read for me.  John & Stasi Eldredge are a husband and wife team who teamed up to write this book as a follow up to John's best-seller Wild At Heart.  The book is an examination of what it means to be a woman, from the Christian perspective.
Having read the book before, this is really more of a refresher course of concepts for me, rather than an eye-opening, self-awakening.  However, the first time I read it, the experience definitely leaned toward the later. It was cool to read through it again this time and see what I had highlighted all those years ago as a clueless teenager.

The main message of the book is that women are special in the eyes of God and have three desires built into the core of them: "to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty.  That's what makes a woman come alive."  While I don't agree 100% with all of the Eldreges' theology throughout the book, they do make a lot of good points.  There are many passages that resonate with my very soul.  I like that, while they address these desires within relationships, they do ultimately bring it back to the fact that God is the only One truly able to fulfill those desires within us.  There is a lot of talk about women being broken, by abuse, self-esteem issues, wounds inflicted by parents, any number of things.  While I personally don't have major skeletons in a dark closet that are constantly tearing me down, I can still relate to a lot of the self-destructive characteristics of women.  If nothing else, this book is a helpful reminder that I'm not alone in this struggle to find who I am.  Women through all time have struggled with it and the Eldreges seem to have hit on something here.  Do I think they have it all figured out?  No.  But have they taken a step in the right direction? Absolutely.  

I would recommend this read to any woman and to any man who wants to understand and support the women in his life better.  It sparked a lot of good conversation for Kevin and I.  We're looking forward to tackling Wild At Heart next.

In closing, a few lines from the book that were especially poignant for me:
"The message to the rest of us - whether from a driven culture or a driven church - is try harder."
"And it's not just the desire for an outward beauty, but more - a desire to be captivating in the depths of who you are."
"Just like God, a woman is not a problem to be solved, but a vast wonder to be enjoyed."
"Efficiency has taken the place of adventure...We struggle to know if we matter at all."
"We don't feel that we are irreplaceable, so we try and make ourselves useful."


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