Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Beautiful Woman #3: Books

In the days long ago, a girl would only know as much about her womanhood as her mother cared to share, and there was a beauty in this system. Then there came all this independence (also beautiful in its own way) and we had a lot more talking amongst girls about these issues. And now, of course, here we are in the information age, so pretty much any subject you can dream up has its own books or at least blog posts to search out information. I just googled "How to be a woman" and came up with almost 3 billion results! Craziness!
There are plenty of places you can get information, even good information about applying makeup and fixing your hair, about dressing well and appropriately for a situation. How to have that inner beauty that is acceptable in the eyes of Christ, though, is a bit harder to find information about. Here are some books that have helped me along the way.

The first and foremost book is the BIBLE. Get it off the shelf, ladies and read it. There is magic there. The first reading may mean nothing. The second reading may be just words. But the third or the fourth or the eighteenth may bring renewal and life such as we have never dreamed! Let us be women of the Word and then we can be beautiful women. Read it in a One Year Bible; read it in a Bible with lines for journaling, read it in different versions; just read it! (I'm pleading with myself as well!)

The Fruit of Her Hands is a book I read while I was engaged and I'm so glad I did! One of the lessons I learned from this book was that as a married woman, the careful modesty I had worked so hard to maintain while not married would have to be discarded while with my husband. This was a new and novel idea to me and something my husband might not have known how to ask for; but he certainly expected. There are so many other helpful womanly ways outlined in this book.

The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life I dare you to open up this book to any page and not find some beautiful nugget of truth that you can apply to that very moment of your day! Quotes like, "Nothing else but seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who annoy and trouble us." and "Let the ways of childish confidence and freedom from care, which so please you and win your hearts in your own little ones, teach you what should be your ways with God." are so very applicable!

The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction Some might find the study of doctrine to be dull and boring and have no bearing on daily life. But I have found it quite different. The more I focus on the facts: I am a sinner; He is a holy God; Christ was a necessary sacrifice; His grace has saved me; the more I am drawn to live my moments for Him. I think a Biblical, Doctrinal foundation is a very important part of our womanhood.

Let Me Be a Woman is a wonderful book written by Elizabeth Elliot for her daughter during her daughter's engagement. Yay for wise women writing for their daughters! Yay for them sharing it with us. There is much to be gleaned from these letters on being a woman, a wife and a Christian.

The Power of a Praying Wife There is a whole series of these books and I definitely recommend them. There is power in praying. It is the power of communing with God, of lifting our thoughts outside or beyond ourselves. There really is something miraculous about praying for others when you are most distraught for your own circumstances.  Just like Job, whose pains were not lifted until he began to pray for his friends, our troubles change and morph a bit when we're praying for others. Try it! Even when in the middle of a fight, a quick prayer to the Lord for the good of your husband can do wonders.

There really have been hundreds of nonfiction and fiction books that have influenced me as a woman. They are books about families and books about fairies and books about the impossible and allegorical books about this amazing journey of motherhood, wifehood and life. I've read mysteries and children's stories and science books that have led me to new realizations. That's the beautiful thing about truth: it's all God's. So whether you are reading Peter and the Starcatchers or Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy, you can be gleaning truths about your walk with God and learning to be a beautiful woman.

What are your favorite books for life as a Christian and a woman?

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