Friday, January 18, 2008

Passionate Housewives

I just finished reading this book Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God, by Jennie Chauncey and Stacey McDonald. Back in October, before the book was released, I posted a teaser here. I just have to say, this book did not disappoint.

But when did I start liking books like this???? When I first got married 5 1/2 years ago, I don't think I would have ever picked up a book with the word *housewives* on the cover. And she's wearing an apron too???? How stereotypical can you get? My mom will laugh, because she knows how I used to be.

Oh, how far the Lord has brought me. :)

It's true though - until the last few years, I didn't really understand the point of women's messages or books about women. I avoided the women's seminars at conferences, and steered clear of the women's Bible studies that I assumed based everything on "feelings." Have you ever felt this way? (of course, some of them do, but that is another topic entirely!)

I was willing to accept what I understood from Scripture about what God desired of me as a woman in the church, but I guess I just didn't really get the value that He places on being a woman. Why it is so important to understand who I am and why God made me that way. I mean, why read books and study topics about women? Couldn't we find something better to study? It used to sound so silly to me.

I am not sure when it happened exactly, but marriage and children have a way of growing you up fast. You know what I'm talking about. Especially children, I think. When you wake up one morning and you realize that your entire day revolves around feeding, clothing and serving someone else, you start to look for the meaning in all of it. Or am I the only one?

And if we run to the Lord for answers, He will never let us down. Seeking His will for us isn't just something we need to do when we are applying for colleges and choosing our majors. He longs to show His will for us daily. Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way."

That means He wants to be intricately involved in the details of your life, and it is a delight to Him!

I sought the Lord for answers when I first became a mom. Ethan was a little bit of a fussy baby, and sometimes I would have to walk with him for hours a day. Struggling to keep my eyes open, because of course he was up all night too, I would pour out my heart to the Lord, begging for help. How do I do this? I am going to go crazy! What do you want from me? Do I even have a spiritual life anymore??

And little by little the Lord has opened my eyes to the truth of His Word and to His plan to use me for His glory: as Dave's wife and my children's mommy. I started to see that it wasn't about me anyway. We are exhorted in Philippians 2 to look out for the things of others, to esteem others as better than ourselves. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says that the Lord Jesus died for us so that we wouldn't live for ourselves any longer, but live for Him! As a wife and a mother, I can lay down my life for them, and in doing so, I can serve the Lord too.

In this book, Stacy McDonald says:
"Surely laying down one's life for another, whether physically or conceptually, must cause some sort of pain or loss to the giver. Though some circumstances may seem more difficult than others, we can be assured that God does not take pleasure in our pain, but that He is granting it for our ultimate good and His glory."

That paragraph brings tears to my eyes! It is so true. I can look back over the last 4 years and see how much the Lord has taught me, how far He has brought me. He has taken my stubborn, selfish heart and gently introduced me to a life lived for others, the life He desires for me. And He is using my home as workbench, the very place He does His work in my life. Isn't that an encouraging thought?

I have to admit, parts of the book were very challenging, as there are areas of my life that I struggle to give over completely to the Lord. I really appreciate that though. I used to think all Christian women's books were fluff, way too simplistic, not biblically based. I have since come to find some very good ones though. This book in particular is an encouragement to any woman desiring to live for the Lord and honor Him with her life.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Rachel! I'm completely with you! Oh how much the Lord has grown me up these past 5 1/2 years! They've actually been the HARDEST years of my far; but years I would never trade, because without them I would not reflect Him nearly as much as I do now, years that have pushed me closer to Him.
Its amazing how life changed so drastically...4 years of carefree, unrealistic, fun, college life that when it comes down to it, was pretty much self-centered (all decisions were based on me because there was no one else at the time to take care of), then I got married, and a year later a little bundle that interrupted my world! I've never been the same...praise the LORD!
I've never seen my utter sinful heart until I had children...oh, I knew I was a sinner, but every day I come face to face with the reality that I desperately need a Savior, not only for the future but NOW! What an ugly heart I have that by His grace and redemption, is being transformed day by day.
Thank you Rachel. Sounds like I'll have to get this book!


bandanachick said...

Thank you so much for sharing that Rachel. I really needed to be encouraged by that today.
I agree with Allison, "I've never seen my utter sinful heart until I had children", so true for me as well. Having a child has made me realize that (surprise surprise) life isn't all about me, mostly it never is. And, when I sit and think about it, it never really should be. My life should be about my Lord, and His glory.
Looks like I should try to track down that book as well...

Michelle said...

Hey Rachel. That is a good post, but I have to go off topic for a minute.

Every since Enoch found out your B-day through facebook he keeps telling me that you and I are twins since mine is not only on the same day, but also the same year. Now I read that your anniversary is 5 1/2 years ago. Same here (Oct 12, '02).

Sorry I don't have anything spiritual to add ~smile~ Maybe next time!

dave & rachel said...

Michelle, my birthday is Oct. yours too? How fun!

Andy & Jenica said...

That's funny I didn't know you used to have an adversion to "feminine spirituality", although I know what you mean about fluffiness and feelings. I must say I had an adversion to the name of this book. ;) Maybe it's because I don't like it when the Christian world does a play off secular titles, didds, etc. But, hey, don't judge a book by it's cover.
Anyways! Thank you for the thoughts. You continually encourage me about making the Lord a part of the small details in life. And if you liked the book I may just have to read it!

dave & rachel said...

yes, jenica, I really resisted the Lord for awhile. :) I'm sure I didn't shout it from the rooftops, but still.

That's funny about the title, and I think I kinda agree. Maybe you can get past it. :)

Shawna said...

Amen! This is the best book I have ever read. I am looking forward to going through it slower, taking notes and thinking on it a little more.

I do find it fascinating to look over my own life and see what the Lord has done over time. I am so thankful that He pursues me, and slowing works on me.

Kim & Dave said...

What a good paragraph (at the end) for me to read, too, Rachel!

Michelle said...

Yup, ten, one, seventy-eight. That's my birthday.

meesh said...

I enjoyed the book as well! I found many parts encouraging!

Eryn said...

hmm, i guess i need to get this book. i too, was put off by the title. have had the same "girly" issues you did rachel. although i still find some of them to be true, i truly delight in my feminity now. i love being a woman, a wife and amother and i want to see what God teaches about it in every area.