Sunday, September 7, 2014

Good News for Weary Women by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

It's disheartening to see exactly how much pressure is applied to women in our culture today. In "Good News for Weary Women" by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Elyse explains the multitude of reasons why women are so weary, and what we can do to stop it from happening.

Women are constantly hearing messages about what they should be doing, what they should be wearing, how they should treat their husbands, how they should be a good mom...the list goes on and on. Women have become weary with all of the world's views and sad to say, the church's view on how women should act. It's impossible to live up to everyone's standards. We're ridden with guilt because we don't quite measure up to the other mom's or women we know. Facebook only adds to this problem as we only get to see the positive qualities in our friends. We don't see their failings and shortcomings. This can actually leave us feeling like we are the ones who don't quite measure up. 

Tucked into each chapter is a list of answers describing some of the dumbest advice women had ever received on how to be more godly. Some of these answers include "Never say no to a ministry opportunity", "Never let anyone see your true self", and "Be at church every time the doors are open" just to name a few. Elyse explains how ridiculous it is for us to try to compare ourselves with other women, and how God doesn't expect us to be perfect. I think this is a wonderful book that most women could benefit from. I don't know one woman who hasn't experienced weariness at one point or another. Very well written.

I rate this book as 4 stars. I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

For a sneak peek at "Good News for Weary Women", keep reading!

I have a daughter, two daughters-in-law,and two granddaughters, and if there is anything I want them to know, it is this:
There is good news for you. You don’t need to learn
secret steps, try harder and harder, wear yourself out in
an attempt to be beautiful, snag Mr. Perfect, or raise
perfect children. You are already welcomed, loved,
forgiven, and completely okay. You can laugh and rest
and resist all the ways the world lies to you and tells
you you’re not good enough. And you can love God
because He has already loved you. You can be free to
fail, to rest, to love, to be weak, to grow, and to know
that everything is already given to you in Him.

I know that women (and men) have been overwhelmed
by to-dolists, steps, and bad advice since the beginning of
time. Even five hundred years ago, Martin Luther didn’t need
to read his Facebook friends’ posts about their having fun
without him to realize that there was something wanting in
his life. He was aware of his inability to obey God’s law from
the heart, and he knew he didn’t have his own self-approval,
let alone God’s. But I do think there is something a little
more desperate, more frenetic about our present wilderness.
There are so many messages being broadcast at us from every
direction about “How to be perfect in 149 simple steps” or
“How your life will become a self-inflicted Armageddon if
you don’t follow these rules.”
As a woman who loves Christ, the gospel, her family, her
church, and her country, I’m standing up to scream, “Stop this
madness! Be done with the fluff, the bricks, and the despair-breeding, anxiety-multiplying self-righteousness!
It’s time to trust in Christ—and Christ alone! He has already done it
all. Everything you need has already been given to you.” Or
in the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “Whoever has
entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did
from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest” (Hebrews

Instead of freeing me to love and serve Christ and my
family, all this “good advice” loaded me down with guilt and
shame over my ongoing sin and piled on more and more
wearisome rules. The very thing I was taking as an antidote
for my failure was making me more and more ill. Instead of
finding freedom, I was a slave to self-justification.
And judging from what I’ve heard from other women, I don’t think
I’m the only one who has ingested this poisonous brew.

The problem comes when women (and men) haven’t
learned how to differentiate between law and gospel—when
we don’t understand how the good news of Jesus’ perfect life,
death, resurrection, ascension, and reign is meant to impact
us. When we don’t see the connection between the righteous
life Jesus lived and our standing before a holy God, we are setting
ourselves up for bondage. Many women don’t understand
the freedom that has been purchased for us, and we often get
tangled up in legalism or moralism. We don’t know what it
would look like for obedience to be motivated by gratitude.

I believe there are specific instructions in Scripture regarding
gender roles, including those in Genesis 2–3, Proverbs
31, Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 2, Titus 2, and 1 Peter 3. I believe
that these truths remain valid for today and that we ignore
them to our great harm. But I also believe that much of what
has been dished out to women under the guise of “biblical
gender roles” has failed us in at least two ways. It has gone
way beyond Scripture’s bounds, while at the same time closing
off much of the Bible’s message of comfort and hope. In
these ways, much of this teaching resembles Jesus’ description
of the Pharisees’, for it gathers unnecessarily heavy burdens
and lays them on women’s shoulders (see Matthew 23:4).
Meanwhile, those who teach these things effectively “shut the
kingdom of heaven in [their] faces” (verse 13).
When we define gender roles too narrowly, overemphasizing
a limited number of texts while completely ignoring the breadth of Scripture— when we try to make Scripture say more than it actually does or tell any segment of people that only certain parts of the Scripture concern them (whether we
intentionally communicate this message or not)— we do so to the detriment of women and men, and to the detriment of the church and its mission in the world.

and soul crushing to tell a woman that the only worthwhile
activity she can do is to birth children and serve a husband
and a family. This mind-
also creates an idol out of the
family structure, making success as a homemaker/mother the
most important vocation in a woman’s life. And although
this is a high calling, it should not trump our first and foremost
calling: to believe in Christ.

In response to the evils of radical feminism, which shamed women who didn’t work outside the home, the radical femininity movement has shamed Christian women who work outside the home (for a variety of reasons) or who are not married or who have been divorced. Many Christian women have been taught that motherhood is not only their highest calling but also that it is the only calling they should aspire
to. It seems a little like the drunk man who falls off his horse on one side and climbs back into the saddle, only to fall off on the other.

Taken from Good News for Weary Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick copyright © 2014. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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