In the month of January, I read A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I must admit I am not a regular reader of Rachel Held Evans blog. However, I might add it to my RSS Feed. I decided to blog a little bit about what I thought and what I learned.
Details: I bought the book as a Christmas gift for myself from amazon.co.uk. The IBSN is 1595553673.
The book is set up in more of an investigative reporter kind of way. Rachel Held Evans decides to investigate what Biblical Womanhood means, how one achieves it, and whether or not we are missing something. She devotes a year to her project and gives up her life to her investigation. Each month is devoted to a different virtue of womanhood which includes things like domesticity, fertility, submission, and beauty. Each month she investigates what the Bible has to say about each topic and she does her best to follow through with what she is given, whether bizarre or scary.
I decided to read the book because I love topics like this. A woman talking about what it means to be a woman; not in a feminist kind of way but in a feminine way; not about suppression of the lesser sex but about what makes women beautiful. I might receive some flack for this, but feminism, to me, has always been less than beautiful. Femininity should be the focus of woman not what society things of women.
I really enjoyed this book. It challenged me in many ways in my life and marriage. When it comes to being a Christian wife I am still an infant and so is David with his husbandly tasks. Our upbringing did not prepare us for what God has called us to as a family. Don’t get me wrong we learned how to be married partners from our parents but not in a Christian context. Rachel Held Evans’s book reminded me of what my duty is as a wife to a hardworking husband and the conclusion to her research may shock you.
I will admit there were parts of the book that I did not fully agree with. However, I didn’t expect to agree about everything. This is a very hot topic in the Christian community. Having attended a Christian University this is not the first time I have heard the varying opinions; submit to your husbands/partner together, don’t let yourself go/what about him, homemaker/working mom, don’t preach/gift from God. I am used to this discussion or yelling in some cases.
There were several chapters that I preferred over others. The one that sticks out was the valor chapter. Rachel Held Evans takes a good look at Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is a poetic description of a woman of valor. She rises early and goes to bed late. Makes all of the clothes for the family, cooks, cleans, and is a woman of the community. The description goes on and on about this almost unrealistic woman. Rachel Held Evans learns that this description is not something that we should be but something we should model (just like Christ, husband’s thesis!). The Jewish community does not take this description literally but they encourage women around them that model this virtuous description.
As I was finishing up the book yesterday I was inspired to make some challah. The last month of her adventure into Biblical Womanhood she celebrates Rosh Hashanah and makes challah. Here is my beautiful loaf.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to all women. Especially those who are wrestling with what it means to be a woman in the Christian community. It is not a subject that is easily discussed but it should be a topic that women talk about. I would also encourage wives to talk about it with their own husbands. David and I discussed some of the book together at the dinner table.
We should be like the Jewish community that encourages women when they are being godly. We should not be sisters who talk about the negative or the private life issues. We should be there for each other. After all we are all sisters in Christ.