Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: Good News for Weary Women

The title of this book grabbed my attention right away; what busy, working mother isn't weary and in need of a little good news?

However, this book doesn't address the sort of general weariness that busy women experience from just getting through the day.  The author is primarily interested in the bondage women face when they're trying to please God through their to-do lists, clean houses, committee meetings and endless other activities.

I count myself fortunate to not have experienced much of the pressures that Elyse Fitzpatrick discusses in this book: the checklists, bad advice, and burdens heaped upon women in order to feel worthy. 

Some of the bad news that women receive include pressure that a godly woman should:
  • Always have a clean, well-decorated house
  • Always have well-behaved (and groomed) children
  • Always be willing and ready to pursue romance and intimacy with her husband
  • Make all their food from scratch
  • Study the Bible and pray every day...without fail
  • Don't speak up or ask too many questions in church
Fitzpatrick counters this with the Good News that a woman's highest calling is to believe: to rest and rejoice in the work that Christ accomplished.  When we seek to earn God's favor--or become "good enough"--through our own actions, we fall into the trap of legalism and heap unnecessary burdens on our shoulders.

Fitzpatrick is careful not to swing far in the other direction (It doesn't matter what you do.) and she acknowledges that women find joy in homemaking and serving.  But she endlessly cautions against pursuing any activity because we believe it will lead to salvation or greater holiness.

I love how she explains that some of our American Christian beliefs are actually closer to Karma than Christ and how we sometimes take something that pleases God (X) and feel that, if we add to it (Y) we somehow make God happier. You don't have to belong to a legalistic church to have heard that.

Each chapter contains question for discussion and reflection and this would make a fantastic book study for a women's group.

Highly recommended for its Scripture-based advice, warm writing style, and thoughtful end-of-chapter questions.

Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the bondage of to-do lists, steps, and bad advice
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
Tyndale House Publishers

I received a copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network in return for an honest review.