Have you ever read a book and find yourself telling people, “I seriously recommend THIS book“? A book you go back to, re-read, and use as a tool to check your clarity and intention?
Because this book review is about THAT kind of book.
The book is Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney.
The title alone had me intrigued.
The foreword is written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and while I’m not always a fan of name dropping, I’m dropping this one because I typically skip over the foreword and jump straight to the meat of a book. Seeing DeMoss take the time to write the foreword however slowed me down. It got me pumped. It got me thinking about what it means to be a woman. So don’t skip the foreword. It’s a great start to the journey you are about to take with this one.
Then I realized it’s written by C.J. Mahaney’s wife (the author of Humility: True Greatness). I knew I had to read it. I was extremely curious to hear her thoughts on God’s Word about being a wife and mother. Not only that, I was extremely curious to see her call to action. Reading God’s Word and then acting on it! YES!
Which is probably one of the first reasons I would recommend reading this book. Mrs. Mahaney doesn’t just tell you what a Godly wife and mother looks like, she challenges you to take action. There is application, opportunity to test God’s word in your own life. In my opinion that’s the only way a book study truly helps you to grow, by challenging you to action. There is a study guide for each chapter in the back of the book, and she doesn’t hesitate with getting the action started. After Chapter 1, you will find this jewel….
Of the seven virtues listed in Titus 2 – loving our husbands and children, self-control, purity, working at home, kindness, and submission – which one do you think your husband would most like you to grow in over the course of this study? Why?
Homework assignment: Ask your husband and return next week to share the answer (p. 162)
YES! In my own life this was my first big eye opener. My husband’s answer was completely different than what I thought it would be. Praise the Lord! Asking that question allowed me to see through my husband’s eyes, it was just one of many fantastic “ah-ha” moments I had through this study.
The book focuses heavily on Titus 2, and specifically points out the following versus;
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. ~Titus 2:3-5
Mrs. Mahaney goes through each of the above points beginning with delighting in our husbands and ending with the beauty in submission. Her writing is easy to read and easy to follow. In my opinion, it is at times difficult to absorb. She doesn’t hold back in sharing God’s design for womanhood. She doesn’t hold back in what that looks like and what it doesn’t look like. With a gentle voice and unwavering truth, she brings out Biblical points. I can honestly say that you may be a follower of Christ and firmly not believe everything she has to share. Even so, she makes you think. She makes you search scripture for answers. She makes you stop and think about what it means to follow Jesus and be a wife, a mother, a woman!
And in every chapter she reveals how these attributes point back to the Gospel and Glory of God. One of the biggest overall take-aways I had with this book was realizing that the way I love my husband to the way I mop my floors, it all points back to the Gospel of Christ and the Glory of God. Some concepts I’ve been taught before, however, this pointing it back to the Gospel business, that was incredible! It was something I really needed to think about, to see, to pray over.
Remember the challenge I talked about earlier? Not only does she have homework assignments and thought provoking questions, she also includes a “goals of discussion”. It helps to focus in on the WHY you are reading the book, and not trail off into complaining or other unproductive things. You could read this book solo, and I’m sure it would be fantastic, however I’m writing this review having read with a friend.
It was just me and her. We tried to meet weekly (or at least bi-weekly) and we prayed for one another, we kept one another accountable, we cried with one another over our convictions and we praised God together over our victories. We bonded as women and became incredibly close through this study. I would love to do this study again as a small group honestly. (Maybe something I should pray about? Hmmmmm.)
YES! This study was that fantastic for me. I guess the Lord put this book in my hands in His perfect timing. I had just recently stepped out of the workforce and into being a full time homemaker. I had NEVER done that before. It was the perfect time to really start meditating on His role for me as wife and mother. He grew me. Sometimes it was painful. It was always a blessing.
As I prepare to re-enter the workforce (expect to see more blogs on that in the future) I found myself picking this book back up and re-reading sections of it. Praying and seeking the Lord to make sure I have my priorities where they need to be. That’s the beauty of this. It’s about finding my identity in His design. It is Freeing when we can do that.
If you are ready for a Biblical challenge as a wife and mother, Feminine Appeal is a great place to start. I could go on and on about this review, instead, I’ll just say if it’s not on your reading list, Add it. Like…RIGHT NOW.