February 2011


The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-it-All World by Shaunti Feldhahn & Robert Lewis (of For Women Only and Men’s Fraternity fame, respectively) is one of those “work-life balance” type books. It does have a slightly different take, though, in that they don’t assume that a woman should work, or should stay at home. It is more about making wise, God-honoring choices in the different seasons of your life.

Not gonna lie, I got off to a rough start with this book. The first chapter or two talk about all the opportunities that are available to women that weren’t available a generation ago, and how wildly successful women are. This information is presented in a decidedly upbeat tone, even the parts about how women are now outperforming men at school, work, etc. I am also currently reading Bringing Up Boys which starts out with similar statistics although in a more “what are we doing wrong with boys?” sort of light. So I was startled to see this same stuff in a girl power way – then all of a sudden, they were like “But you CAN’T have it all, something’s gotta give” (which I totally agree with, by the way) and it was like reading whiplash. So that part could use some clarification.

And, throughout the book I think they send mixed signals to single women. On the one hand, they encourage you to not wait around, you should be obedient to God’s calling and then in some parts they urge you to consider if what you’re doing is really God’s calling – maybe it’s just what YOU want – and you should consider leaving some margin in your life for a significant relationship. However, it’s great that they are addressing these issues because a lot of Christian stuff today tends to send single women to one extreme (just live your life and if God wants you to marry He’ll bring someone to you) or the other (work on yourself and fervently pray and eventually God will bring your husband to you); they just provide examples of people arranging their lives to leave room for a relationship and examples of people who just forged ahead and both are presented as following God’s will, so it’s a little confusing. Fortunately for me this is not currently an issue in my life.

There were some things that were very thought-provoking. Here’s something I had never heard or considered before:

If any actual ‘model’ [of the family] is presented in the Bible, it seems that both the husband and wife are working — often, together in the family business — and they both raise the kids. And the husband has the ultimate responsibility.

…a family…where the mom is making the wonderful sacrifice of staying home with the kids, but where the dad works all the time and has little input into their lives, is just as out of balance–just as ‘nonbiblical,’ you might say–as a family where the mom works and has no time with the kids.

They were actually paraphrasing a quote by Tim Keller there but it is really making me think. I mean, that sort of flies in the face of the working dad, stay-at-home mom model. Hmm. This is something Jake and I are wrestling with as we get re-settled into America – what do we want our family to look like?

And, in a part about accountability, they say “windowless lives almost always have trouble.” Being open is a struggle for me, even though I know its importance, but for some reason the idea of a “windowless life” is sticking with me. When people are stuck inside a windowless room we consider them imprisoned or enslaved so…why do it to ourselves?

Overall I think this book has some good things to say to women, especially those who may be wondering what God really expects from women and wants for them. And good news if you want to read it yourself – I have a copy to give away! I’ve never done a giveaway before so…um…leave a comment letting me know you want it and I’ll pick one next Tuesday, February 15. You can let me know why you want to read it if you want, but you don’t have to if you’re shy.

See the rest of the blog tour here.

These books were provided for review and giveaway by the LitFuse Publicity Group.

Well, this is harder than it would have been a few years ago…I just haven’t been spending money on music in, oh, forever. In high school or college I would have said Switchfoot, but then they got famous and I stopped listening to them. I still really like their old stuff, and Jon Foreman’s indie stuff is really good. “Your Love is Strong” has been pretty meaningful to me in more recent times. Also Jennifer Knapp, who has thrilled my little heart with her return to writing & recording; “Martyrs and Thieves” is one of my all-time favorite songs. Kendall Payne, Lifehouse, The Normals, Sara Groves, and Sandra McCracken all have stuff that I listen to when I am discouraged or depressed.

Is this supposed to be something I secretly think I should get compliments on but don’t, or something I don’t get compliments on because I shouldn’t get compliments? Hmmm.

I never get compliments on: undereye circles, being industrious, balance or gracefulness, dainty feet, great hair, perfect makeup, love for animals, athletic prowess, tight abs, patience, fabulous cooking, tidiness…the list goes on but I think you get the idea.