I’ll be honest and say that I picked this book because I expected not to like it. It seemed like good fodder for a writer just coming to terms with a little bit of feminism.
Books written specifically for women can be hard to stomach.
But I was surprised with this one.
Good News for Weary Women was gracefully written and gracefully delivered.
And by ‘gracefully’ I mean ‘as if filled with grace’ not ‘as if flitting lightly through a field of daisies’.
Grace filled pages.
In this book, Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, offers us hope and freedom from the expectations of the world as she writes about the completely finished work of Christ, our place in the salvation story, and our work in His creation. Instead of searching for acceptance and peace by doing more and being better, we can rest and have faith that God doesn’t need (or require) our many and small efforts. Fitzpatrick carefully outlines the gospel and exactly what it means for us, as women in a world of too much to do, too many opinions, and too many expectations, to be gifted a place of acceptance in God’s eyes. We can stop trying to measure up and just rest.
As I said before I picked this book up expecting not like it.
And the reason showed up in the first chapter, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting. In the chapter, called “How did we end up here?”, Elyse tackles the topic of feminism. She says that feminism caused the rise of the “Biblical Womanhood” movement with all its corresponding rules and expectations. Which is true. Technically speaking that particular response wouldn’t have been triggered without feminism, but you also have to think where we’d be without feminism and what the subsequent rules those events would have triggered. I think that whatever events transpired we would end up worn out, overworked, and trying too hard. It’s just how sin is working in this world.
You can’t blame the world’s problems on one movement or another. Well, you can try. But that’s not the root of the problem.
And here’s where the book surprised me and addressed the other side:
“The truth is that both radical feminism — lies sold go women in the name of equality — and radical femininity — lies sold to women in the name of Christianity — have harmed women and children. But while Christians have been quick to engage in conversations about the repercussions of misguided feminism, there hasn’t been much acknowledgment of the way women are harmed when they are force-fed rules that go beyond Scripture — rules that are products of a particular culture rather than gospel.”
– Elyse M. Fitzpatrick in Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice
And that is when I started to give the book more grace and actually hear the words more easily. Sure, there are points we disagree on, but agreeing that neither extreme is good is an excellent place to converse and continue to agree on more things.
I also really appreciated that Fitzpatrick is big on theology. I liked seeing themes from The Normal Christian Life come up as she expounded on the work of Jesus dying on the cross and the Gospel message.
The really good part of this book was the grace. I think that for most women it would have been a bit more mind blowing, but for me it seemed familiar and right, but still freeing, since I have been inundating myself with grace giving books the last few years.
Overall, I ended up feeling like I can wholeheartedly stand behind most of what this wise lady had to say. I’d recommend this book for women who feel like they just have too much to do and can’t say no without risking their credibility as a Christian.
(Though I would put a disclaimer in for people who lean towards feminism… or even towards fundamentalism.. : both these takes on women take a harsh critique so only read it if you can hear words you disagree with and then keep listening without shutting down. But that is honestly only a small part of this book and Elyse deals with both sides so circumspectly that only the Gospel comes out on top. So a warning. But then not.)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House for review purposes and all opinions are my own.
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When do you feel most worn out by expectations?