Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light by Rachel Marie Stone
“God as a warrior doesn’t do much for me, but I cherish the image of God as a laboring woman. The book of Isaiah joins the two images closely enough that I can imagine they share more in common than I might have suspected: the Lord goes forth like a warrior, stirring up fury, crying out, shouting, and showing himself mighty – and, in the next line, switches to the first person to speak as a laboring woman: I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant. Here God is a woman warrior, preparing to create something new. She is the creator of all that has come before, and, in the crisis and agony of labor, everything seems to becoming apart, undone, like the de-creation of the flood. She will level rough places, she will dry up lakes, she will turn rivers into islands. This entails something new. Her pain is not destructive, it is not meaningless, it is productive.” p88-89Rachel Marie Stone, Birthing Hope, pages 88-89
This quote makes me pause every time. It is one of the things that overwhelmed me about this book, but the way Rachel Marie Stone invites us to consider God through more female metaphors is one of the most powerful things and a big reason to read it slowly.
The first time I started this book I got stuck on the first chapter. It was on birth and it was too much for me to read right then. Birth is one of those things that feels overwhelming, private, controversial, and tender even in few years retrospect. I didn’t know what else to expect with this auther and I wasn’t ready to take it on just yet.
The second time I started this book I got through the birth chapter and realized there is so much more in this book than just that. It is about grief, fear, growing up, healing, trauma, womanhood, parenting, and living outside of your comfort zones. It is a book that draws you through with stories. Not the kind that get wrapped up at the end of the chapter but the kind that encompass, wind, wrap, and weave in and out leaving threads visible throughout a life.
I really appreciated the beautiful way Stone brings hope into each hard-lived every life moment. Her words paint stories with love, living, depth, hope, and an insightful understanding of who God is to us through it all.
A really lovely book if you like thinking about a more female-welcoming theology and outstanding prose.
“But even in awful times, even when the waves crest and fall and break over you, even when the surface is tempestuous and squally, far, far, below the surface, where the whales sing, the water is still. You learn to live in the world, in its chaos and its sadness, but you let your anchor fall into the deep: far, far below the troubled surface of the waters.”Stone 164
– Thanks to IvPress for the review copy of this book. I appreciate every book even if I am late in reviewing it. <3
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