Non-Fiction Reviews, Top Shelf

{Book Review} Let Me Be a Woman

“We are called to be women. The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be.”

Elisabeth Elliot “Let Me Be a Woman”

About the book…

Let Me Be a Woman is the personal thoughts and teachings from Elisabeth Elliot on womanhood and marriage, to her daughter, Valerie. Whether it be the single years, the college years, the engaged years, the married years, or the widow years, in which you find yourself, this book is a gem filled to the brim with encouragement and conviction. Truly, one of her best works.

About the author…

Elisabeth Elliot was born in Belgium to missionary parents. They moved back to the states when she was young, but throughout her childhood and teen years they hosted many missionaries in their home. It was no surprise when Elisabeth herself, became a missionary. She married Jim Elliot in 1953, and their daughter, Valerie was born in Ecuador where they served together. Jim was killed in 1956, and Elisabeth, or Betty as she was called more often than not, continued to serve in Ecuador. After her return to the states, she married Addison Leitch in 1969. He died of cancer in 1973. She later married Lars Gren and they were married until her death in 2015. Elisabeth was an author, a speaker, and a role model for girls and women seeking to follow Christ all over the world. May we all learn from her humility, faithfulness, and bravery, but even more so, may we learn to love the God she served whole-heartedly.

Some personal thoughts…

I must say, this book was timely.

I was in a book store while visiting family out of town over Thanksgiving, and stumbled upon a copy of this little gem for two dollars. I’d loved what books of Elisabeth Elliot’s that I had read thus far, and decided to give it a shot. Little did I know just how much I needed to read it.

Elisabeth’s words renewed my deep gratitude to God that I am a woman. They convicted me for the times I am discontent or feel as though I haven’t received what I deserved. But above all, they fueled my desire to better understand how I am called and eqipped to serve God in this unique role.

She writes this book, to her daughter, on what it means to be a woman. More specifically, a Christian woman. Much of the book is spent on discussing the woman’s role in marriage, which I found very interesting and insightful, as I had not previously read a book on marriage.

But it goes deeper than marriage. Elisabeth reminds us, that before we are a wife or mother, before we are a teacher or student, before we are anything else, we are God’s, and that should change how we view all other relationships and tasks.

To Study or Not to Study, That Is the Question…

One of the most encouraging things I found personally in the book, were her thoughts on a woman continuing her education. I have always had a desire to earn my Associates Degree, and have wrestled with whether or not I should. I do not desire to be a career woman, and do not plan on continuing my education for that purpose. One of my deepest desires, is to be a wife and mother, and Elisabeth helped me to see, how the gift of education does not need to be in exchange for the gift of marriage and motherhood. In fact, the gift of education can aid in the pursuit of, and eventual role of both. She writes:

“The lady’s idea that mothers do not need college education floors me. What, she asks, is your college educating women for? Surely it is to draw out (the root meaning of the word educate) the gifts God has given, whatever they may be. Surely I did not send you to college on the assumption that you would not marry. A Christian liberal education will make you a better wife and mother, I’m convinced, if that is God’s will for you.”

Elisabeth Elliot to her daughter Valerie in “Let Me Be a Woman”

This was both encouraging, and convicting for me. A very much needed reminder of why I pursue my education. The reason being, that I may learn for the sake of learning and enjoying the gifts God has given me, that I do believe, will aid me in my future role as wife and mother, if God wills it.

It is not crucial or required by any means, but it is a gift.

Marriage in the Light of the Cross…

Her book also gives a clear description of a Godly marriage, and the way that God has so beautifully designed a man and a woman to work together, live together, love together, and serve together. Truly, if I had thought marriage might be boring, after reading this book, my mind would be changed without a doubt.

She writes often, in regards to the different aspects of marriage, that the center of it all, must be Christ.

True love is patient when things do not go the way one desired, or take longer than expected. True love is not blind to the others faults, but loves them regardless, and in that love points back to the cross. True love, put simply, is selfless.

Continually, it is the example of Christ that she points to in how a woman ought to treat her husband. And not only her husband, but everyone she has a relationship with. What better example of selfless, undying love and devotion?

As a single woman, with no marriage experience, it is encouraging and inspiring to hear Christian women offer their wisdom and advice on the subject, that I gladly store up. This book was no exception. It was also humbling to realize how little I really know about what it takes to be a Godly wife, and how much I have to learn.

To the Single Women…

This book, while discussing marriage quite a bit, is for married and single women. It’s simply, to Christian women. She writes several times, that the nature of a woman, is not only useful and beautiful in marriage, but in the church as well.

To be a real woman, is to be one who serves others joyfully. If one does not have a husband or children which she can serve and find joy in doing so, she has the opportunity to turn her service towards the church and the world, and if doing so out of a love for God, will find a joy so sweet and satisfying.

If you long to be married, and He has not given you that gift, she writes and encourages you:

“Leave it all in the hands that were wounded for you.”

Elisabeth Elliot “Let Me Be a Woman”

Regardless of your season of life, your role, or your desires, let us women remember to be women, only women, real women, in obedience to God.

“Be women.

Be only women.

Be real women.

In obedience to God.”

Elisabeth Elliot

I highly recommend this lovely little book to all women who want to better understand their femininity, and the wonderful roles God has for us to fill.

Things worth mentioning…

As you can imagine, in her discussion of a biblical marriage, Elisabeth Elliot discusses marital intimacy, the gift that it is, and caution to guard against any intimacy of the sort outside of marriage.

Here at The Corner Shelf, you’ll find Let Me Be a Woman on The Top Shelf.

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