I chose this book, not because I am interested in biblical womanhood. I am deeply interested in who I am becoming as a woman of faith, and deeply interested in my journey with God.
But not interested in that argument.
I believe that it’s possible to see the Bible as the word of God and still believe that women can be pastors. That husbands and wives should submit their marriages to God, without one of them submitting to the other. That I can choose any haircut I want. Etc.
And that’s all settled for me, to be honest, so I didn’t read this book to take it all out and look at it all again.
But having read two books by Rachel Held Evans before, I knew that I could expect to learn more about her relationship with God and her faith. And she’s such a good writer, it was bound to be interesting. I was right about both those expectations.
Becoming Someone Else
The readers of Peter’s epistle would have immediately recognized 'praus' as the same word they use to describe a wild horse that had been tamed or a torrent of wind that had softened into a breeze. ‘Blessed are the praus, Jesus said, for they will inherit the earth.’ - Matthew 5:5, Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood.
In one part of the book, Rachel talks about her difficult quest to become more gentle. That women should be gentle, and that she, herself, was not.
I can well relate to the idea - because it is what I believed in my 20s and 30s - that I needed to bring something other than my sassy, and sometimes snarky personality to my relationship with God. I was too much, let’s face it, and I needed to change immediately.
The Christian life, in my opinion, was about becoming someone else. Someone God could really love.
Crazy talk, right? I think that now, decades later, I am about 90% convinced, most days, that that’s not true. The other 10% is a work in progress.
Mind you, I do believe that we become more of who we were created to be as we fall more and more in love with God. But I don’t believe we are meant to become someone else. Or something else, either.
So a book where Rachel Held Evans talks about being loud, snarky, and sarcastic? A woman who swears and has a contention jar for those moments when she gets out of line? I was all over it.
I don't agree, anymore, that it’s not really me that God wants. That we're not wanted just as we are. But I used to believe that with all my heart.
She watches over the affairs of her household. - Proverbs 31:27
I also loved reading about her homemaking efforts.
I didn’t learn to cook until I became a mother. When my mother came home from work each day, exhausted, and ready for her first drink as she began to throw something together for dinner, the last thing she wanted was my company in the kitchen.
Having anyone else need her in those moments would have been a bridge too far after a day spent loving all of her college students in one math class after another.
Without even realizing I had made that decision, I stayed away and eventually decided that cooking was not for me. That I couldn’t be good at it.
I didn’t learn differently until I found The Food Network and its late afternoon cooking shows one week when I was sick, bored and in need of comfort. My son and I curled up on the couch & were fascinated to watch several women cook dinner.
Maybe I could do that? And I did.
I recovered from that illness and began to expand my repertoire of meals that I could cook, learning & experimenting with my son in the kitchen with me. Alcohol not included.
So, I loved reading about Rachel’s own experiments with homemaking in ways she hadn’t felt comfortable with before writing the book.
What Do You Think?
Now that you've taken a listen and had a peek at what the book is about, what are your thoughts? Is this a book you would be interested in reading?
And I’d love to hear, in the comments, if you can relate to the idea that you should become something or someone else in order to be okay. Or any homemaking struggles you have had or overcome.
See you tomorrow!
P.S. Rachel Held Evans passed away on May 4th. I am so grateful to have known of her. She felt like a friend I hadn't met yet. I'll miss her, but am so glad we had her for the time we did.