Books

Captivating

captivating

“Every woman has a beauty to unveil.”
John Eldredge from Captivating

Just this past weekend, I went to Barnes and Noble. I had been itching to buy a book for a while and thought now was as good a time as any because what else would a college student about to enter finals season do? Obviously not study.

Originally, I went in looking for a book about coffee–I’m lame, I know–but instead I walked out with Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

Kathryn, my friend and trustee photographer, had told me about this book some months back so I thought I would check it out. So far I’m two chapters in and all I can say is “Wow!” If I could afford to give every woman on the planet a copy, I would! But sadly I’m a poor college student. (I would probably give every man a copy too if I could because it’s one of the closest things you will ever find to a guide to women.)

As I write this, I keep going back and forth between wanting to write about this book and wanting to read it! I look at my computer screen and then I look back to the book sitting next to me and it’s taking me way longer to write this than it should!

In this book authors John and Stasi are a husband-wife duo who try to capture the psyche of a woman while also encouraging women to embrace who they already are in God in this inspiring book.

Even within the first few chapters, they recognize that it is part of being a woman to want to feel beautiful, be pursued, and have an irreplaceable role in an amazing adventure. What’s even more amazing about this book is not only do they recognize some of the most basic aspects of being a woman, but they recognize that it is okay for women to recognize that about themselves.

Women don’t have to hide behind this impossible-to-achieve feminist image of a strong, independent woman who’s tough as nails and doesn’t need anybody. On the other hand, women don’t have to hide behind the also impossible-to-achieve Proverbs 31 woman and feel like their place is in the kitchen or to be insanely busy to the point of exhaustion 24/7.

The authors recognize that there is a disconnect between the woman, the world and the church. While much of society boasts the image of the feminist woman as the ideal who bares her beauty without any reservations, the church sometimes buries a woman’s beauty and discredits its worth. And by discrediting the beauty of a woman, the church discredits the very essence of God that is within her.

With these two vastly differing views on what a woman should be, it’s easy as a woman to feel like you’re the object of a vicious tug-o-war battle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. John and Stasi Eldredge urge women to…well…be women.

The fact of the matter is women possess a beauty that is to be unveiled, and I can’t wait to read more of Captivating!

Be adventurous in the adventure where you cannot be replaced.

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Taking Flight

No-Makeup November and We Are Enough

Flower

(Photo courtesy of Kathryn Patterson)

There are a lot of things I aspire to be in this life–a writer, a world traveler, a coffee shop owner–the list goes on and on. Though a lot of my dreams are pretty far fetched and will most likely never happen, the one thing I aspire to be above all else is a woman who empowers other women.

I started to notice this calling when I started to notice how often women around me would say one simple but tremendously detrimental phrase. For women of all ages and backgrounds, there is one phrase that we always seem to repeat. We tend to say it without hesitation and with no reservations. We say it for a number of reasons and that is the phrase “I am not _______.”

I’m not good enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, outgoing enough, quiet enough, ambitious enough, talented enough. You fill in the blank.

Women are very good at self-deprecation. We are the masters at pointing out what we are not all while being blind to what we are. And usually the things we tell ourselves we are not, we actually are.

So hear this: The only thing we are not is perfect. No, we don’t have it all together, but we are strong, we are beautiful, we are smart, we each have our own unique and amazing personality, we are ambitious, and we are talented. We are more than capable of conquering our fears and achieving our goals.

We are enough.

One year ago, a great friend and the photographer extraordinaire who provides most of the pictures for this blog told me about a ministry aimed at teaching young women just that. Out of Nashville, Tennessee is RAVE Ministry, a community of young women striving to live a more purposeful life. Kathryn encouraged the girls in my church group to participate in a thing that they do every year called No-Makeup November, which is a campaign aimed at promoting women’s identity in Christ. Sure I had heard of No-Shave November, but No-Makeup November???

Despite my lack of awareness, when Kathryn suggested to the girls in my church group to participate, I couldn’t have been more excited! A whole month without makeup? Bring it!

Because let’s be honest, any girl who says she likes wearing makeup every day is probably lying. Personally, I hate wearing makeup most days. It’s expensive. Putting it on is time consuming. And when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how expensive or how “high-quality” the makeup you buy is, you will always feel like you have something on your face when you’re wearing it.

But more than that, we am more than the makeup we wear. We are enough without the mascara, the foundation, the blush. We are still just as talented, just as smart, just beautiful, just as capable without it. So regardless of your religion, I hope you are empowered and that you will join me and so many other women for No-Makeup November because you are more than the makeup you wear.

You are enough.

(Just as an added bonus, here are some brands that believe in empowering women as well. Tissues recommended.)

 

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