book review


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“John Eldredge?” The guy at the dinner table declared incredulously, “I read two pages of his book. The guy is cracked!”

I had good reason to be skeptical of the author when this book arrived in the mail after hearing many such assertions of him and various questions as to his character. But I read the book, and more than just two pages of it. I read it in its entirety, and then turned around and read it again. So allow me to settle this once and for all. John Eldredge is not an author that one can read but two pages of. If that’s all you read, you will miss his point entirely and come to conclusions he never intended to give.

Eldredge’s way of writing is deep and thorough. His style is much like a journey. He has to start at the bare-bones beginning and walk through the whole journey with you, or you will not grasp his ultimate point.

The first chapters deal with the necessity of our desires. He encourages his reader to realize their deepest longings and to be aware of their desires. God gives us desires, and when we attempt to squelch them and silence the longings we have, we murder our potential. He introduces his book with the statement,

There’s an old proverb I’ve come to love and appreciate very much. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The wisdom of the passage is simply this—to lose heart is to lose everything. Because everything that makes a life worth living flows from the heart. Intimacy, romance love. Adventure and meaning and purpose. Courage and sacrifice and joy. The list could go on and on. We need this wellspring of life within us if we would live and not merely “get by”.

If one were to put the book away after the first few chapters, they might come away with the assumption that Eldredge is shallow and wishy-washy and thinks everybody else should be too. Or, they might wallow in self-pity because Eldredge woke up all these wants in their lives but left no fulfillment. Keep reading.

Eldredge continues. He disseminates the ordeal of unfulfilled longings, and then he deals with the hard blow of death. He wrote this book in the aftermath of a tragic death that claimed the life of his close friend and accomplice at a time when he felt he needed him most. The trauma and pain of a sudden death was still fresh to him. His disposition of heaven was remarkable, and brought it closer to reality than it ever had been before for me.

As I continued through each page and chapter, the temporal, earthy desires in my life took second place with a passionate desire to know and obtain the ultimate: Christ Himself. My pre-conceived notions and shallowly-set convictions were replaced with a craving to know God for who He is.

He begins the book by spelling out the secret of the heart, then deals with the dilemma of desire, the dare to desire, the disowned desire, the imposters of desire, the thwarter of desire, and then the great restoration. In reading this book, suddenly the focus of desire turns from the material, physical and mental needs and wishes we have to a deep desire for God. To know Him, to love Him.

Eldredge then goes on to encourage the reader to become alive, and enter more deeply into desire. But had he ended his book on that particularly profound note, I would have been disappointed in him. Because there is a time and place where we have to be willing to let go and surrender, even to those things that are closest and dearest to us. He states,

With a chosen loss, we place on the altar something very dear to us, something innocent, whose only danger is in its goodness, that we might come to love it too much. It is the act of consecration, where little by little or all at once, we give over our lives to the only One who can truly keep them. Our walk with God is not to be some set path of rules and regulations, rather it is a grand adventure. A quest that grows more thrilling the more we get to know Him; one where His desires becomes ours. Why settle for something less? Why live a life less than fulfilling?

In essence I think I could sum up Eldredge’s point of the whole book in two words. “Get Real”. God is so real, we need to get real about Him. Go with God. Go where He says go, and He’ll go with you. It will be scary sometimes, but you will be free in Him.

God is calling to you through the desires of your heart. How you respond will set the course for the rest of your life.

 This book may be purchased at CBD–
Desire: the Journey We Must Take to Find the Life God Offers

Rediscovering the Art of Being a Woman

“Rediscovering the Art of Being a Woman” 

Cracking the covers of this book is like sitting next to a cozy fire sipping coffee and having a refreshing heart to heart with a wise friend. When the conversation ends—or as in this case, the last page is turned—you come away feeling changed, revitalized, regenerated, and energized in a refreshing sort of way.

I have watched women around me heed the deception that the serpent offers and run head long into his snare. I recall the many times I have stepped out on the well-trod path of chicanery myself, chasing the illusion we were all stumbling after. The joy we crave as women, the sense of belonging we strive for, and the desire to be fulfilled takes us down the wrong paths. We’ve lost our way, we’re frustrated, and we can’t understand where all the good men have gone.

There have been many occasions where I have exasperated, “Would someone please put down a legible road map for us?” Somebody suggested writing a book. Lacking the means necessary for such a book, I thank Michelle McKinney Hammond for saving me the trouble.

In her own, unique and candid style Michelle says it like it is—without pretense. She doesn’t beat around the bush, she doesn’t watch your toes, and she doesn’t tickle your ears. She does, however, talk woman to woman, speaking the truth in love, and puts her loving verbal arms around you and hugs you for being who you are.

Throughout the 309-page book, Michelle exposes and debunks the lies the Enemy has led us to believe. Going all the way back to the beginning in the Garden of Eden, she makes her way through countless analogies in Scripture. Digging deep into the lives of biblical women she takes her reader on a journey to rediscovering and reclaiming the joy and beauty of femininity. She points one to the God who created them, and helps them celebrate everything He made them to be.

With clarity she renders womanhood with the true value and beauty that belongs to it. Time after time she brings one back to the basics and helps them learn how to be who God created them to be.

She helps us see the importance of friendships between other women and ourselves. She elaborately places motherhood in the light it deserves to be in—a truly beautiful task the Lord gives women, the value of which could never possibly be measured. There is no such thing as “just” a mom. She helps us understand our strength in vulnerability, the power of our influence, and the lasting reward of virtue.

There’s nothing quite like the way she skills her reader in how to relate to men and clarifies the importance of them in our lives, whether married or single. This book will help girls know how to respond to the men in their lives in a way possessing of dignity and grace, granting her love, honor and respect in return. Throwing our weight around and digging in our little stiletto heels holds no victory in the war between the sexes. We can erase the battle lines and both man and woman can emerge as victors together.

Most of all, she brings us to an understanding of who God is and how desperately we need Him. This book is a great read for both married and single women, simply because she expresses so profoundly how our men are not the answers to our emotional needs. The void we may have in our lives is filled solely by our Creator. If our reliance is on a man or any other physical means, we will never truly be fulfilled.

This isn’t a book about options. It doesn’t treat you with psychological answers in relating to others, nor does it rave primarily on the author’s opinion. Instead it manifests the things we have lost as we have turned to other things and ideas in replacement of the true plan and design of God for our lives as women. Drawing from Biblical examples, you will become aware at how far you have strayed from His plan for you in your life as a woman… and the best part is she points the way back home.

This is a book I highly recommend for any female. Married, single, divorced, single mom…. You will find yourself encouraged and inspired. There is great joy in knowing who you are in the eyes of your Creator, and fulfilling your life the way He designed you to.

Purchase the book at Amazon.com: The Power of Femininity

Edited to point out:
After a little more research, it appears Michelle has renamed her book and put a new cover on it. The Power of Being a Woman has a new look, but the content appears to be the same. Order it from CBD:
The Power of Being a Woman: Mastering the Art of Femininity, or check your local Christian Bookstores.