Captivating:  JOHN ELDGREDGE

My sister Debbie asked my to read this book, Captivating. She has started teaching her first women’s group at her new church. Her family moved to Tennessee a few years ago and it is my impression that she is thriving spiritually in this new place. It is a particular envy that she has heard Gary Chapman speak on his sentinel book The Five Love Languages at her church. I say sentinel because that book was life changing….soul changing for me.

I think Captivating will be as well.

How does a woman fit in this world? How does she feel loved and confident? I know society and culture do an atrocious job. In this modern world, women are objectified, often at their own hands. We have aspired to the secular ideal of thinness, sexiness(read sluttiness), aggressiveness(read bitchiness) and independence. The Church does no better. The “good” Christian woman SERVES. Through her acts and service, she is pious, chaste(read prude) and timid. The essence of a woman fades in either of these realms. No wonder women feel lost, unloved, lonely and tired. I hear the modern woman in my office regularly lament that she is “never enough” yet she is doing way too much. She is married, she works full time, she has children to raise and a home to keep. Her needs as a woman, her identity, is a mere luxury, that earns favor only AFTER all other obligations are served. Since there are never enough hours in a day to serve everyone…..she goes unattended.

But at her core, her soul, her heart, she craves beauty. I think that is why I am so drawn to the Lord at my age. I can feel his beauty. I pray and feel His love rain down on me. In those breathtaking moments, I am assured of my own inner beauty.

When we went to Italy 4 years ago there was so much to see. The Church was the greatest patron of all the arts. The fact that time has not mellowed the splendor is a testimonial to the ability of the greatest artists to capture the true beauty of God’s creations. The Sistine Chapel. The Santa Maria Maggiorie, the Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navone, the statue of David.

The Botticelli exhibit we saw in Florence was stunning.  By the 9th day of our trip, we were saturated. Our minds (and I believe our hearts) could not absorb one more filament of beauty.

Beauty can make we weep. It can take the breath away.

The authors of Captivating make a wondrous argument for the spectacular creation of all things womanly. When God created this world, He started in darkness. He started simple: He made light. Upon that canvas He made the lands and the seas, the stars and the heavens. Each day His creations got more intricate, more bold, more stunning and more beautiful. Clouds. Mountains. Sand. Birds with wings by the thousands. Elk. Camels. Fish by the millions. Insects that look like jewels.

Then he made ADAM. In his own image. Adam had the breath of the Creator. But…..he was not finished. It wasn’t enough. God then made the crown jewel of all his creation. The final finishing touch…..EVE. He put his heart in Eve. Eve is the feminine part of God and she is also His most complicated creation. He gave each woman the essence of beauty. Like God, each of us wants to be Captivating.

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