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About the Writer:

Beth cares deeply for the Lord and those around her. She looks for ways to help and support her readers by sharing her honest convictions and personal life lessons. With a creative and energetic writing style, Beth translates memorable word pictures and helpful principles into language we can all relate to.


The Book Every Woman Should Read

By Beth Caster

Until I read Captivating by John & Staci Eldredge, I was convinced that something was wrong with me. Not just run-of-the-mill “girl’s got some problems” wrong, but deeply, profoundly….broken. Take it from someone who was given a self-help book from a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day; when a non-fiction book gets my approval, it’s not without my begrudging consent. Captivating gifted me with a very valuable self-realization: As it turns out, I’m not crazy after all.

Before I read this book, there were things about myself that not only did I misunderstand, but had come to loathe. Three things in particular about my heart left me frustrated and unfulfilled: My desires to be pursued, beautiful, and needed in some way that would impact someone in this world. Those desires ran deeply in my heart; no matter how much I wanted them gone, their presence was undeniable, even a part of my being. Over and over again, I felt the blows of how disappointingly short this fallen world came in fulfilling my needs. This led me to believe that I was, frankly, messed up. Why did I want so much what I wanted? Wasn’t the love of Jesus good enough for me? Was I vain? Was I ungrateful? No. I was a woman.

Every woman longs to be pursued. Really. Every one of us. It turns out that it’s not just me who wants to pull her hair out when men today have us chasing after them. It’s a tough pill to swallow once the enemy has us convinced that because no one has pursued us, that we are not worth pursuing. But why is the lack of pursuit so unbearable to a woman’s heart? “Cut off from love, rejected, no one pursing her, something in a woman wilts like a flower no one waters anymore. She withers into resignation, duty, and shame….We long for romance. We are wired for it; it’s what makes our hearts come alive. You know that. Somewhere, down deep inside, you know this.” According to Staci Eldredge, I had bought a lie for many years. I believed that because I longed so deeply to be pursued, that I must not love God enough to value Him above all else. Wrong. It turns out that God himself mindfully purposed to create me as a woman, wiring into me that need to be pursued. Did He do this to torture me? No, He did this specifically to allow me the joy of that deep desire fulfilled, not just by a mate, but by the Creator Himself. Not only is the desire to be pursued not sinful, but it is- shockingly- godly.

“Beauty is essential to God. No- that’s not putting it strongly enough. Beauty is the essence of God,” writes John Eldredge. Every woman longs to be beautiful. Every one of us, at every size, every shape, those who enjoy makeup and those who wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Deeply ingrained in each of us is the desire to be beautiful. But why? Is it because society pummels us with air-brushed images? Is it because we’re just way too vain? No, it is because God is beauty, He defines it. Women are creatures created in His likeness to mirror that Beauty. We simply long to measure up to the incredible beings we as women were created to be before the Fall. This longing had me convinced of two things: One, I was ungrateful. And two, I was vain. Incredibly, sinfully vain. Mothers tell us that we should be thankful for the way we look and care less about the outside. But when I met the mirror, my heart nagged that I wasn’t looking at the creature I was intended to be. Captivating says it like this, “What would you expect the Queen of a kingdom and the Beauty of the realm to feel when she wakes to find herself a laundress in a foreign land? A woman’s struggle with her sense of worth points to something glorious she was designed to be.” Now, don’t get me wrong. Physical beauty can never outweigh the worth of our souls. But women, a Day is coming when that longing for beauty will be fulfilled. And that beauty, the one we have fought to make peace with, the one that has depressed and eluded us, will be restored to bring glory to our Creator.

Every woman wants to be needed, to fill an irreplaceable role. We want to impact, whether through ministry or motherhood or inspiration. One of a woman’s chief battles, even above feelings of physical inadequacy, is the doubt that she has anything of importance to offer. Haven’t we all felt without worth at some point, as if our presence on this earth didn’t even matter? It is a brutal beating on our hearts when the enemy whispers that our presence here is meaningless, that our bigger-than-reality dreams will never come true. But why does that lie have such power to rip us open? Why do we long to fill a purpose intended only for us, impacting the world in a way it just couldn’t do without? To quote Captivating, “History is still unfolding, and your existence on this earth as a woman is proof that you have an irreplaceable role to play. You are a woman, are you not? …Your lingering disbelief that anything important hangs on your life is only evidence of the long assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be and fears you.” It is our purpose as women to affect the lives around us. Why does it hurt so much to think that might never happen? Because the enemy wants to stop us from fulfilling our purpose. The aching need to impact is only proof that we will impact and are meant for it.

Thank God for a woman like Staci Eldredge who is willing to own up to the needs that have kept women ashamed for so long. Captivating breaks the good news that it’s not about beating down our desires or hiding them away; it’s about accepting our design as women. We’re not crazy, we’re not vain, and we’re not deluded. We are just as we were intended to be, a reflection of God Himself. And we are valued. We are valued in a way which no other creature can compete. When God made each amazing creation- gorgeous waterfalls, enormous whales, tiny hummingbirds- how did He top it all off? What was His final flourish of power and awe? Woman. And if you are blessed to be a woman, I strongly suggest that you pick up a copy of Captivating today.

Copyright © January 10, 2006 – Beth Caster. All rights reserved.


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