Thursday, November 4, 2010

A New Book about Submission

Over the course of my marriage, which is now almost 10 years, I have been challenged by the Lord from the beginning about submission.  When I married my husband, I might have been called an Evangelical feminist.  I was raised in a Quaker Church and had only heard the word "submission" once when I was a senior in high school at a Baptist church.  The gal who spoke of it was someone that I did not look up to, but rather always felt judged by.  After that first time, I didn't hear the word again until I got married nine years later. 

My husband and I met and married in six months, so you can imagine how much we had to work out and navigate in that first year.  It was a rough year.  A few months into our marriage, I came upon a book titled Feminism: Mystique or Mistake by Diane Passno.  Ms. Passno talked straight and didn't dance around the issues.  Her book opened my eyes about the lies I'd been fed by feminism over the years.  That began my journey to understanding what submission really looks like in marriage.  I had been surrounded by women who were in egalitarian marriages for most of my life and didn't know what it meant to compliment my husband and be his helpmate.

Along my journey, I've come across several books, but sadly they've been very black and white--lacking grace.  My husband made me throw one of them away because he felt so disrespected by it.  The problem with the book was that it addressed submission from a behavioral perspective, but not as a matter of the heart.  I've longed for a book that I could recommend to friends about submission, one that I've felt is biblical and filled with grace.

Two months ago, I noticed that Moody Publishing had published a new book about submission titled Dancing with the One You Love:  Living Out Submission in the Real World by Cindy Easley.  It was the subtitle that caught my attention.  I needed to work my way through a few of the books I was reading before I had time to request it, but as always God was in control of the timing for me to read this book.

This past weekend I was struggling with some matters in my heart and then I picked this book up.  I felt as if the author was writing my story in her preface.  I had come to the same conclusions she had.  In the first two chapter, she outlines the biblical support for what submission is and why it is hard.  Then she shares the stories of several women over the course of the next 7 chapters.  She tackles the issues of what submission looks like if... you are married to an unbeliever, your husband is an alcoholic, your husband is absent often (like in the military for deployments), you are a strong woman, your husband has a chronic and serious illness, you grew up in a matriarchal culture, or you are the primary wage earner.  The stories of the women in her book were good examples to me and encouraging to me.  I am encouraged to know that I am not alone in this journey.

Ms. Easley writes about submission as a matter of the heart.  I have been reticent to recommend other popular books for women on this subject because the tone of the author's concerned me.  I have no concerns like that in regard to this book.

Here is a quote I especially liked from her chapter about why submission is so hard:
"I think we are all like Eve.  Every day, whether we fully grasp it or not, we face a choice whether or not to follow God's will.  But we can't base our decision on our own limited understanding.  We must base it on the truth of who God is.  Sometimes God requires things that don't make sense to our finite minds.  We may attempt to mold God's instructions to fit our comfort zone.  But God can see what we cannot, and knows far more than we can ever appreciate.  Just like Eve in the garden, we may not agree with some directions God gives.  But God realizes the implications of our obedience or disobedience even when we don't.  And His plans are always for our ultimate best." p. 30-31

On Sunday evening, I spoke with a friend about the book.  I think she was a bit puzzled as to when someone might read this book.  It made me think about when I would recommend this book and who might read it.  Sadly, I think there are many issues that we struggle with privately that we don't feel comfortable talking about with women in our churches.  Especially if we are in tough situations.  Many churches are so large today, that there isn't pastoral counseling available on a personal level to many people who need it.  Often good books, based on biblical truth, fill in that gap and need for Godly counsel. 

This is one of the few books I've come across that I do not have any concerns about.  It is very easy to read and encouraging.  If you have questions about submission or have felt convicted about it, I think this book really helps explain what submission means and what it looks like in a gracious and loving way.  If you desire encouragement in your journey of marriage, I hope it will also encourage you--as it did me.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Moody Publishing.

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