Captivating–Worth Reading a Second Time

The girls who know me well may laugh when they see this post, because they know that I’ve already read this book before. And I’ve made other people read it. And I’ve lead a women’s small group based on this book. But several years have passed, and I noticed it the other day, just sitting there on my shelf, so now I’m reading through it AGAIN. But it’s an excellent book! Definitely worth a first, second, and third read, in my opinion. Definitely a must read for any woman wanting to re-examine what it means to be female, and any man who wants to understand his woman a little bit better!

captivating

Many of you have read your share of Christian books directed towards women, and you’ve had enough of them, thank you. You’ve read all about how the ideal Proverbs 31 woman can cook and sew and clean and raise perfect children and have a job that contributes to the family income and satisfy her husband every night….and you think, “Wow….good for her. But I am not that woman. And I will probably never be that woman.” How tired she must be! Typical Christian living books for women tend to make me feel lazy and underachieving. They send the message that I need to be keep trying harder. And that tends to make me not pick them up off of the shelf.

The authors of Captivating do not aim to make women feel less than; they write to inspire women by reminding them how special they already are. And not in a generic, “you’re special because EVERYONE is special” kind of way. There are so many uniquely feminine gifts that we have to offer (and they are already there inside of us….there’s no need to strive to be something we’re not). This book really gets at the heart of what women are all essentially searching for in their lives, and how those needs can really only be met by God. And once we trust him completely in that, it will spill over into every other area of our lives, allowing us to become great wives and mothers and sisters and friends.

Some highlights from this book (I’ve summarized and changed words in different places):

When it comes down to it, every woman essentially wants three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil her beauty. 

"I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far--I will find you." (Nathaniel to Cora in Last of the Mohicans) Isn't that what any woman wants to hear?

“I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far–I will find you.” (Nathaniel to Cora in Last of the Mohicans) Isn’t that what any woman wants to hear?

Eve was not created as an afterthought–a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. God spent six days filling the earth with wondrous creations, yet when he finishes, he surveys his work and announces that something is not good, not right. Something is missing…and that something is Eve. She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish, creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the crown of creation.

Why is it, by the way, that artwork of all sorts depicts the naked female body so much more often than naked male body? Not to imply that one is better than the other or anything...I'm just saying. ;-)

Why is it, by the way, that artwork of all sorts depicts the naked female body so much more often than naked male body? Not to imply that one is better than the other or anything…I’m just saying. 😉

Both man and woman were created in the image of God, but each bears different aspect of who he is. Woman reveals the nurturing, relational side of God. When we take a break from our chaotic lives to spend time with God, we feel peaceful and at rest. We often feel the same way after spending time with a Godly woman. 

"The King is enthralled by your beauty. Honor Him, for he is your Lord." Psalm 45:11

“The King is enthralled by your beauty. Honor Him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:11

Just as strongly as we want someone to pursue us and love us, God feels the same. He is jealous for us, and he wants to be our priority. From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the cry of God’s heart is, “Why won’t you choose me?” The yearning to be desired isn’t a weakness or insecurity on the part of a woman–it’s a quality that speaks of who God is. 

he is jealous for me

When God creates Eve, he calls her an “ezer kenegdo.” This phrase is notoriously difficult to translate. The various attempts we have in English are “helper” or “companion” or the notorious “help meet.” Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat…disappointing? What is a help meet, anyway? Companion? A dog can be a companion. Helper? Sounds like Hamburger Helper…The word “ezer” is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.  Most of the contexts are life and death, by the way, and God is your only hope. If he is not there beside you…you are dead. A better translation therefore of “ezer” would be “lifesaver.” Doesn’t that sound like a much more important role to play? 🙂

Ezer Kenegdo

Ezer Kenegdo

I could go on and on, transcribing the book in it’s entirety right here on my blog (but I think I would encounter some copyright issues). And these highlights are only taken from the first couple of chapters! I cannot recommend Captivating enough…it’s an excellent read! The way the female gender is described in this book is so weighty and, for me at least, difficult to swallow at times (am I really that important?), that it’s worth a second read if you’ve read it before. It takes awhile for some of these ideas to really sink in. But once they do sink in…..oh ho, watch out world! Hear me roar!…and stuff. 😉

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Categories: books, Christian Living | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Captivating–Worth Reading a Second Time

  1. I know I’ve told you this before, but I LOVE this book. I read it at a time when God was really working in my life and it impacted me so much. It really helped me embrace my femininity as something beautiful instead of something to be ashamed of. Anyway, love it! Glad you wrote this. 🙂

  2. I don’t remember you telling me that you loved this book, Rach! When my old college roommate saw that I posted this, she said she just came across her Captivating book the other day when she was packing some boxes, and she had also thought about re-reading it. I told her she should! This book had a big impact on us when we were in college, but I feel like I read it differently now that I’m married, and I can pull different things from it now. It’s an awesome book! 😀

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