Captivating by Stasi Eldredge (Chapter 2)


My thoughts on this chapter:

I could relate to many of the things written in this chapter. Like the comment “I feel like a household appliance.” You know, we take these things for granted but when they are gone, we replace them right away. I have to keep remembering that. Even though I feel like my contributions to this family are taken for granted, I am in many ways irreplaceable, or at least I know that I would NEED to be replaced. LOL That means I am important.

“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 Master’s finishing touch.” Wow! You know, I learned a few years ago that  there is a difference between the words used to say that God made man and God made woman. Here’s how the commentary of Gill puts it:

“She was not “created” as things were, out of nothing, nor “formed” as Adam was, out of the dust of the earth, being in the same form as man; but “made” out of refined and quickened dust, or the flesh and bones of man, and so in her make and constitution fine and lovely; or “built” (n), as the word signifies, which is used, because she is the foundation of the house or family, and the means of building it up: or rather to denote the singular care and art used, and fit proportion observed in the make of her: ”
I don’t know, it just kind of strikes me that, as I am a woman, I received a special touch from God in his design of me. I think we take for granted or put down who we are, what power we have, and what are purpose is.

“Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships, and the quality they deem those relationships to have. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Or, I am alone.” I thought how true this is also. And again, when we feel this way, we tend to try to push it aside, but just think, like they said, “This is not a weakness in women – it is a glory. A glory that reflects the heart of God. … The vast desire and capacity a woman has for intimate relationships tells us God’s vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships.” So when we have feelings that come for relationships or lack of them, we should stop to think, “Have I made God feel this way by something I have done?” “Am I putting enough into my relationship with God?” After all, “Christianity changes dramatically when we discover that it, too, is a great romance.” It so is!

I can see where this statement is true, “That longing in the heart of a woman to share life together as a great adventure – that comes straight from the heart of God, who also longs for this.” But that leads me to a question, “Why is that longing so often unfulfilled?” I guess it is all because of the fall. I guess that is the part of the curse where it says, “Yet your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” We are cursed with that desire. Hmmm, another thought just hit me, I guess that is how God feels now too. If Eve hadn’t eaten that apple, he would not have had that longing because he would have been able to walk with us like he did them in Eden. But because of the fall, it separated us from God and now he too, has to experience that longing because he longs for everyone to come to him, and all you have to do is look around and see that is not happening.

The world wants to make beauty all about what you look like, what your body looks like. And the church wants to make beauty all about your character, the things you do. But beauty is really the “essence” of God. The world has missed that beauty is more than skin deep. But the church has missed that there is a look to beauty and it is in the eye of the beholder. The church has missed the fact that when you look outside at nature, God has given us so much beauty to see, it isn’t just about the character of something. Like they said on page 34, “Nature is not primarily functional. It is primarily beautiful.” If you have an inner beauty, you will also have an outer beauty no matter what size or shape you are. That is when you are truly beautiful and expressing the essence of God.

Then as I read on, they describe beauty in  ways that we do not normally think of when we think of beauty. Beauty is powerful, because it matters. Beauty speaks it answers questions about God, it says – all shall be well. Beauty invites, it captures you; you want to sit down and just drink it in. Beauty nourishes, it offers life. Beauty comforts, it sooths the soul. Beauty inspires, it lets you know that life can be better. Beauty is transcendent, it speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful and draws us to God.

Then they say, all these things are especially true when we experience the beauty of a woman – he eyes, her form, her voice, her heart, her spirit, her life.

So then I thought, the world AND the church are missing the fact that physical beauty speaks something other then sex; invites more than sex; nourishes and comforts and inspires and transcends. Outward beauty is so connected to sex – a bad thing. The world misses that you don’t have to be a perfect size to be physically beautiful, we are all God’s creation and design and therefore we are beautiful just in being. The church is missing that beauty is more than what you do for other’s to see. Some of the people who are the best workers in church are hurting inside. Many churches also discourage looking good on the outside because they are afraid of what it invites, but God intended us to be beautiful, to look good, just like all his other creations on earth.

Sooo, there is more to beauty than meets the eye. We shouldn’t encourage someone to be perfect physically and yet be ugly on the inside. We shouldn’t encourage someone to be plain, or unconcerned with themselves physically and yet have great character. True beauty can’t be just physical nor just character. True beauty comes from the inside and manifests itself on the outside. We are the image bearer of God.

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