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Review: 7 Women by Eric Metaxas

7 women

Biographies can be among the most inspiring reading, and 7 Women by Eric Metaxas changed me before I had even finished it.

In this book Metaxes presents engaging biographies of 7 women who had a huge impact on the world. He describes their lives and times, discusses their motivation, and demonstrates their significance to the world. 7 Women contains the best Joan of Arc biography I have ever read, and also introduced me to Hannah More, whose overwhelming influence I had never before recognized. I had never heard of Saint Maria of Paris who was radically different from Corrie ten Boom in many ways, but so similar to her in her heroism. Susanna Wesley and Rosa Parks just did what they did, and by being faithful in that, they changed so much. And then there was Mother Teresa, loving the poorest of the poor and encouraging others to do so as well, even while feeling estranged from God. When you read this book, you will be be watching people serve God.

And, rather than pitting women against men in the unpleasant zero sum battle of the sexes, Metaxas makes a point of demonstrating that it is not by trying to be men that women become great; they become great by being the women God wants them to be, faithful in the tasks he gives them no matter how uninspiring or how terrifying they may be. In our culture, surrounded as we are by the voices of both feminism and the radical patriarchy movement, it can occasionally be difficult to understand what our tasks are and how to be faithful in them.

With that in mind, it is not surprising that most of the women in this book are single, and only one was a stay at home mom. For most women, our task is at home and our influence, while of fundamental importance, is restricted to those we know. But even while we are called to love our families, be busy at home, etc. (Titus 2), there are different stages of life and God may call us to be busy in his kingdom in other ways as well. The challenge for us is to be devoted to our everyday God-given tasks while being open to other needs as well.

In these simple biographies, Metaxas shows us how seven women discerned their calling and followed God. He shows how, by being faithful day after day, they had a huge impact on their world and ours.

At the end of the Mother Teresa chapter, Metaxas points out that she personified an ideal: to love God, and to love one’s neighbor.   And isn’t that our goal as Christians? But ‘obedience is not always easy. In fact, without God’s help, it is impossible.’ And that is why Metaxas reminds us, ‘It was constant prayer that gave Mother Teresa the strength to keep going and caused her to produce such tremendous fruit.’ This is the conclusion of the book, the secret of greatness that Metaxas distilled from the lives of these seven women: they were living for God and abiding in him.

Without abiding in the vine, we cannot bear fruit, but if we do abide in the vine, anything is possible. May God be with each one of us as we aim, more and more, to abide in him and thankfully obey him, every single moment of each day.

Although the stories in 7 Women are well-researched, they are easy to read and should appeal to teens as well as adults. In fact, this book would make a good addition to any homeschool, unlike Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer (link to my review) which is really beyond many high school students.  Anyone who has read and pondered these seven stories has a deeper understanding of history as well as of Christian living.  I highly recommend 7 Women.

This is yet another book in the in the 2015 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook as well as Trivium Tuesdays, and Finishing Strong.  

Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by BookLook Bloggers.

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