This month I read Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge. From the back cover: “The message of Captivating is this: Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman are telling you of the life God created you to live. He offers to come now as the Hero of your story, to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating.”
I loved the message of this book and think it’s a valuable read. I also think it would be great for any man who wants to understand women well to read.
Some key quotes for me:
“Little girls want to know, Am I lovely? The twirling skirts, the dress up, the longing to be pretty and to be seen–that is what that’s all about. We are seeking an answer to our Question…Nearly all a woman does in her adult life is fueled by her longing to be delighted in, her longing to be beautiful, to be irreplaceable, to have her Question answered, “Yes!” p. 47
The authors call this a woman’s deepest question and go on to explain that this question goes back to the Fall when Eve was convinced that God was holding out on her and fell prey to the lies of the Enemy.
“Having forfeited our confidence in God, we believe that in order to have the life we want, we must take matters into our own hands. And we ache with an emptiness nothing seems able to fill.” p. 50
Not only did I learn a lot about my own heart through this book, but reading this book made me realize the importance of looking after my daughter’s heart. The authors discuss the importance of a father’s relationship with their daughters…“Little girls need the tender strength of their fathers. They need to know that their daddies are strong and will protect them; they need to know that their fathers are for them. Above all, a little girl learns the answer to her Question from her father.” p. 63
They also discuss a daughter’s relationship with her mother, “Girls’ hearts flourish in homes where they are seen and invited to become ever more themselves. Parents who enjoy their daughters are giving them and the world a great gift. Mothers in particular have the opportunity to offer encouragement to their daughters by inviting them into their feminine world and by treasuring their daughters’ unique beauty.” p. 172.
Another key point from the books is that a woman wants to be pursued, romanced, and loved. “The story of your life is also the story of the long and passionate pursuit of your heart by the One who knows you best and loves you most. God has written the Romance not only on our hearts but all over the world around us. What we need is for him to open our eyes, to open our ears that we might recognize his voice calling to us, see his hand wooing us in the beauty that quickens our hearts.” p. 117. Ever since I read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp earlier this year, I have been keeping a gratitude journal and making note of the blessings in my daily life. I see this little things (a beautiful rose in the backyard, a sweet hug from one of my kids, the smell of the jasmine on the front porch) as little ways that God is romancing me, and the quote above reminded me of that.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to women who want to know their own hearts more, moms who want to understand their daughters hearts, and men/fathers who want to understand the women in their lives.