This book was influential in my personal healing and recovery.
I facilitated a group of ladies from my church through a book study, and many were deeply touched.
I recommend having the companion journal together with the book (see the link)
Quotes from Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
Intro:Rest assured- this is not a book about all the things you are failing to do as a woman. We’re tired of those books. As a new Christian, the first book I (Stasi) picked up to read on godly femininity I threw across the room. I never picked it up again. In the twenty-five years since, I have only read a few I could wholeheartedly recommend. The rest drive me crazy. Their messages to women make me feel as through, “You are not the woman you ought to be- but if you do the following things, you can make the grade.” They are by and large, soul-killing. But femininity cannot be prescribed in a formula….
God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating
So we invite you to take a journey with us, a journey of discovery and healing. For your heart is the prize of God’s Kingdom, and Jesus has come to win you back for himself-all of you. We pray that God will use this book in your life, in your heart, to bring healing, restoration, joy, and life!”
Your feminine heart has been created with the greatest of all possible dignities- as a reflection of God’s own heart……the story of Eve… We clearly haven’t learned its lessons- for if we had, men would treat women much much differently, and women would view themselves in a far better light…
Adam steps forth, the image of God. Nothing in creation even comes close. Picture Michelangelo’s David. He is… magnificent. Truly the masterpiece seems complete. And yet, the Master says that something is not good, not right. Something in missing… and that something is Eve…
She is the crescendo, the final astonishing work of God. Woman. In one least flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch… His piece de resistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill… (Ladies) Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, “The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith in me.”
And she, too, bears the image of God but in a way that only the feminine can speak. What can we learn from her? God wanted to reveal something about Himself, so he gave us Eve… Eve is created because things were not right without her. Something was not good. …Something is missing? What could it possibly be? Eve. Woman. Femininity. Wow. Talk about significance.
Back in Genesis when God sets his image bearers on the earth, he gives them their mission:
Gen 1:26-28.Call it the Human Mission- to be all and do all God sent us here to do. And notice- the mission to be fruitful and conquer and hold sway is given both to Adam and to Eve. “And God said to them…” Eve is standing right there when God gives the world over to us. She has a vital role to play; she is partner in this great adventure. All that human beings were intended to do here on earth- all the creativity and exploration, all the battle and rescue and nurture- we were intended to do together. In fact, not only is Eve needed, but she is desperately needed.
When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo. “It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]” (Gen 2:18 Alter). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says that 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? What little girl dances through the house singing “One day I shall be a help meet?” Companion? A dog can be a companion. Helper? Sounds like Hamburger Helper. Alter is getting close when he translates it “sustainer beside him.”
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. Your ezer. If he were not there beside you… you are dead. A better translation of ezer would be “lifesaver”. Kenegdo means alongside, or opposite to, a counterpart. Pg 31-32
pg 103-4Melissa was the young girl who “vowed I would be tough; hard like a rock,” and became so for many years. But that is not the end of her story. She came to the place where Jesus asked to heal her wounded heart. She gave him permission to come in. This is what happened.
God went back and got the shaking little girl that was hiding under the bed and convinced her to come out. He unclenched her little fists and took her hand and placed it in his and answered her question. He held her and told her it was OK for her not to be tough. He would protect her. She didn’t have to be strong. He told her she wasn’t a rock but a child. His child. He didn’t condemn her for anything but instead understood her and loved her! He told her she was special… like no other and that she had special gifts like no other. She knew His voice and trusted him. She could hear the pleasure He had for her in His voice and felt His delight in her as He talked. He was so gentle and loving she couldn’t help but melt in His arms.
This is available. This is the offer of our Savior- to heal our broken hearts. To come to the young places within us and find us there, take us in his arms, bring us home. The time has come to let Jesus heal you.
Jesus come to me and heal my heart. Come to the shattered place within me. Come for the little girl that was wounded, Come and hold me in your arms and heal me. Do for me what you promised to do- heal my broken heart and set me free.
clips from pages 82-85
The story of the treatment of women down through the ages is not a noble history. It has noble moments, to be sure, but taken as a whole, women have endured what seems to be a special hatred ever since we left Eden. …You might know that through the thousands of years of Jewish history recorded in the Old Testament, Jewish women were considered property with no legal rights (as they were and are in many cultures). They were not allowed to study the Law, nor to formally educate their children. They had a segregated place in the synagogue. It was common practice for a Jewish man to add to his morning prayers, “Thank you, God, for not making me a Gentile, a woman, or a slave.”
The assault on femininity- its long history, its utter viciousness- cannot be understood apart from the spiritual forces of evil we are warned against in the Scriptures. That is not to say that men (and women, for they, too, assault women) have no accountability in their treatment of women. Not at all. It is simply to say that no explanation for the assault upon Eve and her daughters is sufficient unless it opens our eyes to the Prince of Darkness and his special hatred of femininity.
Satan fell because of his beauty. Now his heart for revenge is to assault beauty… he hates Eve.
Because she is captivating, uniquely glorious, and he cannot be.
Eve is his greatest human threat, for she brings life. She is a lifesaver and a life giver. Eve means “life” or “life producer”…
Put those two things together- that Eve incarnates the Beauty of God and she gives life to the world. Satan’s bitter heart cannot bear it. He assaults her with a special hatred. History removes any doubt about this….
The message of our wounds nearly always is, “This is because of you. This is what you deserve.” It changes things to realize that, no, it is because you are glorious that these things happened. It is because you are a major threat to the kingdom of darkness. Because you uniquely carry the glory of God to the world.
You are hated because of your beauty and power.
You really won’t understand your life as a woman until you understand this:You are passionately loved by the God of the universe.
You are passionately hated by his Enemy.
And so, dear heart, it is time for your restoration. For there is One greater than your Enemy. One who has sought you out from the beginning of time. He has come to heal your broken heart and restore your feminine soul.