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A couple years back a friend of mine posted a link to a blog post about modesty, particularly the author’s experience in the Middle East and wearing a hijab. I was so impressed with the author’s perspective that I decided to poke around the blog a little more. I read another post on spiritual promises and infertility which I immediately had to share with a friend struggling with that particular trial. I read this post about the significance of wearing veils which blew my mind and gave me a lot to think about over my following trips to the temple. I quickly became hooked and Eric got used to coming home to me being totally excited about some new insight that I’d gleaned from her blog.
So, what is this blog? It’s called Women in the Scriptures and the premise is this – how many women would you guess are mentioned in scriptures? Go ahead and take your guess, I’ll wait. My original guess had been maybe as many as 50, if you looked really hard. I’ve long been of the camp that women are not mentioned frequently enough in the scriptures, was that what you’d thought too? Turns out, we were wrong. Heather (the author of Women in the Scriptures) went through her scriptures and marked every time that a woman was mentioned in the scriptures. The real answer? 556. I was amazed when I read that, how did I not know that there were that many women in the scriptures?? I’ve been reading the scriptures my whole life and I’d never noticed many, could there be that many?
It opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on the scriptures. Instead of reading the scriptures with a chip on my shoulder that there weren’t any women in them, I started looking for the women. Suddenly the women were popping out of everywhere. None of the scriptures were written by women, but they factor into the stories more often than you might realize. All at once I saw mothers, sisters, aunts, maids, queens, prophetesses – how had I not seen them before?
A couple weeks ago Heather released a new book called – Walking With the Women in the New Testament, a book which focuses in depth on the stories of each of the women who are mentioned in the New Testament. When she sent out a request for people to participate in a blog tour I jumped at the chance! I knew this would be a book that I would need to share with all of you.
I was so excited when I received my copy in the mail. After reading all the great insights in her blog I knew it was going to be great. But something about the book surprised me. I brought the book with me one Friday afternoon to the church while I waited for Sam to go through his primary program practice. I figured it would be a good time to sit and read through some of the book. As I sat in the foyer with my book, my three-year old son came over and asked me to read it to him. At first I sort of put him off, this wasn’t really a “kids” book, but he insisted. So he plopped down on my lap and I let him point to a name in the table of contents. I figured he would sit with me for a few sentences and then run off to go play in the nursery.
He chose “The Widow Who Gave Two Mites”. We turned to that story and I gave him a simplified version of the story first and then started reading to him what was in the book. I hadn’t wanted the book for the pictures (as you may have gathered from the wordiness of most of my posts – I’m a words person more than a pictures person) but the beautiful artwork convinced Danny that this book was for him too. Instead of a “kids” book that might have given him a very superficial understanding of this story, he sat and listened to some pretty meaty insights about how Jesus brought his message to both men and women, and how we should give up all to serve Him, and that He sees and knows our needs even when we feel insignificant. Wow. I’ve read this story many times before and I’d always thought it was meaningful, but I had never gotten all of that out of it! I sat in the foyer with tears in my eyes from just the experience of that one story. But more importantly, Danny sat there and listened to it, and was eating it all up. I expected that this book would give me some good insights but I hadn’t imagined that at such a young age it would be influencing my young son. This truly isn’t a book about women just for women, it is a message about some of the sometimes overlooked players within the scriptures with a message for everyone.
I haven’t yet read all of the stories, but I have been thoroughly enjoying reading them one at a time and really savoring the deeper messages of stories that I’d never thought much of, or hadn’t even noticed. I used to think that there should be more women in the scriptures so that I could learn from their stories as they would be more relatable to myself as a woman. Now I’m thinking maybe there aren’t more because I haven’t learned what those that are there have to teach me!
So, if you’re getting ready for your Christmas shopping and not sure what to get for your mom, sister, daughter, grandma, aunt, wife, girlfriend… or your dad, brother, son, grandpa, uncle, husband or boyfriend, this would be a great gift for anyone. What better gift at Christmas than the opportunity to delve deeper into the scriptures and learn lessons that will draw you closer to the Savior?
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for reviewing it, but all opinions are my own.