Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Let Me Be a Woman, deals with an issue which every young woman inevitably faces—womanhood.
Mrs. Elliot wrote this book to her daughter Valerie as a wedding gift. In it, she deals with many thoughts and questions young women have. Who am 1? What does it mean to be a woman? She starts out in the first chapter telling woman that in order to understand who they are, they must understand whose they are. They must start with the One who made them. God has ordained each woman’s womanhood from before the foundation of the earth.
But what is my role in life? Where do I stand? Mrs. Elliot states in chapter five that because all things are created by God, they were made for something. This includes women. We have a purpose and a divine design. Woman was made to serve man and be a help meet unto him from the very creation of the world. In Psalm 144:12, the psalmist says, “May our daughters be like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.” A woman is like a pillar. The Lord cuts and shapes her to fit into a certain place in order to be upholding and supportive. Each woman is molded and shaped differently, thus causing limitations. Yet when she accepts the limitations God has given her, she finds her calling, and ultimately, her freedom in life.
She deals extensively with the issue of marriage and what a woman must understand before she is married in order to have a long and happy union with the man she loves. Some of the questions she answers are, Whom is it you marry? What is marriage? What makes a marriage work?
Each woman must understand that when she marries, she marries a sinner. A sinner, by virtue of the name, has sins and a woman must accept these sins. She must love, accept, and forgive just as she would like to be loved, accepted and forgiven. Second, a woman marries a man. He will be masculine in every way she is feminine. In understanding his masculinity, she can learn to understand the man she loves better. Third, a woman marries a husband. She should not expect him to fulfill all the roles in her life that may have been incomplete. He is her husband; he cannot be father, brother, mother, sister. When a woman marries she must remember that she is to forsake all others and cleave to him. Mrs. Elliot strongly upholds the principle of “leaving and cleaving.”
Now that each woman understands whom she marries, Mrs. Elliot goes on to state what marriage is. It is a relationship that gets either better or worse. To make certain their marriage gets better, they must form a triangle with the Lord, with Him at the head. As they both move toward Christ, they subsequently move closer to each other. Secondly, marriage is a union of two. The two become one, and if they are Christians, one in the Lord. Thirdly, marriage is a mirror. It reflects the other which can sometimes be painful. Each woman should come to realize that her attitude is reflected to her spouse and can set his entire mood. If she is happy, he is happy. If she is sad, he is sad. If she is depressed, he becomes depressed, too. With this in mind, each woman should try to create an environment at home that reflects peace and beauty. Last of all, marriage is a vocation. Each member is called to this task. Every married woman reading this will agree. A man is a woman’s life. She gives herself to him day after day for her entire lifetime. This is the way God made it.
We finally come to the question, “What makes a marriage work?” I have spoken about this earlier in this book review. A woman must accept her God-ordained position. She will find peace when she realizes that her submission to her spouse is according to the will of God.
These are just a few of the things that Mrs. Elliot writes about in this book. She shares her wisdom and thoughts gathered through life on many, many things. The book is full of “gems” and “jewels.” It was quite a blessing to read. ❖
Erin is a member of Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church in Bauer, Michigan.