“I’m a stay-at-home mom,” you explain. “Oh,” replies the other person with a touch of pity and the slightest hint of disdain. Working moms. Single moms. Name just about any possible variety of Christian mom and most likely she has experienced being made to feel less than by others.
Personally, I feel your children are an amazing Christian legacy for you to give the world. But sometimes, we believe that’s not enough. Or maybe, we believe we aren’t worth anything other than as the mother of our children.
So, I was interested when offered the chance to review Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes and Eternal Legacy by Jackie Green and Lauren Green Mcafee. The authors are part of the Hobby Lobby family who also built the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. So they understand a bit about legacy.
The book is a series of stories of real women who made a difference in their world. Each chapter revolves around the concept of the story of a woman who possessed a particular trait and used it to point others to God. From courage to teaching, there are twelve total traits covered.
Within each chapter, the authors start with a woman in the Bible and delve into her story, before telling the story of a more modern woman. I have mixed feelings about the Bible story part of each chapter. Instead of giving a straightforward recounting of the story, they add a lot of details that aren’t in the Bible. Which would be fine, if they qualified those additions with “perhaps” or “maybe”. Instead they are laid out like facts a la Francine Rivers’ books. The stories are beautifully told, just a lot of it is from the authors imagination and not the Bible.
The more modern stories range from Elizabeth in the 1200’s to today’s Christine Caine. All approached life very differently, except for one factor. To them, following Jesus and living the life God wanted them to live was always a top priority.
The stories are interesting. A few are familiar, a lot aren’t at all. Some of the stories I thought I knew had added facts I had never heard before. All of the women were inspiring in their own way. I didn’t feel as if I needed to compete with them or live up to anything they had done. The over all feeling the stories gave me was encouragement to continue doing the next thing God asks me to do – even if it doesn’t sound very promising.
I will say, to really be encouraged by the stories in the book, you will need to lay aside your theology. Normally, it isn’t something I would encourage, but in this case I would imagine most readers are like me. I wanted to see the women’s hearts for God and the life choices they made to point others to God – not as a way to better understand exactly what God wants me to do or not do in my life as far as theology.
The authors do insert some of their personal story as women who never pictured themselves where they are today in the public spotlight. To me that part was interesting, but not as captivating as the other stories – perhaps because those stories were more complete. I found it an interesting choice for Mcafee to keep mentioning she is in the process of getting a Phd, in a book meant to convince women that God can use any woman to make a huge impact. I’m not sure I would have mentioned it quite as many times as she did.
Overall, the book is an interesting read and I found myself encouraged. If you are afraid to take those first steps, this book can give you the courage to try. Making a difference by following God to what others may consider extremes, can be exhausting and lonely. This book can also help those women who are already on a “God adventure” realize they aren’t the first and most likely won’t be the last to make those life choices.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.