Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May - Elisera's Featured Book

Welcome back, dear friends!
I'd like to introduce my featured book for the month of May.


It's (Not That) Complicated
How to Relate to Guys in a Healthy, Sane, and Biblical Way
by Anna Sophia & Elizabeth Botkin

The Botkin sisters released their second book last November (2011) and I have just completed my reading of it.  I am very pleased and immensely encouraged by what these beautiful ladies have put together.  Without hesitation, I have added this to my mental Recommendation List.  Also to our Resources Page to your right.
Throughout this book, the sisters cover the touchy subject of relationships.
Guy + Girl = ?
Careful research and a depth of Scripture-study back up their conclusions.

You will learn to see men as God sees them, go through a spiritual heart surgery to examine the desires of your heart, answer the question as to who is the initiator in guy-girl relationships, and much more.
Don't forget modesty.  How you dress displays your heart for all to see. Whether you wear longs skirts and high-collared tops or mini shorts and spaghetti straps, the way you dress affects those around you and can either turn the watchers towards God, which is our goal (or should be), or ultimately turn them away.
You are being watched.  Young men do notice.
You may say, "Oh please, if they see me as a temptation and have certain thoughts of their own, than that is their problem, definitely not mine."
The Bible says, "Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through!" (Luke 17:1, HCSB)
Someday, we will stand before the King and He will rightly judge us according to our words, actions, and yes, thoughts.  This includes the impurity of our hearts in the matter of young men.

I say it again.
You are being watched.


In the introduction of their book, Anna Sophia and Elizabeth reveal  four-step instructions on how to read this book.

1.  From Beginning to End
2.  With Your Parents
The sisters' desire is not to make this book a substitute for your parents' teaching, but to bring you and your parents' relationship closer especially in this area of your life.
3.  Like a Berean
Acts 17:11 tells of the noble Bereans who "were open-minded... and welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."
4.  With a Tender Heart
"The biggest issue is not, in fact, 'how to be around boys' or even 'who to be around boys.' The issue that matters is: Who are we before God?  Poor relationships with boys aren't your real problem if you have a non-existent relationship with God... He will purify your heart, guard your heart, and abide in your heart if you are truly His.  The question you must ask yourself as you read on is:
Are you?" (pgs 5)

They answer the question "Why are we interested in boys?" And why it is a good thing (depending on how we, as eligible young ladies, respond to it).
One chapter takes you through a Relationship Boot Camp (Chapter 4, pgs 51-70) and shows how you can be a sister to your real brothers and in turn your Christian brothers.
They drill into you from the beginning that the bond between you and your parents should be the first and strongest relationship.  Also, the sisters encourage, as does the Bible, a healthy relationship with your brother or brothers, both younger and/or older.
Believe it or not, your father and brothers have the responsibility to protect your heart, until, should God so will, that responsibility is passed to your husband.  Sadly, in our time and age, that concept has been wholly forgotten and rejected.
"Ew.  You want me to be friends with my brother??  And my parents?!  But he's so... ewww.  And they just don't understand me."
One of the quotes that I came away with after reading this book can be found in the very first chapter:
"...Girls used to have a lot more protection and help through these problems than they do today.  Fathers and brothers used to provide screening and kept scoundrels on the right end of a Remington." (Chap. 1, pgs 10)
If this were true, there would be a lesser number of broken hearts and perhaps and greater number of healthy marriages.


But, unfortunately, we live in a fallen world.  Where fathers send their daughters to the wolves once they come of age and graduate high school, so to speak. Where "good" guys take advantage of good Christian girls and vice versa.  Where purity is underrated and the culture screams at us to keep the status quo.  Where the family is beaten to submission by the government and executed at the altar of the Church.

Ouch.

Harsh words, but oh, so true.
I could go on and on as to how this nation was built on the Christian faith.  How our forefathers evacuated their homes across the sea to begin anew, to worship their God freely, to live free.
Where is our country headed?

But that will have to wait.



Back to my review...
The rest of the paragraph from the quote above continues, "Close-knit, supportive families let girls know they were loved and appreciated, making them less desperate for attention and admiration from the outside. Parents provided guidance and wise counsel, to help a girl keep a clear head while appraising situations and evaluating suitors."

I've mentioned before to strongly advise against reading, watching, etc. the whole genre of Romance, though, I still struggle and am guilty of it.  I know it is hard, but this gives us as single ladies the wrong idea of marriage, men, and happily ever after.
Please don't allow yourself to dream of your Mr. Darcy.  No such man exists.
And another thing, Mr. Darcy is bad enough, but especially refrain from wishing for a man like... dare I say it?
Edward Cullen.
EEK!
*screams hysterically and runs out the door*

Seriously.

Here's the ugly truth of the matter: YOU ARE NOT PERFECT.  And neither is your future husband (should you be so blessed).  So please, get this into your head before you dive head-first into any kind of relationship and expect that certain someone to be everything for you.

"We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty - just that they have Jim Elliot's heart, C. S. Lewis' mind, William Wallace's courage, Clark Gable's face, Cary Grant's clothes, Josh Groban's voice...), but we want them to love us just the way we are.  So the men we want to marry often really don't exist - and even if they did... well... why would they would to marry us?" (Chap. 12, pgs 213)

If we want a worthy man, we need to become a woman of worth.

"Who can find a capable wife?  She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good.
She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life...
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle...
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
(Proverbs 31:10-12, 25-27, 30, HCSB)


This brings me to the last chapter, which speaks on contentment during your single years.
I have also mentioned this before, that your years as a single lady can be the most important of your life.  Don't just throw them away wishing for perfect Prince Charming to come over the perfectly colored horizon, with his perfect hair blowing in the wind and rescue the perfect you from the dangers of perpetual boredom.
Make use of every moment.  Our model of the Proverbs 31 woman was never idle (Pro. 31:27).  She made use of her talents and skills, her home was never dull.  Even though she was married, and her husband "sat among the elders" (Pro. 31:23), we can still look to her as an example.

"If we feel like the best years of our lives are being wasted, we should ask ourselves: So who's wasting them?" (Chap. 13, pgs 236)
We are not promised tomorrow (James 4:14).  Make the most of each day.
"Some live as though time is to be passed.  The more diligent live as though time is to be filled.  But Christians should know that time must be redeemed.  Twiddling our thumbs patiently as we wait for events to come and go is unacceptable; puttering around 'keeping busy' while we wait for things to happen is only a little better.  Paul commanded the church at Ephesus, 'Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil'." (Eph. 5:15-16)(Chap. 13, pgs 237)

Have you ever thought that maybe the reason why God hasn't sent a husband is because you are not spiritually (or mentally, emotionally, physically, for that matter) mature enough to handle marriage?  God uses our single years to help us grow, and if we are willing, to help us become a woman of worth.  One who is far more valuable than jewels.

In conclusion, I would definitely encourage all girls, young ladies, to read this book.  It is a great resource and soundly built on Biblical doctrine.  Also, in my opinion, you can't start too early.  Don't think that your five year old daughter hasn't thought about boys.  Chances are she already has and is imagining names for future kids as she plays with her dolls.
Let's give her the right thoughts and mindset for which to ground her fantasies.

Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
Lady Elisera

(Illustrations and book cover from visionarydaughters.com)

1 comment:

Munck Sisters said...

I am in the middle of reading this book right now! Thanks for sharing what you got out of the book:)

Blessings, Amanda