Review by Stefanie Kamerman
In 2014, it was the question heard round the Facebook community following Elyse Fitzpatrick.
Elyse didn’t think the question would draw too much attention, but she asked it anyway:
“Okay friends…I need your help. I’d like to know the dumbest things people tell women they have to do in order to be godly. Ready…Go!”
Twenty thousand views and almost 500 responses later, Elyse sat reading these responses knowing there would be weariness, but she didn’t expect to see weariness in so many different forms.
Anger. Hurt. Despair.
What about you, reader? What is the dumbest thing someone has told you in order to be godly? For me, it was that I needed to make sure my child was quiet as soon as my husband walked through the front door so he could have some time to unwind after a long day of work.
I kid you not.
In her book, Good News for Weary Women, Elyse Fitzpatrick tells women the good news of Jesus. Only Jesus. The good news is we have a loving God, who sent an equally loving Son to die on the cross to pay it all for us.
Completing our to-do lists, long or short, efficiently and effectively does not make us godly. Only Christ makes us godly. Elyse explains to her readers in Good News For Weary Women that when we place our trust in God, He sees us in light of Christ righteousness. Our slate has been wiped clean. We are justified by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Not our well put together outfits, gluten free meals on the table for our family, strictly kept bible reading schedules, or anything else will earn God’s favor. We are saved by faith, not by works.
I tweeted Elyse to tell her how this book changed my Christian walk. As a woman who has tried to do everything right by being the perfect Christian wife/friend/mother, I related to the many women who responded to Elyse’s question. I’m a weary woman, in desperate need of good news every day.
Reading Good News for Weary Women, I felt released from the law in ways I cannot explain. I want to tell other women this good news as well, which is ironic because I already well knew the truth it presented, that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
Good News for Weary Women will make you examine your law-abiding self and help you see yourself as a woman of worth in the eyes of Christ. He paid the price of the law so we wouldn’t be bound to keep it. Many women in churches across America will benefit from this book. Our meals, our outfits, and our well-dressed children—none of our good works make us godly. Only Christ’s righteousness makes us godly.
In addition to reviewing a copy of Good News for Weary Women, I was able to ask Elyse a few questions about her book:
Elyse, you asked your readers for the dumbest things people tell women in order to be godly. What is the dumbest thing someone told you to do in order to be godly?
Elyse: I think I’ve heard most of the ones that my readers mentioned. Of course, I’m a little older than many of them but the same stuff, particularly about how to be a good wife and mother were messages I’ve heard for decades. I think that the dumbest thing was that if I grew spiritually it wouldn’t be good for my marriage unless my husband was somehow involved in that growth.
What prompted you to ask that question on Facebook on that day in particular?
Elyse: Actually, I was going to have a discussion about that question with my daughter but she ended up getting sidetracked, so my husband suggested that I just post the question on Facebook to see what might happen. I had been thinking about this question for some time, particularly because I had heard from so many women that they were shocked by the message of justification by faith alone through Christ alone and that they thought they had to do all sorts of other things in order to make God happy.
What do you think the biggest challenge is in Women’s Ministry today? How do you think the church can overcome this?
Elyse: I think that the biggest challenge is actually two-fold: First of all, many women’s ministries are nothing but fluff, silly suggestions about how to fold napkins and arrange flowers. There’s nothing wrong with those things but they don’t feed the soul. Conversely, another kind of women’s ministry is one that’s all about steps to becoming a more godly person. And it’s not that the desire to be godly is a wrong pursuit, it’s just that when it is detached from the good news of the gospel, it’s about as helpful as those hints on the cover of magazines. The law will always crush us. Always. How can the church overcome these problems? By making the gospel her primary focus; by seeing Jesus and the work He’s done as the most important message she has and insisting that every gathering begins and ends with it.
If you have any advice for the younger generation of women what would it be?
Elyse: Find your identity in Christ’s work for you: not in the mirror or in your latest selfie or in how well you think you’re measuring up.
And a total left field question (I ask this question a lot to authors), what are your favorite versions or translations of the Bible?
Elyse: I love the ESV and use it almost exclusively. I also have Logos Bible Software so that I can dig deeper into the original languages and also see what the church fathers and scholars have said about a particular passage.