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Book Review: The Book of Womanhood by Amy F. Davis Abdallah

Posted by Julie on December 1, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
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The Book of Womanhood by Amy F. Davis Abdallah

The Book of Womanhood Book Description

Christian womanhood. What does it mean? When does it happen-at a certain age, status, or maturity? How do we know we’re no longer girls? And when we’ve figured that out, how will others know to call us “woman” rather than “girl” Christian women don’t usually get a rite of passage in which they are named “woman” Seeing this need, Amy Davis Abdallah created such a rite, and this book accompanies it. No need to be in her rite of passage, however, to name yourself “woman” Read this book and then sit down with some friends to talk about it over tea, coffee, and/or chocolate. Let The Book of Womanhood create a path through the confusion by its flexible framework of finding identity through developing relationship with God, self, others, and creation. Amy writes simply as one perhaps further along in her journey of womanhood, and she doesn’t write alone. She includes the stories of biblical women, of friends young and old, and even more. The diverse voices come together as a cloud of witnesses-encouraging us in our individual journeys. Read for empowerment. Read for transformation. Read. And become the woman of God you were created to be.

From Amazon:

Review

”Amy has artfully constructed this rite of passage for women in order to help women understand and embrace what it means to be a woman and to celebrate the beautiful and delicate complexities, which make us uniquely feminine. Book of Womanhood is an outstanding resource for families, churches, and colleges.”
-Dr. Wanda Walborn, Director of Spiritual Formation, Nyack College

”Expecting to be married with children in her twenties, life unfolded in unanticipated ways for Amy Davis Abdallah. These became opportunities to journey with God toward self-discovering and empowerment. This book builds wholeness in all its relationships. For these reasons, The Book of Womanhood is hard to put it down!”
-Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality –Wipf and Stock Publishers

 About the Author
Amy F. Davis Abdallah, PhD, is passionate about life. She is a wife and mother who writes, teaches, preaches, leads, and mentors in the United States and abroad. Woman, the rite of passage she pioneered, has been transforming and empowering its many participants for several years. In addition to journeying with women, Amy also guides others academically as an Associate Professor of Theology and Bible at Nyack College.

 

I confess, when I was asked to review this book, I wasn’t sure about it. A professor as an author? I was afraid the material would be dry and too complex for me or other average readers to understand. I thought even with a Christian foundation there would be a feminist fist in the air, ripe with anger as she fights for change.

I was wrong on every level.

, the icing on the cake. The Book of Womanhood contains top notch research written in an easy going manner that feels like I was absorbing the material over a cup of coffee with the author. It’s not intimidating nor political. It’s informational in a way that celebrates our gender and gently reminds the world that Our Heavenly Father has a special plan and place for us.

With topics like women in Biblical history, our bodies, Science, how Harry from When Harry Met Sally was wrong, singleness, dating, and our relationship with creation, there isn’t a topic I think the author missed. She shares tidbits from her life including watching the Harry movie with her Grandfather. She also included charts and prayers at the end of each chapter.

This is a refreshing, contemporary look at womanhood. Learn from my naïve assumptions and make every effort to enjoy this book.

To purchase The Book of Womanhood, click here.

I received The Book of Womanhood from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: Not Strong Enough

Posted by Julie on May 2, 2015 in Julie Arduini |

My confession this week stems from my Facebook status. Although the frustration has passed, I know the exhaustion isn’t just my confession. We’ve all been there. This week it felt extra heavy.  The rejection and loneliness has been harder than usual to handle. So I vented. Can you relate?

For all I do post here, there is much I do not share because it is in process, not just about me, or too raw. Every once in awhile it’s a small thing that breaks me to reveal the bigger issue. Yesterday I had to deal with a mom thing that has been ongoing and frustrating and it was the last straw. In the end it was an 8 tissue quiet time where I confessed I’m not strong enough to do this—any of it. I’m not equipped to handle the situations and people before me. The process to make me more Christ-like, the rejection and loneliness, is crushing. It is hard to serve, pray, decree and wait. It is unbearable when few understand and it feels like even fewer care.

tumblr_lurzr9AXmu1qhzpkto2_500Once I poured it all out I had a bed full of tissues, a headache, but a freedom that I didn’t stuff it. I let God have it because He is equipped and strong enough. And that “I can’t do this” cry brings me one step closer to breakthrough. I have to believe that. And today is a new day where I start the small and big stuff all over again.

My friends, don’t give up.

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Character Confession: The Captivating Miley Cyrus

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2013 in About Me, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Is there anything new to blog about when it comes to Miley Cyrus?

Probably not.

But I’m going to try.

I wanted to wait a few days so I could let my thoughts marinate and perhaps by the time I put them down, they’d make sense. I also figured by giving it some time, I’d have some good posts from others to pass on.

And I do.

But first, let me share the biggest revelations that came to me regarding Miley’s adult performance during the VMA’s. I didn’t watch it live, and I didn’t watch the entire clip. Didn’t need to.

She’s the visual I have regarding the book I often use when I mentor, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, about what happens when girls don’t get their core question answered.

The core question little girls ask is this: Do you think I’m lovely?

They start asking this question before they even know it’s a desire to be fulfilled by their Heavenly Father through Christ.

My favorite example of this question in motion is our daughter at her pre school graduation. She has a twirly skirt on and she’s giving that skirt all she’s got to see the twirl in action. My Facebook page has this if you look for it. Girls twirl their skirts because they want to be noticed. They want someone to let them know they are lovely. Captivating. Worth something.

Dads are the best humans to answer this question in a healthy way, but the gap can only truly be closed by the One who created them. When dads are absent or answer that question through put downs, absence, physical or a worse kind of abuse, the girls will get that question answered.41oqKi7uI+L._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_

In all kinds of wrong ways.

And that’s one of the revelations I had regarding Miley. She’s exhibit A of what it looks like when that core questioned isn’t answered. Her definition of lovely is now warped and it is a hamster wheel she’ll keep perpetuating to get that question answered. And only Christ can get her off that wheel. It won’t surprise me if she ups the ante because so much attention came from her VMA display. But it will be a winless quest. Sure, she’ll get media time, blog posts devoted to her, and more money, but in the scheme of life and truly living victoriously, there’s nothing victorious here.

Now for the second revelation.

I wanted to be snarky when I first saw the pictures come through my Facebook feed. When her picture was placed against Jim Carrey when he was on In Living Color, I wanted to hit share and laugh until I snorted.

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But I couldn’t.

Because as soon as I felt the temptation, a still voice rose to the surface.

She’s my prodigal.

Whether her claims to Christian faith were genuine when she first moved to California to pursue a career, I don’t know. Over the years I’ve read people who felt the Cyrus family walked it out when they lived in Tennesee. When Billy Ray had the interview after his first public separation with his wife, he talked about how Miley saw the evil in Hollywood and was determined to be His light. He later retracted it, but he felt the Disney machine and her handlers took over. He was a friend instead of a parent. And that light went out.

Even if that’s all a fabrication, she’s still a beloved daughter to her Heavenly Father. He loves her with a depth I can’t even capture with words. He desperately yearns for her to pursue a personal relationship with Him. But He’s not a bully. He’s made it a choice for all of us to take. Even Miley. For her to choose Him is a no-brainer on His part. Even after what we saw at the VMA’s. Even if all the drugs and other choices are all true. He’d accept her without hesitation.

Just like He accepted me.

Compassion, tinged with grief, filled the snark I wanted to share. Although there were a lot of visuals to burn on the brain, the one I can’t shake is her parents facing the throne. Miley explaining how she used the gifts she was created with to further His Kingdom. If that were to happen anytime soon, I can’t imagine the despair.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

For all the Christian families fed up with Miley just being Miley, why not pray for her and her family? That if they knew Christ personally at one point, that they would return and be consistently mentored by families solid in Him. If the whole Jesus card was just a trite thing to say for a young starlet, that it would come back and become a fulfilled prophecy.

I often think about the most wayward celebrities and what the world would look like if that person was on fire for Christ. Sold out, all in, using their gifts and talents to show people who He is and how to know Him. Not in an obnoxious way a lot of new believers are without mentoring, but just confident who they are and their worth in HIm.

That would be captivating.

 

Other Miley related posts I enjoyed:

Dear Daughter

A Lesson for Dads (this received so much traffic that as of writing it has been shut down. Hopefully by the time you read it, it will be back up.)

Miley and Me

Dear Son: Don’t Let Robin Thicke Be a Lesson to You

 

 

 

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4

Second Verse Not Quite the Same as the First

Posted by Julie on September 16, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I can’t help it but I have the song “I’m Henry the Eighth I am” in my head. Specifically, the part where Peter Noone shouted out, “Second Verse, Same as the First.”

I noticed the last two years there are life events popping out that look really familiar. It’s almost like Groundhog Day with Bill Murray where it feels like the alarm goes off and I’m living the same thing again. Thing is, I didn’t like those events the first time around.

Insurance Issues

Communication Misunderstandings

Rejection

Loneliness

Woundedness I received

Woundedness I dished out

When I first noticed the similarities I felt a gentle whisper assure me that although things looked the same, they were not. They were opportunities for me to trust God for a different outcome.  It was not the proverbial Lucy from Peanuts holding the football moment. In some cases there would be redemption, justice, revelation, and just flat out better experiences than the first go-around.

Not easy, but better.

I’m blogging this today because this pattern continues with me. I’m seeing things that look so familiar. Names, places, circumstances. My first reaction isn’t what I know it should be. Instead, fear. Dread. Anger. Everything inbetween, including my mumbling things like, “Second verse same as the first.”

Yet in the middle of my personal GroundHog Day I’m experiencing something so different than I expected and I know it’s only the start.

New beginnings

Justice

Grace

People looking at the full picture, not just the small glimpse

Provision

Favor

Peace

During the first set I had experiences with literal dive bombing cardinals. Friends shared the same thing happening to them. I prayed and did research and found for me, one of the definitions I walked away with was that a cardinal is a loyal defender. To this day when I see a cardinal I claim it as a promise. God is my loyal defender.

These issues and circumstances appear like things I’ve battled before, things that nearly snuffed out everything alive and hopeful in me. But they are not the same. I’m not the same. Because of those things I’m stronger, wiser, and more discerning.

God willing, I’m surrendering to be more trusting if not of people, than of my God who loves me.

And you.

If you’re going through the second verse looking the same as the first, embrace your Heavenly Father as your loyal defender.

Because He is.

 

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Do you love to read? I’d love if you would help us spread the word.

 

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Surrendering Daddy’s Girl

Posted by Julie on May 9, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

So moms, are you back to the reality of getting up first making breakfast, finding socks and feeding the pets?  Yep, must be the day after Mother’s Day.

I try each year to write about the different facets of motherhood from honoring my own mom to encouraging women with infertility because I have been there.  Although I’m writing a little ahead of schedule I feel like I’m supposed to share something I don’t read too much about but is very real just the same.

When you aren’t daddy’s girl and/or when you’re the seemingly invisible parent raising a daddy’s girl.

Guilty on both counts but I think after a lot of time, prayer and tears, that doesn’t define me anymore.

As a child I was the oldest and wired to be a little ahead of my age and now that I really think about it, a bit of sass to me. If I saw injustice whether I understood it or not I was going to talk about it with a lot of negativity. It’s not a real popular place to be especially if you think there is injustice pretty close by.  I was angry and vocal and there was a lot of baggage. We all did the best we could.  But I knew back then I  was not daddy’s girl.

The praise is that before his death we reconciled and I had the absolute honor of being the last to speak with him. I was able to give him a tribute to send him to his eternal destination where I know I will see him again. I believe that was a God given gift for all the years we struggled and I know he never meant and hated that I came away feeling the things I felt. It truly ended all good.

Then I had a daughter.  As soon as she was placed in my husband’s arms he said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to discipline her.”  Although that wasn’t quite true it was close. She was chronically sick as a baby and as any daddy would want, he wanted to meet every need she could possibly have…and then some.

It didn’t take long for her to realize this and take advantage. When she started talking she started wheeling and dealing. Everyone saw it but daddy. She would toddle off to him and ask for something I already said no to.  Then came a time when she was very verbal and made it clear she wished dad was a stay at home dad…and wished I would go to work…and take my sweet time coming home.

This crushed me. I definitely felt like a house divided and I didn’t handle it well.

This year things have improved. Oh she still brings artwork after artwork home for daddy and apologizes that she ran out of time before she could draw anything for me or her brother. When she draws pictures of the family I am finally not just in the picture, but drawn a lot closer to her and daddy.  There was a time she drew me way, way, way off the page.

We’re now at a place where she takes her time coming inside off the bus because she’s stopping to bring me dandelions. I always equate them as weeds taking over a lawn I just mowed or want to mow but this year I’m realizing this is a precious gift I enjoy receiving. Her class had a mother’s day brunch and she made sure I received an invitation but hoped I was recovering enough from surgery to attend. She gives me hugs, tells me she loves me and just this morning had a tude with her dad, something usually reserved for me.

I’m grateful that my dad and I reconciled and very happy that our daughter is embracing me as much as her dad. Thing is, I had to let go of that expectation and the minute I did, things improved.  I had to place myself in the truth that I AM a Daddy’s girl, my heavenly Father.  Just as it is with you, I am His favorite.  I love that He’s so Sovereign we can all be His favorite. If I waited and put all my hopes in being received that way in all my relationships on Earth I believe I would be a bitter unfullfilled person.

Life is too short for that.

If you are a rejected Daddy’s girl, surrender that today because it’s not true.  You are THE Daddy’s girl and He wants to lavish and brag on you for all of eternity. He’s not a far off God who crosses His arms and shakes His head at you in disgust–so far from it. His arms are open waiting to hug you with promises and truths.  You just aren’t in His picture, you are in His arms. As you receive that truth and draw closer to Him and His Son, it will change your life.

Take it from this Heavenly Daddy’s Girl.

 



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