I wrote a book that I wish someone had written for me.
A book to help me at each transition, to encourage me when I need it, to empower me to be the woman God created me to be in all ways. . .
When I was about sixteen, a pastor told me to be less assertive and strong because otherwise I’d never find a husband. Mom says I came home saying I couldn’t deny who I really was in order to please others.
But I really wanted to get an MRS., as well as a BA in college.
I only got a BA.
My husbandless twenties left me wondering about who I was. Not about whether I was assertive or strong, but about my identity as a woman. I had only understood womanhood in the roles of wife and mother, roles I did not have.
At church, I often wondered why people thought I was still in college. Was I immature? Was it my marital state? I was in the fourth year of my teaching career, but was I a woman or still a girl?
I went to seminary to pursue full-time international work but when I graduated at 29, I was headed in a different direction, still alone, wondering where I fit, whether I was a girl or a woman, and what it meant to be a woman anyway.
I became a full-time college instructor (I was surprised, too), but as I looked out at the sea of young faces, I felt like I was one of them, often identifying more with them than with my colleagues.
I deeply knew, however, that I was an adult, not a college student, and a woman, not a girl. My identity as a woman had not been found in the roles of wife and mother, so I began a journey of naming myself “woman” and seeking to define it.
Each woman’s experience, culture, family, and life is unique.
But we all ask identity questions.
I invite you to a journey of transformation. It’s a journey you’re already on, though you may not know it. It’s the journey of womanhood, a journey that continues throughout this life. Though we are at different spots on the journey, we can journey together.
It’s a long journey, and it needs events that mark the transitions. Because of my interest in those events, I wrote my dissertation on rites of passage for Christian women (I made that a link even though no normal person ever reads a dissertation). It contained about ONE page that was practical, and that page has become my life-work and resulted in The Book of Womanhood.
After finishing my dissertation, I started journeying with women in a Rite of Passage called , and couldn’t find a book that would guide us well, so I wrote it (that sounds simple, but trust me—writing a book is never simple!).
It’s a flexible framework. Its purpose is to inspire readers to think, not to tell them to change in order to please others. In fact, I hope readers realize being a woman is simply figuring out how to fully be themselves, not fulfilling some kind of “womanly role.”
Let me tell you about my favorite parts!
I write about biblical women and how God displays characteristics that are defined as feminine. All women can identify with the God who gives birth (Deut 32:18, Is 49:15, etc.), comforts like a mother bird (Psalm 57:1b, 91:4a, etc), and is angry like a bear robbed of her cubs (Hos 13:8).
Our foremothers, whom we can emulate, include risk-taker, faith-singer, and miracle-encourager mother Mary, courageous and influential prophet of God Huldah, Deborah the courageous and wise political leader who left a 40-year legacy of peace, and go-getter, faith-filled single friend of Jesus Martha, as well as many others. Their relationship with God influences ours.
“Alone and Lonely: Can the two be Separated?” is a favorite chapter because I tell you of my struggle with loneliness, a struggle I’ve found to be universal. In a world filled with smartphones, social networks, coffeeshops, and skype, we are still incredibly lonely.
Sitting in the coffee shop with a friend, someone may text her boyfriend, upload a picture of her coffee and snack to Facebook, and receive a skype call from across the world, all while sort of paying attention to the person sitting across from her. When we are only present with others in body and not in mind, we are lonely. And there’s a surprising practice that can help us in our loneliness. . .
Here’s my hope for you, as a potential reader. I wrote it in the preface:
“May these pages help answer your identity questions.
May these pages encourage and empower you to fully be yourself.
May Holy Spirit fire restore the Divine Image in you, Woman of God!”
Thinking about purchasing the Book of Womanhood?
An inspirational teacher, preacher, and seminar facilitator, Amy F. Davis Abdallah deeply desires to walk the journey of authentic Christian life with others. She takes special interest in the development and needs of women of any ethnicity, age, vocation, or status, as shown in the title of her first book, The Book of Womanhood (Cascade Books, 2015). Amy passionately fulfills the roles of professor, wife, writer, mentor, mother, and whatever else life presents. Find her on the web at amyfdavisabdallah.com and on twitter @amyfdavisa.
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