Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: Kingdom Woman

Kingdom Woman: Embracing Your Purpose, Power and Possibilities
By Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst
Tyndale, 2013
English, 224 pgs

A kingdom woman gives the devil as much reason to fear as a kingdom man. She lives confidently in the knowledge that Christ died and rose for her so that she can experience the significance of the destiny to which she has been called.

In Kingdom Woman, Tony Evans and his daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst, remind women of their calling from God to be free, delivered, healed, and to have hope. The authors bring insight that encourages women to correct distorted perceptions and understand who they really are in Christ—never settling for less when connected with the One who gives them hope. All believers are covered by God’s covenant with Abraham. Evans and Hurst want women to know these rights and confidently claim and live by them. The new covenant offers more than a life of mediocrity. A kingdom woman is called and empowered to live a life of victory through Christ!

Q&A With the Authors:

Why did you write Kingdom Woman?
I wrote Kingdom Woman because my daddy asked me to. Seriously. With five kids in tow, writing a book was not on my radar. I could barely write down my meal plans, much less think about writing a book for other women to read! So when my dad called to discuss the idea of us writing the book together, my prepared answer was a “no”. After listening to his heart, however, I slowly changed my mind. Daddy realized that as much as he wanted to empower women to be all they can be through the power of God at work in their lives, he is not a woman! So he asked me to join him in this project, to add a woman’s practical expression and experience to the heart of his uplifting biblical message of female empowerment. I said yes.

What is Kingdom Woman about?
Every woman—in every season and in any situation—has power. Through the transforming power of God available to her, she is capable of unleashing her full potential and purpose as she embraces God’s design for her and her role as a woman. While many women are enjoying this day and age when we have so many opportunities never before available to our gender, other women are crumbling under the pressure to do all and be all in the light of the options available to us.
This book is about the wonderful possibilities that emerge when you align yourself with the dreams that God has in mind for you. Not only will you be encouraged to seek God and the purposes that He has in store for you, but you will be inspired to do so in the power that He offers when we do things His way.

In our culture there is an abundance of opinions and suggestions from professionals, personalities in pop culture, and self-help gurus as to who a woman should be, what she should have, and what she should be able to achieve. But there is another definition of woman. And the One who designed her wants us to know about the wonderful thoughts He has in mind for her.
Kingdom Woman will guide every woman to the understanding of who God created her to be, what he created her to do, and how He empowers her to do it.

I hope each reader will sense from this work that God is on her side and that He tenderly cares about every female on this giant, male-dominated planet. The inspired teaching of my dad, Tony Evans, gives new and transforming insights into biblical principles that can revolutionize women’s lives and the way we see ourselves.

How is Kingdom Woman different from all of the other women’s self-help or spiritual books on the market?
Well, there are lots of great books out there for women. I know—I’ve read a bunch of ’em. This book richly references the Bible, but it is not a Bible study. The book is extraordinarily motivational, but it is not designed solely to be a motivational tool. The book has stories but it is not a tale from beginning to end.

Kingdom Woman takes all of these aspects—God’s Word, encouragement and motivation, and practical stories and life examples—to set the stage for God to speak to you about your wonderful design and destiny. It’s a book that will either remind you or show you for the first time that God loves you, believes in you, and has designed you for a measure of greatness that you can achieve when you do things His way.

Why is this kind of book such a great resource for women to read?
There are lots of books that are written to encourage women in their relationship with God. There are also a lot of books out there, many with a feministic bent, that encourage women to achieve their full potential and, in doing so, push past traditional or cultural barriers. I have yet to see another book that encourages women to align with God’s design for them while at the same time spelling out a design that also includes a message of empowerment. When God created man and woman and placed them in Paradise, His instruction to both of them was to rule. In the quest for women throughout history to be recognized for God-given talents, skills, and abilities, waves of women have been led to do so by leaving God out. God’s design and the possibilities for women as He created them do not have to be mutually exclusive. This book delves into a thoroughly God-focused, yet full empowering message for women to understand His plan and purpose for their lives.

What principle from the book resonated the most for you?
Oh, that’s an easy question to answer! God uses imperfect women. Throughout the Bible, God used women who didn’t necessarily come from the right family or the right city. He used women who weren’t the right age or who didn’t have the right status. God gloried in using women who weren’t loved the right way by others or who didn’t know how to rightly love themselves. And in every single case, He worked a miracle—in her, through her, or around her. I’m not perfect, and I don’t know any women who are. The good news is, we don’t have to be. God takes joy in making miracles out of messed-up situations. I don’t have to have it all together to be a Kingdom Woman. I just have to be willing to bring all I am and who I am to Him and let Him do His thing.

What is your favorite chapter of Kingdom Woman?
That question is not so easy. So many of them speak to me. If I had to choose, I’d say chapter 5—“The Power of a Kingdom Woman’s Faith.” The reason why I have a good idea of what Kingdom Woman living looks like is that I have had good examples to look at. In this chapter I reflect on the lives and legacies of my grandmothers, who both have been walking examples of what a Kingdom Woman looks like when she exercises faith beyond feelings. Because this chapter is so very personal and emotional, I think I’d choose this one. Every time I read over it, tears come to my eyes, both because I am ministered to and because I love those two women so very much.

How did you manage writing a book and homeschooling your kids at the same time? What was your writing schedule like?
I’m a night owl. The end.

Seriously? I wrote and edited in between assignments, during lunch, and while the kids enjoyed their mom-mandated quiet time. I live or die by 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every day. In addition to that, I do believe in putting kids to bed so I can have a life after dark. Most of the time that life is catching up on housework, phone calls, ministry work, or “me-time.” Lord knows, I wasn’t going to give up ministry work or “me-time,” and I didn’t want neglect friends and family via the phone, so let’s just say my pile of laundry got really big! LOL

What was it like working with your dad?
Amazing. Simply amazing. I know the man is brilliant, but I don’t think I realized how much I took his brain for granted. He is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to things of the Bible, and in other areas too, really. I just tried to keep up. That said, it was nice to know that he could benefit a bit from me, too. The book is a balance of the spiritual and the practical, as I added some of the lessons I’ve learned that flesh out some of the theology that he presents. In the course of the project, I had precious time to process some of my own experiences in the light of Kingdom principles by asking my dad and pastor lots of questions and seeking to understand my own journey in the light of God’s Word. Working with my dad is the privilege of a lifetime.

What has writing this book taught you?
I can do more than I think I can when I commit to doing what God wants me to do.

When God is behind something, He will provide the strength that we need to exceed our own expectations. I have learned that it is wise to never say never—and to never even say “not right now.”
This is not the season I would have chosen to undertake a venture of this magnitude. My hands and life are full. However, in the way that only God can, He kept nudging me and speaking to me through circumstances and the words of others. He moved major obstructions out of the way by changing the landscape of my life to accommodate the work I needed to do. He did not give me the charge to write and then leave me in my own strength to get the job done. He truly did bear me up on the wings of eagles, and for every inch of effort I put in, He multiplied it and moved me forward a yard.
I’ve learned that when God is in something, it works. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, but it does mean that God is true to finish the work that He starts . . . even when that work involves a content-to-be-in-the-background mom of five kids.

This book has me excited in a way that I haven't felt in a long time. I had the honor of hearing Tony Evans speak at a conference last month and was so challenged by what he spoke that I started looking for books, sermons...anything I could get my hands on for more of his teaching.

I was so thrilled to get to read and review this book for him and his daughter.

Quick note on the format of the book: it is broken down into three parts: Purpose, Power and Possibilities. Each part has 4 chapters. The text in each chapter is formatted so you can tell which are Tony's words and which are Chrystal's.

I highlighted, took notes and sent quotes from every chapter. I can't even begin to describe the value of a book like this. In this male dominated world, all to often women are led to believe they're "less than" or "weaker". That's not the way God intended it to be though. As they point out in the introduction, God introduced Adam and Eve together as "them" when He said "let us make them in our image" in Genesis 1:27. Yes, Adam was formed first, but Eve was very much on the mind of God as He did the forming.

Tony is a master at illustration. He can tell a story and find a connection between events in ways I would never think of on my own. He pointed out many parts of stories from the Bible that I never picked up on. In 30 years of reading the Bible. Seriously!

For instance, the woman with a bleeding disorder who knew that all she had to do was touch the hem of Jesus's cloak. It never occurred to me before that to touch the hem of said cloak, she would have to be down on her knees, in a humbled position. And then Jesus instructs her to tell her testimony. This was a woman who was shunned and outcast. And Jesus used her to tell others of His power. Amazing.

I could go on and on about Bible stories with new revelations for me in the book. Seems like almost every one had a point I'd never considered. Oh and that "perfect" Proverbs 31 woman...she didn't do it all herself! She accepted help and kept servants for her assistance.

The chapters in the possibilities section are related to how a kingdom woman relates to others in her family, church and community. As a pastor's wife, these meant a lot to me. As a woman helping form a women's ministry in our church, the chapter about relating to other women as instructed in Titus 2 convicted me about the events and studies we've been planning.

Favorite Quotes:
A kingdom woman is to reflect Him and His kingdom in such a remarkable fashion that people want to know more about the kingdom she represents. (p. 7)

What sets a kingdom woman apart from any other woman boils down to her fear of God. Her reverence determines her actions, thoughts, words, and priorities. Without that, the demands of life would overwhelm any woman. (p. 19)

The reason why so many people end up bound by issues is that they try to address the circumstances rather than appealing to the One who can address the root. (p. 35)

Excellence is concerned with how you are compared to the potential of how you are supposed to be. (p. 47)

Excellence doesn't mean perfection. (p. 48)

You'll never be excellent if you make the world your standard. (p. 55)

Sometimes God lets you be in a situation that only He can fix, so you will discover that He is the One who can fix it. (p. 61)

A kingdom woman does hard things, and sometimes having faith based on God's Word is the simplest yet toughest thing she will ever have to do. (p. 83)

However, the very things Martha was doing for Jesus distracted her from Jesus. (p. 139)

Too often today people view the church as a hospice rather than as the hospital it was intended to be. (p. 170)

I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House in exchange for a blog posting and review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.