A little over a week ago, I posted an article about the 2019 Christian Reading Challenge that Tim Challies designed. My goal this year is to get through the avid reader plan, which means I will (Lord willing) read 26 books on this list before 2019 is over. I decided to chronicle my journey through the challenge here and hope you join me! I will be posting about each book I read after I finish it. You can join me in the challenge by downloading the list of books here and then letting me know on Twitter @1689Millennial that you’re doing the challenge! There’s still time to jump in!
Category: A book targeted at the opposite gender
Title: Damsels in Distress: Biblical Solutions for Problems Women Face
Author: Martha Peace
This is my first personal encounter with Martha Peace. My wife did a book study with a few other newlyweds that featured Peace’s The Excellent Wife, which she highly recommends! But this was my introduction to the author.
The book is divided into 3 sections, each dealing with different issues that women might face. Part 1 is on solutions to problems with others, part 2 is on solutions to problems with ourselves, and part 3 is solutions for problems with the world.
She deals with such issues as gossip, idolatrous emotional attachments, vanity, legalism, feminism, and the role of women in the church. Each chapter is devoted to a separate issue, which makes this a great resource when you want to read about a particular issue without digging into an entire book.
Peace typically opens the chapters with a story that introduces the issue before proceeding to define the issue from a Biblical perspective. From there, she offers up an alternative to the sin issue that women can seek to “put on” instead of succumbing to sin. Finally, she wraps up each chapter with practical ways women can face the issues discussed.
The book is saturated with Scripture
I was blown away by just how much Scripture Peace used to write this book. In the first chapter, she says that “God provided resources to help me either solve or cope with…problems” (15). One of those resources that she lists is Scripture and it is abundantly clear from this book that she practices what she preaches - every issue is defined and dealt with according to Biblical authority.
The book is targeted at women, but helpful for all
Oftentimes throughout the book, I forgot I was reading a book that was targeted at women. I think that is mainly because the book focuses so much on Scripture, which is applicable to all people. However, it was still clear (especially at certain times in the book) that this book was targeted at women in particular. There are simply some chapters that only women will relate to, and I think that’s a good thing. Our churches suffer because there are so few solid resources available specifically for women. Peace helps alleviate that suffering with this book.
The book features tons of actually helpful charts
Charts are scattered throughout the book and guess what, they are actually helpful. Most of the time, charts in books just seem to take up space, but these charts served as great summaries of the chapters and are great for reference. This was definitely one of my favorite aspects.
A seemingly narrow view of the role of women
Throughout the book, I got the idea that Martha Peace thinks that if a woman isn’t a homemaker, she isn’t a true woman. Most of the practical examples or stories involve women in domestic roles, especially in the charts. I don’t recall reading anything about problems women might encounter in the workplace. Furthermore, from what my wife has said about her book The Excellent Wife, it seems that for Peace, an excellent wife will not be found outside of the house.
With that being said, though, her chapter on the roles women can have within the church was phenomenal. We need more female complementarian perspectives within evangelicalism. It would do us some good.
Seemingly oversimplified solutions to problems
Oftentimes, Martha Peace’s solution to a problem is, “Stop it.” It reminds me of the old Bob Newhart video. While she isn’t technically wrong, some of the situations might require a bit more than just stopping a behavior and doing something else instead. This might be due to the short nature of the book, though, so I don’t want to read too much into some of her shorter solutions.
“One accomplishment [of God] was that He cleansed me of my past, present, and future sins.” (page 15)
“We must our our passion from loving ourselves and calling attention to ourselves to a passion for God and serving Him regardless of what we look like.” (page 100, addressing vanity)
“If you undergo a trial as a consequence of your own sin, God will discipline you - whether the result is spending time in jail or experiencing emotional turmoil. He will do whatever it takes for you to give him glory.” (page 164)
I enjoyed this read more than I thought I would! I’m glad I gave it a chance! I hope you have enjoyed this brief summary, and I hope you will consider joining me in this reading challenge! I am reading Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn next, so be on the look out for that review! And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button below!