Monday, March 13, 2006

The Fruit of Her Hands

Nancy Wilson wrote a succinct book about being a Christian wife, entitled The Fruit of Her Hands. I appreciate her respect for God's word as well as her personal stories which illustrate her points, in real life. At times, I felt this book to be a response to issues or problems Nancy has seen in marriages (some within her own, and some from watching other marriages). The only thing I can say I would have preferred, is a little more text in places and a little more discussion on what the Bible is actually teaching in some of her cited passages.

Overall, I think this is a great book and I would recommend it as an addition to any woman's library. In fact, although I borrowed the book, I am looking to buy a copy myself that I can highlight and scribble on... plus, I'd like to walk through it again with a journal and bible. This way I can personally do a little more study in places where I may need it.

Chapter #1- A Woman's Orientation to Marriage

Summary: Nancy begins the chapter looking at 2 Tim.3:1-6 and goes on to illustrate how women are gullible. She describes how God intended a husband to be the protective head of a woman. I appreciated the fact that she delineated the difference between a husband's headship over his wife, as opposed to men being heads over women. Although we may see this structure also evidenced in church leadership, the idea of submission to men is primarily directed to the marriage relationship in Scripture.

Best lines: We need to cultivate a high view of our husbands and a high view of their God-given jobs. Begin to view your husband as an apple tree in the forest. He is one of a kind, and God has prepared special work for him to do. You have the privilege of being God's appointed helper for him (p.18).

Chapter #2- Walking With God

Summary: This chapter focuses on the need for wives to be personally growing closer to God. She especially exhorts us to be students of the Word of God, because by spending time in the Bible, we will become better wives. I agreed with her observation that, "Christian wives tend to leave the 'fat books' and theology to their husbands. While this may look 'submissive' to some, it is actually disobedience. It is not enough that we know Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and 1 Corinthians 1 and 14. We have to know more than how to be a good wife. After all, our first calling is to be good Christians"(p.25). I have to admit that I can be prone to doing this, especially when my husband has spent entire semesters studying parts of the Bible. It was good to be challenged to study for my personal growth towards God, not just to know the "answers" to various issues.

Best lines: Although the above citation affected me most, another quote I found helpful was from p.29, Stay away from books that get you to look inward instead of away from yourself to Christ. He is all-sufficient for all the problems a married (or single or widowed or divorced) woman might have (Heb.8:1). ... And finally, pray that your mind will not be led into deception and corruption, but will remain and dwell in the simplicity that is found in Christ.

Chapter #3- Respect

Summary: This chapter deals with showing respect to our husbands - and not only by our words, but by our actions, and (of greatest consequence to me) by our re-actions to our husbands. In her last section of the chapter, she clarified for me the ultimate reason why I am often dis-respecting my husband - not trusting in the sovereignty of God. If we truly believe God is in control, then the "outcomes" of our husband's decisions (good and bad) are subject to Him! This has made it much easier for me to grant hubby the respect God has asked me to give him, deserving or not, whether he's in the right or not. God has promised to work all things "together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom.8:28) Consequently, my respect for my husband becomes an issue of obedience to God, rather than an issue of whether or not he is worthy of my respect.

Best lines: God has designed your husband to need respect, and He commanded you to be the principal source of it. As you obey God in this, you will see that an obedient respect for your husband will always have positive consequences (p.37).

My question? Why are so many ladies leaving the words, "I will promise to love, honor (respect) and obey you" out of their marriage vows? Seems they may be selling themselves short on a lot of joy and satisfaction.

Chapter #4- Principles and Methods

Summary: This was an eye-opening chapter for me. Nancy differentiates between principles, "a basic truth, general law, or doctrine used as a basis of reasoning or a guide to actions or behavior," and methods, "a way of doing something." I often get distracted by the latest methods and can totally miss the principle that I should be living by. Case in point - diets. I go on these binges of becoming a "sugar nazi", rather than living by the principle of healthy eating. Nancy talks about extending a Hedge of Courtesy towards others in regards to their methods and granting them courtesy and compassion when our methods are different but the principles are the same.

Best lines: The 'system' can become a source of security. "I am doing fine with God because today I cut sugar out of the kids' diet, I'm breastfeeding on a schedule, and I'm having my next baby with a midwife at home." Approached this way, this is false comfort and it is dangerous. not only is it self-righteousness and works-righteousness, but if this really is God's way, then everyone else who isn't doing it this way is not pleasing God. In fact, they are in sin. This then leads to a feeling of superiority over those saints who do not adopt the 'method'. Works-righteousness, a sense of spiritual security based upon my lifestyle, undercuts justification by faith (in Jesus Christ).(p.63)

My admission: This was a much-needed chapter for a Baby-wise, whole-grain, natural cleansers, homeschooling, sugar nazi! I definitely needed to be challenged on my growing campaigns that are methods rather than principles (quite possibly the reason God placed this book in my lap).

There are 4 more chapters, which I'll summarize tomorrow.


Homemanager said...

"Stay away from books that get you to look inward instead of away from yourself to Christ. He is all-sufficient for all the problems a married (or single or widowed or divorced) woman might have. (Heb.8:1)... And finally, pray that your mind will not be led into deception and corruption, but will remain and dwell in the simplicity that is found in Christ."
Oh, this is good! It is so easy to become introspective and then complicate the walking out of our lives...
The section on "Principles and Methods" is an "ouch". Thanks! :)

I definitely think that this is book to look into buying for myself as well.

Grammy Sue said...

Hi Marlene,
I am impressed with the time you took to read and comment on this book. Thank you.

khendricks said...

I thought you might be interested in an electronic edition of three of Nancy Wilson's books, including this one. Check it out here:

Nancy Wilson Collection