I felt like she was talking to me. However, instead of shrinking back in an effort to hide, I found myself leaning in, clinging to the end of each phrase with hopes of walking away holding a new perspective and wisdom. See, I felt so stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Burnout had become my norm, and while I used to be able to finish any project I took on, now I couldn’t stay focused long enough to get a blog post written. Her name was Carolyn McCulley, and she was speaking at the women’s conference hosted by Redemption Hill Church, Fully Known & Fully Loved. I walked away so encouraged, and ready to dig deeper into what God had to say about my own work, calling, and ministry through this season of motherhood.
Enter Carolyn’s book, The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work, & The Home, co-authored with Nora Shank. In this writing, Carolyn and Nora first offer a background of women and work, covering the ages and highlighting the most significant events (Family dynamics and economy in the 1950’s, Women’s Liberation in the 1960’s, Gloria Steinem and the Playboy era, and the birth of the Mommy Wars in the 1980’s). Even further, they investigate the ancient woman and work, the doctrine of vocation, and how women and their work emerged in the western hemisphere through the American Revolution. This historical review lays a foundation for women today to understand why we are where we are and offers incredible insight, no matter the individual circumstance.
Next, they laid a framework of Scripture’s teaching and theology of work. The study of God’s Word was thorough and evident, and the summations rooted in scripture. Covered in this section were our purpose, rest, identity and ambition. Each area is redefined as our ideas and accepted norms for each area related to “work” are brought into submission to Scripture.
Here are a some of my favorite highlights from each section:
Purpose: “He takes what we have (which isn’t much) into His perfection, giving it all the qualities we don’t possess.”
Rest “Rest is part of the rhythm of work that God designed for us.”
Identity: “Jesus has promised that if we choose to sit as His feet, we have made the best choice of all.”
Ambition: “…ambition is really a desire to grow.”
Lastly, Carolyn and Nora write about the “Life Cycle of Work”, pointing out the unique path for women and the varied twists and turns that may come along the way. Navigating transitions, preparing for career, education and training, raising children, leading teams, the potential of singleness, widows, and retirement. All of these are very real life scenarios that, while you may only be experiencing one facet, you are likely to walk through many during the course of your life. There is so much wisdom and insight packed into this last section of the book, it’s practically a guidebook on how to navigate your adult life, career, and motherhood in a God-honoring manner.
I cannot recommend this read highly enough, and I truly wish that I could have read it 10 years ago as I was launching into adulthood. There have been quite a few bumps and bruises along the way that may have been avoided had these elder voices been in my ear. So, if you are female and are seeking to honor God with your life and work, get your hands on this book.
Disclaimer-I was not paid or compensated for this review in any way. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.