Friday, September 6, 2002
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.
In the classic Academy award-winning movie, Chariots of Fire, the heroic runner, Eric Liddel was asked, “Where do you get the power to run races so fast?” The Olympic Champion and devoted Christian replied, “It comes from within.” His remarks remind us that power-unlike celebrity status or fame-cannot be conferred. The kind of power that Liddel was talking about –moral strength, fortitude and resilience –has to come from within. And, every time we put our values into practice in our lives and in our decision-making, our power is strengthened.
Radical feminists have argued for decades that women should pursue power externally-in the marketplace, in relationships, in monetary terms. According to today’s conventional wisdom, women have never been anything more than an oppressed class of people. Yet, history is replete with examples of women who have had powerful impact on the world around them.
For instance: Most of us are familiar with Margaret Thatcher, Corrie ten Boom, Susanna Wesley, Mother Teresa, Catherine Booth.
Others are not so familiar: Narcissa Whitman was the first white woman to go into the Oregon Territory in the 1830s-a cultured beauty, born to wealth and privilege, she went as a missionary pioneer to the Indians. She and her husband Marcus brought civilization to that region before being brutally massacred by those who were benefiting from their medical care and educational services.
Or Bobbi McCaughey-mother of septuplets. Many people asked her why she didn’t undergo “selective reduction”-killing some of the babies so that the others would have a better chance of surviving. Her response -“How can you decide to have this one and not have that one? They are all babies and I was going to have them all.”
Or Jeannine Brabon-Who lives under daily death threats amid the drug culture and internal wars of Colombia-going into the Bellavista Prison-commonly called the “Jaws of Hell”-to minister to the inmates. Forty inmates are studying at the prison’s Bible Institute that Jeannine founded-and 160 have graduated!
And what about Harriett Beecher Stowe? Detailing the awful scenes and bitter sorrow of her son’s death, Stowe put a human face on slavery in her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin and thus transfixed a nation’s perception of the plight of African Americans.
“It was at his dying bed and at his grave that I learned what a poor slave mother may feel when her child is torn from her,” she said. “I could never be consoled for the loss of little Charley unless this crushing of my own heart might enable me to work out some great good to others.”
These women illustrate the many wonderful ways that godly women have changed and are changing the world-not for the selfish purpose of becoming merely “powerful,” but to show God’s power through their lives.
In a nutshell, that is the theme of the book that I co-authored with Mrs. Beverly LaHaye-a book by Harvest House publishers that has just come out in paperback and is available through our website (www.beverlylahayeinstitute.org) or at your local bookstores. The paperback has a new title, The Strength of a Godly Woman: Finding Your Unique Place in God’s Plan.
Designated as Inspirational Book of the Month by the Conservative Book Club, the book features biblically-based fictionalized accounts of the five women who are mentioned in Christ’s genealogy. Three of the women were flawed and not typical role models -Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba-nevertheless, there are lessons to learn from their lives. The other two-Ruth and Mary-were ordinary women, though wonderful role models who teach us important lessons as well.
From their stories, the book moves to discuss two of the human strengths in each of these women that God used to accomplish His purposes-qualities like courage, fortitude, wisdom, boldness, devotion, purity and humility among others.
The message of the book is such a meaningful one for women today, perhaps you’ll consider giving copies to the women who are important in your life. Several reviewers have recommended the book for women’s small group Bible Studies. I hope that you will spread the word to your friends and colleagues that “this is a book that will enable women to experience God’s strength in their lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.”
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“This is a book of encouragement and hope.”-Vonette Bright, Co-Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ
“I couldn’t put it down. It’s been years since a book affected me so deeply.”-Mark Daniels, host of “On the Mark,” WFIL-AM in Philadelphia
“Beverly LaHaye and Janice Crouse have written an extraordinarily insightful book that I highly recommend. I believe that God will inspire each reader through the stories and lessons shared in The Strength of a Godly Woman.“-Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse