One wonderful thing about being stuck at home with sick kids is the amount of STUFF a person can get done. Organized my closet, caught up on the laundry thanks to my Stev-o, updated resumes, cleaned the office, made delicious chicken noodle soup, worked on the budget, wrote some curriculum, caught up on good reading, cuddled my sweet girl, and watched tons of Little House on the Praire. If women didn't have to work outside the home- look what we could do! :)
So, picked up a couple books at Women of Faith. Cindy tried to stop me, she blocked the booth with her body and shouted scriptures about self control, frugality, and false idols- but I still succumbed and was too much for her. Both books were written by Lisa Harper, a woman I had not read or heard of before, but her concluding speech at the conference stirred my interest and I wanted to see what she was about. She has a very decorated and impressive resume, but that can be misleading.
This particular book, What Every Girl Wants is "a portrait of perfect love and intimacy in the Song of Solomon" and I thought that sounded interesting. My TAG girls jokingly say they want to do a study on this feisty piece of scripture all the time...and let's be honest, we all know they aren't joking! So I have been looking for material that might work for us, and Ms. Harper's book looked promising. The premise of it being how Song of Solomon can be a revelation of the "level of intimacy God desires with US."
The first chapter I could feel myself bristling as she used quotes from "fluffy" writers like John Eldredge and pop culture references. I had to ask God to give me "unity not uniformity" feelings as I tried to keep an open mind, and He was kind enough to provide me with more references she used that I liked better. Dr. John Murray and C.S.Lewis brought me comfort. :)I know, I am working on my ultra-dogmatic ideals, but I am who I am, right?
The second chapter is what won me over. This isn't a scholarly text or commentary on Song of Solomon, and once I decided to read it as it was intended- just something to remind us of how crazy in love God is for us- I loved it. Lisa Harper reminds us that God passionately pursues us, thinks we are beautiful, seeks us out and wants us not to grow stagnant in our walk with Him. All wonderful things. One of my favorite images she gave was in regards to how God views us. As women, we often are so dissatisfied with ourselves that when someone offers a compliment we say things like "You must need glasses." How often do we let our failures and insecurities cause us to do the same thing to God when He whispers how much He loves us in spite of our flaws?
Here is what Lisa said: "One of the greatest truths we can glean from this (Song of Solomon) ancient, colorful prose is that God is wearing glasses. Rose-colored glasses tinted with the blood of Christ. And through those glasses our Beholder finds us beautiful." (page 20)
She goes on to draw a parallel to Solomon's bride's cold shoulder in 5:2-3 to our apathy and indifference to the Spirit's movement in our lives in a chapter called "When Delight Turns to Drudgery". This is the chapter that held my favorite quote from her because it paints a clear 'Plan of Care' in nursing terms as to the best way to a healthy walk: "Apathy is a dangerous disease that hardens spiritual arteries and causes heart failure. The most effective prescription for it is a dose of repentance, swallowed with humility. And gratitude has been found to be very effective in preventing it". (page 79)
Through out the book she sprinkles related passages and concepts from the Scriptures, and questions or opportunities for the reader to jot down thoughts or feelings. Would I use this book for a small group study? Probably not. Would I pass it on to a girlfriend for a lonely Friday night reading? Most definitely. I think Lisa Harper accomplished her purpose for this book- to remind Christians that the Bible isn't something to snore through, and that God is totally in love with His children. I know it got me reading passages I hadn't read in a long time, and studying the Old Testament with a new vigor.
She sums it up best with her own concluding words: "Ultimately I pray these pages have revealed another facet of God's heart for you, one that reflects the shimmering beauty of His perfect love and the divine intimacy our all-too-human souls are longing for."
Borrow this one from me, or you can buy it from her website- www.lisaharper.net or amazon. Now I am off to hang out with her again in the book, A Perfect Mess by Lisa Harper. Just the title for a girl like me. I'll let you know how it goes. :)
"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." Song of Solomon 2:4
(All quotes taken from "What Every Girl Wants" by Lisa Harper, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright 2006)