When Debbie Morris, a young wife of a minister wanted a mentor, she turned to the women of the Bible. Through the stories of these women, Morris says the Holy Spirit revealed how their lives weren’t that much different from women today in their joys and struggles. In The Blessed Woman: Learning about Grace from the Women of the Bible, Morris invites readers to discover what they can learn from the women of the Bible. The book includes the stories of Eve, Mary, Hannah, Jael, Hagar, Zipporah, Esther, Miriam, the Widow of Zarepath, Rebekah, the Samaritan Women, and Naomi.
I received a copy of The Blessed Woman from the Waterbrook Multhomah Blogging for Books program, and these are my thoughts on the book.
Morris tells her own story and is vulnerable enough to share some of her most disappointing moments. She has a very conversational style that helps the reader feel like she is a friend talking over coffee. Sometimes I felt as if despite the warmth in the conversation, something deeper is missing, like her she really felt when she discovered he husband’s affair. She shares her story of seeking God in that time, but I wonder if she had moments when she doubted? Moments when she was angry?
The book has a study guide at the back so that it can be used in a small group setting and the 12-week format works well for that. The guide includes some discussion questions and a good amount of scripture support and scripture study for the topic of the week.
I really wanted to love the book. My heart longs to give a fellow author high marks. I love the idea of the book, and the subject matter. But I came away without a real sense of connection with the material. Some parts I loved, but in other places, despite my efforts to really engage, my feelings were just…well, “meh.”
I guess I was a little turned off by the ongoing mention of the ministry of Gateway Church, the megachurch pastored by Morris’s husband. Of course, since this ministry is central in the author’s life, and she and her husband planted the church, I would expect it to be mentioned. But the book is full of examples from women at Gateway. I think it would have been just as powerful if it didn’t mention how the author was connected to the women she profiled. I felt like the story of the “success” of Gateway church from church plant to megachurch of 24,000 in the context of a “dream life” distracted me.
My problem with the content mentioned above could all stem from some unidentified insecurity within myself, and perhaps another reader would have any trouble with it, so I hesitate to come across too harsh in my evaluation. Coming from a church of 200 people perhaps taints my perception of the megachurch environment.
This book reminds me a little of another book I review by Kathi Macias called “Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers Today” (2009) that has a similar premise. So, that may have also affected my perception of this book a bit, since I liked it very much and it set a high standard.
I think there will be many readers who really connect with this book and who find a heap of encouragement in the stories of the women of the Bible and in Morris’s story. Ultimately, how can any story with grace at the heart go wrong? The heart of the message is just what many women need to hear.
About the Author:
Debbie Morris is the executive pastor of women’s ministry at Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 24,000 active members. Debbie has been married for more than thirty years to Gateway’s founding senior pastor, Robert Morris, and they have three grown children.