Be at peace as women, be grateful for being made women, and see it all as an essential part of Christ’s mission and work.

Why It’s Great to Be a Woman

According to popular wisdom, ten thousand hours of deliberate practice are required for excellence in any field. After 20 years of homeschooling, 25 years of mothering, and 30 years of gardening and canning, I’m doing the math and wondering if mastery is even a possibility in any of these life compartments. Maybe a more realistic goal is gratitude for the way in which the hats I’ve worn and the dailiness of my duties have mastered me. Still, when you don’t know MLB batting averages or the Great Books or how to arrange living room furniture for delightful ambiance, it is reassuring to hear that the things you have given your hours to really matter.

Abigail Dodds has performed this service in the message of (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ where her stated purpose is to encourage women to “be at peace as women, to be grateful for being made women, and to see it all as an essential part of Christ’s mission and work.” (13) She laments the compartmentalization of Christian womanhood in which we are encouraged to “make femininity our entire life,” or, conversely, to try to “rise above womanhood as important humans, not silly women.” (13) In Christ, we are women in identity; women in action; and women in a free and fearless following, and this embrace of gender identity and the biblical role of women serves as the backbone of Dodds’s argument for a life of loving Truth and serving others.

Atypical Women

Elisabeth Elliot famously said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” With her outspoken manner and her laser-like logic, Elliot brought her own panache to the definition of what it means to be a “Christian woman,” and it turns out there’s room for everyone here. It is far better for a woman to focus on becoming Christlike than to become subject to purely cultural interpretations of how a true Christian woman looks or behaves.

“How we feel about being a woman doesn’t have any bearing on what we are. We may feel like we don’t fit the mold, but God calls us to live in a way that shatters the world’s expectations.” (61)

Too, more important than carrying a pink Bible or adhering to the visible signs and signals of the submissive woman is the need to embrace our role as image bearers of the God from whom both masculinity and femininity emanate and originate. We are first and foremost His. We are fallen, redeemed, and deeply dependent upon a righteousness that comes to us only through the cross. Any idea that womanhood is small and confining likely arises from confusion over what the Bible really says about being made a woman in God’s image, for it’s clear that both men and women are subject to limitations–and blessed by fullness of opportunity!

Women in All We Do

Dodds is straightforward in addressing current and controversial topics around gender and even takes on some of the more sensitive topics, exploding stereotypes around singleness, probing the tendency toward media obsession and distractedness in mothering, and looking squarely at the elephant in the room–submission. Her clear and concise definition of submission (“willingly placing yourself under the authority of another”) draws a straight line directly back to the submission of Christ to the Father, reminding both men and women that all Christians live and work under authority and we all submit to Christ first.

A highlight of Dodd’s good writing is her employment of creative metaphor in making a point. This summer when I look at my tall, majestic sunflowers, I will be remembering that the sunflower “gladly sways this way and that, turning its face wherever the sun shines. In so doing it assures its own growth.” By contrast, if a sunflower is not following the sun, any attempt to force it to change direction would snap it off at the stem. Submission forced upon someone from outside “is not submission; it is coercion.” (83)

Women, Free in Christ

As a wife, a mum to five, and a leader in her home church, Dodds brings her own experience as well as her conversations with other women into her offering of wisdom, and she encourages women to live our actual life and to do it with hope. We are all workers, we are all in the process of being transformed, and we are all disciples who are also called to be disciplers.

We are strong enough to bear children — and “weak” enough to cry when they leave home for the first time. We are wise and gifted, but we are also humble and receptive. Like Job, we are full of questions and even complaints, but we trust for grace to lay our hand over our mouth in humility as we lean into the hope of resurrection life. Most importantly, we are finite women, rooted in geography and circumstances, but we are indwelt by an infinite Christ, and it is this alone that makes us free to lean into our identity as Christian women and to hear and fulfill His unique calling to us with contentment and gratitude.


Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Grateful to be free, whole, and called in Christ,

Michele Morin

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

63 thoughts on “Why It’s Great to Be a Woman”

  1. Beautiful, Michele! I was a tomboy as a child and often struggled to embrace my feminine side! Over time, I’ve learned the blessings of being both a tomboy and a tender woman who likes to embrace my many very-female roles. This was a wonderful post!

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  2. I’ve been reading reviews of this book all over the place. This one, too, is on my to-read list. (You seem to read a lot of the books on my list!) Thank you for contributing your own review and, in so doing, also giving us excellent food for thought and encouraging TRUTH! (My favorite line in this post is: “Maybe a more realistic goal is gratitude for the way in which the hats I’ve worn and the dailiness of my duties have mastered me.”)

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    1. Jana, what impression are you gaining from the reviews? Have they been largely positive? I’d love to know how this book is hitting readers and reviewers. Your comment makes me think I need to hop on over to Amazon and do some research myself.
      And I can absolutely attest to the truth that my duties have mastered me in so many ways, and certainly far more than I have mastered any of them!

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  3. Looks like a great book to place on the”must read shelf. Loved this … “if a sunflower is not following the sun, any attempt to force it to change direction would snap it off at the stem. “

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  4. It sounds like there is lots of wisdom here! I love the point about focussing on being Christlike rather than about over what culture expects of us, and the sunflower metaphor is great too!

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  5. Beautifully written review of such an important book. This is a topic I am passionate about, yet don’t know exactly what I would like to say on the topic. Maybe because I am afraid of ruffling some feathers? I will be thinking about this review (and I HAVE to buy the book) for a long time.

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    1. I don’t usually stick my toe into this particular hot tub either, Laurie. The conversation leans toward shrill most of the time, but when someone offers a calm voice of reason with deep roots in Scripture, I’m game.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. On some level, this has become a tired topic. The church has been duking it out over the role of women for my entire life. Somehow, though, we forget to interject the true words from Scripture into the debate, and suddenly it’s all about ego and someone’s rights.
      I continually need the reminder that Jesus laid down his rights willingly and lovingly.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was very interesting Michele and I particularly enjoyed these words: We are strong enough to bear children — and “weak” enough to cry when they leave home for the first time. We are wise and gifted, but we are also humble and receptive. Never a truer word has been spoken! Thanks – #senisal

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  7. This discussion of our role as women is so powerful. It is such a tricky subject, one I struggle with in my church, and I appreciate the notion to fix my gaze on Jesus over all else.

    I really appreciated this video I watched with Rebekah Lyons and Jennie Allen about how they have avoided the “women in the church” debate with IF. https://youtu.be/bMSK6pxCtVA

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  8. “The fact that I am a wiman does not change who I am as a Christian but the fact that I am a Christian does change who I am as a woman.” I think I’m quoting that correctly. If so, it is truth. There’a lot packed into that comment. We are called to the same set of standards in Christianity, whether male or female. God makes us unique as women. If we take a look at the women in the Bible who responded to God ..whether it was Deborah as a judge or Abigail trying to protect her husband, He calls us to stay true to womanhood and He uses us where we are in our uniqueness.

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    1. Yes! I referred to that quote again in my FB video today because (amazingly) this is controversial stuff. Thanks for referring to those powerful examples of biblical women. My favorite is Huldah! She stepped into the spotlight, spoke the truth God gave her for that moment, and we never hear from her again, and yet she made it very clear where her Truth came from.
      Thanks so much for reading, Linda!

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  9. Michele, yes and amen. You’ve shared so much truth in this post. I appreciate how this author shares a biblical look at being a woman. This phrase struck me:

    the need to embrace our role as image bearers of the God from whom both masculinity and femininity emanate and originate.

    We do need to embrace our role as image bearers of God…He created us as women, and we can uniquely share aspects of His character with the word around us, just as men uniquely share attributes of God’s character.

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  10. Thanks for the great book review Michele! I love being a woman, and so happy with the way God made me and special ministry He’s given me as a woman. Adding this book to my list! Tweeted. 🙂 Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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  11. Thank you for the thoughtful book review, Michele. Abigail Dodds is no doubt providing important encouragement for today’s Christian woman. Her definition and explanation of what it means to submit is especially useful. Just recently I read another helpful definition of submission: voluntary selflessness. I can embrace that, because all of us–men and women–are called to that (Philippians 2:3-4). There’s no hint of subservience with such a definition. And if two people are always thinking of the other, the relationship is bound to be enhanced.

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  12. That is such a great quote from Elisabeth Elliot! Much wisdom in this post and in a time when we need wisdom in navigating our roles.

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  13. I have seen so much damage from the idea that a Christian woman must focus primarily on her femininity or on ‘overcoming’ it. This book seems to be more balanced and might prevent the problematic child-raising approaches that accompany those two attitudes. Thank you for the review.

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    1. There are so many ways we can inject our short sightedness into our view of biblical womanhood. The culture has permeated our thinking in so many ways that we’re no long aware of it. And I agree that it does impact on the way we parent. Great point.

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    1. You are such a sweet friend, Donna!
      And I know you are in for a real treat when you read the book. I used to listen to Elisabeth on the radio everyday, and her voice really came though in this transcription.

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  14. This sounds like a good book. I am interested in knowing what she says about single women and the church. I find there is still such a stigma at least in my part of the world.

    I was reading about women empowerment in my Lenten Bible plan this morning. Basically, the writer of the plan was pointing out that it was no mistake that the women found the empty tomb of Jesus. She was making the point that God is saying that women are valuable in the kingdom. It was quite enlightening. Thank you for showing us the way to many good reads.

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    1. Hi, Mary. I waited until this morning to answer this comment because I wanted to take time to share some quotes from Chapter 8 on Single Women. While she mentions singleness throughout, this devoted chapter includes these thoughts I highlighted:
      “I also want to encourage married women and mothers to come under the mentorship and wisdom of sings, not to believe the lie that singles aren’t qualified as counselors and mentors . . . give the single person the right to speak into their lives on any subject . . .”
      Apparently Abigail was mentored herself by a single woman, and she refers to singleness often as a gift.
      “He has give you himself, dear sister. Show us, show us all–married and single–that he is enough.”
      It’s a short chapter and I think skewed toward never-married singleness, but she does have some good thoughts.

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  15. Sounds like an excellent book! The meaning and blessings of our God-given genders are being so confused and distorted!

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  16. I obviously have no idea what it is like to be a man, but I do not I wouldn’t swap, having my third child almost cost me my life, but it was also the biggest blessing, having the privilege to carry a baby and give birth is something I will never take for granted. I love this “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” So very true! Thanks for sharing #ABloggingGoodTime

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  17. Some interesting quotes and thoughts Michele. It’s a huge topic (that may have been talked about forever) to open up and freely talk about. But absolutely yes…. free, whole, and exactly who we should be. Equals. Thank you for sharing this fascinating review and your wisdom to the #dreamteam.

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