I never liked history until I started learning about people instead of just dates and events. Stories are powerful teaching tools for me, and Michelle DeRusha’s book, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know, is a valuable resource for families, churches, and individuals who want to inspire their spiritual journeys. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from Baker Publishing in exchange for my review.)
I did not grow up in the church, so stories of faith that some may have known since middle childhood and the teen years are still new to me. DeRusha’s book chronicles women who lived from the 11th Century to the 21st Century and paints a picture of the spiritual experiences that shaped them. With many of the women, DeRusha’s short biographies were a catalyst to find out more information, especially writers like Dorothy Sayers and Flannery O’Connor, names I know but have never read.
50 Women contains familiar names like Corrie ten Boom and Mother Teresa and less familiar ones like Hildegard of Bingen, a German nun, and Phoebe Palmer, founder of New York City’s Five Points Mission. How a person even chooses 50 stories for a project like this is a feat I can applaud. I’ve never had so much fun learning history.
It’s a daunting book, not because the stories are dull but because they are rich. I found that if I read too many stories in a row, I became overwhelmed, both by the amount of information and the challenge to my own life. A glut of inspiring stories is dangerous to a comfortable life.
And yet, so many of the women lived ordinary lives that reflected an extraordinary obedience. Many of the stories were connected through time, as women influenced each other’s journeys. And all of them have application for women today.
I could see this book as a homeschool resource or maybe even a Sunday School resource. I think it also could be read devotionally. Each story is short and could be used weekly to encourage an individual’s spiritual walk.
I have great respect for the author of this book. The amount of information she must have had to condense into a few pages for each woman’s life!
Don’t be intimidated by a book of this size and quality. Let it enrich your spiritual life.