When you flip through a history book, chances are there will be a good number of stories about the heroic men, the ones that saved their nation from invasion, or the ones that invented this device, or the ones that established this kind of thinking or education. To say that men play a dominant role in the pages of history is an understatement. But that doesn’t mean that the women were not there. Nor does it mean that they didn’t do something that shifted the course of history.
While our history books and movies may lean towards the masculine hero, Eric Metaxas has done something wonderful to help us see history as it really is. Yes, there are stories of great men that have done amazing things. Metaxas shares their story in 7 Men and The Secret Of Their Greatness (read our review here). But he wanted to give the women a voice, to reveal to the world the awesome power that seven different women had and how they changed the world. Not through a man, or by helping a man, but on their own. Eric Metaxas wants you, and people all over the world to know these 7 Women and The Secret Of Their Greatness.
For some, the 7 Women chosen by Metaxas would quickly spring to others’ minds as well when making a list of great women throughout history-and rightfully so. Regardless of their popularity, or lack thereof, these 7 Women prove to be wonderful and powerful examples in history of great women doing great things.
1. Joan of Arc, the teenage saviour of France, boldly moved by the word of God to do what no one thought was possible. Leading a hopeless army to numerous victories, this young woman changed the political landscape for two nations.
2. Susanna Wesley, the mother of the leaders of the Methodist denomination, suffered numerous life crippling tragedies, yet remained faithful and constant. She solely raised two men that would fundamentally alter the religious dynamic of two continents.
3. Hannah More, a woman of humble beginnings that rose to societal heights on her brilliant poetic words. She then used that power to fight for the African slaves alongside the great William Wilberforce.
4. Saint Maria of Paris, a Greek Orthodox nun, who did not conform to the normal behaviour of those dressed in a habit. But regardless of her dress, her drinking and smoking, and numerous divorces, she loved those around her so powerfully that she was granted sainthood.
5. Corrie ten Boom, a simple watch-smith in the 1940’s, who hid Jews in a secret room in her house during Nazi invasions. Though her life was on the line then, and in concentration camps, she displayed a heart of heavenly forgiveness that still resonates today.
6. Rosa Parks, the woman that was tired of segregation and political inequality, sat down in protest against the American law. Her willingness to stand up against injustice started a chain reaction that lead to the American Civil Rights Movement.
7. Mother Teresa, the very face of kindness and love for millions, held to a very simple mantra—to love everyone as if they were “Jesus in distressing disguise.” Her compassion for the poorest of the poor, and the victims of abortion, still rocks the world and changes hearts today.
There is so much more to these women than these two lines can offer. There is so much more to be shared about these great women that this book cannot contain. Yet, it is a brilliant example of how women have reshaped history on more than one occasion. Metaxas doesn’t want you to forget or ignore these 7 Women and The Secret Of Their Greatness. It would be a grave mistake if you did.
It seems to be a societal norm that young men look up to the older men for their role models and inspiration, as young women look to older women. There is nothing wrong with this. It has served humanity well to look to those wiser and more educated than us for lessons that we would otherwise miss.
But we would be a foolish people if we did not broaden our search for powerful and inspirational individuals to include those of the opposite sex, for the might, the determination, the strength of character and will that these 7 Women displayed in their lifetimes are not bound to a gender. These characteristics transcend beyond all peoples, male and female and challenge them to rise to a higher way of living. These 7 Women modelled an attitude and active life that anyone can, and should take up as their own, regardless of age, culture, economic position, education, and yes, even sex.
I was encouraged and empowered when I read Eric Metaxas’ 7 Men. Looking to strong role models helped inform who I am called to be as a man of God. But reading the stories of these 7 Women, I am humbled, not humiliated. I was not belittled by these women and their great sacrifices and struggles; I was humbled. These women acted with profound courage, the courage of knights in Arthurian legends. These women acted with divine purpose and conviction, like the prophets of old that spoke the unpopular word. These women acted and changed the course of human history in remarkable ways, all because of their love of God, and the love of their neighbour.
I would be lying if I said that it was not a prevailing male tendency to strong-arm our way towards change. We like to see our strength and might win us the change we desire to see. But these 7 Women are profound accounts of how it was not by might, nor by power that the world changed. It was love that caused kingdoms to fall, hearts to be softened, lives to be saved. I am humbled because I struggle to continually think and believe that way, that love is the most powerful force in the universe. It can be a difficult ideal to grasp and believe. But these 7 Women so embodied that reality, I feel that I must quietly walk behind them in their footsteps. If I am going to be obedient to the call of Christ, I must act as these 7 Women acted.
7 Women and The Secret of Their Greatness is a tremendous book. These mini-biographies will educate and illuminate these powerful women throughout our history and display the might that they exercised and how it changed our world. I highly recommend this book for all history buffs and works in the pastoral field. Man or woman, I guarantee you will enjoy this book. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”