Q&A With Author Stasi Eldredge
- 2005 11 Sep
In a recent q&a interview with Christianbook.com, author Stasi Eldredge discusses "Captivating" (Nelson Books), her groundbreaking book that shows readers the glorious design of women before the fall, describes how the feminine heart can be restored, and casts a vision for the power, freedom, and beauty of a woman released to be all she was meant to be.
Christianbook.com: Stasi, in "Captivating" you risk your very self by opening your heart to your readers. What inspired you to write this book?
Stasi Eldredge: I was inspired to write "Captivating" with John because of a love for God’s women. I’ve seen what a glorious impact "Wild at Heart" has had on men (and their marriages) and I so wanted women to experience that healing, and deeper intimacy with Christ which I’ve experienced. I believe that women are desperately needed to rise up and follow Jesus into their calling in ways that many have been unable to because of their broken hearts, and because of the crushing version of “godly woman” laid on them by the church. We need women who have come alive as women.
Christianbook.com: In "Wild at Heart" we learned that "in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue." What are the deepest desires and longings that are rooted in the heart of a woman?
Stasi: If you’ll watch the games that little girls play, if you’ll also look at the movies women love and listen to their deepest longings, we believe you’ll find that every woman longs to be Romanced, to play an Irreplaceable Role in a heroic adventure, and to Unveil Beauty.
Christianbook.com: What does the heart of woman teach us about the nature of God?
Stasi: Oh my ... where do we begin?! How important to remember that Eve, also, bears the image of God. She speaks things about God that only a woman can speak. Through women we see that relationship matters so much to Him. That he is Beauty, through and through. Tenderness, and mercy. Fierce devotion. That God loves Romance, and adventures to share!
Christianbook.com: In "Wild at Heart" we learned that, in their most honest moments, men question "if they have what it takes." Is there a corresponding question that resides near the heart of a woman’s soul? If so, how does their Creator provide an answer to that question?
Stasi: Deep in the heart of every little girl, and every woman is the Question, "Am I lovely? Do you enjoy me? Am I worth pursuing, worth fighting for? Am I captivating?" The way this question was answered for each of us as little girls and as women has shaped us into the women we are today. The healing of our feminine heart begins as we take our Question to God, to let him answer the deepest questions of a woman’s heart with a resounding YES!
Christianbook.com: You mention that fathers play an essential role in helping women answer their question and discover their identity. How can fathers help convince their daughters they are Captivating?
Stasi: Fathers can help their daughters believe they are captivating by telling them often, with and without words, that they are lovely – that they are worth fighting for! A father who pays attention to his daughter, knows her, enjoys her and spends time with her is giving both her and the world a great gift.
Christianbook.com: How can the church come alongside of women and help reawaken their hearts?
Stasi: First, we need to recover a biblical view of femininity. Most women in the church get the message that God put you here to be a "good servant," to be a disciplined and busy woman, to be efficient. That is soul killing. The church can help reawaken women’s hearts by first acknowledging their God-given desires for Romance, to play and Irreplaceable Role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty are from him! They are the secret to a woman’s life. The church can validate a woman’s desires, invite her up to discover her unique feminine calling and encourage her to play her irreplaceable role. The church also has the powerful position of being able to minister Jesus’ healing to women!
Christianbook.com: Why has our Adversary, from the first day on, set his sights on Eve and her daughters?
Stasi: Satan hates Eve and her daughters for two primary reasons. First because Eve is beautiful and he is not. Satan fell because of his pride. He was once stunningly beautiful and now, he is not. He hates beauty in all of its forms but primarily in woman as an image bearer of God. She is an incarnation of the beauty of God, and he hates it with a jealousy we don’t yet understand.
Secondly, Eve brings forth life, both physically and soulfully. Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of death. He was a murderer from the beginning. Eve is a huge threat to Satan. (It’s worth noting that both Adam and Eve are targets of the enemy because of his deep hatred for God. He knows that in order to hurt God the most, he need only aim his malice at God’s Beloved.) But a woman will not understand the story of her life until she understands that she has an enemy.
Christianbook.com: Why is a deep understanding of Jesus’ mission and ministry essential to the restoration of a woman’s heart?
Stasi: We believe we’ve missed the central mission of Jesus for too many years. Why did he come? What is "salvation" all about? He described his mission himself in Isaiah 61 (the passage he pointed to on the day he announced his mission in Luke 4). It speaks of a restoration and release of our hearts. What a difference it would make in a woman’s life to know – really know – that her heart matters to God and that healing is possible! Jesus says her heart is the priority of the Kingdom of God.
Christianbook.com: Let’s pick up an insightful question you raise in "Captivating." "Why did God curse Eve with loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill?"
Stasi: God cursed Eve with a loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill in order to SAVE HER. Eve’s deep longing for relationship and her profound relational ache is part of the grace given to her by God to drive her to Jesus. Women try and fill it with everything else – with food, or fantasies, with people (they can never be enough) or shopping. Only God will satisfy her deepest heart.
Christianbook.com: It is wonderful that we serve a God who not only allows us to be wounded, but clearly provides a path to our restoration. What are the most essential steps that lead towards the healing of a woman’s wound?
Stasi: Some of the most essential steps that lead towards the healing of a woman’s soul are to first, admit the woundedness. For some women, her wounds may not be blatant or her wounds may be buried. A woman needs to ask God to reveal them to her and then ask Him to come and to heal her. It is not helpful for a woman to diminish her sorrows. Every woman has experienced sorrow that is valid and needs to be grieved. Allowing the weight of the wounds to be felt, is a first step to having those wounds healed.
Christianbook.com: Why is the alluring beauty of woman most clearly revealed in the midst of pursuit?
Stasi: A woman is most beautiful when she knows that she is loved. When a woman is pursued by a good man, a question in her deep heart is answered in the affirmative. She is wanted. She is thought to be worth pursuing. Something in her soul quiets and is allowed to rest. A woman is most beautiful when she is at rest.
Christianbook.com: Why is beauty "the most misunderstood of all the feminine qualities?"
Stasi: Beauty is the most misunderstood of all feminine qualities. Women are led to believe that beauty is a matter of external qualities alone and that the externals are of the utmost importance. We women also have a hard time believing that we possess any great beauty of our own. The truth is, that as image bearers of our gorgeous God, every woman possesses beauty. That beauty first, is a quality of soul. It is beauty that emerges and grows over time as a woman walks with God. And that inner beauty, makes itself known in the external as well. As Hopkins said, “Self flashes off frame and face.”
Christianbook.com: How does true feminine beauty arouse the men in women’s lives?
Stasi: True feminine beauty arouses men to “play the man”. There’s a great line Jack Nicholson speaks to Helen Hunt at the end of "As Good as it Gets": "You make me want to be a better man." A woman who is inviting, tender and vulnerable is not demanding or controlling. She inspires men to be strong, to offer their strength; physically, soulfully and spiritually on behalf of others. She believes in the men in her life and her very support and invitation encourages the men to believe in themselves.
Christianbook.com: What is an inviting, arousing woman like?
Stasi: An inviting, arousing woman is a woman who is alive and present to her own heart. She is a woman who is not striving but is at rest in the love of God. She knows that she is loved passionately, by a passionate God, and she knows that she is safe in his love. She can risk offering her true heart, being vulnerable and tender, and invite others into deeper intimacy with and healing from Jesus.
Stasi Eldredge, who is passionate about mentoring women in finding their true identity as the Beloved of Christ, has been leading women's Bible studies for years. With a BA in Sociology and formerly on staff with Youth for Christ, Stasi now leads the women's ministry of Ransomed Heart. She has been married to John for nineteen years, and home schools their three sons with her great love for storytelling.