Young ladies in our society, not excluding those in the church, are fed a steady diet of lies about womanhood. So determined to suppress truth, the culture is more than willing to risk an array of blatant contradictions that undermines its own facade.
Social media influencers, for example, proudly exploit their own bodies in monetized selfies captioned with tired bromides of inner-love and the irrelevance of appearance. Feminists ardently fight for the freedom to allow a young woman to kill a child in her womb, but excoriate female public figures who exercise biblical values. And any remaining vestige of coherent and sound reason is swallowed whole by the shape-shifting abyss of transgenderism.
Aware of these deceptive societal pressures, author and ACBC-certified biblical counselor Yvonne Hanson resolved to provide a resource for her own daughters. Consequently, a book was conceived, followed shortly thereafter by an accompanying workbook to complete the curriculum for a class aimed at high school girls in her church and supplemented by other women mentoring and teaching them practical skills. The simplicity and genius of Rare: A Young Woman Who Fears the Lord lies in the clear presentation of the fully sufficient Word of God specifically brought to bear in the context of womanhood among young ladies who love the Lord and desire pure lives that glorify Him through this God-given identity. Hanson compiles the direct biblical principles that explicitly address this contingent of the church, but she also adeptly wields truths from broader doctrines—with warmhearted tenderness, yet the utmost urgency. She rightly recognizes this critical stage for girls on the cusp of adulthood as it crucially sets the habits and patterns that will inaugurate their lives as women, especially in light of the world’s targeted attacks, for which young ladies must understand who God has designed them to be in Christ and within the context of the local body.
The book separates into four main sections; the first lays the foundation where readers are introduced to the heart and learn the critical nature of guarding it from both external influences and internal corruption. The obstacles to a young woman’s pursuit of holiness are tackled along with tools to combat these hindrances. Hanson observes, “Our ability to shut off the desires of the flesh and live in obedience to the Spirit swings on the hinge of renewing our minds.” The necessity of fearing God within the framework of sanctification follows, culminating in a gospel presentation that purposely highlights the picture of the Bride for whom the Groom died to make entirely pure and marriageable. Only at this juncture, after giving the reader a schema from which to examine the condition of her heart, does she expound on the gospel.
After this call to honest self-examination and applicable repentance, Hanson’s next section addresses godly change through the spiritual disciplines, including a highly-appreciated emphasis on prayer. Chapters covering biblical contentment and love follow, as she poignantly and practically encourages with pearls like the following:
Love never stops hoping for spiritual revival, growth, and maturity in the heart of the other person. This hope is so powerful that it enables the one who loves to overlook the negative behavior to such a degree that they can treat the unloving person with the same attitude and consideration as if they had already made the change.
The latter half of the book delves into the specifics of biblical femininity by clearly defining it and revealing its proper outworking in the aspects of beauty, modesty, and comportment in the third section, and the roles of wifehood and motherhood in the final part, which crescendo into a heartfelt plea from a mother to her spiritual daughters on what kind of man to consider for marriage.
Hanson certainly possesses the marks of an excellent teacher—namely, the ability to grasp profound truth and distill and deliver its content in an easy-to-follow and conversational manner. Her personal anecdotes peppered throughout the book offer hope and encouragement. She masterfully and uncompromisingly presents truth that could easily offend with a winsome and delicate manner. This book speaks truth in love. Her genuine concern pulls the eye on each page, and her heavy use of accurately-handled Scripture proves her to be a faithful vessel, and the book, a revisited reference. The book title’s inspiration, Proverbs 31:10, infers that a woman of virtue is hard to find. By God’s grace, this hidden gem certainly seeks to bridge that gap.
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