Jul 27, 2012

"Feminine Appeal" Book Review for Feminine Friday

Ever read Titus 2 and wish you had your own personal "older woman" or mentor? I know I sure have. Perhaps you are a newly married woman and have moved to a new town where you don't know anyone yet. Or, you are a mom with young children and can't get out to a Bible study or even to visit a friend in this current season of life. Some seasons of life make looking for a mentor or even a godly friend challenging. Look no further! This book sits on my nightstand or kitchen counter and I read it often for encouragement and guidance during naptime or in the evening. It shouldn't replace our Bible study but it acts similar to a mentorship from an "older woman" by gently teaching us the principles of Titus 2 and how we should be living them out in our lives.

What exactly does Titus 2 say in regard to us ladies?

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."
Titus 2:3-5 (NASB)

I don't know about you but I do not wish to dishonor the word of God! In "Feminine Appeal" we learn exactly what each of the seven "good" teachings mean and how we can learn to practice them.

"The world doesn't judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our behavior."
 Page 27 "Feminine Appeal"

In "Feminine Appeal" you will read several chapters where Mrs. Mahaney describes her own journey toward a Titus 2 lifestyle through her courtship and early years of marriage and motherhood. I can relate as she describes her childhood dream was always to be a wife and mother. She describes how her husband, C.J. Mahaney proposed to her just three months after their first meeting. She shares about her mother and calls her "an excellent role model." When Mrs. Mahaney moved from Florida to Washington D.C. after she got married, she couldn't just drop in for tea at her mother's home for guidance and encouragement. She transparently writes that as a young wife and mother she felt, "inadequate and unprepared."

"No matter what your age or season of life  whether you are a grandmother or a high school student  this passage is applicable to you."
Page 20 "Feminine Appeal" ("this passage" being Titus 2:3-5)

In "Feminine Appeal" there are seven chapters devoted to the seven virtues of a Godly wife and mother:
  • The Delight of Loving My Husband
  • The Blessings of Loving My Children
  • The Safety of Self-Control
  • The Pleasure of Purity
  • The Honor of Working at Home
  • The Rewards of Kindness
  • The Beauty of Submission

"If we find our affection for our husband is waning or has subsided altogether, then we do not need to look any further than our own hearts. Where sin is present, warm affection dissipates."
Page 38 "Feminine Appeal"

Quotes about the book:
  • "I believe that this sense of confusion and distress among Christian women is because, by and large, we are profoundly disoriented about who God is and who we are, and about our calling and mission in life- as women." From the Forward by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
  • "This is Titus 2 at work  older women mentoring younger."    Randy and Nanci Alcorn
  • "Carolyn's warm, practical, biblical, God-centered approach offers the mature mentoring that women of all ages year for at times."   John and Noel Piper
  • "We love this book! It's a godsend for both wives and their husbands. It gives women a clear vision of biblical femininity and shows men what to encourage their wives towards."   Joshua and Shannon Harris

"I am convinced that no one has more potential to influence our children to receive and reflect the gospel than we do as mothers."
Page 61 "Feminine Appeal"
I found the praise for the book very inspiring before I ever even began reading! A book that encourages, mentors, and directs me to my calling? Yes please! But, I should add that this book is not filled with page after page of gushing over how amazing women are and how we deserve more accolades. In fact, there may be much conviction as you read her practical and pointed advice on following the Titus 2 passage. One such example is this:

Here she quotes Martha Peace as saying, "I have heard of women who pride themselves on being 'night people.' That means that they have trouble getting up in the mornings because they come alive at night...These women are not 'night people.' They are just lazy and selfish. Who would not rather stay up late to do whatever they pleased and sleep late the next day?"

Ouch! As Mrs. Mahaney so humbly remarks, "Guilty as charged!" Me too! We don't need a "chicken soup" type mentor who is afraid to actually teach us anything ladies! We need someone who will kindly but boldly teach what is good!

Mrs. Mahaney addresses the issue of empty-nesters and single women working in chapter six, "The Honor of Working at Home." She encourages single women to not make their workplace the "priority in your life" but to "make your residence a home, cultivate the domestic arts, and prayerfully consider how to use your home for outreach and care to others." The Proverbs 31 woman clearly pursued revenue opportunities outside her home, but also clearly not at the expense of her home and family. Mrs. Mahaney includes questions to ask yourself to determine your motives for working outside the home and to consider the consequences. Some questions are:
  • Are my reasons for considering this opportunity "selfish or God-honoring?"
  • "Will pursuing this venture glorify God and honor the gospel?"
  • "Is this an undertaking that will help my husband?"
  • "Will it enhance or enrich the lives of my family?"

"Questions like these will help us to make wise decisions, for it is imperative that we never lose sight of our primary obligation to our homes."
Page 105 "Feminine Appeal"

A wife and mother does not simply cease being a Titus 2 woman when her children can fix their own lunches or their children move out or if they never have children. A wife is a wife as long as her husband is alive and therefore should be keeping his home and cultivating an emotional enjoyment of him. Perhaps, young wives would know better how to cultivate these principles in their own lives if there were more Titus 2 women mentoring and teaching these virtues!

"Those of us who have been blessed with daughters have the opportunity, and, indeed, the obligation to emphasize the feminine qualities of Titus 2 in our teaching repertoire."
Page 23 "Feminine Appeal"

Mrs. Mahaney's book focuses directly on each of the seven listed virtues of a woman. She "encourages" or teaches through her experience and example, what each virtue looks like and how we can best honor God's word through our obedience to this passage.

"God has graced each of us with unique gifts that He intends for us to use to support our husbands. We are to contribute our ideas and suggestions, offer wisdom and insight, pray and encourage, as well as correct. When we carry out these acts of service in all humility, we help our husbands to lead and fulfill our biblical duty to submit."
Page 142 "Feminine Appeal"

I recommend this book to ladies that I know and highly recommend you take the time to read it yourself. I purchased mine on amazon at a reduced price because it was used. This is a very reasonable way to acquire this book but, perhaps, your library would be willing to locate it for you as an alternative. I truly hope that you will consider adding this book to your summer reading and will enjoy the benefits this book can bring to your life as much as I have!


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Consider the Lilies


  1. This is my all time favorite marriage book! I pick it up to read during nap time too, when I need a little encouragement.:)

  2. This is definitely going on my to-read list! Thank you for the review!

  3. WOW! Excellent review Shari! I will be buying this book! Have you ever read Created to be His Helpmeet? Similar idea using Titus 2 as a basis for our calling as women, wives, mothers :)

  4. I LOVE this book!! I love how transparent and open she is with the struggles that she had. It is such a great encouragement and wonderful study on Biblical womanhood :)


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