On women (page 2):
One especially troubling complaint of our time is there is no commonality among women. Across cultures and countries and even in our own neighborhoods, we women have become so diverse and so separated in our lifestyles, interests, and preoccupations that rarely do we have a friend such as our mothers had over the back fence, a neighbor to visit, to love, and to talk with. . . . We must not let the modern world isolate, fragment, or distance us from those we can love and serve.
. . . because of the increasing diversity of lifestyles for women of today, we seem even more uncertain and less secure with each other. We are getting not closer but further away from that sense of community and sisterhood that has sustained us and given us unique strengths for generations. There seems to be an increase in our competitiveness and a decrease in our generosity with one another. . . . [continuing on page 42] So as long as we are committed to living righteously and with faithful devotion, we should celebrate these divine differences, knowing they are a gift from God. We must not feel so frightened; we must not be so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth."
On mothering (pages 58-59):
Some women give birth and raise children but never "mother" them. Others, whom I love with all my heart, "mother" all their lives but have never given birth. Therefore, we must understand that however we accomplish it, parenthood is the highest of callings, the holiest of assignments.
. . . it is our sacred obligation to identify [our eternal nature] and to teach it to our young sisters and daughters. [Then on page 59] . . . we can provide some of that divine pattern, that maternal prototype, for each other and for those who come after us. Whatever our circumstance, we can reach out, touch, hold, lift, nurture -- but we cannot do it in isolation. We need a community of sisters stilling the soul and binding the wounds of fragmentation.
Being there and loving [children] is our specific assignment in those years when a mother is needed most, though it seems to me a mother is always needed. These are not grandma's years, or a day care's years, or years with any other caretakers, no matter how competent they may be. I believe with all of my heart that during those years our most important task is simply to be there!
On prayer (page 7):
. . . if it is a high priority and a fundamental goal in your life, you will find ways, early or late, to be with God. If the key to your car or your mortgage payment check or a child were lost, would you take time to find them? Wouldn't finding them provide that peace you needed to then go about your day? . . . .
If you believed that your earthly father could could comfort any heartache, heal any illness, solve any problem, or just be with you through the crucibles of life, wouldn't you call to him constantly? I am just childish enough to believe that our Father in Heaven can bless us in all those ways. The price to be paid for this kind of communion is time and your best powers of concentration, but by that investment you may offset untold hours, days, weeks, and months of struggle or sorrow or pain (pages 7-8 ).
On my purpose (page 19):
And while one purpose may seem more pleasant or important than another, this really is not so. All purposes are absolutely essential and important in the body of Christ. And all purposes lead to one thing: individual happiness.
On pain (pages 30-31):
And do not be deceived into thinking that even though there are different and seemingly unfair paths in life, that in the end we all get the same pasture. Your pasture will compensate for your path, and my pasture will compensate for my path. . . . Whatever blessings you have gone without will be made up to you in divine and glorious fashion. I give you every assurance, they will be made up to you to the point where you will not be confident that God treated you fairly but embarrassed that he treated you so very generously.
On marriage and being submissive (pages 103 - 106):
At first I was a little offended with the word subjection. . . . . . . I began a search for what the Lord had called "the hidden man [or woman] of the heart, [even] that which was not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and a quiet spirit." For the first time in my life I saw "subjection" as a virtue, a synonym for "meekness" and "a quiet spirit." I felt subjection -- to God and then to others, including my husband -- to be astonishingly liberating. . . . If we choose to recognize only the negative aspects of such words as submit, subject, and obey, it is little wonder that women recoil at their mere mention. But if we look up the word submission in any good thesaurus, we will see the synonyms patient, humble, softness, lamb-like-ness. These words fairly shout the discipleship of Christ!
The older I become, the more I see that marriage is not a contest of wills but an orderly way to have a profound relationship. It is learning how to support each other in being the highest and holiest we can become. It is learning the true meaning and beauty and glory behind the word submission for both men and women.
Update 3/28/11: Heather over at Women in the Scriptures referenced One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ. I read it last night and it's pretty much my favorite chapter in this book if you want to read it without buying the book!