Over a year ago I saw an ad for a new book being released in 2014, The Measure of Success:Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work and the Home by Carolyn McCulley with Nora Shanks. My initial reaction to another book about women for women written by women was

“O great, another book for women about women and work written by women. 

I confess I was judging a book by its cover and the title. I’ve read many books about women, should they work outside the home? should they stay home? the questions for women today about work usually boil down to those two questions. Having made my choice twenty-eight years ago I wasn’t inclined to read another book on the topic. 

The book was released earlier this year and a few weeks ago there was a one day sale on the e-book version. I opened my purse reasoning I could spare the $0.99. Little did I know it would the best less than a dollar I’ve spent this year. My first assumptions on this book were proven wrong in the first few pages.

McCulley is single and a proud aunt. Her friend Nora who wrote with her works as a health consultant and is married with two children. This book is written from two different perspectives which I found to be the best part of this book. Their stories are intertwined throughout. This quote early in the book sealed the deal in me finishing it.

Women should work and work hard everyday to the glory of God in the home and in the marketplace.

Their reason for writing a book on work and success

To help women in all stages of life think clearly about the God-given gifts and opportunities they have, and how to invest those individual and specific situations in light of eternity.

As I write this review, I think of my mom, who was wife and mother all her life. She was a farmer’s wife, working in the garden, canning all summer, taking care of three girls and investing her life in her family. To this day she works very hard.

The Measure of Success is divided into three sections

  • The story of work which I found fascinating. The authors trace the story of work through its history and culture.
  • The theology of work. Who knew work and theology go hand in hand?
  • The life cycle of work, helping the reader to apply all work principles to all seasons and stages of a woman’s life.

Something I’ve encouraged women over the years is thoroughly explained in this book. The fact women are made in the image of God, finding our identity in Jesus Christ saved for all eternity. Our roles as daughter, sister, wife, mother and employee will change but our identity in Christ will never change. Labels should not define us.

The idea the “home moved from being a place of productivity to a place of consumption” was eye-opening. I agree with the authors our homes should be a place where family and friends are well-taken care, where good food is shared and a place for our tired families to find rest. I was encouraged in the theology of work, learning God’s purpose for work, why I need rest from working along with the topic of ambition and following Christ as a woman. Ambition is a good trait if used correctly in the light of working for God’s purposes. God designed us all to work and work with a purpose.

I was thrilled to learn a new name for the empty nest. Yes, children leave and the nest empties, but the nest is now open for the mother to be available to many more opportunities to work and minister. Life does not end when full-time mothering ceases. Looking forward to an open nest.

The last section gives practical help and examples on how to launch a young woman into a successful working adult. Interwoven throughout the book are biblical examples of women who work including Lydia, the purple seller and the Proverbs 31 woman.

Thank you to Carolyn and Nora to a well-written, thought-provoking book which I highly recommend. It will be the last time I judge a book by its cover.