I would never have picked up More Than Enchanting on my own. I don’t think I’m in denial when I say that it has nothing to do with the black woman on the cover. It’s that I found the butterfly image freaky, and the title reminded me of one of those be-a-sweet-Proverbs-31-woman kind of titles. (The subtitle does help—Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World—but not enough.)
But Les bought it. He had been at the Fresh Expressions National Gathering and heard Jo Saxton speak. “You’ll love it. She’s amazing,” he said. It sat on my dresser, the picture weirding me out enough that on occasion I turned it face down. Four weeks later Les and I were at Exponential 2012, a church planting conference. Jo Saxton appeared in a video clip, maybe 3 minutes, and I was hooked. I came right home and began to read More Than Enchanting. Well worth the read, even if I did hide the cover while reading at Panera.
Saxton’s premise is that Christian women need to move forward into the leadership roles God has called them to and designed for them, even if others disagree. “We need to understand and embrace that a call to godly influence isn’t automatically masking worldly ambition or broken secular values, but is intrinsic to our God-given design” (emphasis added).
I especially appreciated Saxton’s discussion of the Hebrew word ezer, which gave us that feminine descriptor of “helpmeet” (when combined with the translation of neged—more on this later) in the King James Version of Genesis 2:18. Saxton points out that ezer comes from the root meaning “help,” (and is itself translated “help” far more often than “helper”). “Incredibly,” says Saxton, “the vast majority of times that this word appears are in reference to God, often when he is delivering his people. The woman is an ezer, and so is God. We’re made in his image, and his potential resides in us!” She explains that the word “is combination of two words, one meaning ‘to rescue’ ‘to save,’ the other meaning ‘to be strong.'”
Never again will I let someone use “helpmeet” in a belittling way toward me! This is also a term that describes my God!
And that word neged, translated “meet” or “suitable” or “just right”? Saxton didn’t cover it, but when I looked it up in a concordance after verifying Saxton’s take on ezer, I was startled to find that Genesis 2 is the only place that word is translated “suitable.” It means “in front of, in sight of, opposite to” and is translated “before” 60 times and “front” 15 times. It comes from a root that actually means “to be conspicuous”! This is no wallflower description. I am to be a strong rescuer in front of, or functioning opposite, my husband.
After empowering Christian women leaders, Saxton goes on to give great advice on how to live out our calling, how to ensure we handle difficult times well, and how to thrive in a man’s world and in different seasons of life. (She’s only in her late 30s, and so the seasons covered really only include singleness and married with kids. While she quotes others effectively throughout the book, it probably would have been helpful to employ a cowriter for a section for empty nesters as well. I’ve found that ministry and leadership opportunities change drastically in that stage.)
Saxton writes for Christian leaders, but she includes in that those who lead in a secular setting. So if you are a woman, and you are leading in some capacity, More Than Enchanting will invigorate you. And you might not even mind the cover.