This is on the list of 15 books that have made a lasting impression on me. Since I discovered Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund about 25 years ago, I have read it several times. My copy is stained with some sort of a spill – water or coffee. The title is taken from Proverbs 31, where Solomon describes the ideal woman. Busy, organized, spiritual – a person in her own right, but supportive and caring for her husband and family. “Her husband calls her blessed, and her children also.”
This book was just what I needed in 1984 as I struggled to be wife, mother, stepmom, grandma, working woman, church woman, spiritual woman (there’s a difference), and trying so so hard to find out what God had planned for me. I was a mess of fragmented pieces. It may sound cliched to say a book changed my life, but this one did.
Anne Ortlund wrote this little book in 1977. It’s about the disciplines of getting to Christian maturity. She says, “Our sensuous age forgets that feelings come and feelings leave you but the disciplines of life are what get you to where you want to go.” And it’s about organization. She devotes one chapter to describing her notebook/calendar … ten years before day planners went on the market.
She gives practical suggestions on everything from managing a schedule (to avoid being overwhelmed with activities) to maintaining a wardrobe (to avoid spending hours deciding what to wear). But most importantly, she writes about choosing priorities. Solomon says a beautiful woman gives her life to God, family (including church family) and the needy people of the world.
I Googled Anne Ortlund to see what she’s doing nowadays. She is still a part of Renewal Ministries, begun by her husband Ray, who died in 2007. She continues to host spiritual retreats for women at her home in Newport Beach, California, and to disciple women one-on-one.