Made Like Martha, by Katie M. Reid
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Waterbrook/Net Gallery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
When I was reading this book, as someone well acquainted with the cultural importance of the sons of Martha , my main thought concerning the materials from my own perspective was: Has this author forgotten that there were sons of Martha and not only daughters of Martha? Like so many other books written and published in the contemporary period, this book is written by women, about women, and for women, and seems to totally forget that the struggles faced by anxious and try hard daughters of Martha are struggles faced by men as well. This book exists in that realm where only women have the problems and share some sort of sisterhood encouraging each other. Why this society came to exist when it came to books is mysterious to me and deeply unpleasant no less, and it greatly hindered my enjoyment of this book. That is not to say that this book is worthless by any means, but rather that it misses a big opportunity to talk about a human problem and instead writes about it as if it was a woman’s problem, like so many other books written nowadays.
This book’s material takes up about 200 pages or so in the version of the book I read, though it may be longer in print. After a foreword that shows how relatable the author’s perspective is to women, the book is divided into four parts. The first part deals with striving (I) and contains chapters on God’s love for the doer’s heart (1), a discussion of the conflict between worry and worship (2), and the heavy burden carried by the anxious (3). The second part of the book deals with sitting (II) and looks at the completed work of the cross (4), grace with no strings attached (5), and enjoying one’s spiritual inheritance (6). The third part of the book deals with standing (III) and contains chapters on stewarding without overdoing it (7), rest for the try-hard soul in the Sabbath (8), living settled when one is busy (9), and serving from a place of strength and peace (10) rather than neediness and anxiety. The fourth part of the book consists of a Bible Study for individuals and groups that is five parts long and that examines some NT passages.
Given that the book suffers the limitations from being written only with women in mind (a major shortcoming when a male reader is the one reading and reviewing it) and has a fairly standard ignorance of and neglect of the Hebrew Old Testament, where a fuller explanation of the Sabbath would be a major aid to the author’s argument about rest and peace for harried women, this book manages to succeed rather well despite these shortcomings. Normally, the author’s discussion of easy grace would be a bigger problem, but since the author is writing to an audience of try-hards who will already be doing good works out of gratitude, this concern is not as urgent as it would be in general with regards to false ragamuffin gospels. While this book is certainly not as good as it could have been had the author been cognizant of the emotional world beyond her circle of harried and busy sisters, there are many women who are overburdened and who very much do need to feel the peace that comes from trusting in God and Jesus Christ and in working out of gratitude and not feeling as if they are hired help within the household, and so for that group of people in that situation–a large group of people, sadly–this book has a guarded recommendation.
 See, for example: