Undone: Freeing Your Feminine Heart from the Knots of Fear and Shame

Undone: Freeing Your Feminine Heart from the Knots of Fear and Shame

[NOTE: This book features a chapter written by Jennifer Settle, director of programs for Theology of the Body Institute.]

Last year for Christmas, my husband and I decided to replace our old swing set (which we affectionately named the death trap) with a brand new one. My idea of a new swing set was a fancy kit you buy at the wholesale warehouse and easily assemble in a day. My husband had a different idea.

To my surprise, a giant lumber truck showed up in front of the house instead. Apparently, my industrious better half was planning to design and build his own swing set. As he pulled out the plans, it was clear that this build was going to be one massive undertaking. Enlisting the help of our reluctant teenage boys, he spent our Christmas break building the triple decker monstrosity fully equipped with playhouses, slide, swings, rock wall and monkey bars.

After the fifth day of backbreaking work, everyone was a little on edge. Cracking open the back door at dusk, I asked him a simple question. My husband, who was straining to hear me as he balanced on a ladder, stepped backwards into big bucket of screws. Hundreds of tiny screws showered the lawn. My normally patient husband completely lost his temper. After unwillingly sacrificing my entire holiday vacation to this project, I could not hold in my frustration any longer.

Just as I was about to give him a piece of my mind, my 5-year-old daughter pushed past me, flinging open the door to the backyard. Standing right under the ladder, where her dad was balancing, she exclaimed, “Oh Daddy, I am so sorry! You have been working so hard building the playset to make us happy. You are such a good daddy. I will pick up all of these screws for you.” 

In my sweet daughter, Elle, I caught a glimpse of the feminine genius. The feminine heart that in a moment of courage opened the door to love and grace, loosening the knots that had tangled our week.

Mary, the young, virgin Mother of God, and our mother, is the archetype of complete openness to the love of God through the Holy Spirit. She is the feminine genius. Her model of radical receptivity offers humanity, and in a special way woman, a path to authentic freedom. 

Undone: Freeing Your Feminine Heart from the Knots of Fear and Shame (Ave Maria Press) (get the book here) is a collection of stories by women, who fling open the door to grace through Mary’s model of feminine receptivity. The brave women, who tell these stories, vulnerably share their struggles with marriage, betrayal, abortion, adoption, infertility, rejection, abandonment, virginity, motherhood, miscarriage, fear, life-threatening illness, purity, body image and depression.

In addition to these redemptive stories, this book includes guided reflections and contemplative prayer exercises to allow you to journey deeper into wholeness. The women in this book, like Eve, once grasped at worldly knowledge, falling into the serpent’s alluring and deceptive trap, where lies, sin, and shame tangled their fragile hearts into dreadful knots. However, their knots of sin and shame were not the end of their story. They humbly learned that they were a part of a bigger story. A story that stretched over salvation history and hinged on the courage of one woman, who completely opened herself to grace.

By wading deeply into the redemptive reality of Mary’s yes, the women who tell these stories lifted the veil to glimpse into the mystery of their intricate feminine identity. Boldly they invite each of us to join them in becoming undone. Flinging open the door, much like my daughter Elle, these women offer you an invitation of feminine receptivity that can beautifully loosen the knots in your tangled lives.

Carrie Schuchts Daunt is an author and presenter for the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee, Fla.