Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Note from Author Paula Rinehart

So… I hear you are reading Strong Women, Soft Hearts for your online book club.

I’m writing you from Raleigh, North Carolina where I live a wild mix of counseling and writing and speaking to women’s groups…and entertaining small grandchildren. I’m hoping we can have a bit of a ‘chat’ as you begin to read.

First off, Strong Women, Soft Hearts changed my life. I know that’s a strange thing to hear an author say. But, really, the content you are reading represents a huge swing on the inside or me, one that took place over a decade where I could (almost literally) sense God reworking my framework of what strength…and softness, as a woman, actually is.

Now that didn’t happen easily, as you can read between the lines of this book and figure out! I had barreled through my twenties and most of my thirties like someone training for a race. Being a strong woman, for me, was like being the Everready bunny battery—only powered by Jesus. Somehow you just kept going. And softness…why softness was suspect because softness could get you hurt.

Toward the end of my thirties, I ran into a couple of huge, blindsiding losses. I couldn’t keep going and going—at least not in the same way. And God, in his mercy, began to do some deeper reconstruction inside my heart. Which, then, reshaped dramatically my notions of strength and softness as a woman.

My favorite parts of this book (and indeed, the parts that women email me most about) are the chapters on vulnerability, control and trust. It takes some real courage to put your heart out there with people and sometimes, even with God. There is a true sense of letting go of control, a deep invitation to trust him with the uncertainties of life and relationships.

Since I’ve written Strong Women, Soft Hearts, both our children have gotten married, three grandchildren have been born, my aging mother is slipping away by the day. I’ve had even more practice in this delicate art of trusting God. As I wrote in the book, he’s not predictable, but he is utterly faithful. I believe that even more than when I wrote this book.

You might enjoy knowing how the title for this book came about. I sent the proposal off to a couple of publishers and the consistent feedback was, “Hey, you are on to something here, but can you be a little clearer, more concrete?” It was so frustrating. One day in the shower I thought, Okay, how hard can this be? I just want to write about what it means to be a strong woman… with a soft heart. The title, Strong Women, Soft Hearts, came like a flashbulb going off.

I don’t say this glibly, but scads of women have written me about this book. Mostly what they say is they don’t understand how I could climb inside their mind and read the thoughts they were having. What that really means is that we are all telling the same story.

Truly, it’s no easy feat to make it through what life can throw your way and come out with a genuine strength rooted in God with the beauty preserved on the inside. In reality, my deep conviction is that the gospel of Christ uniquely makes this possible. Not guaranteed, but possible. I hope—so much I hope—that as you read, you will sense God stirring in the longings and losses you’ve experienced, and the dreams he’s placed in you.

If you enjoy Strong Women, Soft Hearts you might also like Better Than My Dreams, a follow-up book that looks at how the gap between our dreams and reality becomes the actual place where we experience real relationship with God. Or Sex and the Soul of a Woman, updated and due to be republished by Zondervan this coming fall. Feel free to stop by my website where I do try to blog what might be considered something vaguely insightful twice a month.

May Strong Women, Soft Hearts lead you to a solid sort of strength that grows out of really knowing Christ, with an even greater capacity to give your heart to others in his name.


  1. My book came in the mail yesterday. I'm SO excited to read it. Thank you!

  2. Wow... paiently waiting for my book to arrive in the mail so I can start reading!!

  3. Wow... I'm even more excited to read it now :)

  4. Started reading it this weekend and so far so good. Hope you girls get your copy soon.


  5. Great message, thanks for the personal foreword to your book! I ordered it last week - am a little nervous that the told me the shipping would take 2-4 weeks :( So I am praying that I will get it in time for the 25th!!

  6. another one who's patiently waiting for my book to arrive! Even more excited to begin reading it now!!


  7. Between Angie's book and the "Strong Women" I am going to have a lot of good reading to do! I'm so excited!

  8. I started reading "What's He Really Thinking" while I have been waiting for this new book reading. I have been pleasantly surprised and found some very eye opening moments as I read why he does what he does.

    Paula is a great author and the pages just go so easy as you absorb every word!

    Can't wait to start the new one!

  9. After reading this post, I am so ready to start reading this book. I need some changes in my life. Major changes. I tend to stay so "strong," I rarely share the softer side of myself. I guess, it's a wall that I have built over time, that "protects" me from all of the hurts that seem to continually be thrown my way. I know that it's not God doing the throwing, but I sure could use some reshaping in my life. It will be enjoyable to share this time with other ladies too.

  10. "he’s not predictable, but he is utterly faithful" so excited :)

  11. I'm at a similar point in my life... God's not predictable, but always faithful. I'm very excited to read this book with all of you! Paula, thank you for sharing your heart with us. :)

  12. waitiing for my book to arrive so I can dive in! I can't wait.

  13. So glad that you were able to share your heart with the world. I look forward to reading it and letting God speak to my heart.

  14. Thank you for writing a book that speaks such Truth into my life! You have no idea how much my heart has been touched and awakened in just five chapters.