Some mornings, thinking about the next 14 hours of parenting makes me want to burrow deeper beneath the blankets. Tantrums and sibling fights, potty-training, chauffeuring kids around. In the midst of meeting physical needs, I’m also trying to shape my kids’ character and spur on their spiritual development.
Motherhood is a lot, to say the least. I look for encouragement wherever I can find it. Often times it’s my husband speaking truth, or in conversations with friends and fellow moms. And sometimes, I find it in uplifting, gospel-centered books.
I’d like to share three books which have come alongside me in this journey, each of them full of wisdom, encouragement, and truth.
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
I discovered this book during a cold English winter, as I was caring for my toddler and newborn. Talk about an exhausting, fragile, vitamin-D-deficient time. It was a miracle if I finished a cup of coffee, let alone this book.
Let’s face it: motherhood is never what you expect. These authors speak to the common struggles young moms face: isolation, loneliness, feeling overwhelmed. Drowning in laundry and diapers and mess. It’s an encouragement for the mom living the reality of motherhood after the idealized version in her head has long faded.
I cried as I read this. I must’ve said out loud at least ten times, “Yes, that’s me, that’s exactly how I feel.” I felt seen, bolstered. And I saw how countless women have walked this road before me. With honesty from a mom in the trenches (Sarah Mae) and wisdom from a mom who’s been there before (Sally Clarkson), Desperate is such an incredible gift for a mom of young kids.
Along with dinner, of course.
Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies
by Hillary Morgan Ferrer and others
So this one was a pre-emptive move (my oldest is five at the time of writing). But I felt weak in the area of apologetics, and like Ferrer points out in the book: if you don’t know how to challenge cultural lies, how can you help your kids do it?
Gently and respectfully, Ferrer emphasizes, but without watering down the truth.
Maybe you’re like me, and you shy away from debates and complicated discussions. But apologetics doesn’t have to be intimidating, reserved only for Bible scholars. Chances are, the Bible scholar is not the one having conversations with your kids at the dinner table. Ferrer started the Mama Bear Apologetics ministry because she figured moms are usually the ones on the front lines.
The book’s tagline is “ROAR like a mother!”, which stands for:
- Recognize the message
- Offer discernment
- Argue for a healthier approach
- Reinforce through discussion, discipleship and prayer
Each chapter delves into cultural beliefs: postmodernism, moral relativism, emotionalism, pluralism, skepticism, naturalism (lots of isms!), and more. I struggled to define some of these, let alone make a case against them. But this book breaks them down, gives examples and real-life stories, and walks you through the R-O-A-R method.
Even if your kids are too young to be asking the hard questions, you’ll feel better prepared to tackle them when they do come up.
Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments
by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler
Motherhood is such a unique job. It’s a whole lot of effort for not a whole lot of immediate, tangible results. Maybe you’re in that stage when your toddler has strong opinions about the color of his snack bowl. Get it wrong, and he’ll chuck the Cheerios across your newly-swept floor. Or maybe your teen isn’t a fan of you saying no, and the sound of slamming doors has become the soundtrack to your life.
We’ve heard “the gospel is just as true on Monday as it is on Sunday,” but if you’re at all like me, sometimes gospel truth is a little harder to dwell on during Monday’s chaos. How does the gospel apply to sick kids, and picky eaters, and meltdowns at bedtime?
As Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler remind us in this encouraging book, the gospel applies to all aspects of motherhood. They look at four parts the gospel story (creation, fall, redemption and consummation) and apply them to daily life—everything from our heart attitudes and relationships to our mundane moments and food choices. It’s comforting to read about other moms’ real-life struggles (“oh, I’m not the only one”), but it fortifies my weary-mom heart to view those struggles through a gospel lens.
Motherhood is hard, but it’s also “made up of a million tiny moments for worship.”
There are so many incredible books on motherhood, and I never want to stop listening and learning. Which books have shaped your motherhood journey?