Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book review-Loving the Little Years:Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic

This book was written by a young mother who at the time of the writing had five little ones, including a set of twins. She admits she doesn't have all the answers, but point readers to God at every opportunity-which I appreciated and encouraged self-reflection. I picked it up because it was recommended by Tedd Trip (Shepherding a Child's Heart) and R.C. Sproul, Jr. I enjoyed it because 1) the chapters were short, which meant I could pick it up at a moment's notice and finish a chapter and 2) it was filled with real-life stories and struggles to which I could relate. It was a parenting book in a way, also aimed at mothers of young children who need a pick-me-up and encouragement along the journey. I admit it is a little jumbly and each chapter stands alone, but she shares some great strategies that I have not tried. I think it would be best understood by moms with multiple children, but I'm sure it will provide encouragement to most moms. She has since written another book, Fit to Burst : Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood which I will probably be getting for Mother's Day.

Book Review-Desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

I'm really not quite sure why this book struck my fancy nor why I ordered it, yet it was more than I anticipated. Based on the back cover, it is a book about the struggles of motherhood and the  occasional feeling of being overwhelmed by it all; it boasted answers to honest questions that many moms have and sounded I picked it up while on vacation last month. And as with any book that has not come personally recommended, I read with a wary eye checking for biblical accuracy, etc.

The main author, Sarah Mae, is a Christian, wife, homemaker, mother to three little ones, homeschooler and a popular blogger. She blogs at:

The secondary author, Sally Clarkson, is a Christian, wife and mother of four adult children with a passion for Christian motherhood and parenting. She and her husband started Whole Heart Ministries after spending time on the mission field. I am currently reading one of her other books, The Ministry of Motherhood. She blogs at:

The premise is this: Sarah met Sally at a women's conference and a friendship was started. Actually, Sally pursued Sarah several times before they began a mentoring relationship. Early in this book, Sarah shares her past struggle of feeling overwhelmed and experiencing feelings of depression; in comes Sally who provided the encouragement that Sarah needed all the while pointing her to the cross. This book is like a back stage look to a real life mentorship between a struggling young mom and a seasoned counselor.

"Each of us has a story, but God, who originated the design of motherhood, is the expert advisor to whom we should turn." p 9 This quote was the first of many that I appreciated pointing women to God, Sally goes on to say that mothers especially need to be women of the Word, as well as women of prayer so that we can 1) know where He is leading and 2) be obedient allowing us to gracefully grow into our role as mothers.

In the chapter labeled, "Oh right, there's sin," Sally talks about how wrong expectations produce anger and depression-why do I forget this? We will never be perfect moms no matter how hard we try, but our success is based on the fact that God is with me and that is more than enough (Romans 8:31).  Again Sally reminds Sarah that it is not sinful to be tempted, but rather it is our response that determines future choices to "give-in" or to "fight." Later on in the chapter, "When the dark invades," Sarah provides hope and a resolution to those in the throes of depression or rather stuck with feelings of being depressed. Sidenote: Although chemical imbalances and organic problems do exist, feelings of depression are most often the consequence of unbiblical habits and/or sinful reactions to circumstances. (Self-Confrontation-a manual for in-depth Biblical discipleship, Chapter 18).

She shares that once she decided to:
1) be in the Word daily
2) resolve to trust that God has made her righteous and perfect (Hebrews 10:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
her outlook changed because now she was focusing on the right things.

"When we follow the voice of God and rest in His ability to sustain us as mothers, we will find a true and lasting peace." p 135 Sally writes and just how does that look? Yet again, a reminder for mothers that we need to be women of the Word and prayer.

I could relate to Sarah's writing at times, perhaps because we both have three kids relatively the same distance apart. Even though, I don't feel Desperate, I do feel as though I am lacking follow-through in some areas of my life. The only area of improvement would be more scripture references. Overall, I appreciated this book as it provided some insight and biblical hope that I'm sure all of us can use.

Window into my world-a personal interaction
Sally wrote some great ideas to connect women and families-one of which I decided to implement.
She and her husband love culture and the arts and have made family mealtimes a priority. She suggests creating a special atmosphere for dinnertime-lighting candles and playing classical music. Upon returning home, I located the candle holders and found two matching candles (that only took 4 days) and then tried it.  Even though I enjoyed it, my dear husband just isn't into classical music, Josiah said the music was sad and he and Naomi just want to blow the "birthday" candles out! Oh well, the candles are all dripped out, remind me to revisit this idea in a few years!

Sarah wrote about the time that she took the three kids out for breakfast by herself to celebrate her birthday. This inspired me to ask a friend to join me and the three kids for breakfast to celebrate my 35th birthday this past March. It was a fun memory, thanks Sarah for sharing, otherwise I might have had a rather mundane birthday at home.

The link below is to an essay written by J.R. Miller in 1886 on the life of Hannah, called Christian Motherhood. I pray it is an encouragement to you.

Final thought: If you are a mom, you are EXACTLY who YOUR children need; God made it that way!