Being a Mom can be scary. There are times when it can feel overwhelming. Christian parenting takes even more effort than “regular” parenting. It’s tempting to stop putting in the extra effort and allowing God to “fix our mistakes” – or hoping your kids will pick up enough at church to become godly men and women.
Heidi St. John has written a new book Becoming Mom Strong. She advocates allowing God to give you that extra strength, energy – whatever you need – to Christian parent the way He wants you to parent. Her theory, one could say, is that tapping into God and becoming stronger spiritually, will also provide additional strengths you need.
I thought it was a very interesting perspective that she believes God created childbirth to happen when women are young and often have little life experience on purpose. She theorizes it is by God’s design, precisely because they are inexperienced. Although she doesn’t say it explicitly, St. John implies it is because those young moms will then turn to God for His guidance in raising their kids.
Throughout the book, St. John addresses issues, excuses and anything else she feels discourage moms from giving their all to Christian parenting. She covers topics from “when your plans get turned upside down” to “facing your giants” and more. Throughout, she quotes or refers to quite a few scriptures. Although I prefer authors to give full quotes of scriptures in their books (because let’s be honest – how many of us will actually pull out a Bible and look them up to read), I appreciate that when she refers to a scripture she at least gives a type of summary.
While much of her advice is good, I was a bit surprised at her rather harsh judgment of another parenting author couple. Although she doesn’t name them, she gives enough information to make it easy to identify. My biggest issue with her critique is that she didn’t pay close attention to them at all. Multiple times they repeatedly said their ideas were merely guidelines that could and should be tweaked when necessary. I get her own parenting point from the story. I just don’t think it was necessary to criticize the other authors in the process.
In fact, I am a bit torn about this book. Her advice for quiet times with God, for example, will be helpful to many moms. On the other hand, it seems as if most of her advice came with a personal rather depressing mom story from her life. I understand many readers want to hear from “flawed” moms, but we are all flawed. Personally, I like my author flaws with a dose of humor and at least a small sense that they have their acts together more consistently than I do. If you prefer authors who lay out all of their flaws and struggles, you may actually love her style.
While her advice implies she knows what to do, her stories often left me feeling like she was still taking on too much – homeschooling seven kids, raising them, caring for them, and being a conference speaker, author and blogger? Even though I am sure some of her kids are now adults, she evidently has been doing this for years. This is not meant to be judgmental, but merely to point out that often parenting problems come from being too scattered and taking on way too many responsibilities inside and outside of our homes. Even though she covers the topic in one chapter, I just wasn’t convinced she follows her own advice.
My bottom line on this book? The advice is basically solid advice. She concludes each chapter with a blurb reviewing the main points or giving specific tips to help in that area. She also provides a short list of possible prayer topics in that area. For me though, her personal stories left me feeling exhausted and a bit blue. I even stopped reading at one point and set it aside for a couple of weeks to make sure it wasn’t my mood. Yet upon picking it up again, I still came away with a similar feeling. The advice is basically strong though, so perhaps skimming for the advice and skipping the stories would help. It’s a good book. It’s just not going to be one of my favorites.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.