When Mothering Gets Beyond Tough

When Mothering Gets Beyond Tough - Parenting Like HannahEvery mother has tough days. Some mothers though are walking a mothering journey I can’t begin to understand. Perhaps the father of their children is violent and abusive. Maybe the child they have waited for is born with disabilities so severe, even their life span is shortened. Or their perfectly healthy child is suddenly diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

I can’t even imagine what that is like. Even having watched people walk that road, I can only begin to imagine the pain of those experiences. Although every experience is different, sometimes hearing from someone who has been through traumatic times and come out on the other side, can give you the energy or hope it takes to get out of bed and face what today holds for you. When the person sharing their story understands the support God can provide, I think the sharing could be the most impactful.

I was intrigued when offered the chance to review the book Kelly Tough: Live Courageously by Faith, by Erin and Jill Kelly. It may seem strange to suggest a mom going through a tough time read a book written by the daughter and wife of football great Jim Kelly. Even stranger, once you realize this book is written primarily by the college-aged, single daughter. Yet, that is exactly what I am suggesting.

Erin Kelly writes with a wisdom beyond her years. Perhaps it is because she watched her younger brother live with a fatal genetic disease which finally took his life when he was eight. Perhaps it is because she has witnessed her father battle cancer not once, but twice. A lot for anyone to handle, especially someone who is probably still in her teens or early twenties.

Erin (it’s somewhat unclear how large of a role Jill took in writing the book) has an amazing and unwavering faith in God. Even though her parents weren’t Christians when she was born (they converted when she was still young), she has learned how to lean on God when the battles in life seem unsurmountable. Far from being Pollyannish or preachy, Erin uses the book to tell the story of her family – from the death of her brother, her dad’s battles with cancer, her father’s affair and even the details of her birth before her parents’ marriage.

Throughout it, she weaves the story of how her family allows their faith in God to help them learn what it means to be Kelly tough in God’s eyes. Although her faith is mentioned throughout each chapter, she also takes a page or so at the end to recap the faith lessons from the chapter and suggest a few scriptures and quotes to ponder.

The book was honest and raw enough, that I found myself tearing up more than once. If you are going through a tough time, only you know if a book like this will help you. For me, it sometimes helps not only to know I am not alone, but also be reminded of God’s presence in the dark times of our lives.

Even if you aren’t currently experiencing a difficult time, I believe the book is well written and tells a story with a powerful godly message. Just be warned, it’s one of those books you can read if you need a good cry – keep the tissues handy. Ultimately though, it’s a book of hope and more importantly understanding where and in whom the true hope you need and want can be found.


The publisher has offered to give one copy of Kelly Tough to a Parenting Like Hannah reader. For a chance at this free copy, check out our Parenting Like Hannah Facebook page before midnight Sunday, May 24 for details on how to enter the drawing.



This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

One thought on “When Mothering Gets Beyond Tough”

  1. I love the title, how she claims the toughness her faith produced as that of her family legacy; I would love to win a copy!

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