I first saw Walking With God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa B. Kruger when someone linked to her blog, and I saw this story of how the book came to be written. I thought it might be a good book to pass along to young moms, but I found much for my own heart, though my children are all grown.
This study grew out of Melissa’s desire for “a Bible study that intersected who I was as a believer with the role I had been given as a mother.” It’s not necessarily a “how to be a better parent” study. It’s more of a “how to walk with God and then let that relationship impact your ministry to your children” study.
She begins with our purpose – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever – then reminds us of our responsibility to teach the same to our children and our inability to do so for ourselves or for them on our own. Succeeding chapters discuss walking in faith, wisdom, prayer, carefulness, and then each facet of the fruit of the Spirit, ending with a discussion of the Perfect Mom Syndrome.
The study is laid out over eleven weeks, with four days of study per week and a fifth wrap-up summary of the truths covered in that week. I really like that the Bible verses are included within the study, so a busy mom trying to feed a baby or grab a few minutes of study while waiting for piano lessons or ball practice to end has everything needed right there within the book. There is an additional study guide at the back that would be great for a group study but is also helpful for personal use.
I have several quotes marked but will try to pull out just a few:
It is important to assess regularly whether my family is suffering from an overly busy calendar. However, rather than simply removing activities, my greatest need is to add one particular meeting to my schedule. Every day I need time with Jesus. While it seems counterintuitive, the addition of this one meeting promises to positively affect every other part of my day (pp. 30-31).
When impatience, anger, or discontent well up in our hearts, these are signs that we are mothering in our own strength. Rather than dealing only with our outward behavior, we need the Lord to renew and recharge our hearts…our souls find renewed energy only by abiding in Jesus. Without this time we will find ourselves depleted, discouraged, and unable to bear fruit (p. 33).
[Re the Proverbs 31 woman], We can view her as an older woman to learn from rather than a standard against which to measure ourselves (p. 73).
An additional benefit of a home at peace is that it overflows into loving care and service for our community. The goal is not to create a place to escape or avoid the world but to carefully build our home so that it is a light to the world, shining the grace of Christ to those who are without hope. A peaceful home offers a place of respite and care in the midst of a weary world (p. 76).
When we receive the abundant love of Christ, we are free to pursue others with love, not to gain their affection but to give back what we have already received (p. 93).
True joy does not discount real suffering; it shines all the greater in the midst of it (p. 115).
The ability to extend kindness requires an other-awareness. We are apt to miss the needs of those around us if we remain self-focused. Helping children to see the needs of others will bless them with perspective on their own lives, as well as propel them toward good works that display the kindness of God (p. 157).
God uses these moments to grow our hearts in grace. We can only bear the fruit of patience when we have something to be patient about (p. 164).
In Jesus the performance pendulum stops — both the pride of success and the despair of failure are absorbed by grace (p. 208).
I cannot protect my children from my weaknesses. As hard as I may try, at some point my sin will affect their lives. However, the way I deal with my failure can provide an example for them to follow. I am a sinner raising sinners. Each of my children will face the weight and sorrow of his or her own sins. Just as we teach daily hygiene habits like brushing teeth, our children need instruction on how to find cleansing for their souls. By teaching our children about confession and repentance as well as grace and forgiveness, we bless their lives for years to come (p. 213).
At some points the study seemed a bit long, both in number of weeks and in how long it took to complete the day’s reading and answer the questions. But it’s not, really – eleven weeks is a good length of time for a study. I went through the book in less time than that because I used it six days a week and went on to the next chapter after finishing one rather than reading one chapter per week, but I think the latter would be the better course, to really soak in the truths for that week before going on. And each day’s lesson only took about fifteen minutes. One could spend longer – I tend to answer the basic questions in writing but answer some of the more thoughtful ones in my head. If one did more with the writing sections, one could spend more time with each lesson. And if a day’s reading and questions take more time than one has, there is no reason you can’t take a couple of days or whatever time is needed to complete it. It’s better to go at one’s own pace and really dig into it than barrel through just to get it done. Melissa’s summaries at the end of each week’s lessons really help to review the material and help tie it all together.
I really enjoyed going through this study, found it very beneficial, and am happy to recommend it to you in whatever season you are in.
(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)