Book Review: Discovering the Ministry of Motherhood

Several ladies from my Bible Class at church have started a book club of sorts. We read non-fiction self-help type books on various topics including relationships, parenting, and personal spirituality. This month we read Discovering the Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. It was a great read with a great challenge - to raise our children with a purpose. I don’t really plan to do a true book review. I just want to share a few of the ways this book spoke to me.

One of the things Clarkson says in her book is that our children need “the authentic strength that comes from the true foundation of a biblical world-view and a proper understanding of the real Christ who is worthy of their worship.” Wow! What a challenge! This is definitely something I want for my daughter. I don’t want her to just learn about Christ, I want her to know Him. Clarkson goes on to say that we are meant to have a spiritual impact on people and that our children are our own in-home disciples in the making. I have to ask myself, do I take advantage of every opportunity to show Christ to my little girl? There are so many times throughout the day that I can point our very real God out to her - in His creation, in His design for our family, in the actions we expect from her. I want her to love Him even now!  In this book I am reminded to raise her with grace, with lots of quality time together, with encouraging words, with forgiveness, and with inspiration. What she sees in me is what she will know of God. What do my actions and words tell her about who He is?

Clarkson also spends much of the book talking about our faith in the Lord and how we can help our children have that same faith. She says that our children “are bound to experience many obstacles and difficulties in their lives. We cannot take away those circumstances, but we can offer our children the gift of faith so they will have the strength to live through them and a relationship with God that gives meaning to it all.” I remember my own mom often saying that if she could take away my hurt and pain she would gladly do it. No one wants to see their child suffering! But I also remember my mom sharing scripture with me and showing me how to trust God in difficult circumstances. I learned to be strong and to have faith in my God even when I was hurting. And as the author of this book reminds me, “As I walk through my circumstances and learn to shed some of my selfish attitudes and to work harder and to wait more patiently, the end result will be that I will be more like God.” And ultimately, being more like Him is what I want not only for myself but also for my daughter!

Of course no Christian parenting book would be without a section on training. In this book the focus is on training our children to think, training them to pray effectively, and training them for tribulation.  It is important to teach our children to control their thought life even when they are little. We are to teach them that just as you would not let a bird flying overhead build a nest on your head you may have thoughts enter your mind that you ought not allow to reside there. This applies to sinful thoughts as well as thoughts of fear or doubt. Training our children to pray should start with a daily habit of prayer time and as children grow older we can help them see how God answers many of our specific prayers in special ways. And we also must teach our children how to make godly choices and have right reactions even when they are treated unfairly.

The final section of the book is about teaching our children to serve. It is so important that they learn to see the needs of others even when they are young and that they learn to serve others while they are still little. The sooner they form these good habits the better servants they will be for Christ. We need to help them learn to serve with a willing heart and to serve in God’s strength. It’s so easy for me personally to get bogged down with my own busy schedule or to become super focused on what is going on in my personal life but as I learn to look up and meet the needs of others with my little girl by my side, she will learn to do the same.

This book was meant to challenge me as a mom to change the way I look at parenting, but it was also a great challenge to me personally! I want so much to have a stronger relationship with Christ and to be a better reflection of Him. It’s easy for me to feel like a failure after having made a mistake, but I know that God wants me to dust myself off and try again!

Lord, please help me to have a right view of the world around me and a right view of You! Help me to be an example to my daughter in the areas of faith, prayer, and service. Help me as I teach her to love and trust You. Help me not to get lazy in training but to stick with it because I know that it is so important that she learn to think properly, pray effectively, and make wise choices. Help me to be an example to her of service to others and to teach her how to see the needs of those God has placed in her life. I know that if your eye is on the sparrow you are watching over her. I trust you with her life Lord, only help me as I lead her to You!

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
 -- Deuteronomy 11:18-19


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