Getting Past Perfect: A Book Review

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Looking for some hard truths about motherhood? You have come to the right place. Getting Past Perfect is a good little book, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes even a little harsh. I had a bit of a hard time with this book, but it was because of me and where I am in my life, not because of anything about the book itself.

Each chapter covers a lie that mothers have come to believe and the contrasting truth. These lies cover the entire gamut of a mother’s life from dealing with newborns to having grown children. This book is really for all mothers, biological, adoptive and spiritual. Kate Wicker does an exceptional job at extending her book to mothers of all ages and types.

Each chapter features real stories from the trenches in it’s unedited reality as well as Gospel truths to help you through. As I said, sometimes those truths are a little harsh, but that doesn’t make them any less true or any less important.

For example, we all need the reminder that our children are not our own. God made them, God will dictate their lives, and God will ultimately welcome them to their true home. It’s terrifying if you think about it, but it’s also a bit liberating. You are tasked to do your best, but even if you screw up, God is the one ultimately in charge. As the title suggests, many of the lies moms fall for involve the pressure to be perfect. We forget that we are all (moms and children) God’s children.

I got the opportunity to read this valuable book through my membership in Netgalley. Thank you Ave Maria Press for the opportunity. It is available at your favorite bookseller now. I recommend it for all mothers.We are constantly bombarded by the “mommy wars” and we need these truths.

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The Gift of Birth: The Book for Moms

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Since reading Theology of the Body Extended, I waited patiently for this book. This book, like the previous book, extends Pope Saint John Paul II’s work beyond the sex. This one, however, is specifically about child birth and is geared for a more general audience.

I was not disappointed. For those unfamiliar with JPII’s Theology of the Body, she opens with a brief introduction. From there, she discusses finding God in the ideal childbirth experience, the less ideal experience, and finally she shares the testimonies of several Christian women about their childbirth experiences.

If you have never thought about childbirth as a spiritual experience, this book will certainly help you. Each chapter concludes with probing questions to help you uncover where the Holy Spirit is in your experience. You will walk away from this book in awe of God’s creative work in women. The woman giving birth could not possibly be closer to God and His work in that moment.

This book is equally for mothers who have had children and for those who are preparing for their first child. I considered getting a copy for a cousin who will be soon having her first baby.

But this leads me quite naturally to my only complaint. My husband’s cousin who is due in a couple months is giving birth via scheduled c-section. I was hoping more illumination into birth via c-section. I know that the author has had a child via unplanned c-section. I’m still emotionally healing from my unplanned c-section experience. She spends so much of the book on the ideal situation, it can at times be a difficult read for women who have had complications. Every childbirth is different, even with the same mother, so it’s impossible to cover everything. Of all of the less than ideal situations, she does give c-sections some attention, but as one of the most common “less than ideal” situations, I think it could almost get its own book. After reading her first book, I considered writing my own book about c-sections and Theology of the Body. Maybe I should do it.

I bought my book directly from the publisher after personally corresponding with the author a few times to bug her (“Are you done yet?”). I recommend that you do the same to support the small publisher, but it is also available on Amazon.

 

Divine Mercy for Moms: A Book Review

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Divine Mercy for Moms serves as a good introduction to people who are new to the devotion of Divine Mercy while also helping to deepen the faith for those who are Divine Mercy veterans. It’s a short, quick read for those who are wanting a nice dose of Divine Mercy reading and reflection, but it is really meant for deeper reading. It is the perfect book for moms in this Year of Mercy.

Each chapter contains a blend of personal reflections and useful facts written by either Michele or Emily. They take some pains to make sure that the reader can tell which author is writing when, and that can be a bit distracting, but not too bad. They really relate the work of this nun to the lives of everyday moms out in the world today.

Each chapter concludes with reflection questions and practical advice to apply the lessons of the chapter to your everyday life. The entire book concludes with a useful guide to group study of this book. I was unable to participate in a group study of this book, but I could easily see how such a study would be very enriching.

Moms are very important in passing on the faith and being a reflection of Christ in the world. This book helps as a tool for moms living out their vocation. As the quote from Fr. Gaitley on the cover says, “I hope you will read this book and help save the world.”

No review of this book can go without mentioning the website that the authors created to accompany the book. Divine Mercy for Moms the website is full of resources to help deepen your devotion and to reach out to other moms who are also trying to apply St. Faustina’s message of mercy to their daily lives.

I was able to read this book through my membership in NetGalley. Thank you Ave Maria Press for the opportunity. It is available now through your favorite bookseller.

 

St. John Paul II on the Annunciation

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Annunciation, Fra Angelico

“Hail [Mary] full of grace!” (Luke 1:28). The later words “The Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women” refer to the same thing. The mystery of this choice, in which God remains free and at the same sense–a very real sense–he waits to be chosen himself . Because freedom is an essential prerequisite for loving God and giving oneself to God, the Virgin replies fully in harmony with her inner truth. Mary’s inner truth  was this: she had already made an unconditional choice and bestowed herself completely on the one and only divine spouse. That is why she was able to say: “How can this come about, since I know no man?” (Luke 1:34), and she said it immediately when she heard the angel announce that she would conceive and give birth to the Son. For motherhood entails “knowing a man,” and this is in direct contrast with her choice. When Mary asks her question, she is not contesting the divine plan: she is simply remarking that motherhood “according to the flesh” is difficult to reconcile with the choice she had made “according to the spirit.”

St. John Paul II, Sign of Contradiction

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood: A Review

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Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood is an 11 week Bible study for mothers of all stages, from newborn to college. Based on a personal study written by a mom for another mom-to-be, this book is definitely applicable for the whole season of motherhood and it is full of probing questions to help you with your journey with God.

My only complaints are:

1) It seems as if every day’s readings and questions are really stinking long for a busy mom. It took me at least 15 minutes to complete most of the readings. To the book’s credit, they do print the Bible verses right in the study so you don’t have to look everything up. Also, except for the probing personal application questions, the questions are easy with short answers. I just question if I would have time for this every Monday-Friday. (Btw, there are only 5 study days a week. Which does help give you the weekend to reflect and spend those 15 minutes with the kids.)

2) I would give this book a yellow, caution light for Catholics, especially Catholics who are not firm in their faith. This book is unapologetically evangelical, so the Reformation’s “solas,” sola fide (faith alone) and sola scriptura (Bible alone), are all over this study. The Church does not teach either “sola.” I make it a yellow light, because there is still much good in this study and there is plenty of overlap in Catholic and Evangelical thought. Don’t let the yellow light stop you from reading this book.

Now to my praises:

1) It was great to see a systematic application of the fruits of the Spirit to the life of the mother.

2) She challenges the reader to be a better Christian and to put their life in correct order, putting God first.

3) There is a guide in the back for group study.

4) She addresses many of those mothering questions that you typically don’t discuss with others, like the drive for perfection.

Balancing the concerns and the praises, I would give this book 4-ish stars.

I was able to review this book thanks to my membership in Blogging for Books. Thank you for the opportunity. Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood is available now in your favorite bookstore.

Misreading St Paul on women…

Having trouble with St. Paul’s views on women? This writer will help clear some of those up.

“The truth is I was reading the passage with secular eyes. I was seeing child-bearing and motherhood, because of its obvious challenges and sacrifices, as something to be despised. Being a mother is hard because it demands the totality of the person, body and soul. The sacrifice a mother makes for a child goes beyond that of the father as she literally gives her body for the life of the child. She says to her unborn child ‘this is my body given for you’. After the child is born she says to the baby ‘take eat, this is my body’.”

Pure In Heart London

‘women will be saved through child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness and self-control.’ 1 Timothy 2:15 

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I remember studying that passage in my theology undergraduate class at university and prickling with anger. So, I thought to myself, men are saved by the cross and women are saved by having babies?!  I remarked wisely to my lecturer after the class that it was clear that the misogynistic attitudes of the age in which St Paul’s lived had not been purged away by his new faith. This was surely biological determinism painted onto the canvas of Christianity? She heartily agreed, however as soon as I had made the remarks I felt a voice somewhere in my heart protest. I knew I was missing something that would flip the whole passage around.

The truth is I was reading the passage with secular eyes. I was seeing…

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What Happens if Women Walk in Faith: A Book Review and An Online Study Review

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First the book:

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith is a good book for women who are trying to discern God’s will for their life and need encouragement in striving for their goals. Lysa TerKeurst shares numerous life stories of how God worked in her life: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Some of these stories will be highly relatable. We’ve all been disappointed. We’ve all been in inter-personal conflicts. We’ve all worked hard without seeing any fruit. We’ve all seen suffering and have not been able to intervene.

Others may make you wonder, “why was that such a big deal to her?” I know there was one story in particular that stretched more than one chapter that made me wonder that. I had to remind myself that there are probably things in my life that were a big deal to me that others wouldn’t agree was a big deal.

Each ended with a reflection. For the first time in my life, I actually did those questions and I almost filled an entire journal. It only reinforced things I already knew, but it was still a fruitful journaling and prayer time.

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Now to review the online Bible study:

I read this book through the Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible Study. OMG, they have everything and anything you could possibly want for an online Bible Study.

  • Blog posts Monday through Friday
  • Videos
  • Facebook group
  • Conference phone calls
  • Link-ups
  • Social media on every major platform

I only read the blog posts and watched some of the videos, but they were all enriching. I hope to one day do another study and participate a little more.

Disclaimer for my Catholic Friends: I know some of you are sticklers about this. Proverbs 31 isn’t a Catholic ministry. They do, however, strike perfectly that balance between being non-denominational, but still relevant and challenging.