Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women

Biblical Counseling Guide for WomenIn the forward to The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women, Martha Peace says, “John and Janie Street have made it abundantly clear that there is great hope no matter the kinds of problems women struggle with. They have laid out clear, biblical plans of action for issues women face today.” (pg. 9)

I honestly could not say it any better. This is exactly what they have done!

The authors describe the purpose of the book in this way:

“This book is written to assist Christian women who possess a high view of the sufficiency of God’s Word and its ability to adequately address the most serious personal struggles women will face. Women who trust His Word will benefit greatly from its narrative.” (pg. 11, emphasis mine)

A high view of the sufficiency of Scripture, and a desire to understand what God’s Word says about our sin, our struggles, and our suffering is essential to fully appreciate, understand, and benefit from the wisdom this book has to offer.

In this book, John and Janie Street address issues that most women have probably struggled with, to some degree, at one time or another: anger, anxiety, appearance, depression, grief. But, it also deals with much harder, perhaps more “hot button” topics that, by the grace of God, many of us may not have experienced: abuse, chemical dependency, eating disorders, panic attacks, PTSD, and transgenderism.

Each topic is introduced with a fictional account of a woman who is struggling with a particular issue…whether as a result of her own sinful choices, or those of someone close to her. Although the scenarios presented are fictional, that can be difficult to remember at times, because they come from years of counseling and pastoral experience, and are written in such a way that they could easily be factual. In my limited counseling experiences, I have rarely seen women, even professing believers, recognize their sin so quickly, or so completely, and respond so humbly to biblical counsel and correction. But, in each case, is assumed that each of these (fictional) women have a high view of God’s Word.

“The truth of God’s Word slices and dices your behavior and peers into the most shameful recesses of your heart (see Hebrews 4:12-13). Our hearts are resistant to this type of spiritual heart surgery. Thus we must pray that God will help us to humbly repent of this sin (Psalm 51:10).” (pg. 30)

This is what makes their quick, humble, repentant responses not only realistic, but a helpful example to follow when we find ourselves in similar situations. Because, without that perspective, many of these issues could easily be, and often are addressed indefinitely, without any sort of real hope or resolution.

“Too often we use the term hope carelessly because it is used to express uncertainty….However, when your concept of hope is anchored in biblical promises, all ambiguity and doubt is removed. Biblical hope is backed up by the very character of God. Unlike ‘I hope so’ hope, it is absolute and full confident assurance.” (pg. 161)

I have taken several biblical counseling classes (in college, at the graduate level, and for “personal enrichment”), I have read numerous books on biblical counseling, and I am currently, albeit slowly, pursuing certification in Biblical Counseling. So, I consider myself to be fairly well-acquainted with the philosophy and procedures behind biblical counseling. And, as a pastor’s wife, I am also familiar with the great need for this type of counseling in the church. And, because of my background, I assumed this would be an “easy read.”

This book is not, nor is it intended to be, a cold, comprehensive, clinical textbook. It is interesting and engaging. And, it accomplishes its stated purpose of pointing the reader to the insightful, practical, and authoritative answers in God’s Word in a compassionate, personal, thought-provoking way.

I am not a naturally empathetic person. But, as the authors unpacked each chapter, I was able to put myself in the place of both the counselor and the counselee. Whether the situation was one that I had personally experienced, or not, there were many characteristics, struggles, and habits that made it surprisingly easy to identify with, and genuinely empathize with both sides of each story.

But, this book goes far beyond these relevant and relatable introductions to each topic.

“When a true Christian goes through such a traumatic event and asks the hard questions….her search for answers should drive her toward greater faithfulness to study God’s Word. It is in the pages of the Bible that she will learn God’s character: that He is good and without sin (Psalm 119:68), that He never tempts His children to sin (James 1:13), and that He is the protector and refuge of all who call upon His name in saving faith (Psalm 125:4-5).” (pgs. 255-256)

After each topic is introduced, the authors then go on to identify the problematic thoughts, patterns, behaviors, and lifestyles, pointing the reader back to the truths of Scripture in a practical, realistic way. I have not personally experienced the pain of a pornography-tainted marriage, or the betrayal of adultery. But, I have experienced the pain of being sinned against in other ways by people I love and care about. I have not struggled through post-traumatic stress, panic attacks, or battled an eating disorder. But, I have reacted to my circumstances in sinful anger, anxiety, pride, and self-sufficiency.

At the very beginning, the authors suggest having a Bible close at hand as you read, to consult the many Scripture references found throughout its pages. So, I found myself taking much longer than I had originally intended to read this book. I took time to reflect on, and answer, the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. And, I tried to implement the authors’ suggestions to write down lists of my own fears, worries, and sinful behaviors or attitudes that needed to be “put off.” At the same time, I created corresponding lists of things to “put on” in place of sinful thoughts and attitudes.

The very first chapter, on Anger, immediately caught my attention. I do not like to think of myself as an angry person. (Who does?) But, as I read, I could see myself in many of the sinful attitudes and (re)actions described. Specifically in this:

“Listening is hard to do when you’re angry, because true listening involves submission…. To listen carefully, you must not continue to speak. This is difficult for angry people to do, as they are continually engaged in spewing out their opinions and attacks. Oftentimes angry people say they are listening, but at the same time, they persist in defending their viewpoint, often pointing out how another person also perceives the situation as unfair, jaded, or misconstrued – and it is clear that they are not really listening.” (pgs. 31-32)

That was a not-so-pleasant, but much needed, moment of conviction for me. And, it was what caused me to choose to slow down, and read this less as a “textbook” for my dealings with “other people,” and to treat it as more of a personal improvement project.

Elisabeth Elliot often said, “The difference is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” And, this book can help to turn our eyes off of the temporary circumstances and solutions of this world, and back to the lasting hope that can be found only in obedience to God’s Word.

“The goal is not simply a short-sighted attempt to get a woman out of her problems, even though, when a person follows Christ’s admonitions, her problems will often eventually be resolved. However, some problems will not go away, even after you have faithfully obeyed Christ. Some of life’s difficulties may even get worse….How can you, as a godly woman, learn to please God in the midst of your problems? This must be the pursuit of a woman who is a committed Christian.” (pg. 15)

The genuine compassion, biblical wisdom, and practical suggestions presented in this book make it an invaluable resource for the church today. This book is for women who want to live a life of obedience and faith, as they learn to please God in the midst of their struggles and problems. It is for women who wish to grow in their ability to disciple and counsel other women in their church, in the model of Titus 2. It is for mothers who are teaching and training their children to love and serve the Lord in spite of their own sin and failures. And, men, do not be dissuaded by the title! As a pastor’s wife, I can confidently say that this book should be in every pastor’s library as well.

I will add that I have had the privilege of knowing John and Janie Street for close to 18 years. So, I may not be seen as the most unbiased reviewer. But, I do not believe that should be considered a negative. My husband and I have personally benefited from their teaching, their biblical counsel, their godly example, and their faithful ministry in so many ways. And, because of that, I could not be more thrilled that this resource, and the wisdom and experience of its authors, is now available to so many!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Book Reviews, Pastor's Wife, Thinking Biblically

Book Review: Wonderfully Made

As a mom of 4…well, soon to be 5, you might think that, by now, this whole pregnancy thing would be getting old and boring. Oh no! I still fill my phone with a variety of apps that entertain me with daily facts about my child’s size and developmental milestones. I still look at each grainy 8 week ultrasound picture with the same amazement I did with my first. I am still in awe of the changes that take place in the few short weeks between those early ultrasounds, and the much more detailed, clear, 4D images at my 20 week scans. I stare at those earliest pictures, and memorize every feature of those sweet faces…and excitedly show them to their big siblings. And each of the older siblings seemed to be equally fascinated by their newest brother or sister.

My oldest was 6 when I was pregnant with her brother, and she had been praying for a baby brother or sister for years. So, she was full of questions right away… How big is he? Is it dark in there? Can he hear me? What does he eat? How did he get in there?

I answered (or avoided) these to the best of my ability.

That baby boy is now a big brother himself. He was only 20 months old when his first little sister was born, and not extremely verbal. But, by the time his second little sister was on the way, he had come up with all sorts of questions of his own….Does she have any toys? Where does she go potty? (All boy, that one.) Can she smell this? Can she see this? Will she get wet? (Asked during a run to the car in the rain.)

I love seeing my children’s early interest in, and love for their younger, pre-born siblings. But, I didn’t always have the answers to all of their questions. And, as I quickly discovered, some apps aren’t always what I consider age-appropriate for little eyes and ears. And, finding good, age-appropriate, biblical resources for children on the topic of conception, and development can be very difficult. I found that many of the books were either way too mature, or way too evolutionary for my liking and conviction.

Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth is different. Danika has written a book that truly does tell God’s story.

The book begins…at the beginning. With God’s design for marriage, the relationship between a husband and wife, and how that special love and commitment leads to the creation of a child. I thought this section was exceptionally well done. I realize that all parents will have their own opinions on how and when to address the question of where babies come from. But, in my opinion, this book offers a clear, but not explicit, explanation that is simple, and entirely appropriate for little ears.

Throughout the book, Danika weaves together the scientific facts of a baby’s weekly development with the beautiful truths of Scripture. As I read this book with my own children (ages 11, 4, 2, and 1), they loved the comparisons of the baby’s size to familiar, everyday objects. We read the book together shortly after discovering that we were expecting baby number 5 to join our family. I was 6 weeks along, and we read that at that point, our baby was about the size of a nail head. My 4-year-old son was especially fascinated by that little fact! My oldest (11) loved the most recent size comparison to a pencil sharpener, at 8 weeks!

IMG_3678wm

While we read the whole book in one sitting, I like that I can also read one page with them each week, and tell them “This week (week 9!) your brother or sister can already make faces at you!” Or, “In a few weeks (week 14), your baby brother or sister will be able to burp and hiccup!” (This is specifically for my boy.)

The book is wholly wonderful, but my favorite part was the ending. (Yes, I am going to give away the ending!) Just as clearly as she shared about the beginnings of our physical life, Danika shares about the beginning of our spiritual life, when we are born again – in Christ. She ends where life truly begins – with a beautifully simple presentation of the gospel!

This book was designed for children from ages 5 to 11. But, it easily held the attention of my 2, 4, and 11 year olds. I also think this would make a perfect baby shower gift for a new mommy (and daddy!).

I am so thankful to have such a wonderful, biblical resource to share with my children each week as we anticipate the arrival of their newest sibling. And, I would highly recommend this book to any parent – expecting or not.

Comments Off on Book Review: Wonderfully Made

Filed under Baby, Biblical Womanhood, Book Reviews, Currently Reading, Life, Mommyhood

A Wonderfully Made Giveaway!

IMG_3678wm

If you follow me on Facebook, or Instagram, then you may have seen my recent posts about an incredible new resource, Wonderfully Made, by my friend, Danika Cooley.

With each of my children, I have been fascinated by the process of their development…both during my pregnancies and after their births!

I read everything I could find about what they looked like, and what big changes were taking place each week.  I stared at grainy, 8-week ultrasound images…trying to figure out which end was up. And I marveled at the changes that had taken place by the 20-week, 4-D scans! And, I loved comparing those sweet pre-born images to my to my precious newborn babies.

In this book, I love how Danika has woven together the scientific facts of conception, development, and birth, with the truths of Scripture in an engaging and age-appropriate way.

I plan to have a full review coming up later this month…

But, until then, check out the giveaway below, and enter to win a copy of Wonderfully Made, and several other great prizes!

 ***

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley, I am hosting a wonderful giveaway with the rest of the launch team. The giveaway includes a hardcover copy of the book, along with several other books and products your family is sure to enjoy. The total value of the giveaway is nearly $600!

Wonderfully Made Giveaway

Here is what you could win:

Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley – hardcover $9.99 value

Wonderfully made is an excellent book that introduces a young child to the wonder of God’s creation – the wonder and miracle of birth. From conception in the womb through the nine months within the mother’s womb Danika Cooley takes us on a journey of discovery… the discovery of life.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Touch of Life First Trimester Fetal Models $89.95 value

Sculpted from real-life photos, these four fetal models representing weeks 7, 8, 9, and 10 after conception have a personality of their own, and the life-like feel of the skin brings home the humanity of the preborn baby in its first trimester of life. Accurately portrayed thanks to medical descriptions and photos, these little samples of life are a great educational tool for helping to understand the wonder of the early stages of human development.

Bible Road Trip Year One Curriculum (includes Lower and Upper Grammar Notebooking Journals $60 value

The Bible Road Trip Year One Curriculum is a 463-page digital PDF download of the full Bible Road Trip Year One curriculum for all five levels, preschool through high school. The Bible Road Trip Year One Curriculum includes the Parent / Teacher Guide and 32 weeks of curriculum schedules for all grades.

$100 Amazon Gift Card $100 value

Enjoy shopping amazon.com with a gift of $100 + an adorable bookmark.

Big Bible Science: Experiment and Explore God’s World by Erin Lee Green (Ages 5-11) $12.99 value

Big Bible Science helps children and those who teach them to explore God’s World and God’s Word through real live science experiments. There are twenty-one different units taking students through scientific concepts such as Gravity, Friction, Animal Classification and the Nervous System.

My 1st Books and More by Carine MacKenzie and Philip Ross (ages 4-7) $15.99 value

Who is God? What does he do? Can I know Jesus? Why did he die? Children always have questions about God. They want to know what it means to be a Christian and who Jesus is. My 1st Books and More gives a year’s worth and more of bible readings, devotions and memory verses.

Living Water in the Desert: True Stories of God at Work in Iran by Rebecca Davis  $8.99 value

One man was overcome by the missionary’s kindness. Another was stopped by a vision of men in blue.  One became sick and tired of his own religion. Another saw a man named Jesus in a dream, coming to him on a donkey.  A girl found a strange book on the floor of the library and visited a secret prayer meeting. All of them eventually came to Jesus Christ for His full and free salvation, becoming missionaries to their own people. Seventeen chapters tell true stories of the Living Water pouring out on the country of Iran, even up to the present day.

Lights in a Dark Place: True Stories of God at Work in Colombia by Rebecca Davis (ages 7-12)  $8.99 value

Colombia has been known as a land of violence, but God is at work! Even though the Colombian people have reacted with violence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God has delivered people from burning houses . . . God has healed ones who cursed . . . God has given people dreams and visions . . . God has rescued kidnapers . . . God has conquered demons of darkness. Read fourteen true stories of the Light of the World shining in the land of Colombia, South America.

Jungle Doctor’s Monkey Tales by Paul White $8.99 value

The wisdom of monkeys is proverbially small. They never could remember not to get too near to the hind feet of zebra, nor to throw coconuts at Chewi the leopard, nor to look into the eyes of snakes. Luckily for his little nephews, Uncle Nyani, the only survivor of a family of seven, is always near at hand to tell them how they can live to be as old as he is!

Jungle Doctor’s Tug-of-War by Paul White (ages 5-11) $8.99 value

Even by monkey standards, young Toto is pretty dim! Those baddies of the jungle, Crunch the Crocodile, Mbisi the Hyena, Slinki the Jackal, Vibi the Vulture and Gnark the crow look as though they are going to have an easy time finishing him off. However, Toto soon finds himself in the middle of a tug-of-war, for his real friends, Elephant, Giraffe, Parrot and Hornbill are determined to rescue him from the clutches of the jungle underworld.

The Bible’s Big Story: Salvation History for Kids by James M. Hamilton Jr. $4.99

With easily remembered rhymes and Bible verses take your child through the span of Salvation History from Creation to the Fall, the Flood to the Exodus, the Exile to the Crucifixion and beyond… James M. Hamilton writes about real history, God’s Salvation History, and our future.

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership $97

1000s of topical pages, themes, and designs . . . Perfect for any subject or study A to Z!

Art Study ♦ Copywork ♦ Character Study ♦ Famous Men & Women ♦ Geography (state/country studies, continental, world maps) ♦ History of the Ancient World, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, and Modern Times ♦ Music Study ♦ Nature Study ♦ Science ♦ Timelines ♦ and more!

Mom’s Toolbelt Lifetime Membership $24.95

A customizable home management planner for every area of your life that craves order.

Hal and Melanie Young: Mom & Dad Special: Raising Real Men (book + audiobook) plus a free registration to both Boot Camp 9-12 AND Boyhood Boot Camp. $101 value

If this is God’s chosen gift to us, then why does it seem so hard? How can we prepare these boys to serve God when we can barely make it through the day? Isn’t there a better way? The answer is yes.

When You Lie Down: Lullabies and Scripture Songs CD $12.97 value

These twelve songs remind us that true rest, comfort and hope come from God alone. This music is an awesome way to experience God’s Word with your baby, kids and family. You will discover that this album will be a powerful addition to use in your personal time with God.

Seeds Onesie- Psalm 139:13-14  $14.97 value

Seeds Family Worship Onesie featuring Psalm 139:13-14 on the front with a small Seeds logo on the back.

Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN $14.99 value

The later elementary age years are among the greatest times to build responsibility in children. Heart transformation takes place when parents use other tools than behavior modification.

Elementary Foundations: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 5-8by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN $14.99 value

Many new things happen during the ages of 5-8. Children start school, develop significant friendships, learn to think abstractly instead of just concretely, and have a greater ability to draw close to God. Parenting during this stage produces a number of challenges and opportunities so you’ll want to be prepared.

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, age 18 and older. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, April 20 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced at the Wonderfully Made Facebook Release Party (winner does not have to be present to win, but we hope you’ll be there!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You’re Invited!

Join us for the Wonderfully Made Facebook Release Party on Thursday, April 21. We’ll have even more giveaways and freebies, too! The party begins at 9pm EST, and you can RSVP on the event page

Please RSVP!

Wonderfully Made Facebook Release Party, Thursday, April 21, 9pm EST

Comments Off on A Wonderfully Made Giveaway!

Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Book Reviews, Currently Reading, Life, Mommyhood, Thinking Biblically

Book Review: Triggers

As a new mom, it can be difficult to imagine that you would, or could ever be angry with that sweet-smelling, squishy little bundle of cuteness staring up at you through their squinty newborn eyes.

I would like people to think I have it all together…as a wife, as a mom, as a Christian. But, I don’t. And, I know I’m not really fooling anyone. But, still, it is a humbling thing to admit that I struggle with anger – sinful, passionate, emotional outbursts and responses – towards these precious children that I prayed and longed for, that God has graciously given to me to teach, train, and treasure. It surprised (and scared!) me to discover just how angry I could get at this tiny little person that I loved so much. And, I am ashamed to admit that there are days when motherhood brings out the worst in me.

While it can seem that way, I know that I am not alone in this struggle. I have been a mom for just over a decade, and my husband has been a pastor for most of that time. And, as both a fellow mom, and pastor’s wife, I have talked with so many moms who struggle in the same way.

But, it isn’t just anger. It is the accompanying consequences of that anger – feelings of shame, regret, discouragement, and hopelessness. These moms know they struggle. They know it is sinful. But, they don’t know how to change. They don’t know if they can change.

They don’t think there is hope.

Oh, mama. There is hope…for change, for peace, for forgiveness, for restoration.

TriggersIn Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, Amber Lia and Wendy Speake offer a wonderful, biblical resource to help us, by the grace of God, to overcome our struggle with anger – specifically the anger that is directed at our children. Through, personal experiences, practical examples, and biblical exhortation, Amber and Wendy offer hope that we can change from that scary, angry, yelling mama to the patient, gentle, and kind mother that Scripture calls us to be!

This book is comprised of 31 chapters. It is an easy read, in the sense that the chapters are short, and are designed to be read one a day, for a month. But, each chapter is packed with biblical wisdom, gentle (or, sometimes, not) conviction, and hope. It is not a quick-fix list of tricks which will magically change my child’s infuriating behavior…although it does address the behaviors that often “trigger” our anger. It is hope for repentance, for biblical change in my own stubborn, sinful, angry heart (and yours).

Part One

The first section of the book deals with “External Triggers.” These are the childish behaviors, often borne of immaturity, in our children that trigger our anger. Issues like disobedience, backtalk, disrespect, strong-willed children, angry children, whining and complaining, sibling rivalry, ignoring instruction, lying and deceit, manipulation, special needs/learning difficulties, video games, and irresponsible behavior. Do any of those sound familiar? Does even the mere mention of some of those behaviors stir up a reaction within you?

Without giving away too much – because, if you struggle with anger, you need to read this book for yourself – here are a few of my favorite nuggets of wisdom from this first section:

In the very first chapter, Amber deals with the issuer of Disobedience. This one action (or, maybe inaction) on the part of my children triggers my anger toward them more than anything else. But, you may be saying (as I often do), Scripture instructs children to obey their parents. Yes. Yes it does. But… God “doesn’t whack us upside the head continually or deal with us harshly from the get-go.” (pg. 15) When we I am reminded of God’s long-suffering and compassionate patience with us – His children – it brings into stark contrast my own lack of patience and grace with our children.

“As mothers, we forget that our children are immature. Yes, they will also be outrightly defiant at times; but I find that often, we are dealing with our own unreasonable expectations for obedience.” (pg. 15)

After all, Amber wisely reminds us, the goal is not simply to produce obedient children. Their disobedience is also an opportunity for us to be refined, and to become more like Christ.

It can be so easy, in the moment, not only to justify our heated reactions, but to forget the lasting impact that our words, our voice, our volume, and our facial expressions will have on our children. I do not want my children to remember me as a grumpy mama that caused them to walk on eggshells for fear of triggering a flood of angry words…and regret.

Because, my anger isn’t their fault. But their anger?

In Chapter 5, Amber addresses the subject of Angry Kids.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

Yes, this applies to mothers too.

“As moms who struggle with anger, we often fear that we are modeling this hotheaded behavior and that our kids are picking up on it. We may not like to hear it, but we have to begin with examining ourselves to help our kids overcome anger.” (pg. 29)

In this chapter, Amber lists a number of ways that we can exasperate, or provoke, our children to anger, and contribute to their own problem with anger. I won’t list them here…you’ll need to read the book for yourself! But, I will say that it is a convicting exercise to read though it, and prayerfully consider each one.

“But, we honestly can’t address our children’s anger unless we first take ownership for our part. THAT is the biblical response to our child’s anger! We must first discipline ourselves, before we consider training or teaching our children.” (pg. 30)

Chapter 6 was on the topic of Whining and Complaining. My kids do complain from time to time. But, as a general rule, they aren’t big complainers. But, oh, the whining! With a 2- and 4-year-old, I hear a fair amount of whining on any given day! In this chapter, Wendy offered 3 things to consider when your children start whining:

First, “[b]ehave right when they behave wrong. It is the most ridiculous thing in the world that we correct our children with the same wrong behavior we’re telling them not to do.” (pg. 33) She goes on to ask, “Do you ever feel like you meet them in their wrong behavior, rather than minister to them from a place of serene authority?” (pg. 33)

Um, yes!

Her second point was the classic definition of biblical counseling! “Use God’s Word like a scalpel, not a hammer.” (pg. 33) I know that I am guilty of the “hammer” approach far too often. And in the heat of my anger, it is not only ineffective, it is hypocritical, preachy, and downright wrong.

She then offers, what I think is probably the most helpful piece of advice in the entire book:

“Do you use Scripture when you’re frustrated and angry? God’s Word was never intended to be a hammer in the hand of an angry mom, but a surgeon’s scalpel used in tandem with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When we meet our children, in the height of their fit-throwing tantrums, with Bible verses…we wield the sword of truth inappropriately….I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use Scriptures to train them up in the ways they are to go; I’m just saying that we shouldn’t use them to shame our kids in the middle of the battle.” (pgs. 33-34)

As moms we want to use Scripture to train our children. We want them to memorize it, internalize it, and obey it. But, I have seen it too often used as a weapon in the form of punishment, or to prove a point, rather than as a tool of loving correction.

Her third point was to “act like a child of God!” (pg. 34) Too often, as the adults in the situation, we fall into the same sinful behaviors that our children are exhibiting!

What struck me most about this chapter was that, while it was helpful in dealing with and responding to my children when they whine and complain, the suggestions and reminders that Wendy offered are exactly how we are to deal with any of our children’s sins!

Throughout much of the first half of the book, I found myself nodding along in sympathetic understanding as the authors shared their personal testimonies and experiences, and eager to try some of the practical solutions and advice that they offered on how to handle and respond to these different scenarios. And many of them have already proven helpful in my own home!

Part Two

But, the second half of this book is about “taking our eyes of the things they do to set us off, and focusing instead on our own shortcomings, sin tendencies, hard-wiring, and personal trials that cause us to explode all over our little people. Because while some of our triggers have to do with them…most of our triggers have everything to do with us!” (pg. 69) This section covers issues like: Lack of Faith, Generational Habits, Depression, Exhaustion, Running Late, No Personal Space, Going it All Alone, Challenging Relationships, Noise, Roughhousing, Messy Homes, Multi-Tasking, Transitions, Caring for Sick Children and Ailing Parents, Stress, Feelings of Guilt.

So many of these chapters had me uttering Voddie Baucham’s famous line, “If you can’t say “Amen,” you better say “Ouch!” Because conviction of sin is really never a fun experience.

Chapter 19, on Exhaustion, really resonated with me. All four of my children have been born with a tongue-tie, and moderate to severe reflux. This has led to years (yes, literally, years) of entirely sleepless nights…sleeping sitting up…sleeping for 10 minute increments between marathon nursing sessions…falling asleep at the table during homeschooling…standing over the crib of my tiny crying baby, in tears myself. When my first-born was an only child, this sleep-deprivation didn’t seem as hard as it did when my second, third, and fourth also decided to take up the family tradition of insomnia!

As Amber shared about her experience with her own son, I discovered a kindred spirit! I found myself nodding in both amusement and empathetic understanding. “Sleep experts gave us our money back. Chiropractors threw their hands in the air. Friends had no magic formulas, though we tried them all. I’ll never forget the mind-numbing depression of my fatigue during our babies’ infancy and beyond.” (pg. 81, emphasis mine)

Someone finally understands!

I never thought of myself as an angry mom…until my second child was born. He was that child that never slept, never napped, and no one could really explain why…or make him sleep. I was utterly exhausted. All the time. And, I had zero patience. I felt constantly on edge. Worn out. And utterly exhausted.

“When we are tired, we must dig deeper, speak slower, think more carefully, and move about more gently than ever before, because we are so much more prone to lash out in our weariness.” (pg. 82)

I find it funny that she quotes the very verse that I have repeated over, and over, and over to myself in the past several years: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NLT)

It is helpful to be reminded that I cannot change the circumstances that are making me weary. To be reminded not to give in to the lie that I just can’t do one more hour, one more day. To be reminded that,

“We may not get the refreshing or reviving that we need to feel 100% each day, but that has no real bearing on our ability to respond biblically tin the hard moments that will come our way. Be exhausted if you must, but give your kids your best self anyway.” (pg. 83)

For me, the chapter on Exhaustion seemed to go hand-in-hand with chapter 21, No Personal Space.

I am not, by nature, a people person. I like my space. But, with 4 children, three of whom are still very young, personal space and quiet moments alone, seem to be a thing of the past…or, of the far-distant future. It’s not that I would change these years for anything. But, sometimes, it does seem as though all I ever do is nurse, change diapers, and serve as personal jungle gym for 3 young children. And, my oldest, at 10, is not as physically demanding as her younger siblings, but she has her own needs. And, as Amber shared, “Some days, the physical demands and lack of personal space can get to me.” (pg. 88)

And, in these moments, it is easy to throw myself a pity party, and become frustrated and angry.

But,

“I don’t really have to get angry. I don’t’ really have to be quick to anger and lose my self-control. I don’t really have to tell myself that I deserve to have peace and quiet. And I don’t really have to give in to the temptation to think that in those harried moments, my life would be better if I could just have my own space.” (pg. 89)

She points us to Matthew 8 and 9, and the life of Christ, as our example in these moments. He knows what it is to have others demanding of His time and attention, and pressing in on His “personal space.” And yet, He had compassion on the people.

“The Christian life is the servant life. It’s not a life where personal space rules; it’s a life where pouring out ourselves for others reigns.” (pg. 90)

So it is with motherhood. We must reflect to our children the kindness, sacrifice, and compassion of our Savior.

One Caution

There is so much good in this book. So much that is biblical, helpful, and encouraging. And, I hesitate to bring up the one concern that I had in reading this book for fear of causing moms to shy away from an otherwise outstanding resource. It is a relatively small thing, in the sense that it is only one sentence, in the middle of one chapter. But, the issue itself is not a small thing.

In chapter 19, on the topic of exhaustion (a chapter, that, as a whole, I found extremely encouraging), one of the authors makes this statement: “Eventually, I heard God whisper to my heart…”

This type of talk sends up all sorts of red flags for me. It seems as if almost every author, speaker, and church-goer today is claiming to receive special, audible messages, visions, or revelations from God. It lends an apparent authority or undisputable credibility to their message. But, I think we need to be very, very careful about claiming any sort of audible messages or revelations from God. While I think I understand what the author was trying to say, I simply think it could have been worded, or approached, differently.

Recommendation

This struggle with anger is not exclusive to moms in the throes of the “terrible twos.” And, moms of moody teens or pre-teens do not have a monopoly on it either. Each stage and season of motherhood brings its own unique challenges and triggers to our battle against our sinful anger. And, this book offers practical and biblical wisdom to all moms, in every season and stage of motherhood.

Not every chapter will apply to every mom. We do not do video games – in any incarnation – in our home. And, we do not have a child with special needs or disabilities. I have not struggled with postpartum depression. And, my parents and in-laws are still, thankfully, in good health. But, that isn’t to say you should skip chapters you feel do not apply to you. Maybe these will never be part of your experience. Maybe they just aren’t part of your life yet. Or maybe you will find, in those pages, a way to encourage and counsel a friend who shares that she is struggling with anger in those areas.

Mama, if you are fighting what seems like a losing battle with anger, I would highly recommend this book. It will prove a useful weapon in your arsenal.

***

Triggers is available today!

You can purchase it in 3 formats:

PDF

Kindle:

Paperback:

{This post contains affiliate links. I was given a copy of the book, Triggers, free of charge. All opinions shared are my own.}

 

Comments Off on Book Review: Triggers

Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Book Reviews, Mommyhood

What’s On Your Nightstand? {April}

It is, once again, time for “What’s On Your Nightstand?” over at 5 Minutes for Books

All of these are still in the “to be read” category.

Did I ever show you what my sweet husband brought me from his trip to the Shepherds’ Conference last month?

J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on John! All. Three. Volumes. I can’t wait to jump in. (Yes, he got them over a month ago, and I’ve yet to crack the spine on any of them. However, I think I have a pretty cute excuse.)

And, joining J.C. Ryle…

Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck – A Christmas present from my sweet husband. Yes, he knows my love language. Oh, books isn’t an “official” love language? Well, it is in this house!

Worship: The Ultimate Priority, by John MacArthur – My husband is currently reading the copy he received at the Shepherds’ Conference, and keeps telling me I need to read it. However, we don’t do too well sharing books, because, I am (overly) fond of my yellow highlighter, and he doesn’t like his books to glow in the dark. Thankfully, another copy recently appeared in our mailbox (courtesy of Grace to You, I believe).

Raising Real Men, by Hal and Melanie Young – This was sent to me by my new friend, Melanie, who is a mother of 6 boys (and 2 girls). Being brand new to the world of boys, I loved this quote from the back cover: “A practical guide to equipping the hearts and minds of boys without breaking or losing your own.”

6 Comments

Filed under What's On Your Nightstand?