A while back, I was given (at my request) this book:
|click HERE for more info|
I had read or heard others talking about it, and I think what finally sold me on it was my friend Brite's post about it... (maybe I'm imagining it? I can't seem to find it on her site... Brite, if you find it I'll link to it.)
It would be too strong to say that I didn't like the book or that I didn't get anything out of it. It was an easy, entertaining read, and Rachel is a delightful author with a witty sense of humor. But, I didn't really find much in it that was helpful, like everyone else that had read it seemed to. The difference, I realized, is that most of my friends who were loving this book had 2, 3, 4, or 5+ children...whereas I just have one. While I am very content in the place where God has put me right now, and I really love being able to focus a lot of my attention on my daughter, it does set us apart. That is not to say that I am never overwhelmed in my mothering and parenting, or that I don't have crazy days of chaos too, but it's not the same kind of chaos. (As a side note, this article is a good reminder that whatever stage we are at in our mothering and family size, we are going to feel "maxed out" as God is shaping and molding us.)
So, the best way to sum it up was to say that I simply couldn't relate to a lot of what the author was saying. I did come away with a few good ideas, but overall I was disappointed and frustrated.
Fast-forward to Mother's Day this year, and my mom sent me this book in the mail:
|click HERE for more info|
Given that it came during the Spring/Summer when I was not reading much and spending a lot of time outdoors, and the frustration brought on by the previous book, I was not inclined to read it right away, so it sat in my reading bag throughout the summer. (Sorry, Mom) Two weeks ago, a friend casually mentioned if I had read any of Rachel Jankovic's books, and I was reminded of the book sitting in my family room. (Thanks, Megan!) In the midst of a particularly trying week of parenting last week, I started reading it.
To my surprise, relief, and delight, I was able to relate to this book in so many more ways! (I'm a highlighter when I read my own books, and to give you an idea of the difference, the first book has NO...as in ZERO, ZILCH yellow in it....the blue book....loaded.)
I feel like the first book speaks more to a practical carrying out of mothering and family life which definitely looks different based on size of family and other dynamics. The second book gets to the heart of mothering, and focuses a LOT on the mother's heart. In this aspect, we truly all struggle with the same sins and frustrations regardless of how many children we have.
The book is convicting, and I've found myself wrestling through some sins in my own life that I was ignoring, but it is SO encouraging in that it points you straight to the cross and Jesus' accomplishing it ALL for us. It's already done....revel in it, delight in it, rejoice in it!
Regardless of where you are in your mothering, I encourage you to give Fit to Burst a chance.... The chapters are short and very easy to read...Even if you read one chapter a day (it might take 5-10 minutes) you'd finish the book in less than 3 weeks, and I guarantee you would be encouraged by it.
There are lots of portions that I could include (all those places I highlighted!), but the last chapter that I read this morning was especially encouraging and a good reminder for me (after having been whiny about a hard week/stage of parenting), so I will leave you with that...
Discontent will never change the world. If you want your work to have a lasting impact on the world, define yourself with gratitude............Gratitude is like that. It transforms. It is such a force that it cannot coexist with selfishness, with discouragement, with discontent. When you are thankful for what God gave you to do, you are fit to do it..............Gratitude enable us to do our daily work as unto the Lord. It makes the little things that we do every day an offering to God. When we do the dishes, when we correct the children, when we mop the floors, when we sort out the clothes and clean out the basement. When we do all these little things full of gratitude, we are making a difference in the kingdom of God.
In our church, at the conclusion of each worship service, we sing the "Gloria Patri" with our hands raised. We lift our hands in a gesture of lifting our worship up to God, but also a gesture of lifting the work of our hands up to Him. Asking Him to use the things that we do in the course of the week for the kingdom. We lift up the hands that have been in the sink with the dishes, hands that have been fixing hair and buttoning pants, hands that have been wiping off the table and driving to school, hands that have been changing diapers and tickling tummies, hands that have been busy holding other hands.
These hands, this work, Lord, take them. And when I look down our row at church, I see that God has multiplied the work of our hands. All these little hands raised to Him. Offering up their coloring and schoolwork. Offering up their staying in bed at nap time. Offering up their laughter, their joy, and their lives. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is nothing better or more powerful that I could be doing with my hands.