The Gospel-Centered Mom: A Review + A GIVEAWAY!

the gospel-centered mom (from the jensens blog)

How can I give God more glory as a mom?
Maybe you've asked this question before, or maybe you've asked a different question on this list:

"How can I love my kids more?  How can I love God more?  How can I be more selfless?  How can I be a better wife?  How can I keep godly priorities?"  

These are some of the things that consume my mind, day in and day out, and the questions that drive many of my efforts to change.  At the heart of our longings, moms want to know, "...where can I find the strength to care for all these little hearts and bodies with perfect patience and love?" 

Can you relate? 
Are you feeling overwhelmed with your various roles, not only because of their daily challenges but because you are burdened by the desire to handle those challenges well?  If you have been made new in Christ, then your heart does long to honor God in all of your actions, which can actually start to feel like a heavy burden.  But as Sara Wallace explains in her new study, there is an answer to this struggling and striving (and it doesn't require us to 'do more' for God).

"The gospel-centered mom looks to Christ first.  The Gospel is our anchor; our foundation; our lens for our world of diapers, burned dinners, and mommy break-downs.  We have a monumental task ahead of us, but we have an even greater Savior."   

From this lens, Sara goes on to explain what the gospel is, and how it should impact our hearts in our calling as moms.  

What is The Gospel-Centered Mom Study?
For some time now, I've followed Sara Wallace's writing on her blog, "The Gospel-Centered Mom."  Maybe you've read some of her writing, especially her "What to do with Santa?" post that went viral before Christmas.  I love her heart to proclaim the goodness of grace, making application for women in the thick of cheerios and diapers.  Sara's writing is authentic and venerable, but not just so that you can laugh alongside her exciting life with four boys.  Her ultimate goal is to point other moms to the gospel, and to help us see how it frees us to enjoy God and fulfill His purposes for our lives.  So when I had an opportunity to look over this study, I jumped at the chance.  I'm totally on board with her mission and think she is gifted by God to relate biblical truth to tired, weary moms!

What is this study like?:
  • The book consists of 14 chapters, each with a small set of study questions at the end.
  • Each chapter is just a handful of easy-to-read pages, packed full of real life examples and biblical truths.
  • This could be completed easily on your own during a devotional time, or it would make a wonderful discussion starter in a small group of other moms.
  • Sara provides enough scriptures to help you stand on truth, without overwhelming you with passages to spend hours researching.  This is very accessible for busy moms!
the gospel-centered mom (from the jensens blog)

Some big takeaways:
First of all, I'm grateful for how simply and clearly this book spells out gospel application for motherhood.  I've read several books before which have attempted to make this connection, but until I did this study, it never really 'clicked' for me.  I have a feeling I will look back months and years from now, and still reference this book as a turning-point for me in parenting.

Here were some of my favorite lessons:
  1. I need to stop using my mommy grading chart:  I have a standard in my mind for 'the perfect mom' which is mostly made up of cultural ideals and personal preferences.  Each day, I grade myself based on this standard.  If I've done well (fed my kids healthy food, haven't let them watch too much TV, haven't lost my patience with anyone, enjoyed some 'fun' time with the kids) then I give myself a good grade and I feel awesome about myself.  If I've done poorly (grabbed nuggets at the drive thru, let them watch Doc McStuffins re-runs, ignored them for social media, and neglected to keep the house organized) then I feel guilt and shame.  I make sure to 'punish' myself in some way; either through negative self-talk, condemnation, or running to a false idol for comfort (think - eating huge handfuls of m&m's).  This study helped me identify that habit, and name it as a wrong way to view myself as a person and a mom.  God is not a mean teacher, looking at my good and bad for the day, waiting to give me a grade.  He is a loving, merciful father who always sees me clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  I'm no longer under the law, and each day I am seen through the perfect lens of Jesus.  
  2. I need to fill my mind with truth, and rehearse the gospel:  It's really hard to believe the gospel and apply it if you don't know it very well.  It's also difficult to experience the joy, peace, strength, and help that God gives in His word when I'm not connected to it.  God doesn't want me to do this 'motherhood' thing alone.  He wants me to trust Him, come to Him, talk to Him, rely on Him, and live like I am a true daughter (and co-heir with Christ).  The only way out of this mommy-grading chart cycle is to look at Jesus himself, be connected to the vine daily, and be grateful for the incredible grace I've already been given that can't be lost.
  3. I need to come alongside my children as fellow sinners:  Perhaps the most helpful thing I received from reading this book was a better understanding of the gospel's application to discipline.  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I expect my children to be un-regenerate sinners in need of grace (which removes the need for me to be angry with them or shocked at their behavior).  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I am a fellow sinner, sharing our great inability to do what is right before a perfect and righteous God.  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I can explain with an understanding spirit what it means to confess sin and trust in the sacrifice of Christ.  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I can give my children the hope of new life, not based on what they will do to 'be better' or reform themselves, but based on becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus.
At the end of this book, my heart beats alongside Sara's:
"Let's be frequent, willing recipients of gospel grace so we can be generous givers of it to our children."

Because a TRUE understanding of the gospel will change us, and it can help us live out our desire; to bring glory to God in ALL THINGS, even the crazy season of motherhood.

Thanks to Sara Wallace from The Gospel-Centered Mom, I'll be giving away a FREE COPY of the Gospel-Centered Mom AND I'm throwing in a $10 gift card to Starbucks (just because - you probably need a break to go read somewhere in peace).  
the gospel-centered mom (from the jensens blog)

To Enter:
Basically you can have a total of 4 entries - Comment (here or at the FB page), FB page like, Twitter follow, Social Media share :-) Just make sure you tell me what you do, even if it's all in one comment....this is my first Giveaway and I'm testing the waters!

The giveaway will end on FRIDAY, MAY 1ST, 2015.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.
I will announce / contact the winner on MONDAY, MAY 4TH, 2015.

And even if you don't win, please consider picking up your own copy and using it as a personal or group study!!

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