Saturday, September 21, 2013

Devotions for Moms - Thirty-Seven Devotionals for Christian Moms (A Review)

The book Devotions for Moms - Thirty-Seven Devotionals for Christian Moms, by Heather Bixler Christina Fox is a compilation of the devotionals first published on their blog.  It is available as a PDF (free) or as an Amazon Kindle e-book ($0.99).  I reviewed the Kindle version because I wanted to be able to read this across multiple devices (I have the Kindle app for iPhone, but have no idea how to get a PDF onto my phone). 

As I read this book, I found myself highlighting passages and writing notes. Normally, I am NOT a highlighter.  I just read.  So much of it stood out to me that I needed to highlight to be able to come back and re-read and ponder. I liked that each devotional can stand alone - it's not necessarily a "start at the beginning and read to the end" book. Each devotional focuses on a different variant of how God loves us no matter what, but a mom could find herself feeling different emotions and looking for spiritual nourishment in that particular area and find it, rather than feeling like "Today is Tuesday, I must reflect on Tuesday's prayers." It doesn't matter what day it is - just what you need for your relationship with God.

One thing that struck me was how raw this devotional is. So many are preachy - telling the reader what she "should" do.  But life doesn't work according to what one "should" do - we are human, we fall short, and some days, our heart knows deep down that God has a plan but our in-the-trenches mind is saying, "Really? REALLY???" and so we struggle. But the authors do not berate readers for feeling...well, human...and instead put themselves up as "human like the rest of us."

One chapter discusses faith.  The authors pose the question, "What does it take to walk by faith?" and answer it by saying, "Faith means trusting God when you can’t see past two feet in front of brings us grace because when we walk by faith we find our self in a vulnerable place where we let go of control and surrender to Him."  Some days, it is hard to give up control, and I need to remind myself that I need to let go.  Another chapter acknowledges that we burn out.  We all have days where we just can't take one more step.  Even Jesus had those moments - exhausted and burdened by the weight of the cross, even He fell down and coudn't go on.  But yet...for that very reason, He knows our burden, and takes it on for us.

Each chapter begins with a Bible passage - a short verse or two - and then at the end concludes with either a prayer or suggested passages for further reflection.  The tone of the entire book remains consistent, despite having two authors.  Each chapter is written by either Heather Bixler or Christina Fox, but if not for the credit in each chapter, it would be appear that the entire book was interactively authored and edited.

I have a daily devotional that I am starting to work though, but it's a "Day 1 is this passage, day 2 is the next chapter..." etc. As much as I like it, because it breaks down the Bible and progresses from Genesis to Revelation, sometimes we need to be able to find a way to speak with the Lord on our terms, not a book's terms.  Devotions for Moms will definitely get a lot of reading, as I find there are  some days where I'm called to reflect on a particular idea. 

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