Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spirit-Led Parenting: Review and Giveaway

 It seems like just yesterday I sat on the same couch I'm sitting on right now, and desperately googled and read every parenting book I could get my hands on, trying to figure out the secret to getting Jayci to sleep. I was convinced everyone else knew the answer, and determined to find them for myself. My google-searching providentially landed me at SortaCrunchy (the blog of Megan Tietz). If I'm honest, I had zero idea what "crunchy" meant, aside from possibly talking about some good potato chips or something, but that didn't stop me from leaving a comment on one of her posts on infant sleep. Megan must have sensed the desperation and exhaustion lacing my words, and she quickly emailed me a response. Her words spoke freedom and grace, laced with a gentle directing towards the Lord. I devoured her advice, relieved to hear I wasn't alone, that I didn't HAVE to do things "by the book." And I've been reading Megan's blog and learning from her grace-filled wisdom ever since.

When I found out Megan (along with Laura Oyer of In the Backyard) was writing a book, I cheered inwardly at the thought of how many woman need to hear the life-giving truths that Megan shares. That you will sleep one day. That all moms question themselves and that there is simply no special sleep formula which works for every baby. That there's definitely no secret mom-club of moms who know all the right answers.

I was possibly over-eager perfectly delighted when Megan asked me to be a part of the blog tour for her new book, Spirit-led Parenting. I received the book in the mail last week and devoured it quickly. It's interesting to read their words sitting where I am today. Because I am definitely wiser than I was. And I even know what "crunchy" means now (well I think I do, mostly). But I'm still sitting on this same green couch with a baby in the other room who simply will-not-sleep. So as much as I'd like to say I'm reading this book from a wiser-and-more-experienced-momma place, I'm still very much IN THE TRENCHES of mothering young children. And I still very much needed to hear the message of grace and freedom that Megan and Laura offer in their book.

Because the truth is that fear can be a constant companion for me, especially as a mother. And not just fear of the big stuff, like Caden's heart or Jayci's safety or the kiddos in the neighborhood carrying guns. No, it's the "little" fears that tend to be more pervasive. Comparing myself with other people, particularly other moms, and feeling fear fill me that I just can't add up. Worry that I am not doing this whole "motherhood" thing right, and possibly that I am screwing my children up forever. Fear of what others will think of the way I'm parenting. Fears that Caden will literally NEVER let me sleep through the night. Fears that I am just not enough.

And unfortunately, as a Christ-follower, my fear in parenting seems heightened and not diminished by the Christian community. On top the certainty that I'm not doing things the "right" way, I can quickly feel crushed by the weight of expectations from those who claim to have God's inside scoop for raising children properly. I find myself wandering down the path of self-loathing, convinced of my inadequacy. I'm too unorganized and not nearly disciplined enough to stick to a schedule, and not nearly loving or "crunchy" enough to co-sleep and babywear. Voices on both sides speak loudly and vehemently, and like a dangerous game of Red-Rover, I find myself running back and forth until I can barely breath and my legs are almost as exhausted as my heart.

But Spirit-led Parenting speaks differently. Somehow, amid the cacophony, Laura and Megan have managed to listen to, and share, the still small voice. The gentle whisper that speaks in the wind rather than the storm.

Somehow, mothering by the leading of the Holy Spirit was a revelation for me. Even now, after sitting in total surrender at Caden's bedside, recognizing 100% completely that we are not in control and that our son belongs to the Lord. Somehow, despite all of that, I still shut out His voice in favor of other louder and more insistent voices once things seem "normal." When I'm worrying about Caden sleeping through the night rather than Caden LIVING through the night, I forget to ask for God's hand and guidance. But the truth is that He is just as interested in my obedience NOW as He was then. And this fear-free-complete-surrender parenting? Is exactly what Laura and Megan explore and point towards in Spirit-Led Parenting.

Practical wisdom about sex, marriage, sleeping, catching up on your DVR, and keeping your sanity even in the midst of severe sleep deprivation are woven seamlessly with God's Word and truths about how motherhood can (and should) draw us ever-closer to the heart of a Father-God. Somehow we have lost sight of the fact that God has created each and every one of us uniquely. And likewise He leads each and every one of us differently to raise and nurture our uniquely-crafted babies. Their creator knows them intimately and He doesn't make mistakes, and seeking wisdom at His feet means that each mother will walk a unique path.

Spirit-Led Parenting may, in fact, be the only book I will ever recommend to new moms again. Because what all of us moms need is simply to be pointed in the direction of Jesus. To rely ONLY on Him for our strength. To listen to His voice quietly telling us "this is the way, walk in it." And then to actually walk where He directs. To put one oh-so-tired foot in front of the other and walk towards Christ, serving our children with a sacrificial and grace-filled love that will point them straight to our Savior.

I am grateful to Laura and Megan for sharing this message of grace, and even more grateful to them for allowing me to learn from their wisdom and share in their journey. I'm also grateful because I have a copy to give away to one of y'all! You guys are the absolutely best, most beautiful readers and friends ever. And I want each and every one of you to have the chance to learn freedom from fear as parents RIGHT NOW. So leave a comment telling me something you've learned as a mother (or hope to learn), and next week when I get back from New York I'll pick a winner.

Join in on the rest of the blog tour too if you have a chance:

39 comments:

  1. This book sounds amazing! I'm parenting two little ones right now, and while there is nothing else I would rather do, I find myself just trying to survive and not really enjoying my kids like I want to. I want to learn how to love and offer grace to my two year old when I am running on no sleep and feeling stuck in the house. Thanks for the book and blog recommendation. I will definitely check them out!

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  2. As a mom to a 24 month old and a 5 month old, I struggle with the fear that I'm not "doing" enough. That if I'm not reading French flash cards to my infant or doing craftsy math projects with my two year old, then somehow I'm failing them and I'm just not mother enough. I'm slowly learning about what's important in parenting: just being there. Love. Laughter even when you can't keep your eyes open and there's poop on your oversized sweatpants. Allowing God to love you. This book sounds awesome.

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  3. although i have FINALLY gotten past the sleep deprivation stage with my three kiddos, i am definitely struggling with the comparison to other moms. i watch my friends at church and at play dates and it always seems like they have it so much more together than i do. i realized the ridiculousness of this the other day when one of them looked at ME and asked how i was able to handle working full time, keeping up the house, and being a mom all while keeping it together. i laughed until it hurt because i realized that they were having the same thoughts about me that i was having about them. we all just need to love and support and pray for each other!!

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  4. I've learned what unconditional, undeserved love really means. I understand more of God's heart for me as I explore my heart for my kids. We just brought our second home from the hospital last week, so this book feels like perfect timing. I can't wait to read it!

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  5. With my second coming any minute now, I'm dying to hear what the book has to say about all these parenting techniques that say there's a right or wrong way to do everything. I'm sure I'd soak up every page!

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  6. Hi! I've been following your blog since a mutual friend posted about Caden's heart on fb. I praise God for the work he has done with Caden! Anyway, this book sounds worth reading! One of the things I have learned while mothering my 10 month old son is flexibility. I'm a planner by nature so this has been a little challenging. Oh, and patience!

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  7. Thank you for the opportunity! This book seems like a must-read! Our second child will be joining our family this summer. Since becoming a mother I've learned so much about gratitude and thanking God for the every-"dayness" of everyday, even when it isn't fun or easy. God is transforming my selfish desires into a heart of love, grace, and joy as I recognize His hand woven into the moments of each day.

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  8. Would love to read this! My 14 month old is just now starting to sleep through the night - goes to bed by 8:30, wakes up to nurse somewhere between 12:30 and 1:30 and then sleeps again until after 9. Yay!!!
    I've learned I don't know what I'm doing, how much a mother loves her child, and somethings are out of my control!
    Deanna
    dmfitzpatrick16 @ rangers.nwosu.edu

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  9. Well it's not profound but the first thing that comes to my mind about what I've learned as a mother is the 3 naps a day for infants and the sleep schedule that little kids have. I guess the profound lesson I'm learning about being a mother is perhaps taboo but I finally get just how important it is the type of man you marry. He dramatically affects you as a mothet and your children as their father. Some things just don't become clear until it's experienced.

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  10. Something I've learned as a mother so far... Babies are created and designed to be needy. Knowing this has helped me have the correct attitude in difficult mothering times. :)

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  11. This book sounds great. I was talking with one of my mommy friends the other day - a best friend who I have walked through several stages of life with. She asked if I had a favorite parenting book because she was feeling a little lost with her 9 month old. I realized that I don't have a favorite or really anything to recommend, but maybe this will be it! As far as what I've learned recently, it's that other than Jesus, my kids really need ME. They don't care how clean the house is or that their laundry is folded or that I cooked a fancy meal, but they do care that I sit and play with them, take them to the playground, and read books with them. So why do I still stress about all the other stuff??

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  12. Megan's blog was a light in the seemingly dark tunnel of my first couple of years as a mom as we faced sleep issues. Can't wait to read her book and pass it on to new moms.

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  13. I've learned that every single second of these little lives goes by so incredibly fast and I frequently remind myself of that fact when I'm in the really really hard times :)

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  14. Becca - have an awesome time in New York! This sounds like a great book. Since I'm not a mommy yet, I hope that I eventually learn to live a less self-centered life. It is so easy to get caught up in planning life around one person, or even two if we count Charlie :-), and I anticipate it will be an interesting transition!

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  15. I hope to learn to stop yelling at my kids. My Mother yelled all the time. I hate that I do the same.

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  16. I hope to learn to be more gracious with myself in my new role of being a mom. I'm looking forward to reading this book because I think it will help me in this area.

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  17. This book looks really good, I can't wait to read it! In the past 5 months since the birth of my son I learned to expect the unexpected. Nothing ever seems to go as planned with a newborn )

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  18. Becca - This is so what I needed to read, and I may not be able to wait until you choose me to gift the book to before I get my hands on a copy! Seth is giving us sleep trouble now along with some attitude, and I'm having trouble (again) believing that God has created me for this child and this child for me, that He has given me these great gifts and all that I need to parent as He fathers me.These are things that I know in heart and mind but sometimes forget I know.

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  19. I've learned that as much as I love my precious daughter, God loves her unfathomably more...and it doesn't matter how I think I'm doing as her Mommy, it matters what God thinks, and He's entrusted me with this enormous blessing! I can't wait to read this book to help me on my Mommy journey!

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  20. I am pregnant with my first baby at 35 years old, and feel the pressure already! I need this book! :-) I just wrote about my struggles with expecting everything to be just right. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

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  21. Having my son Cohen has been an amazing ride! I learn so many new things everyday. I think that one of the most important things that I have learned is to slow down and enjoy every minute. To hear the peace among all the noise of Vtech fire engines and laptops. Just to see him smile can seem to right all the wrong in the world. He has also taught me to be patient and open to whatever may come my way even when I think I cannot handle anything more. Cohen has taught me that even if our house is not the cleanest he can still play safety with his mommy and daddy. We are truly blessed each and every day by God's never ending grace!

    I would love to have the chance to read this book. It looks great. If I don't get it in the give away maybe I will get it for Mother's Day!

    Thank you Becca for your amazing post! I look forward to reading everything you have to say and seeing those precious babies of yours! Enjoy New York! You deserve it!

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  22. I am the mother to a one year old. There is a constant need to remember God's direction and provisions, when we are in the trenches of everday life. A good book written of experience, is always appreciated!

    samantha

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  23. I've learned that each child is different. I've also learned to listen more to my husband than to blog posts on the internet. ;)

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  24. I am 30 years old and a first-time, expectant mother. I am extremely excited but also anxious at the thought of becoming a mother. On one hand, I have wanted to be a mother for pretty much my entire life, but I am also already letting myself succumb to fears and doubts (and I’m only 6 weeks along!). I think reading this book would be an incredible blessing to me, to help me stay focused on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and not to let my uncertainty keep me from being the mother God has created me to be.

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  25. This book sounds great! I have a 2 year old and am expecting twins, so I'd love a NEW outlook on the first year. I felt so trapped by "rules" and how things were supposed to be. I'd like to say I've learned to let go more and follow her needs, but still feel plagued by mommy guilt and well-meaning comments from others. I'd love to read the book!

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  26. I've learned to try and listen to exactly what my children are asking me. Whether that is from the constant cries of a newborn or the girls wanting to nurse often throughout the day. Or reading books all day! This is such a journey and I would absolutely love to win a copy of this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

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  27. "Because the truth is that fear can be a constant companion for me, especially as a mother."

    How true, how true. Fear has gradually started taking over as I just recently entered motherhood.

    I loved your honest reflection of how we need to allow God to set us free from our fears and to just surrender to his leading!

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  28. With two little ones, two and under, I constantly am learning that it's so much more important to just BE with my babies than to make sure that the house is always clean and the laundry is always folded.

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  30. I'd like to learn how to love and appreciate my two toddler boys for the unique individuals God crafted them to be; to tap into that awesome way that God loves all of us, even when some of us are admittedly more loveable than others. As a mom to a 3 year old, I've learned what love really is, something I already thought I knew. I've learned how it's possible for God to still love me even when I figuritively continue to spill juice on the sofa :-) I'd love to read this book and have it influenece the rest of my journey as a mom!

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  31. I'm about to become a mom (in three weeks! ahhh!!) and I would LOVE to have a copy of this book.

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  32. This book sounds so great. Parenting has taught me more about grace - first, because I gave myself none for the first 2 years, and second, because those little babies are trying to learn how to live and manage in this world, and they sure need more grace than the "manuals" give them.

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  33. I'm expecting my first child & have been avoiding pretty much all parenting books because I'm worried that they'll be all about 'rules', but this one looks fantastic!!

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  34. One thing I've learned is to trust my own intuition instead of letting other people into my head and make me think they knew better than me. I would love the chance to win this book!

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  35. Though I am not yet a mom I have worked with many families as a preschool teacher, nanny, children's coordinator, etc. In all these roles there is one thing I have noticed is the moms that worry the most, wonder if they are doing everything right, and want so badly to make sure their kids are safe and loved enough are the ones who tend to be the best parents. I hope when I do have kids( soon, God willing) I can be that way- making sure they are properly cared for and that I do everything inmy power to ensure they are raised in a manner that would make anyone proud.

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  36. Though I am not yet a mom I have worked with many families as a preschool teacher, nanny, children's coordinator, etc. In all these roles there is one thing I have noticed is the moms that worry the most, wonder if they are doing everything right, and want so badly to make sure their kids are safe and loved enough are the ones who tend to be the best parents. I hope when I do have kids( soon, God willing) I can be that way- making sure they are properly cared for and that I do everything inmy power to ensure they are raised in a manner that would make anyone proud.

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  37. I have learned that we must be patient and kind always and our children will reflect that back onto our world. This book sounds wonderful!

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  38. Awesome. Like you mentioned in your post, one of the most recent things I've learned as a mother is that that secret moms club doesn't exist. That we CAN'T compare ourselves or our parenting choices to each other, but only line up our choices against where the Lord is leading us personally. Great post, great momma heart, great job... Keep it up! You WILLLLLLLL sleep again! One day!!!! (My first didn't sleep until she was three and my third didn't sleep until he was one so I KNOW where you're coming from).

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  39. I know people say all the time that time goes by so quickly and they grow up too fast, but I'm learning just how true that is. I need to make sure I concentrate on today - not worrying about tomorrow or regretting yesterday.

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