Loving the Little Years
Summary: There are a pile of unflattering years when moms are literally in the trenches--knee deep in chaos, mess and relentless demands. This book is for moms enduring this incredible stage of life. The author gets it. She wrote this book while living it. She's got hundreds of hilarious anecdotes and crazy situations that prove it. She deals with almost every situation a home with littles creates; from the grabby fights ("I had it," "No, I had it first!") loud, hyper car rides, sleepy whininess, endless 'accidents', cranksters, toy hoarders...yes, it's all there. Joy can be found in the trenches. Order and perspective can be maintained in a mom's mind even though outward circumstances dictate otherwise.
Personal Thoughts: I would give this book to any mom with a host of little ones. It is so fitting, so realistic, so...funny! and perfect for busy moms as it sports short chapters in this short book. Easy to read, encouraging, and you'll even find yourself picking up a few strategies that just may change your perspective on a few things. If I could recommend just one chapter, read the one entitled "A Gracious Law." The author is so right as she talks about boundaries and discipline. So lock your self in the bathroom when you need 5 minutes, read a page or two, get a little perspective and enjoy your littles. Life is short.
Quote: "I didn't write this book because mothering little ones is easy for me. I wrote it because it isn't. I know this is a hard job because I'm right here in the middle of it. I know you need encouragement every day, because I need it too." --pg 12
"Sometimes parents can discipline behaviors over and over like we are playing whack-a-mole. There is a sin! Get it!" pg. 28
Getting Back in the Race
Summary: We're in a war. Some days we make headway. Other times we find ourselves falling back. What does this look like spiritually? Well, first of all, it's called backsliding. Do you recognize the signs? Perhaps coldness in prayer, or a decreased love for the saints. Maybe it's indifference under the Word or a critical spirit towards godly intentions. Worst of all, we often feel no guilt about it at all. Oh, we may complain about spiritual dryness, but where is our repentance? This book has 4 chapters: Runners Stumbling, Runners Returning, Runners Receiving and Runners Recovering. Beeke teaches us the dangers of backsliding and graciously shows us the way back to spiritual health through Christ, the Great Physician.
Personal Thoughts: This book was convicting. When I first read it, I was not in a backslidden state, but I noticed a few areas in my life that were not as they should be. This book is short and to the point. Read it and be ready for correction. But also realize that Dr. Beeke cares very deeply for souls. He writes to strengthen you in your walk. He is kind and gentle when probing for error. He is loving and understanding when he speaks to the convicted backslider. He is right and confident when he speaks about the perseverance of the saints and points you to a crucified Christ. I loved this book enough to buy it for my own library. I've now read it several times and each time I am convinced for the need of self-examination.
Quote: Haven't you, too, discovered that in some ways that it can be harder to go on believing as a Christian than to become one in the first place? Haven't you, too, found it hard to persevere in faith when trouble or opposition arises, or when faced with the demands of daily life in such a world as this one? Every Christian faces numerous discouragements in striving to follow Christ. Our knees go weak and our hands hang down when we face personal failure, when others let us down, or when providence denies our desires. Disappointment can lead to discouragement, and discouragement may end in doubt, fear, and even despair. We feel weak and tired, emotionally and spiritually, and we are tempted to throw in the towel. Why should we persist in confessing a faith that is despised and hated in the world? It all seems pointless and hopeless. We say with Asaph, "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain." (Ps. 73:13). --pg 9
Torn to Heal
Summary: Not dualism. Not stoicism. These two reactions to suffering are both common and wrong. The Bible is very realistic and sympathetic when it comes to our pain and struggles. But know also, that God indeed has a plan through it all.
Personal Thoughts: I loved this book. Short. Readable. Rich. Christ-centered. It doesn't have a quick answer approach to trials. It is so compassionate to sufferers and leads them ever so gently to a kind and loving Christ.
Quote: The Bible acknowledges our suffering, fully and completely, without ever minimizing the present reality and pain, and without ever giving an inch to the powers of darkness that ever strive but ever fail to defeat God's children. Indeed, the Scriptures present suffering as a painful yet merciful tool in the hands of a loving God. He will tear us for the sake of healing us, and He will do it in love, for His eternal glory and our eternal good." --excerpt from page 86.
The Mourner's Comforter
C. H. Spurgeon
Summary: "Heavy heart, this book is for you." And with this Spurgeon begins this wonderful book based on Isaiah 61:1-3. The Lord Jesus Christ came to preach to the broken, the afflicted and to those who mourn. He takes our ashes and gives us beauty. He trades the oil of joy for our mourning. See the preciousness of our Lord as He stoops to heal our brokenness. He clads us in garments of praise and plants us as trees of righteousness.
Personal Thoughts: Oh book of all books! Spurgeon is such a son of consolation. He gives the words for brokenness perfectly. He bandages bleeding wounds. He understands those who weep perfectly. And he immerses the broken into a fountain overflowing with the compassion of a Christ who dearly loves His children.
Quote: At such times, we have felt that if there was any prayer in us it was only a prayer to be helped to pray, or to
be helped to mourn that we could not pray--Truly some of God's best servants have been most often through the furnace, and have been so long in the heat that strength fails them, and hope nearly expires. They cry to God
for patience to endure all His holy will, yet they feel that their own power is as much spent as if they were burnt to nothing but ash, and there was nothing more left of them upon which the fire could kindle. Is it not a mercy that
the Lord looks upon such as these--the utterly spent ones who are ready to be blown away and to perish, even as smoke and dry ashes are borne away by the wind and lost?
You who are at ease in Zion know little about these terrible feelings. You should be grateful to God and sympathize with those who are more exposed to tribulation than you are. Join them in magnifying the Lord because he promises beauty instead of these ashes of the furnace. --pg 86-87