Hoodwinked: Truth + Motherhood

I received this book to review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are 100% my own. I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

God has been putting the word “true” in front of my face a lot lately.

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It started with a new theme for our women’s ministry at church and I didn’t even know I needed to hear it. But the word served as a wake-up call to all the lies I had been believing. And the truth I was missing.

Many of the lies I’ve believed have been about motherhood. I feel inadequate. Every bad choice my child makes feels like a big flashing arrow pointing at my mistakes. Seeing another mother who seems to enjoy her children all the time brings on feelings of guilt for the times I don’t enjoy my own.

The enemy seems to know how to get under my skin the most in this area. I need more truth spoken into my life as a mom. And I have a book in my hands now that is bringing that truth.

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My dear friend Ruth Schwenk (The Better Mom) teamed up with the amazing Karen Ehman to write Hoodwinked for moms just like you and me. The tagline says it all: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off. In other words, I’m ready for this book to kick all that junk I’ve been believing about motherhood straight out of my head!

If you know me, you know I’m not a big fan of “parenting” books. There is not one formula that works for all families because we – moms, dads, kids – are all so unique, and I don’t like books that claim to be that one way to “succeed” as a family.

Hoodwinked is not one of those parenting books I dread. Instead of making me feel guilty for not doing this motherhood thing one particular way, Hoodwinked points me to life, freedom, and most importantly, truth in motherhood.

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I wanted to share with you just a few pieces of truth that stood out to me in this honest + encouraging book:

“Do not tether your identity to the choices of your child—whether stellar or stupid. We are not our child’s choices.”

Didn’t I just mention this earlier in this post? I’m still working on letting go of the lie behind this one, but this line was exactly what I needed to hear.

“On the one hand, we worry that we are ‘just a mom.’ On the other hand, we think being a mom should be the most fulfilling, most rewarding, most thrilling thing EVER! All. The. Time.”

This quote made me laugh out loud, but it also hit me deeply. I don’t struggle with the “just a mom” thoughts very often – probably because there is never a quiet moment to think – but I definitely have wrestled with the second part. And if motherhood doesn’t feel AMAZING, I must be doing it wrong, right? WRONG. Motherhood is not all hugs + smiles + happiness and that is ok!

“Parenting is a tightrope that requires walking carefully between patience and pushing. No child’s timing is the same.”

I needed this reminder as our kids have entered school this year. They handle school and friends in completely different ways. Each day feels a little different. I can’t follow one formula and expect the same results every day from all of our children. The tightrope is such an accurate description of how we must pay close attention to the needs of each child, balancing out waiting and pushing, moving forward and pulling back.

Moms, I feel like so many of us need to dispel these myths that have taken root in our heads as we walk through motherhood and Hoodwinked is an amazing resource to lead us to truth!

Hoodwinked is out now, so go order your copy! You will love it! Hoodwinked also has a companion bible study with a study guide and six sessions on DVD! Wouldn’t it be great to discover these truths together with other moms? What are you waiting for?!

If you’d like to connect more with the authors, check out Ruth and Karen on Facebook, and follow “thebettermom” and “karenehman” on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

What lies or myths have you believed about motherhood? How do you cling to truth?

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Fight Back With Joy

I received this book to review from Worthy Publishing. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Sometimes a book just falls into your lap at just the right time and speaks right to what you are going through at that moment. That’s exactly what happened with Fight Back With Joy by Margaret Feinberg.

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As you might recall, I chose the word JOY as my word of the year for 2015. I chose it reluctantly, but can see countless reasons in these first five months of the year why God led me to that word. When I heard about Fight Back With Joy, I knew I needed to read this perspective on joy – and I was overwhelmed by what God taught me through Margaret’s words.

I should tell you first that we’ve had a somewhat turbulent first half of 2015. Plans were made and then turned upside down and we were just along for the bumpy ride. I believe this is why God chose JOY as my word of the year. And it’s also why He had me pick up Margaret’s book.

From the very first words, as Margaret also describes reluctantly choosing the word joy, I knew I would relate and learn from this book. I wrote about what joy really is in my post earlier this year, but I stand by her assertion in the intro:

“Many people live joyless lives because they don’t understand what joy is, what joy does, how to discover joy, and what to do with it once they find it.”

Margaret’s experience with joy was so relatable to me, but our battles have been very different. Fight Back With Joy walks us as readers through her battle with cancer and how she used joy as a weapon to fight off everything negative that came her way. It is extremely poignant, vulnerable, raw…all pointing back to God, the source of all joy.

“Joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us.”

I think I have half the book underlined because Margaret’s words spoke to me SO much, but there was one chapter in particular that jumped out and grabbed hold of my heart.

Earlier this year, I shared our Bible verse of the year and why I thought God had spoken this verse to me. I was so wrong, not about the verse, but about the meaning. Our change in plans this spring means we won’t be moving to the small town by the river. I couldn’t understand what God meant for that verse in our life, hanging in our living room, until I read Chapter 8 in Fight Back With Joy.

If you weren’t with us at the beginning of the year, our verse of the year as a family was:

“They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” -Isaiah 49:10

In Chapter 8, Margaret shares a story from the Bible I didn’t know very well about Caleb’s daughter, Achsah. There comes a point where she is newly married and living in a desert – an actual, physical desert. Instead of wallowing about her dry, awful living conditions, she boldly approaches her father and asks that he give them springs of water. And he grants her request.

When I read those three words – “springs of water” – a chill went through my body and I perked up to see where God was leading this train of thought. Turns out the train was going right where I needed it to go, to this statement…

“In the desert of despair, springs of water unlock reservoirs of joy.”

Our springs of water are usually not physical water. They weren’t for Margaret and they weren’t for me. The springs of water she experienced and the ones I have found are so much more life-giving.

“Achsah’s story serves as a reminder that we can petition God for sweet water when circumstances make us feel like we’re sucking sand. In those moments, we can ask for special favor and expect God to work in powerful ways.”

This chapter prompted me to ask and I fully received new blessings from God in the midst of our desert. Springs of water – and joy – were found in new opportunities, deepening friendships, moments celebrated together.

“A prayer for springs in the desert is a request to discover the fullness of life even when facing trouble and difficulty.”

That fullness of life, when found in Christ, is what joy is all about. God used this book in powerful way to lead me to those springs of water, and they have been filling me with joy ever since.

No matter where life has you right now – in a season of drought or abundance – you will find inspiration in Margaret’s words.

I really want to give every single one of you a copy of Fight Back With Joy. I can’t quite afford that, but I am giving away three copies thanks to Worthy Publishing!

To enter, tell me something that has brought you joy in the past week! For an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway and come back to tell me you did in a separate comment! This giveaway is open until Monday, June 1st at 9PM CDT!

[Tweet “I entered to win 1 of 3 copies of Fight Back with Joy by @mafeinberg from @WorthyPub!”]

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