Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pressing Pause, 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet Jesus by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

Pause.

I remember my first year of college thinking "Life is so busy!" Only to reassure myself that studies were for a season and then life would settle down.

I remember being a newly wed. Exploring the joys and realities of merging two into one, thinking that it's only a season and then life will settle down.

I remember our first son being born. Endless sleepless nights, rocking, cries, and a diagnosis of autism with suspicion of sensory involvement. It's only a season. . .

Our second son was born last summer two weeks after his brother's 2nd birthday, welcomed to the world by a week in the NICU.

Life isn't a season. Life is life and it can be filled to the brim - sometimes through choices of our own making and sometimes through the realities of a season, but business always seems to follow.

As a result I've struggled to find a good devotional lately.
For awhile, I wondered if it was due to the simplicity many follow. Life as an academic suited me, I thrived through deep studies - studies that aren't practical in this season of family life.

Then I wondered if it was subject matter.
Becoming a mom was surrounded by a time of loss in our lives and it was beautifully (in my sarcastic mind) capped off with a loss of self. I was the mom to "that child," our beautiful little boy who wasn't quite like the other children.

So I went looking for mom blogs anything to help me along as I struggled to find my feet and faith under this new title of mother.

In the middle of my search I found a blog titled The Better Mom. It was filled with articles that were useful, helpful, spoke to me. . . and life was so chaotic I was lucky to stumble there more than once a month, half asleep, with a crying baby at 2am.

When I saw that Ruth Schwenk from The Better Mom and Karen Ehman from Proverbs 31 Ministries had put together Pressing Pause, a devotional for moms. I wondered if this could be a missing tool in creating a "pause" in my day.

The book itself if beautiful. Hardcover with shiny purple accents and a silky purple bookmark.
You may laugh at me describing a book, but hear me out on this.
The design of the book was considered, it was purposeful, it looks a bit special. It also reminds me through that care to be careful with my time and set some aside each day.
Plus I love me some girly purple accents!

The devotionals themselves are exactly what I'd expect from these women.
They are short. They're meant to be "pauses" not in depth research.
They are thoughtful,well-composed, engaging and invite response. The response space is limited, but I find with my "pauses" journaling gets put to the wayside and instead I spend more time recalling and pondering the lessons and messages as I go about my day. The topics covered are both varied and yet still retain a cohesive and interwoven feeling (often leaving me tempted to read it more as a book on the rare occasion the kids are both sleeping). While the topics are grounded enough in Scripture and bear a wide enough covering of topics that any mom and even some women who aren't moms should be able to find points that resonate with them.

Because, m ost importantly for me, is that this is a book for women by women. I struggle so much with the messages of value and importance thrown through the world, media, and even my conservative Bible college education that says being a mom isn't enough. Here are two women who have crafted a devotional that, well remaining focused on scriptural truths, also take time to point out the value and need for having moms who take those quiet moments for their faith and find their identity in that vs. the millions of reasons the mommy wars and everyone else throws out each day.

I'm glad to have found this gem and I'm so glad that Ruth and Karen took the time and care they did.
5 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.