I host a young mom’s bible study that meets once a week at my house. We’re a group of 6 women and between us there are 16 kids who show up each week to run around in the backyard while we do our study. It can be quite chaotic.
That chaos explains how it took us over 7 months (28 weeks) to get through an 11 week devotional.
In any case, last week we wrapped up our study on Walking With God in the Season of Motherhood and next week we’ll embark on our new study, Creative Counterpart, which will likely take us another 6 months to complete (at least).
Melissa Kruger’s Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood was a really good one. I would recommend it to any young mom looking for a devotional to do – either by yourself or in a group setting. The 11 week study covers topics from “Entrusting your child to the Lord” and “Fighting against anxiety and worry” to “Ordering your home”. She also covers anger, discipline, and thankfulness, among other subjects. All throughout, Kruger shows how the way God treats, instructs, and leads us is the blueprint for how we should be teaching, guiding, and loving our own children. Multiple chapters were highly convicting – highlighting the areas in which I fall short (or even completely miss the mark). I feel like I really grew as a mother through the study – particularly in the areas of patience and self-control.
Two negatives. First, I hated when she asked us to go back and circle or underline things, or to make a compare/contrast table. It felt like busy work. Second, at times I felt like she erred on the side of encouraging mothers to be gentle and show grace at the expense of discipline. It was good for me to read and to process because I think my personality lacks a certain softness and I often struggle to be empathetic with my kids. On the other hand, I think firm expectations and accountability are necessary in order to raise well-behaved children. And ultimately, I think God handles us that way. Yes, his grace abounds, but his expectation of obedience and his willingness to discipline is also clear. She did have one chapter on discipline, but there were a few times in the other chapters where I felt like she failed to point out the fine line between showing grace and being a pushover. Yes, we should show kindness and gentleness to our children, but in my experience, getting a stubborn child to consistently obey requires a certain toughness and rigidity. Perhaps her two children were less strong willed.
Those are the only negative things I have to say about the study. And even then, I don’t know for sure that it counts as a negative because I think it is good for me to work on being gentler with my kids. There were so many times throughout the study that my eyes were opened to characteristics or tendencies I have that really need change. It sparked many, many fruitful discussions among the women in my bible study and through it I think we each grew as Christians, as women, and as mothers. We all ended the study with a greater understanding of the impact our relationship with God has on our children, and the opportunity we have as mothers to reflect and model characteristics like love, patience, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
One last positive: I SUPER LOVE that she incorporated the full verses into the study. Most devotionals I’ve done prior have required me to look verses up as I go through it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I loved that she had them all typed out for us so all we needed was the book and a pen. Less time flipping pages and more time praying 😉