All my life I have been confused by pride and self-doubt. This is a hard lesson to understand and fully comprehend, and an even harder lesson to learn and move forward positively. Maggie Combs book, “Motherhood Without All the Rules” touches on this concept and opens our eyes on the truths. Instead of being filled with guilt, and instead of being filled with pride, Maggie gently leads the reader to being filled with God’s Grace. To living in a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Raising four children, I have struggled with many of the topics Maggie touches on. Though I have learned by experience many of the concepts that she shares in this book, I would have loved to have this information years ago. Even now, as our children are grown and some with children of their own, I benefit from the perspective Maggie has been blessed with and is sharing in this book. In fact, I still today, beat myself up for one reason or another on the way I handled the care and teaching of our children. It is so refreshing to hear that it does not matter what others say, or how we think we failed, or what we feel we should have done differently. Maggie encourages us moms to seek God’s Grace, God’s will, and God’s Kingdom. Even as a mother of grown children, I feel the judgmental stares of others, the judgmental silence when the choices of my past upbringing of our children are questioned. As a mother of four, (the first two twins), stay at home mom, homeschool mom, running an in-home day care, active in our church, and later in life a full time working outside of the home mom, writing books in minutes and seconds of time grabbed here and there, I remember the judgment from friends, family, world, church, work, strangers, and self. The encouragement of well-meant remarks, like…” You’re a good mom.” “You’re doing a great job.” People reciting the scripture, “Bring up a child as you should and they will not depart”, all add to the burden, the pressure of, you do not really know me or now I have to live up to their expectations, now add to the stress of being, the “perfect” mom. Maggie brings this all up and explains why. (It is always good to encourage each other, but without the proper God perspective, these compliments can indeed be a burden instead of an encouragement.) I always cringe when my children do something good and someone tells me, you did good. You raised them right. Maggie gives me words and understanding to my feelings. For if I did good when my children do good, then I also did bad when they mess up. And they will, we all do. As this book illustrates over and over, no matter how good of a mother we are, no matter how many mistakes we make, it is God’s Grace! It is God Glory! The sooner we realize that the freer we will be. Let our children learn the most important thing from us. A relationship with God our Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus!
Maggie brings out the most important truths and the importance of God focus. I immediately thought of my daughter-in-law, who is a fantastic mother of four young children, twins as well, and two adopted cuties. She is a mother seeking to please God and has a heart of gold. Motherhood Without All the Rules would be an excellent read for her to free her from preconceived ideas. Her own, as well as others. It is a liberating book with a scripture reading challenge after each chapter to further help us focus on God, not the world or self. I hear and see my daughter-in-law working so hard to be a great mother that she exhausts herself. Maggie’s words lift the burden of being the “perfect” mom.
I think of my daughter, who is pregnant with their first. She is full of questions and ideas of how to be the best mother. I feel the simple read of this book will liberate her and guide her to focus on the most important role in life, to seek Gods will and honor Him in everything. She said the most frightening thing to me the other day. She told me she wanted to be just like me! That statement could puff me up, and it did a bit. But then I quickly became terrified. Terrified because I know the real me! And it is not pretty. Maggie is honest and right to the point when she explains in this book what I am feeling. I do not want my daughter to be just like me. I want my daughter to seek Gods Kingdom and Gods will. God made her unique, and He has great plans for her.
I also think of the ministry that God has placed so strongly on my heart. The ministry to help other women. This book is an excellent tool to use for encouragement, spiritual growth, and to help moms depend on God for their roll in life.
Maggie is open and honest all throughout the book. She has some great points for our current social world. She does not condone or condemn social media yet brings to our attention the warning of misuse and misfocus. I love how she does not say we must give up all social media yet focuses on the root. Us, our relationship with God. All though the book Maggie returns to our need to focus of God and His grace and will for us. Our world around us changes constantly and will continue, changing our needs and the way we do life. Everybody’s family looks different and if we focus on our self, others, social media, the world, we as Maggie puts it, create a self-kingdom. We must keep our focus on God, Gods Kingdom. It is refreshing to realize that some of the “good” things people say about us moms are in fact burdens. I myself felt guilty when somebody tells me I am a “good mom” and then I felt guilty for feeling guilty. Now after reading this book the guilt is lifted, the burden taken away, and replaced by Gods Grace. It is His gift to all His Children. If we live a guiltless life we live with pride. We live the best life when we live in God’s Grace, Focus on God Kingdom. Thank you, Maggie, for sharing God’s words with the rest of us moms.
Whether an empty nester with grown children, a mother in her prime of raising children, or a new mom just starting out, Maggie Combs words encourage a personal relationship with a Holy Father, and lift the burden of expectation, guilt and shame from the world, the family, and from self. Life is full of opinions and suggestions. Life is full of expectations and temptations. But God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, full of Grace, Love, and Encouragement.
(I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my review.)