M Is for Mama (& More January Reads)

Competing Spectacles (and other January Reads)

The year got off to a decent start as far as my reading goals are concerned. I finished six books in January: a brand new release called M is for Mama, plus five others. Read on for my impressions of each work.

The 6 Books I Read in January

  • Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

    Grace Based ParentingGrace Based Parenting is the first book I finished in 2022, and was it ever a good one.

    The first chapter identifies ten or so different parenting styles and points out the drawbacks of each. Then the remainder of the book advocates for a more biblical, balanced approach to parenting best characterized by grace and humility.

    Parenting that is so rooted in God’s grace is not afraid to admit when it’s wrong and ask forgiveness. It is more concerned with heart issues than with appearances. It is not proud and controlling, but neither is it negligent and overly permissive.

    Rather, grace-based parenting seeks to mirror the deep, unwavering, sacrificial love of God as it earnestly seeks His strength and wisdom to raise our children well.

  • Ida Scudder by Janet and Geoff Benge

    Ida ScudderMy husband began reading the missionary biography of Dr. Ida Scudder aloud to the family shortly after Christmas after a friend of ours told us she liked it even better than Gladys Aylward’s story (which had always been a family favorite of ours).

    Our friend didn’t steer us wrong.

    We cried through the entire Ida Scudder book. It’s subtitled “Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts,” and it certainly touched ours.

    The life of this missionary physician is such a testimony of faith, determination, willingness to live a yielded life! And of God going ahead to open doors and smooth the way for His work to continue….

    Ida’s inspiring story has prompted at least one of our kids to add missions to her list of possible career choices.❤️

  • M is for Mama by Abbie Halberstadt

    M is for MamaI devoured this book. As a mother of 12 myself, I deeply appreciated the fly-on-the-wall view of life in a large, loving family Abbie Halberstadt gives her readers. Granted, the author is a close personal friend of mine. But, knowing her as well as I do, I can testify that she faithfully practices everything she preaches in the pages of this book.

    Abbie knows firsthand the trials and joys of raising children and -— from the trenches -— she urges her readers to recognize motherhood for the high calling it is. Her message is a clarion call to a bleary-eyed culture that has committed too much time and attention to things that don’t matter while shortchanging the things that do, including the next generation.

    Is motherhood challenging? Yes. Is it exhausting? At times. That much is true whether you are mothering two children or ten or twelve or twenty. But raising children is also satisfying, sanctifying, supremely worthwhile, and something we should pursue with an unflagging commitment to excellence.

    In an effort to help readers do exactly that, Abbie has packed her book with practical wisdom, heartfelt encouragement, personal anecdotes, and an unapologetic commitment to the truth of God’s word. M is for Mama makes me long to be a more excellent mother myself and assures me that, by God’s grace, such excellence is possible.

  • The Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds

    The Necessity of PrayerE.M. Bound’s classic work on prayer was christianaudio.com’s free download for the month of January. I can’t think of a more fitting way to start the new year than with an impassioned reminder about the vital importance prayer plays in the life of individual believers and in the life of the church as a whole. The Necessity of Prayer is packed with scriptural injunctions for us to remain vigilant and fervent in prayer. Bounds writes:

    God wants warm-hearted servants…. Fervency is warmth of soul. If our religion does not set us on fire, it is because we have frozen hearts. God dwells in a flame; the Holy Ghost descends in fire. To be absorbed in God’s will, to be so greatly in earnest about doing it that our whole being takes fire, is the qualifying condition of the man who would engage in effectual prayer.”

  • Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Life TogetherDietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together was chock full of good food for thought.

    The book addresses the question of what church life is supposed to look like for believers.

    He includes chapters on community, personal devotion, ministry, confession, and communion.

    I especially appreciated all Bonhoeffer had to say about controlling our tongue. The book is both challenging and convicting (although, as a life-long choral singer, I must disagree with his proscription against harmonizing 😇).

  • 8 Secrets to Raising Successful Kids by Kevin Leman

    8 Secrets to Raising Successful Kids

  • “Want children who are patient, kind, humble, thankful, and respectful? Who have a good work ethic, strong character, and a healthy self-image? Who succeed in all areas of life–personally, professionally, and relationally–to the best of their ability?

    “You can’t force your kids to be grateful for everything you do, but you can raise successful, responsible kids who grow into adults you can be proud of. With his signature wit and wisdom, international parenting expert Dr. Kevin Leman reveals eight no-nonsense strategies that build on the foundations of character, good behavior, respect, discipline, and a winning attitude.”

Do you love to read as much as we do? I’ve gathered all my best resources for bibliophiles into this post, or you can read more of my book reviews by following this link

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Competing Spectacles (and other January Reads)

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