Desperate Book Study ~ Chapters 1 and 2

I hope you have gotten a chance to read chapters 1 and 2 this past week.

Oh friends, what an encouragement to know I'm not alone! Were you encouraged to read Sarah Mae's words, knowing you have been there (or are there)!? Then to have Sally come in with her soothing words of comfort and encouragement. What a gift!

I especially love the letters exchanged between the two of them at the beginning of each chapter.

Ideals

Let's talk about ideals for a moment. We all have them and they aren't necessarily a bad thing to have. If we are prone to aiming high, the chances of us constantly reaching said ideals is quite slim. However, having high ideals so cause us to reach and stretch far beyond what we thought we might be capable of -- because we are not alone.

I think there are a few ways to handle this issue:

  1. Don't beat yourself up when you don't reach your ideals. Simply keep moving forward and be content that you aimed high enough to reach further than you thought you would.
  2. Change your ideals a bit if missing them just completely frustrates you. Don't allow someone else's ideals to become yours if they don't fit. Family dynamics and different seasons just may not allow for it. Choose ideals that fit with your family and its needs.
  3. Don't be legalistic. God does not love you more, or less, when you choose to do certain things. Your salvation is not based on whether or not you get out of bed an hour before the children. This does not make someone a good (or bad) mom.
  4. Don't pretend you can do it alone. Call on God for help--everyday. Don't wait until things get hard or they fall apart. Pray to prevent that scenario and that God would be present in your mothering daily.
Sally says,
"To hear from God, we must become women of the Word and women who pray, so that His voice may lead us as we grow into this role with grace."

Remember that motherhood is a journey. Take it one footstep at a time.

We Need Each Other

We have grown up in a culture that relishes in its independence. We believe that if we ask for help, we are less than good mothers because we couldn't handle it on our own. This is a lie! We were designed to need the body of Christ. God never intended for us to walk through this life alone.

Community helps strengthen us as mothers, not weaken us. This is why it's so important to have an older, wiser woman in our lives and a few good, trustworthy teenagers to help watch the kiddos when we need a break. I bet you could find 1 or 2 more than willing and capable teenagers who'd be happy to watch your children and earn a few dollars.

Chances are, in order to build a strong support community, it is something we may need to step out and create ourselves. Invite a few moms over for coffee--including older moms. Never exclude the older mama's who have so much wisdom to glean from! I have found myself friends with several older mama's. Never let age be a barrier in your friendships!

 What really spoke to you throughout these two chapters? You can choose just to mention one topic if you like. 

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Desperate: Foreword by Ann Voskamp

One of the biggest issues we have with motherhood is that we set our expectations so high for ourselves and our children. We then become overwhelmed and frustrated with ourselves when we fail to meet them day after day after day.

God's design for motherhood is much more simple than we make it out to be. We try to follow along with everyone else's set standards and we simply cannot live up to them. But the foundation of our mothering is not based on our performance. It's not based on how many "good deeds" we can punch out each day.

I think one of our biggest neglect's is that we fail to give our mothering over to God, every.single.day. It is not merely something we do when we reach our most desperate times. It is something we do everyday. We pray. We invite God to work in our hearts and that of our children's for that day.

We must learn how to love God in order to love our children.

But we also need to understand (and receive) how much God loves us. He just waits to help us. All we need to do is ask. Ask for wisdom. Ask for His strength. Ask for the Holy Spirit to live through us. Everyday. Not just when it gets hard. But everyday. As we meet with God everyday, our relationship and love for Him grow.

Our growing relationship with God will in turn help our relationship and love for our own children, and He will guide our steps into excellent motherhood. Excellent motherhood may not be that what we see with your eyes; but what we manifest from our heart into the hearts of our children.

This week I think it's really important that you take the time to pray and prepare your heart for a new vision of motherhood. Ask God to show you how He views motherhood and your role as a mother.

Take this week to read chapters 1 & 2 in Desperate and we'll have some discussion on it next week!

 Tell me, what is your greatest struggle right now as a mother?

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The "Desperate" Book Study Sign Up

I'm so excited to dig through this study with you!! Not only do I resonate with Sarah Mae in so much of what she has to say, I cling to what Sally says as a source of hope. Sally is such an angel. She and I may not have an intimate mentoring relationship like her and Sarah Mae, but she is definitely my mentor from afar. So next week we will begin the study, officially, but I encourage you to read the Introduction by Ann Voskamp if you haven't yet. So beautiful. So raw and in the moment.

I want this time shared in this space to be more than "just a book club". Desperate addresses real issues that real mothers face and I want this to be a place where we can be raw and honest about our struggles and encourage one another.

I also want to boldly challenge you in different ways that will cause you to step out and reach out to people in your church who can help you, or whom you can help. We are all in such different seasons that you'd be surprised at who you might be able to encourage, even while needing encouragement yourself.

You may need help with an adolescent while someone else needs potty training tips. You may need help with carpooling while another mother could use an hour or two to herself, so you allow her to bring her toddler over to play. This isn't merely about packing more information about motherhood into our minds and tucking it away. It's about getting real about our struggles with it and admitting we need real help.

Our culture relishes in its independence, but the truth is, we were never created to do things on our own. God designed us, not only to rely on Him, but to rely on one another--the body of Christ. The hardest part is simply admitting--"I need help."

In other cultures, such as African and Indian (as in, India) cultures, raising children is not done solely by the mom and dad. Aunts and grandmothers and older children are a large part of the family equation.

Somehow we've believed a lie that we are "less than mothers" if we aren't doing it alone. We believe since it was our choice to have children, and have this many children,  we should be expected to handle it on our own.

This is a complete and utter lie. God never said we had to mother alone.

If you read throughout the Scriptures, in Proverbs 31 specifically, you'll notice this woman was not alone in her work. She had servants. No wonder she was able to accomplish so much!

Allow this book to be a springboard to change your thinking about motherhood.

Motherhood is hard and we are not expected to go through it alone. <--{Click to Tweet}

Here is how our schedule will look:

Read Chapters 1 & 2 - January 21-27

January 28: Discuss Chapters 1 & 2 January 28-Feb. 3: Read Chapters 3 & 4

February 4: Discuss Chapters 3 & 4 February 4-10: Read Chapters 5 & 6

February 11: Discuss Chapters 5 & 6 February 11-17: Read Chapters 7 & 8

February 18: Discuss Chapters 7 & 8 February 18-24: Read Chapters 9 & 10

February 25: Discuss Chapters 9 & 10 February 25-March 3: Read Chapters 11 & 12

March 4: Discuss Chapters 11 & 12 March 4-10: Read Chapters 13-14

March 11: Discuss Chapters 13 & 14

March 17: Q & A

If you haven't gotten your book yet, you can get it here---> click here to buy Desperate or here for the Nook version.

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