Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: The Mother Letters by Amber and Seth Haines

 "The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy and Struggles and Hope" by Amber C. Haines and Seth Haines started as a simple request from Seth to writers and friends from all walks of motherhood to write "Dear Mother" letters of encouragement and motherhood lessons to give to his wife Amber who at the time was in the trenches of mothering their three (now four) young boys.  The request resulted in over 600 letters that since have been culled and compiled into a lovely book of encouragement, wisdom, and reminders that mothers are in this together.

I enjoyed reading this book, going back to read a few of the letters a second time already.  Of course not all letters struck a chord with me, most of of them did, many reminding me what I already know but spoken from a place of grace and simple wisdom that the truth sinks in deeper.  Slow down.  Live your whole calling.  Give yourself grace.  You are not alone.  God picked you to be the mother of your child.
I appreciated the variety of voices included in the books, mothers of little ones, mothers with older kids, step mothers, mothers by adoption, and expectant mothers to name a few.  Yet through it all the letters echo hope and encouragement, funneled from the source of all Hope.

In addition to the encouraging words for mothers in all walks of life, the book's small size and the lovely photos would make it a great gift or a cute book for your own bedside or coffee table.  The fact that each letter is short makes it accessible to moms who only have a few moments to sit and read, soaking up encouragement a few pages at a time.

If I was to write a letter to encourage other moms or share what I've learned in my own motherhood journey, it might be something like this:

Dear Mother,

As I sit here pondering what to write, I'm amazed where God had led me on this motherhood journey and there is still a lot of road ahead of me (my oldest is only seven).  Maybe you've had more unexpected or unpredictable seasons as well.  Maybe like me your motherhood journey was prefaced or sprinkled with years of waiting, wondering and praying.  

On a recent chaotic Sunday, when my three precious and loud children were overly energetic in the church hallways and I was feeling a bit exasperated, someone who knows our story reminded me "You prayed for this".  

I did.  I prayed, pleaded, and cried to my Heavenly Father during those hard years of infertility and the long years of our adoption wait.  Yet never in my wildest dreams could I picture my present reality -- mom of three precious blessings, one by birth and two by adoption, each only 13 months apart.  Gods plans are so much better than my own.

And so I treasure this.  I count it all as blessings.  The loud battle games in the basement playroom, kitchen dancing, the adventures and fort-building in the grove, the giggles at silly costumes, even the ridiculous arguments about imaginary ipads in the car (yep they do).  Yet I need to be better at joining in the silly, adventure, and imagination.  I need to get in the picture instead of just staying behind the camera.

So when life's surprises make you catch your breath in worry, remember God's got this and His plans are better than ours.  When you feel like you've said something 50 times and you've used all your mom voice and loud whispers, choose thankfulness for the blessing of the child challenging you at the moment.  And when your house is loud, crazy, chaotic or full of imaginative adventures, treasure it and join in.

Krista @ Life on the Gravelly Road

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Revell for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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