[openbook booknumber="ISBN:1578565812" templatenumber="1"] There are some books that have been "turning points" in my life, ones where the light bulb goes on and things start making sense. Sally Clarkson's book, The Mission of Motherhood (Waterbrook, 2003), is one of those books. In some ways, Sally was a "mentor mom" for me when I felt alone and needed guidance. Because I homeschool my kids, I read a lot of books by homeschooling parents (makes sense, right?), but often I think that their message rings true for any parent who desires to help their children become godly disciples of Christ. One of my hopes and dreams for this site is to get to the heart of discipleship, regardless of how you choose to educate your children. There are some things that are core issues for Christian parents in general. Those are the ones I want to focus on. I do have a personal bent towards homeschooling, but the things I value as a parent really are not based on homeschooling alone.
With that said, I do want to recommend this book if you are looking for something that gives you a vision of motherhood that you can aspire to. While all of us want to be good moms, what does that mean? Does it mean being a mom who always has milk and cookies after school? A mom who tirelessly drives her kids everywhere and fills their days with enriching activities? Or is it a mom who homeschools her kids? A mom who is a faithful team parent on the soccer team or one who serves on the PTA?
Well, I think that a good mom can do all these things. But the real issue is not just what we do but what we see our roles as being. Each of the chapters in the book focus on the roles that a mother plays in the life of her children: servant, discipler, teacher and friend, among others. We are not just here to do things for our children. We are to serve, disciple, teach and be a friend to them. We can do all the "good mom" things but completely miss out on these important roles. I can say I am Exhibit A. This book came at a time in my life when I really needed a vision makeover.
As we grow in our relationship with God, we will want to be a blessing to others, just as He has blessed us. If we serve, disciple and teach our children, it is because He has been good to us and we want our children to know Him personally too. A mother will take the time to build strong relationships with her children and cultivate and enrich their lives as an expression of her love for the Lord. When we love Him, we will love those around us (1 John 4:21). A mother will care for the home, to make it a home that exalts the Lord and nurtures those who live in it so that her family will have the best environment, one that will allow them to thrive, not just survive.
I think this is what I appreciate most about this book. There were times when I read it, thinking, "Who has the time to do this?" And yet, deep in my soul, I knew that what Sally was writing about was not only what I really wanted, but was entirely possible as well. Sometimes I was aiming too low as a mother. This book helped me to see the grand role that mothers play in the kingdom of God.
At the end of each chapter, there is a "For Thought and Reflection" section with Scripture and reflection questions. They are not just factual questions either. They're the ones that make you think on a personal and deeper level. I like that. She also has practical ideas as well, much of it gleaned from her own personal experience. I am a big believer in sinking your teeth into a topic and not just limiting it to the mental level.
Perhaps it's just my style and personality, or maybe it's because I'm a snob, but I have not found many books that really get to the heart level to my satisfaction. Sometimes I did feel entirely inadequate compared to Sally. I felt like she was on another plane completely. But I also know that she was a kick in the pants where I really needed it too. In a world where we are often satisfied with "looking" right on the outside, this book really hit me in the heart. It made me realize how small my vision was and how much I had to learn.
Be prepared to be convicted and challenged. It's not a hard book to read, but it is a hard book to live out. But if you're up for it, I encourage you to pick it up and let Sally's words inspire you to live out a godly mission of motherhood.