Booking It with Finding Your Purpose as a Mom

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This year we’re Booking It on LifeasMOM. It’s an online book club designed to get you off the computer, phone, and boob tube and into a book. Reading is an adventure! You learned this long ago. But, in our older years, it is tempting to forget.

On the 10th of each month, we’re discussing an assigned book, one of the Eleven List. On the 11th there’s a link up opportunity to share all your reading of the past month.

Finding Your Purpose as a Mom

This month’s “assigned reading” was the book, Finding Your Purpose as a Mom: How to Build Your Home on Holy Ground by Donna Otto. I first read this book about six months ago and really enjoyed it then. This second reading has been harder “to get into.”

While I have a few critiques this time through, I stand by original summation that

This book is a gem of information in growing as a mom, being intentional in your homemaking, and full of practical as well as inspirational ideas for improving the atmosphere of your home.

Inspiring Ideas

Finding Your Purpose as a Mom is jam-packed full of ideas, both practical and theoretical, about how to be a better mother and home-maker. I love what she says in the introduction:

Regardless of who you are, whether you’ve made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom or work outside the house, whether you are married or single, whether your house is a double-wide in a desert or a mansion on a hillside…. Your home really is holy ground because it’s a place where God has chosen to live and do his work.

I’m encouraged to remember that my circumstances do not matter, but that God has sovereignly ordained me as the mother in this family and He has good work for me to do.

The book is peppered with lists to get you thinking about your intentions at home: how to encourage growth and learning in your home, how to prepare for guests, things to consider for family service to the community, and so on. The lists alone are quite thought-provoking, adding to the meatiness of the book.

I love the list on page 34:

  • Make peace at home a priority.
  • Practice trust and gratitude.
  • Live with a thankful heart.
  • Cultivate a quiet heart — give yourself the peace you need.
  • Cultivate a gentle spirit.
  • Learn to speak softly.
  • Know your family.
  • Cultivate a spirit of “we.”
  • Provide peaceful places for those you love.

A Few Critiques

However, in this second reading I found myself getting hung up on a few points. I found that we have differences of terminology. She speaks a type of Christian-ese that I don’t regularly use. I guess I glossed over that the first time I read it. During this second reading, that slowed me down a little as I tried to discern exactly what she meant.

I also found myself disagreeing with some of the author’s applications. In the section on growing faith-filled children, Mrs. Otto recommends that memorizing the books of the Bible are a bottom-line prerequisite for adulthood: “At the very least, I believe, a child who leaves your nest should know the books of the Bible and the order in which they appear.” (p. 163)

While I think this is certainly valuable information, I don’t think it’s necessary to a fruitful, God-saturated life. And to be honest, I don’t know all the books of the Bible or the order in which they appear. So, I’m certainly not going to hammer that at my kids.

Learning through Disagreements

But, these hang-ups of mine are minor. And what’s more, there’s value in them. As I was struggling to read this book, I saw that I was not seeing the forest for the trees. It’s all too easy for us to start nit-picking on some small thing we disagree on, rather than to  focus on the Big Picture. I took myself to task on that.

The point is that I teach my children what I believe and show them evidence of God working in their lives, to saturate their lives with God’s word, and to be an example of His goodness.

Principles matter more than applications.

I think Mrs. Otto’s overall message is to instill in us a joy and fervor for our homes, to encourage us to take our roles as mothers seriously, because God does. And while we may disagree on how to apply certain principles, it’s good to agree on the most important things: loving our families, loving God, making home a place where people want to be.

What did YOU think?

Share your thoughts on this book in the comment section. Tomorrow, we’ll have a link up for all your Booking It reading.

Have you missed past Booking It days? Check out the other assigned reading we’ve read this year:

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  1. When I was first reading the paragraph about memorizing books of the Bible, I thought you meant memorizing the words of an entire book in the Bible (or books), and I was thinking that was a little extreme! Memorizing the order of the books in the Bible is a little less extreme. 🙂 I do think it’s something very useful to know, and as a child I did memorize but my Mom made it fun, which I think is very important. It wasn’t a drudgerous task, but something fun and we got a reward when we finished.

  2. I’ll admit, I just skimmed this book, and then before I could finish it I lost it somewhere in my house. What does that tell you about my Life As Mom 🙂 Anyway, I REALLY REALLY enjoyed and needed to read the chapter on hospitality vs entertaining. It came at the perfect time. And when this book eventually resurfaces I look forward to finishing it.

    I’ve always meant to read Pilgrim’s Progress since the March girls get it in the first chapter of Little Women. Thanks for the push!

  3. I wanted to read this book, I started to read this book, and then I decided it was a lot of what I already know. It was uplifting, but I didn’t make it through the whole book 🙂 Oh well, better luck next time 🙂

  4. While I agree it’s not necessaary to leading a Christ-like life, I did learn the books of the Bible when I young by singing these songs.
    Old Testament &searchseqend=114&searchsubseqend=ZZZ
    New Testament &searchseqend=116&searchsubseqend=ZZZ
    I can’t count the number of times I have gone to look up scripture and these songs have run through my head. I can quickly find the book and scripture because of these songs.

  5. I soaked in the first chapter and then really struggled because it seemed overwhelming. It’s simply because my life right now is a little rough and I don’t think I can find peace in the wreck of a house. I, too, loved her list on pg 34 and look forward to implementing those in our lives. I long for an orderly peaceful home and was inspired to keep organizing with her thoughts on Gods work in our homes and it being holy ground. So, two extremes, but hopefully I will seek to honor God in the rest of my journey to create a peaceful, joyful, orderly home for my dear family.

  6. I did not get to read this book, but always enjoy hearing what others have to say. I am glad that you did not allow defensiveness to cloud the authors take on teaching children about God, although memorizing the books of the Bible can be a good beginning for understanding the timeline of the unfolding of Gods plan. I think we agree but perhaps I would have worded differently the title “Principles matter more than applications”. I think I know what you mean….but …. I may not understand the principle of “love thy neighbor” but applying love in those relationships is what matters most. Is that what you meant? I am thinking we agree :o) Just semantics?

    1. @sona, sorry I wasn’t more clear. What I meant was that we both (the author and I) want to raise children who are faith-filled. That is the principle. But, the application is that she would recommend certain Bible memory skills in order to see that principle lived out. I’m saying that how we go about it may differ, but we both want the same result.

  7. Love Pilgrims Progress.
    For the little ones5-9 ( I have read Little Pilgrims Progress by Helen Taylor. It has simplified the vocabulary and concepts of Pilgrim’s Progress for younger readers, while keeping the story line intact.