Finding God’s Good Gifts in Motherhood

Mentor Mama: Today we are going to be learning about God through the gift of motherhood. As many of us know, being a mother is a hard job, one that can make us feel unseen and uncelebrated as we go about our daily mom tasks of serving and cleaning and caring and guiding, and so much more. It’s no doubt a challenging call by God. So here to encourage both new and seasoned moms is Laura Booz, author of the book Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God’s Good Gifts in Motherhood. Laura wants to share with us that behind all of the giving that mothers do is the receiving of something very special, a profound growth in God that is cultivated through motherhood’s everyday ups and downs.

Laura Booz is a writer and teacher who encourages women to love God, think biblically, and live vibrantly. She’ll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. Laura contributes to her local church and a variety of Christian ministries, including Revive our Hearts, True Girl, enCourage, and Covenant Eyes. She and her husband Ryan and their six children make their home in Pennsylvania. Please welcome Laura.

Laura Booz: Hi Ellen. This is fun to be here.

Mentor Mama: I’m so excited to have you, Laura. As a fellow mom of only half as many kids as you have it’s just such a joy to have you here and talk about, I think, one of the most beautiful but hardest jobs there are.

I actually love how you stated that your goal for this book was not to promote your own parenting preferences, but rather to consider biblical truths that apply to every mom, and every child, in every circumstance. Such a joy. How about if we just start out by you telling us a little bit about what you consider the essential gifts of motherhood? What are they and why does every mom need them?

Laura Booz: What a calling it is! Something that God alone puts into our hands and establishes the work for us to do. So, I think the essential gifts, if you can imagine yourself at a baby shower and you’re wanting to make sure that new mama gets the essentials. She needs diapers, a bottle, and formula, and those are the essentials. And if she can just have those, she can care for her baby, and then the other things are extra, right? Well, there are essentials, I think, for a mother, and they are all found in the Lord. They’re all found in the gifts that he’s given to help us not just survive but thrive.

So, the essentials are his Word. The essentials, especially in these days and years and seasons of motherhood, of finding some way to let his Word pay attention to our soul. We are paying attention to so many things, in so many directions, and to realize that his Word is there to be our bread and our water and our surgeon and our balm, that it’s so essential that we have his Word, in some way, infusing into our life on a regular basis and walking closely with his Spirit. Having a fellowship with the Spirit all through the day so that he can bear our burdens, he can cheer us along, can hear our greatest joys and pleasures, and sharing those with us. We can remember his character, he can guide us, and remind us of Christ throughout the day. That is essential for every mom. And there are some others, but those two come to mind. Of course, a reliance on our salvation through Christ, so that even on those days when we are works based and our to-do list is full of good works, we are remembering and we’re finding our peace in the fact that our salvation is in Christ alone and he’s got us and nothing will snatch us out of his hand.

How he loves us. No matter if we get one thing on that list done or not, our salvation is through Christ and in Christ. That’s so essential. So, I want to make sure that each one of us comes back to those essential gifts over and over again because we forget so easily. You know, it can be one thing to like agree on day one, and then day three or four comes along and I’ve forgotten altogether. So, to have them at the ready, have them as pillars in my life, in my friend group, in my family, in my church, to make sure that I don’t, and that you don’t forget is so important.

Mentor Mama: Yes, I absolutely agree. You know, all of those that you mentioned, his word, thinking about Jesus as the bread of life is the nourishment that we need day in and day out and clearly is essential, and especially for any of those that are out there listening that our moms, I think it’s really important to consider what Laura just said. We do need to step back and remember these essentials of our Christian faith and how it impacts our motherhood.

You talk about seven different ways that a woman can enjoy her relationship with Jesus and live in the light of his Word, even when she’s busy and distracted, and tired. That’s just so easy to do when so many things are juggling for your time and space.

Laura Booz: Yes, probably in the book, I did list seven but right now, one that’s coming to mind has been so helpful to me. One special one that any reader can walk away from and pull into your life, no matter what season of motherhood you’re in, is the ability to listen to or sing Scripture.

God designed music to be this amazing mechanism that works perfectly with the human brain, just perfectly, and scientists are still discovering this amazing design that helps the human brain to synthesize complex information and to remember things in a way that the human brain doesn’t remember anything else.

Music has this wonderful special way of helping us to process and feel things that in our everyday life we don’t have the capacity to do. And singing with others, for example, with our children, releases chemicals in our body that causes unity amongst whoever’s singing together. So, think about that at a sporting event, think about that in your congregation when you’re all lifting your voices and singing to the Lord, and think about it when you’re in your rocking chair with your child or your grandchild and you’re singing with them. God has designed your body to release chemicals that would unify you in the Lord. It’s amazing. So, when you have one Scripture song, and it can be from the ministry, Songs for Saplings or Seeds Family Worship, or one of the Shane and Shane Psalms albums, or you can make it up yourself, one verse set to music.

Even on your busiest days when you know you can hardly think of a thing, you can put a post-it note right by the changing table, right by the kitchen sink, right by your car, right by your phone, with the words to that song and little music note, and hopefully, that will bring it to mind and you can sing that Scripture and it will be on a sunshiny day, but it will also come and minister to you in the deep, hard times of life.

I actually have a story that goes along with that, if it would encourage anyone. So, one of the songs I remember, was when I was a young mom and I just had my two little girls and I was pregnant with our third. And we discovered Songs for Saplings and we were listening to the songs and singing in the kitchen, and one of the songs is, He is My Rock and There Is No Unrighteousness In Him. And we would sing it and dance to it and it was a wonderful song. Well, there was a sad turn of events in my life when we went to the 20-week ultrasound for that little baby, and we discovered that our little baby had passed away.

And, as you can imagine, at that moment, there are so many thoughts and shock and dismay that flooded my heart and my mind. But at that moment, that song was the loudest thought in my mind. It came through like a locomotive—He Is My Rock and There Is No Unrighteousness In Him. The song itself just played over and over, and it played in my mind from the moment of the bad news, through labor and delivery, through the grieving and mourning, week after week, as we adjusted to life without Juliette.

Can you imagine just a little Scripture song that came off of a children’s album? The Lord used that little melody to encapsulate these truths about himself, that first, he was my rock, and that even though I felt so tossed by this storm in motherhood, I had so many questions, so many doubts, so many sorrows. He would be there for me to cling to, and to land on, and gasp for air. He would be there through the day and through the night, and he would never slip away from under me. God is my rock. And also, that reinforcing of, there is no unrighteousness in him. Because there I was going through this season of motherhood, and stillbirth felt so evil. It felt so unrighteous, so not right, but to be reminded that God did not allow this for any purpose other than my good and his glory and that he was not playing games with my life. He did not make a mistake; he did not have oversight; this was not something that He was using as a game. He doesn’t play games with our lives. He is righteous and everything he does is righteous. So, the truth of that Scripture kept me grounded through that entire season of mourning and sorrow until the day when I could wake up and smile and see the sunrise again. And I will never forget the power of that. In that season of life, I did not have time to study my Bible and do all the journaling and do all the Word study that I love to do in other seasons of life. But God used that one Scripture song. So, mama, whatever season you’re in, I encourage you to pull up Scripture songs on your phone or on the cd, or make them up yourself, and be singing them to the Lord. In the day, in the middle of the night, sing over your children, sing with your children, and expect God’s Word to do something.

It’s his Word promises. His word will not return void. He sends it out and it bears the fruit that he intends it to bear in your life and in your child’s life, too.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely. That is just one thing that I absolutely love about your book. What you’ve just shared with us here is just one of the real and practical tips that you give that people can start doing today, and I know we’ve had some of those Scripture verses, too, that we’ve sung with our kids, and you’re absolutely right, I think they’re ministering to us as parents just as much as it is for the kids. So, anyone reading this, check those out. Laura, can you speak to the woman who feels like she’s just lost a bit of herself in motherhood and is wondering, does anybody see me? Does anybody care?

Laura Booz: I sure can because I have felt that way and I think every mom friend that I have has felt that way too. So, you are very normal if you feel that way. And so, part of me wants to make it all right for you. Part of me wants to make everything better and say like, oh, you know, you’re not always going to feel that way, and carve out time for yourself, and make sure that you can be restoring the wellspring—and you should! Let’s talk about that because you do need to be resting and recovering and finding joy in the life that God has given you, but sometimes I think that it’s also helpful to realize that if you’re feeling like you are losing yourself—that’s the plan. The plan for all of us as Christians is that we would lose ourselves in Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body is Christ living in me. So, in a way, perhaps surrendering it to the Lord and saying, “what good can you do with this surrender, Lord?” Like, I’m giving up my life for my kids around the clock, my energy, my time, my affection! There are hobbies I used to have, but now they use my paintbrushes. Now my kids use my paintbrushes, now my kids scribble all over my journals, and now my kids have my running shoes. Whatever it may be to say like, “Lord, okay, where are the boundaries that I need to set?” For that other conversation that we need to have, but also, “Lord, these things that I’m giving up, can you show me how you are ridding me of myself, blessedly ridding me of myself, and forming Christ in me instead?”

So, you ask him and you reflect. I think you’re going to see that he has been at work in you. I think you’re going to see that he has been encouraging you toward more patience and endurance. I think you might see that maybe the number of control issues you had at the beginning of motherhood maybe have been chiseled down a little bit as you had to surrender, right? Well, he’s forming Christ in you, which is the hope of glory. So, instead of seeing just the dying side of this seed, let’s look at another metaphor here. Picture a little seed going down into the ground, and if you haven’t seen a seed germination video lately, you have to pull up a time-lapse seed germination video on YouTube and watch it today.

So, you see this cute, little tiny little seed and it goes down into the soil, and what you see happen to this seed is that it swells and puckers, its skin gets all, you know, dimpled and then that seed bursts open. And sometimes as moms, we feel that a lot of times. We feel the dying, we feel the giving up, we feel the swelling and the cracking, but then, keep watching that time-lapse video because out of that surrender, this amazing green sprout comes up and bursts through the soil up towards the sun, the roots go down deep, suddenly there are leaves, and beans growing off of this plant producing multiples of seeds where that one little seed used to be.

Now you would never see this beautiful bean plant producing all these beans and go down and dig and try to find that original little seed. You wouldn’t, because it wouldn’t be there, and nor would you demand that that bean plant go back and fit into that tiny little seed again. Right? So why do we do that to ourselves?

Why after all of the sacrificing and giving and growing and organic evolving that we do in motherhood, do we demand of ourselves? We look at ourselves in the mirror and we think, why can’t I be back to where I was? The linear conversations, and things neat and tidy, and my hair, my skin, like what’s going on?

But listen, look at the fruit and the life that God is producing from your surrender and I think you might be encouraged.

Mentor Mama: Yes, you most certainly will. You know, my kids are 26, 24, and almost 22, and, I look back from when I first became a mom to where I am now and I’m just blown away at how God used all of those challenges, and good times and bad times, all of those times to help mold me and shape me and grow to be more like him.

It is an amazing process that I think a lot of moms maybe don’t think about that, that’s going on during that time. I love your analogy there.

Laura Booz: I think it is a secret to happy motherhood and I can see it in you, Ellen. So, at any point along motherhood’s journey, if any mom can stop and appreciate what God is doing, I think it stirs up happiness and appreciation, and joy in the Lord that otherwise we miss out on. If you can hear what Ellen’s saying now, where she is in motherhood, and where I am, my oldest is 17, my youngest is three if at any point along the way, you can start appreciating the work that God is doing, in good times and bad times, on your best day and on your worst day, I think that it’s a major secret of happy motherhood.

Mentor Mama: For sure! Moms are amongst the most self-sacrificial people on the planet. Is self-sacrifice the epitome of motherhood, do you think? Or is there something more they can look forward to?

Laura Booz: Yes, I love moms. They are such amazing people and all women with maternal hearts. The maternal heart is just so, so beautiful. But it’s not the end all be all. I don’t think that it is the greatest thing to think, that’s the end game. I think it’s Tide commercials during the Olympics where the athletes get on and they make you cry every time. So, the athlete comes on and they reflect on their years of being an athlete and how their mom was there, like washing all their sweaty gear, getting them to the games, and feeding them well. And then they say, “thank you, mom.” And it just makes you cry because she gave her whole life to this child, and it’s wonderful to see her appreciated. And so, it seems as if that self-sacrifice is the end game, but it’s not.

Jesus said it’s not the end game. So just like I was talking about with the seed. If the end game was like giving up oneself, then the end game for the seed would be just going into the soil. Yay seed, you did your job, the end. But no, there is no end game, because the point then, this whole point of self-sacrifice is the life that comes from it, the life that bursts forth, and the growth that happens from it. I think it’s so important for moms to remember and to remind each other, especially in our friend groups, you know, where we can be our most vulnerable selves. That’s the best, but to always know this conversation is coming back around to looking for growth, looking for what God is up to. Thanking God for the glimpses of life and grace and provision that we do see even in our surrender.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely. And almost now for me, coming around the tail end when the kids are moving out, and your time does start to free up, and it’s like building upon the layers of the self-sacrifice, actually, when getting to this stage now makes me feel like, wow, I want to give somewhere else now that they’re not around to be able to pour into as much. What else does God have in store for me now, as a mentor whatever that could be?

Laura Booz: I think that’s encouraging what you just said, Ellen, because I think we worry and fret when our kids are home that I should be doing the “what else” now, but maybe this time in our life, it takes all I’ve got, for the most part, to raise and love these children in my home.

But if that’s building the muscle, and I’m practicing, then, at the right time, in that season, I can trust the Lord to provide the “what else,” “what next.” You know, I’ve been practicing and I’ve been using this muscle and I’ve been learning and growing so that I am ready to do the next thing instead of cramming it all in.

I think we feel pressure to do all the ministry work right now.

Mentor Mama: Yes, and you know what? I’m so glad you said that because it’s okay when you’re a mom and you are raising your children, that’s what God’s called you to do in that season. You don’t have to feel like you need to take on 10 other ways of serving because being a mom in and of itself, is a lot of work and what God has called you to do.

But yes, coming out the other side, is kind of fun to look at what new things could be ahead. You talk about three things that can steal a mother’s joy. Tell us about those, and what can a mom do to pursue joy in motherhood?

Laura Booz: Joy is one of those things. We all want it. You see the other mom who is just seeming so happy and joyful and you feel like, how did she get to be that way? I want that. And at the same time, it’s something that we wrestle for. So, some of the things that steal the joy in my life are, first of all, comparison. You know, that’s nothing new. Comparison steals joy. When I compare myself to other moms, even in my own friend group, I can go on a play date, and be with friends I love, who I think are doing an amazing job. I love their children. I love my children being their friends. So, we do the play date, and then I get in the van, buckle my kids up, and what’s going through my brain is all the ways that I don’t measure up.

You know, like I brought the unhealthy snacks this time, and like I feel so much older than the others, and why were my kids the rude ones? And, all the stuff. And, I’m comparing and comparing, and all the joy of that friendship, all the joy of that beautiful day, and getting together, and fellowship, and the highs and the lows, and how God provided grace for it all is stolen because I got wrapped up in comparison. So, that is one thing that steals my joy. And in those moments, as soon as I recognize it and I ask the Holy Spirit to please bring it to my attention when I’m starting to spin in that way. As soon as he does, as soon as I recognize it, I try to stop and I try to start thanking him for all of the gifts. Thank him for my friends, thank him for how he has made me and how he has made them. If there are aspects about them that I can grow in, then I want to grow in those areas, right? I can read a book or ask them for advice. It doesn’t always have to be, you know like, I’m fine as me, they’re fine as them really. Sometimes we’re given the gift of comparison, and when it’s a gift, then we have to be like, that’s clearly something that I want, so I’ve got to grow up and do a little learning and growing and be grateful for what I am able to do. You know, maybe I can bring a healthier snack next time.

But if it’s something that I can’t change, then I need to accept it, thank God for how he made me and how he made my friend, and then move on. So, comparison can steal my joy. Another thing that can steal my joy, kind of going on the opposite end of replacing it with gratitude is a spirit of ungratefulness.

I can be on vacation in a beautiful setting and everything is wonderful. What a luxury to be on vacation with my husband and my children and everyone’s healthy and fine. But if maybe I realize there’s this day where like, wait a minute, I had to pack all the bags, and I’m the one who had to bring all the snacks, and I’m the one staying back with the toddler who is napping, and now I’m nursing the baby and I’m missing out on the bike ride.

All the things that I am ungrateful for start running through my mind, and I can be just the worst possible person, and I hate it. I feel like, what is wrong with me? How could I turn into such a monster? And guess who can hear all my complaints? My Heavenly Father. So, as soon as I’m able to recognize what is going on, I bring it before him.

He can hear the whole realm of it. He can handle it. And when I finally am able, again, I start to surrender and thank him for what he has given to me, and it changes my whole outlook. So, I don’t know if this is helpful. Oftentimes, I’m doing it just in my head, but for me, it is very helpful to keep a regular gratitude journal, and I know it can be really hard as a mom to keep any book going unless you’re like a hardcore journaler, then you’re like, what do you mean? That’s not hard at all! But I think for a lot of people you hear gratitude journal and you’re like, I know I have 15 of them started around the house, and the kids took them, and I have no idea where they went.

Okay, so here’s what’s helpful to me. I have a really big, heavy book that the kids just can’t take off with it, and I sit it open on my dresser, it stays open, and it stays with a pen there, and it is mine and I don’t remove it from the dresser and nobody else does, and nobody else writes in it, and so, almost every morning I try to go over there and write a couple of things down. It’s a game-changer. It’s amazing to me how powerful that really is of setting my mind on the gifts God has given instead of having a pity party and getting down on things. So that is a wonderful exercise in pursuing joy.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely. I love how you can just turn ungratefulness into gratitude. It is a huge way of sort of flipping your whole mental state. I know for me personally, when I was a younger mom, very early on, I struggled with anger, and I’m sure it had its root in some of these things even that you’re talking about. I can remember doing the same thing as just turning it over and praying and asking God to help me in that area. And he was so faithful and did, so I think it’s a good idea to reflect on and realize there’s something stealing my joy. What is it and what can I do about it? Because I think it’s probably fair to say, most people don’t want to live in a state that’s not joyful.

Laura Booz: Right. I think that motherhood is a great opportunity to understand yourself better. One of the things I noticed was helpful to me from the beginning is if I had a big emotion, to pause and just ask why. Like if I had a huge spurt of anger to be like, wait, what caused that? Or if I was walking around feeling guilty, just like that shame and that weight of guilt, to pause and say, what started that? And usually, it would go back to a really small thing, but it started to help me notice what was that trigger that led me down this path. I’ve learned to pay attention to them, but you might be more of a thinker, and if that’s the case, you got to pay attention to your thoughts.

Like if you notice them all of a sudden, spinning around a certain topic or trying to dig in there and figure it out and you can’t get out of that little wormhole. Well, as soon as you can, pause with the Holy Spirit and ask why. That’s something you can do even when you’re getting the kids into the van, even when you’re doing dishes, even when you’re balancing between work and coming home, and all that. You can pause in your mind’s eye and ask why? And I find that the Holy Spirit is usually so quick to answer and so quick to shed light and give us wisdom when we’re seeking it. He promises so in his Word, call out to me for wisdom, anyone, and I’ll give it to him or her. So, I find that motherhood kind of like magnifies our flaws, our simple habits, our sinful ways, that otherwise we could keep dormant, and all of a sudden, we realize, oh my goodness, I really do have an anger issue, I have a control issue, or I struggle with fear. Well, that is no secret to the Lord and he would love to walk through that with you and say, “Okay, let’s get some truth from my Word to put some footing underneath you. I want you to understand this. I want you to grow. I can give you courage in the face of fear. I can give you surrender in your most control-heavy days.” He can give us peace when we feel most angry. Nothing is impossible for God, and I think motherhood is his opportunity to show us that.

Mentor Mama: And I think that what you’ve just said is especially true during those difficult seasons of motherhood.

Is there anything else you’d like to add to that as far as what can we expect from God during the storms of motherhood?

Laura Booz: His faithfulness. You can expect that when we are in Christ, nothing can snatch us out of our Father’s hand. So, you can expect him to be faithful to care for you.

One of the key verses of this book, and one of the key verses of my life as a mom, and I hope you are able to look it up and write it on an index card and treasure this verse yourself, is Isaiah 40 verse 11. Let me read it to you. This is about Jesus and you.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arms. He will carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young.”

So, that image is of a shepherd, and, of course, that shepherd is Jesus and the lambs are our children. The children we care about, and our grandchildren. He’s carrying them so close to his heart, they’re closer to him than they even are to us and gently leading those that are with young. That is, you and me and if you think about how a shepherd cares for the mama ewes in his flock, you can look it up, it’s amazing. The shepherd will make sure that those mama ewes have the most nutrient-dense food, that they have cool, clear, clean water, and that they are having the rest that they need, they’re being led to pastures. That Shepherd is making sure he is protecting them from injury, from the enemy, and from being misled, because those mama ewes are giving of their very life to feed those baby lambs. So, he has us all so up close to his side, and I think that at any point, on any day, any moment, if just in your mind’s eye, you can remember that and realize, oh, I’m right up close next to my shepherd and he knows how to guide me, and he knows how to care for my child even when I do not know what to do.

So, I can ask Jesus, what are you doing today? How are you holding my little one close? And how are you leading me? And where are we going? And I believe he will show us.

Mentor Mama: Yes, absolutely. You know, the verse that you just mentioned there, talking about Jesus’s gentle, caring nature and kindness. It’s so important for a mom to show these things to her children. Do you have any other practical steps that a mom could take today? To enjoy these gifts of kindness and gentleness.

Laura Booz: One thing that’s helpful to me is I have heard if you are concerned about your output like you’re concerned that you’re not being gentle with your children, or you’re not being loving towards your children or kind or patient, when you notice that and you feel like, oh, Lord, I want to be, but why do I keep on behaving in this certain way? Why do I keep responding this way? Why do I keep saying these things? What’s wrong with me? Well, if you’re concerned with your output, consider your input. So that means; are you drawing near to the source of love? Are you letting him remind you of his kindness toward you, his patience with you, and his joy over you? And the more that you meditate on that and receive it, that’s what strengthens you then and disciples you and mentors you to show that to your children. Now, that can happen in an instant. Of course, it can. With God, all things are possible. But it’s also something that I believe we learn over time. We draw near to God, he draws near to us, fills us with that living spring, and fills us with the fruit of his spirit. We need to be dwelling in the spirit, for His spirit then to bear the fruit in our lives. That’s a day-by-day-by-day experience that we see him producing that fruit and growing that fruit.

So, remember that, when you’re considering your output, don’t just go down and write like, new resolution for myself, 10 things I will never do again. And then next thing you know, oh shoot, never mind with that list. Instead, come back to your input and consider 10 ways the Lord is keeping these promises and these qualities toward me and toward my child, and that might just be a more effective approach.

Mentor Mama: Yes, absolutely. I love that reminder of going back to God’s Word and letting that be an important input. I know recently I’ve been reading the book of Proverbs and there are all kinds of verses in there that talk about having your lips be as sweet as honey, and just how important kind words are, and when you’re reading those verses, at least for me, I’m reading them and saying, oh, I want to be like that. And, of course, in Proverbs, they tell you all of the foolish ways to behave, as well, and you think to yourself, I don’t want to be like that, and ask God to help me. But having that reminder of that input, I think truly, as you said, is just so critical, and you’ve done a beautiful job in your book of using the fruit of the spirit to make your points as you go along in each of the different chapters.

In your opinion, Laura, what do you think are some of the best things about being a mom?

Laura Booz: The Lord. That is the best thing about any call that he calls us to, is that he’s there with us. His friendship, his faithfulness, and seeing his character over time, it’s the most amazing thing.

It can cause me to feel elated and joyful and also, just cry my eyes out at the same time. He is so good and dear to us, and what a good friend. So, to be able to know him better through motherhood is a profound gift. But then when it comes to those precious children, so for me personally I just really love our friendship. I guess I just love connecting, so, that’s why I love homeschooling. It just works for me, and I’m not saying that homeschooling is the only option for connecting with your kids, but I’m just saying, it’s great for me because it’s even more connecting time. I just love it. I love sitting at the lunch table together, and the funny kids at the lunch table are my kids and hear their jokes, and really, like, my sense of humor has not progressed past third grade. You know how kids are like, one person will say something funny, and then everybody has to be like, “yeah, yeah, it’s like this,” and everybody’s got to try their variation of it? That’s what we do at the lunch table. It’s around and around, but I just love that. I love sharing stories together. I’ve always loved reading aloud to my children. Love that we’re sharing the same characters that we love and, you know, parts of the story that resonate with us, that we cry over, that we laugh at, and quoting those things afterward.

Just our own little subculture is special. It’s a gift. I love snuggling them. I love what their little heads smell like, I love their personalities. Really, it just fills me up just to consider whom God has made them to be and that deep desire to want the very best for them and to know that they are in God’s hands.

It’s just wonderful.

Mentor Mama: Yes, it sure is. Well, what would you say to the mom who’s feeling defeated, you know, and maybe just kind of wants to throw the towel in and walk away from this job of motherhood? What would you say to that person to encourage them?

Laura Booz: Well, I have certainly felt that way, too. You know, coming right off of all those feelings of elation of motherhood, I have also felt very empty with no positive emotions. I have felt as if I could just get in the car and drive away fast or if I had to go to the grocery store or something, my husband’s home with the kids, and I pulled out of the driveway and I just have this impulse to step on the gas and get out of there, because just the sensory overload and the demand, and it can just be absolutely overwhelming and you can feel like the death of the seed, you can feel that. So, I know that feeling. And once again, I encourage you first to fall on the Lord. Knowing that he is holding you together and he’s holding your family. He’s got it, so you can trust him. You can lay on your face and sob it all out. Or if you like a punching bag, you can punch it all out and tell him.

Tell him your complaints, your sorrows, your anger, and your grief. All of it, and then find a way that you can rest. He does give us the gift of Sabbath rest and he wants us to rest. He designed it into the week, seven days. He wants us to rest every seventh day and sometimes we can’t because we’re moms and we’re still doing that job.

But we need to take him seriously that that’s important for our existence and for us to thrive and then make it a priority. So, however, you can, wherever you can, pray about it, talk to your spouse about it, and talk to your friends about it. Say, I’ve got to rest and recover. I have to sleep. You do have to sleep.

I have to do the things that God has given me that bring me some sense of pleasure and joy. What are those things and how do they fit best in this season of motherhood? So, growing in wisdom and discernment about that is a major grow-up to do. I feel like there have been different times I’ve had to be like, I am a grown woman, Lord, how do I manage this right now in this season? How do I be content with my little 15 minutes of rest? Whereas, when I was in my early twenties, I would’ve been like, I need a whole weekend in order to feel recovered. And then maybe at 23 or 24, I’d be like, well, I just need a whole day, that’s all I need now. Well, now I’m like if I can have three minutes alone in the bathroom, okay, I’m recovered and I’m ready. So, we can choose to be content with what God does give us, and then move forward from that. I don’t know if that’s helpful or not, but that’s what comes to mind.

Mentor Mama: Yes, those are great suggestions. The one additional one that I would add is if it’s possible for those that are reading this, to join some type of a mom’s group, maybe at your local church. I know for me, and I’ve said this on my podcast a number of times, I’m going to be starting my 21st year in our M.O.M.S. ministry, which stands for Making Our Mothering Significant. And it’s really, with that group of ladies, it’s held me accountable to doing some type of a Bible study as much as I can during that season that you’re in.

But, it’s also a place where you can pour your heart out, other people can encourage you, and a mentor mom can come alongside you. And so, that would just be one more thing that I would suggest is looking into that at a local church.

Laura Booz: I’m so glad you mentioned that because you’re right. That is so helpful. I think that would be life-giving.

Mentor Mama: Yes. The last thing I want to talk to you about before we close out is that I loved how you wrote about this in your book, you talk about why our expectations of motherhood are so important, so, tell us a little bit about that. What can a woman actually expect from motherhood?

Laura Booz: Well, my book is filled with things that I believe you can expect from motherhood. But there are things that are kind of bigger picture, you know, and they’re not things that would be just for one type of woman, with a certain personality type, or one social class.

But they really are things I believe that are grounded in God’s Word that we can expect. So, things like expecting God to listen to you when you pray. Think about how significant that is for you in motherhood so that you would know that he has his ear turned to you and he is listening and responding to you when you pray. Expect to be devastated by sin and comforted by God’s mercy.

So, if you go into motherhood knowing that’s going to happen, then when you do discover your sin, you’ll know, oh yes, I knew this was going to happen. I knew that I would be angrier than ever, or have more control issues than ever, or whatever it may be, and I am devastated by it. I couldn’t anticipate how devastated I would feel now that it’s at some precious little person’s expense but expect to feel devastated by it, and, the ‘and’ is so important, and comforted by God’s mercy. Even there in our motherhood sins, you know, when we feel like, oh, I’ve just ruined my child’s life—no you haven’t. We feel like our sin can be so devastating that it’s beyond God’s ability to ever redeem.

You haven’t ruined your child’s life. His mercy extends and is even more powerful, more far-reaching than our sin. So, we can expect to be comforted by that daily. We can expect Jesus to grow something beautiful in us. We really can expect him to be at work even when we hardly can turn our thoughts to him.

You know, we feel like, I am in the here and now. He’s like, yes. Thank you. Oh, can I share this Ellen before I wrap up? Because I think it goes along with this Jesus being so kind to be there with us when we have to be so attentive to the here and now.

So, you know, the parable in Matthew 25 when Jesus says, “at the end of time, I will return in all my glory angels with me. I’ll be sitting on my throne and I’ll gather the nations before me.” So, all of the mothers, all of the fathers, the children, all the nations, and he’s going to separate them like a shepherd separates sheep from the goats and he’s going to turn to the sheep, his beloved children.

Those saved through his name, and he’s going to say, “Thank you.” He’s going to say, “Come you who are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you visited me.” And the sheep are going to say, “When did we do that?” And you might say as a mom, “when do I have time to do that?” Well, I want you to think about that time when you saw your child’s face for the first time. Do you remember that moment? You were like, Oh, it’s you. You were welcoming a stranger into your life, and I want you to remember the last time you gave your child something to eat, you were feeding the hungry, and when you filled their sippy cup or filled their glass with water, you were giving the thirsty something to drink. And when you got the donation bin of clothes or you wrangled socks from all over the house and you put things in the washer and you put things in the dryer and you folded that load of laundry, you were clothing the naked, and when you wiped the little sniffles from your child’s nose and took a temperature and snuggled them in close when they weren’t feeling well, you were visiting the sick. And when you reminded your child of the grace of God through Christ. You were showing a prisoner the open door, and Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” So, not only is he there with us in motherhood enabling us to do these things for our beloved children, but he’s showing up at our door, at our kitchen table, and at the bedside, and he’s taking every act of love and service personally.

So, we might feel like we can’t be very mindful of Jesus in this season of motherhood, but he is ever mindful of us and that is his faithfulness.

Mentor Mama: Amen! Well said, Laura. That’s just so beautiful. Well, there’s just so much more in Laura’s book Expect Something Beautiful. Readers, I suggest that you check it out.

Laura, tell everyone where they can find out more information about you and your book.

Laura Booz: You’re always welcome to visit my website, www.laurabooz.com. I do have social media accounts, Instagram and Facebook. I can’t remember how to sign into Twitter, so if you see me tweeting things, it’s probably not me. I am not very active on social media. I do check for messages now and then because I just can’t be! I’m so grateful that I was able to write this book. It was a dream come true. But I honestly needed the whole worldwide pandemic in order to provide the margin to do it. So, now I just have to trust it in the Lord’s hands.

And most of my time and energy are right back doing the things that I wrote about in the book.

Mentor Mama: This book would be great to do together with a group of moms. You’ve got good questions in there and I love how you have suggested songs and other readings. So great.

Laura Booz: Oh, that would be wonderful and I would love to know, I love when people tell me that they’re reading it or they’re reading it in a group; that just delights me. I love to know you’re out there and I pray for you.

Mentor Mama: Thank you so much. Laura. Before we go, I just want to ask you a couple of questions that we ask all of our guests about our favorite Bible study tools. What is your go-to Bible and what translation is it?

Laura Booz: Well, the Bible that I have been using for the past several years, is a single-column, journaling Bible, ESV. I love it. We use the ESV version at our church and so that’s the one that I typically use.

It has room in the margins to journal and to write notes as you’re reading. And I do love that. It’s been really fun to be able to write in my Bible itself.

Mentor Mama: An excellent translation and plenty of room to write notes.

Do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Laura Booz: Well, peace and quiet. Where do you buy that? I usually just take what I can get. So, I write it in my Bible. I write it on a post-it note. I do have a journal. I wish I could write more because throughout the day I have these deep desires for my children and I wish I had time to take the whole thought and put it out into words, and I feel like, oh Lord, I wish I could pray that out into words, but I feel like he’s fine with me being like, I pray for Malachi, Lord, you know all the desires that just flooded my mind. I pray for him and I give him that whole journal entry in one sigh. So, that’s where I am in motherhood right now. This does not count as a journal thing, but we have been doing the five-day Bible reading program. Our women’s ministry has been doing it, and in order to keep myself accountable, I offered to be the person who’s keeping people accountable. So, we just have a little app and we all just sign in each day saying, day one, day two. It is such a great reading program because it’s just five days a week and you can catch up on the weekends and a lot of the readings will coordinate with one another.

So, there are times when you’re reading things about King David’s life, and then you read the Psalm that day that he wrote during that season, and then you read something from the New Testament that dovetails beautifully. So that is a thrill to read through and see God’s breath through it all. And, a lot of times, I will just listen to the audio Bible because it’s a lot of reading. I wouldn’t have time to sit down and actually read all of these passages every day, so when I can’t do that, I stick my earbuds in and I listen to the audio Bible. So, that’s been helpful to me.

Mentor Mama: Those are great suggestions.

And lastly, what’s your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?

Laura Booz: I think the audio bible that I listen to. I love it. I keep it on my home screen and I think it’s just free. It’s just the YouVersion. That’s what I pull up and I just go right to the Bible and pull up the Scripture that I want to listen to.

Mentor Mama: That’s a great app. Well, Laura, thank you so much for being here today to share with us the special gifts of motherhood and just the practical ways that we can lean upon God’s grace and thrive as mothers. It’s been such a joy to have you.

Laura Booz: Thank you for having me. God bless!

Mentor Mama: Thank you. For our readers, pick up a copy of Laura’s book Expect Something Beautiful. You can find the link here. Also, be sure to share your comments with us to be put into a drawing to receive a free copy of her book. Lastly, head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com.

Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today. We love you all. Have a blessed day.

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