Tuesday, April 12, 2016

For the Mamas of Wee Little Babes

Sunday night I received a text from a friend asking for devotional suggestions for "mamas of wee little babes". Now,  normally I would've objected strongly to her use of the word "babes", but in this case, I felt that "wee" justified it. Although she would've been given extra credit points for the use of "bairns" in that context, but that's not the point of this story. The point of this story is that I realized that my response demanded much more space than a text message...and here we are now.

Let me start with a disclaimer or two. One, all these books have been written by human beings who are by nature faulty. Anything I include on this list must be checked against the Word of God. I know in at least two of the books I include on the list, there are ideas that are worded confusingly and could lead to fault theology if not held up and viewed through the lens of the Bible. 

Two, as a "mama of wee little babes", please give yourself some grace and accept that you are going to be tired in this season of life and time is going to be limited and that is as it should be. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me," and by that he knew that you were no longer going to be able to have two hour quiet times when you could delve deeply into obscure commentaries on the minor prophets. That doesn't mean, "Write your quiet times off all together!" It just means to rearrange your expectations a little bit.

With that said, many of the books I am about to suggest are little snippet books. You can sit down, read for five minutes, get a succinct thought or a short verse to meditate on, and go change the next diaper. Some that I am thinking of:
  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. One page daily devotional with a couple Scripture verses at the bottom. Always thought provoking.
  • The Lord Bless You and Keep You: A Treasury of God's Promises compiled by Summerside Press. This book, in and of itself, is not the point. It's a compilation of short verses on various topics combined with quotes from famous Christians. I'm sure you can find plenty of other options of this type. I include this specific one because it was an incredible blessing to me during the first year of the twins' life when my "quiet time" was, more often than not, five minutes on the toilet reading this book. Seriously.
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. If you have a baby who doesn't sleep and your brain is fried, don't pick this option. If, however, said baby keeps you busy but the wheels of your brain seem to be turning with a minimal amount of effort, this is a great choice. Again, only one page long with Scripture references included and deep, deep thinking.
Sometimes though, you need a book from an older, wiser godly mom who will remind you that you are not alone in the trenches. You need someone to share the wisdom they have gleaned over the years now that they can put together complete sentences once again that don't include the words, "Johnny, the dog doesn't eat grapes" or "Clarabelle, smearing poo is not an art form." The following books are for those moments:
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman. Perhaps one of the most theologically engaging books on parenting that I have ever read. 
  • Desperate by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae. A fantastic collaboration between an older mom and one who is still in our shoes (and Sarah Mae likes to use the word "babe" too, though sadly not "bairn"). 
  • Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. I read this while still pregnant with the twins (or shortly after they were born?). I don't remember because my brain was fried (italics necessary). But I do remember this one being perspective changing for me. Quick note: this is free on Kindle right now.
  • A Loving Live by Paul Miller. Okay, fine, this one's not written by a mom. And it has nothing to do--technically--with parenting. But I read it during our last move and the ensuing weeks of sleeplessness with Bruiser, and it was so encouraging to my heart and grace-giving that I had to include it.
One of the major blessings of having wee little babes who are up in the wee sma's (I'm sorry: the novel I'm reading right now is set in Scotland) is that if you are purposeful, you can see a dramatic increase in your prayer life. Admittedly, sometimes this is in the form of, "God, please, please, please, just let them go to sleep. Please. I just want to sleep. Please." But sometimes it's just the inevitable result of having very full hands...and not much to do with your mind. Take that brain space and use it to pray. Remember: first century Christians didn't have their own personal Bibles and Beth Moore studies. But they did have the Holy Spirit, and they did know how to pray. A couple of books that might help you with this:
  • Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt. This is self explanatory.
  • The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O'Martian. Again, self explanatory. Although, please read both of these selections (and the above Jodie Berndt selection) with discernment. I truly believe in the depth of sincerity both ladies possess and their desire to see real prayer affect real change--and agree with this--but we serve a God who sometimes has other plans and sees a bigger picture than we do. Just my two cents. My favorite part of both books is the additional verses to guide your own prayers.
  • A Praying Life by Paul Miller. Sorry about two Paul Miller books for the price of one, but...this is a really fabulous guide to prayer.
  • A Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett. A collection of Puritan prayers that can really stretch your brain and your heart. Put this one on the shelf next to Oswald Chambers and only read after you've unclogged your brain with at least a full pot of coffee.
Last, your Bible is always an excellent devotional resource. You don't have to read five chapters a day. Sometimes all you have is five minutes for a Psalm. Sometimes you prep ahead by leaving memory verses on post it notes all over the house. Sometimes you pick a version that's a little easier on your brain dead self. My favorite is the Phillips translation. Though I wouldn't use it for a daily quiet time for very long (it's not the most accurate translation available), it is written with such frank, straight forward prose that it always encourages my heart.

Wait! One more! (I'm sorry! I know this is long!) If you don't have a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible, please get one and read it with your children. On days when I wasn't able to squeeze in my own personal quiet time, reading Sally Lloyd-Jones' words always brought me into Christ's presence.

God loves that you want to spend time with Him. He understands that you're tired. He knows you haven't shaved your legs in five months. He gets that the dirty diapers and the dirty dishes and the dirty laundry are overflowing in your home. And He thinks what you are doing right now is wonderful. He gave you those children fully expecting that they would derail your time. Give Him what you have, and know that He gives grace, and that this is only a season...and it goes by so very quickly.

{I included Amazon links so that if you want more information on a book, it's only a click away. I don't normally do this and am not affiliated with Amazon in any way, but please do let me know if this is helpful for you.}


  1. No comments yet? It could be that somehow your friends missed this post, which I did until today, April 20. Excellent blogpost and I wish I could read all the books I don't have, but I'm thankful for the ones I do have and have read. Thankful for you too!

  2. What abot that book where you find the ladybugs?

    And I think most people comment direct on FB. Only the dedicated fans come here to the blog.