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on February 6, 2004
This is a beautiful book, full of inspiration. If your intention is to follow Jesus in your parenting as in other aspects of your life, but wonder what that would look in the day to day of parenting, that's what this book is all about. An experienced, thoughtful mother, Sally is full of encouragement from a mother who has been there and done that. When we feel, as mothers, that we can't give any more, Sally reminds us of the One who has gone before us and in Whom we find encouragement. She has many ideas for making a family lifestyle that incorporates Christian acts of hospitality, service, charity, prayer, discipleship and more. A lot of Christian parenting books are long on how to control your child and short on how to model a vibrant, meaningful Christian life that involves your children in ways they can understand. That's one of the many strengths of this book.
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on June 19, 2004
This book is a must have for moms who are seriously concerned and committed in raising their children. I love her approach to parenting as she helps you understand just why our children were created and the calling God has placed on their lives as well as your own. I had goals and proirities set for our family, and this book was instrumental in teaching me that my desires were, yes, admirable, but God wanted so much more. It taught me so so much.
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on March 19, 2008
I've read many books on parenting and motherhood. By far, the best one I have read. A must read for every mom, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or insecure about motherhood. Very practical and easy to understand how to pass on these wonderful gifts to your children.
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on August 15, 2009
This is by the far the best parenting book that I have read. It truly speaks to my heart as a Christian mom. The devotions and applications at the end of each chapter have been meaningful starting points for deep though, study and conversation between my husband and I. I am without doubt, a better parent for having read this wonderful book.
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on June 29, 2011
I read this book with two other young moms this summer and really enjoyed it. Sally's writing is easy to read, applicable, and encouraging. Her ideas are rooted in scripture, not just her opinion or experience, and she shares how to practically apply the Gospel to our children and ourselves. Clarkson divides the book into five sections where she goes into depth about each "gift"/goal for spiritual health and maturity. Each gift--grace, inspiration, faith, training, and service--lend to the goal of raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord with the hope that they will come to know Jesus personally. The chapters are short and each section ends with discussion questions that are great for personal reflection and group sharing.

I appreciate that her stories are honest and she is not condescending, nor does she promise perfect children. Sally humbly highlights her parenting successes and failures. I have young children and the book doesn't seem as pertinent, but it truly is since these are the years where we lay the foundation for our children. There's no harvest if seeds aren't planted!
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on March 27, 2007
This book is not only an encouraging and inspirational read, but also a great tool to add the the toolbag of every christian mom whose children are still home. So many parenting books inadvertently make the reader feel immensely guilty about their present parenting skills (or lack thereof), this is NOT one of those books! At the end of each section I felt incredibly uplifted and inspired to take their simple but profound "GIFTS" (Grace, Inspiration, Faith, Training, Service)and begin working in the lives of my children in new ways. I highly recommend this book as well as all of Clay and Sally Clarksons other works.
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on March 2, 2013
I really enjoyed reading this book, and was encouraged as well as challenged through it. While I didn't necessarily agree with everything in this book, not necessarily in the parenting realm but more in thinking about some of the spiritual truths as I understand them, I still think it will prove useful in my own life. I think it's a great place to start, for those moms who need a starting place (or a starting over kind of place), to create an idea of how they want to go about their motherhood stage of life. It's a great platform for mothers to develop a plan of action or a mission statement or goal for how they parent.

I really think this would be a great book for a young mother, maybe coming upon her first troubling experience with a kid and wondering how best to handle it. I think Mrs. Clarkson's model for developing her mothering tendencies - focusing on the life of Jesus and taking lessons from how He taught in order to recognize how to lead her own children - is absolutely correct and a great way for us to think about our parenting.It's great also for those with younger kids who, while having walked with the Lord for several years, might still be learning how to model His teachings in their own lives and how to lead their children in the ways of Christ.

She helped me recognize that motherhood is, indeed, a ministry I can participate in right now. I've had a hard time wrapping my mind around how motherhood is a ministry; I understand that it's of the Lord and the right thing for a season, but I couldn't quite reconcile that with it actually being a form of ministry. I understand it better now, recognizing that it's my job to not only disciple my children but to nurture them so that THEY can then become disciplers as well. I'm training up trainers, teaching those who will carry His message to who knows where, leading those who will lead others. It's about duplicating Christ's work in those who can then duplicate it again; it's about furthering His Kingdom!

I truly recommend this book for any Christian with young children, whether or not you are struggling with parenting and motherhood. I think it's fantastic to recognize the importance of what we are doing, and it's always great to hear a perspective on motherhood and on parenting that we may not have considered prior to that. It might not be as applicable to those with older kids, those who are almost done with their training role as parents, but would still make fantastic background information to share with any young mothers in your life. Pick it up as a gift, and thumb through it yourself first!
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on January 13, 2010
Sally writes about being a mother in an authentic way that has so deeply ministered to me and has left me inspired to keep walking along the (sometimes overwhelming) journey of being a mom. Her words have been such a blessing and I have probably read this book 3 or 4 times.
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on November 3, 2014
I read this book with a small group of women from my church. We met weekly to discuss one chapter at a time. It is very well-written, in that it challenges you to do your best as a mom, without condemning or judging you for your shortcomings and mistakes. We all found it very encouraging and full of good ideas.

I appreciate the fact that this author is a homeschooling mom, but she does not mention homeschooling ONE TIME in this book. It is therefore accessible to all mothers and does not judge your choice of how you choose to educate your children. We have both homeschooling and public-schooling moms in our group, and it is nice not to have to engage in that particular "mommy battle." Thank you!!
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on January 29, 2013
Have you ever been antsy? (I believe the official medical term is "ants in the pants".) It's that feeling where there must be something more. Something more you should be doing, maybe something really important. Something that makes a lasting impact on God's Kingdom. Surely God didn't mean for you to use your talents changing diapers and wiping runny noses. Or did He?

Enter The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children, by Sally Clarkson. Ms. Clarkson does a wonderful job of gently walking you down the path of discovering what it is God has really called you to as a mother. She has developed a systematic way of examining the idea of mothers as ministers. Not a paid minister in a church, but as possibly the most important minister your children will ever have.

The set-up of the book is not only well organized, but lends itself easily to either personal or group studies. After presenting her case for the idea of viewing motherhood as your most important ministry, she organizes the rest of the material into the five areas she sees in the ministry. To help moms remember the areas, Clarkson uses the acronym G.I.F.T.S., representing the gifts we give our children by ministering to them. Grace, inspiration, faith, training and service are her focus as the primary areas of a mother's ministry.

Each area begins with a retelling of a familiar Bible story in a relaxed (but accurate) fashion. She often follows with personal stories from her own lively family life. Every section covers several practical things you can do to make sure you are ministering to your child effectively. The five sections also have study questions and assignments which can help you clarify your own thoughts or could be used for a group discussion.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book is her gentle, relaxed style. Often parenting books can leave you feeling more frantic than when you began reading them. Sally Clarkson made me feel as if she were an old friend and we were curled up in comfy chairs by the fire, sipping hot cocoa and talking. I never felt guilty, only encouraged. Not only encouraged, but no longer antsy for something "bigger".

Clarkson understands where you are in your Christian journey and empowers you to be the minister to your children God called you to be. Her gentle reminders ("Only then, once the wells of their need are filled with the grace of being loved, will my words to them about God's grace finally make sense.") call me to a higher purpose in my mothering, but make the process seem like something I could really do with my child.

If you are feeling "antsy" in your role as mother or just want some gentle, quiet, guided reflection on the concept of motherhood as your ministry, I would highly recommend reading this book. Your children are only in your house for a few short years (I say as the mother of a high school junior.) and I hope we can embrace the idea of ministering to our children as perhaps the most important ministry God will ever call us to fulfill. After all, if our children join us for an eternity in heaven, won't that be the greatest blessing a mother could be given?

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I am painfully honest though, and would tell you if I didn't like it. I am keeping it on my reference shelf of parenting books in my library!
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