Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Parenting from the Heart by Marilyn Boyer

Marilyn has 14 kids, and while many mothers could use that as an excuse to be too busy for ministry, Marilyn doesn't. In her book, Parenting From the Heart, she candidly shares about being a mom from bringing home her first little bundle all the way through her 14th child and then onto launching adult children.  Her book is an overflow of her love for the calling God gave her in raising her children and she is passionate about helping younger moms navigate that path as well.

After reading this book, you will feel as though you know her personally.  She certainly knows all about what you may be feeling as a new mom, a mom of older kids, a mom grieving the loss of a child, a homeschooling mom, a mom managing a large family.

This is not a friendly world for homeschoolers, large families or Christians. Sometimes you can feel isolated and alone and get discouraged.  Even within the church, it's often hard to find like-minded parents who really take seriously God's plan for raising kids.  In the pages of her book, Marilyn comes alongside you and offers gentle correction and compassionate understanding over areas you may struggle.

Marilyn has a way of writing that exudes empathy and encouragement. She's right there with you, helping you realize that with God's help, you can tackle the challenges of parenting. One chapter talks about how to actually train your children so they will know how to act in different settings. For example, when they wanted their children to know how to act in the grocery store, both parents went and gave simple guidelines. The one I liked best was teaching your kids to make food requests at home, before you get to the store.  Kids need some advance training.  So do parents!  This whole book is like an advance training manual helping equip parents with the tools needed to handle the bumps in the road that will inevitably occur.

Marilyn offers many ideas for saturating your home with Scripture, praying for your kids and putting before them models to emulate.  And there is plenty to grow a mom's heart as well. Character is important in our kids but equally important in ours. I really liked a list that Marilyn compiled of character qualities a mom should possess.

The book is personal, humorous, candid and totally real. There were several times that I got to the end of a chapter and was just so inspired and felt so "full" that I thought the book was done. And then there would be another chapter brimming with golden nuggets of wisdom and then another and another.  I felt like my cup was overflowing with ideas, with godly wisdom, with hope.

I really enjoyed the times that Marilyn shared about a particular struggle that she discussed with her husband and how he would have just the suggestion she needed.  So many books written for moms just sort of leave dad out of things and yet I appreciated Marilyn's gentle reminder that there is a reason that God created husbands as leaders and I need to seek out my husband's help more often.  It keeps him involved in our day and makes us more of a team.

I've read many parenting books and many homeschooling books but none are as easy to read, as uplifting and as JOYFUL as Marilyn's.  You really get a sense of the high calling it is to be a mom.  She covers the whole spectrum of what a woman may go through as a mother: bringing home a first baby, discipline issues, sibling conflicts, grief, and eventually letting adult children go and allowing the Holy Spirit to carry on the work we partnered in while our kids were at home.

I am so very grateful for Marilyn's willingness to share so many practical ideas for reaching and keeping my child's heart. I've got my work cut out for me, but am thankful for the mentoring Marilyn has provided and the reminder that the Lord is with me through it all.

This book would make a great wedding gift, baby shower gift, even a gift for a grandparent. A wholly inspiring book that I plan to read and reread many times.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Parenting from the Heart for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.  

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