40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom (Abingdon Press, August 2016)
Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:
—Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!
I hate to say it, but I didn't like this book at all. I'd love to leave it at just that, but you'll probably be left wondering why. I really do hate being negative, though.
There are 40 devotions that include a coloring page, but there's also some extra devotionals thrown in the mix that doesn't have a day assigned to them. Some of the devotionals are okay, though a little on the shallow side. Some of them are a little out there for me, though. Right at the beginning, such a big emphasis was put on the meaning of names that it put a red flag up for the rest of the book. You're encouraged to find the meaning of your name, and your husband's name, and your children's name(s)(through various devotionals) and focus on those meanings while parenting. My name means "Palm Tree". I can't help but wonder what my parents could have possibly done with that! I just can't, in any way, parent my children based on what someone else decided their names meant. I attempted to choose masculine, old fashioned names for my boys, and don't think I even knew what meaning their names were assigned.
Out of curiosity, I did look up what their names mean, and I could focus on that for each of them, but I don't want to. There's so much more to them. (Of course, I DO realize names are important. I wouldn't have ever named my children Jezebel or Nabal, after all, but I don't think a name given by a parent should label a child.)
In defense of that method, though, this book does come off more for the very new mommies. I imagine most new mommies have just finished looking through baby name books and the meaning of names mean more to them. It's just not for me. Also, I may be blowing the name thing way out of proportion, but I've read those passages over and over, and they still bug me.
Aside from that, I just didn't like the wording so often. Here's a quote that I'll leave for you, and you can do what you want with it.
"Because of my sensitive nature, I have the predisposition to absorb every environment I walk into. Not only did I have my own life experiences and traumas to work through, but I also carried the experiences and traumas of others that I encountered. Some call it empathy, some call it hypersensitivity, some call it prophetic intercession, and some call it psychic abilities. What it is for sure is absorption, and many people are wired this way, especially women."
Now I'll move on the the coloring pages. Honestly, that was my biggest reason for wanting to check this book out. (And, of course, the curiosity of what would bring more joy to my days in 40 days time.) ;) The coloring pages are incredibly simple. I've made it very clear that I have no artistic talent, but most of these pages look like something that might be found in one of my notebooks(practice doodling), minus the handwriting, because I can't write that pretty. IF you're looking for a coloring book that could be colored with crayons, as opposed to smaller tipped colored pencils, this might be a decent choice for you. Maybe the point was to provide a quick little artistic page for those new moms to do while rocking a little one, in which case simple is better. For the average mother that is used to the gorgeous coloring books on the market these days, this one looks on the pitiful side. Also, the lines in the doodles are so bold, and the pages so thin, that it was hard to read the devotionals. The coloring page on the other side of the page was glaring through.
I really do dislike being so negative about a book, but I just can't recommend this one to anyone, unfortunately. My negatives might end up being positives for you, though!
*I was given a free copy of this book.