Tony and Karalee Reinke (editors). Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope. Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2014. 120 pp. $7.99.
Being a mom is a wonderful but difficult job. Too often Pinterest does in subtle ways what Victoria Secret does overtly—crush women under the weight of airbrushed unrealities.
But it’s not only Pinterest and Victoria Secret that can inflict damage. Sometimes damage comes from other moms. Innocent playgroups turn into competitions over who has the perfect, God-ordained way of preparing organic, gluten-free, low-carb snacks. And sometimes damage can even come from the Bible, or, at least, from the mishandling of it. For example, Proverbs 31—a chapter that celebrates women and mothers—can be (mis)taught so that it becomes just another crushing airbrushed unreality.
This is why I’m so thankful for books like Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope edited by Tony and Karalee Reinke. It doesn’t make this mistake. Mom Enough doesn’t crush; it gives wings.
When I bought Mom Enough, I knew it was a collection of short essays from various women, all published authors. However, when I received the book and read in the preface that each entry was originally a blog post for Desiring God, I was a little disappointed. I love the ministry of Desiring God, but at first I was annoyed because the last book I read like this (blog posts turned into a book) was lousy. Mom Enough, however, is not lousy. It’s excellent. As soon as I finished the book, I bought three more to give away. And with Mother’s Day coming next month, there is still plenty of time for you to get several copies to do the same (here).
The title Mom Enough is taken from one of the book’s essays of the same name, which in turn, is a callback to the Time magazine article from the summer of 2012 that had those words on its cover. If you saw that cover, you’d remember it; it pictured a woman breastfeeding a toddler that looked like he was about a year away from kindergarten.
In the book, author Rachel Pieh Jones pointedly describes the “mom enough” battle.
From television, Facebook, blogs, and Pinterest, the message screamed at moms is this: unless you are fit to run marathons, breastfeed into the preschool years, own a spotless and creatively decorated home, tend a flourishing garden, prepare three home-cooked meals per day, work a high-powered job, and give your husband expert, sensual massages before bed, you are not mom enough. (Rachel Pieh Jones, Mom Enough, 19, emphasis original)
But Jones is waving the white flag.
From my perspective, however, the Mommy War is over. Done. Finished. Kaput. And I lost. I am not mom enough. Never was, never will be. (19-20)
Yet quitting the “mommy war” does not mean she is ceasing to fight.
But I am on the frontlines of another war. The battles are raging and the casualties could be my children, my husband, or myself. This war isn’t about me being mom enough. This war is about God being “God enough.” (20)
And this war—the fight of faith to believe that God is an all-satisfying fountain of joy and big enough and caring enough to help us in our daily lives—is a war that began long ago. This war started in a garden when a serpent implied that God wasn’t God enough and when Adam and Eve believed they would be happier if they went their own way.
Right now, my wife is pregnant, which I know is a difficult season for all women, but it is especially so for my wife. No, she won’t spend the entire time in the hospital (Lord willing), but during past pregnancies, we have certainly made a few visits for extreme dehydration because of constant vomiting. My wife is a warrior, that’s for sure. I try to help her as best as I can, but what Mom Enough reminded me is that what my wife needs most—and what I believe all Christians need most (mothers or not)—is to know that in the midst of the battle, God is always God enough.