When recurring postpartum depression and health issues cast an “overall cloud” over her first years of parenting, author Christina Fox sought medical and spiritual advice. She went to her pastor with a laundry list of all the things she had done to prevent these struggles from occurring again after her second pregnancy. Her pastor helped her to see how the gospel truths she already knew also applied to her new role as mom. He reminded her to rest in what Christ had done, rather than in her own efforts. She writes, “The truths of who Jesus is and what he came to do anchored me in my motherhood.”
Christina Fox is a trustworthy voice of encouragement for followers of Christ. Moms will also want to check out Idols of a Mother’s Heart. Closer than a Sister celebrates the good gift of Christian friendship, and A Heart Set Free demonstrates how the psalms of lament lead the suffering believer into hope in Christ.
Fox’s new book, Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms, highlights a mother’s need for Jesus in her parenting. The first chapter clearly outlines the lordship of Christ over the world, the church and our lives. From this foundation, Fox moves into how the gospel intersects everyday carpool and work and soccer practice life:
The truths of who Jesus is and what he has done for us don’t only save us for eternity (as major as that already is!); they also transform our daily lives in the here and now. They impact how we work, how we play, how we interact with others, how we face challenges, and how we suffer. They transform how we respond to our sin and to the sin of others. They give us hope when we are hopeless, peace when we are fearful, and joy when we are despairing. In fact, it will take an eternity to plumb the depths of the gospel’s significance to our lives.
In the chapters that follow, we examine what this sufficiency means for every challenge a mother will face. Sufficient Hope addresses how moms fight to remember the gospel in the midst of busyness and to wrestle free of expectations in order to receive what we have actually been given. The helplessness a parent feels when she can’t “fix” her child, the burdens of work and worry that a mother carries, and repentance for when moms fall short are also examined with compassion and encouragement in the gospel. Fox knows the discontentment, isolation, and guilt a mother can feel, and she knows our darkest hours as moms come when our children struggle and sin. And because Fox is an experienced mother, she reminds us that we also need Jesus when things are going well in our homes.
Each chapter is followed up with a beautiful gospel prayer that includes elements of praise, confession, lament and supplication. These theologically rich prayers, along with thought-provoking questions for journaling or group study, will lead moms to apply the truth of Scripture to their personal moments and find strength there.
Fox deftly navigates the concerns of mothers of newborns as well as those facing an impending empty nest because she focuses on the truths that will stay constant for mothers and their children at any and every age. Take a look at this, from her chapter on identity:
When I consider what life will be like without kids in the house, it’s a little frightening—just as it was a little frightening to transition from work life to mom life. But my identity in Christ grounds me and gives me a meta-purpose that never leaves me, no matter what stage of life I am in… What we do isn’t who we are (p. 104-105).
Beautifully written and full of the comfort that only the truth of Jesus can offer, Sufficient Hope is the kind of book that moms will dog ear, underline, and return to over and over in the long-short years of motherhood.