Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role (True Woman)

Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role (True Woman)

by Erin Davis

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802405623
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 04/01/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.33(d)

About the Author

A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others. She is the author of many books including Connected, Beyond Bath Time, and the My Name is Erin series. When she's not writing books, you can find Erin chasing down chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Read an Excerpt

Beyond Bath Time

Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2012 Erin Davis
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-0562-3

Chapter One

Welcome to the World, Mom!

Your baby probably won't survive the pregnancy. I suggest you abort him."

These words plunged me deep into the waters of motherhood. I was flailing. I couldn't see the surface. I feared that the swirl of emotions and responsibilities that come with being a mom would swallow me and I had no idea where to look for a life raft.

I was twelve weeks pregnant with my first child. At that point in the pregnancy I hadn't felt much beyond fear, anxiety, and a lot of nausea. My husband and I had planned to start our family, but when the stick turned pink sooner than we expected, I couldn't stop thinking about all the ways my life would change. I broke the news to my husband that a baby was on the way by sitting on our bed in a bathrobe and sobbing.

I didn't have time to be a mom.

Now doctors were telling me my baby wasn't well. Deciding not to abort our tiny son was easy. But I didn't know God would use that decision to teach me His passion for motherhood and to totally remake my heart.

If you are still holding your breath, relax. My son Elisha was born perfectly healthy—miraculously healed from a condition that could have taken him from us. But that healing didn't occur until the day of his birth. For seven long months we waited to find out if our baby would survive.

In that context, motherhood ceases to be about tiny clothes and cuddly blankets. When you don't know if you will even bring your baby home, you spend less time painting the nursery and more time on your knees.

Skipping the warm fuzzies of pregnancy brought me face-to-face with the reality of motherhood. I couldn't imagine how having a child would fit into my routine, my marriage, my hopes for my life, my definition of ministry, and my dreams for the future.

I was simultaneously desperate to hold my baby and terrified of the nuclear bomb that seemed pointed toward my life. When that bomb hit in the form of a healthy baby boy who demanded every second of my time, energy, and emotions, the shock was almost too much for me.

I WAS SIMULTANEOUSLY desperate to hold my baby and terrified of the nuclear bomb that seemed pointed toward my life.

Having It All and Gaining Nothing

My life before baby looked exactly like our culture told me it should. I had multiple degrees from good colleges. I was married to a wonderful man who supported my professional and academic goals. I had a rewarding career as a writer and speaker. My time was my own. My priorities were in line with what I wanted from life. I was a woman of the new millennium.

I had followed the script that had been written for me in a world where women were supposed to "have it all." But it wasn't the fairy tale I'd been promised.

I discovered quickly that academic and vocational success didn't bring lasting fulfillment. I was the center of my universe and my best efforts were directed outside of my home, but most days I felt more exhausted than fulfilled.

This isn't the part in the story where I tell you that I became a Christian and everything changed. I had passionately served Jesus since I was fifteen years old. In fact, my husband and I had initially chosen childlessness because we wanted to serve Christ. We saw children as a burden. We believed that our careers and ministry and marriage were too important to risk the strain children would bring. We didn't feel called to become parents nor did we see parenting as potential ministry.

We had been lied to. It's a lie that has been whispered into many ears.

More and more women are choosing childlessness. Others resent their husbands and children because they see them as burdens, a stumbling block to achieving a higher calling. Motherhood is not revered as a sacred role. Career is king. The modern equation leaves little room for children.

I believe this is one of the greatest tragedies of our time.

It isn't that motherhood is the hidden secret to fulfillment. I didn't hold Elisha for the first time and suddenly decide nothing else mattered. I did discover that my attitude about motherhood pointed to a bigger problem that exists in women's hearts everywhere. We've lost touch with living out our unique design as women. We don't know how to function as we've been created to function.

The Bible shows us that God esteems the roles of wife and mother. Eve's name means "life." The Proverbs 31 woman worked diligently to provide for her household. Jesus opted not to appear on earth as an adult ready to rule. He came through the womb of a mother and was tenderly cared for by His mom throughout His life. God's Word says much about the ministry of motherhood and the value of bearing and nurturing life.

But the issue of motherhood isn't theological. It isn't best explored in the political arena or defined by the talking heads of our culture. The value of motherhood is most important in the heart of every woman.

{More WISE Words}
YEARS AGO, BEFORE this generation of mothers
was even born, our society decided where
children rank in the list of important things.
When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into
law. Children rank way below college. Below
world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out
at night at your leisure. Below honing your body
at the gym. Below any job you may have of hope
to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to
sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you
want to do. Below everything. Children are the
last thing you should ever spend your time
doing. If you grew up in this culture, it is very
hard to get a biblical perspective on
motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman
about your life, your children. How much have we
listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we
believe that we want children because there is
some biological urge, or the phantom "baby
itch"? Are we really in this because of cure little
clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood
a rock-bottom job for those who can't do more,
of those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so,
what were we thinking?
—Rachel Jankovic

Where are you in the journey of motherhood? Are you a new mom struggling to redefine the boundaries of your life among a sea of diapers, feedings, and sleepless nights? Have you been a mom so long that you've lost yourself along the way and you long to know your reach goes beyond car pools and chore charts? Do you understand it's your job to teach your children about spiritual principles but struggle to know how to connect in the chaos? Are you a young woman who's not sure you want children but secretly suspect that the world's not telling the whole truth as it teaches that womanhood is about living like it's all about you?

I'm looking for a few good moms. Moms who will dare to hold on to a view that seems out-of-date and search for God's heart on the issue of motherhood; moms who are willing to see past the endless list of mothering responsibilities to see a bigger, more eternal picture. I'm looking for women who will stand up to the culture and reclaim motherhood as a high and holy calling.

I'm looking for you.

Connecting the Dots

Now it's your turn, my friend[ At the end of each chapter we'll have some thought-provoking questions for you to respond to and connect these thoughts to your life. You might consider keeping a journal to jot the answers to these questions and notes on how God is speaking to you about your own journey. Or use these questions as discussion starters as you go through this book with a group of momma friends.

1. How did you feel when you first learned you were going to have a child? Take a few moments to relive the memory.

2. Did those feelings change as you went through the pregnancy?

3. How did your views of motherhood change after you got that little bundle in your arms?

4. What do you feel are your strengths as a mom? Your weaknesses?

Chapter Two

What Makes a Mom?

Motherhood is under attack.

? About half of the public—46 percent in a 2009 Pew Research Center poll—say it makes no difference that a growing number of women don't ever have children.

? Only 9 percent of teenagers say that they definitely plan to become parents in their early adult years.

? Roughly eight in ten women say it's harder to be a mother today than it was thirty years ago.

You may not have realized that a war has been raging over the issue of motherhood, but I bet you've felt battle-weary. Is motherhood for you? Is parenting a worthwhile use of your life? Maybe you're a mom who is caught in the crossfire between your desire for purpose and the bombardment of negative messages about motherhood. Yes, you're a mom and you love your kids, but the endless stream of dirty diapers, discipline hurdles, and battles over bath time leave you feeling unsatisfied in your role. That dissatisfaction is magnified by the culture's message that having a career is the path to lasting fulfillment.

How are we supposed to feel about motherhood? And when it comes to defining what makes a mom, whose voices should we listen to?

To answer those questions we have to track how motherhood has been defined through the years. Revisiting history helps us trace the roots of our own struggle to define motherhood.

When we look at the big picture, the problem starts to come into focus. The bottom line is that our culture loves the idea of motherhood, but when the baby shower is over, the clear message is that putting your talents, time, energy, and passion toward mothering is a mistake.

OUR CULTURE LOVES the idea of motherhood, but when the baby shower is over, the clear message is that putting your talents, time, energy, and passion toward mothering is a mistake.

My friend Cindy put it this way: "Our culture has a split personality. We often put mothers on a pedestal during pregnancy, thinking, 'Oh, how sweet and precious' with visions of lullabies, coos, and baby firsts. But under the surface we feel sorry for the mom-to-be and think of the sleeplessness, dirty diapers, tantrums, and basic upheaval."

How did we get here? When did the idea that motherhood is a high and holy calling start to unravel? Pop in your favorite Beatles CD and let me take you back to the 1960s. Let's look at a little idea called feminism.

You may remember the feminist movement from your American history textbook. It's a campaign that conjures images of women rallying for equality while burning their bras in the name of change. Their mantra became, "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

Good stuff, right? As women we want equality, we want opportunities, we want our God-given value to be recognized.

But hidden in the message of feminism is a heap of lies about motherhood. While the headlining message of the movement makes sense, the subtle undertones about marriage, motherhood, and what it means to be a woman don't line up with the truth found in God's Word.

The tidal wave of feminism began when Betty Friedan started asking questions about the role of women. Friedan looked around and concluded that women were unsatisfied. After interviewing these unhappy women, she decided that in order to find happiness, women needed to have a serious career. She promised that meaningful work would fill a vacuum in women's hearts and that they would be fulfilled.

In her bestselling book, The Feminize Mystique, Friedan confronted the value of motherhood and dared to ask a question you may have asked yourself.

"The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, are peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even herself the silent question—'Is this all?"

Doesn't part of you want to scream, "Yes!"? Don't the mundane tasks of motherhood seem unfulfilling on the surface? Isn't there a corner in each of our hearts that secretly nags, "Is this all there is?"

Speaking Our Bitterness

The feminist revolution began as a grass-roots movement intentionally constructed to pounce on women's unfulfilled longings. Their methods may surprise you. What eventually became huge rallies of women screaming for equality started in living rooms, under the guise of raising awareness.

This technique can actually be traced to the revolutionary armies of Mao Tse-tung in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Mao's armies would host "speak bitterness meetings" where they allowed women and peasants to vent their frustrations at being downtrodden. The meetings caused bitterness to rise and anger to spread like wildfire. The downtrodden began to revolt. Thanks to the resulting chaos, Mao Tse-tung could take over villages with very little resistance.

The feminist movement used the same strategy. The leaders gathered small groups of women in living rooms and asked questions that provoked and revealed bitterness over the roles of wife and mother. The leaders took something very personal and made it political, promising to create the change that would lead to lasting contentment.

That may feel like a history lesson (don't worry; there won't be a quiz), but I bet you've held your own "speak bitterness" meetings on the subject of motherhood. I'd guess some days you've wondered if motherhood is a barrier to your happiness. Most of us have. But more than fifty years after the feminist revolution, it's clear that we can't find the answer to our dissatisfaction by writing off motherhood.

After all, where has feminism led us?

"Marriages have broken down. Families have broken down. Children are unparented," explains Mary Kassian, author of The Feminist Mistake. "And instead of seeing the value of nurturing the next generation and the value of pouring our lives out for others, women now believe unless they are being self-fulfilled and having their lives mean something out there, they will not find fulfillment and happiness."

Motherhood has taken a huge hit, but has the vacuum that Friedan noticed been filled as a result?

"I think, if anything there's more frustration ... because the dream promised fulfillment and satisfaction for women, but it hasn't delivered," Kassian notes.


Excerpted from Beyond Bath Time by ERIN DAVIS Copyright © 2012 by Erin Davis. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Welcome to the World, Mom! 9

Chapter 2 What Makes a Mom? 17

Chapter 3 Talking Lies over Coffee 29

Chapter 4 Choosing Childlessness 45

Chapter 5 The Lesson Eve Teaches about Legacy 61

Chapter 6 He Chose a Womb 75

Chapter 7 Blessing or Burden? 89

Chapter 8 Ministry v. Mundane 103

Chapter 9 No Mom Alone 113

Chapter 10 A New Breed of Hero 125

A Final Word: Mom to Mom 137

Mom Makeover 141

Notes 145


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"At the end of the day, how do you know you've been a good mom? Who's idea of motherhood are you trying to live up to -- yours, your friend's or God's? Can you be a fulfilled follower of Christ in your role as an everyday mama? Our friend Erin has taken on these questions and more in this insightful and captivating read. She has brought to light truths that will impact you and your family for life. Thank you Erin for challenging us even in the seemingly mundane, to capture a big vision picture of motherhood. Motherhood matters because it is the heart of God." -- Wes and Carrie Ward, just an everyday dad and mama, and Revive Our Hearts' senior director of media (him!) and author of Together: Growing Appetites for God (her!)

"Authentic. Warm. Inviting. Practical. Insightful. Penetrating. Biblical. Beyond Bath Time is all that and more. Erin is a fresh, clear voice with a timely message, developed in the laboratory of life, with God's Word in hand. She challenges women to reclaim motherhood as a high, holy, and purposeful calling -- a sacrificial vocation with eternal rewards!" -- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, author, host of Revive Our Hearts radio

"What we often encounter about motherhood seems to be a caricature of real life. Either i's the unattainable super-mom of the advertising industry or the unbelievabley inconvenienced cranky mom of sitcoms. Fortunately, Erin Davis gives us a real portrait. But more importantly, she doesn't stay grounded in the daily experience of our lives here. She points us to the etrnal purposes of motherhood -- purposes that all women share, whether or not we've actually given birth. read this book to be encouraged, strengthened, and committed to God's wisdom in the beauty of motherhood." -- Carolyn McCulley, author of Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World and Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred

"I love how Erin lays out the big picture for moms. She lifts the curtain to see beyond the piles of laundry and provides a peek into the sacred. Erin challenges you to live beyond the daily monotony that threatens to suck the joy from motherhood. Beyond Bath Time beautiflly portrays motherhood's sacred calling but doesn't sugarcoat the hard places. Erin speaks as a mom who doesn't have all the answers, but is learning how to mother with joy. She hands out good doeses of practical help and encouragement while inviting mothers to join her in the high and holy battle. " -- Kimberly Wagner, author of Fierce Women:  The Beauty of a Soft Warrior (September 2012)

"My family does not come before ministy. My family is my first ministry. Erin's book is a reminder to all moms that raising children well and with joy is ministry and the single best way to reach the next generation with God's truth." -- Josh McDowell, bestselling author and speaker

"In a 'childless by choice' world that measures a woman's worth by her contribution to the paid workforce, motherhood is all too often set aside or given second class status. But look comes Erin Davis! She's on a mission to show you that motherhood matters, and that being a mom might just be the most important thing you'll ever do. If you're a Gen-Xer, who's swallowed the pop culture Kool-Aid, you need to read this book -- and consider if the hand that rocks the cradle does, in fact, rule the world!" -- Mary Kassian, author of Girls Gone Wise


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Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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MissouriMom More than 1 year ago
Erin is careful not to gloss over the challenges of motherhood. But she inspires us to recognize the blessings and embrace the joys. A quick read that will encourage you, lift your spirit and brighten your days!