If I'm completely honest with you friends I would tell you that these past few months have been the hardest parenting moments for me as a mom. I have been stressed to the max, had feelings of inadequacy, worry about how much I'm screwing up my kids and deal with feeling overwhelmed at one point during the day each day. Going from two to three kids last October was super hard. It wasn't so much hard with discipline and stress levels, but just hard to learn how to balance as a family of 5 and to try promote bonding between all of us and the new 2 year old. Then in January going from 3 to 4 nearly put me in the looney bin. I felt like I had been run over by a train most days. We were all still learning life with our new 2 year old when Amos came home and shook things up. It was a time of complete joy for our journey to get both kids home had ended, but our new journey was a hard one and we both knew it.

I tell you all that to say that since January I have tried very hard to be honest with myself and with my friends. When strangers ask me how life is I usually just tell them it's good. They don't really want to know and I really don't want to share. 🙂 When my friends ask now they get it from me. I am more honest about parenting and about adoption and about real life issues. I have been honest on here as well. Although there are 100's of things that aren't shared on here, I've tried my best to be real and honest about our life now with four kids and 3 via adoption.

I recently was given a book to read and review by a friend of mine Jen Hatmaker. I was excited to do this, but a little apprehensive for a few reasons. #1 My reading has pretty much been non existent this year. I'm so bummed about this, but it's been something that I've had to let go with all the other challenges that we've faced. What if I failed the task and didn't read the free book I was given. #2 I was worried about thinking the book sucked and then not feeling like I could truly review it well since I know Jen. We're supposed to have a double date next month and I would hate to have ripped her book to pieces with how much I hated it and then had to share a wedge salad with her. Not fun. Could be a tad bit awkward.

spin cycle

Well I have some good news. #1 I actually read the book. #2 I really liked it & #3 I can be honest and still enjoy our dinner next month.  #4 So many of her topics went straight to my heart and dealt with the crazy things I've been dealing with these past few months.

The book is called OUT OF THE SPIN CYCLE and it is kinda a devotional more than a book I would say. There are 40 chapters that are each a few pages long. Easily something us mothers could read at night before bed or in the morning before we start our day. I read it more like a book and can honestly say that each chapter resonated with me in some way or another.  Each chapter addresses something that we as mothers struggle with.  There were many chapters where I felt as though Jen had been spying on my life these past few months and then wrote this directly to me.  Needless to say I was convicted, moved and encouraged lots throughout this book.

I read Jen's book INTERRUPTED last year and loved it. I feel as though we think about life in the same way. She loves people. She wants to give away her life to serve people for Jesus. She is trying not to get caught up in the things of this world. Her book reminded me a lot of Shane Claiborne's IRRESISTABLE REVOLUTION, and that book was life changing for me.

This newest book is something that I can keep on my book shelf and get out and read each year. It pushed me as a mother to a deeper level. Jen talked about “mom things” and tied them all back to scripture. Her writing is real. She is real. She is not your average pastor's wife and for that I'm grateful. She confesses the areas where she has failed and shares how Jesus has molded her into a new person. As moms we can hold on to lots of stuff that isn't ours and needs to be given over to Jesus. She encourages that we give it to Him in this book. She starts out in the first chapter with encouraging us moms to “let it go” and be real with each other. We try so often to put on that “perfect” face and act as though our kids are perfect, never fight, and we look tired b/c we've been up each night preparing family devotionals for the week.

I highly recommend this book to all you moms out there. It will encourage you as you parent. It will bring light to areas where you struggle. It will allow you to “let it go” and just trust Jesus and be the best mom you have been created to be. At the end of each chapter there are great questions to ponder on and even an action point that Jen suggests to help capture that lesson for the day.

Thanks to Donna at Baker Publishing Group for letting me review this book.

Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Jamie Ivey