The Bookshelf

From the Bookshelf: 18 Books on Parenting



What kinds of books do you read, Lauren?”


We were sitting in the living room of a group of people from church and everyone was going around sharing the latest book they had read.  Books were being rattled off that I had never heard of but everyone else was not only familiar with them, but had either read them or knew enough to engage in a discussion.  I nodded and was intrigued by their conversation, but was secretly hoping that no one would ask me to divulge my reading habits.


Sure enough, someone turned to me, and asked me the dreaded question.  I sort of gulped back and shyly responded, “Um, I read a lot of Christian non-fiction.”




Clearly no one wanted to discuss Emily P. Freeman, Sara Hagerty or Ann Voskamp.


It surprised me a little bit how embarrassed I felt in that moment and I’ve thought about it a lot since then.  Should I read more fiction?  Do I need to keep up with what’s new and hot on the shelves at the library?  Is there something wrong with me?


I have decided, No.  There is in fact nothing wrong with my bent toward non-fiction.  So, rather than trying to change, I’m going to leave the fictional book recommendations to Sherri and Julie, and instead, I’m going to offer you my favorites.  I’ve heard from several people that they would like to branch out more into the world of non-fiction, so while I stretch my reading muscles and keep a novel going at all times this year (one of my 2017 reading goals), I invite you to do the same and enjoy my list of Christian non-fiction.  I think you might be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy it.


A friend texted me the other day and asked for a list of my favorite parenting books, so I grabbed all of our parenting books from the shelf, stacked them up and sent her a picture.


Thus, the first installment of a series:  From the Bookshelf.


If you end up purchasing a book using the affiliate links that I provided, I do receive a portion of the sale and it goes back into helping to keep this space going.  Thank you in advance.  



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Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp

Synopsis: Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child’s heart into the paths of life. Shepherding a Child’s Heart gives fresh biblical approaches to child rearing.







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Grace Based Parenting, Tim Kimmel

Synopsis:  Parents in our post-modern world tend to be committed to but anxious about their child-rearing responsibilities. They’ve tried the countless parenting books on the market, but many of these are strident, fear-based books that loving parents instinctively reject, while still searching for direction.

Now Dr. Tim Kimmel, founder of Family Matters ministries, offers a refreshing new look at parenting. Rejecting rigid rules and checklists that don’t work, Dr. Kimmel recommends a parenting style that mirrors God’s love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator for behavior. As we embrace the grace God offers, we begin to give it-creating a solid foundation for growing morally strong and spiritually motivated children.

Releasing in an affordable trade paper edition, this revolutionary book presents a whole new way to nurture a healthy family.




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Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, Ginger Hubbard

Synopsis: Do you find yourself threatening, repeating your instructions, or raising your voice in an attempt to get your children to obey? Are you discouraged because it seems you just can t reach the heart of your child? Through personal experience and the practical application of Scripture, Ginger Hubbard encourages and equips moms to reach past the outward behavior of their children and dive deeply into the issues of the heart. Ginger s candid approach will help moms move beyond the frustrations of not knowing how to handle issues of disobedience and into a confident, well-balanced approach to raising their children.





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Big Truths for Young Hearts, Bruce Ware

Synopsis:  Sure, it’s easy to teach your children the essentials of Christian theology when you’re a theology professor. But what about the rest of us?

With Big Truths for Young Hearts, Bruce Ware, (you guessed it!) a theology professor, encourages and enables parents of children 6-14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology at a level their children can understand. Parents can teach their children the great truths of the faith and shape their worldviews early, based on these truths.

The book covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children’s primary faith trainers-and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.



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Stepping Heavenward, Elisabeth Prentiss

Synopsis: First published in 1869, “Stepping Heavenward” is an account of a young girl’s day-to-day activities, interwoven with her quest to better her life. Watching her godly mother, with whom she becomes easily irritated at times, Kate learns about striving for excellence. The book portrays a no-nonsense approach to Christian living; still the romantic, artistic qualities of the author shine through without unctuous fluff. The book lacks not in laughter all the while inciting the reader to ponder deeper, eternal matters. The early writings of this nineteen-year-old part child, part woman, reveal an innocence coupled with an acute awareness of her human nature, that is, the selfish, sinful side of humanness, unchecked by the Almighty. The author doubtlessly reflects a typical 19th century young woman in certain ways. Yet one may see that small matters sometimes are pivotal. Indeed the continual, though not necessarily consistent, exercises in noble deeds and hard self-examination propel this young woman to attain a rare depth of character. Her brutal honesty and freckle-faced candor are truly refreshing, and her artfully penned expressions provide great reading – entertaining, spontaneous and articulate. Though written in diaried form, a theme surfaces here as in the hymn, “More Love to Thee, O Christ,” also written by the author of this book.




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Spiritual Parenting: an Awakening for Today’s Families, Michelle Anthony

Synopsis: It’s hard enough to train kids to behave, but good behavior isn’t what Jesus calls for in the Bible. He wants hearts and souls that are shaped in vibrant faith and love toward God and others. How can parents cultivate this in their children? In this book Dr. Michelle Anthony shares practical examples and biblical insight on the spiritual role of parenting.   Spiritual Parenting introduces the simple but revolutionary concept that parents are, by the power of God’s Spirit, to obey and depend on God in order to create an environment God can use to beckon their children to Him.




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Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, William P. Farley

Synopsis:  “How can I hope to be an effective parent today when attack on the family are stronger than ever before?”

The answer, says Farley, is the gospel.  

Parents who claim the gospel as their own have an enormous effect on their marriage, their integrity, and their love for their children. Keeping the gospel at the forefront of every aspect of marriage helps parents fear God, sensitizes them to sin, motivates them to enter their children’s world, and causes them to preach the beauty of the gospel to their children through their marriage.




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Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I never expected about being a Mom, Lisa-Jo Baker

Synopsis:  A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom.  And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect―it’s about being present.



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Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess, Stacey Thacker & Brooke McGlothin

Synopsis:   Do you ever feel like you’re fresh out of amazing? Daily pouring yourself out for your family, you’re tired, overwhelmed, and have nothing left to give. Hope for the Weary Mom is an honest look at where you find yourself living. In their new book, bloggers Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin (creators of the online communities Mothers of Daughters and The MOB Society) lead you to the God who meets you in your mess and show you that you don’t walk through life alone.






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Treasuring Christ When your Hands are Full, Gloria Furman

Synopsis:   Grocery shopping. Soccer practice. Dirty dishes.

Motherhood is tough, and it often feels like the to-do list just gets longer and longer every day—making it hard to experience true joy in God, our children, and the gospel.

In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman helps us reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches. Showing how to pursue a vibrant relationship with God—even when discouragement sets in and the laundry still needs to be washed—this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are.




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Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood: An Eleven-Week Devotional Bible Study, Melissa Kruger

Synopsis: Being a mom usually means being busy. Really busy. Whether you’re zipping from your children’s piano lessons to their next ballgame or nursing a baby while comforting a toddler, life is brimming with activities.  Yet one encounter can help shape every moment: time in the Word with Jesus. In Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood, you’ll learn how to nourish your own heart, mind, and soul with the wisdom you need to become the mother you long to be.
As you spend time with God through this eleven-week Bible study, you’ll gain life-shaping insights to help you…
·         Understand and pursue your purpose as a mother
·         Live out your true priorities
·         Entrust your child to God
·         Bear the fruit of the Spirit in your everyday interactions
·         Recover from Perfect Mom Syndrome (PMS)
Each week offers four days of study geared specifically to a mother’s concerns, with the Bible passages already printed out for your convenience. The fifth day is a warm-hearted devotional reading to help you reflect on and apply the truths you’ve learned.
As your relationship with God deepens through prayer and studying His Word, you’ll discover how His imprint on your heart can make a lasting impression on your children.



fountain of waterMom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope, Desiring God

Synopsis: Are you mom enough? The cover of a popular magazine asked this haunting question in bold red letters that hung over the startling image of a young mother nursing her four-year-old. When the issue hit newsstands, it re-ignited a longstanding mommy war in American culture. But it turns out this was the wrong question, pointing in the wrong direction. There is a higher and more essential question faced by mothers: Is he God enough? This short book with twenty-four short contributions from seven young mothers, explores the daily trials and worries of motherhood. In the trenches, they have learned how to treasure God and depend on his grace. The paradox of this book is the secret power of godly mothering. Becoming mom enough comes as a result of answering the burning question above with a firm no.




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Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, Rachel Jankovic

Synopsis:  Loving the Little Years is a bestselling book of thoughts for mothering young children. It’s written by a mom, for you moms — for when you are motivated, for when you are discouraged, for the times when discipline seems fruitless, and for when you are just plain old tired.

When you’re a mom, the opportunities for growth of character, maturity, and enjoyment abound — but you have to be willing. You have to open your heart to the tumble of mothering, even when you’re waist deep in the trenches of unfolded laundry and sick kids and no sleep. Here’s encouragement and advice from Loving the the Little Years: As you deal with your children, deal with yourself always and first. This is what it looks like, and feels like, to walk as a mother with God.




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Fit to Burst: Abundance Mayhem and the Joys of Motherhood, Rachel Jankovic

Synopsis:  Fit to Burst is a book of parenting “field notes” written by a mom in the thick of it all. It is chock-full of humorous examples and fresh advice covering issues familiar to moms, such as guilt cycles, temptations to be ungrateful or bitter, enjoying your kids, and learning how to honor Jesus by giving even in the mundane stuff. But this book also addresses less familiar topics, including the impact moms have on the relationships between dads and kids, the importance of knowing when to laugh at kid-sized sin, and more.

A thoughtful follow-up to Loving the Little Years, Rachel’s first book, Fit to Burst will help us to be moms who parent with the story in mind rather than the snapshot, who know how to give much and to require much from their children in the everyday mayhem, and who understand the importance of biscuits.






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Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God, Gloria Furman

Synopsis:  There’s no such thing as “just” a mom.

Despite the routine tasks and mundane to-do lists, motherhood is anything but insignificant. God has designed motherhood as part of his greater plan to draw people to himself—instilling all women, whether called to traditional mothering or not, with an eternal purpose in nurturing others.

In this book, Gloria Furman searches the Scriptures for the mission of God in motherhood. She opens our eyes to God’s life-giving promises—promises intended to empower each and every woman as she makes disciples in her home, in her neighborhood, and around the world.




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Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen Welch

Synopsis:  “But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children―don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet―it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to say the ultimate yes as a family by bringing up faith-filled kids who will love God, serve others, and grow into hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say―but mean!―“thank you” for everything they have.




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Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Paul David Tripp


In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.

In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.

Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.





Instructing a Child’s Heart, Tedd and Margy Tripp

Synopsis: From interaction with their peers to the instruction and correction that they receive at home, Children interpret their experience from a worldview that seeks to answer their fundamental questions: Who am I? What do I exist for? Where can I find joy? We need to provide our children with a consistent, persuasive, biblical framework for understanding the world God has made and their place in it. Instructing a Child’s Heart is essential to Shepherding a Child’s Heart. The instruction that you provide for them not only informs their mind; it is directed to persuading their hearts of the wisdom and truthfulness of God s ways. Impress truth on the hearts of your children, not to control or manage them, but to point them to the greatest joy and happiness that they can experience delighting in God and the goodness of his ways.



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1 Comment

  • Reply Joy

    Interesting post! I also read a lot of nonfiction! (For one thing it’s a little easier, in general, to put down! Kinda important when you have five kids, am I right??)

    Have you read any of Sally Clarkson’s books? I think hers are the ones that breathed the most life back into me as a mother. Also, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa Ross is definitely a favorite of mine!

    January 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm
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