I see a request for a list of recommendations for books on womanhood and motherhood often enough to come up with a compilation in case the question comes up again. Why do I have a separate book list for motherhood when I already have one for parenting? Because women are distinct in design and in purpose.
Last updated on August 29, 2020
Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God
by Gloria Furman
Missional Motherhood (Crossway, 2016) will allow you to see that you are not “just a mom” but your purpose is part of God’s great plan of salvation, and it is great privilege to embark on this mission. Gloria Furman encourages the reader:
No woman made in God’s image, made for God’s mission, could be “just” a mom. Missional motherhood is a strategic ministry designed by God to call people to worship the One who is seated on the throne in heaven.
Instead of the usual fluff in motherhood books, Furman takes you through a journey throughout the Old Testament in the first part of the book. And before you put it down, know that this is important to understand the whole point of the book. And before you look away and think this book is not for you because you haven’t children of your own, think again:
Mothering (or nurturing) is a calling not just for women who have biological or adopted children. Mothering is a calling for all women. Every Christian woman is called to the spiritual motherhood of making disciples of all nations. Our nurturing is, by nature, missional.
Furman’s two other books, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms are also blessings to mothers who wish to be refreshed in the Gospel. Reading these during the early years of my motherhood have ordered my loves aright.
Idols of a Mother’s Heart
by Cristina Fox
Idols of a Mother’s Heart (Christian Focus Publications, 2018) shows us that all persons are worshippers, and that some aspects of motherhood exposes our idols. Cristina Fox writes:
It’s not as though motherhood makes us more of a sinner. Rather, areas of sin we didn’t realize we had are brought to the surface. Sinful habits and patterns are brought to light that may have once been in the shadows. The pressures, challenges, and difficulties of motherhood somehow make the sin we already have more pronounced. It’s like when the sunlight streams through the windows at just the right angle and shines upon the furniture. That light reveals all the dust layered on the tabletop. It was there before, we just didn’t notice it until the light shone down on it. In a similar way, specific areas of sin in our heart are brought out into the light in motherhood in ways they never had been before. We learn and realize new layers and depths of sin we didn’t notice were there.
She then challenges mothers to fix their gaze on Jesus, and worship Him.
But there’s good news in the midst of the bad. While motherhood shines a spotlight on our sin, it is not outside God’s perfect plan for us. In fact, these sins we notice, we notice them because the Spirit is at work in us revealing those sins to us. Our eyes are opened to see our chronic worry or desire for control or some hidden sin, maybe for the first time. These sins become opportunities for us to learn and grow and be changed into the likeness of Christ.
Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies
edited by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
I know what you’re thinking, it’s a book about teaching our kids how to defend their faith. But it’s exactly what mothers need to help them not just combat the lies that their kids feed on, but to shed some light on perhaps some of the lies that we ourselves have learned to embrace over the years
What if we could prime our children to think biblically before they are presented with the questions that challenge the faith? Thinking biblically isn’t merely about knowing Bible verses (though that’s a great place to start!). No, thinking biblically is about taking what we know from the Bible and understanding how the principles presented in it apply to everyday situations. That’s the kind of biblical thinkers we want our kids to become! Think of ideas as being like seeds. Whether or not a seed grows is determined by the kind of soil it is placed in (and whether or not we water it). We want to nurture our children’s intellectual soil so that when (not if!) bad ideas are planted there, they won’t grow.
Mama Bear Apologetics (Harvest House Publishers, 2019) is an accessible book not just for mamas, but everyone else who is involved in the lives of children should read it, too—dads, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, youth workers, pastors, etc.
The wisdom and practical guidelines on how to best speak to our children regarding different isms (Self-helpism, Naturalism, Emotionalism, Marxism, Feminism, etc.) makes it a good book to slowly study with a group of friends who are willing to face these issues head on for the sake of our children.
Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity
by Rebekah Merkle
Eve in Exile (Canon Press, 2016) by Rebekah Merkle is an intellgent and engaging book that I would highly recommend to women who find it challenging to navigate and dispel dangerous sirens who seek to lure them out of their God-given calling.
We are not living in the eighteenth century, bound by restrictive cultural norms which may or may not be scriptural. We are not stuck trying to tear down unbiblical cultural taboos which hindered many godly women in earlier centuries. We are not, for instance, in the position of being told that our feminine intellects are too fragile to handle the rigors of an education. We are not bumping up against a widespread notion that only the men are capable of critical thought or the ability to do difficult, meaningful work. Our cultural fight over femininity will actually be in the opposite direction—because we most certainly will be bumping up against our own cultural norms. Our fight is going to be with a culture that is antagonistic to the idea of trying to draw any lines of at all.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World
by Rosaria Butterfield
Women are to be keepers of the home, and hospitality is a wonderful gift that seeks to bless those who come in and out of our homes. The Gospel Comes with a House Key (Crossway, 2018) will challenge women to give of themselves and of their substance in order to see kingdom of God grow through sacrificial love wrought by hearts that are changed the Gospel.
God calls Christians to practice hospitality in order to build loving Christian communities, to build nightly table fellowship with fellow image bearers, to ease the pain of orphanhood, widowhood, and prison, to be qualified as elders in the church, and to be good and faithful stewards of what God has given to us in the person, work, example, obedience, and suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. This gospel call that renders strangers into neighbors into family of God is all pretty straight up when you read the Bible, especially the book of Acts. And it requires both hosts and guests. We must participate as both hosts and guests—not just one or the other—as giving and receiving are good and sacred and connect people and communities in important ways.
This is one of the most difficult books that I have read, not because of how it is written since Butterfield is a beautiful writer. The Gospel directives will call and move you out of your comfort zone in order to bring all sorts of people into your own messy life and help them see Christ in the midst of it all.
Let Me Be A Woman
by Elisabeth Elliot
Let Me Be A Woman was one of the books that I read when I was a teenager, and have read over and over again up to motherhood. These are notes written by Elisabeth Elliot for her daughter and they provide timeless wisdom and sound advise about womanhood, relationships, love, work, and marriage.
“It is a naive sort of feminism that insists that women prove their ability to do all the things that men do. This is a distortion and a travesty. Men have never sought to prove that they can do all the things women do. Why subject women to purely masculine criteria? Women can and ought to be judged by the criteria of femininity, for it is in their femininity that they participate in the human race. And femininity has its limitations. So has masculinity. That is what we’ve been talking about. To do this is not to do that. To be this is not to be that. To be a woman is not to be a man. To be married is not to be single – which may mean not to have a career. To marry this man is not to marry all the others. A choice is a limitation.
Elisabeth Elliot is unapologetic about being a woman, and it is amazing how the words of this book remain relevant today.