Posted in book review, family, identity, marriage, parenting

ordinary mum, extraordinary mission – a review and a giveaway!

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The first official book of my 2015 reading list – i.e. the first one that I both began and finished in 2015 – Ordinary Mum, Extraordinary Mission (2013, Anna France-Williams and Joy French) has been sitting on my bedside table since a friend gave it to me last June. Before then it had been recommended to me by another friend. Why did it take so long to get into? Partly, I guess, because other books took over – book reviews, things I’d already started and so on.

But partly – and I’m ashamed to say it – I did wonder whether this book might just say things I already knew. Ever since I was pregnant with Mister, six years ago, I’ve viewed my days missionally – that is to say, I’ve known of the great blessings God has put in my path in terms of friendships, opportunities and ministries. I’ve wanted to follow His leading and allow myself to be used for whatever purposes He has in mind. I’ve seen friends come to faith for the first time, draw closer to God, step out in leadership and gain awareness of new giftings. I’ve led Alpha courses, Mums’ Bible study groups, outreach events and kids’ holiday clubs. I’ve shared my faith through conversations, meals, childcare and home-baked cakes. What could this book teach me?

Well, for a start, some modesty. Damn that sneaky old Devil, edging his way in to whatever good work the Lord is doing by making us believe that it’s down to us and our skills. It is not. To God be the glory. All the time.

And, for a second, this book could teach me a heck of a lot I’ve never considered before about how I’m raising my family to be missional, how I’m investing in my marriage so that it can be the basis of missional living, and how even my brokenness – both my sin, over which I have some amount of control, and the broken things in my life, over which I have no control – can be used by God for His missional purposes.

A bit more about the book…

This is an incredibly empowering, releasing book. It won’t guilt-trip you into thinking you should be running an orphanage in Bolivia or rescuing trafficked girls in the Phillippines. Of course there are plenty of exciting, front-line stories to be inspired by. But, for the most part, it’s about average, everyday mums, offering themselves and their families to God for His service. It is not threatening – but it is utterly challenging and thought-provoking. The two authors have a shared experience – both are mums, and both work with their families on deprived urban estates – but their differences make for a far richer read. One works in London, one in Sheffield. One has young kids, the other has older kids/teenagers. The variety of experiences of the authors and their friends contributes to an extremely well-rounded and helpful book.

What I most appreciated was… 

…the chapter on Marriage. And the one on Brokenness. And the one on killing off Supermum. And the one on encouraging your fellow mum friends. Actually, every chapter had something thought-provoking to say. In my opinion, the perfect cocktail for a Christian book is provocative Biblical insight mixed with down-to-earth practical tips – and this book had just that.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Ordinary Mum, Extraordinary Mission should be the handbook of all Christian mums everywhere. I hope it becomes a Christian classic over the coming years, because it’s that good.

You’ll enjoy this book if…

…you are expecting your first child, right through to if you’re a mum of teenagers. Once your kids have left home, I’d say it probably wouldn’t be quite as relevant – although there’s enough in here to make anyone stop and think, regardless of gender or child-bearing status.

And the giveaway…

You’ll remember I don’t give away something for nothing on this blog, so here’s the question (give me an answer in the Comments section to be in with a chance of winning the book): What quality do you most appreciate in one of your fellow mum (or dad) friends? Please don’t name them – that’ll just get awkward (but feel free to tell them the Nice Thing to their face). I’ll pick a name out of a concave object on Saturday 28th February, 7pm (read: Monday 2nd March, 10pm) and announce the winner on Facebook and places like that.

To kick off: one of my mummy-friends is so deliberate and thoughtful about her faith. She doesn’t just take things as read, or as applied by someone else, but grapples with what the issue means for her and her family. I love this about her!

This competition is now closed. Well done to Lucy!

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Author:

I'm a stay-at-home mum to four kids between 1 and 6, and was formerly a teacher. I blog about living life as a disciple of Christ whilst coping with the demands and excitements of having small children. I've been battling an addiction with chocolate for many years. I'm generally winning, but my teeth are not.

8 thoughts on “ordinary mum, extraordinary mission – a review and a giveaway!

  1. Regardless of whether my response is picked or not i’m going to get hold of a copy of this as it sounds great! Thanks for your interesting reviews that you are writing Lucy. I’m impressed by your commitment to your projects of cooking, reading and the like. Anyway, back to responding to your question: I have a mum friend who inspires me with her gentleness, patience and willingness to share life and stuff with me and others. And she does all this while having Type 1 Diabetes and other serious health conditions which she hardly ever complains about despite having every right to! Also, I have another mum friend who has become my hospitality, culinary, determination with projects, creative inspiration…we are not mentioning names right?!!

  2. Patience! I used to think that I was a fairly patient person. Now, with three littlies, I really don’t think that I am. (Says she in the middle of the night with a toddler calling out for the hundredth time……………!)xxx

  3. Sounds a great book, would love to read it. I have a mum friend who is so honest and open about her trials and tribulations around parenting young children whilst trying to bring them up as God would want, that she makes me feel I’m not alone and can talk to her about my struggles.

  4. Hooray, this sounds like a good ‘un! One of my mummy friends regularly subverts the fairly individualistic parenting culture that she happens to live in by pouring herself out for other mummies. As well as caring for her own family, she’s actively caring for other families too. It’s a super-meaningful expression of the One who first loved her!

  5. Great review thanks! I have two more experienced mum friends who make up my prayer triplet and who are just very good at helping me ditch the drive to be perfect mum and instead just try to keep walking with Jesus. It’s very refreshing!

  6. As someone who doesn’t have children (book would be for an expecting mumma!) I have appreciated learning through observing our mum and dad friends. I appreciate that they are real and consistent in front of us, they don’t let a ‘super Christian parent’ front distract them. They seem to have bundles of patience! They also involve their children in their Christian lives from when they are born – people over, church, money (not in a scary way). Thank you to mum and dads.

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