A Growing Mom's Reading List

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This reprint of a popular article exhorts mothers, as we seek to disciple and train our children, to take time for our own spiritual growth.  We begin this process with the Truth, the Holy Bible, by spending daily time in God’s Word.  In addition to other spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and corporate worship, we have available to us a plethora of valuable tomes to instruct and encourage us. 

This short article is followed by a brief reading list of books that have had a lasting impact on my spiritual growth and parenting.


Our kids, as well as others, are drawn to a faith that is fresh and alive. In the midst of home schooling, laundry, diapers, housekeeping, ministry, etc., sometimes what we choose to omit from our schedules is regular, daily time with our Lord, to study and meditate on His word, and to pray. As my pastor often reminds his congregation, “We are leaky buckets,” needing to be filled and refilled on a daily basis. And without that daily filling, our faith becomes dry and stale. But how do I fit that in when I’m up half the night with a colicky baby or sick child? I remember a “mom in the Lord” telling me when I asked her that question that sometimes prayer and Bible time are even more important than sleep!

The Example of Susanna Wesley

When I ruminate upon how busy I think I am, I am reminded of Susanna Wesley. A wife at age 19 and the mother of John and Charles Wesley, Susanna gave birth to nineteen children in about as many years. It is said that she devoted her first hour upon waking to Bible study, prayer and hymn singing. She inspired, discipled, mentored and instructed her children, who knew that when she was sitting with an apron over her head, it meant she was praying and they’d better not bother her. In addition to raising her ten children who lived to adulthood, she dealt with an often absent husband, constant financial burdens, having her house burn down twice, and two sets of twins! Wow. I guess most of us can sandwich in a little time for Bible study!
Although with certainty, study of God’s word has to come first, there have been many other books that have proven to be helpful, encouraging, and often convicting, as well. (See some of my favorites below.)

We all know it is a lot of work to homeschool, run a household, serve at church and sometimes even work inside/outside the home. But we must take the time, on a daily basis, to renew our faith and grow as believers. As my daughter says, we always think that if we worked a little bit smarter, harder or faster, we would have more time for our personal study, but it really is a matter of making it the first priority. If Susanna Wesley could talk with us today, I’m sure she would agree!


The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity by Sally Clarkson

Sally Clarkson is always practical, uplifting and serves as an inspiration to me anytime I read or hear her.  Many parenting books focus on discipline, but this one simply teaches us how to draw our children near by providing creative ways to show we love them.

Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore

I love Beth Moore’s books and studies! This  is a life changer, as is her study of the same name. For anyone who struggles with pride, unbelief, temptation,  addiction, or depression, this book teaches us how to receive healing, once and for all.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

If we have the hearts of our children, we can be the mentors and coaches we are designed to be! This book will show you how to be on the same side as your children, rather than an opponent, and will teach you how to capture what is really important – your child’s heart.
The Practice of the Presence of God — by Brother Lawrence

Written by a Carmelite lay-brother over 300 years ago who took the name of Brother Lawrence, this inspiring book touched me because the author was such a quintessential example of a humble, joyful servant.  These comments are from the publisher: As a humble cook, Brother Lawrence learned an important lesson through each daily chore:  The time he spent in communion with the Lord should  be the same, whether he was bustling around in the kitchen, with several people asking questions at the same time–or on his knees in prayer.  He learned to cultivate the deep presence of God so thoroughly in his own heart that he was able to joyfully exclaim, “I am now dong what I will do for all eternity.  I am blessing God, praising Him, adoring Him, and loving Him with my whole heart.”

Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival— by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

This is an excellent 12 week study about personal and corporate revival, designed to be used in small group study.  From Amazon: Get ready to experience the freedom and joy of an honest and humble heart, true repentance, God’s amazing grace, genuine holiness, a clear conscience, radical forgiveness, sexual purity, and walking in the Spirit. Each week includes five days of individual study, questions for group discussion and interaction, testimonies of changed lives, and ‘Making it Personal’ questions and exercises.

Brokenness: The Heart God Revives (Revive Our Hearts)— by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

This is another VERY REVEALING  study, appropriate for a small group.  I liken this study to peeling an onion, slowly, layer by layer. (Warning: You are the onion!)  This is the first of a series of three called “Revive our Hearts.”  From Amazon:  Every great movement of God is preceded by a season of humility and repentance and a time of tearing down walls, of getting honest with God and others about your true spiritual condition….God will use your brokenness to restore your ‘first love’ for Jesus, rekindle your spiritual fire, reconcile your relationships, and repair your life.  An excellent book!

The Gospel for Real Life (with Study Guide)— by Jerry Bridges

Some time ago I worked through this insightful ‘primer’ of the reformed faith  with a dear friend.  Jerry Bridges does an excellent job of clearly explaining our foundational beliefs in understandable language.  This is suitable to use with your high school student – I wish I had found it earlier! If we fully understand what Christ did for us on the cross, we are truly empowered to live  in His grace.


What books have been life-changers for you? I would love to hear in the comments about your favorites!


Christian literature based homeschool curriclum


7 thoughts on “A Growing Mom's Reading List

  1. Thank you for commenting, Aliece! 🙂 I love that verse and reminder about Mary and Martha – and that reminds me of another book/study that gave me much to chew on as I considered my priorities – Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life, by Joanna Weaver.

    See you at dinner. lol

  2. Becky and Dorita (hi, Dorita!) – thank you for your additional suggestions! They all sound so good. Don’t you wish you could just read all the time?!

  3. Well I am not a mother but I still appreciate the reminder of the priority of time with Him above other deceptively important things constantly screaming for our attention. Your words reminded me of Luke 10:41-42, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
    Thank you for the book suggestions!!
    “Hinds Feet in High Places” by Hannah Hurnard has been extremely encouraging in my walk with Him!

  4. Thank you for the book suggestions, Sally! I have not read the Burroughs book, although I enjoyed Stepping Heavenward many years ago. I agree that we have to make careful choices!

    As soon as I posted today I thought of a few more I should have added – A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, for example…Valley of Vision… I have read many, but always have quite a pile to read!

  5. Dana,
    Thanks for this list. I have read several of the books on the list and look forward to reading the others. I have recently read Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. It is a wonderful book about learning contentment and joy in the midst of life’s trials.

  6. A new book,Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, along with a host of others. Most recently, The Authority of the Believer by John A. MacMillan and Shadowboxing by Dr. Henry Malone. Too many others to list.

  7. Two books that I’ve found very encouraging & challenging are “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs and “Stepping Heavenward” by Elizabeth Prentiss. Both of these books encourage a right attitude toward our daily lives and the challenges of walking in submission to our earthly authorities as well as our Heavenly Father. As Christian moms we need to be so careful to be steeped in God’s Word and to be sure that ALL that we read is honoring to Him.

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