Book Review: Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role by Erin Davis

Note: This review originally appeared on my old blog, leahatha.com and was published on June 17, 2012 complete with an extra copy that I gave away courtesy of the publisher!

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Image courtesy of the publisher

“Motherhood is like running a marathon uphill in your church shoes (because your toddler took your sneakers in a game of hide-and-seek)” (89).  Regardless of your denomination*, all mothers can agree that “motherhood is tough” (89).  This statement is repeated throughout Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role.  In ten brief chapters, Mrs. Davis encourages readers to base their view of motherhood on God’s word and to shift their focus to the eternal-Christ’s kingdom.  Many of us have bought into the lie that “children are a burden” (49) but the bible is clear that they are a reward (PS. 127:3, NKJV) and a blessing (Ps. 128) from God.

Beyond Bath Time ends with an invitation to readers to connect with other moms online and to sign up for a thirty day mom makeover email** list (day one is provided in the book).  Mrs. Davis also challenges readers to consider leading a group for moms in their home or church as a way to encourage other mothers and fulfill the Great Commission.  Although this book skims the surface of what the bible teaches on motherhood and Christian living; this does not mean that “mature Christians” or those with differing theological views won’t benefit from reading this book.  One of the points that stood out to me was that Eve’s “sin was not the sum of her legacy” (64).

Beyond Bath Time’s introductory nature makes it a great pick for a group setting or a one-on-one mentoring relationship.  The material in the book can be expanded with additional content in the hands of a teacher or mentor.   Those who wish to use this book as a study for moms and other women in the church should be aware that those who are struggle with infertility issues may experience difficulty with sentences like, “A wife who bears children is a blessing” (94).  While I realize this book is intended for a broad range of moms, including those who are single parenting, fathers are only briefly mentioned.  My primary concern is that the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is not emphasized as much as it could have been, or perhaps is not as explicit.  It would be my hope that if this book were ever revised that the gospel and work of the Holy Spirit would be at the forefront of the thirty day mom makeover and/or emphasized in the conclusion. However, I do believe that these issues could be addressed in a group setting or mentoring relationship with additional study or resources.

So, in light of this, would I recommend this book? Yes. It is good for personal study but, I suspect, that it would really shine in a group or mentoring relationship setting.  Although I differ a bit from Mrs. Davis in terms of theological doctrine*, I do not differ from her in my zeal for the gospel-for myself, my son and the world.

*In matters of doctrine, I’m writing from a Reformed (PCA) perspective. However, I do not believe that this prevents me from reading or reviewing books written from other theological viewpoints.  Writing a book review is not the same as casting out demons, but I apply Luke 9:49-50 (ESV) to the process in order to maintain perspective.

**I’ve received ten of the mom makeover emails. I find them encouraging and so far they seem to be taking a baby step approach to building a better devotional life.

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and balanced review from Moody Publishers and BeyondBathTime.

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