May 2021 Book of the Month


Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope and Love from Mother’s Past, Present and Future by Karen Whiting

Featured on the podcast, The Word With An Inquisitive Booknerd

Growing a Mother’s Heart by Karen Whiting

Genre: Christian devotional

Publisher: AMG Publishers

Release date: March 24, 2021

The complete title of author Karen Whiting’s most recent book is of considerable length: Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. Quite a mouthful, eh? But the book’s interior content is served up in digestible portions to include 30 weeks of devotionals, prayers, biblical stories, and other inspirational tidbits to support and honor mothers. Its formatting is designed in such a way that readers can open up the book at any time for a little “inspo snack.” Craving some comfort food for thought?

What a miracle to see life in my child and to watch this precious one grow. I never knew I could feel such delight and yet feel so tired. Please help me grow a mother’s heart and help me to love my child unconditionally. Help me to remember the early days and all the joys of motherhood. Help me face the challenges with faith.

Each week opens with a prayer that places focus firmly on a familiar aspect of motherhood, its ups as well as its downs—motherly courage, learning from failure, a strong support network, anxious days, unshakeable faith. Parenting tips and scripture verses are also sprinkled throughout.

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Devotional portions are relayed from a third-person perspective, reading like contemporary anecdotal shorts, with warmth, emotion, and sometimes humor. Readers will likely get a chuckle here and there from the “Wisdom from Future Moms” segments, which feature insightful quotes from tots: Mom prays and reads the Bible in the morning. She says that’s how she fills her tank to get through the day. Sometimes I think she needs to fill it again in the middle of the day.

Whiting also features essays about biblical moms—well-known women such as Mary, mother of Jesus, and Sarah, who longed for a child into her senior years. Also featured are some not-so-notorious maternal figures that might come off as mere “blips” in the Bible. For instance, Eunice and Lois, mother and grandmother to Timothy, are mentioned in only one line of scripture, but Whiting demonstrates that these mothers, too, have significance.

By far, my favorite parts in Growing a Mother’s Heart are the essays that feature historic moms. It’s somewhat disconcerting that so many of these women might not have garnered notoriety if not for their connections to famous men—Nancy Edison, mother to Thomas; John Madison’s wife, Dolley; Abigail, wife of John Quincy Adams; Billy Graham’s mother, Morrow. Whiting demonstrates that all of these mothers, along with the likes of Mother Theresa and Queen Victoria, are deserving of merit. And like with the biblical moms, she pays tribute also to many lesser-known moms in the women’s history files.

Perhaps even more scantily recognized in the archives of U.S. history are women of color, and even here in this comprehensive roundup of impactful women, only two African-Americans are lauded. They are, however, remarkable women indeed—courageous abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. And so, I’ll veer into tangent commentary here, since I’m riveted as of late by Tubman’s bravery after seeing the film Harriet, and I discuss this with author Karen Whiting in our podcast interview.

Recently, during a drive along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I stopped into the Dorchester County Visitor Center, which has spectacular views of the Choptank River, an important water route in Harriet’s escape from slavery. The center offers a free audio CD or app download for a self-guided tour of the Harriet Tubman Byway. Tubman’s story is told through a roundabout road trip through Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, with stops at key spots that helped forge the Underground Railroad.

I’m eager to learn more about Tubman, who was a superhero in my opinion. And I was ecstatic to read in recent weeks that archaeologists have discovered the location of the cabin where Tubman spent much of her childhood—on property that is now Maryland’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. I wonder, once the dust settles so to speak (the area is actually marshy and muddy), if this location will be added to the Harriet Tubman Byway itinerary. For now, the specific spot is not accessible to the public. But trails along the refuge are open, and I’ll be visiting…maybe on Mother’s Day.

—Kelly White, host, The Word with an Inquisitive Booknerd

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