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October 13, 2005

Grace for the Race If you’ve ever had a baby, you’re all-too-familiar with what is often referred to as “The Baby Blues.” In Dena Dyer’s book, Grace for the Race, she gives moms the encouragement we need to keep on going, despite the ups and downs of motherhood.

Dena, who is also a blogger at Amazing Graceland, admits that after you have a baby, you may experience some weird emotions — and they can lead to depression. Even though you’ve just brought this new person into the world, you may start to feel like maybe that’s not good enough. You’re tired, so you can’t keep up the housework and laundry like you used to. It’s hard to get to the grocery store, so you learn to think tomato soup tastes pretty good for supper. You’re happy being a mom! So, why in the world are you crying?

Dena writes, “When we brought our firstborn home from the hospital, I felt happy – and scared out of my mind. I was still swollen with fluids, sore from a fresh incision…and hormonal. Like many newborns, Jordan slept during the day and cried all night…I was low on sleep and high on anxiety.” She describes her powerful emotions in candid detail and how she dealt with them. All I can say is God bless her for having the nerve to write about it. Thank you, Dena.

As for me, I now have a six-month-old baby girl, and I can’t understand at all why I’m feeling a little depressed at times. I have so much to be thankful for. But the feelings descend, weighing me down. Making me feel inadequate, like a loser. My tears come easily. At least when I write, I channel my negative emotions toward something positive. Maybe God can use my feelings to help encourage someone else. What a relief to read this in Grace for the Race:

One of my passions is to help women see that we’re in this race together. Let’s not judge one another for the decisions we make about working or staying at home, nursing or bottle-feeding, cleaning or hiring help, homeschooling versus public schooling. Instead, I pray that we moms will give ourselves, and each other, grace – grace that Anne Lamott describes as “the force that infuses our lives and keeps letting us off the hook…It’s the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you.

So, if you’re a mom and you’ve ever felt like your most charming charm has failed you, then you’ll love Grace for the Race.

The book is divided into nine sections that relate to the various stages and emotions of motherhood: training well, warming up and stretching out, the first lap, using proper equipment, hopping over the hurdles, handing it off, in the final stretch, crossing the finish line, and on the podium.

Each chapter is short, a few pages of hilarious stories from Dena’s personal life. And she is such a great storyteller — I can totally relate to everything she’s describing. At the end of each section, she offers “Notes from the Coach,” which are easy-to-read scriptures from modern versions of the Bible that speak right to the heart.

I’m going to get some copies of this book to have on hand for baby shower gifts and for mom friends who I want to encourage. It’s so wonderful to read something where you feel loved and accepted for who you are, yet also challenged to be the best you can be for God. The author says:

If you’re like me, you probably feel ‘stuck’ sometimes. Every day, I look toward the top of Mt. Laundry, having just tackled Mt. Dishes. Taking a deep breath, I start the climb…When I feel overwhelmed in the midst of the endurance test called parenthood, it helps me to remember that I’m not alone — other climbers have gone before me.

Reading this book is like pausing a minute to sip a cool refreshing drink, then gearing back up for the climb, knowing that you’re never in this parenting gig alone.

P.S. I received this book from Mind & Media as a gift from the publisher.

By: Heather Ivester in: Book Reviews | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)



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