Someone recently asked: “What are Linda’s top 10 or 20 books on parenting and spiritual growth for moms? “ Great question! Problem: On this one, I have too many answers—way too many!
But let me give it a try anyway. I will limit myself if you promise to understand that this is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, it is somewhat random—a combination of all-time favorite “classics” on parenting and spiritual growth and recent good reads. They are coming to you in no particular order.
|How to Really Love Your Child By Ross Campbell, M.D. / David C. Cook A short, common-sense classic that is possibly my all-time favorite if you can read only one book on parenting.|
By Tim Kimmel / Thomas Nelson A grace-filled book that helps us see our kids through the eyes of grace with which God see us. It’s all grace, sisters!
By Sandra D. Wilson / Intervarsity Press In order to be good parents, we must first be whole, healthy women. Sounds a little like Mom to Mom, yes?
|Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls
By Gary L. Thomas / Zondervan I often think of parenting as the “ultimate spiritual discipline.” So I love Thomas’ subtitle: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls.
|The Five Love Languages of Children
By Gary Chapman, Ph.D. & Ross Campbell, M.D. / Moody Publishers Great help in “becoming a student of your child” and how he/she best receives love.
|Family Building: The Five Fundamentals of Effective Parenting
By John Rosemond / Andrew McMeel Publishing Good basic principles on common-sense parenting which establishes healthy boundaries on “who’s the parent here.”
|Temper Your Child's Tantrums
By James C. Dobson / Tyndale House
Not really just a book about tantrums, this is a short, helpful distillation of a few basic Dobson principles.
|Making Children Mind without Losing Yours, repackaged edition
By Dr. Kevin Leman / Baker Don’t you love the title? Typical Leman—funny (sometimes very funny) but very practical on “reality discipline” which helps consequences do the talking.
|Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons
By Meg Meeker / Ignatius Press Very realistic but encouraging reminders of the really big difference YOU (yes, mothers, too!) can make in your child’s life even amidst our cultural maelstrom.
|Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
By Meg Meeker / Ballantine Books Another great book by Meg Meeker.
|How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
By Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish / HarperCollins A secular book which was a great practical help to me in communicating with my kids—and my husband, extended family, and friends!
|Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
By Marc Weissbluth, M.D. / Ballantine Books And happy mother, I might add! I wish I’d had this one with my babies! An indispensible help to all my kids in parenting their newborns—and toddlers and beyond.
Two Favorites for Moms with Older Kids:
|Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait
By Ruth Bell Graham / Baker Books A wonderful triumph of a book which pours encouragement into the hearts of those still waiting . . .
|Parenting Is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt
By Leslie Leyland Fields / WaterBrook Press A realistic and biblically grounded perspective (except for the omission of my favorite Deuteronomy 6 passage on parenting!) on our role—and God’s—in raising our children. Their role, too. Good doses of reality, hope, truth and grace.
A Few Favorites That Have Nurtured My Soul (in addition to the Book)
|The Seeking Heart
By Francois de... Fenelon / Seedsowers An all-time favorite. I should re-read it once a year.
|The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things
By Leighton Ford / Inter-varsity Press I love this book—I re-read it as soon as I finished it the first time!
|The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
By Timothy Keller / Penguin Putnam Inc. A fresh look at a familiar parable. Read anything by Keller.
|Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers
By Eugene H. Peterson / Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. A fresh look at the language of Jesus in parables and prayers which will revitalize your language. Read anything by Peterson.
|The Life You've Always Wanted, Expanded Edition
By John Ortberg / Zondervan I really enjoy Ortberg's writing. This one is a very well-balanced book on spiritual disciplines.
|God Is Closer Than You Think
By John Ortberg / Zondervan Practical advice on how to experience the presence of God in the day-to-day routines of life.
Faith & Doubt By John Ortberg / Zondervan Another wonderful book by John Ortberg; in fact, I recommend anything he writes, really.
|Daily Light Devotional (NKJV), Bonded Leather, Burgundy
By Samuel Bagster, edited by Anne Graham Lotz / Countryman
|My Utmost for His Highest: An Updated Edition in Today's Language
By Oswald Chambers, James Reimann / Barbour Publishing
|Streams in the Desert
By L.B. Cowman, edited by Jim Reimann / Zondervan
|Reliving the Passion (for Lent) By Walter Wangerin Jr. / Zondervan|
|Preparing for Jesus (for Advent)
By Walter Wangerin, Jr. / Zondervan/HarperCollins Publishers
|The Message Remix Solo: An Uncommon Devotional
By Eugene H. Peterson / NAV Press
OK, I knew it. This is getting too long. And I haven’t even gotten to my “study mentors”—the sections on my bookshelves for Philip Yancey, Walter Wangerin, Frederick Buechner. I’m really just getting started.
You may be surprised that there are not more specifically “mom” books. Maybe another time . . . But one thing I found crucial to keeping my sanity as a mom was to continue to nurture and grow my whole self—my soul. These are just a few of the books that have helped me do that.