Marriage and motherhood have deepened my understanding of Mary and her influence in my life and faith. During my first pregnancy, it hit me that Mary had been through what I was going through—she knew what it was like to carry a baby, to face stress and struggles in her pregnancies, to be unsure of what labour might be like. I found myself asking her to intercede for me, because she had been through this already and knew what to ask for better than I did.
So when I saw Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You, I grabbed it. Catherine Hickem, a licensed psychotherapist and mom of two, walks readers through Mary's life, one Bible verse at a time, showing how Mary's responses to God and to being a mom can inspire us in our everyday lives.
Sometimes it's easy to think that Mary lived so long ago, and was so obviously perfect because she was Jesus' mom, that she has nothing in common with me in my life today. Yet Catherine shows how Mary was simply a young woman who responded to God's call with great faith, and how she is truly a mother who has much to teach us about motherhood.
One of my favourite chapters was chapter seven: "Smart Women Know they Need Other Women: Mary knew she needed support." Catherine unpacks Mary's visit with Elizabeth, saying, "God was so good to share with us the significant connection between Mary and Elizabeth. It speaks volumes about the value He places on relationships and his understanding of a woman's need for other women. It especially speaks of His sensitivity to moms-to-be."
Over and over in my life, I've felt the need for close friends, but never so much as I have since becoming a mom. Only fellow moms understand the ups and downs of motherhood. And yet in this chapter, Catherine showed me that God also understands our need for fellowship—and He has put women around us to be the support we need, just as He brought Elizabeth and Mary together to support each other in their callings as moms to unique children.
Heaven in Her Arms gave me a deeper appreciation of Mary's faith and role in Jesus' life. It made me think more deeply about Scriptures, such as the Nativity story, that I've heard over and over again. Catherine shows a keen insight into Mary's life, and into the lives of mothers in general, through her study of Scripture, her own experience as a mother, and her many years of counseling. I recommend this book to any mom.
What examples encourage you as a mother? Or where do you turn when you have a difficult day as a mom? Leave a comment below for your chance to WIN a copy of Heaven in Her Arms. I'll choose one winner using random.org on Saturday (contest open to Canadians over 18).
This book was provided for review courtesy of Booksneeze; all opinions expressed are my own.