By JASON REYNOLDS
Tennessee Christian News
Attention struggling mothers: You can be a life-giver.
An author and former Nashville pastor has that message for stressed-out moms everywhere in a book titled “9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom: Replacing My Worst With God’s Best.”
Sue Detweiler, the author, writes from personal experience as she has six children (including two adopted). Detweiler is honest and transparent about her struggles as a mother in order to help those who are following in her maternal footsteps.
Detweiler received hands-on learning on how to be a mother. Both she and her first child (an infant) survived a house fire. Soon after, while staying at a neighbor’s house, Detweiler couldn’t cope with her baby’s constant crying. “I began to feel claustrophobic and trapped,” she writes. So she called her neighbor to watch the child while she escaped for a while.
“Unless you have been around a non-stop screaming infant, you don’t know how long and desperate mothers can become,” she said. “How isolated. This book is meant to help those mothers.”
Detweiler said that she felt like she was a great mother for a time, but over time did buy into the devil’s lies about her ability.
“I felt like the worst mom in the world,” she said. “We, as mothers, feel we fall short. I didn’t write this book to great moms. I wrote it to the struggling moms.”
Stress affects a woman’s ability to be a life-giver. “Every mom needs a safe place to talk about the real issues she is facing without feeling like she will be judged as a ‘bad mom,'” Detweiler writes.
Mothers can best help their children when they stay connected to Jesus, who is the life-giving source, she said.
“Traits” talks to mothers of children of all ages — whether they are your biological or your adopted kids. Detweiler said she has also heard positive feedback from fathers who said they book impacted them, especially in better understanding their wives.
Chapter 6 addresses some of the Detweiler family’s struggles with adopting her two sons (who were 12 and 8) from Brazil. The family sold its large house in the posh town of Brentwood to pay for the adoption. She came to realize that one adopted son would forever be challenged academically.
The American culture — including Christians — has the failing of condemning families if children do not perform a task (academics or sports, etc.) at a certain level. That puts unhealthy pressure on kids, she said.
“In my book, I try not to come across as an expert. What we need to do, as moms, is be supportive of one another and not condemn or judge.”
Indeed, Detweiler stays honest and transparent throughout her book, allowing the reader to walk alongside her through her triumphs and her mistakes. The book is not a step-by-step parenting guide but is instead “a look at the hearts of moms,” she said.
“Traits” provides plenty of practical help for mothers, including prayers, study guides, group discussion questions and reflections.
About the author: Sue Detweiler lived in Nashville for 28 years. She is originally from Indiana, but left Nashville to plant a church in Texas. In 1993, she started a syndicated radio program called “Harmony at Home.” More information is at www.SueDetweiler.com.