We’re asking parents of Dundonald to write reviews of books that have challenged, informed and encouraged them in their parenting as Christians. Here Gen Johnston gives us a review of Rachel Jankovic’s book ‘Fit to Burst’.
‘Fit To Burst: Abundance Mayhem, & the Joys of Motherhood‘ by Rachel Jankovic
I picked this book up from the bookstall at Revive several years ago, I hadn’t heard of the author but given that it was on sale at our Church weekend away I hoped that the material would be biblical, practical and encouraging as I was still in the thick of mothering 3 girls at primary school.
As is often the case, I had every good intention of reading the book, but with the busy-ness of mothering the 3 girls, it lay on my shelf (along with several other purchases from Revive/Women’s days etc. etc.) unopened, unread…
Then, a friend who was struggling with contentment in her role as wife and mum asked if we could meet, read something helpful, and pray. I scanned my bookshelf for something that might help and flicking through the pages thought there would be encouragement for us both in the book…
We met for the next few months, reading a chapter or two (they were short!) each week, we would then discuss what we’d read and pray about it.
In God’s grace the author seemed to know exactly where we were each at – she’d been there too and she had something of God’s discipling and wisdom for marriages and parenting to share on topics ranging from maternal guilt at all the things we’re not doing/being for our kids, to mealtimes and food fussiness, through to the need to be disciplining children with grace. For instance, in the Chapter “Home Fires” she understood exactly the impact having young kids has on a marriage, she writes,
“You married this person you fell in love with, and now that a lot of other people have joined you for every moment of the day, it is easy to drift apart… there are a lot of reasons to be tired and just curl up in a ball on your side of the bed and go to sleep fast. And hard. …. Does this seem odd? Did God set us up in marriages with the expectation that our initial closeness would lead us to having children which would drive us apart… .It should seem odd, because that is certainly not the plan that God laid out for us.”
Each topic is unpacked with wisdom or instruction from the Bible and overall with an understanding of God’s grace to us in the Lord Jesus.
The author is aware that many will find what she writes possibly quite hard-core, maybe hard to hear – this isn’t a book of platitudes, of Instagram-type inspirational quotes – it’s so much better than that! It gives a vision of motherhood rich in dignity and value – in contrast to the feminist worldview which would perhaps suggest that women cannot expect to be satisfied or fulfilled in this role – let alone enjoy it.
She lays her cards on the table at the outset – she understands that a lot of what she writes about in the book is about giving of oneself, about sacrifice and she wants her readers to understand that this isn’t sorrowful, or empty, rather, the paradox is that the life of a mother who is a disciple will be a life of service of others (modelled on the Lord Jesus’ own life) and is, rather than being empty/ emptied out, over-flowing and fulfilling.
For more family-related media please head to dundonald.org/kids-youth, or please email us if you have any feedback or would like to get involved!