Co-authors Suzanne Hadley Gosselin and Gretta Kennedy believe that being a mom is one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have—but that motherhood also has its share of challenges, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. In other words, motherhood is a “divine detour.” Together, Suzanne and Gretta are the co-authors of the new book Grit & Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms.
Suzanne is a writer and editor for Focus on the Family and David C. Cook. She has written books for Zondervan, Harvest House, and Tyndale. She lives in Bakersfield, California with her husband, Kevin, and their four children.
Gretta is a speaker, mentor, and writer with a degree in women’s ministry from Multnomah University and over twenty years of ministry experience. Her husband, Jay, is a fulltime camp ministry. Together, they are raising their three children on Vancouver Island.
How did the two of you team up to write Grit & Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms (Harvest House, February 2019)?
Suzanne: I was in the throes of raising three young children who were 5, 3 and 18-months old, and it occurred to me one day that I was depleted in every way, but especially spiritually. I found that ironic, since my husband is a pastor and I’m a Christian writer. I had many spiritual resources easily accessible to me, and yet I was still struggling. I also realized that it wasn’t good because in this season of raising young children I really needed Jesus, arguably more than ever.
Around that same time, I had a conversation with my three-year-old daughter about how I could no longer fit into my “fanciest dress” (my wedding dress) because I had gotten bigger when I had babies. Her reaction floored me. Her eyes sparkled and she said, “Was I one of the babies in your tummy that made you get bigger?” My daughter could see the beauty in something that I had allowed to make me feel like a failure. I realized, then, that God uses these years to teach mamas so many wonderful truths through their children.
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Meanwhile, God was laying it on Gretta’s heart to encourage moms of young children. Gretta studied women’s ministry at Multnomah where we met and were college roommates and had a knack for connecting with women and meeting them where they’re at. We were talking on the phone one day and realized that God had given us the exact same vision to provide digestible devotions for moms of young children to encourage and strengthen them in their role as mothers. That’s when the idea of Grit & Grace was born.
Please tell us more about the book.
Suzanne: Grit & Grace is a 90-Day devotional, and our concept was to provide quick-read nuggets of truth for busy mamas. These devos should take no longer than five minutes to get through, and the Scripture passage is included so you don’t even have to go find your Bible. The idea is that these can be read in the tiny spaces in a mama’s day—while the kids are napping or she’s nursing the baby. Each daily devotion includes a true story of motherhood and delves into a spiritual truth that was learned through the experience. Each devotion also includes a prayer to allow busy moms to respond (to) the devotion in the moment.
Gretta, you write about losing your identity when you became a mom.
I had quite the cool job before I became a mom, and I loved what I did. A young newlywed and capable and trusted in an outdoor adventure-based ministry, I found great fulfillment in my marriage and career. When our daughter was born, my life was consumed with her. Being a good mom and knowing my daughter’s every need became my top priority, and I genuinely loved it. But around the six-month mark, it dawned on me that every conversation I had with others always revolved around mom life. It no longer mattered what I did prior to becoming a mother, and no one really cared anymore about my relationship with my husband. It was all about my daughter. I had become just a mom.
I really struggled with that because I felt there was so much more to me, but none of that mattered anymore. “Mom” was it for me from here on out. Then God reminded me very clearly that titles are not my true identity. My identity needs to be found in Him alone because that will never change. So truths like “daughter of the King” and “chosen” and “forgiven” became the identities I tried to focus on. This is so important for moms to remember. The little children years are so demanding that we can forget how God sees us. We are so much more than moms. We are redeemed! We are gifted! We are loved! If we can keep our identity centered as God sees us, then as we go through changes in life, our foundation won’t be shaken and we will be more free to live as God truly intended.
What are some of the topics covered in the book?
Gretta: We talk about perfectionism, comparison, joy, gratefulness, fear, rejection, weariness, calling, tenacity (grit) and hope (grace). Our subtitle is Devotions for Warrior Moms, and that is how we view mamas. They are on the front lines guiding their children to God’s truth and aiming them at the target—Jesus. Grit & Grace talks about the gamut of emotions mothers of young children face, both good and bad.
If a mom takes away only one thing from reading Grit & Grace, what do you hope that is?
Suzanne: We hope they will feel encouraged and empowered that God has chosen them for their specific children. They are called to this. There are so many sweet moments that come along with the difficult ones. As one pre-reader said, “Grit & Grace is helping me treasure hunt for grace in the challenging moments of motherhood and remember to savor the sweet moments I want to be etched deep into my heart forever.” Yes. That.
Thanks, ladies! It’s nice to have you as guests at Divine Detour.
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