The Beauty of Motherhood

Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis

Mar/2023, 208 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640656000

$18.95

$18.95

Moving devotions for mothers, inspired by common milestones for young children.

Moms, get ready to reclaim your grace with this tender collection of stories, vibrantly recounted by two women working to embrace God’s presence during their own parenting journeys. Each narrative reflection opens with scripture and concludes with a practice or questions to ponder, followed by a prayer. Spanning infancy to early childhood, The Beauty of Motherhood encourages mothers and caregivers to take a deep breath and find the holy in those everyday moments that inspire laughter, frustration, and awe.

Together, the authors explore an unflinching spectrum of parenting experiences, including growing pains, pregnancy, birth, weaning, body image, exhaustion, delight, comparison, vocation, friendship, and more. Readers will feel empowered to recall memories of God’s grace in their own journeys and be inspired to claim and share their own truths.

Busy parents will appreciate the short, engaging reflections that can be picked up and read between feedings, or use them to conjure up a brief oasis after a hectic day. A wonderful gift for baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, and Mother’s Day, The Beauty of Motherhood offers a warm and knowing embrace to mothers everywhere.

KIMBERLY KNOWLE-ZELLER is a writer, pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and mother of two. She writes on the intersection of faith and parenting, searching for holiness in the ordinary. Her widely acclaimed stories on faith and motherhood have appeared in The Christian Century, Living Lutheran, Episcopal Cafe, Coffee + Crumbs, and more. She lives in Cole Camp, Missouri.

ERIN STRYBIS is a writer, editor, and wife and mom of two. She has spent over six years as an editor of Living Lutheran, the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where she has edited and written dozens of faith stories and reflections. Erin’s freelance writing about motherhood and parenting has appeared in The Washington Post, Coffee + Crumbs, Mother.ly, Romper, Bold Café, Gather magazine, The Everymom, and Sparkhouse. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

“You will not meet more tender guides for your mothering journey than Kim Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis. A beautiful blend of story, application, and prayer, The Beauty of Motherhood is a master class in experiencing God in the everyday moments of motherhood. These pages are soaked in love, glimmering with grace, and will surely be a gift to mothers everywhere.”
—Ashlee Gadd, Founder of Coffee + Crumbs and author of The Magic of Motherhood and Create Anyway: The Joy of Pursuing Creativity in the Margins of Motherhood 

“These poignant and prayerful meditations will bring you back to yourself – and the love God has for you and your children. The spiritual reflections and soulful prayers in this book affirm what many of us know to be true: On our wonderful, messy mothering journeys, we experience God in new ways. I’m grateful for the depth Erin Strybis and Kim Knowle-Zeller bring to these chapters, which are short enough for us to receive even in our most depleted moments. May their words care for your soul as you care for your family.”
—Kayla Craig, creator of Liturgies for Parents and author of Every Season Sacred and To Light Their Way 

“Erin Strybis and Kim Knowle-Zeller share their deep intimate reflections of motherhood with profound tenderness. While reading, I found myself thinking of my own children while also imagining my mother as a young woman, cradling me in her arms decades ago. Certainly, no single devotional can address every aspect of motherhood. Yet, Knowle-Zeller and Strybis provide a poignant, compassionate, devotional for young moms that is inspirational and honest.”
—The Rev. Angela T. !Khabeb, ELCA Pastor, Living Lutheran columnist, Public Theologian, and Good Morning America guest contributor

“Where was this book when my children were young? In an easy-to-read, invitational style, the authors of The Beauty of Motherhood share a myriad of true-life stories that cover the messy, the mundane, and the marvelous moments of being a mom. Readable, relatable, and real, the stories are woven together with prayers, scripture, ponderings, and practices that combine to make this book an inspiring, perfect gift for any mom. Simply lovely.”
—Glenys Nellist, author of God Made Mommy Special and The Wonder That is You

“With honesty and wit, [the authors] offer mothers stories that will encourage, restore, inspire, and convict. They turn doubt and worry into faith and hope, sadness and frustration into gratitude and joy. Kim Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis look to and write about parenting challenges with a faith and a love that will fill mothers’ souls so that they in turn may attend to the souls of those they’ve been called to mother.”
Callie R. Feyen, author of The Teacher Diaries and Twirl

“When a new baby is born, a new mother is also born, whether it is her first child or her seventh. With gentle yet incisive wisdom, Erin Strybis and Kim Knowle-Zeller invite mothers into the beautiful, personal story that God is writing through their parenting journeys, ‘one that requires imagination, revision, and plenty of faith.’ This devotional is savory nourishment for the postpartum soul, beautifully accompanying the fresh fears, anxieties, frustrations, and tender epiphanies of those early years. I will be buying a copy of this timely book for all of the new moms in my life.”
—Kelsi Folsom, poet, speaker, and author of Breaking the Jar

“Kim Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis are two women whose words come from hearts that are so for you and your mothering story. Reading these devotions felt like being handed a soft blanket and offered a place on their family room couch to rest. I’m thankful for their stories, their compassion, and their gentle invitation to truly experience God’s love as you do the holy work of parenting.”
—Katie Blackburn, contributing writer at Coffee + Crumbs and author of Gluing the Cracks: Reflections on Motherhood, Disability, and Hope

“Tender and true, The Beauty of Motherhood is a balm to mothers. Whatever moment you find yourself in on the sacred journey of motherhood, this book will leave you feeling seen, heard, and loved. Kim Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis kindly accompany us — the mamas — at 3am, at the door of the daycare center, in the quiet of snuggles, in the center of unencumbered laughter, and in the middle of a tantrum (ours and our children’s), as we build a life of love. With Bible verses, stories, practices, ponderings, and prayers, this generous and thoughtful book allows us to soften, take a breath, and rest in God’s abundant grace. Motherhood is a remembering, a coming back home to our Creator’s love for us all.”
Ellie Roscher, author of The Embodied Path and co-author of 12 Tiny Things

"The Beauty of Motherhood brings a much-needed depth, authenticity, and intimacy to the genre of devotionals for women."—Englewood Review of Books

"Boy I wish I had this book when I was in the early years of parenting! I’m so glad it exists now. Kim Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis are great storytellers who have created well-rounded devotions that combine sweet moments with practical ideas and prayers. I know what I’m bringing to the baby showers in my future!"
—Melanie Dale, author of Calm the H*ck Down: How to Let Go and Lighten Up about Parenting 

“Finding the right devotional is like searching for a good, sturdy pair of shoes: you want it to hold up well as you journey through the mountains, valleys, and storms of life. This devotional is just that. Currently pregnant with my first child, I wholeheartedly trust Kim Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis’ words to faithfully carry and guide me as I enter the adventure of motherhood. Becoming like those shoes that are well-worn through the ages, this book will live on my nightstand for years to come.”
—The Rev. Kelsey Beebe, founder of Dancing Pastor Ministries and host of the Lady Preacher Podcast

“Being a mom is often incredibly hard, so I'm grateful for Erin Strybis and Kim Knowle-Zeller’s words and stories and reflections that give a space for softness and gentle reminders that we are not alone in this calling of motherhood. Whether you are looking to weave your faith more deeply into parenting or need to borrow new practices and meaningful prayers, these pages will nourish you.”
—Jenny Booth Potter, author of Doing Nothing Is No Longer an Option: One Woman's Journey into Everyday Antiracism 

“Like gentle, wise friends who know when you need an encouraging word—and dinner dropped off on your doorstep—Kimberly Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis offer mothers a lifeline with The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. Drawing from their years of mothering babies, toddlers, and big kids, The Beauty of Motherhood brims with honest stories, peaceful prayers, and simple practices to nurture your faith in the joyful chaos of parenting. For every mother who’s ever pleaded with God at 3:00 a.m. or wondered ‘Am I the only one?’ Strybis and Knowle-Zeller are here to remind us that we are never alone and God is always with us.”
—Laura Kelly Fanucci, founder of Mothering Spirit and author of Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting

Introduction

A Blessing for Beginning

INFANCY

Letters to our Children: Writing our Stories

Joy in a New Creation: First Doctor’s Appointment

Becoming a Mother : Seasons of Beginnings

Permission to Be New: New Motherhood

The Power of Names: Naming our Children

Swaddling Fear and Wonder: Managing Anxiety

My Alleluia Song: Birth Stories

Wonderfully Made: Body Image and Motherhood

Nourished: Community and New Motherhood

A Worthy Calling : Milestone: Going Back to Work after Maternity Leave

The Moon at 3 AM: Seasons of Sleeplessness

A Note to the Sleep-Deprived Mama: Motherhood Milestone: Broken sleep

Blessing our Kids: Faith Formation

Embracing Fullness: Motherhood and Identity

Waiting on Words: Seasons of Comparison

Rinsing Bottles and Searching for Peace: Grappling with Mom Guilt

Prayers of the People: Learning to Pray

Someone to See Me: Working Motherhood/Friendship

Marriage and Missing Puzzle Pieces: Marriage

TODDLERHOOD

Cries in the Night : Coping with Illness

“You’re Doing Great, Mama!” : Seasons of Doubt and Uncertainty

Making Home: Comparison and Contentment

Each Day a Gift : Days of Small Things

Forgiveness at Mealtime: Managing Emotions and Saying Sorry.

God’s Favorite: Seasons of Trust

Every Ending a Beginning: Milestone: Weaning

Growing up at the Park: Seasons of Letting Go

What We Carry: Emotional Labor

Taking Care: Learning to Mother

How We Measure: Comparison

A Lesson from Hide & Seek: Connecting with God

The Beauty of Christmas: First Church Pageant

Remembering Loved Ones: Grief and Memories

She Taught Me to Mother: Mothering Mentors

God’s Masterpiece: Seasons of Trust

Enjoying the Crumbs: Our “Good Old Days”

Growing as a Mother: Seasons of Growth

CHILDHOOD

A Gentler Approach to Mornings: Motherhood and Anger

“What’d You Have for Breakfast?”: Seasons of Connection

Water and Light: Milestone: Baptism

Morning Quiet Time: Investing in the Mother

The Miracle of Rest: Self-Care for Moms

Worshiping with Children: Faith Formation

“Mommy, Follow Me!”: Catching Faith from our Children

A Mother’s Hands: Seasons of Change

The Power of Words: Learning Generosity from our Children

More than a Mess: Seasons of Paying Attention

A Sledding Date to Remember: The Power of Play

Nothing is Lost: Seasons of Small Things

Waiting on a Miracle: Season of Trying to Conceive

Hand-Me Down Love: Connection with Others

When Grief Speaks: Loss/Miscarriage

The Weight of Worry: Seasons of Anxiety

Hope in Flowers: Pregnancy After Loss

Summer Days are Meant for the Pool: Remembering our Baptisms

Tell Your Story: Motherhood and Identity

Important Work: Seasons of Paying Attention

“I’m Sorry”: Asking Forgiveness

Same Team: Marriage and Parenting Together

Before You Were Born: Trusting in God

Prayers While Expecting : Preparing for a New Baby

“Another Jesus Story, Please!”: Sharing the Gospel with Children

I Can Hear You!: Listening to Others

Brave and Scared: Milestone: First Day of Preschool

First Day of Kindergarten: Milestone: Starting Kindergarten

Goodbye Diapers: Milestone: No More Diapers

A Calendar of Prayers: Practicing Gratitude

Rooted: The Gifts of Community

Because You Say So: Seasons of Insecurity

We are One: Prayer with Children

Let’s Go for a Walk: Community and Prayer

From First Steps to Riding on His Own: The Miracle of Milestones

Sibling Love: Sibling Relationships

Grace in Transitions: Navigating Growing Pains

Fights Worth Fighting: Learning to Coexist with Others

Welcoming a Little One: Expanding your Family and Sibling Relationships

“Are We There Yet?” : Being Present

Birthday Blessings: Marking Milestones

Opting Out (For Now): Seasons of Rest

The Gifts of Other Mothers: Friendship

The Women at the Well: Seasons of Nurturing Community

Ultimate Superhero: Grace over Perfection in Motherhood

Imagine: The Beauty of Motherhood

Beauty on the Path: Seeing Ourselves Through God’s Eyes

Afterword

Acknowledgements

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$18.95

Keywords

  • early motherhood
  • devotions for mothers
  • busy moms
  • encouragement for mothers
  • Christian moms
  • Christian parenthood
  • inspiration for mothers

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