Some of my friends have recently started a Mom Heart group here. I love the idea of ministering to women and giving moms a place to be refreshed.
I’ve been to all the meetings and am part of the leadership team. But, I’m actually having a hard time with the material. I confess, though, I’m unfamiliar with Sally Clarkson so I don’t know if I’m reading it wrong or not.
Can someone who is more familiar with her work help me understand where she’s coming from?
I’m getting the feeling that it’s all about having cushy, fluffy homes if we want our children to want to come back and that we must light candles all the time. I’m just not that kind of person and I often leave the Mom heart group feeling discontent with the life I have.
I have no beautiful corner in my home to refresh in and that’s ok with me. But I hear that I need it. I keep getting the impression that we need nice things to “minister to our souls.” Right now we are reading Desperate and the leadership team is reading a book on how to start a Mom Heart Group. Other than reading just a little out of “Seasons of a Mom’s Heart” and a few chapters of “Educating the Whole-Hearted Child,” this is my experience with Sally books.
Does she have books that aren’t centered on material things? Does she teach us that Jesus is sufficient in any circumstance? Does she present Jesus as our Hiding Place no matter what our homes look like?
To me, it seems that she really abuses Scripture, taking a lot of verses out of context to prove her point. And the points may be fine, but it makes my skin crawl to see Scripture used that way. Is that her normal MO? Does she tend to present her family’s way as “right” and use Scripture to prove it on issues that are really non-moral issues?
In the book on how to start a mom group, she defines grace as, “that which causes delight.” Does she use that definition a lot?
For all the mom-theologians out there, is she Scripturally sound? Does she rightly divide the Word or misuse it? I really want this Mom Heart thing to work and be a blessing, but I’m confused right now.
Yes, I believe she is Scripturally sound. Her books “Ministry of Motherhood” and “Mission of Motherhood” ignite deep soul digging and help us to see our calling as mothers from the eyes of our Savior. They do a wonderful job of affirming motherhood as a worthy calling in today’s world where often times moms are looked upon as worthless.
I highly recommend her books!!!!ServingwithJoyParticipant
Hi There! Well, I have to admit that I haven’t read a great deal of Sally’s Clarkson’s material- I just don’t love her writing style. I have actually met her and attended a Wholehearted Mom’s conference, and I can tell you that she appears to me to be a very experienced, loving, grace-filled person. She doesn’t give off the attitude of wanting everyone to conform to her standards at all.
Now, admittedly, if you are able to attend her conference, you are probably in a certain income bracket and perhaps the assumption is that her readers/attendees can afford some of the nicer things in life. But I have heard her talk about her early years as a mom and how they struggled financially. I think her desire is to see mom’s create an atmosphere of love and learning in their homes and for their families. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think for most moms, that is something we aspire to do – to create some beauty and comfort in our little ‘nests’. But that might look completely different for you and your family.
This kind of reminds me of when I was first looking into the CM method, and there was this huge emphasis on ‘afternoon tea’. Now don’t get me wrong, tea-time is great and all, but with 5 kids under 10 years old, it just wasn’t going to happen around our house every day! And after a while, I had to admit that it was mostly because it wasn’t important to me. It wasn’t a part of my culture, my identity. So I just let it go and stopped feeling guilty about it – my family didn’t need ‘tea-time’ to be a happy, complete family. It’s about your family and what brings you nurture, comfort, and joy.
I can’t speak to the Scriptural differences you are referring to since I haven’t read her books. But I would say, perhaps there is someone starting the club with you who you could hash out those problems with? It may be that they see what she is saying a little differently or could offer a different perspective.
No matter what the author, advice-giver, etc. I would say continue to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your home and habits. He is the only one who knows what your family really needs and can speak to you about what he wants for you.mrsmccardellParticipant
I agree with the above comments! I can’t always make my house smell like cookies but I can rub lavender oil on their backs at bedtime. At first I felt like she was asking me to do the impossible but then I realized that she is suggesting to offer our kids a safe haven from this crazy world. HER tastes for what that looks like are in every book she writes! Yes, that safe haven is in Jesus first and foremost. She is speaking to where she, as the mother, can provide that additional level of comfort, nourishment, and peace that our kids (and us) so desperately need. Her book The Lifegiving Home explains it more clearly. But she does suggest you do what is best for your family and she’s always pointing you to be in the word.MountainMammaParticipant
I listen to her Podcast, read her blog, and attend a MomHeart group and am encouraged by her words. I did not grow up with parents that taught me about how to be a mom, homemaker, or especially a homeschool teacher so I enjoy her ministry because she teaches me about those things. My MomHeart leader is in many ways my mentor but she is totally not into the candle, tea, and chocolate thing. She and Sally are good friends and they just laugh at how different they are on those types of things. We all do something different with the “puzzle” God has given us with our families and kids and I’ve never heard Sally say that her way is the only way. She is just sharing her ideas that worked for her family.
I have seen other moms walk away from her books and conferences saying many of the things you are saying so you are not alone. I’m not sure what to say in response except that I feel as though I’ve listened and read enough about her to know that she truly just wants to encourage moms – her heart is in a good place. I have never found anything to be counter-scriptural in her talks/books.
That’s just my experience with her. I agree with the previous reply that you should just follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Do what’s right for you and your family.
Thank you. This is very helpful. I’m not one of those people who didn’t have a mom who taught me to be a mother or homeschool, but most of the other women in our group are from that background. So, maybe it’s just coming from a different place. What feels stifling to me (like the candles and tea!) gives other women the freedom to be moms. So, I’ll try to keep that in mind.beccawalker2000Participant
I have read several of her books, as well as listened to her podcasts. I’ve found her focus on the Scriptures to be sound, and I don’t recall that phrase on grace. I’ll have to be on the look out for it.
I read Ministry of Motherhood, and it inspired me to be much more intentional in dealing with my children.
I’ve listened to her address these very concerns over her “ideals” and basically, her heart is to inspire women to make their homes a refuge for their families, however that works out and however that looks to you and to YOUR family. She simple shares what she and her highly artistic family enjoy doing as inspiration to think big things and beautiful things.
I am definitely NOT an afternoon tea person. It sounds lovely, but seriously, with four boys and a 2 year old girl, I just can’t imagine that being practical for our home.
She inspires me to draw closer to the Lord, to look to the Word for what Jesus’ example would be for my season of parenting. Her focus on studying the life of Christ in order to better understand training her children led me to read through the gospels last year, looking for the heart of Christ for myself. It was a precious time in the Word for me.
I definitely encourage you to go back, to ask questions of the leader of the group, and try listening to some of the podcasts. I think they’ll give you a look into her heart that might be missing from reading excerpts from several books.MichelleParticipant
I agree with the above, but I also have mixed feelings about her books. I enjoyed Sarah Mae’s contributions to Desperate. I have been blessed by The Mission of Motherhood. However, Own Your Life… I couldn’t finish it. There was a lot of human praising, for lack of a better term. A lot of “I’ve been here, I’ve done this, my kids are all wonderful, etc…”
A wise friend told me, when I questioned her about my concerns about Mrs. Clarkson’s writings, not to read it if she wasn’t encouraging. At the time, it was not helpful. I believe maybe at a different season it could be helpful.jeaninpaParticipant
Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson is on my list of favorite books. It is completely falling apart from being paged through so often, but I agree with Michelle about some of her other writings. I couldn’t finish reading them and at times I found them to lack humility. Certainly I can rejoice with her at the closeness of her family, the faith of her children, the beauty of her home and how wonderful her husband is, but to read on and on about it is not encouraging to me.
But then, I would rather minister to other women by weeding their garden, tending their children or helping them butcher chickens than to gather around china tea cups and have a heart-to-heart. Some women are encouraged by her ministry and I can be thankful for that without joining that.
As to your question ” Does she teach us that Jesus is sufficient in any circumstance? Does she present Jesus as our Hiding Place no matter what our homes look like?” I believe that is where her heart is and I felt that came through with the Whole-Hearted Child. However, I certainly feel that it is worth examining some of your concerns with the rest of your group.Melanie32Participant
Michelle-I’ve been blessed by Sally’s writings at times but more often, I’ve had the same reaction you did.sarah2106Participant
I don’t really care for her either, I thought I was alone, LOL. I have many friends that are greatly encouraged and really like her writing style though.
I also struggle with Ann Voskamp though **blush** her style of writing. I keep thinking, hoping someday I will enjoy her style of writing though, my friends share her quotes and blog posts with me often, so I do hold onto her book that I purchased about a year ago.
For me I am a “to the point” person. Laying Down the Rails for Yourself is an example. Encouraged me so much, to the point with thoughts and suggestions. Not overly “flowery” with language style or stories.
I agree with others, if you are not comfortable it would be difficult to be successful in the group. Could you mix in other authors? There might be others that feel how you do and variety of authors might also add to the conversations because different styles, viewpoints.
It is encouraging to hear that others have sensed the same things. The “human praising” has frustrated me. I understand encouraging others but, to me, saying something like, “You can do it, God believes in you” is just really bad theology. And I start feeling like there’s just no way I can measure up to all that she has done.sarah2106Participant
That is what I struggled with too (what you said, don’t know how to quote)
” I understand encouraging others but, to me, saying something like, “You can do it, God believes in you” is just really bad theology. And I start feeling like there’s just no way I can measure up to all that she has done.”
It is also why I don’t Pinterest, read too many Blogs or even many books of this style. They often leave me feeling like I can’t ever “measure up” because often it is the “highlights” not “reality”. I do have a very good friend that these same things inspire her, so I think it really depends on personality and season of life as wellMorgan ConnerParticipant
I have read 3 of her books & never had issue with her theology (that I can remember) but I am not encouraged by her. Her ideas are just out of reach to me. I always feel like a bad mom! I am more like Sarah Mae! I thoroughly enjoyed Desperate. My biggest takeaway from that book was that older women need to be more willing to help us younger ladies. It is something I am determined to do as I age.
I roll my eyes when she talks about lighting candles. With so many little ones around and my distracted self-our house would burn down!
I understand the discontent! my hubby is a major introvert. He is not into hospitality AT ALL. He likes to watch tv instead of doing family devotionals and plays and musical performances. I have to remind myself that each family is unique and that I am lucky to have a Christian husband that works hard and loves us very much. We are not artsy. We are us!
I am sure she is a lovely, kind, genuine follower of Christ. I know she has a heart to help others. I have many friends who have been encouraged by her so it’s just my personality/life/season/etc. And I admire how far she goes to help other moms (what she did for Sarah Mae was amazing!)
On another note-I was once asked to join a bible study based on a book that I had major issues with. I decided to be very honest with the leader who was a good friend. Although she was disappointed she ultimately understood. I was so nervous before that conversation and was so relieved that she didn’t take offense. It’s better to be honest and face the problem head on!Wings2flyParticipant
I am so glad you posted this. I first read Seasons of a Mother’s Heart – one of her first books. I was greatly encouraged by it and it seems very real with ups and downs of life. I have read it twice. But when I tried to read Ministry of Motherhood, I felt like a complete failure! I couldn’t measure up no matter how hard I tried. I have also read some of her blog posts and been very encouraged, especially to give a little more even though I am tired. So some of her writing is good, but not all. And I might still read Teaching the Whole-hearted Child. I found Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic to be more real life and still encouraging. I read it three times now.
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