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Ordinary Mum, Extraordinary Mission by Anna France-Williams and Joy French has been sitting on my bedside table since a friend gave it to me last June. Before then it had been recommended to me by another friend.
Why did it take so long to get into? Partly, I guess, because other books took over – book reviews, things I’d already started and so on.
But partly – and I’m ashamed to say it – I did wonder whether this book might just say things I already knew.
Ever since I was pregnant with Mister, six years ago, I’ve viewed my days missionally – that is to say, I’ve known of the great blessings God has put in my path in terms of friendships, opportunities and ministries.
I’ve wanted to follow His leading and allow myself to be used for whatever purposes He has in mind. I’ve seen friends come to faith for the first time, draw closer to God, step out in leadership and gain awareness of new giftings. I’ve led Alpha courses, Mums’ Bible study groups, outreach events and kids’ holiday clubs. I’ve shared my faith through conversations, meals, childcare and home-baked cakes.
What could this book teach me?
Well, for a start, some modesty.
Damn that sneaky old Devil, edging his way in to whatever good work the Lord is doing by making us believe that it’s down to us and our skills. It is not. To God be the glory. All the time.
And secondly, this book could teach me a heck of a lot I’ve never considered before about how I’m raising my family to be missional, how I’m investing in my marriage so that it can be the basis of missional living, and how even my brokenness – both my sin, over which I have some amount of control, and the broken things in my life, over which I have no control – can be used by God for His missional purposes.
A bit more about the book…
This is an incredibly empowering, releasing book. It won’t guilt-trip you into thinking you should be running an orphanage in Bolivia or rescuing trafficked girls in the Phillippines. Of course there are plenty of exciting, front-line stories to be inspired by.
But, for the most part, it’s about average, everyday mums, offering themselves and their families to God for His service. It is not threatening – but it is utterly challenging and thought-provoking.
The two authors have a shared experience – both are mums, and both work with their families on deprived urban estates – but their differences make for a far richer read. One works in London, one in Sheffield. One has young kids, the other has older kids/teenagers. The variety of experiences of the authors and their friends contributes to an extremely well-rounded and helpful book.
What I most appreciated was…
…the chapter on Marriage. And the one on Brokenness. And the one on killing off Supermum. And the one on encouraging your fellow mum friends.
Actually, every chapter had something thought-provoking to say. In my opinion, the perfect cocktail for a Christian book is provocative Biblical insight mixed with down-to-earth practical tips – and this book had just that.
You’ll enjoy this book if…
…you are expecting your first child, right through to if you’re a mum of teenagers. Once your kids have left home, I’d say it probably wouldn’t be quite as relevant – although there’s enough in here to make anyone stop and think, regardless of gender or child-bearing status.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Ordinary Mum, Extraordinary Mission should be the handbook of all Christian mums everywhere. I hope it becomes a Christian classic over the coming years, because it’s that good.
Buy it here.
If you enjoyed this, check out Parenting Children for a Life of Faith – I think you’ll love it!