Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood / Volume 1: Old Testament // Book Review

Are there any good devotional books you’d recommend???

It's a question we get a lot here at Holy Hen House. And with good reason! It can be tough to find a devotional that not only a) keeps your attention but also b) contains some good scriptural "meat". So when one of our readers asked if we would review her latest devotional book, "Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood, Volume 1: Old Testament", we were eager to do so!

Meditiatons on the Vocation of Motherhood.jpg

There's so much jam-packed goodness in Marie K. MacPherson's book I almost don't know where to start! Since I love lists, I figured I'd number some of my favorite aspects of this devotional, in no particular order :)

  1.  Biblical content: As the title says, each one of these devotions are based on passage/section of the Old Testament, drawing a correlation to our journey as mothers. Not only are these connections made by Marie on point and thought-provoking, they also remind me of some of the Bible history I learned as a child but have long since almost forgotten. I love the way her correlations draw me back into the text and have instilled a hunger for more knowledge of these Biblical events.
  2. Length: Each devotion is only one page long in the 5' x 7' book, which make them absolutely perfect for reading while drinking your coffee, eating breakfast or in between running your kiddos from point A to point B.
  3. Opportunities: IF you end up with extra time on your hands (HA!) or can find a second moment to sit during the day, she offers plenty of opportunity to further your study and extend the devotions by including at a minimum of two additional Bible verses or chapters at the bottom of each page "for further reading". I absolutely love this as my schedule rarely ever looks the same from day-to-day and sometimes I am able to sit for longer than others. This is also a perfect opportunity to "journal" if you're a Bible journal-er like me :)
  4. Broad Audience: Somehow Marie has found a way to write to all mothers, not just those who stay home, not just those with little kids, not just those with careers. She writes in a general enough manner that I am quite confident that all moms could glean encouragement from her words.

Any criticism I would have for this devotional would be purely based on preference. If you are a story-teller like me and love somewhat in-depth, real-life experiences shared by the author, you may miss that in this book; however, this also makes for a more direct, shorter message which I can definitely appreciate.

All-in-all, if you're looking for a devotional which is strong in Scripture and provides great encouragement to mothers in all stages of parenting, than Ms. MacPherson's book is a must-grab for you. What a great gift it would make for the other mothers in your life! You can purchase the book and read other reader's thoughts about the book on Marie's website HERE or find it on Amazon.

Bio - Mel.png

Moments in the Word for Moms // Book Review

Momentsintheword The past number of weeks have been a bit of crazy town for me. Between Lent and Easter, planning Out of the Nest (hope to see you Friday!), and growing a baby internally while also keeping my two other babies alive externally, I haven't had a whole lot of extra time. I don't always have an exact routine when it comes to studying the Bible or devotions. I often do a short daily devotion and then try to read a bit in my Bible every week, usually the readings for the upcoming Sunday. During this super busy season, Moments in the Word for Moms by Melissa Berg was exactly what I needed to get little snippets during those hectic days.

"Being still means having peace on the inside, in our hearts, even while the storm continues to rage all around us."

These devotions are laid out very simply-- they begin with a scripture reference, followed by a short, five minute devotion and end with some questions to get you really thinking about what you just read and finally a prayer. Here are a few reasons why I loved these devotions:


  1. Completely applicable. It happened more than a handful of times that the devotion for that day was exactly what I needed to read during that moment.
  2. Easy reading. These were quick devotions. I was able to be interrupted by my kids (wiping a tiny tush, finding lost pants, etc.) and easily pick right back up where I had been reading. This doesn't mean the content wasn't deep or too fluffy, just that I was able to easily focus and remember.
  3. Thoughts for the Day. This section was following the devotion right before the prayer. She really hits the nail on the head with the questions she asks you to contemplate.
  4. Scripture reference. If I didn't have anything else planned and was a little short on time for the day, it was super easy to make this devotion into a short Bible study. I simply would read the entire chapter that the scripture reference came from instead of just reading that verse.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for short devotions and you are a mom, this is a great resource for you! I've enjoyed it immensely and will likely reread it in a few months.



 *This devotional was provided free of charge in exchange for my honest review.*

Cherished Gifts : Devotions for Moms by a Mom // Review & Giveaway

From practical advice to peering into paradise and back, Katie Martin weaves her own experiences into digestible devotions. Sprinkled with many familiar scriptures and surprising applications, this read is well worth the effort. Katie seamlessly moves the reader through topics of comfort and joy, such as taking walks with toddlers to subjects of fear and pain as she artfully discusses topics of suffering and death.
Christ is the center of each reflection. Jesus and his saving work permeate the pages of this little gem. Women will especially appreciate the candid revelations of a less-than-perfect mother, friend, spouse and daughter. With a laser-like sense of timing, Katie draws the reader from worldly to spiritual thought in an easy, conversational style.
This devotional fills its intention of giving cherished gifts to the reader. It has the possibility of being your bedside companion, accompanying your morning coffee, or laying the foundation of your next women’s Bible study.

Bottom line: Highly recommended to Christian mothers and women of all ages!

To win a copy of Cherished Gifts, join Holy Hen House's My Greatest Love event on Facebook! This devotional is one of four possible giveaway prize options!


*This devotional was provided free of charge in exchange for my honest review*

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin // Book Review & Giveaway

WomenoftheWordJenWilken When I remember my Grandma I picture her at her desk. She would be found there squinting at her large-font Bible placed under a magnifying glass lamp. Throughout her life she had created strong habits of bible study so when her macular degeneration kicked in it didn't hold her back. Even though her eyes were failing her - she was a God-seeker.


Unlike my Grandma, I have a computer loaded with thousands of bible studies, blog posts, podcasts, sermons, a variety of bible translations, bible passage apps, and by the tap of a finger the ability to zoom in on anything that may need more focus. They are certainly a blessing but they are also overwhelming! All of the Christian resources can be great tools but unless we use them with discipline we get distracted. From the time we are wee little babes, through the tested teenage years, and now as grown women we are told to get in the word, open our bibles, and to spend time with Jesus but very little is spoken on how we should and even more importantly why.


Jen Wilkin, author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds, puts it simply. The Bible is not first about us or what we should do but rather it is about God. Before we open our bibles to read we need to put ourselves in check. God first. Me second. When we know who God is then we know who we are.


She challenges her readers to not rely on their feelings alone in their faith. When "life happens" our faith will certainly be tested. It is easy to praise God when life is going well but what about when it isn't? A faith based on knowing God and His promises will stand firm!


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2-3


Jen calls women to join her in growing in Bible literacy. Does any of this sound familiar?

"We all carry around the dim discomfort of our not-knowing, feeling it surge to the surface when we enter into conversations with the unbeliever, the friend in our small group, the wise older woman. Sometimes when a category on Jeopardy covers a Bible topic, we experience a moment of sheer panic that Alex Trebek knows his way around our sacred text better than we do. We should be hard-pressed to name the twelve apostles or to give the order of the creation story. We have heard of Tamar; but was she a positive example or a negative one? When two preachers we love take differing positions on the same passage, we are thrown into confusion"  (p.36)


Bible literacy is more than knowing bits and fragments of bible facts, passages, and clichés. It is an understanding. As we grow in our Bible literacy we start to revel in how the gospel shows itself present throughout the entire Bible. Growing up I often heard "Don't believe something because someone tells you. Search God's Word. His sheep know His voice." Jen Wilkin echoes this, "Bible literacy matters because it protects us from falling into error." (p.45)


She doesn't just tell us to "get in the Word" she shows us how. She doesn't exaggerate or tell us that studying God's Word for ourselves is a piece of cake. She looks us in the eye - and like most things that are valuable - tells us that this is going to be hard work but oh so worth it. Back to school time? You bet! Time to use big words like metanarrative and exegesis, ladies.


Five P's of Sound Study

1) Study with Purpose. "We consider how the metanarrative of creation-fall-redemption-restoration acts as the Big Story that guides and informs all the small stories." (p. 54)


2) Study with Perspective. We dig for the original historical and cultural context. This is exegesis. We answer questions using our bibles and trusted commentaries. Who wrote this section of God's Word? When was it written? To whom was it written? In what style was it written? Why was it written?


3) Study with Patience. We like instant results with the least amount of input as possible, right? "But learning the Bible requires discipline, and discipline is something we don't naturally embrace... If we give in to impatience with the learning process, we tend to react in one of two ways." Jen warns us against giving up or looking for shortcuts. Being confused or challenged is uncomfortable but a necessary part of the learning and growing process!

How can those of us in the hard pressed stages of early motherhood, an exhausting diagnosis, or grief study God's Word without the guilt that we aren't doing enough? Jen Wilkin is reassuring here, "Some months, just keeping body and soul together for myself and my family seemed to occupy almost every moment. I don't consider those months to have been lost time or setbacks to my growth. They were times to employ patience, not with active learning of the Scriptures, but with waiting on the Lord. They deepened my desire for study... Trust that the Lord knows your circumstances better than you do and that he sees your desire to learn and grow. And trust that those times are being used to mature you..." (p.83)


4) Study with Process. Here is where we pull up our sleeves and get ready to dig. Before we can apply God's Word we first have to be able to comprehend it and interpret it correctly. Jen suggests the following tools and questions to ask during Bible study:

a) What does it say?

1. Read the text: Reading books of the Bible verse by verse ensures that we aren't missing the context or the Big Story in the little story. Jen recommends that we print out God's Word so that we have room to write notes and mark it up. I realize that this can take up a lot of time, paper, and ink. There are several options here: Buying a large print Bible with plenty of space, a journal Bible that has writing space in the side margins, or printing Bible sections double spaced from and placing them in a binder.

2. Read repetitively: Before we study a section of God's Word Jen recommends that we read it in context each time so that we fully understand the meaning. Studying God's word this way also helps with memorization.

3. Annotate: Mark up the text! Is something repeated? Underline it. Is something confusing? Write a question mark. Is there a transition word? (if/then, therfore, but, because, or in the same way) Draw an arrow connecting it to it's conclusion.

4. Define: For deeper understanding look up words in our English dictionary or even the original language of Hebrew or Greek here.

5. Compare translations. Perhaps your Bible is New International Version (NIV) and you'd like to compare it to English Standard Version (ESV) or the New King James Version (NKJV). What are the differences? Are they significant?

6. Outline: Write down the main points and the sub points as a general outline of the text.

b) What does it mean?

1. Cross Reference: I love that Jen references "let Scripture interpret Scripture" as her guide and not herself!

2. Paraphrase: Can we put what God says in our own words?

3. Interpret the text by yourself first and then seek out commentaries. "God gifts certain people among us with unique knowledge and understanding, and we would be fools to overlook their contributions to our study... But we must always keep in view that each of us individually is called to love God with our minds."  (p.96) 

c) How should it change me?

1. What does this passage teach me about God?

2. How does this aspect of God's character change my view of self?

3. What should I do in response?


5) Study with Prayer. Last but not least! "Prayer is the means by which we implore the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our study time... Learning the Bible does not happen as a result of human effort alone. Like all other aspects of our sanctification, it is the result of the Holy Spirit working in and through our efforts." (pg. 103, 107)


I can't say enough how much I'd love for you all to read this book and especially if you are a bible study leader or teacher. Women of the Word ends with further tips concerning teachers. She reminds us that when it comes to our students, "... our primary goal is to grow their knowledge of and love for God." (p.134) 


This kind of bible study is very in-depth. I understand that it may be overwhelming for some. Jen Wilkin's method of bible study is one of many ways to read God's Word. Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds is a notable book to help us discern our Bible study habits and give us several tools to know God and his love for us more.



Holy Hen House will be gifting Jen Wilkin's Women of the Word to TWO of our readers!

How can I enter the giveaway?

1. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter in your inbox. (If you already receive our newsletter you are set!) 2. Comment below what book of the Bible you would like to study most or what you are currently studying.  3. Join our online Bible study group on Facebook here(If you are already in the group you are set!)

** You must fulfill all three entries above to be fully entered in the giveaway.

Giveaway ends Sunday night, September 6th at 10pm (CT) and the winner will be announced Monday morning, September 7th.

We have two winners!!! Congratulations Katherine and Rachel T!

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this review. I purchased this book for myself and read it twice already this summer. This book's awesomeness is my pure motivation in giving it away. This post does contain affiliate links, which means Holy Hen House receives a small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase using the links.


Online Bible study begins next week!


Next Monday, September 7th, we will begin our online Bible study on the book of Luke. We will use some aspects from Jen Wilkin's approach to Bible study and combine them with our own.

Here's your assignment to be prepared for next week! Gather these items:

- A Bible without study notes OR print the Bible text double spaced with 12 font and place in a binder. - Holy Hen House Bible study pdf worksheets. These will be uploaded on the blog every Monday. - An additional Bible translation to compare (NIV, NKJV, NASB, & ESV are some reliable ones) - A trusted Bible commentary - I have this one Luke (People's Bible Commentary) - If you are not printing the Bible text you need a notebook, journal, OR a journal Bible with margins. - Regular pencil & colored pencils - Holy Hen House annotation bookmark guide (below)

























We are women of the Word! We are God seekers!