Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:
Scroll down to read it as a blog post!
I agreed to review this book, which I’ll mention below, a while ago without knowing that I would be thrown into an emotional darkness that has lasted through Lent and continues on into the Easter season. Things have been quiet on the Coffee & Pearls front. Honestly, I struggle with how much to share my negative attitude and petulant pouting, not because I don’t want to be transparent, but I certainly don’t want to be an online complainer.
This pregnancy sucks. It took all the ideas I had about who I was, what I’m capable of, my ideals of motherhood and marriage, and it ripped them out of my hands.
I didn’t feel like reading a book titled Good Enough is Good Enough. I’m tired of my own excuses and my lack of showing up. I certainly didn’t want a pat on the back for mediocrity or letting things slide.
But God knows what I need. He put a book in my lap and a deadline to jolt me out of my haze of wallowing.
I loaded up the book on my Kindle and thought, “Thank goodness. I can read this in a little over an hour.”
I will now take a moment to thank modern publishers for making self-help books shorter. They used to be three times a long. These shorter books don’t have less wisdom, the authors are simply freed of having to say the same thing in ten different ways to make the book look meatier.
In the hour and a half it took me to read Good Enough is Good Enough by Colleen Duggan, I felt both lectured to and loved, surprisingly not by Colleen herself but by the Holy Spirit through her words. This was just what I needed. Colleen’s wisdom and life stories were a joy to read. I particularly liked the saint quotes she peppered throughout the book.
This is a book that says what I’ve felt strongly is the problem with American parenting lately, we care too much about things that don’t matter and we don’t care enough about the things that do.
She runs through the major aspects of motherhood, parenting itself, marriage, watching your kids suffer, and comparing yourself to other parents. I appreciate that she doesn’t have “cute” problems I read so often that feel like pandering. She shares real, deep, raw, and very relatable problems. I appreciate her honesty which feels genuine without sounding like a list of complaints about how difficult modern day parenting is.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
While I never would have described myself as selfish before I had kids, I couldn’t deny that fact after.
I filled most of my days with silent commentary on my parenting performance and rarely, if ever, did I make the grade.
I needed to abandon the frantic, worried, compulsive sermons I was inclined to issue in prayer in favor of more gentle requests to God about what it was he wanted from and for me.
The holier we are, the more we will suffer due to the evil and sin in the world. But external evil only harms us to the degree we react badly to it, by fear, worry, discouragement, sadness, giving up, rushing to apply hasty solutions that don’t solve anything, judging.
We wanted to allow our kids the freedom to tell us if they hated going to Church so we could actually engage them in conversation rather than have them sit docile and obedient in our pew for eighteen years and then discard their faith in college.
My kids are not a sacrament, but my marriage is.
We have a choice: we can waste time complaining about it, comparing our difficulties with those of others, and forcing solutions that don’t work, or we can pull up our sleeves and devote ourselves to the work required of sanctity.
Learning to submit is a slow, humbling process though. It takes time and practice and effort – a lifetime of tweaking.
As I began writing this review, my 4.5 and 2.5 year old daughters are downstairs singing the Litany of the Saints. This was clearly a gift of God saying, “Buck up kid, you’re doing okay.” It reminds me that even when I’m stuck in bed for hours and days on end, when we don’t have enough money for piano lessons or matching Easter dresses, when my bathrooms are messy and I haven’t read books to them in three days, I’m still doing okay. I continue to expose them to the truth, beauty, and goodness of God and they’re soaking it up.
Colleen’s will both make you feel like you’re doing good enough but also inspire you to work harder on the things that matter.
This book is long enough to feel meaningful but short enough you could give it to a friend without making her feel like there’s no chance she’ll actually read it. The questions at the end of each chapter are interesting and thought-provoking. I can see a group of moms easily using this as a study.
I feel confused that God has given me, not only a surprise Irish twins pregnancy but also one that has already crippled my body forcing me to take a back seat as my husband pretty much single parents our kids. While his stress level increases as he juggles everything, our sex life is deteriorating even more than usual and so he is left without any outlet for that frustration either. My hands are tied and I can’t make food for the kids like I want to or take them to the park on these first nice Spring days. God seems to be asking my husband and me to surrender our ideas of how great we are and to simply accept that we’re not. We are nothing without Him.
The feeling of hope still feels a big out of my grasp at the moment but Colleen’s book helps me to feel peace in the midst of this pain. I’m going to be okay. The kids are going to be okay. My marriage is going to be okay. And even if okay involves a whole lot of suffering, I take comfort in knowing that suffering is what saints are made of and after all, that is my deepest desire for my life.