Finding God in the Throes of Young Parenthood (Bravo, Courtney Ellis!)

Finding God in the Throes of Young Parenthood (Bravo, Courtney Ellis!) June 11, 2019
Friends, you met her a few months ago when she released Uncluttered – well, please extend another welcome to Courtney Ellis, who released Almost Holy Mama a week ago! I’m a huge fan of Courtney and her winsome, witty, truth-filled writing. Check out this interview with her and leave a comment at the end to win a copy of her new book! 
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I’m a pastor, speaker, procrastibaker, and author of Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Souland most recently, Almost Holy Mama: Life-Giving Spiritual Practices for Weary ParentsI grew up in Wisconsin and now my family makes our home in southern California.

Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway?During a particularly busy season of my life, I began realizing I was thirsty for Jesus. Not just thirsty but absolutely parched. Yet there was no way I could shoehorn in any helpful spiritual practices on top of all that was on my plate. I read books about spiritual disciplines and many of them were all, “Take an hour in quiet prayer every morning.” I wanted to shout, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!” If I took an hour in quiet prayer in the morning I’d have to get up at 5am or else nurse a baby the whole time.

It seemed like there were only two possibilities: either finding Jesus in busy seasons of life was impossible, or it WAS possible, but only if I tried harder.

Almost Holy is the story of God teaching me a third way, showing me that Jesus cares so much about each one of us–even (perhaps especially!) in busy seasons of life, and will meet with us right where we are. Because I was in the throes of young parenthood (still am, actually!) this looked like contemplating Jesus in the car, listening in prayer while I folded laundry, and surrendering to God in suffering as I threw up every 18 seconds during an unreasonably difficult first trimester with baby #3. It’s a book about intensely practical spiritual practices, driven by lots of humor because my life is basically a comedy show.

Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? Desperation for Jesus, and the profound belief that Jesus saw me in my exhaustion and wanted to help.

How do you hope readers will be changed by your words, and also, how have you been changed by writing the book? This book has helped me weave spiritual practices into my everyday life, noticing God at work around every corner. Writing it helped me think about things I’d never pondered before, like, “What does it mean that God is with me right now in this car?” It also challenged me to undertake practices I’d never tried before, like the spiritual discipline of celebration which, for some reason, was really tricky for me to figure out.

We oftentimes talk about “coloring outside the lines” on this blog: so, how do you hope your book will help readers color outside the lines?I hope Almost Holy will help people to let go of the guilt that Christians should. Christians should pray more, fast more, read nineteen chapters of Scripture every day and memorize the entire book of Leviticus. The word “should” is the enemy of healthy spiritual practices, and in many ways, of healthy faith as well. I hope it will help them embrace the God who loves us and wants to help us in the difficult, exhausting seasons of life. I heard someone say recently that spiritual practices are just like going outside. God gives us sun and rain to nurture us, but if we never go outside, we won’t grow. All we have to do is say, “Hey Jesus, I’m here. I’m tired, but I’m here and I’m hungry for you.” Once we’re outside, God begins to grow amazing things in each of us.

How and where can we find you on the Internet? Over at my blog(where you can also read the first chapter of Almost Holy for free!), on Facebook, or Twitter. Come say hi–there’s nothing I love more than chatting about books!

I’m so grateful Courtney said YES to being in this space again! Leave a comment for her to win a copy of Almost Holy Mama

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