In this first year with my first child like many women I have battled post-partum depression. Between fluctuating hormones, small hours of sleep, an upside down schedule, and fumbling my way through learning to be a mother, sadness felt like my closest friend. Wandering the halls at 3:00 AM half asleep while trying to soothe a crying baby often left me feeling hopeless. The depression seemed to come in waves—a few weeks of starting to feel the sun and calm waters again, followed by a few weeks of floundering to get my head above the water.
During those deep waves, I often found myself thinking, “If I just had…” more sleep, more company, more help, more time alone, more quiet, more fresh air, more time outside the house, or more things maybe then I would feel better. Maybe then I could climb onto dry land and the clouds would finally fade away.
Christina Fox’s book Sufficient Hope came to me during one of those waves of floundering and showed me what I truly needed: to be reminded of the gospel.* “Whatever experiences we face in motherhood, we all need Jesus—and he is sufficient. That’s what this book is about: our need for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In every moment, in every season, and whatever our circumstances, the gospel is sufficient to give us hope” (p. 14).
Sufficient Hope is a devotional-style book written for moms of every season and circumstance to show them how the gospel permeates every aspect of their motherhood. It covers topics such as unmet expectations, fears, mundane work, loneliness, identity, guilt, discontentment, and more. Each chapter sets the scene with the problem at hand, then dives into gospel application. What does the gospel say for moms who are feeling lonely? How does the gospel give hope to a mom who is watching her child continue in sin? How does the gospel help me to persevere when I am exhausted? Christina helps us laugh, smile, and even shed a tear as she writes very real examples from motherhood. She ends each chapter with not only hope but also reflection questions and thoughtful prayers to help us moms truly treasure and apply the gospel to each circumstance Christina has written about.
What I love about Christina’s writing is that she doesn’t write fluff—she teaches women deep truths from Scripture about who they are, who God is, and what the gospel says. But she does so in such a way that our tired mommy brains can make sense of. Christina writes as a friend sitting next to you during a playdate with your children at the park; she has a gift of writing truth in a simple way that both draws you in and helps you understand how God’s Word applies to you and your current place in motherhood.
It’s not only during that first year of motherhood that moms struggle to stay afloat—every season of motherhood presents its challenges and opportunities for growth. As moms, we are going to be presented with opportunities to choose sin or righteousness, to choose idols or choose God, to choose despair or hope. In her book Sufficient Hope Christina faithfully points us to the life-giving and hope-reviving truth found in the gospel for us. Whether you are a mom-to-be, a mom to little ones, a biological mom, an adoptive mom, a mom parenting in the teenage years, or a mom sending her final child off, this book is for you. I wish I could place this book in the hands of every mother I encounter because our mommy brains make it easy to forget things, even the gospel we adore. But this book continually takes your eyes off the present situation and turns them upward to focus on Christ.
Post-partum depression still lingers as it has. But Christina’s book has taught me to see the gospel even when the waves and clouds try to make it hard to see. When I start to get that floundering feeling, I am able to stop and preach the good news to myself: Christ has saved me, he is my sufficient hope, even now.
* If you are battling post-partum depression, please talk to someone and seek the help you need. No shame, my friend. Even as the gospel encourages me, I still need help from family, friends, and my doctor. Please get any help you need in this season as hormones and lack of sleep have such an affect on our health.