Book review: Creating with God by Sarah Jobe

After suffering an ectopic pregnancy and then a miscarriage,  I was thrilled beyond belief to be pregnant with Matthew.   As the weeks and months ticked on, I marveled at all the changes in my body — the ones I expected (my expanding wasitline) and the ones that, frankly, took me by surprise (that crazy network of blue veins that made my torso look like a roadmap).   And yet every change was a chance to reflect on the enormity of this thing I was undertaking to do: bring a new little life into the world.

That’s why, when I read Sarah Jobe’s book Creating with God: The Holy Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy, I felt as though I’d just met a kindred spirit.   This is a book that is both delightful and insightful — and a real treat for any mom who is now, or ever has been, pregnant.

Jobe, an ordained pastor and mother of two, admits up-front that she was not one of those dewy pregnant women who make it seem so blissful and easy.   This  book is the result of her attempt to find God in the experience of pregnancy.  As she explains in the introduction, she has come to realize that “God is present in pregnancy at precisely the places that seem least divine.”   In engaging chapters, this book shows how that is true.  Jobe reflects on the larger meaning she’s come to discover through her pregnancies, sharing insights about faith, about waiting, about suffering.   I like how she discusses these weighty topics with playfulness and humor; though it has a lot of depth, the book is also highly readable (a quality I always admire in spiritual writing, especially since I became a mom.)

One of my favorite chapters dealt with the frustrating experience of being pregnant and having to rest, a state which Jobe found very hard to accept.   She connects it to the parable of the lost sheep, how the good shepherd leaves the whole flock to go tend to one little sheep.   As she explains, “I always thought it made more sense for the shepherd to stay and take care of the ninety-nine sheep, but during my pregnancy, God taught me to focus on one little lamb.  As an ordained minister, having a child has felt like leaving a whole flock of sheep to care for one little baby.  It doesn’t always make sense to me.  I wonder if it is the best use of my gifts.  But I am convinced that this narrowing of focus to one little lamb is not simply a product of my own human limits; this narrowing of focus is an opportunity to experience and understand how God works.”    That’s a wonderful insight, something that gives me a lot to ponder.

If you’re looking for a baby shower gift for a pregnant woman you know, this is a terrific choice.  But you don’t have to be going through the mood swings and nausea of pregnancy to appreciate this wise and readable book.  All you need is an interest in learning about how motherhood and spirituality nourish each other, ultimately creating something beautiful.

I was delighted to receive this as a review copy from Paraclete Press.  

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