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Rewilding Motherhood: Your Path to an Empowered Feminine Spirituality

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Women are often told by their communities that being a mother will complete or define them. But many women find themselves depleted and spiritually stagnant amid the everyday demands of being a mom. They long to experience a rich inner life but feel there is rarely enough time, energy, or stillness to connect with God in a meaningful way. This book takes the concept of rewi Women are often told by their communities that being a mother will complete or define them. But many women find themselves depleted and spiritually stagnant amid the everyday demands of being a mom. They long to experience a rich inner life but feel there is rarely enough time, energy, or stillness to connect with God in a meaningful way. This book takes the concept of rewilding and applies it to motherhood. Just as an environmentalist seeks to rewild land by returning it to its natural state, Shannon Evans invites women to rewild motherhood by reclaiming its essence through an expansive feminine spirituality. Drawn from the contemplative Catholic tradition and Evans's own parenting experience, Rewilding Motherhood helps women deepen their connection to God through practices inherent to the life they're living now. Topics include work-life balance, identity, solitude, patience, household work, and mission for the common good. Throughout, Evans encourages women to see motherhood as an opportunity to discover a vibrant feminine spirituality and a deeper knowledge of God and self.


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Women are often told by their communities that being a mother will complete or define them. But many women find themselves depleted and spiritually stagnant amid the everyday demands of being a mom. They long to experience a rich inner life but feel there is rarely enough time, energy, or stillness to connect with God in a meaningful way. This book takes the concept of rewi Women are often told by their communities that being a mother will complete or define them. But many women find themselves depleted and spiritually stagnant amid the everyday demands of being a mom. They long to experience a rich inner life but feel there is rarely enough time, energy, or stillness to connect with God in a meaningful way. This book takes the concept of rewilding and applies it to motherhood. Just as an environmentalist seeks to rewild land by returning it to its natural state, Shannon Evans invites women to rewild motherhood by reclaiming its essence through an expansive feminine spirituality. Drawn from the contemplative Catholic tradition and Evans's own parenting experience, Rewilding Motherhood helps women deepen their connection to God through practices inherent to the life they're living now. Topics include work-life balance, identity, solitude, patience, household work, and mission for the common good. Throughout, Evans encourages women to see motherhood as an opportunity to discover a vibrant feminine spirituality and a deeper knowledge of God and self.

30 review for Rewilding Motherhood: Your Path to an Empowered Feminine Spirituality

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thank you to Brazos Press, Shannon Evans, and NetGalley for providing a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. The titular premise of Rewilding Motherhood centers on the idea of rewinding mothers as one would rewild a place. That is, to return her to her natural state, one that is spiritually rooted, firm in self-awareness and identity, socially connected, and powerful. Though written from her own perspective as a Catholic woman and mother, Rewilding Motherhood is Thank you to Brazos Press, Shannon Evans, and NetGalley for providing a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. The titular premise of Rewilding Motherhood centers on the idea of rewinding mothers as one would rewild a place. That is, to return her to her natural state, one that is spiritually rooted, firm in self-awareness and identity, socially connected, and powerful. Though written from her own perspective as a Catholic woman and mother, Rewilding Motherhood is thoroughly ecumenical and, I believe, accessible to women of all faith backgrounds and traditions. Evans writes expansively and inclusively, organically ushering her readers through a journey of prioritizing their efforts to grow inward that they may be whole humans. Her chapters flow in that way, structured in two parts, one focusing on growing inward, one on flowing outward, and within each part, chapters ranging from integration and maintaining boundaries to staying curious, becoming gentle (especially in regards to one's own self-talk), and finding the divine in everyday life. I will be honest and say that I find most books on "Christian motherhood" overly saccharine, glazing over the real, lived experience I have walked through myself and seen in other mothers-- the angry moments, the moments of struggling to prioritize one's own passions in the context of family life, balancing work and restful solitude, the whole gamut. This book is not that. Evans cites everyone from Lady Gaga to St. Teresa of Avila to zen mother and priest Karen Maezen Miller. She does justice to the depth and breadth of motherhood, being ecumenical and inclusive while offering her own experience as a Catholic, never in an overly preachy tone. My personal faith background is complicated and I'll profess to being more than a little skeptical about the premise of the book. Too hokey? Too woo? Too spiritual in ways that press against tender bits of my past? I was really pleasantly surprised to see how wide the table was in this book for someone like me. If you're remotely spiritual and a mother-- Buddhist, Jewish, agnostic, Quaker, Catholic, mainstream Christian, or any combination, I think you'll get a lot out of Rewilding Motherhood.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kasey

    This is such a beautiful read, and so comforting during this weird season of having become a mother during the pandemic. So many parenting books talk about balance and scheduling and etc., but this one addresses the parts of our spirits that can get a little bruised or neglected in the service of our families, and how to tend to them. That sounds kind of "woo-woo" but the perspective of the book is really grounded, practical, loving, and nurturing. This is the pocket "mom friend" I needed during This is such a beautiful read, and so comforting during this weird season of having become a mother during the pandemic. So many parenting books talk about balance and scheduling and etc., but this one addresses the parts of our spirits that can get a little bruised or neglected in the service of our families, and how to tend to them. That sounds kind of "woo-woo" but the perspective of the book is really grounded, practical, loving, and nurturing. This is the pocket "mom friend" I needed during this season of my life and I am really grateful that I got an ARC of this wonderful book. I will definitely be revisiting it from time to time as I parent my freshly-minted toddler.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Camden Morgante

    It’s time to “reimagine motherhood as the spiritually empowering experience it should be.” --Shannon K. Evans I’ll be honest--I typically avoid Christian books on motherhood. When Rewilding Motherhood popped up in my available advance reader copies, I quickly dismissed it. Most Christian books on motherhood are too sappy, too gender-stereotyped, too shaming. Rewilding Motherhood is not your mama’s Christian motherhood book. It is feminist. It is gutsy. It is contemplative. It will cultivate a deeper It’s time to “reimagine motherhood as the spiritually empowering experience it should be.” --Shannon K. Evans I’ll be honest--I typically avoid Christian books on motherhood. When Rewilding Motherhood popped up in my available advance reader copies, I quickly dismissed it. Most Christian books on motherhood are too sappy, too gender-stereotyped, too shaming. Rewilding Motherhood is not your mama’s Christian motherhood book. It is feminist. It is gutsy. It is contemplative. It will cultivate a deeper spiritual practice for mothers who want to engage their hearts and spirit in the midst of the demands of motherhood. I even think it will encourage non-mothers who want to grow in contemplative practices too. I highly recommend Rewilding Motherhood for any woman who is spiritually hungry for more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

    This book is so deeply nourishing and empowering, I really don't know where to begin. I loved the way the book was structured, first looking inward, and then outward to our relationships with our families and communities. This book is meticulously researched and does an amazing job of citing women, and especially women of color. I have been a mother for seven years, and I wish I'd had this book when I first started out, but I'm so grateful to have it now. My first thought, even before I finished This book is so deeply nourishing and empowering, I really don't know where to begin. I loved the way the book was structured, first looking inward, and then outward to our relationships with our families and communities. This book is meticulously researched and does an amazing job of citing women, and especially women of color. I have been a mother for seven years, and I wish I'd had this book when I first started out, but I'm so grateful to have it now. My first thought, even before I finished the introduction, was, "We should all be talking about these issues more." All too often mothers are urged to make what turns out to be a false choice, between family life and personal fulfillment, whatever shape that may take in each individual's life. That's why one of my favorite chapters was the one on patience, which beautifully discussed pursuing the things that make you come alive while also being full-heartedly present with your children. Each chapter has a wonderful set of questions or prayer suggestions for entering deeper into the themes discussed, and this, too, was one of my favorite parts. Shannon is a very gifted writer, and this contemplative, thoughtful book is a generous gift, not just to mothers, but to all women.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Denae Elenora

    Shannon K. Evan's is a prophet of our era. A voice calling out to us individually, to look inside and allow the God-within-you to be fully alive and released, as She has been calling for you to let Her. Shannon has an amazing way of using her story to illuminate your own false-narratives. Her writing is evidence of years of personal reckoning, and research and embodied wisdom from others. Never self-depricating, always holding grace and invitation. Rewilding Motherhood is a beautiful filling res Shannon K. Evan's is a prophet of our era. A voice calling out to us individually, to look inside and allow the God-within-you to be fully alive and released, as She has been calling for you to let Her. Shannon has an amazing way of using her story to illuminate your own false-narratives. Her writing is evidence of years of personal reckoning, and research and embodied wisdom from others. Never self-depricating, always holding grace and invitation. Rewilding Motherhood is a beautiful filling response to a colonial christian culture which has often left women hungry, longing, and upset they are not satisfied by that which promises to be life and to the full. Never stripping away what we find comforting in our current religious pratices, Shannon reclaims how Christ moves and breathes in our own bodies and feminine spirits already - allowing one to not need to go out and make radical changes to appease a never attainable God, but rather to calm and center on who one really is and where God is already meeting us in the everyday ordinary sacred moments. A retreat for the mother who feels she never has a moment to spare. Every chapter ends with a new practice to rest, uncover, and discover who you really are and how God already is alive in you. A beautiful gift for new moms, experienced moms, or any feminine person immersed in christian norms.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kayley Nammari

    Where do I begin?! This book is a balm to my soul. I found myself nodding yes so often, reading words that I completely related to. If you are a mother or a mother-figure and find yourself wondering where the joy in this role went, this book makes you feel less alone with those feelings. It's the first book I've ever read that embraces the divine feminine from a Catholic perspective (though you absolutely do NOT have to be a Catholic to love this book). I love that Shannon calls herself a writer Where do I begin?! This book is a balm to my soul. I found myself nodding yes so often, reading words that I completely related to. If you are a mother or a mother-figure and find yourself wondering where the joy in this role went, this book makes you feel less alone with those feelings. It's the first book I've ever read that embraces the divine feminine from a Catholic perspective (though you absolutely do NOT have to be a Catholic to love this book). I love that Shannon calls herself a writer with a Catholic spirituality and an interfaith heart. Yes! I get that!!! Buy this book. And then buy it for all the women in your life. It's a truly magical piece of writing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessamyn

    "I have yet to meet [a mother] who desires nothing for herself beyond motherhood." Another very timely book for where I am at in my own life. Evans' look into all of the possibilities of womanhood was refreshing for my tired heart. I will definitely come back to remind myself of some of the truths she shared here, like making space for discomfort (really difficult for me), listening to my heart in the silence and my intuition about life in general. Her chapter on the redemptive power of outrage w "I have yet to meet [a mother] who desires nothing for herself beyond motherhood." Another very timely book for where I am at in my own life. Evans' look into all of the possibilities of womanhood was refreshing for my tired heart. I will definitely come back to remind myself of some of the truths she shared here, like making space for discomfort (really difficult for me), listening to my heart in the silence and my intuition about life in general. Her chapter on the redemptive power of outrage was spot on. And her contemplation of what it means to live the Incarnation, to find God in our bodies, home and earth was also really insightful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    If you like Sue Monk Kidd, you’ll love this book! A great reminder of kindness to ourselves in motherhood & a beautiful gentle introduction to the divine feminine in Christian tradition. “It makes sense that if the mystery of God is love, then the love we have for our children, coupled with our intimate connection to them, would be a powerful conduit of supernatural connection.” While this book is primarily written to an audience of Christian mothers, mothers of other religions may also see beau If you like Sue Monk Kidd, you’ll love this book! A great reminder of kindness to ourselves in motherhood & a beautiful gentle introduction to the divine feminine in Christian tradition. “It makes sense that if the mystery of God is love, then the love we have for our children, coupled with our intimate connection to them, would be a powerful conduit of supernatural connection.” While this book is primarily written to an audience of Christian mothers, mothers of other religions may also see beautiful wisdom reflected to them through the author’s funny and loving millennial insight. Thank you to Netgalley & the author for the advanced reader’s copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Rodrigue

    This book was exactly what I needed during this spiritual dry season. I am at a place in my life that is overwhelmed with the needs of my small children, my body and mind are tired from my 3rd pregnancy in 5 years, and my stance on religion is burnt out from a hard year of vague direction from my spiritual leaders . I couldn’t put this book down because every chapter opened my eyes and made me reflect on what is going on in my head these days. I am a big fan of her work and have found that every This book was exactly what I needed during this spiritual dry season. I am at a place in my life that is overwhelmed with the needs of my small children, my body and mind are tired from my 3rd pregnancy in 5 years, and my stance on religion is burnt out from a hard year of vague direction from my spiritual leaders . I couldn’t put this book down because every chapter opened my eyes and made me reflect on what is going on in my head these days. I am a big fan of her work and have found that everything she writes deeply resonates with me. This book is good for any mother on a spiritual journey, not just Christian ones.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Johnson

    I really wanted to like this book as I have appreciated Shannon's writing, but this was not my favorite. I would recommend Edith Stein's Essays on Woman, Kathleen Norris' Quotidian Mysteries, Abigail Favale's Into the Deep, or going directly to Julian of Norwich. I really wanted to like this book as I have appreciated Shannon's writing, but this was not my favorite. I would recommend Edith Stein's Essays on Woman, Kathleen Norris' Quotidian Mysteries, Abigail Favale's Into the Deep, or going directly to Julian of Norwich.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lacz

    To be frank, as a Catholic woman and as a mother I am often disappointed and left wanting after reading books that attempt to be targeted to me but feel alienated from my sacred, messy reality. To read "Rewilding Motherhood" was such a gift and a relief — Shannon Evans bursts through the containers society puts mothers into and invites us into a process of openness, expansion, messiness, and embracing the holy wildness of being a mother. Evans' writing is relatable, thoughtful, and spiritually p To be frank, as a Catholic woman and as a mother I am often disappointed and left wanting after reading books that attempt to be targeted to me but feel alienated from my sacred, messy reality. To read "Rewilding Motherhood" was such a gift and a relief — Shannon Evans bursts through the containers society puts mothers into and invites us into a process of openness, expansion, messiness, and embracing the holy wildness of being a mother. Evans' writing is relatable, thoughtful, and spiritually profound. I loved the way the book moved from looking inward to looking outward, and the concrete, honest examples Shannon offers in every chapter made me feel less alone as a mom. One of the best parts of the book is the opportunity to "go deeper" at the end of each chapter with a variety of practices that I personally found spiritually nourishing and that felt doable, even as a working mother. I plan on gifting this book to some new mothers in my life who I know yearn to have the complexity of their spirituality as mothers embraced and welcomed. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Rewilding Motherhood is a much needed reposturing of what motherhood is and should look like. The same tired tropes about motherhood need to be reworked, and Shannon does a beautiful job of exploring these. Touching on ways, as mothers, we can transform inwardly to reimagine motherhood and how we can reshape society, this book shows us how to look at motherhood in a new light. As a first time mother, I had felt in my soul but didn’t have the words to describe so much of what Shannon touches on. Rewilding Motherhood is a much needed reposturing of what motherhood is and should look like. The same tired tropes about motherhood need to be reworked, and Shannon does a beautiful job of exploring these. Touching on ways, as mothers, we can transform inwardly to reimagine motherhood and how we can reshape society, this book shows us how to look at motherhood in a new light. As a first time mother, I had felt in my soul but didn’t have the words to describe so much of what Shannon touches on. The ideas and stereotypes of motherhood we are given do no match the gut level feelings I have about what it truly is. Rewilding Motherhood is a beautiful and society-changing reimagining of what motherhood should be.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    This book spoke to me on a deep level. It both challenged and affirmed. I’m so grateful for Shannon’s beauty and mastery of faith but also the her willingness to climb into uncomfortable places and then help us down into them as well. This is a dynamic, beautiful work of art.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Theilen

    "For true generosity is love, and love wills for all to be free--yes, even you." ~Shannon K. Evans~ Several years ago I remember stepping outside and telling God I was in desperate need of another metaphor. I needed something else, some other word or concept besides "death" in order to help me make sense of my life. I truly expected God to answer that prayer. Some wild, obvious, incredibly mind-altering and life-changing word was going to appear out of nowhere that would make me wonder how I misse "For true generosity is love, and love wills for all to be free--yes, even you." ~Shannon K. Evans~ Several years ago I remember stepping outside and telling God I was in desperate need of another metaphor. I needed something else, some other word or concept besides "death" in order to help me make sense of my life. I truly expected God to answer that prayer. Some wild, obvious, incredibly mind-altering and life-changing word was going to appear out of nowhere that would make me wonder how I missed it, how I ever could've gone so long without seeing it. I was over the life of dying to self. Death never seemed to be able to live up to its promise. Death was supposed to lead to life and resurrection, but too much of my "new life" felt like sorrow and emptiness. So Shannon K. Evans, a former evangelical missionary turned Catholic, was speaking my language from her very first chapter on forging identity. She says one of the greatest social myths of our day is that a woman can be totally fulfilled by motherhood. I'm not sure I would've described it as a myth of society, but rather more like a myth that collectively haunts our individual minds once we become mothers. The haunting didn't come from a belief that motherhood would fulfill us. He came like crumbs in the day, or in the cry of the night, when again we woke up and realized it didn't. Contentment is a word I have often heard as a Christian woman. I honestly couldn't give you a quote or a source. The many books and blog posts are mostly a blur, but it seems like of the wide array of sins to choose from, discontent is particularly discouraged against. Shannon writes, "Mothers are fantastic at berating themselves for not being content. This discontent, we are certain, is indicative of spiritual immaturity, or ungratefulness, or cultivating a bad, worldly attitude." Perhaps a handful of times I have read something that was not condemning the notorious feminine "desire for more". Shannon goes on, "Most mothers are not content; they are hungry--hungry for a deeper spiritual life, hungry for inner healing, hungry for intimate friendships, hungry for more of themselves. Yet we are immersed in a society that has always told us that the hunger of women is bad. Dangerous. Undesirable. We have been indoctrinated in every possible way to believe that our hunger will make us too big, too indelicate, too uncomfortable to be around...We long to follow that gnawing hunger, that instinctual knowing that tells us there is yet more transformation to lay hold of." Though you are going to find remnants of Christianity in this book, I wouldn't say it was specifically meant to be Christian. The author acknowledges the many influences she's had from other spiritual traditions. These influences appear frequently throughout the book, including phrases like, "before patriarchy, before monotheism..." The author talked about Eve, the mother of the world's first unforgettable sin, and the way we as women have internalized her guilt. She mentioned reclaiming the snake as a sacred feminine symbol, which I thoroughly disagreed with. There was a line that really resonated when she quoted Helene Cixous, described by the author as a Jewish feminist who says, "We must learn to speak the language women speak when there is no one there to correct us." I do tend to agree regarding learning from other faith traditions. I will admit that it did kind of make me sad when she said, "At the time I ingested my first Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin was a part of Catholicism I begrudgingly tolerated. Years later, she is what keeps me here." For the first time in my entire life, while reading this book, I actually felt sad about and wondered why women seem to be more left out of "His story". Why is it the men who get the overwhelming majority of the books of the Bible named after them? Why does there not exist a female deity? I understand the draw toward a divine feminine figure. While I have frequently heard both men and women bemoan the "feminization of the church" and the lack of involved men and fathers, I'm not sure I've ever heard anything from the more official church voices about the very real missing maternal wisdom and presence in our often isolated lives. I've spent years of my life gathering nuts and berries in silence. We want to be content, yes, but. There is something even more than comforting in having a real-life woman to converse with, in having anyone, who can in any way, relate to my life. As women, Shannon writes, we "desperately need our lived experience reflected back to us in sacred ways." This, for me, is why I as a woman, found such a friend in Jesus in ways I never had before. It didn't matter to me that Jesus was a man, or that he'd never been married or given birth to any children. For when my eyes beheld the cross of Christ, I saw my life. I saw another person who had suffered deeply for the sake of love. I'm not sure I could tell you God has given me another metaphor. But what God has given me, little by little, day by day, is the faith to believe in a God who fills the hungry with good things. When I was tied up in the blessed life with my littles, when I was blindly starving myself and calling it my dutiful service to God, when I was caught in the hopeless death cycle of trying to figure out where I needed to die next, there was God's unmistakable voice, falling like rain from a cloudless sky, declaring it is Christ's death that liberates me, not mine. If it were just me reading and rating this book, I probably would've given it 4 or 5 stars. But this review is for the reader who may have already read or heard about this book and had legitimate questions about the theology contained inside of it. Particularly during these mothering years, I have often looked to books as friends. While I no longer find myself reading much in regards to household management or motherhood devotions, I still like hearing from my peers and hearing how they are doing and doing it. We're not going to be friends with every book, and that's okay. The title is what originally drew me in. The reason I liked this particular book is because it encourages the wholistic care and feeding of the human being, namely, the individual person who is reading its pages. It spoke to me in this present season I am in, not just in motherhood, but also in life (Though I should add, to be clear, that motherhood and life cannot be separated).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol Kean

    There may be nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiastes tells us, but Shannon K. Evans puts a fresh spin on motherhood, from the Biblical to the cultural expectations, moving on to contemporary ideals. The idea of women as more than mothers has been taking off for at least half a century, to the point that feminism has come under assault and some women yearn for the days when it was "enough" just to want to be a wife and mother. (I've heard this from Millennial women who are half my age..) Even There may be nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiastes tells us, but Shannon K. Evans puts a fresh spin on motherhood, from the Biblical to the cultural expectations, moving on to contemporary ideals. The idea of women as more than mothers has been taking off for at least half a century, to the point that feminism has come under assault and some women yearn for the days when it was "enough" just to want to be a wife and mother. (I've heard this from Millennial women who are half my age..) Even if this book offered nothing "new," it would be offering much-needed reminders, because even though we hear marvelous insights and inspiring words, we tend to forget them, or fail to internalize them. One of the fresh twists we get from Evans may amount to her appropriating another term, "rewilding," but she grabs this ball and runs with it and SHE SCORES. As a prairie-planting guerilla gardner and contemplative, I say "Bravo!" to this analogy: “To rewild a piece of land is to allow it to return to its original state: biodiverse and flourishing as nature intended," Evans writes in her introduction. "Rewilded land will look unkempt to the outside observer, but in actuality it is thriving--a fact proven by its self-regulatory and self-sustaining ecosystem.” So, too, motherhood may be stripped of centuries of order and structure as we challenge old assumptions and ideals. This is not a conventional "Christian" book exhorting us to live up to the standards of saints and martyrs. This is a liberating view of mothering for anyone from any religion or walk of life. (I might dare to assert that this is a book for thousands of generations of women, not "birth persons" or men who seek to become pregnant.) Not surprisingly, Evans has read and quoted "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, but Evans is very well-read and has done a great job of internalizing the wisdom of many women authors. She quotes the best of them, from the saints to contermporary writers like Sue Monk Kidd and Terry Tempest Williams. Certain themes in this book reminded me of another classic, "Diapers, Pacifiers, and Other Holy Things" by Lorraine M. Pintus. In 1995, PIntus wrote of praying while on her knees, scrubbing floors, praying through all the daily chores of wife/motherhood. Evans adds to this: “The vast majority of the living that you do takes places within the walls of your home, with the people you most take for granted....The way we speak, not just about our own bodies but to the souls under our roof, is sacred. Equitable division of household labor is sacred. Sex is sacred. Scrubbing toilets is sacred. Planting a garden is sacred....When I say sacred, I don’t just mean that these everyday actions are worthy of our time and protection, but that they are an actual portal to the divine life...the people and actions that make up our lives are seeds of divine encounter. If we treat them as seeds must be treated—with intentionality, care and consistency—they will sprout, blossom, and bear fruit..” Another book came to mind as I read this one: "A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband 'Master' "by Rachel Held Evans. Here again was a young woman, very well read, with meticulously researched ideas and insights. You can read both books without coming across any redundancy of information. Evans touches on so many writers and mystics, I need to take notes and review the names and quotes, trying to retain all this information, and above all to internalize some of these concepts. My Kindle is packed full of highlights - so many great lines and insights to share. It will take me a long time to summarize the best of the best, and I am seriously overdue in reviewing this book, so I will mention just a few insights that stayed with me: "Where is the icon of the mystic with one baby on the hip, a toddler crying at their feet, cooking dinner with one hand, trying to finish work on a laptop with the other?" "... the myth of the ever-accessible mother: the mother who will always give tirelessly, smile tenderly, respond patiently, and accept the hand she has been dealt with endless grace and ease." "Real mothers lose it, pick themselves back up, dost off their ego, hug their child, and try it again." Evans is not exclusively Catholic in her belief system. She quotes Jewish and Buddhist scholars, feminists, contemporary essayists, and of course the saints. "All manner of events transpire in life," Buddhist priest Karen Maezen Miller reflects in her book "Momma Zen," reminding us that we should abandon the idea of failure and mistakes: Only in the mind, "our judging, critical, labeling mind," do we experience *mistakes.* Words like 'There you go again," and and "why can't you get it right" comprise a "nonstop narrative" to our lives. Some readers like the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I've been seeing it in a lot of books lately. I skip these parts. I'd give this book five stars for the themes, wisdom quoted from the saints, and inspiring ideas, and pretend I didn't see the annoying and intrusive questions for readers to ponder and discuss. Thank you to Brazos Press, Shannon Evans, and NetGalley for providing a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Basi

    I have been a fan of Shannon Evans since I first encountered her. A seeker who challenges herself and everyone who reads her to go deeper, she is not satisfied with the status quo, and she won't let us be, either. This makes her books a soul challenge in the best of ways. Because isn't soul challenge, after all, what a life in faith is all about? Rewilding Motherhood is pointed toward motherhood, but it was not so much as mother, but as woman that I interacted with this book. I am a traditional k I have been a fan of Shannon Evans since I first encountered her. A seeker who challenges herself and everyone who reads her to go deeper, she is not satisfied with the status quo, and she won't let us be, either. This makes her books a soul challenge in the best of ways. Because isn't soul challenge, after all, what a life in faith is all about? Rewilding Motherhood is pointed toward motherhood, but it was not so much as mother, but as woman that I interacted with this book. I am a traditional kind of gal who has been dragged by God, through life experiences, into a less traditional view of many (though by no means all) things surrounding faith. In Evans work I find myself looking at the familiar, but also taken beyond my comfort zone. What does it mean for women of faith, having grown up in a structure where faith is defined by the male, not the female, experience? What if those male-driven norms train us to damage ourselves by more and more self-emptying instead of recognizing that without good mental health, we can't really nurture those in our care? What does our compulsion to control tell us about our inner life? Why do we insist we ought to be seeking contentment? What if our lack of contentment is a holy clarion call? Rewilding Motherhood asks hard questions--at times liberating, at times resonating so deep, it's like a gong went off in my soul, and at times well beyond what I'm comfortable contemplating. Not everything in this book landed on fertile ground. Some of it I am not ready for. Perhaps I never will be. But faith is not here to make us feel good. It's here to challenge us to grow, and this book does that.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Waclawek

    Thought-provoking, challenging, affirming, and nourishing all at once, this book made me pause, reflect, question, and think more deeply about my own identify as a woman and soon-to-be-mother. I believe there is something in here for every woman, regardless of your relationship to motherhood or faith background. Shannon is so intentional about pulling from a wide variety of spiritual thinkers and social commentators (and all women!!!!), and her ability to balance both the “heady” content with gr Thought-provoking, challenging, affirming, and nourishing all at once, this book made me pause, reflect, question, and think more deeply about my own identify as a woman and soon-to-be-mother. I believe there is something in here for every woman, regardless of your relationship to motherhood or faith background. Shannon is so intentional about pulling from a wide variety of spiritual thinkers and social commentators (and all women!!!!), and her ability to balance both the “heady” content with grounded, practical advice is a true gift! Her vulnerability, wisdom, and humor make her story easy to step into, while not detracting from your ability to consider your own experiences in light of what she shares. A major plus, Shannon is honest, intentional, and genuinely cares about her readership.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tristan

    I know that she didn’t write this book to argue against all the positions in historic Christianity she no longer holds, but I found her quick dismissive ness toward many pretty widely held beliefs in the Christian tradition (certainly in the Protestant tradition and from what I understand of the catholic tradition as well) to uproot her basis for her claims? I’m sure there was more sophistication to how she came to her theological conclusions but the way it came across in the book was a little p I know that she didn’t write this book to argue against all the positions in historic Christianity she no longer holds, but I found her quick dismissive ness toward many pretty widely held beliefs in the Christian tradition (certainly in the Protestant tradition and from what I understand of the catholic tradition as well) to uproot her basis for her claims? I’m sure there was more sophistication to how she came to her theological conclusions but the way it came across in the book was a little pick and choose-y which made it hard for me to connect with her reasonings. My wife just gave birth to our second child and I was hoping to glean some wisdom in how to come alongside her, but I didn’t really walk away with much new thought from this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    I love this book so much. Shannon's writing is so wise and real and *affirming.* And you don't have to be a new mom to be enriched by this book; my own kids are teens and I came away with so much to ponder about my role as mother, and how I inhabit that role, and where I can stretch and challenge myself to be more courageous and authentic in the process. There's just so much to ponder here! I hope lots of men read it, too. I love this book so much. Shannon's writing is so wise and real and *affirming.* And you don't have to be a new mom to be enriched by this book; my own kids are teens and I came away with so much to ponder about my role as mother, and how I inhabit that role, and where I can stretch and challenge myself to be more courageous and authentic in the process. There's just so much to ponder here! I hope lots of men read it, too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monica Cooper

    Absolutely gorgeous from beginning to end. Ignore anyone who might tell you the theology is faulty-it’s not. This book will stretch your understanding of yourself, women, motherhood, and God in all the best ways. Truly an absolute gift.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lindsy Wallace

    Evans' words beautifully call forth what we all know to be true—in order to flow outward in love, we must grow inward in self-love. With the authority of a person who has lived what she writes, Evans invites us all toward a fuller, truer, more whole experience of faith and life. This book is a must-read for anyone who finds themselves caring for others, young or old. Evans' words beautifully call forth what we all know to be true—in order to flow outward in love, we must grow inward in self-love. With the authority of a person who has lived what she writes, Evans invites us all toward a fuller, truer, more whole experience of faith and life. This book is a must-read for anyone who finds themselves caring for others, young or old.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily Patterson

    A wise, tender, wide-awake look at motherhood in a spiritual context. I want to give this book to every mother I know.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Claire Brown

    Love the ways that Shannon's accessible wisdom, authenticity, and deep Christian faith connected into the heart of motherhood. Even as our experiences are different, the Spirit speaks through her writing and connects through spiritual practices and reflection questions. A must read for mamas searching for spiritual wholeness and freedom. Love the ways that Shannon's accessible wisdom, authenticity, and deep Christian faith connected into the heart of motherhood. Even as our experiences are different, the Spirit speaks through her writing and connects through spiritual practices and reflection questions. A must read for mamas searching for spiritual wholeness and freedom.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I can see how this can be helpful for women but I am *not* the target audience. I’m not sure how theologically sound certain sections are so I stopped reading in Ch 8 when things started to feel a bit muddy in that respect.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Butterfield

    This book is dripping with beauty and insight, and it's a must-read for any mom seeking a deeper connection with God. I was blessed by the chapters on anger and patience (these two chapters alone are worth the price of the book!). I especially loved how she reframed our idea of selflessness/self-sacrifice. I also deeply appreciated her thoughts on incarnational theology and reimagining the feminine side of God. I want to get a box of these books and give one to every mom I know... highly recomme This book is dripping with beauty and insight, and it's a must-read for any mom seeking a deeper connection with God. I was blessed by the chapters on anger and patience (these two chapters alone are worth the price of the book!). I especially loved how she reframed our idea of selflessness/self-sacrifice. I also deeply appreciated her thoughts on incarnational theology and reimagining the feminine side of God. I want to get a box of these books and give one to every mom I know... highly recommended!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Armstrong

    I read and absolutely love Shannon’s book, Embracing Weakness, a couple years ago so I was thrilled when I learned she was writing another book, especially on the topic of motherhood. Shannon honestly and intentionally looks at motherhood and spirituality, addressing ways we can lose ourselves as women in this season and then offers hope for how we can discover ourselves and deeper connection with God as mothers. It’s beautifully written and I highly recommend. I especially loved the guided ques I read and absolutely love Shannon’s book, Embracing Weakness, a couple years ago so I was thrilled when I learned she was writing another book, especially on the topic of motherhood. Shannon honestly and intentionally looks at motherhood and spirituality, addressing ways we can lose ourselves as women in this season and then offers hope for how we can discover ourselves and deeper connection with God as mothers. It’s beautifully written and I highly recommend. I especially loved the guided questions for going deeper at the end of each chapter. “Good ideas are made better when dipped into real life now and then. People tell you that necessity is the mother of invention; what they don’t tell you is that invention thrives on limitation—and no one knows limitation like a mother.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara Q

    This book is amazing! It helps you to look at Motherhood in a new way. This book also has conscious medicine aspects intertwined into it! This book is written in a very christian and spiritual way. So keep an open mind when reading it. It is not a strictly Catholic book. I love that about it. This is a must read for any mother!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Vulnerable, authentic, prophetic, compassionate. These are just a few words that come to mind to describe this book. I cannot recommend this book enough to those walking the path of motherhood and seeking a new, perhaps radical way to envision the journey. The author does a beautiful job of inviting readers into the journey. There is so much rich wisdom in this book and I will come back to it again and again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    KieraK

    I enjoy people who don't put God in a box. Shannon is that kind of person and each chapter had me provoked in thought and I enjoyed learning and growing in faith with this book. I enjoy people who don't put God in a box. Shannon is that kind of person and each chapter had me provoked in thought and I enjoyed learning and growing in faith with this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    In Rewilding Motherhood, Shannon K. Evans takes the concept of rewilding and attempts to apply it to feminine spirituality. For years, women have been told that motherhood will complete them. But many women still long for a deeper spiritual connection with God. Evans encourages women to use motherhood as an opportunity to connect with a deeper knowledge of God and self. Topics include: identity, work-life balance, and solitude. I was really excited about the premise of this book. I think there's In Rewilding Motherhood, Shannon K. Evans takes the concept of rewilding and attempts to apply it to feminine spirituality. For years, women have been told that motherhood will complete them. But many women still long for a deeper spiritual connection with God. Evans encourages women to use motherhood as an opportunity to connect with a deeper knowledge of God and self. Topics include: identity, work-life balance, and solitude. I was really excited about the premise of this book. I think there's a lot here to explore. However, the first chapter was so full of red flags. From the first page, the author asserts that society has told women that they'll be fulfilled from being mothers. This statement alone is completely contrary to today's view of motherhood which has been greatly devalued. Evan goes on to talk about how women have sacrificed themselves on the alters of their husbands and children. Not only did I find this statement offensive, but also untrue. There's was so many condescending statements just within the first few chapters of this book; I became so frustrated with the author that I just couldn't go any further. All in all, Rewilding Motherhood felt very poorly researched, very self-helpish, and incredibly judgmental. I just can't recommend this book for anyone. *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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