Disclosure: I received these books to review. The post contains affiliate links; if you make a purchase through these links I will receive a small commission. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.
When my husband and I taught Sunday School, we often worked with the high school class. Sometimes we took them to Burger King to enjoy a sausage biscuit while we had a discussion-style lesson. Those mornings were some of the best opportunities to talk with the teens about questions that they really wanted to explore. We always encouraged them to discuss issues with their parents; meanwhile, we tried our best to give God’s answers to those questions by using the Bible as our reference. When teens wonder about something, it’s not unlike a toddler’s curiosity. They’re bound to explore those questions in some fashion. That’s why it’s so important to have those critical conversations with your child!
This week I read The Case For Faith (Student Edition) by author Lee Strobel. The slim paperback was easy to read which would be good for teens. The book presents natural and typical questions that teens (maybe even pre-teens) might ask such as, “Can I believe the Bible?” Strobel shares interviews and personal experiences as the backdrop to the book. As a result, there are a great number of “I” mentions. In this way, the author didn’t seem to know the audience who would be reading the book. Teens are often self-centered and want to know an if/then cause-and-effect consequence. It would have been better to gear this book toward the teen’s perspective.
The Case For Faith is very scientific. It doesn’t shy away from controversial topics like Darwinism or the Big Bang Theory. That’s refreshing in a Christian book! Unpleasant topics such as the Inquisition and Salem Witch Trials are also mentioned to support the historic impact of religion. The best part of The Case For Faith was the Q&A section. If I were a kid picking up this book, this is probably the only section I would read. The book ends in an abrupt way; I flipped a few pages past just to make sure I had finished it. Although it’s not a book I’d hand to my teen, it’s definitely a book I’d use to prepare myself for the tough conversations my teen might want to have.
I remember the first time I ever heard that God could be called “Daddy.” Well, the term for it is “Abba” but it has the same affectionate meaning. That made God seem so real to me! In the book Knowing God by Name readers learn to touch base with God by calling Him by name. I think it’s such a special way to make devotion time personal. If you have a teenager in your life who is struggling with his/her walk in faith, consider gifting this book. The book is very easy to read but packs a powerful punch. You could also incorporate the book into your daily life by using God’s name as a family prayer. Spending just a few moments each day reflecting as a family, calling upon God to bless your family unit and heal any hurts, could really be a push in the right direction for kids who are dealing with the stress of growing up.
In the Christian church, the message often comes across that women who have children outside of marriage should be ashamed. That stigma is somewhat lessened in modern times but it’s still there in conservative circles. Many times we want our teens to feel free to talk with us, but we don’t want to really hear the questions that so many teens wonder about. Questions about unplanned pregnancies or birth control might seem like taboo subjects when really, those are the conversations that teens need to hear. The family planning situation hit home with me a few years ago. One of my dearest friends hasn’t found a significant other yet she wanted to have a baby. She deeply wanted to experience pregnancy for herself. She considered doing IVF but was worried about her co-workers and family’s reactions. How sad that was to me. She gave up one of the dearest dreams of her life in order to please those around her. When I read A Mother’s Secret, I felt empathy for Carolyn Lapp.
Although Carolyn’s situation was different, she was made to feel like a lesser citizen because she had a son but no husband. Her traditional Amish community accepted her but never truly saw the strength it took for her to raise her son. She’s almost expected to marry just anyone in order to appear like a proper mother. I never want my daughter to feel as though she HAS to get married, even if her choices don’t mesh with our family’s values. It’s unfortunate that some women do feel that pressure. Being a single mom is tough enough without adding the stress of a forced marriage.
In this book, Carolyn acted very immature. She was quite defensive of her son, while expecting her family to continue to support her. In a way it seemed as though Carolyn never really grew up even though she was in her early thirties. As the story continued, I warmed up to her character a bit. There are some excellent moral lessons throughout A Mother’s Secret. Hard work and integrity were the two main points I took away. Carolyn’s situation might seem antiquated because she’s from an Amish background but there’s still relevance today.