(Inside: Best inspirational books for mothers. Enjoy these quick reads that will inspire, encourage, and motivate you to love your mom life. )
A book healed me.
Okay, maybe that’s not totally true, but a book started my healing process. I was in a deep mom slump. A miscarriage followed by a job loss left me feeling beaten down at best. I’d never read inspirational Christian books before, but a title caught my eye: Uninvited – Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely (Lysa TerKeurst)
I didn’t feel left out, but I felt sad (like all the time) and I cried a lot (like every day) and this book just seemed hopeful
So, I started reading. Then this crazy thing happened…I felt better. Not a lot better, simply one minuscule click forward. But still, it was progress. So, I picked up another inspirational book.
Dr. Gotham famously says a healthy marriage needs 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative one. (The magic 5:1 ratio.) I think our relationship with ourselves is the same: 5 positive thoughts for every 1 negative one. Except, in that low season of my life, one negative thought seemed to exponentially multiply – so I found that I needed to input about 15000 positive thoughts daily. Or maybe even hourly. As a result, I kept finding more inspirational books and reading them.
(And did other work as well in healing. Lots of “other” work.)
But slowly – at turtle speed – I climbed out of my valley. And it was through books that I kept a steady stream of encouragement flowing into my brain. So, momma, I don’t know where you’re at in motherhood:
- Are you depressed or feeling anxious?
- Are you trying to make a decision?
- Do you need the confidence to go after your dream?
- Do you just need encouragement to keep you going?
- Or things are going great, you just need “maintenance.”
Here are some best books for moms to read. I’ve read most of them and the few I haven’t are on my “must-read” list. There is a book on this list that will move you. Read with joy, then tell me about it in the comments. (Or let me know about a book I missed!)
Now, onto the list of best books for moms…
This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission if you purchase through these links. (At no extra cost to you.)
“I need to heal” best inspirational books for mothers
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered (Lysa TerKeurst)
This is my number one recommendation. Lysa healed from a marriage betrayal, cancer, and more. I underlined every other sentence in this book.
I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Joy and Grief (Angie Smith)
Angie walks you through her high-risk pregnancy. She knew her baby would die days/weeks after she gave birth. This book will both tear you apart and put you back together.
The Broken Way: A Daring Path to the Abundant Life (Ann Voskamp)
I found this book right when I needed it. It gives you a fresh look at pain and how it transforms your life in amazing ways. This book takes away the fear of hard stuff happening. You’ll see how that the cracks in your life let God’s love into your heart in breathtaking ways.
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely (Lysa TerKeurst)
I picked up this book when I was going through a painful period in my life; I had no idea how healing reading it would be. The bottom line is that it made me think about the root of some of my pain, which was seeking approval. For anyone who struggles with people-pleasing, this is a must-read.
Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole (Angie Smith)
Angie wondered if really all hard things worked together for good. She took time to sort through her thoughts and research heartache; this is her story.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant)
Sheryl Sandberg, a key leader in the Facebook company, shares her story of unexpectedly losing her husband. Through the grief and pain, her counselor helps her put her life back together.
Learning to Breathe Again: Choosing Life and Finding Hope After a Shattering Loss (Tammy Trent)
Tammy and her husband were vacationing and unexpectedly, Tammy’s husband died while swimming in the ocean. This is Tammy’s story of healing and learning to breathe again.
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way (Shauna Niequist)
I read this book just when I needed to hear this message. Amazon review explains: “Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.”
The Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It Hurts (Sarah Mae)
Sarah tells her story of her tumultuous relationship with her alcoholic mom. The book has both Sarah’s words and her mom’s journals. Was Sarah makes sense of their rocky relationship, she finds healing, peace, and love.
Fight Back with Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)
Margaret talks about her battle with cancer and her determination to find joy in the journey. This book will encourage you to live well, even when it’s hard.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Brene Brown)
I don’t remember this book having any faith associations, but Brene’s research on shame is eye-opening and transformative.
Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again
Lysa’s well-researched book helps people heal from past hurts. She shares her personal stories, Bible teaching, a therapeutic insight that helps one heal and look forward with hope.
“I need to stop feeling so stressed in mom life” best inspirational books for mothers
Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions (Lysa TerKeurst)
Lysa meets busy moms (and women) right where they’re out. She’ll help you find calm in big emotions and joy in the journey.
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living (Shauna Niequist)
Shauna’s stories opened my eyes to see the practices in my life that were soul-sucking those that were life–giving. The book gave me confidence to lean into what really matters.
Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World (Emily P. Freeman)
This book will help you slow down and look at your world around you with wonder and a renewed appreciation.
What Women Fear: Walking in Faith that Transforms (Angie Smith)
What Women Fear helps moms understand what we fear and why we fear these things. As we unpack our thoughts, we learn to overcome our fears with confidence.
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker)
After reading this book, I looked at all the “stuff” in my life and was able to let go of clutter that was supposed to be making me happy but instead was causing me stress. My faith grew in huge ways through reading Jen’s work.
Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of Your Try Hard Life (Emily P. Freeman)
This is on my to-read list. Here’s what the review on Amazon says: “Many of us believe that we are saved by grace–but for too many, that’s the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret. In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from him rather than constantly try to achieve for him.”
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy (Anne Lammott)
Anne shares sweet and funny stories that teach us how an imperfect life points us to “hallelujah anyway!”
Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Shauna Niequist)
This collection of stories will help you see how many beautiful, extraordinary moments are tucked into ordinary life.
Hungry for God: Hearing God’s Voice in the Ordinary and the Everyday (Margaret Feinberg)
Through this book, hear God’s voice in your ordinary life and let stress melt away.
Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Ann Voskamp)
Ann was in a deep valley of sorrow and sadness. She desperately wanted to pull herself out of her depression, but she wasn’t sure how. So, she started writing down all the things she was grateful for. 1000 things. This book is poetic and beautiful. You won’t see the world around you the same again.
“I need motivation” best inspirational books for mothers
Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits that Build Confidence, Courage, and Influence (Valorie Burton)
This is the best motivational book I’ve ever read. It will halt your fear, shift your perspective and motivate you to go for it. With confidence.
How to Have Your Life Not Suck: Becoming Today Who You Want to Be Tomorrow (Bianca Olthoff)
If you need motivation and practical advice on how to rock your everyday life, Bianca is your girl. I haven’t read this book, but I’ve listened to her talk about it on a podcast and I can’t wait to pick it up.
Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So YOU Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be (Rachel Hollis)
I loved this book. Rachel outlines the lies she once believed and how she overcame them. Her stories are hilarious, personal, serious, and heart-wrenching. This is a best seller for a reason. Pick up this book!
Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals. (Rachel Hollis)
The beat of inspiration in this book will become the soundtrack in your head as you think about your goals, set up real steps to achieve them, and feel motivated to go big.
Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World (Lisa Bevere)
Lisa wakes women up to their calling and gives them the inspiration to change their world.
Stand All the Way Up: Stories of Staying It When You Want to Burn it All Down (Sophie Hudson)
This is on my list of books to read. I’ve read Sophie’s other books and she is hilarious, inspiring. and a great storyteller. This read has to be a good one.
Everything is Figureoutable (Marie Forleo)
I’ve listened to Maria’s podcast and she is the real deal. There’s a reason why I listen to her motivational podcasts while I run. So, I’m excited to read her encouragement in her newest book.
Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People (Bob Goff)
Bob helps us all discover how incredibly important our lives are and the type of huge impact we can make in our corner of the world. This book will make you feel inspired and happy.
“I need direction ” best inspirational books for mothers
The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions (Emily Freeman)
I struggle so much with making both big and small decision. Whether you have decision fatigue (often a result of low-grade daily anxiety) or complete decision paralysis, this book will help you. In it, you’ll untangle the art of making decisions, gain a renewed perspective and feel more confident. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I read it twice and underlined 50% of the sentences. I highly recommend it.
100 Days to Be Brave: Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self (Annie Downs)
This daily devotional was one of my favorites. The daily words on being brave lit my heart on fire and empowered me to choose to live in courage.
Own Your Life: living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love (Sally Clarkson)
I admire how Sally lives life her way. Meaning, in deep faith, she follows God’s call even if it goes against the grain. (Like some examples of how she parents.) If you want to take a more thoughtful look at your own life and move forward more intentionally, this book is for you.
Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God is Speaking (Priscilla Shirer)
This is on my list of books to read. I’ve read Priscilla’s work before and have heard her speak – she’s amazing!
Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love (Ruth Soukup)
This book is sitting on my nightstand to read. I listen to Ruth’s podcasts and love how in 20 minutes I can feel empowered and inspired. I truly have used her phrase “do it scare” to hit publish on this blog, get on the treadmill, or in other areas of my life.
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (Bob Goff)
I loved this book. Bob Goff tells stories that point you to see God move and guide you in the ordinary. Though the book is more about seeing God in the ordinary, what Bob says about “God’s will for your life” was life-giving, direction-leading thought. I had a total aha moment with this book!
“I need to laugh” best inspirational books for mothers
For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (Jen Hatmaker)
Jen Hatmaker is the funniest author ever. She weaves faith and mom life into hilarious tales that will make you laugh and grow your wisdom.
Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of This Wild and Glorious Life (Jen Hatmaker)
Again – Jen writes hilarious, inspirational, thought-provoking books just for moms. I always enjoy her tales.
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon (Sophie Hudson)
Sophie is also so funny. She tells stories of life that will take the edge off of a bad day, make you laugh and inspire your faith.
Fierce Free and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You (Jen Hatmaker)
This is Jen’s newest book and it’s on my list to read. I always love Jen’s humor – so I read everything she writes.
Home is Where My People Are: The Roads that Lead Us to Where We Belong (Sophie Hudson)
Again – faith-filled, hilarious stories you will love.
“I want to be inspired to be more creative” best inspirational books for mothers
A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live (Emily P. Freeman)
If you are not convinced that God designed us to be creative, this book will change your mind. You’ll be inspired to pick up that artistic expression you’ve been longing to do and go for it with absolute joy. I loved how Emily taught us creativity through the lens of God’s design for our lives. This book is so good.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott)
Anne shares both her writing journal, her tips on being a writer. The book reads like a story, yet through it you’ll increase your knowledge on how to be a better writer.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Elizabeth Gilbert)
This book doesn’t have a religious affiliation (and she writer drops the F-bomb a bit), but I lent my copy to my pastor’s wife and she liked it, so there’s that. This book I found incredibly inspirational – you’ll fall more in love with your craft because of Elizabeth’s word.
“I want to get healthy” best inspirational books for mothers
Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)
I read this book and found it an interesting way to get yourself back in shape. She makes eating well, exercising and losing weight into a spiritual experience. This book isn’t for everyone, but it just might be for you.
“I want to grow my faith” best inspirational books for moms
Chasing God (Angie Smith)
If you feel like you are always chasing God, but you don’t actually know him, then this book is for you! It will open your eyes to seeing how God meets you right where you’re at, in the simple, every day.
Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity (Jen Hatmaker)
Jen opened my eyes to see the world around me through the eyes of Jesus. Meaning, she challenged me to notice people who aren’t like me. (And celebrate them.) She also challenges us to give in bigger ways that are out of our comfort zone. This book will grow your faith and change your perspective in a very good way.
The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children (Sally Clarkson)
I was over-the-moon with this book when I read it. At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom and Sally opened my eyes to see how important my work was being with my littles. As I parent older kids, I still carry her words with me. All mommas, read this book!
The Organic God (Margaret Feinberg)
This is absolutely one of my favorite books. Margaret tells beautiful stories that help you better understand who God is and see Him working all around you.
UnsuperMommy: Release Expectation, Embrace Imperfection, and Connect to God’s Superpower (Maggie Combs)
Maggie does a great job of walking moms through the holy experience of motherhood. She gives moms a ton of grace and encouragement. This is a quick read and an uplifting experience.
Play with Fire: Discovering Fierce Faith, Unquenchable Passion, and a Life-Giving God (Bianca Olthoff)
As you read Bianca’s story of growing her own faith, you’ll find a piece of yourself somewhere along the way. What I remember most about this book is being completely overcome with a real-life–prayed-for miracle that happened. There is a real God who loves us and fights for us and Bianca helps you know Him more.
Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, as you Are. (Shauna Niequist)
This is a daily devotional that helps you find joy and faith in ordinary life. When I bought this book, I didn’t realize it was a devotional. I was disappointed because I don’t normally read daily devotionals. But I read it anyway and found it to be lovely. I was glad I picked it up.
Table Life – Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home (Joanne Thompson)
Reading this book gave me a fresh perspective on how sacred the dinner table is and the ministry that flows from it.
An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (Barbara Brown Taylor)
A friend lent me this, but I ended up buying my own copy so I could highlight it up! Barbara Brown Taylor is a former minister with a gift for teaching about faith. I think you’ll love this book too.
Awaken: 90 Days with the God who Speaks (Pricilla Shirer)
I haven’t read this, but I’ve listened to Priscilla’s podcasts and have done her Bible studies. I love her!
Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God (Margaret Feinberg)
I crave reading these kinds of books that open my eyes to see a living, breathing God who daily surrounds us. This was an easy read that lifted my heart.
The Power of a Praying Parent Book of Prayers (Stormie Omartian)
I can’t read Stormie’s books at night because her written-out prayers hold such power, love, and inspiration, that I get excited about praying for my family and can’t sleep! This is a great morning book.
Seeing Beautiful Again: 50 Devotions to Find Redemption in Every Part of Your Story
“Lysa TerKeurst shares how she processed seasons of disappointment and heartbreak, while inviting you to hope again.” (Amazon description)
Known By His Names: A 365-Day Journey From The Beginning to The Amen
Through the 365 names of God that are taught, I learned how much God loves us and how intimately He is involved in all of our lives. I love this devotional!
“I need a friend” best inspirational books for moms
Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom (Elisabeth Hasselbeck)
Elisabeth walks you through her season on the popular reality television show Survivor, her decade on The View, and her few years at Fox News. The tone of this book is friend-like, casual, and vulnerable. Elisabeth shares her story of life and faith with you – it’s refreshing and uplifting.
Finding the Bright Side: The Art of Chasing What Matters (Shannon Bream)
Shannon shares her journey of beauty pageants (competing on a National level), law school, becoming a popular news broadcaster, her husband’s cancer battle and her decision not to have kids. In it all, she shares how her journey has deepened her faith. You feel like you’re talking to a friend.
Brave Love: Making Space for You to Be you (Lisa Leonard)
Even though I don’t know Lisa personally, I’ve ordered a ton of her jewelry and got to be on her book launch team. This book tells her story of how she built her wildly successful business, her journey with parenting a special needs son, her perserverance through marrital strife, and how she conquers life.
Becoming (Michelle Obama)
Where do I start with this book? No matter what your political stance is, Michelle Obama is your girl. Honest, vulnerable and incredibly likeable, I ate up this book. I walked away feeling encouraged and inspired. (And like I could do anything!)
“I need to relate to my kid better” best inspirational books for moms
Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him (Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson)
Sally’s son Nathan grew up with some serious mental health issues. Both Nathan and Sally tell how they learned to better connect and understand each other. Nathan shares his story of learning about himself and growing into a thriving, happy adult. Then Sally shares the mom side of his journey. This story is a tear-jerker and will help you see your challenging child as the blessing that he (or she) already is.
“Help me overcome perfectionism” best inspirational books for moms
Why Your Best is Good Enough (Kevin Leman)
I love the wisdom and humor of psychologist, Kevin Lehman. This book was one of my favorites that he’s written. (And I’ve read many!) Amazon review says, “Dr. Kevin Leman helps those who struggle with self-doubt to value their talents and gifts and accept their shortcomings. He points out why the lifestyle we develop as a child determines our degree of success or failure and explains how, regardless of the past, each person can develop a healthy lifestyle today.”
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Brené Brown)
Often, we see “perfection” as life’s gift, but really “imperfection” is what connects us with others and transforms us in wonderful ways. Brené’s words gave me confidence to pursue purpose instead of perfect, quit being so dang hard on myself, and live life with more joy.
Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith (Karen Ehman)
Karen’s work is delightful to read. Here writing style will both teach you and make you laugh. (She’s funny!) Be inspired by her journey to let it go!
Your Turn: What are your favorite books for mothers?
What motivational and inspirational books did I miss? What have you read lately that has moved your heart? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Join this community of moms raising older kids
You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.
You are parenting tweens and teens.
It’s a fantastic life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.
I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below.
Read the Full Series on Self-Care & Inspiration for Moms
Why is self-care so hard for moms? Y’all, I ignored it for so long, that I had an epic mom crash. (I talk about it over here.) I never want to go there again, so it’s game on, self-care!
I recently listened to a podcast by the author of my favorite book on creativity (affiliate link), Liz Gilbert, where she talked about how she feels like she has been given the divine responsibility of being in charge of “Liz,” so needs to do what’s best for “Liz.”
Okay, I hope I don’t mess up the interpretation of what she said too much, but let me tell you how it went into my heart…
God gives us the sacred responsibility of taking care of ourselves. So, I need to see myself in the 3rd person. I need to step outside of myself and say, “Cheryl doesn’t need to be doing that. She’s done enough..she needs sleep, or to say ‘no,’ or to sit and pet her beloved dog.”
For this go-go-go, do-all-the-things girl, that way of explaining our self-obligation was powerful. Self-care is vital. We better serve our families and communities when we are in a good place. So, be encouraged by the full series on self-care and other inspiration for moms.
Self-care & Inspiration for Moms Series
INSPIRATION TO REFUEL MOMS
7 Christian Meditations for Busy Moms Just Like You
Best Podcasts Every Mom Needs to Hear
5 Best Relaxing Songs to Make Your Day Better
Need Hope? Look for it – Hope will Always Come Back to You
SELF-CARE IN THE CHAOS
8 Reasons Why “Me Time” for Moms is Good FOR YOUR KIDS
The Power of Finding Peace and Joy In the Choas of Momlife
Moms Need a Break and Good Things Can Come of It
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.