I was recently handed an advanced reading copy of a parenting book called, Raising an Original, by Julie Lyles Carr. Julie is a remarkable woman. She’s a mother of 8 kids (the original Octo-Mom), leads a non-profit, home schools her kids, serves as the women’s pastor at her church, speaks all over the United States, and makes sure her kids are where they need to be when they need to be there.

I was intrigued because I’m actually quite amazed by this woman. No one has enough time and somehow she’s doing far more than I am with excellence and grace. How in the world does she do it? That is why I was anxious to read it. I wanted to know the “secret” to running a household on limited time. I imagined that I would open the book to find a list of things to do to make my kids awesome, and how to manage my frantic household, and how to find more time hidden in my busy days. What I found was something different, but far better than I what I had imagined.

Julie didn’t give a “how to guide” on how to be better at life. However, the book was full of great stories and examples that illustrate how every child is different and that is how God made it to be. This book made me laugh, cry, and learn some things I’d missed along the way. Carr writes honestly and openly about her own struggles and and in a non-judgmental tone, she addresses how others can  can thrive as a parent. There is no magic pill to make things awesome. This book is full of honesty and truth that can apply to every life.

Through this book, I realized that to often I compare my circumstance to others. As a result, it is impossible for me to live a life that is totally mine. I need to constantly bring it back to Jesus. No matter what I am facing with my kids or maybe even some kids that I have in my ministry – I know that God has made them original. They are exactly as God created them. The same is true of me. God’s gift to me is that I’m an original and that truth is so refreshing. Invest in yourself and invest in your kids, pick up a copy of this book and consider a different perspective.

Book Club: Raising an Original

originalMost Christian parents are bombarded with all kinds of advice and plans and programs for how to be a great parent. In parenting eight kids over the last twenty-five years, Julie Lyles Carr and her husband experienced plenty of opportunity for learning, but it was when they began to understand it was about parenting each child according to their own unique needs and personality style that something wonderful happened.

In Raising an Original, Carr helps to redefine the primary purpose of Christian parenting, this raising of the next generation. God has given each of our children specific gifts, abilities and capacities for specific purposes and He can equip parents to discover and support those powerful personality traits if they know where to look and how to respond. So many kids raised in Christian homes launch into their adult lives without any sense of knowing who they are called to be or what their mission on earth is. What if parents, teachers or mentors could help them discover the wondrous, unique threads woven within them that will enable them to see their part in the fabric of God’s universe?