Spirit Led Parenting

Today I am excited to share with you a book that I completely believe in. I had the privilege of meeting these lovely ladies briefly at the Blissdom conference in February but have continued to keep in touch with them online as they’ve launched the book that has been their hearts’ passion for a long time. Megan Tietz and Laura Oyer {you may recognize her name from graceformoms.com where she writes with us} are co-authors of the book, Spirit Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year. When I first heard the title of the book, my heart skipped a beat because it alone expressed my heart (and I know Dr. Rupe’s heart) for this community of moms-to-be and new moms.

You can read more about the book on the {in}courage blog this week as they are a part of the Bloom Summer Book Club. Check it out to read more from both Megan and Laura as they share their heart behind this powerful book.

As we continue to write the manuscript for The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide Through the First Year, I love that God is connecting us with like-minded moms who desire to share a message of freedom with new moms. I felt led to write The Pregnancy Companion book because there was not a pregnancy resource out there that brought medicine and faith together. Likewise, I am passionate about The Baby Companion (and my friends’ book, Spirit Led Parenting) because I experienced a ton of fear in my baby’s first year. Every book I turned to promised a solution yet every time it fell short. I was sure the problem was me. But I learned the only problem I had was not listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading (at first). Once I began to let him lead me, I experienced so much peace and actually began to enjoy my days with my little one.

I shared a little sneak peek of The Baby Companion over at Grace for Moms last week. I thought it fitting as I pointed you to {in}courage this week to share a bit of our introduction (albeit a work in progress at this point) so you can understand our heart behind this coming resource. Those of you pregnant right now or walking through baby’s first year will not benefit from this book (for this child) but we hope it will be one that you will recommend to your friends and use yourself with future babies. In the meantime, you absolutely need to grab a copy of Spirit Led Parenting. I know these two books will compliment one another well.

Don’t forget, we are still looking for stories to share in the book. If you had (or are having) a unique experience through baby’s first year, please let us know through a comment or by emailing jesswolstenholm{@}gmail{dot}com. We will be sharing Real Life Stories in each chapter of the book so that moms know they are not alone in their challenges. Difficulty with breastfeeding. . .twins, triplets. . .preemies. . .digestion issues. . .severe sleep issues. . .we want to hear about it. This book is not about two doctors and me telling you what to do. It’s about them sharing their medical expertise and me sharing encouragement for moms to seek the Lord first and foremost and lean into each other to navigate their days. It’s about connection to the Holy Spirit and a community of faith.

{The Baby Companion Sneak Peek}

Introduction {rough draft}

When I had my first baby, I had grandiose ideas of what the first months of motherhood would be like. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there would be sleepless nights and dirty diapers but I thought, like many other things in my life, with enough hard work and diligence I would have reasonable control of the little person that just joined my life. When that was not the case, I felt like a mothering failure. I spent so much of my time and energy trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and worse, asking God what was wrong with my baby and why he wouldn’t give me a break and make her cooperate. Blinded by a culture that has a quick fix answer to every problem (especially in parenting) I knew the root issue was obvious – I was a horrible mother.

One day when my daughter was a few months old, I decided it was time to “sleep train” her (quotes used to emphasize the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing). I used a very popular book on sleep training and scheduling as a guide and I was determined to make it work quickly – just like the book promised. Otherwise it would be a testament to my inability to mother my baby. I put her down for a midday nap and left her room despite the fact that she started crying. I let her cry for a few minutes and then went in to reassure her. She kept crying. Enter baby’s room, reassure with a gentle voice “you’re ok, it’s time to sleep,” exit room, and repeat. This went on for about 30 minutes at which time she began to scream so I sat down on the stairs with my “baby bible” and began to cry myself.

Lord, what am I doing wrong? Please make her go to sleep. If she doesn’t sleep at regularly scheduled intervals then I must be unfit to be her mother. Why would you allow me to be a mother if I can’t even get my child to go to sleep? Maybe this was a bad idea.

And then I clearly heard him say, “Put the book away.”

So I did. And there was silence. Not another sound from her room. She was peacefully sleeping.

“I have given you everything you need to mother this child who is uniquely created to bless your life,” he gently whispered to my tired and doubting heart. “My Holy Spirit is the perfect guide to understand what I am calling you to do as her mother.”

Although I continued to follow some of it’s principles, I didn’t refer to that book (or any method book for that matter) throughout the first year of my daughter’s life. In fact, I haven’t even cracked open that book since my son was born a few months ago. With the Lord’s help, I have been able to let go of the hope of perfection and the idea that there is only one way to do anything in mothering.

So why on earth would I have the gumption to co-write a book about baby’s first year after admitting my slight aversion to baby books? It is our hope that this book would transcend the role of other baby books for you. Think of it as the un-book of baby books. There are many great books on the market that focus on the medical truths that will guide you through baby’s first year. Those books are wonderful tools that offer helpful information as you travel the uncharted waters of motherhood. And there are many other books that promise to offer you a be all, end all solution to every baby issue from sleeping to eating to immunizations. Those books may work wonders for some but they are the ones that got my amateur mother heart into trouble. Those books put in me a deep desire to write this one. This is not a how to book. I learned early on that while the advice and ideas given by others is valuable, every baby and every family is different so what works for one may not be what’s best for some. That is why, in this book, you will find the important medical information needed to guide you through baby’s first year and answer the questions you will encounter along the way gently wrapped in reminders to ultimately let God lead your journey. He has every answer to your silliest and most serious questions. But his answers may be different for you than they were for your girlfriend because after all, every mommy and every baby is different. As I said in The Pregnancy Companion, there are only a few non-negotiables when it comes to parenting. Most issues are about personal preferences and your unique circumstances. That is why God wants you to let his spirit be your baby Companion.

For this book, I have the privilege of partnering with an amazing woman I have known since college. Dr. Andrea Johnston is a great physician, an intelligent woman and a fairly new mother herself. You will be in very good hands, gaining insight and information from this pediatrician mom. You can trust that the sound medical information in this guide is coming straight from the doc. Any spiritual, devotional or practical material will be coming through me {Jessica} after lots of prayer and seeking God for exactly what he wants to say to encourage you.

What You Will Find In This Book

More than anything we pray that you will find grace within these pages. Our desire is to provide you with all of the important medical information you need to empower you to make the best decisions for your baby. At times we will share our own personal stories and points of view. These are not meant to tell you how to do something. They are meant to give you real-life examples. We trust that as you walk with the Lord, he will guide you in exactly what to do in each and every situation for your baby – and you should trust that too!

The book will be broken down into the following sections to guide you along each month of baby’s first year.

Baby Stats – Since babies vary greatly in height and weight, these stats will be averages that will tell you what to expect. Don’t be worried if your baby is bigger or smaller than these guidelines. Discuss any concerns with baby’s doctor.

Development Checker – Once again, we will use guidelines to help you understand the new and exciting things baby may be doing each month. If you are concerned that your baby is not on track with what you read, discuss your concerns with you pediatrician but remember, every baby is different.

Baby Care – We will discuss everything from feeding to diapering to bathing, keeping in mind that many of these topics are about preference rather than what’s right or wrong. Dr. Johnston will give her recommendations based on medical truth and experience but we’ll leave room for you to determine what is best for your baby.

Expectations For Your Doctor Visits – In each chapter we will discuss what you can expect at your next doctor’s visit. Some months you will not visit the pediatrician (unless baby is sick) so we’ll include other helpful information such as tips for communicating with your doctor and how to keep track of baby’s immunizations, etc.

Common Questions You May Have This Month – Each month we’ll address common questions that may be on the forefront of your mind.

Mommy Care – One of the most important factors in enjoying baby’s first year is making sure you take care of yourself along the way. Dr. Heather Rupe (OB/GYN and co-author of The Pregnancy Companion) will be joining us to offer helpful information and advice for taking care of mommy throughout baby’s early days (and beyond).

Truth For The Journey – Just as we did in The Pregnancy Companion, we will include encouraging scriptures and devotional thoughts to accompany you through the very exciting yet exhausting days of motherhood. We’ll also include practical tips and ideas for planning, organizing and even shopping for baby.

Real Life Stories – Because every mother wants to know she’s “not the only one…” we will share stories and experiences from other moms who have dealt with different issues throughout baby’s first year. Hearing how these women walked through difficult times and overcame obstacles will inspire your heart.

Before we get started I want to take a moment to pray this prayer over you, my mothering friend. May these words bring you peace and Godly confidence as you embark on this journey. Remember, you are not alone. Our faithful and gracious God is your baby Companion.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the precious gift of life that you’ve given my friend. I ask you now to infuse her heart with your righteous confidence, the kind that only comes from walking closely with you. May she know you are near because she daily draws herself to you. Give her wisdom in every moment as she loves and cares for her little one. Lead her through every decision she encounters for her family. Cover each day with your grace so that she can more than merely survive it. Most of all, I pray she would be able to cherish each day of her baby’s first year for they will pass too quickly. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Grace and peace to you as you embark on this exciting journey,


Friends, we cannot wait to finish this book so that moms can have a resource that brings medicine and faith together for baby’s first year. Please pray for wisdom as we continue to write.

And please stop by {in}courage this week to check out Spirit Led Parenting. I know you are going to be blessed by this book and these amazing moms.

What would you all like to see discussed in a baby’s first year book? There’s still time to give your input as we put together this resource. We’d love to hear from you!

About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. She is passionate about writing words of grace for moms and moms-to-be. Co-author of The Pregnancy Companion and The Baby Companion books, she also co-leads a community about TTC, infertility, pregnancy and new motherhood on Facebook. Connect with Jessica on Google +


  1. Audrey Miller says:

    Thanks a lot for this awesome post. I will have to get that book for there is a lot I need to know about parenting.

  2. This is going to be such an awesome book! I can’t wait to give it to new moms!!

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