The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill

Mom. Was there ever a job that encompassed so much, prompted so many questions, and created so many doubts in the minds of women?” ~ Susan Merrill
The Passionage Mom by Susan Merrill

I am always seeking to learn and grow.  For every question, there must be an answer; for every problem, there must be a solution.  Usually, I turn to books for these answers—surely someone else has faced what I’ve faced and can help me get through it.  Parenting has been no different.  Since early in my first pregnancy, I’ve bought, borrowed and read pregnancy and parenting books.  My bookshelf is lined with my favourites, but I never expected to learn how to be a mom from the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah.

As author Susan Merrill points out, the job of “mom” is a difficult one.  In her book The Passionate Mom: Dare to Parent in Today’s World, she shares some of her own struggles as a mom and how she found inspiration in an unlikely source: Nehemiah.  She says, “Nehemiah had a passion for the people he loved, just as we moms have a passion for the children we love.”  Using Nehemiah’s life as an example, she shows us how we can use that passion for good in our children’s lives.

Merrill gives moms ten P’s to help them in their parenting: perception, pondering, passion, prayer, patience, preparation, purpose, planning, problem solving, and perseverance.  She calls these the “bricks” we need to build a wall of protection around our children as they grow.  As she says, “Our children need walls.  That’s why God gives them moms.”  In each chapter, Merrill looks at the “brick” to build these walls, as well as character qualities or “mortar” that help hold each “brick” in place.  She includes practical suggestions and personal confessions.

While Merrill gave me new perspective both on the story of Nehemiah and on my role as a mom, her book didn’t really grab me I appreciated her honesty about her own struggles and how she learned and grew as a mom, but I found most chapters were a bit long and repetitive.  That’s not to say The Passionate Mom won’t speak to you; if you like Bible studies and in-depth Scripture lessons, then I recommend it.  I don’t think I’ll ever look at Nehemiah’s story the same again.

Merrill is the mom of five children (including two adopted children) and the director of  She and her husband, Mark Merrill, live in Florida with their children.  She has a variety of free resources for moms available on her website, including prayer printables and the 30-day Passionate Mom Dare (very handy for moms like me with short memories).

What people or books have inspired you as a mom?

I received this book courtesy of the publisher; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.


  1. says

    You keep adding books to my list. I could use some encouragement and advice on Mothering. I have been a Mother for 20 years already, but since my youngest just turned 6, I have quite a few more years to go. It does seem like it is getting harder. There are so many new rules that seem to leave Mothers out and create a situation where it seems like children are raising children. I would love to read more about the “wall of protection” that I should be building around them.

    • says

      I know the feeling – I keep adding books to my list too!!! :) A friend of mine has children ranging in age between twenty-five and two and she keeps saying she’s not an expert, that she can learn as much as anyone else. I guess each child is different and each stage of life is different too. Thanks for dropping by! :)

    • says

      I do agree that our culture is against moms, in many ways. We can feel as persecuted and alone as Nehemiah at times. :) I’m glad her book was able to encourage you that way. As I said, different books speak to different moms. :)

    • says

      That is why I’m so glad there are so many different books and writers out there – each person needs to hear things differently often… I’m glad you shared this review – it’s important to hear from others and see their perspective, especially when it is different than our own.

    • says

      Yes, I often find it interesting to read a book review in which the reader’s opinion of the book differed from my own. :) We all have different tastes, as I tried to mention in this review, so while the book didn’t speak to me, I’m glad it spoke to you. :)

    • says

      I agree! There is a time when you can be “buddies” with your kids, but that comes in their late teens, not when they are children. Susan talks about listening to your children and loving them, but also about guiding and helping them – even when it’s tough.

  2. says

    I like her quote about children needing walls and that’s why God gave them moms. Children really do need boundaries.

    We need to give them external boundaries in hopes that they will eventually build internal ones. So that they can learn when to say no to things on their own and grow up with a good sense of values.

    Thanks for hosting today!

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