Scott Hahn was one of the first Catholic authors I read during the period of my conversion. Recently, I realized that while I have read many of his works, I hadn’t yet picked up any of his wife’s books. I’ve spent this summer working my way through Kimberly Hahn’s book Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker’s Heart. Kimberly has the same deep theological insight as her husband, along with a practical “how does this apply to my life as a mom” perspective that I really appreciated.
I received this book for review courtesy of the publisher; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Graced and Gifted overview
In the introduction, Kimberly Hahn explains that Graced and Gifted “centers on the tasks of making a house a home, a place of beauty and order, where the needs of our loved ones are met.” She does this by examining the description of a godly woman in Proverbs 31.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ve probably heard plenty about the Proverbs 31 woman and often felt intimidated by her. I mean, she’s perfect. She does everything. And yet as Kimberly helped me to look as these passages again, I began to see her not as a superwoman out of reach, but as someone from whom I could learn. A friend I could walk beside.
Graced and Gifted is divided into six sections:
- She Works With Willing Hands
- She Brings Her Food From Afar
- She Rises While It Is Still Night
- She Provides Tasks for Her Maidens
- She Considers a Field and Buys It
- She Girds Herself with Strength
In each section, two chapters of biblical reflections on an area of homemaking are following by a chapter relating that area to one of the sacraments. For example, providing food for our families is connected with the Eucharist, and cleaning our homes is connected with confession. While some of the topics seem old-fashioned (like providing tasks for our maidens—unfortunately, I don’t have any servants to help out around the house!), Kimberly helps connect the ideas behind the Scripture to our modern-day lives.
Each section ends with reflection questions, which you could reflect on, journal about, or use for discussion in a mom’s group. Kimberly also includes a bibliography of some of the helpful books and websites she mentions in the pages of Graced and Gifted.
Finding Holiness in Homemaking
You find your path to holiness in your state of life. You do not finish homemaking tasks so that you can get to “holy” activities, but you find spiritual meaning even in manual labour. ~ Kimberly Hahn
Throughout Graced and Gifted, Kimberly shares personal examples from her own life, as a wife to Scott and a mom to six children. Some of the wisdom in the pages of this book was given to her from her own mother. Some of the wisdom she learn through trial and error, just as each of us often do. Reading Graced and Gifted was like having the chance to sit down with a slightly older mom and just have coffee and find out how she does it.
In one chapter, she shares how one day she was carrying the laundry upstairs when she caught sight of a shirt. It was a shirt that each of her four boys had worn, so here she was, carrying it upstairs to put it away just so the last boy could get it dirty again. For a moment, the laundry basket felt too heavy as she thought of the never-ending task of washing this shirt. She cried out to God, “How many times am I going to wash this shirt? What’s the point of all this repetitive work?” (Man, have I ever felt that myself!) Then God gently answered her, “Think how many children you have been able to love, week after week, through this one little shirt.”
The section on rising while it is still night is one I dreaded. I mean, I still have one kid who wakes up at night (at least once, on a good night). I also have a teenager who needs to be at school early two or three times a week. Sleep is something precious, something I fight to get enough of each week. In this section, Kimberly discusses time management. That doesn’t have to mean really rising while it is still night, but as she says, “Now is the moment that eternity touches our lives. Now is the moment of grace, of repentance, of choosing to live to please God. Each moment is its own unique opportunity for a fresh start, a new beginning.”
Through the picture of the Proverbs 31 woman, Kimberly shares tips, advice and Biblical wisdom on:
- managing your weekly schedule
- finding mentors and working together
- cooking and hospitality
- teaching our children the faith
- and so much more.
A Must-read for Every Mom
Kimberly herself embodies the Proverbs 31 woman, for “When she opens her mouth, wisdom issues forth, and on her tongue is kindly advice” (verse 26). Graced and Gifted is a beautiful book for a mom at any stage of life, who is trying to figure out how to juggle all the things. Kimberly’s tips are practical and gentle, offered from her own experience, and sprinkled with Biblical wisdom.
In the introduction, Kimberly says, “I would like to be one of those good friends who share recommended resources and words of encouragement. Take what is helpful; skip what does not interest or apply to you. Like every other homemaker, I am in the process of learning how to do my tasks well, and since the seasons of life continue to change, this is an ongoing process.” While I enjoyed reading Kimberly’s advice on gardening, we don’t currently have space to garden, so I could only dream through these sections.
My copy of Graced and Gifted is dog-eared and slightly worn, as it’s accompanied me to parks and beaches this summer, and I expect I’ll continue paging through it for years to come, enjoying Kimberly’s Biblical wisdom and motherly insights.
More about Kimberly Hahn
Kimberly is a Catholic speaker and author who for decades has shared her wisdom with other wives and mothers. She and Scott Hahn have been married for more than forty years and have six children and nineteen grandchildren. After homeschooling for twenty-six years, Kimberly now serves as Council-at-Large in Stubenville, Ohio and hosts the St. Paul Centre podcast Beloved and Blessed. She is also the author of Chosen and Cherished Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage and Catholic Education: Homeward Bound – Useful Guide to Catholic Home Schooling.
Have you read any of Kimberly Hahn’s books? What do you think of the Proverbs 31 woman?