Book Review - Longing for Motherhood by Chelsea Patterson Sobolik
Chelsea Patterson Sobolik’s Longing for Motherhood: Holding on to Hope in the Midst of Childlessness is one of my favorite reads from the last few years. The author bravely bears her heart and walks the reader through her story of childlessness with courage and vulnerability. As a man, I knew that I would not be able to completely relate with her struggles, but I wanted to read this book in order to better understand the hardship a close family member has experienced. I also wanted to read this book as a pastor, to understand the pain my sisters in Christ go through. Yet, I was surprised to be so personally blessed while reading this book. Yes, the main subject is childlessness and the yearnings within every woman’s heart, yet the book is also about suffering and grief. This is a book that any Christian regardless of gender can relate to and gather wisdom from.
Sobolik follows in the theological footsteps of great authors like C.S. Lewis, Tim Keller, and John Piper in helping the reader see the nature of God, His goodness and Kindness, in the face of terrible pain and distress. All the while, the author points the reader to the Gospel and the glory of God. Yet, unlike many other authors who write on similar subjects, Sobolik does not make herself the hero of this story. She doesn’t rewrite the past to make herself seem holier or more spiritually mature. No, these pages are dripping with honesty. Her story is not artificial; it is not a Bible shaped band-aid to cover her emotional wounds. This story of faith is real.
Honest questions are asked throughout this book, questions women I know who have experienced similar hardships have expressed to me, questions I know I have asked during my own hardships. All will be able to relate to Sobolik’s honesty as she tells her story and be blessed by the encouragement they will find on every page. Sobolik’s story is not just about loss, but about hope. She lays out a path toward regaining that hope in the face of grief by showing the importance of the Gospel, practical theology, and the local church in the life of believers. I would encourage any believer who has suffered from childlessness or has lost someone they love to read this book. It won’t solve all their problems. It won’t make their hurt any less intense. But, the encouragement in these pages may help in developing a path forward to finding satisfaction in Christ and hope in the Gospel.