Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood

I was given Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood by Rachel Jankovic, as a gift by a friend. Initially, I thought it was a book on health and fitness post babies. Clearly, I thought, she doesn’t know me very well. Ha! After a week or two of staring at it from a distance, I finally caved and picked the book up. It didn’t take long to realize these pages, by the grace of God, were going to be essential in some important parenting paradigm shifts for me. My friend, in fact, knew me very well.

The author, Rachel, opens by pointing out that she has not “arrived”; she too is learning and writing while in the trenches of parenting. She could have fooled me though; chapter after chapter, I was convinced she had taken a sabbatical from motherhood and camped out at my place. Her field notes could have come from nowhere other than within the walls of my home. It was uncanny at times how remarkably similar our lives and challenges were to one another.

The 120 page book is a quick read. I was captivated by how convicting the material was. Even the chapters (perhaps this should read: especially the chapters) that I didn’t think would be of significant use to me, were in turn the most provoking. I loved how the book is saturated with the gospel. With every confrontation there was gospel centered and practical admonition.  The only nuisance was the flow of the chapters, as they weren’t very seamless. It reads more like a blog. Though, mothers are used to being pulled in multiple directions and having to choose which of the various problems are most critical, so I didn’t mind too terribly.

One would think that with so many confrontations and parenting demands that the book would seem heavy and the reader would feel weighed down. But, I was actually eager to succeed and felt equipped to glorify the Lord with the new tools and council. All the changes that I wanted to start implementing brought more encouragement instead of defeat. I started to feel free. Free from the guilt and discontentment I was waking up to, too frequently.

Rachel seemed to pinpoint several of my deep heart issues and was able to say the hard things. Yet, I could picture her, all the while, with pom poms cheering me on knowing we are running this race together for the glory of God.

Here are some of the nuggets that I walked away with:

  • Don’t just teach grace to your children, extend grace to yourself.

  • Don’t act like a Pharisee. Every time I choose to be haughty about what my kids would eat, I was choosing food over fellowship.

  • Imitate Christ. I am not imitating Christ when I expect something back for my service to my family. Christ did not die on the cross that we might be required to a works-based salvation. “When we imitate Christ, we want to give what cost us much, and we want to give it freely” (p 23)

  • Do not lose sight of the children while working at making a beautiful life for them. “It doesn’t matter how clean the house is when bitterness is growing in the hearts of all your children” (p 31)

  • Care more about what your children think of you than other people. Remember that bit about the similarities being uncanny- Rachel’s example of the uptight mom yelling at her kids to hurry up so they’re not late for church- yeah, that’s been me more often than I care to admit. Show your children you care about them by worshiping in the car (yes, even though you’re late) because they are more important to you than impressing others with your punctuality.

  • Fear God. “We have nothing to fear in the opinions of others if we are right with God” (p 91)

There are plenty of other points I would love to share, and since I’m planning on reading this book again and again, I’m sure there will be more.  I’d love to hear how you were exhorted to make Christ the center in your home as well. Feel free to share in the comment section below.


  1. Linda C. says:

    This was obviously an important and encouraging book to you, Holli, for you to stop and take the time to share with others what you learned. Thank you for sharing what is sure to be encouraging to other overwhelmed moms as well. Nothing is more important in your season of life right now than your ministry to your husband and children. They are YOUR ministry. God gave them to you, not to anyone else. And thank you, too, for helping me remember to make more known my availability, willingness and desire to help out you young moms. Please don’t hesitate to call any time for any reason. I can run over, or run around, for you and you other busy moms! God bless you as you seek to glorify Him and make Him central in your lives and home.

  2. Holli O'Keefe says:

    Thank you, Linda! I will gladly take you up on those kind offers.

  3. Thank you for sharing Fit to Burst. I’m a mom of a six-year-old and I’ll do anything I can to be a better Christ-like mom. I’m anxious to check it out. I’m also reading another book, a new one by Dr. Tony Evans and his daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst, “Kingdom Woman: Embracing Your Purpose, Power, and Possibilities.” They say, “To raise your children with a kingdom perspective is to love them fully.” It’s an outstanding book for all women. I read that it was their desire in writing it to “challenge women to look higher than where you are to whose you are, and to be transformed by the truth of being a Kingdom Woman.” The book encourages women to set their eyes on Christ and to pursue what God has created them to be. They even have free devotional downloads and information at their website: I am really blessed by it. I hope you have been, too!

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