Author: Kelli Gotthardt
Published Date: September 27, 2025
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My rating: 3 Stars
Synopsis: No formulas, no pat answers. Just real life. Real questions. Real transformation.
Approach many women in the church and if they re being honest, they ll tell you they
try hard to keep it all together;
are frustrated that being good doesn t deliver the perfect life;
feel trapped in expectations;
make decisions based on shoulds ;feel selfish when they say no; and
are uncertain of their place in God s kingdom.
Between the desire to please God, the need to feel valued, and the compulsion to make everyone around them happy, women often find themselves denying their desires. It s safer to stay in the life of shoulds even if it means being spiritually and emotionally disconnected.
Kelli Gotthardt knows their pain. Always considered a good girl, she threw herself into every ministry, saying yes to every request her church family made. On the outside, her life looked completely together but she was drowning in self-doubt and shame. Unlikely Rebel is the story of how Kelly slowly shed shoulds and shame, learning to love God and love who He created her to be.
The journey from the comfort of doing everything expected of a perfect pastor s wife to the uncertainty of living authentically and true to her unique calling is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. Many Christians condemned her, responding with fear or anger to her greater intimacy with God s calling when it didn t match their own vision. For others, though, her journey inspired courage to embrace God s path for their own lives.
Now Kelli invites other women to discover God s leading in their lives, learning that if they throw off the despondency of underserved shame, abundant life awaits.
My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You know, the life of a pastor’s wife must be hard. I’m sure they must be held up to a higher level than the rest of us mortal Christian women who are just struggling along. I know at times I struggle with trying to seem like a good Christian, a church volunteer, a full time worker, mother and wife. The things that I have volunteered for, sometimes I admit, it is just me trying to be useful and needed, other times I volunteer and realize it was God pushing me to do it. There are things that I have backed away from and said no to, or not volunteered for. Yes, I am selfish, yes I admit it, and yes, I will admit it vocally and not feel guilty over it.
Reading this book was not exactly what I expected. At times, the tone of writing felt whiny and pity-inspiring. At other times, I could totally relate and not wanting to be overburdened and over-scheduled. I felt like the author didn’t get enough support from her husband, especially when she dropped the bomb that she was bowing out of everything. He couldn’t see the stress she was under, or was he part of the problem?
I think the all or nothing approach the author took contributed to her problems. I know I have backed down from a few things I have volunteered for, or I have cut it back to times where there weren’t other things pressing on me.
Overall, it was an interesting book to see the pressures that the wife of a pastor from a very large evangelical church can be under.