Missional Motherhood

This is a piece I wrote a few years ago. A gentleman in my church asked a group of mothers to contribute to his booklet on the spiritual role a mother has to her children. 


Becoming a mom is not what I thought it would be. Before I actually had a child of my own, I was sure I already knew how I would parent. I started babysitting when I was 12 and even though the job was tiring, it didn’t demand superhuman strength either. I prided myself on my ‘Mary Poppins’ persona.

Then after Jason and I had been married for over a year, God gave us our son Jesse. This sweet boy has been the hardest and greatest adventure yet. Even the pregnancy was filled with plot twists and turns, as Jesse’s state of health became more of a question instead of a certainty. Later on we were faced with his genetic abnormality and developmental delays. Broken sleep, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, neurology appointments, geneticist appointments, and can you please walk by your 2nd birthday little boy?

I used to think missionary service required traveling overseas to share the Gospel. However, the longer I’m a parent it is clear that right where I am is my missional work. It’s not the romanticized version I imagined. But it is just as important and humbling.

The job of every Christian mom is physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually draining. God is using motherhood as a means for my sanctification. It isn’t glamorous, but this can be eternal work when done in faith. Who is it I’m representing to my son? Christ? or myself?


Parenting well requires dying to self daily, viewing our jobs as service to the Lord. The times I struggle are the days when I see my son’s sin nature more clearly and my own as well. That’s why Jesus gives us Himself, the Holy Spirit to help and guide when I have no clue what I’m doing, or come to the end of myself.

Our children, especially when they’re young, are our mission field. We train and make disciples right in our homes. Don’t underestimate the work you do. Can it be monotonous? Yep. But that can also be called faithfulness. Day in, day out, you’re showing up.

I don’t think I’m overstating how essential the role of parents are to our children. We raise them in faith instilling Biblical truth, a love for Christ, so that one day Lord willing, they grow up and multiply the fruit we’ve labored over for years.

A mother’s work is kingdom work.

God gives your ordinary tasks purpose.

Jesus humbled Himself to the most demeaning job in His culture, right before He went to the cross for us. During the Passover meal the Lord washed the disciples’ mud-caked, dirty, dusty feet. This job was always reserved for a Gentile slave, because not even a Jew would stoop so low. But Jesus’ act of service was a demonstration of His sacrificial love for them. You could say it foreshadowed what was to come on Calvary.

Christ was teaching His disciples that to become great one must be brought low. Even when it requires performing a mundane task or something beneath your skill level. He was implementing the upside kingdom effect.


As we view our lives in light of His, let us remember that our humble work isn’t overlooked by Jesus. In fact, I think it pleases Him. We may not have a platform for thousands to see and applaud us, but all that really matters anyway is our audience to One.

Am I using my gifts, time, and abilities to mother well? Do I rely on His strength and not my own? Make no mistake that the eternal rewards for every faithful mother will far outweigh the lack of praise and attention here on earth. A woman who understands this knows her worth is in Christ. He goes before us, allowing us to carry out the call of missional motherhood.

Grace upon grace,


Truth telling for Moms

I’m a mom who daily lives under a rock of guilt and failure.

I haven’t given my six-year-old siblings to play with.

 I haven’t worked hard enough (or at all) today on his developmental skills.

 He’s spending too much time in front of electronics.

 I could do this all day.


I don’t know if it’s because Jesse has Autism and is an only child that I put this added pressure on myself, or if all moms do this. I suspect we each have our areas we struggle in, the lies we tell ourselves. When I stop the merry-go-round of all the ways I’m failing as a mom, God is gracious to help me fight with truth.


The truth is, my son operates differently than other kids and so his activities and interests will look different as well. The truth is, I’m doing a great job as his mom, but I’m not perfect either. God knows this. The Lord didn’t wait until I had my act together before He gave me a son. It is in the process of raising him that I am sanctified!

The truth is, I am already “enough” as a mom, wife, friend and woman because Christ is enough and He lives in me. Condemnation has no place here. When I remember this, I breathe easier again, my shoulders begin to relax and I get to enjoy my son instead of focusing on all the ways I don’t measure up.



If I stay hunkered down in guilt, I can’t clearly see the amazing blessings right in front of me. God holds out this wonderful gift and I reject not only the gifts of freedom and joy, but God Himself when I’m wrapped up in my own shortcomings.

Mom life is hard, but the truth is He gave you and me specific children, with distinct personalities and skills, to love, nourish, and raise for His glory. We get to teach them about the Lord who is our life.

             Our kids are gifts to enjoy, little lessons to learn from, means of sanctification. Preach this truth to yourself today when you feel like waving the white flag. God gives us the privilege and responsibility to care for the least of these, right in our own tribe.

It first starts with us loving Him as our ultimate treasure. That’s the place where we parent well and do anything well. Our relationship and growing love for the Lord will overflow on whatever else we put our hands to do today. We learn that even when we mess up or they do, there is grace and forgiveness extended vertically and horizontally. We start to live the message of the cross and that is the truth we need to tell ourselves everyday.


Grace upon grace,




Grace in the cracks


Before my son was 8 months old he had no trouble sleeping. What I mean is, he slept like every other baby. In the early months, a couple times a night he would wake to nurse. Then came a few longer stretches of sleep. Usually rocking would work or the amazing mechanical baby-swing. Wind it up and he was as good as gold.

I thought we were nearing the edge of the woods in the sleep deprivation world. My mom always said you can endure anything as long as it doesn’t last forever. Her words rang in my ears those 3 a.m. nights that seemed endless.

And yet, somewhere around Christmas his sleeping habits grew worse, and so did mine. Frustrated and foggy-brained, I went into survival mode. Just make it through this day. Steal sleep in the cracks. An hour here, a cat nap there, or just close my eyes for a few minutes.

As he out grew the baby-swing, he struggled to sleep through the night. When rocking didn’t work even his naps grew shorter. He woke up crying most days and I scooped him up, weary and defeated, to cradle him on my chest while we both laid on the couch.

My sweet boy would often finish his naps cuddled safely in my arms. This forced me to stop everything else and just rest and be present. His breathing became steady and calm again, as I watched his little body relax into sleep. It was in these moments two verses came to mind as I marveled over God’s way of taking care of me:

“He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters”

 Psalm 23:2


“He gives strength to the weary and

increases the power of the weak”

 Isaiah 40:29

 Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific

            God made me physically rest when I needed to. He does this in a way that isn’t militant or harsh, but lovingly.


Like a Shepherd over His sheep, God knows what is best for us before we do. And I remember laughing over the irony. I was trying to help Jesse rest as God helped me rest. I was a child in need of a nap!


We sometimes forget how important physical rest is and that it can affect our spiritual health as well. We think we can “do it all”. It humbled me to find out that I can’t. Something has to give. It was about this time that Jason and I started praying at night for our son, and for us as well, to have the gift of sleep. I didn’t realize sleep as a precious gift until it was taken away.

And rest came in ways I didn’t expect. Even though the nights were still interrupted with his hyperactivity, God’s grace took shape on that couch during nap time. There were dishes in the sink, laundry to be washed, and a list of to-do items, but the only thing that mattered was the only job I had in that moment: to be still.

And that was enough.

The Lord taught me that I often forget how much I need Him to take care of me as I take care of the sweet, autistic son He has entrusted to me. God delights in ministering to our hearts as well as our physical bodies! He reminds me that He will provide grace even in the cracks.

Grace upon grace,


Confessions of a childless stay-at-home mom


I have floundered this first full week of school- what to do with myself, what I’m good for, that type of thing. I’m a stay-at-home mom without a child now from 8-2:30 roughly. Am I lazy? Do I have anything else to offer in society?  I start examining the world’s standards of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life and the toxic game of comparison begins.

Even stay-at-home moms with children ALL DAY find the time and/or desire to volunteer in the community, teach Sunday school, work part-time from home and attend a Bible study.

So here’s me the jellyfish just floating through life – well its how it feels anyway. What do you do when you feel like you don’t matter? Go out and get a job? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Those are wonderful things, mind you, I just don’t feel the need to do them personally. Am I “just a mom”? Or can I be more than that? Is it enough and can I learn contentment in being at home even when I have no one to mother during the day?

My work seems small and meager.

Invisible, insignificant.

…And that’s okay.

Most of the inner workings of the world go on without any fanfare, recognition, or even so much as a “thank you”. My self-worth is not wrapped up in what I do, how many plates I can keep spinning at once, but who I am in Christ.


Shortly after winning their silver medals in synchronized diving, Olympic athletes David Boudia and Steele Johnson were asked by a reporter about their mindset with each dive. They admitted the pressure was intense to compete well, but that their identity is in Christ and not what they accomplish on the diving board. These young Olympians are secure in their worth because it isn’t tied to this world.

We may not be remembered in history (or win medals) for washing a pile of laundry, cooking dinner, or picking up our kids from school, but what will remain is how we reflected God’s character toward others. Whether your audience is one million or one, how you live should ultimately please the Ultimate One.

No one else has your life.

God gave it to you and the people in it to make much of Him, not yourself. There is a season and a time for everything. Thank God for the really good, the really hard, the really lonely, and the really ordinary times. As we focus on Jesus Christ, He will lead us, and our lives will culminate into worshipful living. Go to the Source of Life when you feel meaningless (or at least your work) and ask the Spirit to bless the work of your hands.


Because when it’s all said and done, the most important thing you can do with your life is to pursue God and live out the faith you’ve been given. So for today? Enjoy God and His good gifts, big and small. Simply trust that in our unworthiness, Christ made us worthy of our calling. You are loved by God, and He is faithful to sustain you wherever He has placed your feet.


Grace upon grace,



Missional Summertime


This summer is already the best one yet as a mom who is now turning the corner to having a “big kid”. It is also the hardest, by far. His five-year-old curiosity and energy level daily leaves toys littered on every surface in the house. The floors stay dirty and the laundry list of things to do besides the actual laundry is high. I just have one child, but he always seems to be right under me – like in the kitchen, while I’m making dinner – when kids have the ability to multiply themselves to be everywhere at once.

In the school year there is more time to myself, so the summer schedule is taking some adjustment. But I love it. My little guy and I get to set our own itinerary (aside from naps, those are still essential) and we step out the door exploring our own backyard, neighborhood, and hometown. Days are filled with lingering at the local botanical garden, swimming at the Y, visiting the playground and trips to our library, which has an awesome children’s section.


It’s a balance of playing with him, getting regular housework done (or attempting to), and still trying to maintain my sanity, staying human. Jesse is learning to entertain himself more, which is huge. But because he is an only child I want to make sure we have time together. In a lot of ways at this stage I am his main friend/playmate. It won’t always be like this so it takes effort to be cognizant, soaking it in.

Yes some days are super hard. I’m exhausted, he’s tired, it’s too hot outside and patience wears thin as whining rises high. Yes, on those days I just want to go be by myself in a room with some great air conditioning.

But that isn’t the whole story.

Other days, sometimes in the same day, are magical moments – pure childhood fun.

We take walks; he holds my hand. We set up the plastic pins to bowl in the kitchen alley, followed by eruptions of cheer. He cools off in the sprinkler, enjoying it for the first time this year and I sit back watching him marvel over the simple things.

Growing up I took those summers for granted, thinking I’d have them always. There is something unique about this season for a child. It is a time of transition, growing up, learning by play.


Moms, the struggle is real and I’m not minimizing that, but I know I too often suck the joy out of each day with my complaining. We set the tone for our homes and if the kids see us short-tempered and even resentful, they’ll get the message.

Summertime is actually harder than the rest of the year, but its priceless time too. You and I have the opportunity to pour into their sponge-like minds and impressionable young hearts. Parents have the classroom 24/7 right now. What do you want them to learn from you in these few short months? What will they take away from this summer?

I’m finding that the reason this season is challenging stems from learning to daily die to self. Moms feel like they are constantly giving of themselves – making breakfast, picking up toys so we don’t break our necks, grocery shopping, sharpening our parenting skills, trying to make wise decisions on the fly.

I know you want to honor the Lord in how you raise your kids. I know you want them to love Jesus like you do. I know you hope your little ones (or maybe not so little anymore) will love God’s Word. And all of this begins with our example. The responsibility feels heavy, but also freeing as we live into the identity Christ gave us. Motherhood is our ministry; our families are the people we serve. Do they see Jesus in us? This summer, you have that time.

All women, whether you have children of your own or not, have the joy of missional motherhood:

“Every Christian woman is called to the spiritual motherhood of making disciples of all nations.”

-Gloria Furman

We have a great opportunity during the summer months, when life is slower, and pockets of time are free. I hope you don’t get caught in a rut like I have recently of hurrying these next few weeks along. I don’t want to just meet my son’s outward needs of food and clothing, or just marking time. I want to get to his heart too. But you and I can’t do this alone. Ask the Lord to help you. Ask Him to provide strength each day. The most important thing we can teach the children in our care is to show them Jesus.


Gloria Furman, author of Missional Motherhood, writes, “Jesus invites women to missional motherhood to follow His pattern, to trust His promises, and to nurture others by the power He provides.” The best sermon we can preach is the one lived out at home. There are a little over a dozen summers you have with your kids before they lose that valuable freedom. Use it well and enjoy the very good gift of childhood summers.

Grace upon grace,


when you need white space


The day after Jesse’s 5th birthday party he got sick. The boy who always says “hi!” to everyone and never stops was quiet and lethargic. That’s how you know he doesn’t feel well. Jesse kept a hard, non-stop cough for a week and then I got it. Sickness has a way of forcing us out of our scheduled routine. We hunker down at home and don’t leave except to go to the doctor’s office or pharmacy.

To be honest I got a little stir crazy keeping him home from school, not doing anything while still trying to keep the little guy semi-entertained. Add to that not feeling well myself and I start to sputter. What do you do when the mama needs her mama?


I craved some white space, a time out, but that would have to wait. As moms, we are used to putting ourselves last and for a little while that might be necessary for survival. But after the immediate needs of little ones subside there should be moments of self-care, even if it’s in the cracks, one hour here, five minutes there.

Once Jesse was well enough to head back to school I still floundered with how to nurture my own body back to health. Coughing and fatigue set in, but I was restless. My loving husband suggested a short walk, so I did.

There’s a huge, old tree across the street from our neighborhood. It’s branches fan up and out, hanging heavy under the weight of its years. I’m smitten. This tree declares God’s glory, as all creation does, and I have wanted to take a picture of the grandeur. I’d pull into the neighborhood, making a mental note to do so, tucking it away for another day.

Monday was different.

Slipping on my knock-off canvas Toms I wandered down the sidewalk, iPhone camera in hand. The sky blue of spring couldn’t have been more perfect. Breathing deep the thick scent of honeysuckle I gave thanks to the Lord for all of His goodness and grace – more days like this please.



The white space for my brain and soul was carved in that ten-minute walk communing with the God of heaven and earth, delighting in the new day He had made. I snapped a couple of pictures of the well-lived tree attempting to capture exquisite beauty. It didn’t translate to the small phone screen. But I got what I came for anyway. He refreshed me, filling my lungs with sweet air and my thoughts with a high view of Him.

Mamas need to be taken care of too. I’m thankful to serve a tender God who knows that.

“He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart;

He gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11)

As God calls us to live out our days serving as mothers let us not forget that we have not been forgotten. He sees you, tired from the monotonous day in, day out cycle of raising the next generation. It’s hard stuff. But you are His and you, dear one, are being held. Even on the days we feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole nothing escapes His knowledge or control.

Rest in Him. He has never let you go. God takes care of His children as we tend to the ones He gave us.

Grace upon grace,


Trust the Process


When I am making bread from scratch and pouring all the ingredients in a big glass bowl it doesn’t look like much. Flour, oil, sugar, salt, starter, and water look more like sandbox soup. It isn’t until I start mixing and kneading that the ingredients slowly combine and the bread begins to take shape as the dough I intend it to be. Still, whenever I’m in the middle of hard stirring I say to myself, “trust the process”. There are necessary instructions to follow in order for bread to be made into something delicious. I always know what the end result will be, but the first six steps I doubt just a little. It bears no resemblance to the warm melt-in-your-mouth carbohydrates I want to devour!


Sometimes in the small day-to-day tasks it is hard to see the final outcome for whatever I’m trying to achieve. Whether I am attempting to train my son toward an obedient heart or help him in his developmental delays, I focus on one day at a time. I can’t even think about how impossible the tasks seem if I try to envision what or who he will be at age 20. The “what-if’s” start to crawl around in my brain and I just might hyperventilate.

What if he never gets potty training?

What if he never rides a bike?

What if he never has the mental understanding of his peers?

What if something happens to Jason or me?

Who will take care of him? Will he ever be an independent adult?

What if I fail as a mother?

The “what-ifs” are no help at all. It just creates fear and doubt and shrinks my faith.

A lot of things in my life right now resemble sandbox soup. I’m just not quite sure how it will all turn out yet. But here’s the thing: God does not ask me to have everything tied up neatly in a pretty bow. Or quite frankly, He does not feed my arrogance and insecurity to know the future. My finite little mind is not meant to handle such things. My Father just asks that I trust Him, trust the process of daily perseverance. Prepare. Practice. Pray. Patience. Persevere.


Not only does each day have enough worries of its own, there is also enough grace for every day. On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and every day through the week God makes His mercies new, His grace is fresh and able to sustain me as I navigate through the trenches of teaching a child with special needs. His supply is infinite because He is and because “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV). Trust the process. Take it one step at a time.

I also take comfort that as He makes each day new, so He also renews my heart of faith. Every morning when I wake up I can choose to follow Him and trust in His plan for that day. Sometimes when I decide to go ahead of the Lord relying in my own strength the spiritual lessons learned are hard and humbling, peeling back the layers of sin in my heart. As I learn to walk in step with Him, I know there will be days I stumble, flounder, and flat out fail. But then my heart always circles back to the cross and I cast my anchor upward. Forgiveness and redemption are found there.

Friend, when the days are long, filled with your stubborn three year old who refuses to eat the lunch you prepared, or the youngest one just marked up the walls with colorful permanent markers, or your other child needs constant attention right now, remember that God makes all things new: days, seasons, years, and even people. It can be tiring when I’m in the thick of it and I see little to no progress with my son, but I trust Jesus Christ to carry me through another day. I can come before Him and say:

“You make all things new. You continue to renew my heart each day to transform me into the likeness of Jesus.

You make all things new. Your mercies never end and my heart is light as I receive Your flood of grace for this day.

You make all things new. You turned my lifeless heart into one that beats with the rhythm of Your Own.

You make all things new. You say that my wailing will turn into dancing, my sorrow into joy. Beauty will rise from the ashes.

You make all things new. Your promise of a new heaven and a new earth is true. I will wait in expectation as You make all things new.”


And the promised return for our perseverance in trusting Him with our tasks? The end result is bountiful fruit; fruit of the heart that the Lord will use to glorify Himself as we begin to reflect His Son more and more. Excuse me, I hear the oven timer going off. My bread is done.

Grace upon grace,



8 Survival tips for every mom

552784629I have not been a mom for very long (four years to be exact), so I do not claim to have some superior knowledge or secret wisdom in raising children. I won’t even pretend to act like I know it all because goodness gracious, I know I don’t. These are just a few “survival tips” I have learned along the way so far. I know I have a looooong way to go and oh so much to learn so I hope you understand this comes from a humble place. My goal is to encourage. Think of me as your cheerleader in the corner yelling, “You can do it! You’re doing an awesome job, mom!”

Hopefully though you are not merely surviving each day until your kids are full grown and out of the house. We all need encouragement in those moments to see the gifts God has given us as the blessings they truly are.

#1 Become a planner:

I know, not my favorite either. In fact this is something I stink at. I am not a natural planner but a bona fide procrastinator through and through. I loathe organizing schedules on the calendar, weekly meal planning, and the like. But becoming a mom has forced disciplined me to be a better planner (um, sort of). I still cringe when I have to prepare ahead of time, but it is necessary in making the daily routine run smoother. For example, I try to pack Jesse’s bag the night before if we are planning to go out the next day. Diapers, wipes, snacks, extra set of clothes are the essentials I keep in there. His cute little monkey book bag currently serves as my fashionable purse as well. I am still very often late wherever I go if I do not practice what I preach. Go figure.

#2 You look how you feel:

Ever thought how true this is? I’m not saying deck yourself out in a prom dress everyday. Not. at. all. Plus that might be weird and not very practical. But I do notice that the days I take time to pull myself together I feel a whole lot better. Even a shower can do wonders! Ah-mazing I say! Ladies, that in it self is a big accomplishment for the day. Some evenings when Jason gets home from work he will ask me, “So what did you do today?” I enthusiastically reply, “I got a shower today AND I washed my hair!” I get a confused and to be pitied look from husband, “Uh, I guess that’s great honey…”

Seriously, getting ready for the day (even if it is 3pm) helps your productiveness and maybe even gives you a boost of confidence. Supermom coming through!

photo 2#3 Pick your battles:

            There are some things in life just not worth arguing over. If you need to bust out in Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ right now I’ll wait…

As I was saying sometimes it is better for all parties involved when you learn what issues to enforce and when to cool your heels. If your kid wants to pick what shoes he wears (as long as it is weather appropriate), is it really a big deal for you to get your way? If it is, maybe try pulling two pairs out and then let him or her choose from those choices. If you are like me (a control freak) you tend to want your way allll the time. Look at it as a spiritual lesson for yourself too. Love is not demanding.

Some things like eating a balanced dinner and not surviving solely on cookies would be a good battle to win. If it is for their nutritional well being, safety, etc., those are justifiable issues to stand your ground. But the ones where you can let them exercise a little independence, go for it. You will not be as exhausted and your child will be less frustrated.

#4 Pray:

            There is power in prayer. When people ask my parents how they raised my sister and me, they often respond, “With lots of prayer.” I’m really glad they did because I sure needed it! Lifting our concerns and pleas to our Holy Father is not only helpful for your child, but benefits you as well, as you seek the Lord’s help. Your fellowship with Him deepens; win-win. Pray for your children’s salvation, and their spiritual growth. It is also amazing when you pray for specifics and see the Lord work. Potty training, obedience, sleeping through the night, not to hit their sister, or whatever are great prayer requests the Lord loves to receive. A lot of mine go something like this, “Lord, help me and give me wisdom to be a good mom. I have no idea what I am doing!”

#5 Stay in Scripture:

            Yep, it is a tough one. Especially those days when you are just plum tired and little man has been up all night partying in his crib like its 1999. You may not get a full hour of uninterrupted quiet time but make goals for yourself anyway. Try to find a time in your day to read your Bible. Be intentional. Sometimes I listen to a sermon in the car or worship music to help align my thoughts with Truth. If you want to be a better mom this is the one thing that is most needed. God’s Word is transformative it “is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

#6 Keep at it:

Stay faithful mamas. Hang in there. Even when you do not see any progress, keep going. It takes some kids longer than others to get it. Keep up the great work you are doing in teaching them. Christian moms continue to read Bible stories to your kids and sing worship songs with them. Show them your love for Jesus. You can make an impact in your child’s life by introducing them to God and showing them how great He is. You are preparing the next generation. Your work is kingdom work.

539883511#7 Play:

One of the best things about having kids is that you kind of get to have a second childhood. You see things through their eyes as they experience something for the first time. The joy of a balloon, first taste of ice cream, and the fascination with birds. It is the simple things they take notice of and delight in. Childlike wonder is beautiful, and amusing.

Be playful with your kids. Don’t be afraid to be silly. They do not care what important job you have, if your nails are perfectly manicured or if the casserole is something right off of Food Network. They just want you. They want your attention. I think it is adorable when Jesse follows me through the house and sits down with his toy, just to be near me. Don’t wish away these years, mamas. They are so precious and they grow up way too fast. Even those days when I get really impatient with my son I think, what if this was the last day I had with him? Not to sound macabre, but none of us are guaranteed another day and anything can happen. This always jolts my perspective to be grateful for him and not take my son for granted.

#8 Take care of yourself!

I think moms are so awesome and giving that we sometimes put ourselves on the back burner. We let go of things that used to matter to us: exercise, a favorite hobby like reading, sewing, cooking (for fun!), photography or whatever. It may not be as much as you’d like but try to take time for you a bit. One time after Jesse was in bed I plopped on the living room floor, plugged ear buds in to mellow tunes and painted my nails. A very simple thing, but it helped me relax and feel pretty, like a woman and not just a mom.

I would also add to this a date night with your man. It’s important not to just take care of yourself but your marriage too. If money is tight, maybe just watch a movie together on Netflix after the kids have gone to bed. Get the popcorn (or chocolate in my case) and enjoy snuggle time with your sweetie!

Life is beautiful and meant to be lived well, with intention. You can do this. I hope you have been encouraged and you are now ready to go back out there and do your mom thing! Do you have anything you would add to this list? Anything you disagree with? I would love to hear your comments, suggestions, and snide remarks (kidding about the last one). Happy Thursday!

Grace upon grace,


Comforting Others


When my son had his 9-month check-up at the pediatrician’s office he still wasn’t rolling over or meeting many of the other milestones for his age. In the office I filled out a questionnaire to help the doctor gauge where he was developmentally. I was supposed to stop after reaching three “no’s”. ‘No’ my child does not raise his head, ‘no’ he does not attempt to roll over, ‘no’ he does not love tummy time. You would think after babysitting kids since I was twelve that I would have a pretty good idea what milestones should be expected by 9-months of age, but I had no clue. I just thought he had a laid back personality. He was content lying on his back on the play mat, swatting at the dangling ball in front of him.

At the check-up his pediatrician recommended we look into Early Intervention services as well as set up an appointment with a neurologist. The next month there was an in-home visit to see if my son qualified for therapy through EI. He was admitted after the evaluation, which led the way for physical therapy and occupational therapy. We learned a few months later from the visit with a neurologist in town that Jesse was a “floppy baby”, meaning he was born with low muscle tone. He would have to work harder in order to make his muscles work. Nothing came easily for him.

Jason and I were grateful for his therapy appointments. I learned a lot, as the therapists gave me homework. I worked with Jesse during the week with the exercises they gave me to do. Jason also helped in the evenings after he got home from work. Together we taught him how to stabilize on his hands and knees, how to crawl, literally moving his little body for him until he got it. We worked with him on pulling up and encouraged Jesse to “cruise” from couch to couch. These are things most parents take for granted. Their child will just naturally reach those milestones with minimal interference or help. We really worked for it, alternately practicing and praising him for his hard work. At times I felt like a solider in the Army or something with the phrase, “Motherhood: The toughest job you’ll ever love” going over and over in my head. I think it was my version of a pep talk to keep going and not give up on him.

When Jesse was 21-months he still was not walking, he just crawled everywhere and man did he get heavy! My daily workout consisted of just lifting him a thousand times a day. By mid-January of 2013 I was able to take him to outpatient physical therapy where he was harnessed to a treadmill so he could practice the sensation of walking. Like with everything else, I hoped the “walking” would help strengthen his muscles and just make everything click so he could do it on his own. This went on for about 6-8 weeks, driving to appointments, while practicing at home with a walker. He did great with the walker, and we cheered him on as he had to do the really hard work all by himself. I’m tearing up as I write this because I remember my mama heart breaking during this season, as I watched him put one leg in front of the other, over and over. I wanted so much to just do it for him, but I couldn’t. Isn’t that what we do as parents sometimes? We want for them to crawl, walk, talk, potty train, ride a bike, and tie their shoes on their own, while thinking, “if I could just do it for them”. It is part of the growing up process, which can be frustrating and joyous for both parent and child.

But then the best part happened in March of 2013. Weeks before his 2nd birthday Jesse learned to walk. That alone was cause for celebration in our home. It was a momentous occasion and we praised God for a wonderful blessing.

Sometimes I would get sad or bitter every time Jesse had a therapy appointment because it was a reminder that our family was “different”. Those are feelings I’m not necessarily proud of, but they are there. I just wanted everything to come easily for Jesse, like it did for other kids. But when I see the faces of the special needs parents at the therapy center, I know why we were placed in this situation. We are in a club that no one wants to be in. I see the tiredness, sadness, and longing to help their child because I’m there too.

When I look at Scripture I see part of the reason why any of us go through trials. It is to comfort others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV). When we go through those hard seasons it is somehow comforting to hear another say, “Me too, I’ve been there”. It helps us feel like we are not completely alone when someone understands our pain and empathizes. The veterans can maybe help the newbies navigate the turbulent waters, offering wisdom, love, and prayer.

Only another special needs parent can understand what life is like for me. Family and friends definitely offer their support and love, but they cannot quite understand. This became so clear to me one day after I dropped Jesse off to his classroom at school one morning. I was particularly discouraged that day, exhausted from Jesse’s seemingly endless sleepless nights. I ran into the assistant principal, Ms. Thomas, in the hallway who is wonderful at her job. She always encourages the kids as they trot to class, has a smile on her face, and a positive attitude whenever I see her. She asked me how Jesse was doing and perhaps by my limp response or half zombie-like appearance, she gently starts telling me about her 3 children. Ms. Thomas has one child that is special needs. I didn’t know this. She says that God had a purpose in giving her a special needs child, because if she didn’t have him, she would never be able to understand what I am going through. (Cue the tears!). Then she reminds me of the story in John 9 where the disciples ask Jesus if the blind man is blind because of his sin or his parents’ sin. The Lord’s response takes my breath away every time. He says that it is neither because of his sin or his parents’ sin, but “so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:3 NIV)! Okay, by this point I’m choking back tears as hard as I can so I don’t ugly cry right in the school hallway. Ms. Thomas reminded me that Jesse is a gift that God is using for His glory in a very specific way. Truth be told, I’ve already seen how my little guy blesses others. Every where we go he waves at strangers, followed by a very cheerful “hi!”. I see him brighten up strangers’ faces every day. I don’t know if Ms. Thomas even realizes it, but that meeting in the hallway impacted me and greatly encouraged my weary spirit. She acted as the hands and feet of the Church in that moment. That is what we do as a body of believers when we comfort, encourage, love, and pray for one another, carrying each other’s burdens, as well as sharing in our joys.

Hardship helps us connect in our humanity, revealing our weakness and inability to control things. That is when we can hopefully lean on others and trust in the Lord for help. The moments, or years of testing will either bring us closer to the Potter’s Hand or harden our hearts in anger. I admit I yo-yo back and forth sometimes, feeling spiritually depleted. But even in those moments there is grace. There is grace for the weary because the Lord “will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths will grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV). Praise God!

Grace upon grace,