The Day She Turned 10

I don’t know how in this crazy world a decade’s worth of days has gone by.

Just yesterday I crawled right into that crib with you as your tears mixed with mine. And I prayed something fierce that you would sleep and that no one would see me curled up in those bars around this seven and a half pound bundle of love.

For only God knew how much I needed you – you, this blue-eyed beauty that brought smiles in the sorrow and taught me to breathe through grief.

And I swear all I did was blink, and all of a sudden here you are blowing out ten candles on your birthday cake.

And you’ve still got the most glorious way of bringing joy to those around you.

beautiful birthday girl

birthday girl

10 candles


Oh, my sweet Kayla, our lives are a whole lot more beautiful and fun and joy-filled because of you!

Your creativity and imagination, your silliness and the way you tilt your head back when you laugh –

Your tender heart and gentle hugs, your smiles that dance around the room and the way you sing your heart out to God –

Your compassion and friendship, your kindness and the way you are awed by the splendor found in the little things –

These, Kayla, these are all radical displays of God’s love shining in and through and out you. And who am I to get to witness them?

Happy 10th birthday, Kayla!


beautiful Kayla


Keep displaying His glory, Kayla!

Keep showing beauty and grace and love!

Keep blowing this mama kisses and knocking on my door to talk late in the night!

And please don’t ever stop finding Joy surrounding!

Kayla's 10th bithday

my 10 year old

Happy 10th Birthday, Kayla Ann!!
You will always and forever be a glorious reminder that God is good – and brings joy to the hurting.
Oh, how we love you!

the words every mother needs to hear

For all of you mamas with precious little (and not-quite-so-little-anymore) ones that have filled your womb, your home, or your heart – your labor of love and prayers and kingdom work matters!

“To the best mommy ever.”

Words written in bright crayon after the morning of frustration and doors slamming and yelling over muddy footprints and smashed Rice Krispies and unfinished chores and bikes left out.

And then there were the children crumpling in tears and a mama collapsing in defeat.

Not to mention the sticky floors and favorite shoes missing and dirty hearts rubbed bare till all that was left was grace and knees worn from praying and praying and praying.

For the truth of motherhood is there is no perfection and a lot of ugly being perfected. With miscarriages and infertility and screaming children and tantrum throwing and wombs and arms and hearts of kids and mamas ripped empty.

And those things don’t fit nicely tied with a bow.

to all the moms

And yet in four-year-old writing flipped backwards and crooked, a beautiful message sent from God.

And you might not have a letter scrawled out to prove it,

But the beauty is there in grace and forgiveness and joy and wisdom found even in the hurt-filled moments that lean into God.

For God attached these children to our hearts, and this kingdom work, this raising generations, this shaping of souls, this laboring for Jesus – matters so very much to God and to those hearts strung to our own.

to moms everywhere

For who else would be tender enough to get up at all hours of the night to love and to hold the most frail of all humanity – to cradle and nourish and rock back and forth, back and forth though her eyes barely stay open and her body goes dizzy?

Who would be strong enough to go to battle for the hearts of her children? To know that labor is only the beginning and to withstand needle pricks and pokes and prods and toddler tantrums and sibling rivalry and teenage drama and one more failed adoption?

Who would be broken enough to fall to her knees in prayer? To ask for forgiveness and model a need for Jesus and to extend grace when the ugliness glares?

Who would be creative enough to hide in the laundry room to sneak in a few minutes of quiet with God – to make food out of nothing day after day, and distract toddlers with a box of straws, and explain multiplication using Cheerios, and find ways to make learning possible for that overly labeled little one?

Who would be silly enough to make faces through the window and not feel shy to stand and wave to the preschooler in the end-of-the-year program and cheer loudly at the high-school graduation? Who would wear spit-up stains with honor, hair thrown in a ponytail, and a mixture of glitter and paint on her nose? And yet get all dressed up like Cinderella and later challenge the boy to a sword fighting duel?

Who would be brave enough to dig shiny objects out of little noses and half eaten ladybugs out of mouths and pull out teeth that are hanging by a thread and to let kids help bake in the kitchen? To send children miles away to college and walk that bride all the way to the altar? To go to battle for protection and innocence and to know when to let go, to let climb, to let live?

to all moms

Who would be patient enough to find the missing pajamas and divvy out the fruit snacks evenly and put hair up in braids and get crusted lasagna off of pans – all with a babe on her hip or glued to her leg? Who would read the same books over and over and over and teach a three-year-old to share and a sixteen-year-old to drive and would listen to an oh-so-long dream about a fire a hippo and a fly? And who would sit in the pediatrician’s office for hours and try to keep those kids from touching all the germ infested toys?

Who would be diligent enough to take that pregnancy test once again and fill out yet another stack of papers – to work from morning till night to care for young ones and stay up late decorating and wake up early making chocolate chip gluten free pancakes before it all starts all over?

Who would be gracious enough to bring a meal to a new mother, to sit and grieve with the hurting, to teach how to get crayon out of carpet, and play a fierce game of Apples to Apples when she’s exhausted and would much rather go to bed?

YOU, sweet mother.

“The best mommy ever.”

to moms

The days aren’t perfect. The note of love gets crinkled and buried. Days have no end and we don’t always like our mothers or like being a mother – and we wonder if we should frame that sweet little note or shred it into pieces.

For a God-formed life in our wombs or raised in our homes doesn’t make us holier or better. It makes us mothers. Mothers in need of His strength and His grace to keep battling for hearts and to continue passionately, tenderly, joyfully loving.

Frame those words – as a gift, as a prayer – not for perfection, but as a reminder that joy can be found in the broken. And that we can get back up after we fall and keep going for hours and hours. For molding hearts matters. And raising generations matters. And the little ones scribbling notes on a page and bringing smiles to our day – they matter.

And you – you matter!

You newly pregnant and you with ten precious children. You with grandchildren you love with all your heart. You with a baby taken from your womb and you with a child taken from your arms. You with hope swirling and longing for a blessing. You adopting and fostering and caring for the hurting. You giving your child away with heart aching yet trusting. You, missing your mother something fierce. You, step-mothers and mother-in-laws tenderly, carefully walking. You, sisters and aunts and friends and mentors giving of life through time, tears and love –

Your fostering of kingdom work,

Your laboring of love and prayers,

Your shaping of young souls –

It matters for eternity. It matters to God.

Have a beautiful Mothers’ Day weekend!

A Decade of Missing My Daddy


It’s been a decade – forever ago and just yesterday all wrapped into one. And the memories are all faded and jumbled. But I remember my tummy. How the knots squeezed tight on my belly swollen so round that I couldn’t see over or around or through. And two babes toddled at my feet as […]

{Continue reading…}

12+ Favorite Activities for Easter (it’s all about Christ!)


So, yeah, the story of Easter is tough. It is painful, soul-ripping, and gloriously beautiful. In the end we find it’s a story of deep sacrifice, extraordinary love, and ultimate victory. But getting to that point can be quite excruciating. At Christmas we fall in love with Jesus – God with us – right there […]

{Continue reading…}

To My Only Son – on Your 8th Birthday


Yeah, everywhere we go, you’re the boy with all those sisters – The one with crazy energy and far more passion than I ever thought possible. The little man striving to exhibit incredible strength, courage, and honor amidst all things girly. The son that I never in a million years could’ve realized how very much […]

{Continue reading…}

Why it’s been so quiet around here

why it's been so quiet around here

For years her words whispered softly from behind closed doors and with little ones underfoot and that giant pile of laundry. She painted with words that she prayed would bleed grace and shout hope through the aching. And she cried out something desperate when she reasoned she was losing her ever-loving mind. And as she […]

{Continue reading…}

When you think you can’t do this anymore

When you think you can't do this anymore

I scratch out these words with fingers trembling – With this deep ache to get real and raw and vulnerable but just not knowing how. I. Am. Afraid. Weeks into the new year and I’m already shaking, slipping, shattered. Maybe it’s the aching realization that I’m just not cut out for this anymore. Some boy […]

{Continue reading…}

To Moms Everywhere – what you need to hear this Christmas

To Moms Everywhere - at Christmas

To you moms everywhere, at Christmas – I see you sweet mama with hair in a messy bun and icing on your cheek as you stand in last year’s Christmas pajamas clattering out bowls as cereal gets dumped to overflowing – feeling this crazy concoction of being amazingly blessed and fiercely terrified right at this […]

{Continue reading…}

When the World is a Mess at Christmas

when the world is a mess at Christmas

Ten days before Christmas and it gets to feeling like the whole wide world is crumbling all around you. Squabbles over red cups drown out the songs of a Savior. And the tones of the bell ringers ring muffled by anger rising in the streets. And although it seems quite trivial, I never did print […]

{Continue reading…}

What I Want You to Know on Your 11th Birthday

what I want you to know on your birthday

I don’t know where in this crazy world those eleven years of giggles and laundry and pigtails and snuggles and reading stories together and nighttime prayers have gone. But somehow you sweet beauties that made me a mama will blow out your eleven birthday candles tonight. And though my heart is about to burst with […]

{Continue reading…}