So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Dear Daughter,

When we talk about marriage, we use phrases like, “happily ever after,” but life isn’t always happy. There are plenty of times characterized by sunshine and still, clear waters. And daughter, as your mother, I wish these times would follow you all of your days. But the truth is that no one leaves this earth without having to cross turbulent seas. When dating, when considering marriage, I want you to choose someone who makes your happy times even more so, but I also hope you’ll think about who you can suffer with.

Your father and I had a quick and pretty magical dating life. I knew he was the one in the middle of the ’07 blackout game versus Auburn. His joy was contagious that night. He told me days earlier that he could make me happier than my long-time boyfriend, I realized that night he was right. I could tell my life would be filled with more laughter with him in it.

But there were other things about your dad that I saw in him before that night. He was gentle, he’d go out of his way to make others feel important, he was positive, also serious and incredibly caring. I could tell he was the kind of person who did something with his whole heart. And he chose me, he adored me.

I didn’t think about going through bad times with your dad when we were dating, but his qualities and his devotion to me made it so I knew that he would do anything for me, and in turn, I for him. He would put me above himself, and I for him. He would fight to see my dreams come true and I for him.

I’m going to say something that isn’t popular: yes, marriage is absolutely about the work you put into it, but it’s also about finding the right person for you. Don’t settle. Don’t settle for someone who is comfortable. Take healthy risks in love. Choosing your father was the most dangerous decision of my life. I left the one I knew for someone who would love me the way I needed to be loved.

Today, your dad and I have been married for eight years. We’ll be celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary at the bedside of your brother who in an intensive care unit.

When I cascaded down a grand staircase in my lace wedding dress eight years ago, I didn’t know how many trials would greet us in our first few years together. I didn’t know building a family could be so hard. But I did know that because of the love we had for each other, we would make it through anything.

Dear daughter, marry the guy who loves you so much that he hurts to see you hurt. Marry the guy who will hold your hand with tears in his eyes when he sees you in pain.

Marry the man who will care about your happiness more than his own, and in return you will feel the same. It won’t always be easy, no matter how compatible you are or how deep your love is. But marrying the right person will make life easier when inevitable tough times come your way and will make your life even more enjoyable in the good times. 

I love your father above anyone and above anything else. I love looking back at our happiest and most carefree times. But I also enjoy remembering how he has loved me through indescribably hard times.

I’ll never forget the tears in his eyes when he asked me to marry him or the laughter we shared as a poor newlywed couple trying to make our own fun, or how he looked at me in awe when I gave birth to you.

But I’ll also never forget how we took turns holding each other when we found out your brother had a genetic syndrome that we never saw being apart of our story. Or how he took care of me after we had a miscarriage, even though he was in just as much pain. Or how he held my hand as doctors performed surgery on me so I could bring your other brother into this world–both of us trying not to cry for each other’s sake.

Dear daughter, my point is this: find someone who loves you so completely, who you love equally as much, so that when bad times come, you can hold each other together when it feels as if everything else is falling apart.

Choose wisely, my love.

Originally published on the author’s blog  

 

Jillian Benfield

Jillian Benfield is a military wife, mom of three, and one of her kids rocks an extra chromosome- also known as Down syndrome. When she’s not cruising in her minivan taking kids to different schools or doctor appointments, she’s writing about faith, marriage and parenting on her blog, www.JillianBenfield.com Follow her on Facebook

You’re Not a Bad Mom, You’re a Work in Progress

In: Motherhood
Mom hugging child

I’m kind of hard on myself as a mom. In fact, most days if I were to grade myself on some sort of official motherhood report card, I think I’d give myself a “Needs Improvement,” which isn’t all bad. Nobody’s perfect, and the idea of working on being a better mom is great—important even—but I’m realizing more and more that when I see myself as a mom, I tend to focus on the bad. The things that need improving. All the little mistakes add up, and overall, I end up feeling like a bad mom. Nobody tells me this. It’s...

Keep Reading

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

So God Made a Mother With a Willing Heart

In: Motherhood
Mother and daughter smiling, color photo

You may have heard it said that God only gives special children to special parents.   But, when God made the mother of a child who has special needs, the Lord did not need a special mother, the Lord needed a mother who was willing. God needed a woman who would say yes to an assignment that many choose not to accept. The Lord knew she wouldn’t feel qualified to raise a child with special needs, but that didn’t matter because God would equip her every step of the way. Since there is no such thing as a perfect mother,...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

10 Tips to Banish Teenage FOMO

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen with red hair smiling

Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together. If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue....

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime