“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” Matthew 5:6 (MSG)

Alfredo on breadsticks
and chocolate on chocolate

Full copper mule mugs
and all creamy sauces
Savory, stuffed flank steaks all tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things
White cheddar on popcorn
and crisp bowls of Munchos

Chunky and Monkey
and Chili Cheese Fritos
Grey Goose mixed up with grape cran is a treat
These are a few of my favorite eats


When the weight gains

When the clothes shrink
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things,

and then I get really mad


According to Jesus’ proposed Sermon on the Mount, my hunger pangs and emotional thirst often seek relief from the wrong food group. Turns out a spiritual feast wins the best recipe for satisfying the soul.

“Hallelujah,” sings my metabolism.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God, “carols the King.

My present grown and flown season of motherhood allows me to better digest Jesus’ wisdom. But getting the memo back in the all-consuming days of raising three kids? Not so much.

Motherhood tends to disrupt our eating patterns in countless ways. If we are talking about real food, we seldom have time to eat let alone worry about healthy consumption. Making sure our kids scarf down a balanced diet takes precedence. We settle for grabbing a handful of Cheetos while running off to soccer practice.

As busy moms screeching through hectic lives, the temptation to allow negativity to stockpile in our pantry also looms large. Many times my feeling feasts consisted of the angry birds special: crabby patties with a side of complaining, fretting, worrying, doubting, raging, and crying over spilled milk.

Emotional binging over the doom and gloom of feeling overwhelmed is an enticing quick fix. Unfortunately, these high calorie, spoonful of sugar recipes adhere to our arteries like Wonder bread. The doctors keep trying to tell us stress is a silent killer…

Finding God in the whirlwind takes mindfulness and effort. Jesus assures us the perseverance fills our bellies,

“He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”

My world of having three kids right out of the marriage gate tested my Bambi faith early on.

Although I attended church sparingly throughout childhood, my understanding of God was obscure and muddled.

Meeting my husband, John, in college opened my heart and bent my ear to the mystery. Observing his faith swelled a hunger in me to seek the Lord with all my heart. Problem was the striving often dulled under the stress and strain of everyday living.

John worked late hours and traveled often. His hard work provided the blessing of me staying home with our children, but the shift in responsibility required a huge adjustment. Operating as a solopreneur managing the home and caring for the kiddos often wore me down.

Many nights I fell into bed bloated from exhaustion and gassy with self-pity. Looking back now, I realize the self-defeating consequences of my mental languishing.

As moms we tend to set ourselves up for emotional weight watcher fails when we forget to nourish our souls. Zooming through parenting wearing a cape on our back, looking to save the day at our own expense, wreaks havoc on our psyche.

The sooner we recognize the rewarding sustenance of God’s rich banquet, the healthier our life becomes. God’s love is the ultimate elixir. His Grace sweeter than chocolate. Mercy more healing than homemade soup. Compassion more comforting than warm Chamomile.

How do we remember these truths while we dine and dash from one place to the next?

God has taught me to breathe in His presence by being present. I close my eyes and listen for the Holy Spirit. He comes to us in a whisper; with a gentle reminder to remain in the flow of God’s love. Receive and give. Give and receive. Nourishment in, nourishment out.

To be fair, this practice of stepping back and centering myself happened almost never when all my kids were underfoot. But before you label me a hypocrite, please know I share the humble encouragement with you now because I wish someone had enlightened me back in the day.

Of course having an empty nest creates a quiet atmosphere, providing opportunity for such an experience. But I am convinced if we make a practice of stepping out of the madness of our days even if only for a few minutes, peace will find us.

After his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continued to breathe his foodie wisdom into the air,
“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food…. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” Matthew 6:27 (MSG)

“I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more.” Matthew 6:35 (MSG)
Nowadays I choose foods inclined to stick to my heart instead of my midsection. Snacking on God’s promises has become my new favorite thing.

(Oh, and chocolate. Okay, also white cheddar popcorn. And, if I’m being honest, Olive Garden breadsticks. Alright, alright – anger, frustration, pettiness, worry, fear, annoyance still rear their grumbelly heads. Whatever. I’m human!)

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog shelbyspear.com.

Spanking Made Us Parents We Didn’t Want To Be

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of mother pointing finger at child

Fourteen years ago when my husband and I were preparing for our first child, we felt we already had several tools in our toolbox. Both of us worked with children and youth, and we felt prepared for parenting. We decided early on that we would never spank unless we were completely out of options.  As our bright, sweet, bubbly firstborn entered the terrible fours (yes, he was a bit delayed in his toddler rebellion), we were surrounded by a community of people who believed in “controlled spanking” with hugs and grace afterward.  RELATED: These 6 Words Transformed Discipline in Our...

Keep Reading

I Was Raised by an Easter-Only Mom and I Want More for My Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter read Bible

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted, and women tend to look to their upbringing for guidance. We may not even realize we’re doing it! But being a godly mother is even more difficult when you weren’t raised by one. The questions are endless: How do I model forgiveness? How do I set the right priorities for my household? How do I explain baptism to my 6-year-old? Is it okay to have undiscipled friends around my children? Do we have to pray over every meal? Is the occasional swear word acceptable?  These questions may be less intimidating if you were fortunate enough...

Keep Reading

Even When it Feels Like I Can’t, I Keep Going

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom holding toddler

When I feel like I can’t do one more thing. When I am overwhelmed and touched out and lost in the logistics of it all. When my physical and mental energy are depleted. When the length of my to-do list needs more hours than I have. When I am so bone tired that I’m sure I just can’t go on. And there is still more to do. And the only choice is to keep going– I keep going. I dig a little deeper and find strength I didn’t know I had. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

Ordinary Mornings, Extraordinary Grace

In: Faith
Emily Ley holding Sure as the Sunrise book by water's edge

“From his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Today, take note of what brings you gladness. That which gives you pause or causes you to take a deep breath. These are glimpses of God’s goodness in our lives, brought to life through moments and things, memories and sounds. Realizations and hope. In its biggest forms: a moment you wish you could freeze in time, and in its smallest: a sliver of grace, otherwise overlooked. I wake up to the smell of fresh laundry, sheets cool against my skin. One eye open, I peek down at the...

Keep Reading

She Just Needed to be Held

In: Faith, Motherhood
A little girl held by mom, color photo

“She just needed to be held,” I texted my husband after a two-hour battle to get my 3-year-old to bed. She’s been sick. Daddy’s been gone. And she needed to be seen. Held. Loved. And in that split second, I felt God say, “Just like you.” When things are chaotic. When we feel alone. When we feel weary. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama When our spirit feels sick. When it all feels like too much to carry. We need Him. To breathe life into us. To remind us of our worth. To remind us of the hope He offers....

Keep Reading

Church Should Be a Sanctuary for Neurodivergent Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child praying in church pew black and white photo

We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to the acceptance of loud, energetic, and spirited children inside the church. It’s easy to preach (pun intended) acceptance of every individual as God made them, but when a 9-year-old is shouting out, repeatedly during a sermon, or a 6-year-old is jumping from one pew to the next during the prelude, that’s when reality sets in. You hear the elderly man behind you whisper to his wife, “Back in my day, children were seen and not heard, what’s wrong with kids these days?” Then the single, 30-something across...

Keep Reading

Do You Ever Feel Like a Fraud?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Stressed woman side view

Hey, Momma. Do you ever feel like a fraud? Maybe it’s just me. Here I am . . . trying to build a life and career writing about motherhood. Yet, I don’t feel very good at it at all.  When my oldest was born 13 years ago, I decided on my own that we weren’t going to spank or yell.  Then, life changed.  One child turned into six over the course of a decade. And over the years, I’ve failed to keep the commitment I made all those years ago.  RELATED: I’m Not The Mom I Thought I Would Be...

Keep Reading

The Prayer Heard Round the World: ESPN Anchor Prays On-Air For Damar Hamlin

In: Faith, Living
Dan Orlovsky prays on ESPN for Damar Hamlin

No doubt you’ve heard it said (or even said it yourself): “I’m praying for you.”  In the wake of Damar Hamlin’s terrifying collapse midway through the first quarter of Monday night’s NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, it seems the entire nation has been praying for his recovery. We saw both teams kneel to pray as the ambulance carrying Hamlin left the field. There have been moments of silence offered across stadiums in Hamlin’s honor. Hamlin’s family issued a statement thanking the public for the outpouring of support and prayer: “We are deeply moved by the...

Keep Reading