So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I pause. Yep, that’s her. The soft but sure, unmistakable sound of my three-year-old coming down the steps. Two little thumps on each stair, padded sleeper feet, pause at the bottom; fluffly-headed girl blinks her way into the kitchen and my early morning sanctuary becomes workplace.

I swell with love and gather her up, breathing her downy hair into my nostrils, simultaneously wishing I’d had more time by myself this morning in the stillness and dark before the Mamas began. She wants down and I start tea, and watch her out the side of my vision–her sturdy frame shuffling sleepily toward the books, her big eyes swallowing me up. She owns this time. I’m at her mercy, since an act of defiance on my part would result in her waking the whole house.

I’m anticipating the high-pitched, whimpering request and it happens on cue, muffled through the pacifier: I’m huuuuuuungry. I relent because I must if I don’t want the other one up two hours earlier than he needs to be. Swollen with love starts to become swollen with tasks as I follow her to the cereal cupboard. Can I have Cheerios? Sure. Can I have them dry? Sure. Can I have grape juice? Okay, I guess. I get her settled and happily crunching and slink my way back to the stove.

She wants the votive candles lit. I light them. I go back to the stove, wondering if this may be one of the magical times that an independent snack leads to independent play and I can maybe sip my tea and wake up a little.

Mama I want you WITH me.

I surrender my hope of solitude. I bring my tea and pull up a chair. She wants our chairs scooched closer, so I scooch. The tea lights twinkle and her face glows in the dark. She holds out her plastic cup of juice to me.

For you, Mama.

Oh, no thanks sweetie, I’ve got my tea.

NO, Mama, for YOU.

I take a sip and watch her smile. Next come the cheerios, popped into my mouth. More into hers. We’re both crunching and she reaches over and cups my cheeks in her hands, presses our noses together. Her eyes blur and her lips touch mine, smacking and sticky.

I love you, she says.

And my eyes are opened. And I recognize Him.

And I can feel inside of me get big with thanks. And tears rise up because I had almost missed it; almost pushed it away–and for what? 

Because isn’t this what He does? He shuffles in and interrupts plans and requests company. He comes with us to the workplace; meets us in the boat and at the well and at the kitchen table before dawn, drawing our foreheads to his and cupping our cheeks in his hands, telling us again of his love. His no nonsense, plain and simple, matter-of-fact love, big enough to hold our messy, sticky, smacking lives.

I have to wake up to Him here. Because my life is Cheerios and grape juice, and if I’m always looking for fancy bread and French wine I’ll miss all the gifts. Because the good news is this: I’ve got a commonplace God who shows up in simple ways among the mundane and rote patterns in my life, and offers to make it all wonder-filled.

And sometimes I’m awake enough to catch hold of it, even if it’s just for a moment, and then He’s gone again. And I get down from the table, take cups to the sink, hear the second one coming down the stairs, and step into the next moment, the encounter nestled in my heart. 

Erin Landsee

Erin Landsee is a full-time stay at home parent and homeschooling mom of two. She also works as a children's minister and yoga instructor in Iowa City, Iowa.

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

God Tasked Us With Raising Beautiful People in a Fallen World

In: Faith, Motherhood

Today, I watched my little boy put an oven mitt over his hand and mix up an imaginary meal. Like any mother would be, I was touched to see my son enjoying himself—playing fearlessly in the Children’s Museum and exploring with many fun and creative toys. He would open the wooden fridge and purposely put a spatula in a specific compartment. Though his reasoning was not known to me—or anyone else for that matter—you could tell he had a plan for that metal spatula, and it was to be in that freezer. RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections