So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I was 17 the first time I stared down at two pink lines. Old enough to know they were the result of my own choices, but too young to understand how powerful each and every choice I made from that moment on was going to be.  

I was a kid, and I was scared. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. Well, nothing I needed to. I don’t know what I thought ignoring things would do . . . I had to know I couldn’t wish a baby away. But nonetheless, I tried. 

I tried until one day I couldn’t button my jeans, and then I cried. I cried because I didn’t know what else to do. I cried because I didn’t know how to be a mother. It was never something I thought I wanted or dreamed of. 

So, I made a choice not to.

I scheduled an abortion, but I couldn’t follow through. People assume this was a selfless decision, but it wasn’t. I was in no place to be a parent. I hadn’t even managed to care for a fetus properly. But I couldn’t see living with myself if I took a life. So I spared one, for my own sake.

I was anorexic. I partied hard. I make no excuses. I was selfish and wrong.

And it wasn’t until eight pounds of sweetness swaddled in pink stared up at me that I understood that. And I hated myself for it.

I wanted to forget it all. The choices I’d made and the baby girl I’d chosen not to protect. And for those reasons, I moved forward with an adoption plan. Again, not selflessly. But because it was a choice I could live with.   

Looking back, no matter the reasonit was the one thing I did right. I didn’t deserve my baby girl. But losing her, even to the parents she was meant for, destroyed me.

RELATED: I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go

It turned my world upside down. I partied more, studied less, and stayed steadily unemployed. I wouldn’t say I was suicidal, but I was reckless without concern for outcomes. And sure enough, just two years later, still hungover from the night before, I was again looking down at two pink lines.

This time it was different.

Life changed the moment I knew I was responsible for someone else’s. I sobered up, studied hard, got a job, and did everything I wasn’t strong enough to do before. And this time when I looked down at seven pounds of perfection swaddled in pink, I could promise her the world.

And I did.

I nursed her for two years. She slept atop my chest. We took mom-and-me classes, sat through library storytimes together, and attended playgroups (so being an only child did not set her back).

I poured all I had into her. But still, I swore I was coming up short. I had this notion I could never be enough, and it had control of me.

RELATED: You Say I’m Enough—But What if I’m Not?

I got married when she was three. I dragged her into a turbulent relationship with the noble intention of trying to give her the perfect family. There are a thousand reasons I could tell you why I did that, or why it didn’t work, but the only one that matters is my heart held too much hate.

As focused as I was on my past, I couldn’t see the present. I was so angry at myself for letting my firstborn go, I lost time with the girl I had. I was there, going through the motions, but in my mind, I could never be enough. And because I couldn’t be enough for me, I couldn’t be enough for her. And that was a toxic place to be.

I describe getting married as playing house. A game that pushed me further into despair. In response to past mistakes, I tried so hard to be the mom and wife I thought I needed to be that I never honored who I was or thought about what I was meant to be. The hatred I felt for myself was reflected in the energy I drew from others.

Just as it is said a person can’t love you more than you love yourself, a person can’t hate you more than you hate yourself, either. And because of that, you won’t allow someone to treat you worse than you treat yourself. But that line can be dangerous when your heart is hateful.

RELATED: Silence Fuels Domestic Violence—So I’m Speaking Up

For seven years, I lived just below that line.

First, I was cut down with words. But nothing he could say could be more painful than the things I told myself. So, I accepted them. Eventually, things turned physical. In a strange way, it was a relief. All the anger I felt toward myself took a tangible form. I didn’t feel like I deserved the perfect life I fought so hard for, so sickeningly, the abuse kept things in balance. The less respect I had for me, the more he took. It came to a head when he hurt someone else. And when I stood up for my girl, I realized long ago, I should have been standing up for me.

The night I decided to leave, my daughter fell asleep in my arms. I will never forget looking down at her and the trust in her eyes as she looked up at me. In those eyes and through mine filled with tears, I saw the grace of God. I saw my own worth and value and found forgiveness.   

RELATED: In the Middle of the Mess, God Loves You

I came to understand I never had to be perfectI only had to do my best. And the best I was capable of the day I learned I was going to be a mama was very different than the best I was capable of the day I held my firstborn. Though it was a tough pill to swallow, I had to accept that my higher power wouldn’t punish me for that. Then I had to stop punishing myself.  

For years, I’d run scared. I convinced myself my actions were unforgivable. And on a human level, maybe they were. But scaled against the universe, it was akin to a learning curve. I wasn’t who I needed to be when I wanted to be. But it didn’t mean I couldn’t grow into that person. I just first had to break free of the self-imposed judgment that kept me captive.

I make no excuses. Not for me, or the experiences, or the man I let beat me down. I don’t claim wisdom or worthiness. Rather, I forgive my own imperfection, freeing me from impossible standards. And I celebrate that through the eyes of my child, and in those of a higher power, I am enough. 

Their grace, His grace, is all I need.

And I am so thankful that when I am weak, he is strong.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at https://herviewfromhome.com/contact-us/write-for-her//

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

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’m So Thankful For This Little Family

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler boy and infant girl, color photo

I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, and praying for a life like I have now. Praying for a man to love me, to be loyal to me, to want a family with me, to provide for me, to show me what stability felt like and what it felt like to not ever have to worry . . . and here he is right in front of me. I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, praying for a house I could make a home and raise my family in. Here it is right in front of me. But most of...

Keep Reading

How I Like My Coffee

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter drink coffee

I like my coffee with hazelnut creamer and a dash of almond milk. I like my coffee cold and neglected on the countertop because I’m busy soothing my new baby boy, the one who has made me a mother. In my long robe and slippers, I pace the kitchen floor and hold my swaddled son close to my heart. When his fussing grows quiet, I can hear the ticking of the big clock in the den. The dawn slowly reveals itself, brightening the kitchen in increments. It’s hard to imagine keeping my eyes open until he’s ready to nap again....

Keep Reading

Compassion Holds My Heart

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Child hugging mother

I lean my head in through the window of his van. The first thing I notice is the funny smell. Like cigarettes. And maybe body odor. The second? His tired, wrinkle-lined eyes. They’re dull, lethargic even. My daughter scrunches up her nose. I give her that look and try to hide my own misgivings. But Compassion climbs in the car with me.  And as the taxi driver guides the car toward our destination, I ask him about his story. Turns out he’s been driving all night. Till 5:30 this morning. Taking people home who were too drunk to drive themselves....

Keep Reading

I Was the Girl Who Ran Away From God

In: Faith
Woman standing in grass, black-and-white photo

I was the girl. I was the girl who’d do anything to get high as a teenager. I was the girl who craved love and just wanted to be wanted. I was the girl who wasn’t afraid of anything. I was the girl who stopped believing there was a God. I was the girl who said I would never go back to church. I was the girl who was certain none of it was real anyway because I was wasting my time going places like that. I was the girl who let the heartache and disappointment of this old world...

Keep Reading

I Prayed for You Before I Knew You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

Baby, I have prayed for you—even before I knew who you would be.  I prayed I would be a mom one day when I was too little to know what I was praying for and again when I really thought my body would not be able to carry a baby. I prayed for you.  I prayed every day as you grew in my belly that you would be healthy, happy, and strong.  I prayed at every doctor’s appointment and scan that I would hear your heartbeat loud and strong.  I prayed for your arrival—for you to be safe and for...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, I Miss You

In: Faith, Grief
Grown woman and her mother, color photo

Dear Mom, Yesterday I went over to your house. I was hoping you would open the door, but Daddy greeted me with his sweet smile. Yes, he still has a mustache. The one you hate, but I did manage to trim it up for him. I cut his hair too.   We talked about you over coffee and waited for you to join us, but you never did. He’s doing his best to do this life without you in it, but his eyes are clouded with memories and mixed with pain. He misses you, Momma. RELATED: I Didn’t Just Lose...

Keep Reading

Spaghetti Sauce Faith

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Mother and little girl holding a bowl of spaghetti, color photo

It was Sunday afternoon, and I was loading my grocery cart higher than I ever had in my life. My husband and I, along with our two kids under two years old, had been living with his parents for three months. We moved from our Florida home to look for a house in Georgia, and they graciously took us in. This was the day I loaded up on groceries—filling an empty refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. My shopping list was all the things. I needed to buy the smallest of table ingredients like salt and garlic powder to the big things...

Keep Reading

Dear Introverted Mom, Take that Break

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman outside with book and food

I am alone, in a hotel room, 20 minutes from home, lying back in the crisp bed, feet propped up on billowing white pillows. A good book is in my hand. The large window beside me overlooks the Mississippi River as the sun slowly sets and people unwind for a southern Louisiana evening in downtown Baton Rouge. I’ll probably order room service for dinner. I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop across the street, sipping on a deliciously caffeinated beverage carefully made to my liking. I ate a delicate snack filled with fruits, fancy lettuce, and expensive cheese while...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime