So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

So, this just happened.

My baby walked barefoot across the stage to receive her college diploma yesterday. Now I sit here the morning after, dumbfounded and unable to fully grasp the enormity of this motherhood moment. The hubs and I are somehow 25 years into this parenting gig with three college graduates now walking along the path of full independence.

Are you kidding? What is my life right now?

Two decades ago, I had three littles running circles through my house, and now I have three twentysomethings running full speed into their own lives. The only word I can muster to describe how I feel is grateful. An overarching sense of gratitude that God led our family to this moment; regardless of how in the world we got here. It will be a slow go unpacking the rest of the feely stuff inside me.

The bigger question is, “What is your life right now?”

If you are in the weeds trying to manage and balance your family life while navigating heavy and vacillating emotions around how on earth you are going to survive, this message is for you.

First, let me say there is hope, mommas. And hope does not disappoint.

I make this promise because having three kids in 42 months made for a long season of weed-living in my world. Most days, I mothered from pure survival mode: keep my kids alive, feed them something, and try not to lose my mind or allow too much mom guilt to crush my soul.

Clearly, I had no idea what I was doing. The word “balance” in relation to motherhood, my marriage, work, friends was laughable. Raising the kids felt like 100% of the pie chart. So many nights, I’d stare into the abyss at 3 a.m. feeling complete dread and angst over my seeming unpreparedness for each new age and stage of child rearing. A litany of questions would race through my mind: Will they be able to adapt to new surroundings, overcome challenges, deal with bullies, make new friends? If they make poor choices, struggle with mental illness, battle addiction, suffer in relationships, will they be OK, and will I be able to help them?

The short answer to the long list of anxiety-ridden questions was yes. Between my three kids, every situation and circumstance I worried about above manifested in real life. Plus more. But the time-tested reality is, yes they were able to adapt, and yes I was able to help—the best I could. I never thought I’d make it to this point. Yet here I am.


Because God had my back, my kids, my life—my everything. In all my weakness and imperfection, worry and doubt, reservation and uncertainty, God stood in the gap, carrying me through. Seeing my joy-filled, capped, and gowned daughter in the arms of her big brothers yesterday awakened me to the gravity of this truth. It was a coming-full-circle moment for me, where I realized that in all my efforts to personally ensure the well-being of my children, it was the letting go that really helped me hang on. Trusting God to take care of my family was the best decision I ever made. I didn’t have to know what I was doing because God knew what He was doing. Hallelujah.

God’s got your everything too, mommas. Whatever overwhelms you now contains the life force that is moving you toward a season that will take your breath away. For all the times I was exhausted, racked with guilt, or drowning in fear, I can now look back and see that God was there all along. Sometimes I just couldn’t see Him. Maybe I should have been more like my daughter and walked through life on my bare feet. She’s known to go shoeless, and does so to feel more connected to God. Having her feet touch the earth keeps her grounded. I could have used more days of feeling like I didn’t need to be in control (not to mention I wasn’t anyway!).

Seeing our kids blossoming into the young men and women God is calling them to be is beyond fulfilling. Watching them unfold their gifts, follow their hearts, pursue their dreams, and find out who they are is fairy-tale like. Observing them overcome adversity and push through their suffering is a relief.

This is the hope we can all hold onto. And hope never disappoints.

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

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 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

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


Proven techniques to build REAL connections