Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

When I was 16 I dropped out of high school halfway through my junior year. After numerous moves state-to-state from the time I was nine, and struggles with anxiety, depression, drugs, alcohol, and shoplifting (among other things), I was tired out and sick of trying. Floating through the nights awake and sleeping all day, it was the lowest point of my life.

Then, something happened: my grandma suggested I come back east to Virginia to visit with my cousins and stay at my Aunt Lacey and Uncle Tim’s house. My first reaction to this idea? “I don’t want to go there and spend time with all those Christians!”

To me, “Christian” had by this point become a dirty word. I had gone from having a faith in God (albeit fledging) to none at all. I was too down to believe there could be a loving God who cared for me. Spending time with people who were believers, heavily involved in their faith, sounded like the worst possible option. No way.

Well, turned out I did not have much choice in the matter; the ticket was purchased and I flew back east for what was supposed to be a three-week stay. I remember curling up in the armchair at the end of my first evening at Uncle Tim’s and Aunt Lacey’s, pretending to sleep. All the cousins were there that evening. having pizza and chatting late into the evening. In my family, we kept to ourselves and had few happy quality times together by the time I was a teen. “Are these people for real?” I thought, going up to bed early. I was too jaded, afraid and depressed to even try to take part in the joy around me. I felt only suspicion.

And I wanted to leave and return home after just a week at Aunt Lacey’s and Uncle Tim’s. All I can think now, looking back, is that when you have lived in darkness for a long time, the light hurts your eyes. There was real love and joy and harmony among these relatives of mine, something I had not experienced in my own family at all in recent years. It rubbed me the wrong way. I called my mom out in Montana and asked to come home; she told me to finish the visit.

My cousin’s wife Sarah took me under her wing right away. She was a new mom at that point, staying at home with her 8-month-old (who is now 20), and she drove out to pick me up every single day. Taking me with her as she lived out her daily routines, I started to open up, to soften. Her own father had died young in a mental hospital; she had grieved and felt abandoned by God, herself; we spoke the same language.

Sarah shared with me about her prayer journals, how she cried out to God in everything, both joy and distress and everything in between. And He had sustained her. He had fed her, even though her life had not been easy and she had suffered immensely. I started to do the same thing on my own time, talking to God via journal. My faith started to open back up as I felt His presence in those intimate moments of sharing with Him my deepest heart and fears and desires.

My Aunt Lacey and Uncle Tim also played a part in what turned out to be a very healing, essential season in my life. They encouraged me to get my GED; they told me I was smart, and that I could achieve things. Slowly, I started to study for the GED and then Sarah took me to take the test; I passed, and then started to attend community college.

Aunt Lacey took me to take my driver’s test a whopping three times, and at last, at age 19, I got my license, and then my first job. All these milestones took time and effort and were not easy to achieve, but as my sense of connection to God and to the body of Christ became strong, I felt more confident, more capable of taking on hard things.

Now my Aunt Lacey is sick, and has only a short time left in this world, before she passes along to the next. I am grieving for her, and missing her already, but also celebrating that she gets to be home with the Lord. I am thankful for her, and for her home, which was a place of healing for me in a difficult time. I simply do not know who I would be if I had not gone to live with her and her family in that season. It changed me. She was one of the mothers who mothered me. And now I am a mother, and I still remember all the things I learned from her. And I will never forget.

You may also like: 

Moms Fix Things

Dear Mom, Thanks for Still Mothering Me in This Exhausting Stage of Motherhood

To the Christian “Bad Girl” Who Wonders if She Belongs

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

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//

I Thank God Every Day for These Babies

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two children, color photo

You know that saying, “All of God’s grace in one tiny face”? Growing up, I never understood the meaning behind it. I thought it was overused, cliche even. I mean, of course, babies are adorable, but I never fully grasped the concept of the saying. That is until I became a mother myself. Everyone has a different journey to entering motherhood. Mine, in particular, was unique, to say the least. All my life, I couldn’t wait to have kids of my own. Yes, even when I was a kid myself, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s...

Keep Reading

Daddy, Am I Beautiful?

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Daddy holding preschool-aged daughter, color photo

“Daddy, do I look beautiful?” I heard my daughter ask my husband from the other room. I barely heard what she said as I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, but her words struck a chord in my heart. My sweet girl, all dressed to go out, asked for her Daddy’s assurance that she was beautiful, that she was admired and special. It hit me in that moment: this pure and built-in desire we all have to be loved, admired, and wanted. Just as my sweet girl wanted her Daddy’s approval and assurance of love, I so often cry...

Keep Reading

You Make Our Marriage Work and I Love You More than Ever

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband and wife, smiling, selfie, color photo

I used to write love letters to you. I’d sit in my dorm room for hours, penning pages of poems that you’ve apparently kept in a drawer in our bedroom closet ever since. Recently, you mentioned you miss that girl. We laughed because neither of us knew you would turn out to be the sentimental one. And I was thinking, but never said, that the older, more cynical version of me has no idea how to write a love poem anymore. I look at love differently now. I’m different now. We’ve waded through years of never-before-known territory—sometimes treacherous, often mundane,...

Keep Reading

Going to Church with Kids is Hard but We’ll Keep Showing Up

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young daughter in church

Going to church is hard with young kids. It used to be something I looked forward to. It’s something I’ve always valued deeply and needed desperately. It’s the one place that will always be home regardless of what location or building it’s in or what people attend. Church is my sanctuary. But it’s become a battle with the kids’ resistance, my tired mind and body, and my lack of ability to actually listen to the sermon. Going to church is hard with young kids. It’s become normal for me to lie down in bed on Saturday night thinking, with dread,...

Keep Reading

I’m Praying for My Teenager in These Challenging Years

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy holding a smartphone and wearing headphones

In my mid-40s, I began to long for a baby. We didn’t get much encouragement from friends and family. My husband is a high-functioning quadriplegic, and I was considered way too old to start a family. But our marriage was stable, we were used to obstacles, we were financially prepared, emotionally experienced, and our careers were established. I began to paint my own sublime mental portrait of parenting tranquility. What could go wrong? At 48, I delivered a healthy baby boy, and he was perfect. We adored him. The baby we had longed for and prayed for, we had. And...

Keep Reading

When Motherhood Feels Like a Limitation

In: Faith, Motherhood
Ruth Chou Simons holding book

Twenty-one years ago, my husband Troy and I welcomed our first son into the world. Two years later, I gave birth to another boy. And again two years later, and again two years after that. A fifth boy joined our family another two years later, and a final son was born 11 years after we began our parenting journey. If you were counting, you’re not mistaken—that’s six sons in just over a decade. We were overjoyed and more than a little exhausted. I remember feeling frustrated with the limitations of the little years with young children when I was a...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in the Pew

In: Faith
Woman sitting in church pew

I entered the church sanctuary a woman with a hurting and heavy heart. Too many worries on my mind, some unkind words spoken at home, and not enough love wrapped around my shoulders were getting the best of me. What I longed to find was Jesus in a rocking chair, extending His arms to me, welcoming me into his lap, and inviting me to exhaust myself into Him. I sought out an empty pew where I could hide in anonymity, where I could read my bulletin if I didn’t feel like listening to the announcements, sing if I felt up...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading