Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

Forty days.

That’s how long it’s been since I’ve hugged my big kids. 

 At first, it was hard to tell anyone we decided they would stay at their dad’s house. I carried so much guilt. 

What kind of mom has her kids stay at another house? Surely, I’m the only one doing this.  I’m a terrible mom. They’re going to think I don’t love them.

And on and on the lies went. 

But none of it’s the truth.

And I know I’m not alone. But I’ve still had to tell myself . . . You. Are. Not. A. Bad. Mom. I’ve had to say it over and over the last 40 days. And it’ll be another week, at least, until I even have a chance of hugging them. 

RELATED: Dear Kids, Thank You For Being The Strong Ones

These days we take what we can get. Phone calls. Video chats. Silly text messages filled with GIFs. 

But the other day I got to see their faces in real life.

It was essential. 

Not just for me but for the three younger siblings who just don’t understand why Sissy and Bubba haven’t come back home yet. It was hard to keep my littles from sprinting into their arms. I hated having to hold them back. I had to hold myself back, too.

I’ve had my share of tears. Some uglier than others. When I saw their faces in the front yard, I had to hold myself back a little bit, too. 

Dang, I miss them.

We kept our distances as much as possible. Me on the front steps. Them in the front yard. The littles showed them our sidewalk obstacle course, and they took turnsat a distance. Everything is at a distance right now. 

We finally settled with the littles on the inside and the bigs on the other side of the storm door.

It hurt so much to have them so close but not able to touch them. 

My big-emotion-feeling, spirited little drew a picture of her hand and spelled out I love you. They played tic-tac-toe a few times. Sometimes my oldest won and sometimes she let the little ones win.

RELATED: Dear Family, This is Going to Make Us Stronger Than Ever Before

But, I know, above all other things about this time. The ultimate victor and the one thing that is never at a distance . . . LOVE.

Love always wins.

Love is never at a distance.

Love is the most essential thing we have right now.

Because God is love. God is near to those who draw near to Him. And, man, am I drawing near to Him lately.

It’s too easy to let fear and sadness turn into anger, hate, bitterness, and resentment.

But our circumstances don’t determine our relationship with our kidsor anyone else for that matter.

We do. 

RELATED: When Will I Get To Hug My Family Again?

When it was finally time for them to go, I held back the tears. “Are you guys doing OK? Do you need anything?”

A hug,” my 16-year-old boy said. 

“Me, too, Bud. Me, too,” I held back the tears once more.

And fought with everything in me (and with a whole lot of Jesus) to not bust through the door and give him that hug.

As they got in the truck to drive away, we walked out of the house and waved. We held up our sign for “I love you.” We never part without saying iteven when it’s hard. 

Because love is a choice.

The littles chased the truck down the sidewalk. 

Because love does that, too.

Love always pursues.

Love is never at a distance.

Love always wins.

Because love is the most essential thing we have. Let’s use it well and often and when it’s really tough, let’s turn to the One who displayed it first and best.

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 now!

Order Now

Ana Bright

Ana Bright is a cheerleader for moms. She empowers mamas who are raising (sometimes extra) strong-willed kids. You can find her at Grace and Glory Moms, where she shares hope, humor, and helpful tips for making it through motherhood while holding tightly onto Jesus.

It’s Okay if the Dishes Can’t Wait

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman washing dishes

It’s been seven hours since I last spoke. There’s no one in the house to talk to. My husband is still at work and my kids are having a sleepover at Grandma’s. It’s also the Friday before a long weekend, so most of my friends have left for the cottage, which means my phone hasn’t dinged in a while. So, I did what most mothers do when they have the house to themselves for a few hours. I cleaned. I washed the dishes. I wiped the toothpaste off the bathroom mirror in my kids’ bathroom. I picked up the wood chips...

Keep Reading

I Love Who We’ve Become

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn, black-and-white photo

The lines of my body are softer now. Softer like her little cheeks as they brush against mine. Softer like her smile while she falls asleep looking up at me. Softer like her perfect head of hair when I brush it after bath time. The parts of my body are more full now. Full like her belly because of the milk I create. Full like her thighs fitting into new sizes as we leave the premie world in our rearview. Full like our hearts since we found out she was coming, and they’ve filled exponentially every day since. RELATED: The...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Facing a Child’s Illness: You Are Strong

In: Grief, Kids, Motherhood
Toddler with cast and IV looking out window

If you are the parents who just sat for hours in a cold doctor’s office to hear that your child has a life-threatening illness, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who can’t bring yourself to decorate or celebrate the unknown because you don’t know if they’ll ever come home, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who travel or relocate to deliver your child in one of the best hospitals with hopes it will change the outcome, you are so strong. If you are the parents who learn all the medical terminology so you understand...

Keep Reading

Life Began with You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding baby to her chest by window

I heard about the labor pains. And the sleepless nights.  I heard about the inconveniences. And the never-ending sacrifices.  I heard about the “end of life as I knew it.” And the loss of my individual freedom.  I heard about how it would impact my career. And how I’d never get to travel the world.  I heard about how I should date my husband while I can. And how expensive it all is. I heard about never getting any alone time. And how frustrating it can be. I heard about loneliness, depression, and the blues. And how hard it is to...

Keep Reading

What Happens When Your Perfect Life Explodes?

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Marriage, Motherhood
Sad woman by window with her head in hands

One day you’re living your best life, writing articles about how perfect your marriage is, and the next, BOOM, life as you know it completely changes. I was blindsided by information that my husband had been lying to me for three years about certain aspects of our lives. I felt like I had been hit in the gut by the biggest rock you could imagine. What has followed has been a snowball of events and new information that has changed the course of my and my kids’ lives. So what do you do when your perfect explodes? This is one...

Keep Reading

Sweet Baby, I Wish I Could Have Met You

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler standing at table with lit candles, color photo

Miscarriage. It floods my head with devastating memories. It seems like it happened so long ago, yet I can still feel the roller coaster of emotions I was taken on. My husband and I were ready to start a family, and I was fortunate enough to get pregnant right away. Holding that pregnancy test with my hands shaking and voice trembling, I was scared and excited.  I was ready to be a mom. Even though seeing those two lines so quickly left me shocked, I was ready to meet my baby. When I found out there was a little human growing...

Keep Reading

All I Could Do Was Make It to Church Today

In: Faith, Motherhood
Close up of man holding baby in his arms in church pew with kids in background

All I can do is make it to church today. It was the final thought that shut the door on all the other thoughts this morning. The thoughts that said I don’t look good enough. I should put on makeup. I should wear something nicer. I should find a way to paint my nails without them getting smudged up from holding a baby before they dry. The thoughts that said I am not doing good enough. I should have made supper last night. I shouldn’t have used that glass pan that shattered in the oven while trying to steam bake...

Keep Reading

You Are Worth Every Sacrifice

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

The best part of me is my son. Being a new mom is exhausting yet so rewarding. They say when he sleeps, you sleep. But I don’t want to miss any cuddles, so when he sleeps, I snuggle him up tight.  Being a new mom is lonely and so fulfilling at the same time. I’ve never felt so alone, but I’ve also never felt like my life had a purpose until now.  I wouldn’t trade my loneliness for a large number of friends. Although having some friends, even if very few, helps. Sometimes it takes being lonely to bring the most...

Keep Reading

I Should Have Stayed with You Longer Tonight

In: Motherhood
Little boy sleeping with night light above his head

Sweet child, I’m sorry I didn’t stay cuddled up with you longer tonight. I quickly tucked you into bed because I was exhausted. The night didn’t go as planned, and I was frazzled by the time we got to the end of the day. All I wanted was for everyone to be in bed. I wanted the house to be silent so I could hear myself think. I wanted a minute to catch my breath. RELATED: Why Tired Moms Stay Up Late But I should have stayed with you. I know you needed that extra time to unwind from your...

Keep Reading

3 Things Toddlers Teach Us if We Slow Down and Notice

In: Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler and mother hold dandelion flower

The saying goes, “Learn from your elders.” I’ve heard it said throughout my childhood and into my adult life. There is a lot to learn from people who are older than you, especially from their mistakes. However, I’ve come to realize that I can learn a great deal about living in the present from my gutsy toddler. Being a parent allows—more like forces—you to live in the moment. Toddlers are temperamental, tenacious, tender-hearted, and if they are anything like my daughter, they are also incredibly talkative. Their mood swings hit you in the face, sometimes quite literally with the unwanted...

Keep Reading