Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

“Yes. Those are my children.” 

I was waiting in the return line at Target. I found a bag from Target in the bottom of my closet with an item in it I had forgotten and therefore obviously didn’t need. I decided it would be fun to run into Target with my husband and children.

There are many decisions in a day I thoughtlessly makeand this would be one with consequences. 

Before waiting in line, I had loaded two children into a cart and one into my handy Tula carrier. I thought I’d just return my item with one child while my husband pushed the other two through the store until I could catch up with them. I expected to hear giggling and precocious chatter.

Instead, I heard shrieking and banging. My 2- and 3-year-olds were losing their minds in the cart my husband was pushing through the store. Screaming, yelling, and what sounded like an exorcism rang out up and down the Target aisles.

RELATED: I Wish We Would Be More Honest About the Struggles of Motherhood

Waiting in line, I heard them get closer and then move further away. Target is busy on Saturday but not busy enough to drown out the spectacle that was my children.

The people in line had not seen that the parent pushing those unruly children was with me.

They felt free to make knowing faces at each other and comment on their behavior. A person in line behind me said, “I wonder who those children belong to.”

“They’re mine. Those children belong to me,” I responded.

Before I had children, I knew everything there was to know about rearing them. I would have judged my older self very harshly for what I considered a lack of parenting. My children will never behave that way, I would have thought and signed my own future death warrant.

It’s very easy to look on the outside of a situation and think you’d be capable of the perfect solution.

There are times when a stern look won’t work, when a time out won’t work and when a spanking won’t work either. There have been times when despite my consistency and best efforts, my irrational child is incapable of being managed at the moment. 

RELATED: Motherhood Can Be So Overwhelming

Each of my children has brought me closer to Jesus. Just when I think I have one child figured out, I am thrown a curveball with the next. If you’ve seen me play softball, you know I can’t hit anything, but a curveball could prove especially challenging.

God likes to remind me that not only am I not in control of myself, but I’m not in control of my little blessings either.

I need Jesus every minute of every day to keep me in check but also to shape these little humans He’s entrusted to me.

It’s too much for me alone, and He shares little glimpses of that with me from time to time. 

I fail a lot. There are days when I’m not a loving mother. Sometimes I’ll get to dinner or bath time and realize I’ve yelled more than I have loved. I have found when I realize my mistake, God always provides an opportunity for me to make it right. My children will tell you their mom apologizes a lot, “Momma says sorry when she’s mean.”

RELATED: The True Weight of Motherhood is the Unrelenting Expectations

With three babies under four, my patience wears thin sometimes. My babies have seen me fail, but they’ve also seen redemption. I think sometimes seeing the imperfect in their parent can bring about more learning than seeing a perfect parent.

I want them to know what it means to be human and a sinner but also to be loved and forgiven by God.

You can always make a comeback. 

I want my children to be respectful. I want them to sit nicely. I want them to say “No, ma’am” and “Yes, ma’am.” I want them to listen to me with complete obedience. I want them to eat all their dinner and always brush their teeth. I expect clean rooms and for them to contribute to our household through chores.

Mostly, I want my babies to love Jesus.

I want their love for Jesus to produce fruit. I want their hearts to be in such good shape that they’re wonderful adults later in life.

We’re a hot mess right now because my babies are learning how to be. I’m doing my best to show them the love of Jesus and shape them into lovers of Jesus. Sometimes making a masterpiece is messy. Please excuse the mess. Yes, those are my children, but they won’t be forever. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

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 for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Shelley McCauley

Born and raised in northeast Florida and transplanted to Minnesota, I am a stay at home mom of four, daycare provider, and foster parent. My faith and my family drive me to get up each morning and encourage me to go to bed early every night. Writing has become free therapy and my outlet to connect with other women.

The Quiet Work You’re Doing Matters, Mama

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two girls playing on bed

Mid-morning light spills through the kitchen window as I stand at the sink washing dishes.  “Mom, Caleb just punched me!” 3-year-old Aiden calls from the living room. “He took the remote right out of my hands!” Caleb contends. “I saw the whole thing happen,” their big sister interjects. “It was totally Caleb’s fault.  He started the whole thing.” “Mind your own business!” Caleb barks as he charges toward his sister with his fist in the air. It takes every ounce of restraint I can muster, but I manage not to get sucked into the yelling match happening in front of...

Keep Reading

Wear the Pretty Underwear

In: Faith, Grief, Living, Loss
Woman in evening gown, color photo

This week was monumental.  After 15 years, I finally finished a bottle of Victoria’s Secret perfume. I just wish I would have emptied it sooner.  It was one of those special occasion luxuries because it was not cheap. For years, I had saved this decadent perfume for date nights and holidays. It was too fancy for everyday use. And then, I was widowed without warning. My husband was here one minute, then gone the next. Impossible. Unfair. Traumatic. RELATED: What If Tonight Was Your Last Chance To Have Sex With Your Husband? But we were going to die in our...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Raising My Child’s Future Spouse

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy lying on car seat with puppy, color photo

Oh, hey there friend, you don’t know me yet or maybe you do, but at least for now neither of us know that our children will one day commit their lives to each other and by doing so forever knit our families together. One day, we will all sit in the front aisles of a church filled with scores of people who have influenced our babies, but none like us. No one else in that church will know the intentionality, love, and grace of God that it took to reach that day, but we will. The work you are doing...

Keep Reading

Spanking Made Us Parents We Didn’t Want To Be

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of mother pointing finger at child

Fourteen years ago when my husband and I were preparing for our first child, we felt we already had several tools in our toolbox. Both of us worked with children and youth, and we felt prepared for parenting. We decided early on that we would never spank unless we were completely out of options.  As our bright, sweet, bubbly firstborn entered the terrible fours (yes, he was a bit delayed in his toddler rebellion), we were surrounded by a community of people who believed in “controlled spanking” with hugs and grace afterward.  RELATED: These 6 Words Transformed Discipline in Our...

Keep Reading

I Was Raised by an Easter-Only Mom and I Want More for My Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter read Bible

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted, and women tend to look to their upbringing for guidance. We may not even realize we’re doing it! But being a godly mother is even more difficult when you weren’t raised by one. The questions are endless: How do I model forgiveness? How do I set the right priorities for my household? How do I explain baptism to my 6-year-old? Is it okay to have undiscipled friends around my children? Do we have to pray over every meal? Is the occasional swear word acceptable?  These questions may be less intimidating if you were fortunate enough...

Keep Reading

Even When it Feels Like I Can’t, I Keep Going

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom holding toddler

When I feel like I can’t do one more thing. When I am overwhelmed and touched out and lost in the logistics of it all. When my physical and mental energy are depleted. When the length of my to-do list needs more hours than I have. When I am so bone tired that I’m sure I just can’t go on. And there is still more to do. And the only choice is to keep going– I keep going. I dig a little deeper and find strength I didn’t know I had. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

Ordinary Mornings, Extraordinary Grace

In: Faith
Emily Ley holding Sure as the Sunrise book by water's edge

“From his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Today, take note of what brings you gladness. That which gives you pause or causes you to take a deep breath. These are glimpses of God’s goodness in our lives, brought to life through moments and things, memories and sounds. Realizations and hope. In its biggest forms: a moment you wish you could freeze in time, and in its smallest: a sliver of grace, otherwise overlooked. I wake up to the smell of fresh laundry, sheets cool against my skin. One eye open, I peek down at the...

Keep Reading

She Just Needed to be Held

In: Faith, Motherhood
A little girl held by mom, color photo

“She just needed to be held,” I texted my husband after a two-hour battle to get my 3-year-old to bed. She’s been sick. Daddy’s been gone. And she needed to be seen. Held. Loved. And in that split second, I felt God say, “Just like you.” When things are chaotic. When we feel alone. When we feel weary. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama When our spirit feels sick. When it all feels like too much to carry. We need Him. To breathe life into us. To remind us of our worth. To remind us of the hope He offers....

Keep Reading