Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

My brother died last summer. He was 36. It was a freak accident on an improperly maintained houseboat. I was not there but I hear it was ugly. He was electrocuted by the boat. Gone in a millisecond, there was not anything anyone could do.

It was like a movie; I got a call at 1:05 in the morning from my cousin telling me what had happened. The next few weeks and months are now just a blur in my memory. But I have since refocused, and these things happened:

1. My miscarriages were given a purpose.

My husband and I have lost six children to miscarriages. After several losses we found out I have a medical condition that requires medication to be administered through an IV when I am pregnant. My brother, an engineer for San Bernardino City Fire, had the medical training needed to start my IVs. We spent countless hours together over the course of the past few years while he watched the medication that brought us our children drip into me. I am so thankful I had that time with him. If I had “easy” pregnancies, I would have missed out on all of that. The losses of our babies now have such sweet memories of my brother attached.

2. I found out my baby boy could only protect me for so long.

I got the call with the devastating news just seven days after I found out I was pregnant. While the next nine months were a mix of emotions, the flood gates were not opened until after I delivered our baby boy this past February. I now know my son was protecting me. He needed me to be there for him; and so I was. Once he safely made his debut into this world, that protection was gone. A year’s worth of emotions have now been crammed into three months time. It has been a bit brutal. The pain is deep and every few days it hits me and it takes my breath away. Sometimes I just start crying. It is like the tears got stored up and now they need to find their way home.

3. My tribe grew.

They say you find out who your friends are when life gets hard. I have learned this lesson over and over throughout my life. This was different though. Not only did I find out (again) how great my current friends and family are, but my support system grew. It is a testimony to how loved my brother was. People from his fire family and friends from his adult life have now all become part of my tribe. A neighbor of ours who we previously had only known casually has become like family to me. And the list goes on. I have made connections that I know will be in my life forever.

4. I learned my relationship with my brother was special.

I hear a lot of people talk about how much they used to fight with thier siblings growing up. I also hear about how many siblings don’t get along all that well as adults. I am lucky. My brother and I were always close. We had our moments of course, but when I hear people talk about their siblings, I can’t relate. I spoke at his funeral about our relationship growing up. I have since had many people reach out to tell me they were inspired to make better more purposeful connections with thier siblings. This makes my heart full.

5. I found out just how amazing my husband is.

That is it. He is amazing. Not just when life is fun and easy, but all the time. I could not design a better partner to go through life with.

6. I learned that sometimes being right sucks.

I am a fairly practical person. Maybe it is in my genes. Maybe it is because I am a scientist. Whatever it is, when bad things happen I immediately start thinking about and preparing for how my life and the lives of those around me are going to change. This was no exception. I made some predictions about how people would react and what things would be like going forward. Regarding some of the less pleasant things, I was hoping I would be pleasantly surprised and I would be wrong– but most of it is happening just as I predicted. I was right and it sucks.

7. I discovered God has a sense of humor.

I was texting my brother the day before he left on vacation. I asked him when he was coming home and he said “the 11th and 12th.” I knew he meant “or” but I took the opportunity to joke back by saying “Wow, you must plan on making quite an entrance if it is going to take you two days to get home.” It actually took him five days to come back to us and he did make quite an entrance. He died out of state in a national park, so getting him home took some time. Some of his fellow firemen flew to him, stayed with him for several days and escorted him all the way home. The airport let us out on the tarmac to meet his body. It made the 4 o’clock news in Los Angeles. There were over 700 people at his funeral. He did indeed make quite an entrance.

The emotions surrounding my brother’s death are confusing. I feel sad to have lost him, but happy to have known him. I am mad his death was so ugly, but am glad he had a beautiful life. I feel lonely without him, but am surrounded by so much love and support.

I never know how to end articles like this so I will just say “Johnny – I love you and miss you and can’t wait to see you again.”

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

Kelly Ruppert Bryan

Kelly Bryan is an Emmy-award winning wife and mother of two, living in southern California. She is the Vice President of Technology for Knowledge Relay and teaches Geology part-time at both Cal State University at Fullerton and Coastline Community College. She also dances competitively with her husband in a country-ballroom dance circuit. She is passionate about sharing her life experiences surrounding her troubled first marriage, her journey to find her amazing second husband, her battle with recurrent miscarriages and her attempts at balancing family, work and fun!

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

Church Should Be a Sanctuary for Neurodivergent Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child praying in church pew black and white photo

We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to the acceptance of loud, energetic, and spirited children inside the church. It’s easy to preach (pun intended) acceptance of every individual as God made them, but when a 9-year-old is shouting out, repeatedly during a sermon, or a 6-year-old is jumping from one pew to the next during the prelude, that’s when reality sets in. You hear the elderly man behind you whisper to his wife, “Back in my day, children were seen and not heard, what’s wrong with kids these days?” Then the single, 30-something across...

Keep Reading