Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Lately I’ve come to notice a new feeling in my gut. It’s been there before, in other forms, but nothing quite like this. 

I can can go a few hours without feeling it’s eerie tightness, but then, there it is again. It doesn’t always bring me to tears but sometimes it does.

The knot in the bottom of my stomach isn’t likely to dissipate any time soon. Like a scar is the reminder of a deep cut, maybe it won’t ever fully go away.

The knot in my stomach isn’t unique to me. Generations of women before me have felt the same thing I’m feeling today. Woman all around me live every day with the same knot.

In some ways, I’m grateful for the knot. If I was completely honest with myself and with you, I probably wouldn’t even wish it away if I could.

So, why am I living with a knot in the bottom of my stomach?

In a few short days, our family of six will be taking a road trip halfway across the country, and then will return home with just five of us in the vehicle. We will be leaving my oldest daughter at a ministry school – 1,500 miles away from us. From me. Her mama. 

The precious daughter I carried for 9 1/2 months in my womb. The one I endured 16 hours of labor to see her precious face. The girl that broke me into mamahood. 

My firstborn child that helped me start losing my arrogant, “I will never allow my children to do that, judgmental self. The one that paved the way for how we would parent and discipline our little mini me’s… now four in total. 

Nearly 18 years after that beautiful afternoon that became the first day of the rest of my parenthood life, it’s time to transition my baby into the adult world. How does this happen?

So many have gone before me. So many have paved the way for mothers all over the world to know that, though this season is tough, it is doable, it is survivable. In fact, it can be downright amazing, if you just learn to embrace the knot in the bottom of your stomach. 

Because, though yes, the knot in the bottom of my stomach is full of sadness for me. It also is full of joy for my baby girl. 

My girl has been transforming into a powerful and beautiful woman for a while now and this is the next phase. I would never want to hold her back from all the potential that is in her.

Her dreams and potential are leading her far from home… at least for a season. And that’s ok. 

It’s OK because she has been created as her own person. She was created with gifting, purpose,  and destiny. She was created to impact the world around her – wherever that might be. 

I have had the gift of her life from the beginning of her days but now it’s time to share that gift with the world. 

And yet… today, with this knot in the bottom of my stomach, I feel a bit selfish. This knot can urge me to hang on a little too tight. But I can and I will choose to be generous. I will choose to let go though this knot within me wants to hold on.

I will embrace the fact that I will probably, from now on, be living with a knot in the bottom of my stomach. Because I have three more daughters to live through this season with. And this season doesn’t stop with leaving my firstborn in her new apartment. This season transitions into one of each daughter going away to school, each one meeting their spouse which means four weddings, new jobs, first home purchases, and, in a blink, grandbabies. 

Yes, this moment of preparing to leave my first baby at school a million miles away from home has left a knot in the bottom of my stomach, that might lessen with time, but probably will never fully go away. Especially since I’ll be taking this grownup daughter’s baby sister to her first day of preschool in just a couple short months…

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

Dani Stroda

I love the adventure of life - aspiring to live every day lost in the whimsy and wonder of the journey. I’m outrageously in love with my amazing husband who makes me laugh every day. I’m mamma to 4 gorgeous and witty daughters who delight me everyday. I’m overwhelmed by the love of our Creator and passionate about helping others find freedom and wholeness - body, soul and spirit. I am author of the book, Journey Through the Door, which released in November 2015. A good conversation, with a friend, over coffee is a favorite pastime of mine and you can join me over at http://www.whimsyinmycup.com/ to join in the conversation! Also find me at “Whimsy In My Cup” on Facebook.

Yes, We Wanted a Big Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Big family silhouette

Baby number WHAT?!?! Okay, okay, I know having FIVE children in the modern world is a bit of an anomaly, but the responses we have gotten from sharing our joyful (to us!) news has been a bit over-the-top. You see, my husband and I always dreamt of a big family, verbally expressing four to five children as our ultimate number. After having three, I must say I had to do some convincing to keep going, as my husband felt our hands were pretty full. I do agree our hands were pretty full, but I still felt our hearts could handle...

Keep Reading

How Much Longer Will I Watch Them Play?

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Two boys at indoor playground, color photo

As I sit here watching my two boys running around on the bright-colored foam mats, sliding down the bright red and green slides that end up in a ball pit full of giggles, I can’t help but wonder how much longer I will enjoy this sight. They’re both growing up so fast—T-shirts with their favorite characters have been replaced by plain colors.  Curtains with Paw Patrol now invite an “Eww, cringe!” reaction. Slowly their boy bedroom decor has been updated to reflect the cool gamers they so want to be. RELATED: He’s a Boy For Just a Little While Longer No...

Keep Reading

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading