Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I have a hard-headed kid. She marches to the beat of her own drum. She doesn’t mind being different. She is always either the first in line or the last in line. She is never wrong, even when she is. She is kind and she is brilliant.

She also has low self-esteem. She isn’t attached to anyone or anything. She is incredibly hard on herself. She is a subconscious self-saboteur and we butt heads a lot. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and that is how I first noticed her fragility.

You see, she is the middle of five, in the middle of which are three girls, of which she is the middle. She is the middle of the middle. Additionally, all five of my children are adopted from foster care. When they came to us, they were ages seven, six, five, three, and almost two. That was three years ago. I’ve always said they are normal kids who carry extra baggage, and that is not more evident than with my hard-headed middle child.

She comes across as uncaring, but you can easily see the cracks in her armor when a friend decides to play with someone else, a younger sibling refuses her help, or when she makes a mistake of any magnitude. There are times she falls to pieces simply because she thinks she is in trouble.

A few days ago, after a particularly difficult week, I felt like we needed to have a talk.

I brought our handy-dandy whiteboard easel into her room that has been the center of many of our family meetings. The kids just seem to respond better when they have a visual. I drew a bucket on the board. We talked about how many of the people from her past have poked holes in her bucket and how she never feels full because the love poured into her is leaking out of those holes. (Sometimes it feels like it comes out faster than I can pour it in, but I didn’t tell her that.) Those holes were made by people who neglected to take care of her when she needed them, those who hurt her physically, and by those who hurt her emotionally. In truth, some of those holes were made by her but that is for another conversation.

I asked her, “Are these holes your fault?”


She is in no way responsible for those holes. But, she also is in no way equipped to repair those holes. I told her I desperately want to be able to fix those holes, I want the love I pour into her to stay there. I want her to always feel full and loved. Unfortunately, I am not equipped to fix them either.

But God.

Every single part of my family’s story from zero to five children overnight contains those two small but powerful words: BUT GOD.

But God can fix my sweet girl’s damaged bucket. He can fix the holes placed there by people from her past, and He can fix those she put there herself because she thought they were supposed to be there. In fact, He is the only one who can fix those holes. Thank goodness because my bucket is running on empty, too!

What I desire for my daughter is that her bucket be so full of love, it overflows onto others around her. Because both her hard-headedness and her fragility are valuable characteristics of a strong leader. And that is what she is, a strong leader.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT). Whatever the burden or baggage you carry is, whatever the reason for the holes in your bucket, know there is only One who can fix it. He will happily do it if you just ask. 

God is waiting to turn your story around with two little words: BUT GOD.

You may also like: 

Please Don’t Write Off a Strong-Willed Child—Recognize the Beauty Behind Her Passion

Dear Daughter, Your Heart Is Full of Beauty

Dear Spirited Child, You’re Worth Every Unexpected Moment

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

Kristal Black

We went from zero to five children overnight through the miracle of foster care and adoption. We are learning to parent while our children are learning how to be a part of a family. I am a working mom, passionate about encouraging others in foster care or curious about foster care. Life with five kids is an adventure!

The Proverbs 31 Woman for Teens

In: Faith, Teen, Tween
Teen girl smiling outside

A girl with a noble character is hard to find. Her family can trust her. She sees things to be done and does them without being told. She has a good attitude when asked to do something. She makes wise decisions about her friends. She tries to put others first even when she doesn’t want to. She stands up for herself and the underdog who is being bullied. RELATED: A Prayer For Daughters She tells the truth—even if she is going to get in trouble. She is strong physically and not lazy. She is a problem solver in all situations. She...

Keep Reading

Some Mothers Never Get Their Rainbow Baby

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad woman with head in hands sitting on bed

Not everyone gets a rainbow baby—that’s a truth not many of us talk about. There are many women who long to have a rainbow baby but because of health or age, they never get one. We never talk about it. We don’t want to bring rain on someone’s otherwise happy day. “Oh, I’m so excited for you. Congratulations on your rainbow baby.” Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for mine. The clock is ticking and there is no sign of a rainbow baby. My body is wearing down and the chances of getting pregnant dwindle. I don’t mean to sound bitter. I’m...

Keep Reading

God Had Different Plans

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of family swinging child between two parents

As I sip my twice-reheated coffee holding one baby and watching another run laps around the messy living room, I catch bits and pieces of the Good Morning America news broadcast. My mind drifts off for a second to the dreams I once had of being the one on the screen. Live from New York City with hair and makeup fixed before 6 a.m. I really believed that would be me. I just knew I’d be the one telling the mama with unwashed hair and tired eyes about the world events that happened overnight while she rocked babies and pumped milk....

Keep Reading

This Will Not Last Forever

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman looking at sunset

“This will not last forever,” I wrote those words on the unfinished walls above my daughter’s changing table. For some reason, it got very tiring to change her diapers. Nearly three years later, the words are still there though the changing table no longer is under them. While my house is still unfinished so I occasionally see those words, that stage of changing diapers for her has moved on. She did grow up, and I got a break. Now I do it for her baby brother. I have been reminding myself of the seasons of life again. Everything comes and...

Keep Reading

God Calls Me Flawless

In: Faith, Living
Note hanging on door, color photo

When I look in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see. I tend to focus on every imperfection, every flaw. As I age, more wrinkles naturally appear. And I’ve never been high maintenance, so the gray hairs are becoming more frequent, too. Growing up a lot of negative words were spoken about me: my body, my weight, my hair, my build. Words I’ve somehow carried my whole life. The people who proclaimed them as my truth don’t even remember what they said, I’m sure. But that’s the power of negative words. Sticks and stones may break our bones,...

Keep Reading

Your Husband Needs Friendship Too

In: Faith, Friendship, Marriage
3 men smiling outside

As the clock inches closer to 7:00 on a Monday evening, I pull out whatever dessert I had prepared that week and set it out on the kitchen counter. This particular week it’s a trifle, but other weeks it may be brownies, pound cake, or cookies of some kind. My eyes do one last sweep to make sure there isn’t a tripping hazard disguised as a dog toy on the floor and that the leftover dinner is put away. Then, my kids and I make ourselves scarce. Sometimes that involves library runs or gym visits, but it mostly looks like...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

When You Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

In: Faith, Living
Woman sad looking out a winter window

It’s hard to admit, but some years I have to force myself to decorate for Christmas. Some years the lights look a little dimmer. The garlands feel a bit heavier. And the circumstances of life just aren’t wrapped in a big red bow like I so wish they were. Then comparison creeps in like a fake Facebook friend and I just feel like hiding under the covers and skipping it all. Because I know there’s no way to measure up to the perfect life “out there.” And it all just feels heavier than it used to. Though I feel alone,...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

To the Woman Longing to Become a Mother

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Woman looking at pregnancy test with hand on her head and sad expression

To the woman who is struggling with infertility. To the woman who is staring at another pregnancy test with your flashlight or holding it up in the light, praying so hard that there will be even the faintest line. To the woman whose period showed up right on time. To the woman who is just ready to quit. I don’t know the details of your story. I don’t know what doctors have told you. I don’t know how long you have been trying. I don’t know how many tears you have shed. I don’t know if you have lost a...

Keep Reading