Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I recently traveled to my hometown and a friend of mine tagged along (likely not knowing she’d be spending nine hours in the car with a two year old and 3-month-old when she made the commitment). It was a great weekend in Savannah with lunches downtown, walks along the river, chaotic family dinners with kids everywhere, outdoor concerts, and even a half marathon. I drove her around my old neighborhood and pointed out the different places we’d lived, my old church, the marina where our rehearsal dinner was held…

And I couldn’t shake the feeling that everything seemed so…perfect. You could easily look at my family on the surface and assume we’ve led a privileged life. We all get along, without yelling or tension. My parents own a nice home on the water. My old neighborhood consists of quiet streets lined with pine straw and ditches perfect for jumping, with nary a streetlight in sight. We recovered from the half-marathon while drinking beer under oak trees and looking out over the marsh. But that’s funny because that wasn’t my childhood. At all. The neighborhood and the landmarks and the memories, yes. But the idyllic family dinners, waterfront property, laid-back, tension-free weekends were far from normal life.

A good chunk of my life I was raised by a single mom. With no money and four teenagers, she kept our family afloat in a tiny house with hard work, faith, and a lot of help from our “village.” I remember the church paying our rent. Friends donating to us their car. Bags of groceries on our door step and anonymous envelopes of cash on our windshield. There was more than enough tension and tears for the five of us.

This didn’t define my entire childhood but it made up my adolescence, when I was old enough to pay attention to the world and know that we were different than my other friends. While my peers were obsessed with boys and Green Day and naming their pencil erasers Bob {was that a thing everywhere else? Middle schoolers naming inanimate things Bob??}, my family was arguing and crying and barely scraping by. I was embarrassed that we were the only kids on “reduced lunch” and the only ones with divorced parents.

6th grade

Okay, so middle school was rough for a lot of reasons…

But I also felt like the only kid my age who was seriously learning to pray, for real things like peace and reconciliation. I was the only 13-year-old I knew with Bible verses covering my bedroom walls. I was the only one I knew baby-sitting and saving money to help pay for real things. At the time, my growing faith was simultaneously isolating yet my only source of comfort. The end of the story is a happy one, as evidenced by my recent trip home. My mom remarried a man who loves us as his own and never withheld a hug, a prayer, or a dollar because we were his step kids. But the real happy ending is the hardship– at a foundational age, I learned that God is faithful to provide. He is faithful to provide, not only when we’re in need of food or rent, but when we’re in need of comfort, joy, and direction.

Happy Siblings

Life does look different these days, both in the family I grew up and in the family I have created– we are comfortable, happy, and healthy. But this Thanksgiving, I am most faithful for the things I didn’t have that set me on a trajectory of faith, responsibility, and true understanding of what it means to need. Because when you know drought, you truly appreciate the harvest.

AshFurn300x250-A (2)

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

Kathryn Grassmeyer

Kathryn is a southern transplant, working and living in Northern Virginia with her husband Tyler and daughter Charlotte. She is soaking up life as a family of three before baby #2 arrives this summer. When she’s not blowing noses or failing at potty training, she works as a pediatric physical therapist. Blog: Facebook: Twitter:

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

I Was There to Walk My Mother to Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Hand holding older woman's hand

I prayed to see my momma die. Please don’t click away yet or judge me harshly after five seconds. I prayed to see, to experience, to be in the room, to be a part of every last millisecond of my momma’s final days, final hours, and final moments here on Earth. You see, as a wife of a military man, I have always lived away from my family. I have missed many birthdays, celebrations, dinners, and important things. But my heart couldn’t miss this important moment. I live 12 hours away from the room in the house where my momma...

Keep Reading

God Sent Me to You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Newborn gazing at mother with father smiling down

I was a little unsure As I left God’s warm embrace: What will it be like? What challenges will I face? There were so many questions Running through my mind. I asked around for the answers I was hoping to find. Who will hold me And cuddle me tight? Who will rock me To sleep at night? RELATED: The Newborn Nights Feel As Endless As My Love For You Who will comfort me When I’ve had a rough day? Who will be there To take my worries away? Who will nourish me And make sure I grow? Who will read...

Keep Reading