Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

I’ve stood out my whole life. Tall since birth, loud since just after birth, heavy for most of my life. I’m not shy, the extrovert you hear about who runs around collecting introverts. I live big, laugh loud. I stand head and shoulders above most of the other moms (and a good portion of their husbands). I wear leopard and sequins and false lashes. I stand out. I do not blend in. And often this lack of camouflage can feel more like not fitting in. 

I had my kids young and never felt at ease with the other moms at the playground. 

I had c-sections and felt isolated in mourning my dream deliveries.  

I have a child with unique needs and another with severe food allergies and never feel at-ease during playdates, wondering what one child may do or another may eat. 

RELATED: I No Longer Sit At Tables Where I Might Be The Topic When I Get Up

I don’t have an Instagram body, my messy buns look more like Duggar beehives, and all those cute shirts with inspirational quotes don’t come in my size.  

I stand out for many, many reasons, which leads me to blaming myself for not fitting in. 

The other moms aren’t as loud as I am. The other moms have kids who will sit quietly at a brunch table. The other moms all seem to have known each other for 82 years, vacationed together, met each others’ extended families, and bought houses with connecting backyards. There is a very real feeling of them vs me, a clear delineation between the other moms who stepped out of Pinterest and me who stepped out of a Vegas drag show. 

I’ve tried to fit in. I’ve tried to wear the clothes they did, to watch the shows they do, to quiet my voice and giggle instead of guffaw. But it was torture, being someone I’m not. I still didn’t fit in, and worse, I had betrayed myself. 

I don’t fit in no matter what I do. But maybe I’m not supposed to. 

I’m not called to be what the other moms are, I’m called to be the mom my kids need.  

I’m not called to casually converse in whispers, I was created to gather up those who wouldn’t have come in themselves. 

It would be pointless for me to wear shirts with inspirational sayings because God gave me a voice to say them out loud.  

RELATED: I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

I am not created to be a part of this world, to fit in with it, to be indistinguishable. I am called, set apart, fearfully and wonderfully made. I am unique and fun and often my lack of a verbal filter allows me to give voice to things other people are too afraid to say.  

I was not meant to calmly join the crowd, but to excitedly energize and encourage it. 

You, too, are not supposed to fit in, mama. You’re not meant to blend, to mesh, to bind yourself so tightly to the masses that you become a part of them.  

We are called to be lights, not shadows, meant to be clearly visible, not an outline of someone else. 

You don’t fit in because you’re not supposed to, mama. Not because you’re not enough, not because you’re too much, but because you are exactly as God intended you to be. Larger than life to bring attention to His name, introverted enough to move mountains in prayer. We are known by our fruit, not by our camouflage. 

God took the time to knit you, perfect you, to count the hairs on your head, and his masterpiece in you is an original. You’re not a paint-by-numbers person, you’re you for such a time as this. 

RELATED: Sister, Don’t You Dare Question Your Worth

Speak up if you’re loud. Hang back if you’re an intercessor. Embrace who you are so fully that others around you will feel comfortable enough to be themselves, too. 

Be a testimony, not a plagiarized parent. 

Stop focusing on where you don’t fit in and start looking for holes that can only be filled by you. Stop finding your identity in who accepts you and find it in the One who created you. 

Stop looking at the crowd and begin leading one. 

You’re not created to fit in, mama, so stop wishing away your calling and go be who everyone else is afraid to be. 

Go be yourself.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Jennifer Vail

Jennifer is married to the very handsome man she's loved half her life, with whom she juggles 3 hilarious, quirky, sometimes-difficult-but-always-worth-the-work kids. She is passionate about people and 90's pop culture, can't go a week without TexMex, and maintains the controversial belief that Han shot first. She holds degrees in counseling and general ministries, writes at This Undeserved Life, and can often be found staying up too late but rarely found folding laundry.

What Single Moms Really Need

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mom holding toddler on hip outside on dirt road

No, you’re not a single mom for a weekend. I’ve heard it said at social gatherings, in passing at church, and on social media. Perhaps the words are being uttered in a state of awe as if comparing themselves to valiant warrior princesses, knights in shining armor, heroes.  Usually though, it’s an under-the-breath complaint about being left by their otherwise attentive and loving spouse for the week or weekend. “I’m a single mom this weekend; my husband is on a golfing trip with his brothers.” “My husband is away for work, so I feel like a single mom this week.” ...

Keep Reading

You’re Never Alone in the Trenches of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, color photo

This one goes out to all the mamas in the trenches. To the mamas in the kitchen stirring dinner with a baby on their hip. To the ones waking up an hour earlier than the rest of the house to pump after waking up countless times throughout the night to attend to both your toddler and baby. The ones who must take care of business from lobbies, bathroom floors, lunch breaks, and the carpool line. To the mamas who pass on their own birthday presents so their kid’s medical bills can be covered. RELATED: This is the Sacrifice of Motherhood...

Keep Reading

When You Stop Running into My Arms, I Pray You Run to Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child and mother walking on beach in sunlight

I love seeing the light in my little girl’s eyes when I pick her up from school at the end of the day. Her eyes open wide, and she runs to me loudly saying, “Mommy!” for all to hear. I pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss on her cheek. She smiles ear to ear and knows she is loved and adored. She feels safe in my arms, and I pray that never changes. I want to always be her biggest cheerleader and greatest fan–holding the streamers on the sidelines in shades of brilliant gold encouraging...

Keep Reading

Praying For Your Kids is Holy Work of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom hugging daughter by bed with open Bible

While excavating Mount Masada in Israel, archeologists discovered something extraordinary . . . a date palm seed. It might not seem like much (especially if you’re like me and totally expected it to be a new dinosaur or something), but this particular seed sat dormant in the dry desert soil for almost 2,000 years. Scientists ended up finding several more seeds like it throughout the Judean desert, and with a little TLC, they were able to sprout not just one but six of them. Six date palm trees, now bearing fruit that hasn’t been seen in two millennia. Incredible, right?...

Keep Reading

Choose to Be a Mother, Not a Martyr

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, black-and-white photo

There is a trend in motherhood right now . . . maybe it’s happened for a long time, but now since I am a mom, I am experiencing it: this idea that everything we do as moms makes us a martyr. And honestly, I am guilty here more times than I’m not. RELATED: You’re a Mother, Not a Martyr We have these inner, silent dialogues between us and our husbands, parents, in-laws, and friends. Things we say and think, but they never hear. They compound on each other in the hallways of our hearts before bitterness creeps in without us...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Reminds Me How Much I Need Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby in nursery, color photo

Parenting is not only about the work it takes to raise up a child, but it’s also about continuing the work of being raised in Christ. Stripping back our innermost layers of selfishness and laying our pride exposed. Seeing ourselves as the center of our own personal schedule is no longer an option. Feeling like we have power over anything quickly vanishes into thin air. Parenthood pushes us to surrender and accept God’s sovereign control. Parenting sanctifies us.  Parenting shows us our sinful attitudes. When plans are ruined, when another blowout spoils the perfect outfit you chose, when your toddler...

Keep Reading

When Did I Become Such an Angry Mom?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman with head in her hands

My oldest children and I had just navigated a tabletop board game. My son lost. My daughter won. I also lost. She’s four. For the record, I was trying my best. We were all putting the game away together when my son grabbed my daughter by the face and yelled, “IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYWAY BECAUSE YOUR BREATH STINKS!” And then, Mount St. Meredith erupted. I (not so gently) removed him from the situation and (not so calmly) insisted that he . . . brush his own teeth. Yep. For the record, I was trying my best. RELATED: Mom Anger: Taming...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading

So God Made a Farm Mom

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Family walking on farm road at sunset

One day, God looked down at all the fields, barns, pastures, and farmers and knew He needed someone to take care of all the families on the land. He knew it had to be someone confident in herself to see that the farm doesn’t come first, even when it sometimes feels like it does. He knew the farm needed someone who understands her role is important, too—especially during the seasons of motherhood when she’s not out driving a tractor. Someone proud to stand by her farmer’s side.  So God made a farm mom. God knew farm kids would need someone...

Keep Reading