So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

“The doctor will just take this itty-bitty part,” my finger taps my daughter’s birthmark. I wear an intentional mask of cheerful confidence. “It won’t take long and it will be all over,” I say with a nod of assurance.

My six-year-old Heidi’s eyes are fixed, worried on that brown blotch.

Her outstretched arm holds still while I trace circles on her forearm around the dark splotch. She watches solemnly, her forehead puckers, her shiny eyes darken. I bend my eyes to within inches of hers, willing hers to mine, away from the stain on her arm.

“Will you still know me?” she whispers.

“Of course, I will,” I say pretending my heart isn’t melted butter. My blue eyes are level with her round dark ones.

Oh child, will I still know you? I will know you in a crowd of a thousand. I will spot you and call you mine. I will know you if you become an annoying adolescent with pink hair and black lipstick. I will know you when my hair is gray and my shoulders bend like a capital letter C. I will know you when my eyes grow dim and my mind fogs. My heart will jump at the sound of your voice. You will still be my sunshine when my days become dark.

I will know you.

“But if he takes my bookmarker,” she begins and her lip quivers. She looks up. Her clear blue eyes fill. “Who am I?”

Her “bookmarker,” that defining stamp born from the womb, always part of my Heidi, is now a foreboding pre-cancerous offense. It looks like a little mud puddle splashed against the inside white of her arm. The doctor wants it removed. She is scheduled for surgery in an hour.

Her questions crack into raw places in my heart and into my psyche.

In the mind of my little girl, the big questions of identity are condensed into one tiny birthmark, a symbol of her uniqueness, an assurance each morning that she indeed is Heidi, the joy of our lives. Her bookmarker anchors her place in an enormous universe.

Her dad and I walk down the hall next to the rolling metal bed that hugs our girl. She seems small against the white. An entourage of medical personnel walks with us. I squeeze the small hand in mine, not wanting to let go. In front of doors that will soon swallow our daughter, we lean over her and pray.

Then we stand tall, back away and wreath our faces in smiles. We wave her on her way as though she is about to go outside to play.

In my mind it is much more complicated. Her question reverberates like an echo in the canyon of my space. Will You still know me Lord, when they are all grown? Will You know me when my job is stripped, when I fail or become replaceable? Will You remember me after what I consider to be my very essence is gone? When the surgery of life has recut and reshaped me, will my being still matter? Will you know me?

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me,” David the Psalmist’s words whisper into my silent thoughts (Psalm 139:1).

I consider my markers. How readily I look to peripherals, accomplishments, and praise from others to establish my place in this sphere, to give name to my identity. What bookmarks me in my eyes is far different from the person God sees. He looks deep into my very core and loves the child He created.

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up….and are intimately acquainted with all my ways,” (Psalm 139: 2-3).

Sitting in a cold waiting room of life, I am humbled by God’s knowing.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb,” (Psalm 139:13).

Set apart, cared for and loved, this is the ultimate mark of the believer. To know Christ and be known of Him is the pinnacle of existence. It is the identity for which we long.

In a tender proclamation of devotion, the Lord spoke to His people Israel saying, “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands…” (Isaiah 49:16).

I stretch out my own arms in front of me. They are smooth and pale. I uncurl my fists, hold up my palms and close my eyes envisioning my name inscribed on giant nail scarred hands.

Jesus wrote my name in the pages of eternity. He inscribed me on hands wounded by the weight of the sin of humankind. I am bookmarked chosen.

When Heidi comes back, a white bandage covers what used to be a brown birthmark. Her eyes are open, searching for me.

I lean down, kiss her forehead and whisper, “I know you.”

Sylvia Schroeder

Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 13, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

God Tasked Us With Raising Beautiful People in a Fallen World

In: Faith, Motherhood

Today, I watched my little boy put an oven mitt over his hand and mix up an imaginary meal. Like any mother would be, I was touched to see my son enjoying himself—playing fearlessly in the Children’s Museum and exploring with many fun and creative toys. He would open the wooden fridge and purposely put a spatula in a specific compartment. Though his reasoning was not known to me—or anyone else for that matter—you could tell he had a plan for that metal spatula, and it was to be in that freezer. RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections