To the Momma of the Strong-Willed Child

I can’t remember where I saw you last. It might have been the grocery store – the place that most mommies dread – but the place you especially dislike visiting. There are too many opportunities for hard there. Hard as in, “No, we can’t have that thing you want today and there isn’t anything I’m going to be able to say that makes you agree and put it back easily.”

Most days, it feels like strong-willed children are good at hard.

They are skilled at making things more difficult than they have to be… or at least it feels that way.

The truth is, what they are really good at is knowing their own mind – not being easily deterred – confidently proclaiming exactly what they want and how they want it done.

Deep down, we know that this is a good thing. Mommas of strong-willed children know that the traits that make most  days feel endless, also mean that our children will also grow up to be motivated, determined, leaders.

Because when they are big, we hope that they don’t take “no” for an answer… It’s while they are little that we just want them to let no mean no… at least once a day (preferably while in public.)

You know, it takes a special kind of momma to raise a strong-willed child. It takes a certain endless amount of grace to continually define the lines of what is and isn’t acceptable all while little hearts ceaselessly push back. It’s hard work defining the same boundaries a million times a day.

I know that it’s exhausting.

I know that most days you worry that you’re not capable of handling this job. You have other children who obey easily – or maybe a friend does – and you wonder, “Why does this sweet baby of mine have to make it all so hard. Why can’t they just…. Listen.”

And maybe deep down you’re worried that somehow you made them strong-willed… maybe they are a product of your parenting… and maybe there won’t ever be a day that it gets any easier.

But, Momma?

Has anyone told you that you’re doing a great job? I know that you feel spread thin. I know that you feel tested. I know that most days your patience runs out before breakfast is cleared from the table.

But God knew what He was doing when you gave you that sweet baby. He knew that you (together with Him) would know just how to love that baby who wants so desperately to be reminded. He knew that within you were all of the traits and characteristics of a woman who would raise a leader, a confident thinker, a child that would find God at a young age and not be easily swayed from following Him.

And so on this day? I pray that He would give you an extra measure of grace. I pray that He would fill and refill (and refill again) the places within you where you feel like you have come to the end of yourself. I pray for more grace, more patience, and more joy in this journey. And I pray that He would give you a fresh confidence in your ability to love your child perfectly as He pours out His endless love… through you.

May you find yourself with grace to spare at the end of the day… as you prepare for another day of raising greatness again tomorrow.

Because that is what I pray for myself… another momma of a strong-willed child in the trenches with you.


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The Hardest Day of the Year

Every year, you think it will be easier. You think that the last 365 days have prepared you to face it. You know that it is coming. You see the ads on TV. You see the stores set out their timely displays. And you tell yourself that this year will not be quite as painful. It will be better than last year.

But all of a sudden, Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and you realize that there are some places in our hearts never seem to fully heal. And you fear that this year will be like so many others before…

The hardest day of the year.

It’s hard for so many reasons. It’s hard because it’s also good. There are women in your life that you want to celebrate. There are women that you hope feel loved and special – women that you want to encourage to feel appreciated and seen.

But as you exhale, “Happy Mother’s Day,” you hold your breath and balance across the fine line that connects beauty and sorrow, crossing warily between joy and mourning.

For some, it is the deep ache – the whispered fear – that taunts relentlessly, “You will never know the joy of being a Momma.” It is a reminder of another year without a baby in your belly or in your arms. It seems like a day that celebrates the pain that you face silently.

For others, it is the painful truth that the phone won’t ring this Mother’s Day just like it didn’t ring last year or the year before. Because while attempts have been made to reach out, they are met with silence from the other end… prodigal children refusing to turn their faces towards home – towards the women who love them more than they could possibly comprehend. It’s hard for the women with children who refuse to acknowledge the love that gave them life.

And still yet, for those who have lost their own Mommas. It is the hardest day of the year for you sweet women who will celebrate the joys of motherhood without your own to hold your hand and show you the way. For you who would give anything to crawl up in your Momma’s lap and tell her just how much you miss her, how much you need her, how you still don’t know how you’re going to do this without her.

But with every Mom-filled commercial on TV, or article online, with every reminder of the pain in your own heart – I want you to know, friend, that you don’t have to listen to the ugly lies that skim just below the surface of joy.

The lies that say it will always be this hard or that it will always be this painful or overwhelming. The lies that say there will never be true joy. There will never be a settled peace. The lie that says there is no way it could ever change…

No, friend, don’t listen to that. Because no matter what makes this day painful… no matter what set of circumstances makes this the hardest day of the year…

The truth is? You’re going to be okay. Your heart will find hope and healing again. It will make its way towards promise and possibility, because the end of your story has yet to be written…. And the things you are dreaming of today pale in comparison to the reality that is in store for your days to come.

You are seen, friend. You are loved. Your story and your pain and your feelings are recognized… even for just a moment, I want you to know that it’s okay for you to miss your momma, or be sad that you’re not yet a momma, or simply wish to be called momma… because while this day is beautiful and wonderful and worthy of celebrating, I see you too – I acknowledge you who will call this the hardest day of the year.

To you? I simply want to say, It’s not the end. Hang on to the God of Hope – because just when you don’t think you can go any farther… just when you think you won’t be able to face one more Mother’s Day like this? Hope steps in and changes everything.


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Momma’s First Mother’s Day

Hey, Momma?

There are a few things that I want to tell you. I just don’t have the words… yet.

We’re still figuring this out – you and me. The early mornings and the long nights are hard. I know that you’re tired…. ALWAYS tired. Even on the nights when we both get a little sleep, there is this ache that seems to go all the way down into your bones.

But I want you to know that you’re doing a great job.

I know that sometimes you worry. I know that you worry whether or not you’re doing it right. You worry that you aren’t enough. You worry if I’m eating well or sleeping enough or too much… some days you worry if you’re going to make it.

We will.

It’s lonely being a mom some days. We are with each other as often as possible, and even though you’re never alone… somehow, you still feel lonely. Why did no one tell you it would feel like this?

I just wanted to take a minute to say, “We’re okay, and we’re going to be okay, because we have each other.”
It’s hard work being the mommy. I need you for everything.

I need you to feed me. I need you to change me. I need you to keep me clean and dressed and warm.

But, mom?

More than anything, I just need your love…

And you give it unconditionally.

When everything is wrong and scary … just hearing your voice makes it better. The safest place in the world is in your arms. My favorite place to be is against your heart.

That heartbeat put me to sleep many nights. It kept me calm. It helped me remember that with each beat, I’m loved – that you wanted me.

So, mom?

If I don’t get to say it for a while… even if when I’m big and grown and I still can’t find the right words, I need you to remember this…

I am going to be okay, because I have you… and you’re going to be okay, because you have me too.

I love you, Mommy.



Happy early Mother’s Day – because there shouldn’t just be one day to celebrate the most important job in the world.


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