The Beauty of Motherhood Writing Tour
On the surface, this picture represents one small moment in time. A weekday morning playgroup at a friend's house. Kids running and playing. The sounds of dinosaur roars, motorized cars, and feet running up and down floors. Our conversation is interrupted over and over again as kids run by asking for food, a mom’s reminder to share, and the opening of arms for a hug.
The picture can’t show how we all came to this place. But I know this group of moms is the result of invites and showing up and being honest and vulnerable. It's the result of a hundred small conversations that are really about the big things: sleep deprivation, making friends, our kids meeting milestones or not, sickness, worry, love and joy.
I shared early on with this group of moms that I was writing a book of devotions with my friend Erin. They listened and rejoiced. They supported me through every step of the process. Their stories are intertwined with mine, but more importantly, they remind me that there are so many stories of motherhood waiting to be told.
The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years covers a range of milestones from the hazy newborn days to sending our kids to school. Our core message for mamas is that they are known and loved by a gracious God. As we note in our book’s introduction, the faith reflections we wrote represent a fraction of the varied expressions of motherhood, which is why we encourage readers to tell their stories, too.
To celebrate the release of The Beauty of Motherhood Erin and I organized a Writing Tour spanning March and April. Mothers in our network whose backgrounds and stories contrast ours responded to the prompt, What does the beauty of motherhood look like in your life? We wanted to elevate and amplify the stories of other mothers, trusting that those words would make more women feel seen and encouraged in their motherhood journeys.
We’ve loved reading these stories and know you will, too.
May you see yourself in the words below.
May you feel God’s presence in your days.
May you pick up a pen or call a friend and tell your own story.
Michelle Bengson shares through poetry what it means to mother through the tides. “In this particular year of motherhood- I've realized how awful things can happen to our children in that ocean, too. And still, I can not dictate their days, even when waves come crashing. Not much is in my control, in sad times either.”
Melissa Kutsche reminds us all that “motherhood is a marriage of the miraculous and mundane. It’s a metamorphosis, a mosaic of the mystic and material. It is equal measure milk and marrow.”
Fay Gordon recounts what it looks like to love what our children love. “And it’s a moment like this—on its face, so absurd, but in the moment, so tender—that reminds me of the beauty of motherhood. The beauty of your child surprising you and you surprising yourself. When else am I completely gobsmacked by both the hilarity and sweetness of a conversation? When else do I just jump into a conversation, full force, even though the topic is um, not my favorite? When else am I carefully thinking about what I say, knowing that I may be saying “I love Chevron!” but what I want him to know is this: if you love something, I love it, if you care about something, tell me about it. I’m here and I want a front seat to everything that matters to you.”
A much needed letter, mother to mother, from Jessica Folkema’s older self to her younger mama heart: Dear one, give yourself grace. Be gentle with your discomfort and uncertainty. I know you often feel like an imposter. Like you’ve been handed your roles—mother, farm wife, functioning adult—but don’t have the basic skills to do any of them well. But God didn’t give you this beautiful life to watch you fail. No one gets it all right. I know those words may feel empty, but I have the benefit of hindsight and decades of perspective (as evidenced by all these forehead lines). It may feel like you’re in the trenches now, but frankly, these aren’t the trenches. This is just life. This is what it’s about. Pain and joy. Boredom and delight. Uncertainty and promise. There is abundance bursting all around you—just open your hands.
Meta Herrick Carlson shares the delights of watching our kids grow and let them try on their own. “But the smile on my face remained. I was proud of them for trying, for their good enough, and for the ways their own sense of responsibility is coming into focus.”
Stacy Bronec defines motherhood for herself and her life and invites us to do the same. ““Why do you keep waking up? I’m tired.” She yawns in response, snuggling into my shoulder. We start rocking, our shadow dancing on the wall behind the nightlight. When I think she’s asleep, she reaches up with both hands, places them on my cheeks, and kisses me.”
Traci Rhoades gives a glimpse into raising a teenage daughter and the lessons she’s learning: I'm broken open, before my daughter. The world is too volatile for her to understand it as safe. Isn't this a wonderful space for faith to enter in? To build our trust in God? What a beautiful privilege to lead my daughter into the holy of holies. That space where we encounter God, not because we go to church or don't cuss or believe how some Christians expect us to believe, but because he is, always and forever, the way, the truth, and the life. Broken open before our Savior, so his light can shine forth. Asking him to teach us to fly, even with broken wings.”
Ashley Holston gives us the words we need to pray when we’ve done everything (or nothing at all). “We did everything we could, God, until we could not. Recognizing that You are the only Parent with limitless energy.”
Reb Smyth reminds us we’re not alone. “Some days the beauty of motherhood is harder to see than others. I don’t like waiting. I don’t like trusting. Can I have my pot of blossoming giant daisies now, please? But this is what mothers do. It’s who we are, who we’ve always been and always will be. We nurture and protect and teach and hold. We give our bodies and our minds and our sleep. We pray and hand it all over, day after day, hour after hour. And we believe there is beauty in this work, even if the full bloom is yet to come.”
Simone Griffin knows how to use only a few words to tell a powerful story as she recalls A Mama’s Day in Three-Word Phrases:
Read them stories.
Tuck them in.
Hugs and kisses.
Grab their faces.
“I’m so tired.”
But what’s more?
“I love you.”
Now it’s your turn. We know your story is full of beauty and hope. And we’d love to hear yours. What does the beauty of motherhood look like for you? Share your story with the hashtag #TheBeautyofMotherhood