We Must Talk About the Hard Things with our Kids

Last Wednesday, June 6th, as my son Jase was upstairs playing and I was watching the news, watching the United States Capitol building be overrun and Democracy become threatened, he came downstairs and asked what I was watching and what was happening. I almost turned it off, I almost did not tell him anything, I almost did not acknowledge the chaos and tyranny taking place, but I didn’t. Instead, I sat him down next to me and let him watch, let him see and know and because he deserves to not have the truth and hard things hidden from him.

I let him sit next to me and he watched for a few minutes and asked questions. He asked why was this happening? Who were those people? Why were the police dressed like that? Why are they acting crazy? So, I told him. I did not go into graphic detail, I did not use words he would not understand, but I told him the truth. Because even though it is scary to see and even though it involves things he cannot fully understand, he is a citizen of this country and because of that deserves to know when people threaten it and what it stands for, because that is what happened yesterday.

As he watched a clip of a rioter rip down the American flag, drop it to the ground, and replace it with his political flag, I told him that those men and women were violating the rules of how the United States is governed. I told him that after the election, Joe Biben was elected the new President of the country and many people disagreed with that and tried to stop it. And today the lawmakers of our country gathered to make Mr. Biden’s win official and instead of allowing things to be peaceful and happen as our laws state they should, those men and women did very bad things to try and stop it from happening. 

I could have told him more, as someone who co-majored in political science in college I could have told him a lot more. But I did notpartly because he didn’t need all the details and partly because it hurt my heart so bad to acknowledge that fellow citizens of this country tried so hard to bring our democracy to its knees. 

I ended my words to him by saying what you are seeing is not right, it’s not law, and it’s not what this country is. Our country began to give people the right to vote for who they want to govern, so many countries do not have the chance to vote or decide who leads them, so we need to honor and respect that and that is not what those people did. I told him that in politics and life people win and people lose every time, but what those people did is not how we react. Always remember buddy that we are called as Christians to be people of peace and justice. I asked him if he had any more questions, he looked at the tv screen for a few minutes and then said,“no mama I understand we should pray for our country, thank you for telling me.” He gave me a hug and then ran outside to find fossils in the backyard. 

So why do I write this? Why share it? Because as parents we should be the ones to tell our kids what is happening in the world around them, we should be the ones who, even when it is hard and scary, do not shy away from the conversations, and we owe it to them to be honest. So, I encourage you if your child asks what happened, because y’all they will hear about it somehow, be the one to talk with them, not at them, but with them. As a pastor and a chaplain somehow, it is hard to find the right words for things that happen in our lives and in the world, I understand that, and I grapple with it all the time. But we are parents and one of our God given roles is to lead, guide, support, and with truth and love prepare our children. That means we cannot hide the hard things, the scary things, the things that make us question or want to turn away. Because there will come a time, they are adults and we need to prepare and equip them for that time, and these moments, as hard and unsettling as they are, allow us to do that. 

So, talk to your children and your teens, explain in simple sentences what happened. Do not get sensational but let them see the impact of your words and your feelings. Let them ask questions and if you do not know the answer tell them that but tell them you will find out because it’s important to them and they are important to you. Ask them how they are feeling and acknowledge those feelings, even if they are not your feelings, even if they are not the ones, you wouldwant them to have. Be their safe place in a world that seems so chaotic. 

And then together, pray and hope for a better tomorrow. Not a tomorrow where everyone just gets along and does not argue, but a tomorrow where even in our disagreements, even when we do notalways win, and even when beliefs and ideologies differ, we remember who we are and whose we are. Yes, we are citizens of the United States, but above that we are children of God who did notcreate us for moments such as this, but for something better, something brighter.

A Million Little Pieces

Ten years ago today I got the call that changed my life. At 6am on September 9, 2009, my sister called to tell me daddy had died. It was so implausible and couldn’t possibly on any scale be true, that I told her that wasn’t a funny joke and I didn’t have time for this I was getting ready for work. And then I heard it.

The tiniest choke/sob in my baby sister’s voice as she said my name and I knew it wasn’t a joke and my daddy, my rock, my hero, my first love, had left this earth. I dropped the phone and fell to the bathroom floor. I still can picture that moment, where I was standing in the bathroom, what on the counter, what I was wearing and i still feel the cold of the sliding shower door on my back as I slid to the floor. My knees curled into me and at first the pain was so bad I didn’t cry, I gasped and still holding the phone I gasped the word no, over and over and over and my sister said “yes Whitney,” and in that instance I shattered, into a million little pieces I shattered right there on the bathroom floor, and honestly I have never been put back together.

I shattered, completely shattered because something I thought I wouldn’t have to face until I was much older I was staring in the face at 27. And not just any death, but the death of our families rock, our guide and protector. Death wasn’t new to me I had lost grandparents and great grandparents, an aunt, and other people, but this grief was new, this grief was overwhelming, this death was life altering and mind shattering. It broke me, changed me, and made me realize something, it always will.

I have come to accept and realize, 10 long and grief filled years later, that I never will be put back together because I can’t change the truth or fact, that he’s gone. There is no going back, changing time, or forgetting it and there is no moving on. I can’t move on because that would mean I would move on from my daddy, from who he was, and the intense love he had for me and me for him and I don’t want to move on from that. Even if it means facing the drowning waves of grief each and everyday I wouldn’t move on from it because daddy will forever be with me.

Moving on means that love ended, that it can’t still be real or never was. We move on from jobs, school, houses, or other things, but we don’t move on from love. We don’t move on from love because who I am, is because of the love my daddy gave me. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be me without his love. So I don’t move on from that love, I choose not to move on from that love. Even if it hurts I won’t move on.

My daddy’s earthly body died, but his love for me never will. So I move forward, not on.

I move forward in grief, I got married in grief, welcomed Jase into the world in grief, became a pastor in grief, and every other moment has taken place in grief. Because all of those moments that should have happened with him as my loudest cheerleader and engulfed in his arms, didn’t. So after death life moved forward in grief.

But life also move forward in love. Because they are forever linked together now, grief and love, love and grief, linked in a sad and beautiful way that can only happen because I have decided to let it happen. I can’t love my daddy without grieving that I can’t call him, and yes his number is still in my phone and yes I used to call it several time a day just to hear his voice.

But I move forward because while the grief of his death still shatters me, it also shapes me just like his love for me does, each and every day. When the grief comes in waves and drowns me I let the tears fall because they are indicative of the overwhelming love from daddy. I grieve because I loved and was loved and I move forward in that crazy reality.

My daddy was my favorite person in the world, he taught me to read and to love it, showed me the truth of faith in God and Jesus Christ. He rooted me in the faith that has shaped me and my family. My daddy will forever be with me, walking besides me and moving forward into each day in my heart, my mind, and through my love.

I shattered into a million little pieces on the bathroom floor on this day 10 years ago. But I picked myself up off the floor that day and countless days afterwards because that’s what we do when we choose to move forward. We take those we loved with us into the future and for me I take daddy with me knowing that one day I will close my eyes on this life and open them again in eternity and the arms that Ive ached for 10 years to hold me, will engulf me forever and those million little pieces will no longer be shattered, but whole.

The Change That Has to Be

You were the miracle that was never supposed to be. At least in my head. I remember the moment vividly, sitting in the Dr office hearing this sentence, “I’m sorry there is nothing else we can do you cannot have children, it will never happen.” And while I knew what she was saying all I heard was, you’re never going to be a mom.

In that moment everything changed and the road ahead wasn’t easy or simple. Even though the decision of how we would create our family was made for us in that moment, it wouldn’t be simple or easy. It wouldn’t be the Hollywood version of adoption. It would be painful and long and emotional, really the ands go on and on.

It would be a year from the time I heard those works until the moment you were placed in my arms. It was a hard and emotional year, but just like in that Drs office, when my eyes first saw you, in that moment everything changed. My heart grew and discovered a love I could never have imagined and my arms felt finally full. You my miracle turned the impossible into the possible and the pain into joy.

In the last 5 and a half years I’ve had relaxed mornings, countless spur of the moment fun days and trips, and while you had preschool the last 4 years, I was always there. Your preschool was at church and I work at church so I saw you and could find you at any time. But now it’s different. Now I’m dropping you off and entrusting so many with your safe keeping, your education, and the moments that used to be mine to soak up!

Today you started kindergarten and I walked you into class I knew there would be no playground pop in, chapel to sit with you through, early pick up for fun, or late drop off because of snuggles. Today everything changed again. You began big boy school. Your days will begin earlier and end later, you’ll have work at home, and change more and more.

I got your stuff ready while you slept and thought what would happen if I just let you sleep past the 8am bell. I held your hand as we walked to school and didn’t want to let you. I walked inside the building and wondered how I could manage to homeschool you.

My heart kept beating and I kept praying “God let him be calm, let him enjoy today.” We walked into class and got you settled, got your pictures taken and left you in the care of your teacher. A teacher I don’t know, but trust is as amazing as everyone says. But part of my heart stayed with you and always will. I now know what it means to leave my heart behind.

While I’m sad and scared, I’m also so excited to see what this new journey brings for you. How you’ll grow and change, how you’ll learn new things and mature even more. You’ll make new friends and find new interests. So I’ll smile through my tears and celebrate the closing of your preschool years and opening of your Elementary ones.

But know you’re loved, cherished and missed. Know my arms aches to hug you and I can’t wait to see your smile light up your face. You are the miracle that was never supposed to happen and I’m eternally grateful that’s I’ve had over 5 years to just be with you and soak up the wonderfulness that is you.

I’ve prayed this over you countless times in your life and did again today

Have the best day ever and I will wait to pick you up, which may or may not involve countless glances at the clock!

Mama loves you Tiny Human!

When Father’s Day Hurts

I love celebrating my husband on Father’s Day. I love to see him smile at the crazy cards Jase picks out and trying not to laugh when the presents picked out by the child are really for the child’s enjoyment. I love to see him as a dad, love watching him fiercely love Jase and want to spend his spare time, as little as he gets, with Jase, I truly do love it, but honestly this day hurts so bad for me.

I have spent the last 8 Fathers Day without my daddy. I lost him way to young and the grief is still, even after almost 9 years, overwhelming. It doesn’t go away, time doesn’t heal it, and it will always shape how I celebrate this day.

My dad had the best hugs and when we would gather on Father’s Day, because we always did, I got that hug.

Hugs like this. Hugs that engulfed me, that made me feel safe, that reminded me I was loved by a fierce and gentle giant. It is these hugs or the absence of them, that I ache for everyday, and especially on this day. I ache to hug my daddy and if I could have 1 moment with him again, I would just want this hug, for however long it would last, this would be my wish.

And honestly I think he loved these hugs as much as we did. He always hugged us, always kissed us hi and bye, and always showed us we were his favorite people on earth.

One of my dad’s other favorite things was baseball and I’ll always remember being coached for many seasons by him. He would made the dumbest jokes while coaching, give the best high fives when I came off the field, and yelled louder than anyone when I got a hit.

But that was Daddy, always there for his kids. Always coaching, always encouraging, always cheering us on. We were his priority and it didn’t matter what was going on, if we needed or wanted him there, there he was.

That is what makes his loss so profound. So many times of the last 9 years I’ve needed and wanted him there. To talk to, to cheer me on, to let me cry or yell, or just to make a ridiculous joke or show up in one of his dad sweaters.

Father’s Day is a great day, but when your dad, your hero and first love us gone, the day is hard. I always feel I rob Tim of the full joy of today. Because no matter how hard I try to be happy, a part of me will never be on this day. And I’ve decided that is is what it is.

And I think that’s ok because I’m lucky to be married to a man who knows I hurt, who knows I grieve and who knows my loss. He lets me grieve, he never pushes me and never asks me to get over it.

Tim knows my wish for Father’s Day is impossible. Because if I could celebrate Father’s Day in any way it would be with him. The one man who could make today perfect.

Daddy I miss you and would give just about anything to hear your voice. So much so that I still haven’t deleted your number from my phone. It’s still there, transferred to 3 new phones in the last 9 years and will probably be transferred to many more over the coming years. I know your voice isn’t on the other line, but it remains under Daddy, because that was your favorite title.

Father’s Day is to remember your father’s and today I remember the best one. Who loved us as big as he was. Who laughed at B movies, who loved corny ties and dad sweaters, whose goal was to have all his kids live with him forever, and who above all hugged better than anyone ever.

To Daddy I love you always and forever,

Whittles

A Letter to My Son’s Birthmother

Dear M.

Today is National Birth Mother’s Day. The Saturday before Mother’s Day is the day someone decide we should celebrate birth moms. I didn’t know it was even a thing until my mom made me aware of it. And as I sit here I think about you, it makes me kind of upset. Because I don’t honor or celebrate you on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, but I celebrate you, my sons birth mother, on Mother’s Day and honestly everyday. Because even though you chose adoption for Jase, you are still his mother.

You are his mother in a way I never can be. You carried him and loved him enough to place him in my arms, even when, so many in your life tried to make you feel less for that. Don’t ever let those words get to you. You aren’t less for choosing love, you are much much more.

I sat and watched Jase chase bugs in the yard this evening and I was overwhelmed in a way I haven’t been in a long time. I stared at him as he jumped in grass and squealed with delight as he caught one. And I thought, you M did this. You brought this moment and do many others to my life, how could that ever make you less. It never could be less.

I think about you. Often. Like every single day. I think about you when Jase smiles and I wonder if his chin dimples that pop up match yours. Did he get his love of animals, especially reptiles, from you? His stubbornness? Or his fearlessness? I think about you when I get snuggles, when I wipe his tears, and even when I’m overwhelmed by the realities of motherhood. I think of you and I’m thankful. Thankful that in all the world God led you to me.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I like to spend the day alone. I get to eat a meal by myself and do what I want to do and while it is nice and I do like it because a day off is a great way to spend Mother’s Day. I also like to be alone because I feel closest to you on Mother’s Day. I think of you and think I have this day because of you and I just let myself think of your face and I smile. I smile and I’m thankful. Thankful for your strength, your love and our connection. The black curly haired, dinosaur loving, Mama snuggling connection that will forever link me to you.

If I could see you in this moment I would hug you and say thank you, even though those words seem inadequate and small in relation to the gift you’ve given me. So I’ll settle for the world of social media and say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be the mommy of your son. Thank you for the endless reminders of miracles. Thank you for today. Thank you for tomorrow. Thank you for loving him enough. Thank you for the good and crazy of the journey of being a mommy. And thank you for the endless moments of joy that are mine because of you.

Thank you for trusting me to be your sons mommy. I don’t take that responsibility lightly because at the core of it is my promise to you. I promise to love Jase unconditionally and with everything I have. I promise to fight for him and push him to be the best him he can be. I promise to raise him to be an honest Godly man. And I promise that he will know you. He will know you through your love and through your strength.

Love you, Whitney

P.S. this quote made me think of you

Crumpled and Fisted Love

These are plainly 2 bills, a $10 and a $5. They clearly came to me wadded up and don’t seem like much, but they mean the world to me. This $15 on my kitchen table was put into my hand on thanksgiving day by my 7 year old niece Piper. She ran by me held out her hand and said “here this is to help you get your new baby.” I opened my palm and saw these 2 bills and my sister (her mom) asked her “is this your allowance?” And Piper with all seriousness said “yes but WeWe’s baby needs it more than me.”

I didn’t say much, because I was partly in shock, but hugged her as she ran outside to play with her cousins. And I continue to feel overwhelmed by this gift from a precious niece whose heart is bigger than most!

This is the same niece who with her little brother, decided to through their toys and have a yard sale, complete with a sign, to raise money for our adoption. The fact they live in the country and the porch is about a football field length from the Road didn’t detour her at all!

Piper loves big and loves her family with all she has, she and my other nieces ask all the time if are ready to bring our baby home.

So this isn’t just $15 it is a gift of love that comes from the heart of a little girl who even though she earned her allowance during chores and helping with her siblings, chose to give the money towards a child she has never met. A child that is thousands of miles away, who’s name isn’t known and only exists in our hearts right now.

This is a fisted and crumpled gift that is completely and 100% a gift of love. Piper Cole I love you tons and can’t wait to bring home your little cousin for you to teach your kind of love to.

Magnitude and Privilege

Today is National Adoption Day in the middle of National Adoption Month and if I really want to honor the day I need to acknowledge and honor how I got here.

I am only able to celebrate this day, this month and Jase’s life every single day, because his biological mother literally gave me a piece of herself in order for me to be a mom. She endured physical and emotional pain and trauma in order to make me a mom. And it is a tragedy and privilege wrapped up into a totally different, strange, unknown, and beautiful relationship. A relationship that has an unknown future.

The reality is Adoption cannot happen without a separation and loss of relationship. A mom or dad or both allow themselves to be permanently separated from a piece of themselves and that pieces they lost, is the piece that completes another mom and dad. When I try and wrap my brain around this concept it becomes to much and I literally cry. Their child is passed into the arms of another mom and dad and they get to experience all the first, and seconds, and everything else that comes. I cry because I don’t think I have that kind of strength. But that strength is nothing short of beautiful.

One of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed in my life and one that still brings me to tears as I type this, is the moment I witnessed M kiss Jase on the forehead, her child who she delivered 2 days prior, hand him to me and say thank you. She thanked me! When I should have been showering her with thanks she thanked me. I try to remember if I thanked her over those 3 days and I’m sure I did, but I don’t think I could ever say it enough.

In that moment I witnessed love and trauma all rolled into one. And that moment is one of the reasons I pray for the relationship Jase and she can have one day. Because imagine what it must be like to know you were loved that much that your first mom, kissed you with love, and passed you into the arms of your forever mom.

That is were the privilege comes on. I have the privilege of raising my son who is also the son of another woman. A woman who has never heard his voice or laughter. Has never heard him name all the dinosaurs. Has never seen him dance to every beat of music he hears. Has never felt his body curled into her side because I get all those and everything else and it is a privilege. I try to honor that privilege by recognizing M’s importance in Jase’s existence and his life. We talk about her and one day he’ll get to see a picture of her and maybe recognize part of himself in her. One day I believe they will meet again.

It’s a privilege to be a mom. I understand that on a level many can’t because it was never going to happen outside of adoption. My body said no at an early age and there was and is no changing it. I understand it’s privilege because I almost didn’t have it. It’s a privilege because a mother gave me a part of herself so I can be a mama. It’s a tragedy and an overwhelming and beautiful privilege.

She is his mom in a way I never could be and I am his mommy in a way she never can be. But together we are the complete picture of motherly love. She loved him enough to put him my arms and I love him enough to one day tell him it’s ok to go into hers again.

Our Greatest Pain…

The journey of infertility, true and complete infertility, is really the journey of being barren. One of the definitions of this word is as follows “of a place or bleak and lifeless,” sounds fabulous doesn’t it? This is my journey, but that isn’t the entirety of my journey in life, but it has been a huge part of it. 

I knew from an early age I had issues with my reproductive life or lack there of. I won’t go into detail, but from early teens the Drs knew issues would abound and they did. I would have a cycle for months and then none for a week and start back up. Or none for a while and then it would start for awhile, it was painful and brutal and it caused a long list of health problems. As I became an adult it got worse and worse until one night I found myself in the hospital because the pain was unbelievable. An exploratory surgery finally gave a name to my problem, I had a bicornuate uterus. My uterus was divided in 2 and I had a surgery to fix it, so everything was good right? 

Wrong 

Flashforward and Tim and I get married and we started trying and after a year of trying and symptoms returning the testing began. Let me tell you infertility testing for a woman vs for a man is totally not fair in terms of pain level! And finally both Tim and I get our results. And everything changed.

It was our 2nd wedding anniversary and I was told that my original surgery was successful at the time but, the issues have returned, grown back was the actual words used. And it was worse, it wasn’t good, and there was nothing any Dr could do. My uterus was basically closing itself off and I was going to need a hysterectomy very soon as the problems associated with it were starting to caused issues with my blood and kidneys. The dr didn’t mince words and told me this wasn’t a maybe it’ll happen just keep trying. It was a 100% never going to happen. Couldn’t get worse right? 

Wrong.

The next day we went to Tim’s appointment and told that he too was unable to have kids and would never be able to have kids. I remember thinking you have got to be kidding me?! Seriously every option for us having a child seemed to be gone. In less than 24 hours everything changed. The dreams and hopes that I had disappeared and in its place, a deep pain took root. A pain that took over everything, it overwhelmed my heart and soul and no matter how hard I prayed the pain remained. 

There were times I didn’t think the pain would end. But now I can see that while God didn’t cause the pain, God was going to use it, in a mighty mighty way. I had to come to the barren place and become completely vulnerable, because it would be in that place that I would be finally open to the greatest calling of my life. I needed to have nothing left but God, so I could be everything to someone else. A little someone who would help heal my greatest pain and remind me that God never left me, even in my deepest moments of pain. God was just waiting to use it. 

Miracle of Adoption 

November is one of my favorite months. Yes the weather is cooler and the food is very yummy, but most of all it celebrates how our family came to be. It is National Adoption month and every year I try to honor all of the aspects of this amazing journey. 

I don’t believe adoption was ever God’s plan B or C or plan whatever for Tim and I, it was always the plan, I just didn’t know it for a good long while. But like all things God knew. God knew what my physical and mental struggles to have a child would be. How it would wear me down, rip my body apart, crush my soul, strain relationships, and take me to a dark place that only an amazing miracle could bring me out of. God knew what the miracle would be because it was that at its core is a God designed one. That miracle is adoption.

The miracle of adoption isn’t just that I became a mom and Tim became a dad, it’s a miracle that brought my faith to life in a way I never knew could happen. I never lost my faith during the journey, but it for sure took a beating. The miracle of our adoption is a long story I plan to blog about this month and it is one that began long before that amazing and still surreal day Jase was born. 

We were blessed to be there the day Jase was born, which is an amazing moment many adoptive families don’t get. I was the first to touch his beautiful skin, hold his tiny finger, hold his body to mine, and first to feel his skin on mine. I have been there for every first of his life and I know why. I’ve been there because another woman let go of all the firsts so they could be mine. I know that she loved him that day and that she still loves him. I know her decision, while the right one for both her and Jase, wasn’t easy, but in thankful every day for it.  It made that first day and everyone after it possible. 

I heard someone once say I could never imagine not having children of my own. I countered with, I could never imagine it any other way. It’s been a hard journey, but if I’m totally honest with myself I wouldn’t trade one surgery, tear shed, heartbreaking moment, or screaming match with God. Because without that I wouldn’t be a mom and I wouldn’t be able to tell people about the beauty and amazing miracle that is adoption. 

I ask Jase all the time who my miracle is and he says “me.” Yep buddy you are and don’t ever forget that. Don’t ever forget adoption is not plan B, but a miracle God created to breath life and faith into the most needed places. 

Seeing God 

Today I was asked the question “on a daily basis where do you see God?” And almost instantly I replied that I see God everyday as a mom. When prompted with how, I started to think about it and what I realized wasn’t what I thought, but goodness it is what I need to remember.  

Let me start by saying I most definently see God every time I look at Jase because I believe 100% that all life is a sacred miracle. And I also see God in him being a miracle of adoption. Jase didn’t come from my body and I believe totally that him being ours was God’s plan and work and not ours (that’s another blog post entirely). It’s also true I see God through Jase’s eyes in the excitement of chasing ducks, his laughter at the singing animals in the movie Sing, and in his complete obsession with being a paleontologist. But there is more, something more, something so much more powerful to me in seeing God daily as a mom. 

Now don’t mistake me, all of the above are true reasons I see God, but when I’m honest, completely honest, with myself I see God more often in the times I feel I have messed up or failed as a mom. Because let me tell you it happens a lot.

I lose my patience at least 5 times a day, I speak strongly to him, and probably react in less than stellar ways to yet another spill,  tornado style mess, creature let loose in the house, peeing from the tub into the toilet, or the 100th time a day he has run at me and spears me like a WWE wrestler in a championship match. I don’t always say the right thing and yes I cave at times because the fight can be overwhelming and let’s be honestly I am freaking tired. Candy gets eaten before dinner, teeth go unbrushed some nights, and sometimes meals are eaten in front of the tv so I can accomplish 1 thing so our house doesn’t look like hobos have invaded. I fail, I don’t meet my expectations as a parent, I scream, I weep with exhaustion, but here is the God in all of that. I get a second chance. 

As a Christian God doesn’t expect me to be perfect in 1 thing I attempt. Not 1 single thing because he knows it is impossible for me to be perfect. And because it isn’t a requirement to being a Christian and thank you Jesus for that! God doesn’t expect me to be perfect and when I fail, and let’s face it I do, we all do, I have the love, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ and God that says forgiveness is yours go forth and try again. And that mercy is never ending and overflowing and it comes from the place of total and complete love! God loves me so much that not only did Christ die for me, but God doesn’t expect or ask me to be perfect in order to earn that. There isn’t a tally board that is. marking my failures because to God I’ve been forgiven and I get to move on and keep trying. 

At times when the days have been hard, and Jase isn’t sleeping so I am beyond exhausted, my house is a mess and I feel like I have failed as a mom God reminds me he is there. God is in the middle of it and God looks at it and doesn’t see a failing human God sees his child who he loves. Period.  Every night, and trust me when I say every single night, at some point I’ll find myself laying with Jase in bed and every single time I thank God that I have Jase and I thank God that tomorrow is a day to try again. Whether I feel like I’ve failed that day or not I thank God that tomorrow is another day to try again. 

I see God in the blessing of forgiveness and the acceptance that I don’t have to be the perfect mom. I only have to be Jase’s mom, the mom God planned for me to be. And every single day I see God in being a mom. God is there when I completely crush it as a mom by taking him to the dinosaur park, to get frozen yogurt for no reason or when I just sit and read him books and thankfully God is there in the moments i fail and when I sit at the kitchen table and cry because I am so overwhelmed and feel like a completely and total failure. God is there in every single moment and I couldn’t be more thankful that I can see God in the mess as much as I can see God in good. 

So my answer was my true and honest answer yes I see God everyday as a mom. In ways I never imagined, but in every single one that counts. This face has brought me to a deeper understanding of God’s forgiveness than I have ever experienced and I am unbelievably thankful for that.