4.23.2015

Hope When Mother’s Day is Hard

Last year, I received many heartbreaking comments from women who were really struggling with Mother’s Day. Just the mention of the holiday stirred up deep hurt over infertility, adoption, and singleness. That’s why I asked my friend Holley Gerth to guest post today. She understands that deep hurt from her own journey with infertility, and I just love how she can shine a light into what can be a really dark place. Here’s Holley…

The single pink line on the pregnancy test mocked me from the bathroom counter. “You’ll never be a mother,” it seemed to whisper.

I sighed and dropped it into the trash—along with the hope it represented. Then I sat down on the edge of my bed and placed my head in my hands. “God,” I whispered, “Why does this have to be so hard?”

That scenario repeated itself for years in my life.

And then my heart began to slowly, unexpectedly heal as God changed my perspective on motherhood. A turning point came as I read the third chapter of Genesis one morning. In it Eve is called “the mother of all living.” In that moment God seemed to whisper this truth to my heart: All women are mothers. Because all women bring life to the world in some way.

We encourage. We feed bellies and hearts. We nurture dreams. We create beauty. We birth books. And, yes, some of us also have physical children. But that’s not the only way to bring life into this world—it’s one of many.

I am not barren,” I began to tell myself, “I am blessed.

I realized I brought life into the world through my words. I was a mother. Embracing that truth gave me new hope and helped fill the hollow space in my heart.

Years later I sat in my living room watching a documentary on kids who age out of the foster system. The narrator explained when these children turn eighteen they’re often simply told, “You’re on your own.” The story touched me deeply and when people asked if we’d considered adoption I started answering, “If I adopt, I’ll choose a twenty-year old.”

One time when I gave the response above a friend of mine asked, “Have you heard of Saving Grace?” It turned out a transitional living home for foster girls aging out of the system was being started right there in my town. I connected with the founder, Becky Shaffer, and when I told her my dream she didn’t look at me like I was crazy.

Although our lives were busy, Becky and I stayed in touch. The week of my thirty-sixth birthday she invited me to attend a banquet celebrating the accomplishments of the girls living at Saving Grace. God had impressed on my heart that my word for the next year of my life was to be love. And the night of the banquet I met my daughter: Lovelle.

How old was she? Twenty, of course.

Over the last year and a half we’ve become a family. She calls me “Mom” and my husband “Dad.” It turns out she’s a writer, speaker and dreamer too—which neither of us knew when we first connected. Those gifts were buried under years of abuse, surviving and even being homeless. But now they’re blooming like a sunflower. She married a wonderful guy in January so we now have a “son” too.

Do I know why I went through years of infertility or why Lovelle spent so much time without a family? No … and I won’t in this life. But I do know this: God is a relentless Redeemer. He took all the hurt we experienced and transformed it into joy we never expected.

God was not ignoring us. He was not overlooking our hearts. He was not holding out on us while giving everyone else what was good. Instead He was working the entire time to bring us to His very best.

Mother’s Day can be painful. Perhaps like me you’re in the middle of infertility. Or you might be pursuing an adoption that’s more difficult than you foresaw. Maybe you’re single and wondering if having the family you dream of is even possible. Wherever you are today, I want to whisper this to you … God is with you and He is for you. He will not leave the true desires of your heart unfulfilled; the answers just may look different than you planned.

All those single pink lines on pregnancy tests turned out to be lines in a love story. And I wouldn’t alter God’s ending for anything.

Lovelle & Holley

(Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, encourager and life coach. She’d love to have coffee with you. Until then, you can find her here or subscribe to her free devotionals. You can read Lovelle’s blog here.)

 

If you can relate to Holley’s post today, you’ll love her books! Today we’re giving away 5 bundles of What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days, and a necklace from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Faith collection.

Read the book for encouragement. Wear the necklace as a reminder that we can trust and believe in our faithful God.

HGbookandnecklace

To be entered to win, leave a comment below with how this post encouraged you.

2.16.2015

When Being a Mom is Hard

Have you ever felt like a failure as a mom because you got a not-so-great call from the principal’s office? Me too.

On the flip side, have you ever felt like the greatest mom ever because your child got some special recognition? Me too.

We moms should never build the stability of our identity on the fragility of our kid’s choices.

I need to let this crucial truth sink in. I’m posting about this today if for no other reason, sweet sister, than the fact I need this message. So, forgive me if the blog on this Monday preaches a message only to myself.

I’ve got five amazing kids. I really do. They are wildly funny, imaginative, moody, opinionated, strong, weak, happy, sad, good and sometimes not-so-good. In other words they’re pretty normal. And while I’ve done everything in my power to raise them to turn out amazingly awesome – and they very well might turn out amazingly awesome – there aren’t any guarantees.

Sometimes bad parents raise terrific kids.

And sometimes terrific parents raise kids that chase bad things their whole life.

So, what’s a mama to do?

Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves.

We get to love our kids like crazy. Pray for them faithfully. Talk to them regularly. Listen to them tenderly. Model honesty and integrity. And point them to Jesus at every turn.

We get to do all that.

And tucked within these privileges is the reward. As long as I look for the reward within the process, I won’t misplace my expectations. I have to rest in the assurance that God sees everything I invest in these kids.

And He will use every step of this process for good. The process will be good for me. And this process will good for my kids. It will be good. But this process won’t always make me feel good or look good.

If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I am setting us all up for failure. My kids were never meant to carry the weight of a mama’s need for validation. I can’t let their failures send me to bed. And I can’t wear their successes like mommy medals of honor.

Motherhood is tough you know?

It really is.

However, it’s also our only opportunity to reach into the generations to come and make a difference. So, an imperfect but wonderful difference I will make.

Connect with other moms who are determined to make a wonderful difference in their kids’ lives at the Hearts at Home Conference, March 13-14! I’m excited to be a keynote speaker along with my friends Dr. Gary Chapman and Ken Davis. It’s going to be a fun time with other mamas who understand our struggles.

Today, I’m giving away one VIP package to the conference with gifts for 2 people so you can bring a friend with you if you win! The package includes:

– 2 tickets for the Friday conference
– 2 tickets for Mom’s Night Out
– Free parking passes
– A gift basket from Hearts at Home
– 2 backstage passes (so we can hang out!)

To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling me who you’d bring with you and why.

To find out more information about the conference and to purchase your tickets, click here.

12.10.2014

I Found What I Want to Do the Rest of My Life

As a mom, I’ve always wanted to teach my kids how to embrace Biblical characteristics like generosity, loving others, etc. Maybe you can relate and you’re wondering, like I did, how to do it.

My friend Courtney DeFeo has done an amazing job of not just telling her kids about these things, but showing them.

I think you’ll love her guest post today. And be sure to take a few minutes to watch the video. I promise, it will make you smile and tear up all at the same time. Excuse me while I go get a tissue. Here’s Courtney…

I am 38 and I have just discovered what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It’s to show heartfelt appreciation for others in a way that shows them the love of God.

And for the next 10-12 years of my life, I intend to show my two girls how to do this while they are under my roof.

I believe our kids learn more through laughter, not lectures. They want to experience WHO we know not just WHAT we know.

This is exactly how my mom taught me about virtues. She showed us. She wasn’t perfect – and I am so thankful for her authenticity and mistakes. Those very moments taught me forgiveness and unconditional love and gave me the freedom to be the same imperfect person covered in God’s grace.

Just the other night, our family had a chance to go surprise Miss Curlie at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. She’s one special cast member who has been working there 41 years with 25 years of perfect attendance.

She had no idea that her love to my kids left a mark on ME! I was simply trying to SHOW my kids what gratitude felt like, and I was in turn blessed by this woman. She has cleaned the bathroom on Main Street for all these years and I didn’t want to assume someone else was thanking her.

As God’s children, I want our family to be courageous and generous with our kindness. The first to step up and out of our comfort zone.

When we do that, we just never know what hangs in the balance of our obedience.

Watch this video below and read the full story here – you’ll see. Of all the thousands of employees, God knew Miss Curlie needed a simple “Thank You.”


(If you’re viewing this post in an email, click here to watch the video.)

My girls respond so much better to my virtuous parenting attempts when I am not lecturing them on how to shape up or ship out. Instead, I am inspiring them to be more like Jesus. Because it actually feels good to serve! It feels great to give!

And when I invite them into these opportunities, I see their hearts swell. Everyone likes to be involved with something bigger than themselves.

I am taking an army of moms through 2015, one virtue at a time, with my new book, In This House, We Will Giggle. It’s got 12 virtues and 12 family fun activities. We will go slow and focus on one virtue each month. We will never be perfect but we will giggle.

Today, I’m giving away 10 copies of my book to randomly chosen commenters! Just leave a comment telling me one thing you’ve been teaching your kids lately to be entered to win.