Tag Archives: inspirations

Stacy Leigh Lisi

I know I say this whole song and dance every time, but, Stacy is my mom’s college roommate Cindy’s (lovingly known as Cinne Binne) daughter.  So we have -actually- been friends since the womb.  And she just got married, to a great guy, Andrew Lisi.  So now her name rhymes. :)

Stacy is one of those friends that you can go a whole year without seeing (or even talking to  because of both of your phone phobias), but pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.  Like no time or distance ever separated you.

I have so many fun memories with Stacy it is hard to even count.  When we were 3 & 4 years old we decided it would be a good idea to paint my Grandpa Al’s work van.  It was dark brown so obviously we thought it would be best to use white shoe polish.  And once I even convinced her to get IN the van with me and I pulled the gear shift down and we started rolling down the driveway.

Also that year we made a guest appearance in my dad’s and her mom’s musical show at the retirement home.  We cried and pouted because we wanted the dress up clothes the other one was wearing while singing Ain’t We Sweet, though we were being anything but sweet.

At age 9 & 10 we started going downstate together.  Downstate was one of the coolest Daddy/Daughter activities in the Birkeneder family.  When you turned 10 you got to go with Dad and Grandpa (and any other poor male soul of our relatives that wanted to go once us girls started going) to the Illinois High School Boys’ Basketball Tournaments in Campaign (later Peoria).  Being the eldest in our families, Stacy and I were the first girls to go on this all male weekend.  I think we forever changed “downstate”.  Instead of watching the games, we bought nachos, then ice cream, then hot dogs, then Pepsi, then cotton candy, then threw up all over the taxi.  We would drag Dad & Grandpa Al to the nearby mall to take pictures in the overpriced photo booth while sporting our huge gaudy basketball earrings. We spent all our money from the winning pools (don’t tell our moms or anyone else for that matter that we were underage gamblers) buying stickers from the sticker machine at Pizza Hut (smartly thinking we would sell them for profit when we got home).  And then we fought with each other and cried when one would win a pool and the other wouldn’t. One year we fell madly (seriously, it was obsessive) in love with one of the high school players- Alfredo Jimenez from Maine West.  We even stalked out where he would be after the game to get his autograph while we hysterically sobbed.

When we were 10 & 11 we started spending some of our summers at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin.  We carefully shopped for matching outfits for every day of the week, including our denim ruffle shorts and side ponytails.  We would always room together and never leave each other sides and make sure everyone in the cabin knew WE were best friends so they wouldn’t infringe upon us.  In the middle of the night we would crawl into our bunks together and worry that we were blind because we couldn’t see anything, and nervously search for a flashlight just to make sure.

When we were in our teens we shared a profound love for all things Hanson and JTT .  We convinced ourselves we were marrying one of them and lovingly agreed upon who got which one (Stacy: Zac and Me: Taylor…Jonathan Taylor Thomas dropped out of the running when Hanson came along).  We decided the best way possible to make this dream a reality would be to form an all girl band ourselves.  So we reigned in our sisters and we became: Purple Daizee.  We co-wrote many one hit wonders and videotaped ourselves singing/dancing to them in the basement so we could send our videos to the Hanson brothers.  Making them fall in love with us, of course.

Stacy and I laugh about all these episodes and more whenever we get together. But there’s a distinct, life altering memory I have with Stacy that I don’t even know if she recalls.

My freshman year in college was rough. We had just moved to Texas and even more life shattering than that to me was that Michael and I broke up.  I started a new life in Texas, a double life.  I was good at playing the part of “good Jenni” when I needed to, but with my new friends I partied.  Hard.  And I got myself stuck in a web of alcohol, drugs, and sex.

At the end of the summer, right before I was going to start my sophomore year, Stacy came to visit.  She was getting ready to start her freshman year at University of Illinois.  While Stacy was there I tried to hide my “bad Jenni” side, though I’m sure she knew.  She met all my friends and was incredibly gracious to them all.  She was relevant, but unchanging and never wavered from who she was in Christ.  She was real.  When I was with Stacy that week, I felt my old self start to emerge…my real self that I had shoved away that year. I remember feeling God awake my soul again.

Stacy’s flight left early one morning before I was awake, but she left me a note on my pillow.  I remember finding it and getting up to read it before it was even light out.  In it she thanked me for spending time with her, told me she was thankful for our friendship, and that she was praying for me and all that God would do through me that year.  I broke down and cried.  I laid on the floor and just cried and cried.

God had been working in my heart that whole year, but He used Stacy in a major way to bring His prodigal daughter back.  She was the vessel that saved me from a life of destruction and despair.  I firmly believe God used Stacy to redirect my life.  She was loyal, faithful, loving, and gracious.  She didn’t judge me or correct me, she just loved me and prayed for me.  I will never forget what she did for me that summer.

And actually, if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have gotten back together with Michael that year, married him that next summer, had 3 beautiful boys years later.  So Stace, you’re the reason my family exists. :)

I have a love/hate relationship with the journey we are all on in life.  I love the mystery of God and the excitement of seeking Him and joy in knowing Him.  Obviously life has some rough places, a lot of mine have been self inflicting, but I’m thankful for a God who redeems.  He is faithful, loving, and gracious and waits for me.  Thank you Stacy Leigh Lisi for being such a beautiful living example of Christ.

BSF review, Take two

(Take one: http://www.zielkehut.com/blog/2010/10/06/my-bsf-review/)

Trevor, Elliott, Simon, and I just completed our first BSF year: Isaiah.  Ah.May.Zing.  I highly recommend you try out a class in your area!  www.bsfinternational.org

God has taught me so much about Himself this past year.  Something that really stuck with me while studying Isaiah is that God will do everything necessary to dig out the “thorny” parts of me.  I remember often reading God’s words to Israel thinking “Man, these people just can’t get it right!”  But then realized God was showing me evidence of similar sin in my own life- arrogance and pride.  Each week He would bring me to my knees realizing He still has so much work to do in me!  He has really helped me to grasp that I need Him moment by moment, there is not one thing I can do on my own.

Another theme I feel like God has been working on in me is from Isaiah 14, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.”  I have always have had my “plans” for my life and really always just thought God would get in line with those plans. (Ughhh, Israelite right here!!)  But He has shown me that His ways are not my ways,  His plan is better, and He is making all things RIGHT!  There has been lots of discomfort in this process, but I trust He is sovereign and would not want to be any place but in the center of His will for my life.  “O Lord, you are my God!  I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”  Isaiah 25:1

Lastly, I am so very thankful for the children’s program.  To think that my 5 year old, 3 year old, and my 6 week old (when he first started going to his class) are being taught truths about God and learning to praise Him, my heart swells.  I pray fervently for their salvation, to the point that I become very distressed over it.  God overwhelmed me in the notes one of the last weeks when it said, “The Word of God has enormous power to bring about what it announces, as it is communicated by the Holy Spirit.  Have you spoken His Word to your child and been met with indifference?  Will you believe God, that His Word will have effect?”  In that moment I was totally in awe of the LORD.  He knows my heart- my desires, my fears, my everything and meets me right where I am.  All of us women studying Isaiah all have different trials- but God still meets us each where we are.  God began to show me that just as He meets me right where I am- He is meeting each of my children right where they are as well.  When I think of that- my heart is at peace.  The burden that I was some mediator between God and them was lifted, and He showed me that He is their personal God too, and will bring about the truths He has planted.  I just need to encourage them and pray for them as they seek Him.

So to conclude:  I heart BSF :)

Dr. Chuck

I’ve prepped myself for days to write this post, and fresh with tears still I sit here at a loss for words.

Chuck and Linda Musfeldt came into my life over 10 years ago, and soon became affectionately known as “Dr. Chuck and Nana Nu”.  The first time I met Dr. Chuck was when I was a member of the BSF Senior High class in Lombard.  Whenever I would walk by and say, “Hi, Dr. Chuck! How are you?”  he would always reply with a huge, gentle smile, “Like a million, great to be alive!”  I would giggle and keep walking to my class.

Shortly after my family moved to Texas for my dad’s job, the Musfeldts followed when God called Dr. Chuck to BSF headquarters as well.  It is then that God blossomed our friendship into the deep-heartstrings-connected relationship that it is today.  The Musfeldt/Birkeneder union quickly became the Musfledt/Birkeneder/Zielke/Walker/Hobbs union as God blessed our parents with descendant after descendant!  Our lives were and are forever intertwined.

Dr. Chuck lived a “larger than life” life.  He impacted SO many during his life, and will continue to do so in his death.  As proven by the over 104,000 views of the live streaming of his memorial service and over 196,000 views of it since then.  As Michael and I read through his obituary we were in awe of all he did.  He knew life was a blessing and he lived it fully!

I had the privilege of being mentored by Linda during the early years of my marriage and young motherhood.  She is an amazing, wise, God honoring woman that I have so much respect, love, and admiration for.  She lives life with such grace, elegance, and humility.  As is obvious with her response since Chuck’s death.  She is the perfect helpmate to Dr. Chuck.  I will be blessed if I can be half the wife and mother that Nana Nu is.  Linda is one of the most encouraging people in my life, always cheering me on and nudging me to be more like Christ.  I love her with all my heart.

I made this video in memory of Dr. Chuck’s life, and in honor of Nana Nu his helpmate.  It chronicles our time together, and then the time we celebrated his life and rallied together having joy in knowing that because of Christ’s perfect blood sacrifice we know with certain hope that we will spend eternity with Him.

The first song, You Are Good, has a double meaning for me.  God is SO good to me and He alone sustains me, enables me, and gives me life.  But God has used Chuck and Linda’s presence in my life and my family’s life as such blessing! I have no material thing to thank them for ALL they have done for me-spiritually, emotionally, or physically.  They are irreplaceable and I will be forever grateful for them.




Inspired by Abbi

I love my dear friend Abbi.  She makes me feel better when we have chats on the phone that consist of our embarrassing and tiring  Mommy moments with our boys, followed with tear filled confessions of how our hearts couldn’t possibly love them more.  I love following her blog: http://ourlaughterandnoise.blogspot.com/ and she often inspires me to seek God and be a better mom.  I love her!

This was a recent post that I read and seriously, each line I thought, “Oh my gosh, me too!!”  I hope you enjoy it as well. :)  xoxox to you Ab!

“As I was working in some Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo into my hair for the third morning in a row I started thinking about life before little ones. Back before every square in of my life, my house and my heart was covered in Cheerios and Lighting McQueen cars and sticky finger prints and spit up….I mean there was a point in my life where I was actually on top of buying MY shampoo before it ran out…and it wasn’t anything special or expensive, it was just mine. Now I am just thankful for the never ending supply of yellowy orange tear free shampoo that seems to be stuffed into every drawer in my house in travel size bottles (as if moms of small children do so much traveling)!! I have no idea where it comes from, but we always seem to have it on hand. Being a mom leaves little room for things that are just mine. I was prepared in part for the transformation that doing this job would be…at least I figured I was, since I had been obsessed with baby dolls since childhood and I ran kid camps in the summer and worked at a day care and babysat all the time and taught 2ndgrade. I figured the trip from being a working wife to full time mom would be sort of like a walk across a small stream….a few rocks on the way but relatively a quick and easy trip to the other side. Some days are like that, flawless and lovely and sweet. And others it feels more like what the pioneers must have felt, already exhausted and run down, when they reached the Mississippi and realized that they had no other choice but to figure out some way to cross this daunting and massive body of water…turns out it ‘aint just some bubbling brook and neither is motherhood!
This got me thinking about being a parent….becoming this whole other version of myself. If I could go back and prepare myself for this journey, even just a little bit, what would I say to ease myself into the transition? Is there anything you can say:)? Here’s what came to mind as I was thinking it over, and since I am not yet through fully transitioning into “life as we know it” I think I may re-read it over and over to remind myself on the hard days and encourage myself on the good, what this is all about for me.
Dear Pre Motherhood Me:
You are about to become a mother. The position you have waited your whole entire life to hold. The one you obsessively imagined as you cradled your beloved American Girl baby Doll. The one you pictured yourself doing as you babysat and nannied your way through high school and college, and then added Ryan into the day dream some years later. The day is finally here when you will hold a sweet pink toed little bundle in your arms and call him your own. You will snuggle and hold and hug and dress him. You will pack him up in that adorable little car seat in the cutest outfit you have ever seen and tote him around to coffee and lunches and get together so he can meet all of your friends and family and neighbors and grocery checker outers. Everyone will tell you how cute he is and marvel at the miracle of his existence and you will just know that your baby must be the most adorable creature on earth. He will sleep soundly to your lullabies and wake with a smile ready for a new day.
….And yes, sweetheart I am here to tell you all of this is true. You think you have felt your heart “melt” at perhaps a really cute puppy or some sappy movie, but when you look down at your baby you will LITERALLY feel this sensation, heart melting like butter on hot toast. Your baby will be the sweetest, cutest, pink bundle of love you have ever laid your eyes on this side of heaven (and this will be true for each additional child). You will actually experience a kind of explosion inside from the adorableness of tiny toes or a sweet smile or the first time you hear MOM being called in your direction. You, a person who formerlywould catch a spider crawling in your house in a cup, and set it free outside, would actually consider murder at the thought of someone harming this sweet soul that now resides in your care. You are sure there is nothing better than a newborn snuggle and then your baby reaches for you and then calls out for you and then hugs you and kisses you and then says “I LOVE YOU” and you resolve that each of these affectionate gems are just all treasure in the chest of motherhood and each is as priceless as the next. Each stage has something to wonder at, admire, stand in awe of and savor. The relationships in your life take on a new dimension…people that love on your kids become heroes, your parents…saints and life savors, your spouse is basking in this same baby love you are and sharing in this quest together deepens your marriage in a way you didn’t think possible and the Lord is just a step closer in your heart as you can’t imagine this angelic creature coming from anywhere but a most loving God.
And while all these feelings are absolutely real and wonderful they are not the only side of the story in motherhood. There is a side that is going to test every single idea on the subject you have ever had. It will stretch you (body and soul) in ways you had no idea you could stretch to. You will wonder where YOU went in between all the kid stuff that has filled every minute of your everyday. It starts from the very beginning. You know from TV and movies and such about the typical woes of pregnancy, so I won’t brief you on those. It’s after the arrival where things start to get REAL. No one ever tells you what happens to your body after you have a baby….and now that I am thinking about it, it might just be that it is one of those “bridges you cross when you get there” kind of things, so I’ll just let you figure it out. But while you are waiting for your belly button to return to normal (much the equivalent of waiting for pigs to fly) you will be entering the everyday, and that is where things get dicey. Somewhere between wiping the spit up out of your hair and feeding that little milk machine you will wonder what has happened to you. Your sweat pants have taken a full time position on your legs and your high heels?? They have a fine layer of dust collecting on them as we speak. You will realize that as silly and strenuous as those observations from your boss seemed, at least there were check points, feed back and encouragement where as this new one rarely comes with even a thank you. You will wonder if you are doing things “right”. You will sit straight up in the middle of the night and literally ask yourself…how many days in a row is too many to feed your babies mac n cheese? And what about vaccinations and organic food and did you paint the nursery with toxic fume paint and are you reading them the recommended number of books each day in order to produce a future college graduate? You will worry like you never have before. Anxiety will actually grip your heart about when to introduce dairy into your baby’s diet. Big fat alligator tears will roll down your face as you realize your kids will experience heartbreak, just like everyone else and there is nothing you can do about them…in fact you will probably cause the first few. Your furniture will have slime and Cheerios and goo in every crack and crevasse. The beautiful tray you got for your wedding will get smashed onto the floor and you won’t have money to replace it because you are trying to pay for “kid rock” classes and match box cars and all that organic food. You will have no idea what the latest tunes on the radio are, but you will sing quite the rendition of Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Don’t Bite Your Friends” most of the day. You will get all dressed just to get puked on.
You will lose your patience, your keys, sleeping in, going out, your privacy,
your sense of normal.
But, never fear. I am here to tell you that a new normal will set in. You will cherish memories of the days with just you & Ry, but then you will wake up some morning and in between you and that husband of yours will be 2(+) extra sets of feet, and all will be right with the world. Because you see, being a parent is the hardest job in the world (your doctor tells you so every time you go in for an appointment!) and you are doing it and for those 2 sweet smiles it is worth it. Dad once said, that anything worth having is worth working for, and that is more than true with parenthood. Sometimes I wish I had enough money to get a nanny to do all the hard parts and then I could just swoop in and read stories and play games and do the fun stuff. But the best and most beautiful things in life always have tough patches and brokenness and distress. That’s how you build relationship and trust, and that’s why the things you really had to work at look so darn beautiful and priceless. Being a parent will force you to grow up and your heart to grow out, and sometimes growing hurts, thats just life. It will force you to love more fiercely than you ever have before. And the most glorious thing about being a parent? That you really get Jesus more than you did before. I know it sounds cheesy but you do. You get why it would be such a sacrifice to send your son to die in a VERY tangible way. You get why he wanted to do it. You see why he loves us and forgives us and wants the things he does for our life. You are a parent now, and he is your parent…and we want the same for our children. Any experience in life that gives you that perspective is worth every ounce of hardship and effort you put in. Amazingly enough, he set up that way. And don’t worry, YOU are still there. You still love all the same things and have all the same talents and love your husband for all the same reasons. Parenthood is just giving you the opportunity to adapt all of those things into a new situation and use your gifts in new ways!
So enjoy each step. Don’t take anything too seriously. Cry when you need to. Love your kids like crazy. And remember to laugh, that will get you through….everything is temporary, like it or not.”
-“Becoming” Me


My friend Kellie posted this on her blog and I LOVED it.  I’m going to have to get this book!

An excerpt from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist…

One of the most important things I’ve learned about mothering goes back to something I heard several years ago from my friend Nancy. She told me that when you compare yourself to another person, you always lose, and at the same time the other person always loses, too. Each of us has been created by the hands of a holy God, and our stories and the twists and turns of our lives, the things that are hard for us, and the things that come naturally, are as unique to us as our own fingerprints. She told me that one way to ensure a miserable life is to constantly measure your own life by the lives of the people around you.

I was in my early twenties when she first talked with me about comparison. When you’re a woman in your early twenties, you compare grades if you’re in college or grad school. You compare sizes and weight, and whose degree is more impressive. You compare boyfriends – their cars and jobs and social skills. You compare apartments, menus at your dinner parties, and at a certain point, engagement rings.

And then you have children, and you, regrettably, begin to compare children. It starts, actually, with pregnancy. Everyone wants to talk about how much weight you gained, in comparison to how much weight they gained. In what other possible scenario is this an appropriate topic of conversation?

I think that the people who ask are really just looking for an opportunity to brag about how little weight they gained. I don’t ask. I have a very strict Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. My husband doesn’t even know how much weight I gained when I was pregnant. I’ve never been so thankful for doctor-patient confidentiality laws. You just tell every pregnant woman you see that she’s glowing, even if she’s the size of a Volkswagen, and leave it at that.

We believe that moms should be perfect. That we should be perfect. That every meal must have a vegetable, that vegetable must be organic, that our homes should look like the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and that somehow everyone else is able to pull it off, even if we can’t.

We slip into believing that it’s better to strive for perfection than to accept and offer one another grace. what I need as a mother is grace, God’s grace, that allows me to fail and try again, that allows me to ask for help when I don’t have the wisdom or patience I need, that reminds me we’re not alone in this, and that God loves my son even more than I do. And grace from other mothers. I need grace and truth-telling and camaraderie from other moms. I need us to tell the truth about how hard it is, and I need us to help each other, instead of hiding behind the pretense and pressure of perfection.

Why does my husband…

I read this today and I needed it…maybe you will too? I’ve got to get this Personality Plus for Couples book! :)

Why Does My Husband…

20 Sep 2010

Melanie Chitwood

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 (NAS)

Have you ever found yourself puzzled about why your husband does or doesn’t do certain things? Are you ever frustrated with his quirks and preferences?

Why does he have to have the proper tool for his project, when it seems to you he already has ten power tools that could surely serve the purpose? Or why does he not get the kids to bed on time, like you reminded him to do? Doesn’t he know a schedule is important? Perhaps you’ve been on the other end of your husband’s frustration when you want to socialize at the party as late as possible, but he’s ready to leave after an hour.

While a couple’s differences stem from many sources, one of the main sources of our differenc es is our unique personality types. Years ago when I stumbled across a book, Florence Littauer’s Personality Plus for Couples, I felt like a light bulb turned on as it offered insight into my husband. This man who is very different from me.

This book explains that every person tends to fall in one of four personality types: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, or Melancholy. Most people have a primary personality type and a secondary personality type, and each type comes with its positive and negative aspects.

The Sanguine personality type, also called the Popular Personality, is outgoing, adventurous, attention-seeking, talkative and social. Possible weaknesses of a Sanguine are they avoid anything that’s not fun, tend to run late, and often do not finish projects.

When you think of the second personality type, the Choleric or Powerful Personality, think of a take-charge leader. Cholerics love challenges, are self-motivated, driven and determined. Their st rong personalities can lend to weaknesses, such as being opinionated, stubborn or insensitive to other’s feelings.

The third personality type, the Melancholy or Perfect Personality, tends to be introspective, creative, analytical and serious. Some of a melancholy’s challenges are that they tend to be perfectionists, get their feelings hurt easily and can be critical of others.

Lastly, there’s the Phlegmatic, the Peaceful Personality. Phlegmatics are laid-back, stable, calm and pleasant. While their peace-seeking personalities are helpful, they can avoid conflict at all costs, be scared to take a risk and may procrastinate.

Just reading this list makes me giggle as I think of a recent “situation” with my husband. As we prepared dinner for a cookout with neighborhood friends, Scott, a Sanguine-Choleric, got frustrated when he couldn’t find the just-right knife for chopping up vegetables. To me, a phlegmatic-melancholy, it didn’t seem like a big deal – any old knife would suit me fine for cutting up food. Later in the night when my more introverted melancholy side was showing, I was thankful for the talkative sanguine qualities of my husband who is great at making guests feel welcome.

Understanding my husband’s personality type helps me to embrace him for the unique way God designed him. When I see how God gave each of us strengths and weaknesses, I see how we complement one another and how we truly are better together than apart.

Dear Lord, there are times when I just don’t understand my husband, why he does or doesn’t do certain things. Help us both to embrace one another’s unique personalities. Lord, we trust that You can cause our differences to work for good in our marriage and in our individual lives. Lord, I want to go beyond just tolerating my husband’s differences; I want to embrace them. I want to trust that our differences will complement each other, making us better together than apart. In Jesus’ Nam e, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Melanie’s blog “What Matters Most” where she is sharing more about personality types and marriage today.

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Today’s devotion is adapted from Melanie’s book, What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

Personality Plus for Couples by Florence Littauer

Application Steps:
Take time with your spouse to identify each of your personality types.

Make a list of ten things about your spouse’s unique personality that you’re thankful for. Be specific! For example, “I’m thankful that Scott is a strong leader.” Even more specific would be, “I’m thankful that Scott is a strong leader to our two sons, teaching them a strong work ethic by his example.”

How do you and your husband complement one another?
How do you frustrate one another?

What can you do to embrace the way you complement one another, as opposed to letting frustrations with your differences lead to conflict?

In what ways are you and your husband “better together”?

Power Verses:
Genesis 1:17, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them…” (NAS)

Ecclesiastes 4:1, “Two are better than one…” (NAS)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

A Mom

Thank you for this, Abbi! :)

Being a Mom

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of ‘starting a family.’

‘We’re taking a survey,’ she says half-joking.  ‘Do you think I should have a baby?’

‘It will change your life,’ I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

‘I know,’ she says, ‘no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.’

But that is not what I meant at all.   I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, ‘What if that had been MY child?’  That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse

than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.  That an urgent call of ‘Mom!’ will cause her to drop a soufflé or

her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.  She might arrange for child-care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell.  She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep

from running home, just to make sure her baby is alright.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma.  That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that rest-room.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.  That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child.  That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.  I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who carefully bathes the baby or who never hesitates to feed, change or play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very


I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually


My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.  ‘You’ll never regret it,’ I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Eve Ji Lu

One of my dear friends, Erika, and I keep in touch via our blogs, email, and of course social media.  She and I met 5 years ago in TX at our little MOPS table while I was bouncing a 4 week old baby boy on my lap, and she was rubbing her 9 month pregnant belly with her precious daughter inside.  Our friendship has grown ever since.  We’ve gone through motherhood together, whether it be long distance or not, Erika has strengthened me and encouraged me in my faith.  She is an amazing woman, and I’m incredibly thankful for her and her precious family!

Erika and Jason have been on an incredible journey this year, and they just brought home their newest daughter, Eve Ji Lu, from China!  She joined her older sister Ava and older brother Sutton at home just this past week.  They have such an amazing family story!  Erika shared this video of their family growth on her blog, and when I watched it tears poured all over my laptop!  I asked her if I could share it with you, and she said of course, if it stirs another heart to adopt one of these precious children!  I’m ready to fly to China and bring home 10 children with me.  Pray for Michael. :)  I hope you’ll be encouraged by this video.  I LOVE watching Eve’s joy come into bloom even after a few short days with Erika and her family.  I’m so blessed by them and I hope you will be too!

**I love these songs towards the end of the video.  They are 4 songs by Mandi Mapes (Church at Brookhills) of a series called Love Story.  I bought them on iTunes…you should check them out!    Erika said if you click on the link below, you can watch the story online.   The story and songs start at about the 2 minute mark (it starts with a monologue by “Ruth” so watch for that as your cue). http://www.brookhills.org/media/series/story-of-love/

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