What I Want Them To Know.


     As a very young girl my struggle with self-esteem began. My parents separated when I was very young and at times my sister and I were but mere pawns in a game of “who could hurt who more” between them.  It wasn’t long after that I was shifted back and forth between the foster care system and my home before being permanently placed.

   My understanding of love was warped. I didn’t know exactly what it meant to be loved. To be really loved. I wasn’t raised being told that I was good or that I was even worthy of it. Worthy of anything for that matter. In fact most times I was told the total opposite. At the age of thirteen I stood in a brightly lighted office building while my mom spoke the words “take her. I cant do this anymore.” 

   That summer I was placed for good and that fall I started grade eight. I struggled with forming relationships, I struggled with trust. I wanted so desperately to feel like I was a part of the crowd. To be worthy of being the same as everyone else, but as we all know Middle and High School can be some of the most cruelest of places to be.

   I lived in a Foster Home, my bottom was not covered by jeans with the Silver label on the pocket, and my body circumference was a lot larger than I would have liked.  My feet were resting in <insert gasp now> no name Crocs because I couldn’t afford to have the real ones. ( They were all the craze during that time okay?) All that seems like silliness now, but to the fourteen year old broken and “unworthy” me it was just another sign that because of who I was and the circumstances I was in, that I would never be as good as everyone else. 

   At 16 my bigger than I would like body circumference became even larger as I now walked the hallways of my school not just “croc-less” but pregnant. 

   At the young age of seventeen I birthed a tiny eight pound, ten fingered, chubby cheeked miracle and I was absolutely terrified. I will never forget the days, and months, and even years that followed, where my own feelings of “unworthiness” took away from allowing my self to see Gods greatness for the very thing that it was.

   See I sat in the very church seats I still sit in each Sunday today and asked God why in the world he would give her to me. A child myself unable to love her the way she needed.  That she deserved more than a high school student Mom, and an Sobeys working Dad. That more than anything I didn’t want her to become me. 

Then I truly met God.

Not in one particular big bang of a moment.

But in the ordinary moments when he chooses to reveal extraordinary blessings.

A God who began to ask me just why I was unworthy of love, of happiness, and of being someone other than a statistic I had labelled myself of.

 My eight pound, ten fingered, chubby cheeked miracle is now almost twelve years old. She is a year and half away from the very age I stood in the lighted office building and allowed my mothers issues and illnesses to define my own worth. Its been an age I’ve wondered that if I was gone tomorrow,  that if the love my own daughter knows from me was suddenly stripped away…. Would she continue to know the most important love of all?

That although my entire identity as a mother has been to express my love and my children’s worthiness to me… have I done enough to allow them out of my mother knows best bubble  to see His?

I continued on to have three other precious girls after her.

My biggest and greatest prayer for them is not that I get everything right but that I am able to prepare them for when I disappoint them, that I am able to continue to raise them up and lead them to the very One who won’t. 

I want them to not only know they are loved by her father and I, but by a God so much bigger than anything they could imagine. 

I want them to know that their worth is far greater than a label on a clothing or a wink from a prepubescent teenage boy.

I want them to know that they live in a world where they will be judged by the way they look, by the partners they choose, by the people they help, by the people they don’t, by the way the speak, by the way they live, by their parenting, by the cleanliness of their homes, by their newest car, by whether they have the highest paying job. 

I want them to know there will be times when society will tell them they should when they shouldn’t and not to when they should. 

I want them to know they will mess up sometimes. Most likely over and over again.

I want them to not strive to be anyone but their amazingly beautiful sometimes-messy selves.

Because the truth is whether sixteen or twenty eight we are all a hot mess loved by an amazing  self-less God. 

….and so will they be too.

Because of that God….. in the here and now, and long after I am gone they will be forever be loved.

They will never be alone.

They will be given opportunities to rise up above struggles.

They will be welcomed back with opened arms when they are led a stray.

I want them to know that above all, that although this world is extremely warped…. Gods love for them isn’t anything but crystal clear.

Because it is Him that shows us extraordinary worthiness in our seemingly ordinary lives.

and I want ever so desperately for them to know just that.





What I Wish I Could Tell Them…………


I’ll never forget the moments when I found out that my children had died. In an instant the only world I had ever known was completely shattered. It immediately became dark…..as if I had been thrown ever so deeply in a hole that I couldn’t see a way out. My heart stopped beating….or at least it felt like it. It somehow kept going enough to keep my body alive, but everything else had disappeared with the words “we couldn’t save her.”

Over the past couple of weeks I have watched gracefully broken and incredibly brave Moms say goodbye to the most treasured pieces of themselves.

Three and a half years have gone by since my loss…. three and a half heart-breakingly, breath-takingly, painful and beautiful all at the same time years have passed since the moment I sat in their very shoes.

And I wish I could tell them…..

I wish I could tell them that the minute the news of their precious babies deaths hit my ears, that as a Mama who has been there… I immediately felt their pain, their desperateness, and the newly formed holes in their hearts. That I thought of them constantly, prayed for them greatly, and felt the need to want to protect “one of our own”  from the heartaches ahead.

I wish I could tell them that they are so incredibly loved.  Not only by so many that they do not even know,  but also by a God who does.

I wish I could tell them that God, the very one I doubted to exist…the one that I screamed at and questioned over and over again, the God that chose to not breathe life back into my baby girl… revealed Himself in my pain in ways I could never have imagined.

I wish I could tell them that clinging to the very God and the hope that comes with him was the only thing that gave me strength even when friends and family didn’t understand.

I wish I could tell them that they’ve showed incredible strength. That although they feel numb, weak, and barely alive….that I have watched them in awe as they have battled on through.

I wish I could tell them that this immense pain that they are feeling, the pain that consumes every inch of their entire being will fade, not today, and certainly not tomorrow but as the moments , days, and “firsts without” go by…. the rawness of it all will soften and that waking up each day will get easier.

I wish I could tell them that the guilt can consume every single inch of you if you let it. That no matter the loss, or no matter the cause, we as mothers have the incredible urge to blame ourselves. That the most freeing thing I had ever been told was that it wasn’t my fault. That it isn’t their fault, but that horrible awful and incomprehensible things happen to good people.

I wish I could tell them that they’ll one day receive the answer. The answer to the question we all want to know. The whys…the why me. Except they won’t. That as infuriating, and frustrating, and painful that it is…… healing won’t come from the answer anyways.

I wish I could tell them that their precious children will never be forgotten. That although one of the biggest fears for us Mamas is that as time passes and our childrens names get spoken less and less, that not a day goes by that they wont think of them and whisper their sweet names from their lips.

I wish I could tell them that it is true. That a piece of their heart will forever be missing. That they’ll miss their precious children terribly, that they will at times desperately want nothing more but a chance to have a moment with them …but that each moment they keep going is one moment closer to seeing them again.

I wish I could tell them that their grieving hearts does not come with an expiry date. That they will be told that they should be beginning to heal, that as others lives begin to return to “normal” so should their own. That they will question and be questioned on the soul crushing grief that seems to be never ending. That their grief has no limits….because neither did their love.

I wish I could tell them that life does go on. That its the hardest part. That people vanish, that activities resume. That although this world has not stopped spinning, I know theirs did and has completely changed its orbit. That their lives will never be the same but eventually they will be able to start again.

I wish I could tell them that they will laugh again someday. Not the one they will force out of themselves to mask the silence in the days and weeks to come, but a real laugh that reminds them that joy does still exist in this unfathomable world.

Most importantly, I wish I could tell them that there is HOPE. That although there is absolutely no way that they are able to comprehend or even imagine that there is anything outside of this pain in this very moment….. that this Mama…the one who sat in the very same seats at the front of the very same church and said goodbye to my own little girl, the one who doubted the same God, the one who couldn’t see it myself…. has experienced a hope, a joy, and a healing that I never thought would be possible again in this lifetime.

I wish I could tell them that its the beginning of a life long, some times painful, other times beautiful, life altering journey that only they will be able to understand as the days, months, and years go by.

In their own grief.

Immersed in love.

Surround by Hope.

In His time.

A time when their heart begins to truly beat life again, when there is but a glimmer of light in the seemingly forever darkness, and when their hopelessness is restored to hope-filled once again. 










Lessons At The Kitchen Sink.


Hey you.


The one standing at the sink washing the never ending dishes while staring blankly out the window.

The Mama in your own world for just a moment while peices of your family runs around your home.

I know what you’re thinking.

It’s funny isn’t it?

Maybe funny isn’t the word.

But isn’t it crazy how life just goes on?

How in a sometimes feels- like- yesterday, yet in another feels- so- distant time…. that your tummy contained a life that is no longer.

It’s little moments like these ones that remind you of  the missing feet running around and the absent giggles around the dinner table.

How did we get here?

From that dreary hospital chair to the kitchen sink .

Because there was a time we could barely stand.

Because there was a time where the pain was so immensely present that just existing was difficult.

Because there was a time where our other children’s laughter was not seen as a blessing, but as a breathtakingly painful reminder of the childs we would never hear.

Because there was a time when I placed my once alive but now lifeless baby in my husband’s arms to hand over to the coroner.

Because there was a time  I thought life was over for me too.

But it wasnt.

……And minutes turned in to hours and hours in to days.

…. And days in to weeks and weeks in to months.

…And then months into years.


And one day you wake up, and can thank the ever present never left your side God. The One who you battled with in the kitchen one stormy morning while your daughter laid breathless on the floor.

The One whom ultimately had the ability to “save the day” …..

……but didn’t.

And you look back at that not so distant time where you could not see any point in living any longer. That time when your other children was not even enough of a motive for you to live through this pain.

Then you remember the moments He showed up time and time again.

The moments where he put just a glimmer of light in the seemingly never ending darkness and just the smallest bit of joy in the forever feeling pain.

And you realize that although he may not have saved that day, He did save your life.

Then one day years from now you’ve emerged from the middle of the storm and you’re staring out your kitchen window….and not only are you remembering that precious child that once was, but you are thinking about the life thereafter you’d never thought you’d have.

The life you couldn’t even see in the midst.

A life that has had so many moments of pain and family shaken hard times. But a life of healing, of blessings, and of change.

But back then we couldn’t see it.

….And that’s okay.

We wouldn’t have believed it if we could.

Because back then all we could see was death and pain and the unfairness of this world we live in.

Back then all that we could see was the pink cold hospital chair where we last held our precious baby.

Until one day we didn’t.

I never would have thought that this journey would bave been and continues to be, even more than I could have ever imagined.

That I could feel so abudantly blessed and loved in a life that has contained so much pain and death.

But I am.

And He continues to be.

Our grief doesn’t stop.

But neither does our God.

And because of Him, today we can stand and be thankful for the veiw.

And for tomorrow we are filled with hope.

I don’t know how we got here.

But I am so very thankful we are.

Thankful that while our tough tierd hands  were created for cradling sweet babies and washing these very dishes….that His…

His were made for healing.









To The Mama Who Feels Like She’s Failing…….

  ” The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” ~Isaiah 58:11



      Last night as I was driving in to head to bible study I would like to be able to say that I was feeling good…but truth was that an hour before had been a total nightmare.

     See, My girls were also going to the church for a end of season pajama party for their youth group, but when the time came to get ready to go….what seemed like a quick easy thing turned in to total chaos in the matter of seconds. My toddler was screaming because nothing felt right on her body, my oldest was annoyed that she was going to be late and honestly I cant blame her…I felt the exact same way.

     I threatened to leave her…..you know…the empty threat that your never going to do and I don’t know why we do it because it never works anyways. My quiet calm voice grew louder and louder until everyone was screaming, frustrated, and exhausted from the battle of coats and boots.

    We all made it in the car with not a minute to spare. But that Mama, the one with Casting Crowns blaring in the background. The one heading to bible study. The one with their kids dressed in matching pajamas in the backseat….the one who looked like she had it all together…did not. In fact she felt like a total failure.

How many times have we all felt that exact same way?

How many times have we entered somewhere with a smile on our face and self doubt in our hearts? How many times have we hidden who we are or mistakes we’ve made just so that can measure up to the Mom besides us?

How many times have we handed over the power to judge us to the wrong being?

Truth is, the last couple months , ten years….I’ve been struggling.

      Since the moment that a tiny eight pound, beautiful, slippery body was placed on my chest I immediately entered in to the world of Motherhood. In to a whole new world where self doubt, comparison, and the ability to mess up lingered around every corner.

     A world where the beauty and excitement  of new life was so very evident but the hidden pressures and inadequacy’s surround your every being as each day passed and the realization of just how big, just how important the job…..this whole Mom thing….. was going to be.

     As the world has advanced I’m not so convinced that we have. While we’ve pushed for acceptance of differences those very things have given us even more oppourtunities to fail ourselves. The world has seemed to emphasize our differences, and has even given us labels. Labels where Soccer Mom, Granola Mom, and Helicopter Mom suddenly are something we put in an order of better than….on a scale between the mom we want to be and the mom we don’t. Glorifying some more than others. Oblivious to the fact that not only are we individuals….not only has God made each one of us uniquely, but that every Mom  we have labeled from the moment we laid eyes on them are not just that.

    I have spent seasons yearning to be “that” mom. The mom that has it all together. The mom whos home you visit without cheerios on the floor and last nights super dishes in the sink.

I have spent years missing out on the blessings that was given to me because I was spending so much more time trying to be someone else.

I tried so desperately at times to fill material needs instead of spiritual ones.

I doubted my choices, because they were not yours.

I downplayed by abilities and strengths because they were not the same as others.

I’ve let Facebook hide the truths behind the pictures.

I have kept my eyes focused on becoming “mother-like” and not “God-like.”

I have spent years putting woman on pedestals for doing the exact same thing that all of us are doing…..

….raising our children to the very best of our abilities.

See, we may all parent differently but we all have the same goal.

We all love our children deeply and want what’s best for them.

….and I am learning(Sometimes the hard way) that God’s best and my best may be two different things and that if that is the case then I am going to fail at mine every single time.

    So to the Mama who feels like she’s failing…I’m here with you, fighting the same battle. Sitting hopelessly on the kitchen floor, feeling discouraged as I walk across my living room and cheerios crunch between my toes, and as I walk away from what seems like a fun family event only to have crying children and a doubting heart.

No one says it was going to be easy, but we can stop being so hard on ourselves….on each other.

You are not a failure.

You are a mother.

A beautiful and blessed being of God’s that sometimes needs a reminder that not only are you raising warriors, but that you already have a Warrior leading you through every battle you face.

We got this.

….and hey, when we don’t. He does.

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When From Death Comes Beauty.



“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiatstes”


Audrey’s viewing day.

I remember getting ready as it was yesterday.

The black dress. The gold earrings. The mascara that would run down my face before I could even fully apply it.

The emotions. All of them. The desperation, the despair, the torture, the anger, and the inability to accept.

Most prominently I remember the feeling of wanting to see my beautiful baby girl again, but came with it, the sickening fear that seeing her would indefinitely show the proof that death had consumed her fragile tiny twelve pound body.

I feared she wouldn’t look the same. That death had taken her for too long. That the sweet baby that lay cold in a wooden white box would trick my mind into believing that there was just no way that it could be the pink chubby-cheeked one who filled my arms only days before.

I arrived to the front doors of the church and anger filled my every being as I questioned God for the ten thousandth time. Why? How could you? Why me? Why now? Why her?

All questions I have still never received the answers to.

the purple tutu

 I remember looking to the front of my church, the box sat out just steps away from the staging where my pastor spoke Gods greatness into my very ears just a week and a half before. Where he spoke Gods greatness into my church families ears the Sunday morning I held my lifeless baby in a hospital room only days prior.


To tell you the truth He didn’t feel too great to me right now.

To be completely honest I felt He was mocking me as my beautiful baby girl lay still in a casket to be seen for the last time.

I refused to accept that ANYTING even remotely good could come from this.

That if my daughters death had anything to do with glorifying him there was absolutely positivity no way that I was going to be okay with that.

Maybe because a part of me felt like I was being punished for something….that I had failed terribly.

Perhaps a piece of me was convincing myself that if I had have done things differently or had listened to Him better, sooner that I wouldn’t have been standing bare footed at the alter holding her hand and counting fingers for the last time…..

That if I acknowledged that anything good could come from her death that I was somehow approving of it happening.

I don’t know.

But I do know one thing.

My precious Audrey was beautiful even in her death.

That Gods love intensified in that over flown room filled with friends, our community, and my church family who loved me unconditionally and without judgement.

Her death was not great.

But my God still was.

That death did not consume her.

But God did.

The same God who formed Audrey in my womb, who calmed me during my pregnancy, whom rejoiced with us in her birth, and who wept with me at the alter………still was.

Two years later I can confidently say that whether I refused or not, Audreys death has glorified God.

That Gods greatness shone even in her death.

She has impacted more lives then I could have ever imagined, and she was surely an amazing piece of my story that belonged to Him no matter how badly I selfishly want her.

For some reason I was chosen to walk this journey. A journey that has introduced me to opportunities and women who have added a substance to my life I never knew could exist.

Her death led me to a God that defeats it.

That very God led me to a beauty that her death….that this world, had been blinding me from.

So this month of October I remember her.

I remember my other sweet girl Alexis.

I acknowledge that I am 1 in 4.

That I am one face in the many of mama’s who walk this very same road as me.



In Alexis’s death I became a Hope Mom.

In Audrey’s death I became fully His.

Because of that I can look at my baby girl and see Gods presence.

I can look at her and not see death, but life.

….and that right there…in Him……is where beauty can always be found.






Because I Could Never Be Fatherless.



“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~Psalm 73:23-26

    It was Monday morning and my day was already up to not the best start. My oldest child had missed the bus, my middle one had been crying for ten minutes over wanting to wear her flip flops to school and the baby…well, need I say more.

   I packed some very unimpressive but quick lunches and loaded up the car with everyone and everything I needed for the day….a normal everyday occurrence in our household….but little did I know in a mere hour this Monday morning was going to be one that I would never forget.

   A few drop offs later and I had finally arrived at work just seconds before my scheduled time. I smiled as I seen a co-worker arriving the same time as me and was steps away from her when my phone begin to ring.

I pressed answer and shear screams pierced my ears.

“Dad’s dead”

“Dad died”

…..and in two words, in seven simple stomach turning letters… the world as I knew it had changed.

     The missed busses, the wrong pair of shoes, the cars that had drove to slow in front of me while not so nice thoughts filled my  mind. None of those things mattered. If anything I had wished they did. That I could just go back to my Monday morning being defined by the mundane everyday things that went wrong.

But it couldn’t.

Because in that moment.

   On that overcast, overly cranky morning of September twenty-sixth….in a cold wet parking lot…….

I became fatherless.

Or so I thought.

   See, I sat on my Fathers bed that morning and desperately clenched my Dads cold hard working hands, I studied them and traced each wrinkle and line with my fingertips, and I sat hopelessly in his death.

This time there was nothing to pray for…..it was too late.

The evidence lay still and breathless beside me.

Oh how I missed him already.

    Anger filled my every being as I began to ask the very God I needed so desperately the why questions I knew I would never get the answer to. I didn’t want to need him. I didn’t want to want him. In fact, I demanded him to restart this day over and breathe my Dads life right back in to him.

    But as I watched my Dads earthly home be carried out in a black bag and placed in the back of the coroners car, I was too desperate…too angry…..too immersed in the sudden grief, that I missed that my Dads life had already been restored and that the very life I had demanded had already been breathed back in to him.

Not because I had asked.

But because he did.

    So this morning as I awoke to the aftermath of the storm. As I laid in bed staring out at the beauty of the world in front of me, and as thoughts of memories of a man who truly loved like Jesus filled my mind.

   I was reminded that although my Dad is not here, he is alive. That even though I can not see him, his eyes are on the one that matters most, and I am so very thankful for the moments this past week where he has shown me small glimpses of Heaven.  Whether in the sighting of a butterfly or in the power of Gods word.

    I will forever think of the missed opportunities with my father. The words that weren’t spoken, the times I got distracted and didn’t take the call, or the last hug I gave without saying goodbye. All the chances I may have missed.

See my Daddy didn’t miss his.

But my Dads death showed me just how quickly we could.

    Because in an instant. In a single heartbeat, the every days of this world could be taken. The houses, the cars, the dance recitals, and the very people that filled them.



And all that will be left is a Father that would have never left us Fatherless…..

……and the missed opportunity to make that so.

So today I sit saddened, still angry, but ever so confident in the truth that I may have lost my father, but luckily for me I am not left without.

…..and it his Him that will carry me through the coming days…weeks…months. It is because of Him that I will never be…


How about you?

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To My Sister-In-Law…


For the past eight years I’ve watched you.

    I’ve stood in the hospital room waiting while he was extracted from his safe and protected place inside of your body, and I’ve sang along loudly to Happy Birthday as his eighth birthday cake was recently placed in front of him. 

    I listened when you told us he may never speak, and noticed as you both became frustrated with his inability to communicate at times. I watched him struggle and succeed,stumble and overcome….as time and age unmasked his “disabilities” to the big wide world all the more.

I tried to place my self in your shoes.

I tried to have it all figured out.

But truth is…. I never truly understood.

…..and I am sorry.

     I am sorry for the times I criticized your parenting because it wasn’t my own. I am sorry for the times I didn’t check in when you were left feeling defeated, alone, or not enough, and I apologize when your family was uninvited from activities that I thought would overstimulate him without thinking about whether or not that un-invite would instead cause  feelings of isolation for you.

I never meant to hurt you.

I just didn’t get it.

      It wasn’t until I lost my two girls that I was able to understand just how much the world is unable to see behind closed doors. 

      I didn’t take the time to think that your smiling face at the playground was masking the total exhaustion of caring for your sweet boy all by yourself while your husband worked away. That a morning of tea, talk, and laughter was the extent of your social life for the next seven days, and I never understood that you were dealing with your own denials, grief, guilt, and fears for your family’s future.

So this Autism Awareness month (and all year long) i’ll continue to celebrate him.

      I’ll celebrate that laugh that comes from way down deep in his belly…..the one that can’t help but brighten my day. I will embrace him as he climbs on my lap to cuddle, and I will light up as those little silent lips of his kiss my cheek each time we say goodbye. 

But that’s not all of it. 

I will also celebrate you.

      I will celebrate that God choose you to mother him, to love him, and to protect him……. I will be inspired as you take such a life changing diagnosis and exchange your old dreams and expectations for new ones, and i’ll watch in awe as you continue to fight for him and be his voice in a world that doesn’t always seem fair.

    I will never know what it is truly like to have a child with autism…but through you I have been able to get just a microscopic glimpse in to your challenging, exhausting, and BEAUTIFUL world.

So to someone who doesn’t get told this enough.

Thank you.

    For loving unconditionally, for continuing to persevere through the unknown, and for being a voice of positivity and acceptance in this world even when you feel you have no idea what you are doing or if you have the energy left for the next challenge along the way.



You got this Mama.

You are doing an amazing job!