By / May 7

Mother’s Day can be bittersweet for many. One in 10 couples struggle with infertility, and approximately 10 to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages. For many women who long to have a child, Mother’s Day can serve as a difficult reminder of what they desire, but do not have. The potential pain of Mother’s Day extends further still — for women have chosen an adoption plan for their child, single women who desire to be married and have a family, or women who have had an abortion. And others might be grieving the loss of or navigating a difficult relationship with their mother.


Personally, Mother’s Day can be filled with conflicting emotions. I was born with a somewhat rare medical condition that prevents me from bearing biological children. The loss of that dream feels especially poignant this time of year. But I also have a desire to honor my own mother and mother-in-law and celebrate the women in my life who are mothers. Romans 12:15 is often on my lips as I navigate these tensions and seek to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

My husband and I are in the process of an international adoption from India. This Mother’s Day, I feel the strange tension of pursuing motherhood but not yet stepping into the role of “mother.” I’m waiting for paperwork to be approved, for a social worker to deem us eligible to be parents, and to be matched with a child. But I know that waiting is not in vain. 

As an adoptee myself, I’m aware that my children’s stories will contain trauma. Even if our children are adopted young, there is trauma involved any time there’s a break in the natural family. The issue of adoption and child welfare is deeply important to me. I’ve spent time and energy navigating the complexities of these issues in order to advocate on behalf of vulnerable children. While we wait, we are reading books on trauma-informed parenting, listening to seminars, and gleaning wisdom from other adoptive parents so that we can love our children well. Our waiting is not in vain.


We’re also watching the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in India with broken hearts. According to the BBC, “India has seen more than 300,000 new cases a day for nearly two weeks straight while deaths stand at 220,000. Experts say total Covid cases and deaths in India are likely to be much higher, citing lack of testing and patients dying at home without being seen by doctors.” The images and stories we’re witnessing have caused global alarm and attention. I can’t help but wonder how many children will be orphaned because of the thousands of COVID-19 deaths. 


As we watch and wait, we do the best thing we know how to do: We pray. We lift up our future children in prayer almost daily. They might not be known to us, but they are known to our Father, and in that, we take great comfort. We pray for their safety and protection. We pray for their biological parents and the challenging circumstances that led them to making an adoption plan for their children. We pray for the leaders in India to make good and wise decisions for their citizens. We pray for the souls of our children, that they might come to know the Lord as their Savior at a young age.

In my waiting, I often echo the words of David, “O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.” Waiting can often feel helpless, but Psalm 27:14 reminds us to “be strong, and let your heart take courage” as we “wait for the Lord.” I fix my eyes upon the Lord and ask him to fill me with his strength when I feel weak. 

If you find yourself in a season of waiting right now, allow me to remind you that you are never alone in your struggle. Psalm 38:9 reminds us that “all our longing is before God; our sighing is not hidden from Him.” The Lord promises never to leave or forsake his children. He promises to be good and to set his steadfast love upon us. When you feel overwhelmed and discouraged, on Mother’s Day or any time, press into the promises of the Lord. 

By / Jan 8

Since becoming a mom, I always feel speechless when people ask me how my week was. I give them a blank stare while I try to think about it. I’m always grasping for something that happened that was a big deal, or an event, or something with some element of excitement to it. Sometimes I do have something exciting to share (or at least my mommy mundane version of exciting—got a toddler potty-trained, anyone?), but most of the time I don’t even remember what happened in the last week, because it’s so muddled up with the ordinary busyness of motherhood. 

Monotony can be disheartening. There are times when I have to put on my cap of duty and just get the bathroom cleaned. Or when I’m tired of taking my boys to the same places to play over and over again. Sometimes it feels as if I just planned my meals yesterday and now I already have to think about what we’ll eat this week, and then shop for it all. Again. 

I spend the majority of my time taking care of my family and my home. I tell my boys to stop fighting, and 15 minutes later I’m saying it again. I begin the evening’s meal preparation, even though I just put away dishes from our previous meal. Care-taking contains a litany of repetitive tasks: changing diapers, infant feedings, nap schedules (if you have one), getting children out the door in time for school, homework, baths, and bedtime routines. Every day is fundamentally the same. 

When it comes to our everyday tasks, life can feel very ordinary; not so special or exciting. We live in a culture that values, and lives for, the big and exciting things of life: such as new babies, weddings, family vacations, or a big birthday party. These are the moments captured on Instagram.

Repetition built into creation

Repetition has a way of blurring our days together. It can make everything feel colorless and faded, and as if those bigger exciting moments are the only splashes of color. But what if we’re underestimating these ordinary days and repetitive tasks? What if we’re missing something? The mundane moments of motherhood are difficult, but the mundane beauties can be missed: cuddling on the couch to read a book together, having heart-to-heart talks, spotting an act of kindness between siblings, praying together, and talking about Jesus and the gospel. These are all sweet parts of this repetition. These are ordinary moments for eternity. 

We need to discover how to spot these daily beauties and cherish them—because God created them. He made repetition.

Think about our world for a moment. Every day the sun rises and sets; every day the moon waxes or wanes; and every day these acts praise their Creator. In his book Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton mentions how the repetition of the sun’s rising might not be due to a lifelessness, but due to a rush of life. Chesterton compares the repetition found in nature to a child’s enjoyment in repeating the same games and songs. He says this is because children have “fierce and free spirits”; their joy in repetition is due to excess of life, not absence.

Chesterton then says,

“For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy . . . . The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”1G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (Moody Publishers, 2009), p 92

The act of repetition can be a thing of beauty all by itself. For example, we’re called to repeat the Lord’s Supper as a church body (1 Cor. 11:23-25), and as we repeat this act it becomes imprinted upon us—informing us about Christ and about ourselves. We’re teaching ourselves the gospel over and over. As we know from observing our children, things must be repeated if they are to be learned. So, we must come again and again to the communion table—and to worship, prayer, and God’s Word—if we are to become more like Jesus.

Someday we’ll be more fully like God and no longer grow tired of repetition. We will have the “eternal appetite of infancy,” as Chesterton expressed, and will exult in the joyful monotony of worship. We’ll cry, “Encore!” every time we worship the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins. Until then, we are given tastes of this beauty here on earth as we repeat our tasks of mothering. 

The little things add up to big things

It’s the little things we are called to. The day in and day out. The minute by minute. These little moments that can feel so monotonous have the power to shape you and your children. This poem by Julie A.F. Carney called Little Things, that I’ve read with my own children, is a great reminder of this:

Little drops of waters, 
Little grains of sand, 
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.2Gyo Fujikawa, A Child’s Book of Poems (Sterling Children’s Books, 2007), p 89.

Just as many tiny droplets make up one vast ocean, so all of our days are made up of tiny moments. We don’t always see the bigger picture when we’re teaching our children a Bible verse, or probing their hearts, or spending time with them. Capturing the little things is what motherhood is about. When we train our children (talk to them, ask probing questions, and then pray with them)—or when we instruct them in God’s Word and help them apply it to the everyday struggles in their lives—then we are capturing the little things that will add up to big things. This is the glory found in the mundane. These are the most important times. May we be ever mindful of the Spirit’s work in these seemingly insignificant moments. 

When we read the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit move in miraculous and seemingly impossible ways. His ways seem so big and exciting. But for us today, the majority of the time, we will see the Holy Spirit work in little things. He works on us and our children moment by moment, day by day, little by little. He is changing us one step at a time. He is working through our repetitive tasks to change our hearts and the hearts of our children. He is working through every Bible verse, every moment of instruction, every prayer, every conversation. He works through our actions of serving care and nurturing kindness (even in the times when our heart attitude doesn’t match our actions). 

Feeding your child when they are hungry, changing a dirty diaper, bathing your child, and scrubbing the dishes all show your child Christlike service. You are their first glimpses of a Savior. But we don’t always see it until those little workings of the Spirit bear fruit and flower into something bigger (Gal. 5:22-23). We have to have faith in the Spirit’s work when we can’t see the big picture in the ordinary moments of motherhood. We can ask the Holy Spirit for help, so we can remain steadfast and faithful in the mundane tasks before us everyday. 

This is an extract from The End of Me by Liz Wann, which helps moms find resurrection life in the daily sacrifices of motherhood. This short, easy-to-read book encourages mothers to depend on Christ when they reach their limit. The book will be available in March 2021 on The Good Book Company website, Amazon, and wherever books are sold. 

  • 1
    G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (Moody Publishers, 2009), p 92
  • 2
    Gyo Fujikawa, A Child’s Book of Poems (Sterling Children’s Books, 2007), p 89.
By / Mar 5

Courtney Reissig shares some advice for working moms. Courtney is a wife, mother, writer, and speaker.

Follow Courtney on Twitter: @courtneyreissig

By / May 10

Almost every day of our childhood, we would pull down my grandmother’s long driveway and go in for a quick visit. We, two sisters, would sit together on the narrow piano bench and peck at the black and white keys in my grandmother’s living room while Mother moved through the house—setting out pills, fixing her mother’s hair, asking questions and washing clothes. It was our weekday routine, completed with a glass of chocolate milk in her wood-paneled kitchen.

Our grandmother, Zelma, had her first open heart surgery when our mother was 16. She would suffer through three more open-heart surgeries, breast cancer, a brain hemorrhage and a subsequent one-month coma in her rather long lifetime, considering the circumstances. Her story merits a full-length book. But for every chapter in the story of my grandmother, Mother was the caretaker, the advocate, the executor.

Our mother cared faithfully for our grandmother for decades, in every way imaginable. And upon our grandmother’s death in 1999, she began caring for other family members in need. She began to look after aunts, uncles and cousins. She cleaned toilets and picked up medicines. She made notes at doctor’s appointments and called insurances companies. She brought in food and took out the trash. The houses and the people changed, but not her way of life.

You can’t google our mother and see her accolades. She doesn’t speak or write for others. She has no public platform. She doesn’t even have a Facebook account. Yet, for our lives and ministries, she has been more influential than any other person.

In the flesh, we constantly evaluate those we encounter to determine if they are worthy of our time, our investment, our money or our heart. Our mother taught us to see with different eyes and to say “yes” when the world would say “no.” In most every circumstance, the recipients of our mother’s care could not repay her in any way. As her daughters, we didn’t need a sermon, a book or a conference to teach us how to see and affirm the dignity in every person, no matter their age, ability or worldly status. It’s the message we’ve seen our entire lives, and we hope to share those lessons with you here.  

Be motivated by love

Our generation broadcasts their lives, or at least a filtered version of them. Acts of service are publicized, even glamorized, for the world to see. Our mother’s care for others was not noticed by many outside of our family, and sometimes family members didn’t realize all she had done. There were no posts of the waiting rooms she visited. She clearly didn’t serve her family for the praise of man. She served because her heart, like Christ’s, was moved to compassion. (Matt. 9:36)

It’s a lie of the devil to think a sacrificial life of serving your family isn’t “a great thing.”

This was a devastating work. There’s much pain in watching illness and age affect someone you love. We don’t know how many times she has witnessed a loved one take her last breath. It would have been easier to walk away. It would have been easier to find professionals. But again and again, she was eager to do good works, walking in when others were walking out. (Titus 2:14) Only love—for Christ and for others—compels this type of sacrifice.

Do the work in front of you

Our generation has been challenged to do “great things for God,” and that call still beats within our hearts. But it’s a lie of the devil to think a sacrificial life of serving your family isn’t “a great thing.” So often, the enemy’s tactic is to complicate the simple commands of Jesus. Well-intentioned questions like, “What is my calling?” or “Where are my talents most utilized?” can distract and delay us. Yet, Scripture is clear that we need only love others like we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

What are the needs within arm’s reach? Don’t devalue or abandon the title of son or daughter, wife or husband, mother or father, niece or nephew. The “others” and the “neighbors” for Mother were those God placed in her life through family. And as those who were the recipients and witnesses of that care, that work changed our lives for eternity.

Portray the gospel

To believe the message of a Savior who laid down his life for us was not a wide chasm, because we saw it every day—in a mother who laid down her own life for us and for others in need (1 John 3:16). We believe Mother was placed within her family to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Her life pointed my family to Christ. She brought heaven to earth because she cared for people, no matter their status, the way Jesus cared for them. We were taught to not fear sacrifice, and that conviction has anchored us through many seasons of our walks with Christ.

Don’t give up

Like all children, we have seen our Mother at her best and worst. We have seen the toil of emotional difficulties and laborious work. Yet, our Mother didn’t give up. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

After my grandmother’s coma, doctors told our mother that our grandmother would never walk again. She was even encouraged to put her mother into a long-term care facility. Instead, our recently married mother and father moved into our grandmother’s house. Every day, the two women would take walks down that long driveway. Many times, my grandmother’s body would fail her, and she would fall flat on the concrete. My mother would lift her up, wipe her skinned hands and knees, and they would start again. Painfully and slowly, Mother taught her to walk again.

It’s our prayer that like our mother, our lives would be marked by the often slow and laborious walk of faithfulness, service, humility and love—a life that Jesus first walked, and passed down to us. Though she never sought affirmation or applause for her service, this Mother’s Day, we rise up and call her “blessed” (Prov. 31).

By / May 9
By / Feb 9

The flickering candle and the click of my keyboard are the only sounds in the room with me tonight. My heart feels tender and raw, and my eyes burn from the tears they’ve been swimming in over the last few hours.

You see, my husband and I have a precious son with a neurological disorder that causes emotional and behavioral problems. We have good months and bad months, good days and bad days. Today has been a bad day.

Our official diagnosis is ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, but if you look up “bipolar disorder” or “oppositional defiant disorder” or “borderline personality disorder,” you’ll find many of the same symptoms that live with us inside of our beautiful, nine-year-old child.

The symptoms look so neat and tidy on the healthcare websites, sitting there in those perfectly aligned, bulleted lists. They look benign—like you could just select them and delete them if you so chose—impulsive behavior, persistent dark thoughts, social and communication deficits, extreme emotions, difficulty coping with the demands of everyday life.

The truth is that these little words—these “symptoms”—regularly show up in bodily form and press my face against the laundry room wall. They twist my arm behind my back and force me to my knees when I’m trying to get dinner on the table or help the kids with homework. They keep me from ever getting my balance, strolling by and giving me a shove when I least expect it.

This is my whole family’s normal.

Many days it feels like we’ve set up camp in a landmine field. I’m constantly vigilant, trying to keep the whole world calm and ordered to protect my son and those around him—an impossible task. When one of these emotional mines suddenly detonates, I throw myself on the blast, absorbing as much of it as I can to shield others, especially my other children, from the fallout. I stand guard like this day after day, month after month, year after year. I walk around with my breath slightly held, feeling like we’re always about to cross a busy street.

Sometimes I handle things well; other times I lose my temper and lash back at my son. Those are the darkest days, the weeping days. I’m supposed to be his comfort and help, but this job is so much bigger than me. I run out of energy. I run out of strength. I run out of patience. I come up short again and again and again.

An invisible disability

One of the hardest things about our family’s disability is that you can’t see it; you can only see what spirals out of it.

If my son walked into the room with two broken legs, no one would be angry with him for not being able to walk; they would offer to help him. Our child’s symptoms are visible, but the disability itself is not. His weakness pushes people away when he needs their help most. It’s hard to understand (even for my husband and me) that he needs extra grace and compassion when he’s lashing out in anger. He’s usually melting down because he’s anxious or afraid or overwhelmed.

This beautiful boy is a kind and tender little soul, always willing to share or help or stand up for someone who needs it. He never wants me to kill a spider or throw away a drawing. He’s off-the-charts smart, and he longs to please his father and me. He sees the world in a marvelous and interesting way, noticing details I would always miss. He uses crazy-big words and sees patterns in math that I never would.

That same unique wiring of his brain also makes him quick to spring into a fight; he perceives threats everywhere, even where there are none. And so this sweet little boy can suddenly explode with adrenaline and anger and leave us running for cover in our own home.

The road God has placed us on feels unbearably hard to walk some days.

My heart’s longing is to give you a glimpse into the pain the mother of a child like mine quietly carries around with her. You probably won’t see it. She has to keep functioning, after all. She may have other children to protect and care for. She can’t walk around passing out handfuls of sorrow, so chances are you don’t know how she’s quietly suffering.

God’s Word tells us we are to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” It tells us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

How can you help bear a burden like this one? It’s not as complicated as you might think.

Eyes to see, ears to hear

  • See her. A few years ago, my neighbor Lucia stopped in front of our house to chat. She had heard from her husband about our son and his struggles. Lucia told me that she had worked with special needs kids at our local school and had some small idea of what I was going through. “If you need anything—if I can give you a break any time—please let me know. I really mean it.”  Instantly, I was choking back hot tears in my driveway. I didn’t realize how much I needed someone to know what I was going through—to just see me standing here in this hard, hard place.
  • Hear her. Ask her how she’s doing. Ask her how her child is doing. Ask her what it’s like to live with Asperger’s Syndrome or whatever lives in her house. Just give her an opportunity to express how she’s feeling, and even if she doesn’t want to share, she’ll know you cared enough to ask.
  • Encourage her. Point out the good things you see in her child. Tell her something you’ve noticed that she does well as a mother. And do think carefully before offering advice. She’s probably read stacks of books and articles and consulted with more professionals that you can imagine. She doesn’t expect you to solve her problems; caring about them is enough.
  • Relieve her. I’ve found that it’s all too easy to turn away general offers, but if someone says, “I have a meal for you. Could I bring it by this afternoon or tomorrow?” it feels like my load is suddenly lighter. Another friend watches my baby once a week so I can go for a walk by myself. I’m so grateful for how God shows his love to me through kind friends!
  • Pray for her. If there’s only one thing you do for your friend, let it be this one. Ask her how you can pray for her, and then pray! I have no doubt that the prayers of our family and friends have held us up many, many days.  More than that, I believe these prayers are part of what God uses to actually shape the future of our child and our family. This could look a thousand different ways. You could pray during a certain day of the week for her family. You could text her or e-mail her or handwrite prayers and drop them in the mail. You could write their family’s name on an index card and put it on your fridge or in your Bible. Please, please, please pray.

One of the most vital ways the Lord Jesus shows his love to us is through one another, his very body. We are united to him and to each other by his Spirit, and each of us has something life-giving to share. Life in this world is full of hardship, and we need one another in very real and urgent ways. As I walk through these difficult days and remember that Jesus promised never to leave me or forsake me, I’m grateful that one of the ways He cares for me is through people—messy, imperfect, trying-their-best people, just like me. Sometimes we feel lonely, but in Christ we never stand alone.

Can you relate to my story? Are you struggling to hold on to hope? How has God shown his faithfulness to you?