Ann Voskamp
About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. I know this encouragement is mostly for the mamas among us. But I just wanted to say that someday, even though I’m not there now, I want to be a Velveteen Mother. So I’m seizing some of the encouragement for myself, if that’s alright. (Premature? Maybe. More like treasuring in my heart in the hope of things to come.)

  2. I become a tiger mother at times, and although sometimes I honestly believe that there are valid reasons why I behave as such, when I see tears falling from my child’s face, I am the one who is hurt the most. I hurt more when I see my child hurt, whether it was my own doing or not.

    The tears and hurts that motherhood brings – they change me. Slowly, hour after hour, day after day, the Lord Jesus guides me through this noble vocation. HE IS PATIENT with me. So I pray some more, and never giving up, that I will also display the same patience with my children, and just do THIS right.

    Thank you for writing about this.

    • Oh, Rina… the grace that He is patient with us. To keep chiseling us more into the image of His Son. With you this morning in prayer, sister… *Thank you* for sharing you with us…

    • “I become a tiger mother at times, and although sometimes I honestly believe that there are valid reasons why I behave as such, when I see tears falling from my child’s face, I am the one who is hurt the most. I hurt more when I see my child hurt, whether it was my own doing or not.”

      Oh Rina, you are not alone… My heart breaks when this mom turns tiger and breaks the hearts of my children! That I too will give grace to those children as he doles out for me, every. single. minute.

  3. Motherhood, it has hurt and healed me deep. It has ripped raw my wounds and painfully, slowly, I finally allowed God to gently, lovingly, heal them. Then it ripped me a new wound three years ago when I learned that my beautiful two year old daughter, with perfect curls and beautiful bright blue eyes, had cancer. Now, after long hard fought years, we’re on the other side, she is well, for now… I’m trying to learn to walk again, trying to ignore the shadow that casts itself long at times, trying to move forward, but not knowing towards what and if that shadow will grow and overtake our lives again. I am struggling to stay in his peace. I am struggling to be still and rest in him.

    • Oh, Jess. I ache a bit with you, just in reading your words…. You are wise — to keep purposing to abandon the worries — and abide in Him. Just to rest. Oh, I am praying with you right now, beautiful Jess.

    • Jess, I am crying with/for you and your daughter. The shadow will get shorter, although it may always be in the background. Be real with Him and yourself. Just try to enjoy this day. Then the next day, just don’t worry about tomorrow, just take this day. The care, joys, sorrows and everydayness of today is enough. One day at a time Sweet Jesus. Praying for you.

      A grandma, but still a mom!

    • Jess, I’m right there with you…
      years of walking thru the horrific hell of seizures, brain surgeries, ER visits & hospital stays, with our firstborn, left deep scars of fear and doubt.
      Our ‘Caleb Miracle’ is 16 now, and he is well; strong and recovered from his most recent series of surgeries this past March.

      And yet – the ‘becoming real’ when motherhood is so shockingly painful, can seem too much to bear. I’m still in the thick of the journey, but the Lord has taught me gently how to trust and rest, in His present-peace.

      If it brings you any comfort – you can read about our journey, “The Caleb Miracle” – on my blog (click on my name for the link). Sometimes over the years I’ve found precious compassion from hearing the story of another Mom’s similar struggle, and pursuit of God’s peace after walking in fear for so, so long.

      My heart & prayers are with you; for continued health, and for Divine rest in Jesus’ presence, just for the day, His present-peace.

  4. oh ann, i am not yet a mother and yet today you have inspired me to pray for the mother i will (god willing) become, for the children we hope to grow in grace. thank you for this encouragement.

    • And the grace that it is a long becoming, Brie! The work God began in us, He will carry it through and He is a faithful friend… Blessings on you, Brie!

      • Because of my daughter-in-law sharing your book, I have a new and different life. Praise God! I thank Him for your ministry and book because at times it’s the only thing that makes any sense.

  5. Oh, Ann… tears from me this morning – as I was sitting & thinking just before I read this about my Oldest who will also be turning NINE. Oh, and how I wish I could get back the years; they’ve gone by so fast. Nine is just too big.

    As I said to you one day last week, it never ceases to amaze me how He uses your words to speak directly to me.

  6. Hi Ann, I wanted to share this morning about being real in lieu of the velveteen rabit. I am a mother of a beautiful, kind and tenderhearted good and perfect gift who has AD/HD, sensory integration disorder, and O.C.D tendencies. In life I have always been real with people about my struggles with raising a child who has these things. I have found that being real does not get you many friends. I don’t know any other way to be! I don’t want to be a “Happy Plastic Person” As Casting Crowns sings about. We can only grow in God’s grace when we are real and when we hurt. There is more freedom in Christ and more freedom in the deepest depths of our soul, when we are willing to be real with God, with ourselves, with others in our life. Even if it does cost you not having many friends. I would rather be real and without friends than to be Fake and have a multitude of other “Happy Plastic People” around me. I too was once a pit dweller. God brought me up out of that pit and gave me some beautiful Ashes to come up out of. I share all of what he is doing in my life at my blog if anyone needs encouragement here. Thank you Ann, God used your book and your daily E-mails as the way to pull me up out of my pit. I am in Awe of our mighty God in the way he used you to pull me up and give me Beauty Ashes. Grace upon Grace, to you sweet Lady ~ Lori

    • Lori- I feel your pain as I too have a son with the same things you described in your son. It is a struggle every day and one that wears me down tremendously. I find myself questioning why I have this child when it appears I am so ineffective. I should point out we adopted him as an infant (domestic) so that is why I question sometimes at my lowest “why me? I don’t know if I can handle this”. I do have another child by birth who is opposite in every way…thank God! This second child has made me see it isn’t me but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with each day. I, too, find comfort in Ann’s blog and book. Some days it is the only thing that keeps me sane and centered.

      • Lori and Susan, thank you for saying some of the very words I think every day.

        I am the mother of ten homeschooled kids, four of whom joined our family by “special needs” adoption. Our fifth child is our first adopted child and he came to our family as a 4-day-old infant with severe special medical needs (spina bifida, hydrocephalus, etc.). In my own strength, I believed I could handle these medical needs, and I could. What I was not prepared for were his extreme behavioral issues. At this moment, we are placing him (he’s now 14) in a therapeutic foster home to keep his five younger sisters safe from his violent rages.

        His father and I have done everything humanly possible to parent him well…and now we are beyond everything humanly possible. God has not chosen to heal our son. Our son’s brain is as permanently damaged as his body is. Instead, God has chosen a painful, humbling path for our family, a path that definitely “does not get us many friends.” No one really likes to hear or believe that some adoption stories are not lived happily ever after. There is nothing in my own strength that I can do to change my son’s behavior and I do question “why I have this child when I am so ineffective.” Yet I seek the freedom Lori described as “more freedom in Christ and more freedom in the deepest depths of our soul, when we are willing to be real with God, with ourselves, with others in our life.”

        Thankfully, our nine other children have “made me see it isn’t me but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with each day.” Our four adult children have been incredibly supportive through this whole painful process and the fruit I see in their lives encourages me in parenting our five younger girls.

        And, “I, too, find comfort in Ann’s blog.” I appreciate Ann’s efforts in the midst of her own full life.

        • Lisa, thank you for sharing real struggle from a real heart. You are a Velveteen Mother.

          I too have mothered the children of others, and I know that all adoption stories don’t end with a “happily ever after” just as some biological parenting stories take sad turns with painful endings. It can be a lonely place with many whys and much confusion.

          I find comfort in knowing that my success as a mother isn’t based on the outcomes, but in the daily surrender of my life for another. And that surrender may take many forms that others will never understand.

          Thanks for writing this. It is good to know we’re not alone.

        • Sweet Lisa! I can’t believe I caught you here, sweet girl! Your words remind me of the Manna God left daily. Sufficient for the day Manna. You have such grace to wait and recieve it just as you need it. You have an amazing Velveteen heart and I am sending Big Love to you friend! XO

          • Oh, Cherie! Thank you! The girls and I were just reading about manna sufficient for the day. Thank you so much for that…and for your Big Love and for being my friend!

      • Susan, I just want to say that my first child is like your birth child, and my second child is like your adopted child. You say that the second child has made you see that it isn’t you. I don’t have that “satisfaction” because they are both my birth children. My second child makes my husband and me look at each other and say, “How can this be our child?” But God is also using this second one to teach me humility, to teach me patience, to teach me self-control, to teach me kindness and gentleness and goodness and faith, love, and joy, and peace in the midst of the storm. This child is teaching me that God is the Giver of all good gifts, and even this that I’ve railed against raising is, after all, a good gift. Blessings in disguise. Take comfort in your birth child, as I do in my other birth child. But don’t ever let this second child feel that he’s not as much yours, or that, if he were, he’d be different. You have no guarantee of that. He could have been just as much yours and had this same personality. Believe me. Humiliating? Yes. Embarrassing? Yes. Exhausting? Yes. Doesn’t change anything. Parenting is 24/7—and only by God’s grace!

        • Judi and Lisa- Thank you for your comments. I do so absolutely believe I have this son for a reason!! God has special plans for him. To be sure, nothing in my upbringing prepared me for him! He really has many good strong qualities. Defiance isn’t something that was tolerated when I grew up so it is hard to understand one who is so very defiant. I will say I removed him from school last December and am now homeschooling him (and his brother who is 4) and that has actually been a really good thing for our family. We get to concentrate so much more on the positive, our spiritual life, and of course school work (I moved him up a grade…he gets to work at his pace). He is so much happier!! We are happier as a family. I will never give up on him that is for sure. He is very bright and strong willed…we are determined to channel those qualities to his benefit. As for the Velveteen Rabbit…He has made me real for sure! He has brought me to my knees at times but I love him like crazy and he knows it.

        • Sisters, I hear you all! I am the mother of 8; our 7th child is 14 and has ADD, Sensory Integration Disorder, PDD, Dispraxia, Dysthymia, and Advanced Phase Sleep Disorder. The school also added ODD and Emotionally Disturbed, but I refuse to see those as valid. We are placing her at this time in a Christian residential center, God willing. I believe that, although well-intentioned, the conventional public school SPED programs have not worked in her best interest, causing her to use her disabilities to a learned helplessness and a very lazy and manipulative way of dealing with life. I gave up homeschooling after 11 years, when she was about 2- and have many regrets, although I don’t know how I would have continued. The stresses on our family have really wreaked havoc on us as a whole. I am left alone in my faith, but I can only say that there is no other way to go than through faith, trusting in our sovereign God and loving Father that He has made her as fearfully and wonderfully as any of us. Right now I am fighting for her future, begging her heavenly Father to show me where he wants her, and He is opening doors that I never thought possible. I too have recorded some thoughts and experiences on my blog (although not much recently- too tired!) on the subject of special needs children. God has chosen us to walk this path for a reason; therefore we must remain strong in Him and steadfast in our journey!

    • “I have found that being real does not get you many friends. I don’t know any other way to be! I don’t want to be a “Happy Plastic Person” As Casting Crowns sings about. We can only grow in God’s grace when we are real and when we hurt. There is more freedom in Christ and more freedom in the deepest depths of our soul, when we are willing to be real with God, with ourselves, with others in our life. ”

      Oh yes yes yes, I hear you. I’ve not been where you are with your children’s disorders. But I do hear you on being real and not knowing how else to be and being burned by it. So. Many. Times. I try to change me sometimes but I always revert back to who He made me.

      Ann, I love the velveteen idea of motherhood. It wipes away all the details of motherhood that divide and judge us. It allows us to let God make each of us into the mothers he wishes by His work in us. No comparing. Just torn and ruffed up and well loved. Thank you Ann.

  7. Thirty years of motherhood has stripped me, beat me, and broken me right down and through. The very best of suffering, to become more like Him.
    Revelations of sin, brought into brilliant light and exposed so the cleansing and healing can begin.
    I’ve been broken by motherhood, and the worn places are showing. The scars are forming beautifully. I’m rejoicing at the freedom and liberty that the shattering brought because now I’m gentled and submissive in that limp, pliable way–the stiffness is gone. Being worn bare and bent to become flexible are the work of God through His Spirit……..I’ve always loved Velveteen.

    • Andrea,
      I too feel like motherhood has broken me, worn me right down to the core of my being. What have I found there? Jesus – always Jesus. 4 sons – grown, nurtured, knit in my womb. Loved, cherished, given back to God – over and over again.
      The pain – intense – far more intense than any labor pain. Just tonight – finding my youngest has forged a check in my name – feeling violated. Watching – helpless – as the 2nd eldest turns his back on God – tells us that we lied to him and indoctrinated him as an impressionable child….
      and God reminds me daily that He understands – that He has watched as the ones He lovingly created turned their backs on Him, rejected Him, did unspeakable things in their rebellion – and then He reminds me that it is only through His grace that I stand.
      I write this with hot tears running down my cheeks – and He tells me in the Psalms that He numbers my wanderings, puts my tears in a bottle, records them in His book. He promises that when I cry out to Him my enemies will turn back – and I can know this because He is FOR me! (Ps 56:8-9 )

  8. Thank you, Ann, for your faithfulness in capturing all this and sharing it. So many wrinkles I have made and needed to wear right out there with love. I have done my best growing up since becoming a mother. And now they are all grown….and the ouching places in me have turned into tender memories and testimony. 🙂

  9. “They have made me sing and sob and they have made me know my sin.” More than I would have ever wanted or guessed.

    Motherhood has been a struggle lately…more of a How much longer is this sleepless, whiny, 500 questions in an hour season gonna last?

    I want to be a mother who lasts and loves and laughs…but lately I find myself short and stern, strict and severed.

    But it’s showing me how much I need Jesus…more than I think.

    • My 4 babies in 5 years left me wondering when the end to the constant needs would come. I wanted to laugh and play with them, but always went to bed feeling like all I did was correct/yell and cut short their laughter and playing, promising myself that tomorrow I would be more playful and less critical. Now, two in highschool, two in middle school and they are busy becoming. I’m softer now. GRACE is my favorite word. My heart aches for the years that are slipping away. I still call them my babies. I pray that Grace will cover the multitude of sins against them while I’m still busy becoming.

      • Oh Laryn and Jess — your transparency — I see Christ in you. This, Jess: “But it’s showing me how much I need Jesus…more than I think.” Ah, you write my heart.

        Laryn — this: “I pray that Grace will cover the multitude of sins against them while I’m still busy becoming.” Right with you, sister. So we pray and know God’s faithfulness.

        Thank you, sisters…

      • “promising myself that tomorrow I would be more playful and less critical. Now, two in highschool, two in middle school and they are busy becoming. I’m softer now. GRACE is my favorite word. My heart aches for the years that are slipping away.”

        Your words really hit my heart. With a 6yo and 2yo, I’ve lost alot of my playfulness having two kids now, and homeschooling. I miss who I was when my first was under 3. I’ve lost sight of what the importance of this as life gets busy, I’m working on softening my heart and the demands I allow the world to put on me. To remember what this time is for. Love and grace.

      • “I wanted to laugh and play with them, but always went to bed feeling like all I did was correct/yell and cut short their laughter and playing, promising myself that tomorrow I would be more playful and less critical.”

        I feel this way every night just trying to have “some” kind of schedule. Between the kids fighting and fussing and just playing rough and being loud, I’m trying to correct and calm them down where it doesn’t happen again and we need to have clean clothes, food on the table & homework done. And I work so hard but I never seem to get to the part where we spend time together except when I lay down with them to get them to sleep…some of the most precious time we spend…then the day is gone.

        Thank you for reminding me Laryn of how fast that time is slipping away.

        Tonight the dishes can stay in the sink….it’s halloween season and we are GOING to make those cookies I’ve been promising them we could make!

        • YES! In my part of the world we’ve just finished 2wks of school holidays, and I really wanted to spend some special girly time with my only daughter who’s just turned 8 – painting nails, etc – and somehow it didn’t happen. That happens so often! Taking care of the kids vs enjoying them.
          And then when we do plan something special to do, so often they end up fighting and my husband and I look at each other and wonder why on earth we bothered trying. Lol!
          Ahhhhhhhh… when I think about the mother I thought I would be, I could cry.

          • “And then when we do plan something special to do, so often they end up fighting and my husband and I look at each other and wonder why on earth we bothered trying.” “when I think about the mother I thought I would be, I could cry.”

            Oh yes, I do know exactly what you mean! The same thing happens to us and my husband gets so upset and wonders why we can’t enjoy things like other families do. And then I end up dealing with his anger. Why can’t our kids behave long enough to do something special? What is wrong with us????? It seems that they act the worst when we try so hard.

            That my friend is the enemy coming against us. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. When we are trying the hardest with the best of intentions is when Satan attacks us the hardest. He wants us to give up. He wants “the family” destroyed. So, we have to pray for strength and endurance, and try again, and again, and again, as many times as it takes for the sake of our families!

  10. I jumped over here to make a comment and then just stared at the screen. I don’t know. I think I’m still trying to figure out motherhood–but with 5 children, and the oldest 12, I too sense the flying of days–and pray for His love through me. Thank you for a question to mull over and pray over today.

  11. This is wonderful! How has mothering hurt or healed me? Well what has hurt was facing thr truth I didn’t feel the love from my own mother. I look at my daughter and I share times with her and remember I didn’t share these type of memories, conversations, emotions etc with my own mother. It has caused me to revert to my old way of thinking–what did I do to make her (my mother) that way? It obviously had to be me because she wasn’t that way with my sister. The healing of motherhood? The unconditional love of my children, the hugs and kisses, the “I love you’s”, the “I want to help’s” and the biggest healing came from facing head on the hurts of my childhood and lack of closeness I had with my own mother. Facing them and realizing and accepting that it was not my fault at all that my mother had her issues. It was not my fault she couldn’t love me the way a mother should love her child. Something must have happened to her to cause her to stop loving or prevented her from loving to begin with. It made me realize just how sad that must have been for her. Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve encountered and it was made harder due to not having a good example to work off of but God put people in my life to help me out and show me ways to love my kids well.

    • I too had a mother who didn’t show love to me but showered it on 3 older siblings. It took me years to accept her the way she was. I finally realized the problem was hers and I could not change her. I just took her as she was … and didn’t dwell on it.
      I still included her in my children’s lives, but cautioned them that sometimes she would be harsh. She is no longer with us, but she showered love on our oldest daughter(29yrs old now) when she was young… and made loving memories with that daughter.
      Unfortunately our second child (daughter, now 19) was quote; “TOO much like YOU, Moe’ – ” for my mother, and once again, she did not grow a love close to this child.
      As my children were growing up, I would make sure each time we visited my mom, that I would shower EXTRA love on our youngest to HOPEFULLY heal some of the neglect that my mom was so obvious about while we were with her.
      I also used her LACK as a mom to be my idea of WHAT NOT TO DO…
      I would often tell my friends, “My mom doesn’t like me, so don’t be shocked by any thing she says when I’m not in the room.” A friend came to visit, while my mom was at my house one time. I left the room and came back, and my friend, SUDDENLY had to leave … I knew my mom had said SOMETHING… A week later my friend admitted she didn’t know how to respond to the awful things my mom said when I was out of the room…and she was glad I’d WARNED her that my mom didn’t LIKE me…
      I share your pain in dealing with an unloving mom… but hope for JOY in Gods love for each of us and bringing you others to model GREAT MOM BEHAVIOR. Please know that you are not alone.

  12. My boys are now 17 & 20. I long for the simple days of tonka trucks & toys spread out all over the house. Knowing all I know now after countless Bible studies and so much more wisdom wish I could go back and spend more time just playing and making memories with my boys. Now I’m the Mom with lots of awesome kids who have adopted me as Momma and I’m trying to spend time with each of them and helping them to make wise choices. My son has a band and it’s truly been one of the most exciting times in my life. My other son is living out his dream of playing ice hockey so I’m trying to enjoy the moments with him. I say all this to say take the time to enjoy every moment with the kids because they pass by way to fast. Thanks for the Amazing devotion today My Friend =]

    • Yes, Stacey, I agree to wishing I could go back. My kids are in their 20’s and I miss the nighttime prayers and snuggles and deep conversations of realization for them as they discover new things about God and His world yet now my heart aches as I watch my son heading in the opposite direction but I hold tight to the scripture that promises the Word will not return void and I planted the Word as best I knew how. I believe, I know, that God is doing things I cannot do to create a witness through my children I cannot imagine and I know that will be rewarding discovery for me.

      Bless you, Ann, for such a beautiful depiction of motherhood.

  13. A wise, elderly women once said, “The days can be long, but the years are short.” Our son was a little boy farming in his sandbox yesterday and today he is 25 years old and farming for real. The Tonka truck and toy tractors are up in the barn waiting for the next generation! #312 truckloads of soybeans rumbling past. Yes, motherhood changes you, with God’s GRACE.

  14. “Never forgetting — Train up a child in the way he should go and be ready to forgive him. The Way he should go is down a road named Grace.
    Why do I forget that becoming Real — becoming a velveteen mother – it will hurt in a thousand ways?
    The weary and the wearing away and it the most beautiful part.”

    Dearest Ann,
    This is beautiful, painful, true, and real. Thank you. I have walked the hard and happy road and continue it, but what I have learned is that when you become a velveteen mother worn ragged and bare in places through those children’s sin and your own, you become one against whom your children love to lean. The ragged places, softened by grace, are the very places they will long to touch and be touched by. Much love to you, dearheart.

    • Ah my wise and mentoring friend, Beth…

      And you gift with these words: “when you become a velveteen mother worn ragged and bare in places through those children’s sin and your own, you become one against whom your children love to lean. The ragged places, softened by grace, are the very places they will long to touch and be touched by.”

      I take these words up tenderly — pure treasure — and pray that God will write them deep into me.

      Thank you, Beth, for your faithful testimony to the truth and grace of Christ.

      I love you, friend… you so real and beautiful right through, all Him.

      • Yes, yes – to Ann’s quote above and Beth’s. These words speak most to me about the reality of motherhood. I have been, am continually being, forgiven for so much. Yet I am not quick to forgive. Somehow my sons’ sins bring out the greatest frustration. I find myself reacting angrily, bitterly. But I. Don’t. Want. To.
        Though I can see the onramp to the road of grace, I’m really struggling with steering myself onto it!
        I would love to be a warm, inviting velveteen mother, even with worn, torn patches. But I am more like the hard, cold, dented Tonka. Fun at times, but not something one longs to be touched by.
        Pray that I will be softened by grace, that I will love and forgive much as I have been deeply loved and forgiven.

      • As her daughter, I can testify that it is truest truth.

        Thanks for this. Mothering is sweeter and harder than I ever dreamed, but just remembering to trust enough for today’s grace carries me through.

  15. Motherhood has broken me and healed me in so many ways. My babies are 22, 20 and 9 now. I wish I had the experience of a life of mothering before my first was born. I so wanted to do it all right. Of course, I failed, cried, repented, got back up, dusted off and started all over again. And I’m still doing that 22 years in. But I can see the fruits of the labor now. I can see grown ups who love the Lord, are concerned with others and can make good choices. (That part is the hardest of all mothering – to watch when the choices aren’t always good. Oh, but God has them. I am not in control. Tough lesson to learn.) I’m even a grandmother now and watch as my oldest mothers her toddler. It’s a marvelous thing to witness. Now to bring up this one left in the nest so he can see Jesus in his mama, daddy and siblings.

  16. I read your words this morning and quickly lashed out at my son not 30 minutes later…not the velveteen woman for sure! How thankful I am for the way in which motherhood continues to strip away all of my harsh ways and wears down all these temptations with in me. You are so right that these years raising children so easily reveals our sins and lays them out on a table for all to see. But how thankful I am that our gracious God is so gentle with our wounds and redeems these broken places…in us and in our children!
    more here:

  17. My youngest has just turned nine. 4 babies, 5 years apart. I always had a baby in the house or in the womb for, what at the time, felt like forever. The constancy of little ones’ needs. I agree with Deb’s quote about long days and short years. The days that never seemed to end have blurred into a whirlwind of memories. I am not who I was. I wish I had been softer, kinder, more playful. I wish I had been less critical. I wish I could have been more for them then. But how could I when I was only where I was at the time and it was them, those 4 precious gifts, that have changed me. Without them, I couldn’t be who I am. I ache. With love, joy, astonishment at what God has done. These….people. While I ache for the time that has passed so quickly, I anticipate the time to come, the privilege of birthing them again into the world as adults and pray for the much needed grace to be Mama even then.

  18. I LOVE how the Holy Spirit speaks in perfect peace and timing to our spirits. Just last night I closed myself into our bathroom to have space to cry and cry out to the Lord on behalf of my children and the aching mess that I sometimes make of things as their Mom. The process of becoming real DOES hurt so much. And the hard part for me is that I’m trying so hard to do it right! Leaning on the strength of Jesus in me to work through me takes day by day practice. I’m so grateful for the grace to start over again each morning – each moment, for that matter! My 12 year old man child reminded me as I tucked him in last night of that grace – “It’s okay, Mom, tomorrow we can just keep on going and today will just be a memory!” Thank you for this wonderful image of a Velveteen Mom. I will hold it close.

    • Christy, you too? I have been weeping these past days for my mistakes, in desperation that my God DO something on all our behalf… I am so — I don’t know how to say — awed by this transparency I am finding in you women. Thankful that I am not alone — and if not, then our Father is up to something on our behalf… Grace, as always. Blessings and prayer for your family too — a future and a hope, in Christ. Whirling, swirling, crazy-faith joy is coming — because in the end, this is all powerfully worth it. Shalom.

  19. Today my baby turns 15. I am trying so hard to be soft and calm.It hurts to know there is such little time left! I keep praying, for him, me, all of us. I know that is what has gotten us this far. I wish I had the age and experience that I have now 19 years ago when my first was born, but I know that is not the way these things work. You have to live it to learn it, as in so many things.

  20. I just clicked over while waiting for my youngest of three that is a nine year old boy. He is as active, funny, wild nature, loves the dirt, not afraid of anything, and easily confused by others as a bad boy. He leaps before he thinks. In our home, where he is the baby of three, a older sister {11} and an older brother {12], he many times is our entertainment and then loaner. I too, feel the years slipping by. I was blessed and able to be a stay at home mom for 6 years. Now, there are so many different directions in which these 3 are now starting to go and I sometimes feel lost, cranky, not incontroll at all. It feels as if the world and devil is in constant persuit of them. Daily pressures and things happening around them and to them that I have no controll. Help me Oh Lord to be a power prayer.

  21. God has used my 3 man-children to mold me in to His image. I still have a long way to go, but the lessons I learned in these past 23 years are too numerous to count. I am thankful that God’s grace is greater than all my sin….to include the many that I committed in trying to be a ‘good mother’.

  22. I love what I have become since being a mother. Maybe it was the loss of our firstborn, or the years of waiting, agonizing with empty arms. Probably both.
    I love the grace God has bestowed on my life. So thankful for this. While I do my best to teach to raise up straight arrows for God, they have taught me so much more than I ever imagined. I have been raised to be a mother I never could have formed on my own. I have so much enjoyed the tranformation in my life, and I must say also in my husband. Just last night, we were pouring over in thoughts of the individual uniqueness and beauty of our children God has entrusted us with. It is with utmost honor that I parent these precious gems. Yes, there are times I wish I could do over, moments I am frustrated with myself, but I have grown to be quick to realize and repent. Quick to move back into God’s light of doing things, quick to realize He alone is my strength. It is from being ready, open and listening to His heart that I have become the mother I am~ a Velveteen mother!

    • Yes, thank you for sharing, Tina! My husband and I are in the empty arm stage that you once were in. We have been in this journey of wandering for 2 1/2 years, and last year to the day we had found out we conceived, only to see it end mid November. I hold on to the hope that God’s plan is much sweeter, but sometimes it is hard. I appreciate you sharing your story!

  23. Dear Ann,
    Tears streaming down my face this morning from this! You captured it so beautifully, so perfectly on key. Thank you!!!

  24. Five children and 21 years of homeschooling. Days when I wanted to stay in bed and hide from the responsibilities of Mama and Wife. One of my favorite verses that God spoke to my heart with: Isa. 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
    My children are growing up, the baby, now 15 and in tenth grade. My last one in school. So quickly the time went by, so many times I wish we could go back and I could cuddle with them and read wonderful books and sing songs. Too often busy-ness got in the way. I’m still here to guide and share with them, but the dynamics of relationship are different now. I watch as they (the three youngest girls) nurture and care for children that they babysit. Preparation for becoming Velveteen Mamas one day. My son on his own getting things ready for the day that God puts that one special young woman in his life.
    Praising God for His special blessings

  25. I didn’t know God when my kids were born and growing ~ boy do I wish I did. Through all the trials of raising my 3 (now 20, 24, 26 yrs) I wonder how I did it, how we did it. I know we’re still parenting to some degree, we always will, I am an empty nester, struggling. Trying to make sense and find my place. Difference now is I have Him with me. Wishing sometimes I could go back and do it all over again…Boy the years flew. Now I feel I’m a kid, learning and growing in God’s love. But I’m on this journey on my own as the others have not opened their hearts.. At times I feel I am in my own little bubble…I do lots of praying. Just want to walk and travel through this life in obedience to His nudges. Want to display His character in everything I do….”Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes establish the work of our hands” Psalm 90:17.

  26. wow! amazing…as the mom of an almost 18 year old (next week), I know the hurts, the heartaches, the joy’s, the proud and not so proud moments… God gave me my son to teach me soo much…I didn’t know that at first…I do now…I have grown so much because of the gift God gave me, I am such a better person for becoming a mom, time has gone by so fast…I am more saddended now because I know I don’t have all those cuddly moments anymore BUT I am more happy now too to watch what God is doing with my son…God has and is molding my son and I am so grateful because my son wants to be molded. Thank you for this!

  27. Ann,
    Thanks so much for the post….just a reminder that this “mothering job”
    is universal. And our “failures”…….yes , we are all the same. And let this be our prayer
    for the times we slip into harsh “mom” self condemnation (instead of His gentle conviction)….
    Dear Jesus, let me feel your loving forgiveness as I repent once again of this parenting mess I feel responsible for.
    And be my Stength as I live out this gift of motherhood you have blessed me with.
    Thank you.
    Change me into my “real” self through the hard work ,oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

  28. I am crying… youngest child, just 6yo, died last saturday. Her funeral if friday….this piece is beautiful.

    I must have been velveteen often enough because my 3 twenty-somethings are loving me so well right now. Or maybe its God’s Grace which has covered my sins and made these young people so beautifully caring!

    • My heart stopped in my chest as I read your words, Beverly.

      Know that there is a sister in Maine that is lifting all of you up right now, and sharing the burden in prayer.

    • Heart-friend, Beverley, I am praying for you today as one who has walked the same path ahead of you. My prayer is that you will lean heavily on our heavenly Father, who will provide peace in greatest measure when you need it most. Sister in Christ, you and your daughter will be together again. But until that day comes she will be in the arms of the One who loves her, loves us all more than our minds can comprehend.
      “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” `Philippians 4:7

    • Beverley, I am grieving with you, too. We lost our 16 year old son a year ago, very unexpectedly, so I can relate to your pain. God’s grace not only has covered your sins, but will carry you through this heartache. I pray you will feel His presence near to you and trust Him to carry your pain when you feel like you can’t bear it anymore. I am here if you need another mom to share your feelings with. Sometimes only a parent who has lost a child can understand what you feel. My prayers are with you.


      • Trish,
        My heart hurts for you in the unexpected passing of your 16 yr old son a year ago. Today marks 27 months since our firstborn son unexpectedly departed at the age of 23. I am sure that your words have encouraged Beverley. The road of grief is a long, hard journey–but God’s grace is indeed sufficient to carry us through our heartaches. He has been so faithful to meet me in my darkest moments in His own special ways in the past 27 months, & I trust He will continue to carry your pain, as well… His mercies truly are new every morning–to God be the glory! God bless you, Trish. Praying for you & your family.

    • There is a book by John McArthur called “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” that has been a comfort to us since God took our daughter last year. I really recommend reading it, when you’re ready for it. ( When your thoughts go beyond surviving each day, when you’re trying to imagine how you’re going to live your lives…) Nothing ever makes losing your child easier, but some things give us the strength to bear it.

    • Beverly,

      Its been two years since our son, just 3 months old, left us to be with Jesus. My heart breaks with yours. I haven’t figured out much yet, but everyday I’ve begged for grace and for His strength in my weakness. He has never failed to answer that prayer.

      When you’re ready, I’d recommend Beauty Will Rise, a cd by Steven Curtis Chapman and the book by his wife, Mary Beth, Choosing to See. They lost their little girl and have put the struggle into words and music so well.

      Praying for you. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

      • Jessica,
        I am truly sorry for the loss of your 3 month old son 2 yrs ago. I was blessed to see that you recommended “Beauty Will Rise” to Beverley. I believe it will truly be a blessing to her. I have found it to be one of the most healing tools as I have traveled the road of grief for the past couple of years. That CD was released just 4 months after the unexpected departure of our firstborn son (age 23) exactly 27 months ago today. SCC does such an amazing job of expressing every thought, every feeling, every emotion, & even every question that a grieving parent experiences. May the Lord continue to bless you each day with His grace & strength in your weakness. “Faithful” is one of my favorite songs on the CD because God has proven Himself so faithful in meeting me in His own special ways in my darkest moments. I trust that He will do the same for every mom who knows this pain as they cry out to Him. Thank you also for sharing Psalm 34:18. It has become one of my favorite Scriptures & one that I share with grieving moms regularly. Blessings!

    • Beverley,
      I’m praying that the Lord wraps His loving arms around you & comforts you as only He can… I know the pain of losing a child (even tho my child was already a young man of 23 at the time of his unexpected departure exactly 27 months ago today). The road of grief is a hard journey. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. But God’s grace will cover you & carry you through your darkest moments. His faithfulness to meet me in His own special ways throughout the past 27 months has taught me so much about His Love & tender mercies. I am thankful that you have your adult children who are a source of love & comfort to you during your time of sorrow. The Lord was kind to me in blessing me with a young adult daughter (just 19 mos, younger than our firstborn son who departed), plus He ‘surprised’ us with 2 more sons a bit later in life (now ages 13 & 5) who have all brought such joy to my husband & me in the midst of our sorrow. May God bless you, dear sister!

  29. Through all the noise and chaos that ensues from raising 3 boys there’s this quiet, desperate realization that I alone don’t have what it takes and so I must depend on Jesus for my strength. And when I do the joy and confidence comes, not in myself, but in Him.

    Motherhood is breaking me and by God’s grace remaking me into what He wants me to be.

    Maybe the crux of motherhood are the breaking’s that inevitably come — and from that a perfect state of mess to be remade into something beautiful, humbled for His glory.

    • Beautifully stated and LIVED Linda. Pray that for me, too? My sons and I so desperately need that joy and confidence in Him.

  30. What was that piercing quote I read just the other day?
    Oh yes, here it is.
    “The process of shaping the child shapes also the mother herself. Reverence for her sacred burden calls her to all that is pure and good, that she may teach primarily by her own humble, daily example.”~ Elizabeth Elliot
    Her own humble, daily example. Yes.

  31. Tears from me, too, this morning. Ann, you got me when you said “Others wouldn’t understand but I would. His mother would.” There is just nothing like the bond between a mother and her child, and no one can understand it except another mother. It is so gut-wrenching to see our children through this life – to see their struggles, their sin, their hurts, the injustices done to them at times, the loads they have to carry. It is even more gut-wrenching when we realize we have contributed to this pain with our own sinfulness and lack of grace. But I must share something a friend wrote for me after our son passed away. I had confessed with her that I was struggling with the “if-onlys” and “what if I had not…..”. She reminded me that my son was with Jesus now, and what greater outcome could I want from a lifetime of parenting? Even in my imperfections, beautiful imperfections as she put it, God showered grace upon my child to bring him into His presence. What more could we ask? May none of us be tiger mothers or dragon mothers. May we all be worn by grace, marvelous grace, and model that grace to our children by giving it to them. Thank you Ann, as always for a beautiful post.

  32. Motherhood reminds me of how a frail I am. It has a way of highlighting those areas that need refining by exposing my flesh-y nature. Ugh. All the more reason why I continually allow His powerful Spirit to teach me and train me too, as I go. 🙂

  33. Oh, dear Beverly, you will always be velveteen enough. God Bless you and see you through all the days ahead. Ann, thank you for this reflection. Just this morning as I was driving my dear and only daughter to the high school, I was grumbling because we were late, and insisting that I’d never call her in late again because she couldn’t get herself moving in the morning. Did I ask how she was feeling, or wish her a good day, or just say, “I love you!” No, because I was worried what the attendance person would think about us ~ the late ones. I don’t want to miss the opportunities to rise above the minutiae rather than wrapping my child in a blanket of love and security. I don’t want to be one more obstacle for her to deal with when she’s feeling frazzled. Thanks for the reminder. I want to live fully in the moment instead of apologizing and reassuring later in the day. Thank you for sharing your family stories and love.

  34. I am trying so hard to pray and give thanks in those moments with my children when I just don’t know what to do!! But, what do I do when I still don’t feel peace? That is what I am struggling with today. I am reading “The Resolution” by Priscilla Shirer and it is helping me to learn and realize and acquire the skill and develop the discipline to be CONTENT, here in this moment, in this season of young children. As you, Ann, also remind me of in your book. That is what I need in this season — these reminders to be content and to give thanks in all things.

  35. I am a dragon Momma. And as Aslan digs away at the scaled covering over Eustice I know that is me and I relate. Each time I try to scratch off the scaly parts of my past ( not having a Velveteen Momma or any Momma really interested in grooming my inner God beauty) I am defeated with my very next angry dragon breath. I pray and ask God to let my children know the Him parts of me and forget the ash trail I might leave on any given day. Thankyou for this, the Hope is in the Grace of God conditioning my scales into Velvet. May they see the Him in me. May I decrease so that He can increase. This encourages me today.

    • Shannon, you speak as though you are me! I completely relate to wanting and trying with everything I have to be kind and gracious and patient… and instead scorching everyone around me with my fiery breath and turning my good intentions and earnest desires to ashes.
      It hurts.
      And what hurts even more is what I fear I am doing to my children’s hearts. But I repent, and ask for forgiveness (from my Lord and my children), receive forgiveness and fresh grace and mercy… and pick my scaly self back up again.
      It is so good to hear that I’m not on my own in this struggle… that all over the world mothers are fighting the same fight I am.

      • Shannon and handsfull,
        I’m crying reading over these beautiful posts that remind me that I’m not alone in needing God’s Grace in so many situations during my day with my kids (6, 3, and 10 mos.) I feel like every other night I’m feeling defeated by my own sin and the fears of what my sin is doing to them. It hurts so much!
        The beauty is that I’ve never seen my need for God’s Grace as I have in these past couple years. I feel like it’s been the most blatant sin in my life but yet I can’t seem to will myself at the end of each day to do better the next. So, ugly? Yes. Feeling my need for a savior now more that I ever have? Yes, yes, yes. Praying that He’s making me more like Him no matter how painful. Thank you Ann for your beautiful words!

  36. I’m amazed at the grace God has shown me through motherhood. I didn’t grow up with unconditional love. Everything had a price. I vowed to not be that kind of mother. After having 3 babies under 4…..I realized pretty quickly that I would NEED JESUS to pull off being the kind of mother I prayed to be.
    Every single day I faced challenges. Whether it be sneaky little ones playing with markers during naptime (YES, all over their entire bodies!!) or stuck in a rocking chair singing to a sick sniffler–I tapped into the Lord’s offering for me as a mama.

    Today, many years away from baby days….I stand amazed that HE USED ME to create the young adults I call my children. No one can tell you the magnitude of pride you feel when you hear another say….”Oh, you’re ________’s mother. What wonderful kids you have!”.
    I’m so thankful for the investment God allowed their father and me to have in their lives.
    YOUNG MAMA’S: Be encouraged. Rock & sing to your babies. Be still with them. Hold them tight. Speak truth into their hearts & souls. Teach them to pray and LET GOD work in their lives. Pray over them & in front of them. Hide God’s word in their hearts.

  37. I just had this conversation with my son, while visiting him at his college, about how when you’re young you think your parents have all the answers and know what they’re doing. The truth, I told him, is that we’re learning as we go, getting things wrong, ever in need of forgiveness and grace. It was a gospel moment right there. The picture of the Velveteen Mother is perfect here. I know so many other Jesus-loving mothers who beat ourselves up for not being the Velveteen Mother, not recognizing the gracious loving work of being worn and weathered.

  38. Motherhood has taken me down a wonderful path. As a new mother, a very young woman who knew nothing about the responsibility of raising children, I began this journey. I instantly loved being a mother but had no idea what God had in store for me. By God’s grace I have become a servant. I am fifty years old now, still raising children (my baby is nearly 4 years old), still growing and learning, but the woman I am now is largely because of mothering with God’s guidance. I am so grateful for each of my children and the lessons God has taught me through them.
    Being an older mom of young children is especially rewarding. Having the maturity of time and experience along with the babies has been amazing. I have appreciated and enjoyed my last five little ones (all boys ages 4-11) so very much.
    I am so grateful to have been and be a part of God’s plan.

  39. A “velveteen mother”. . . only you would think of this Ann. And I am printing these beautiful words out and placing it in my Bible. May I grow to become *real*.
    My boys are almost 8 & 10 now. Sometimes I grieve the loss of the early growing up years. Find myself tearing up and staring out the window at the wooden playset that the boys don’t swing on anymore because their weight could make it fall. And how that weighs on my momma heart.
    And I realize that I need to be mindful of the now. The blessing of today. The doorbell just rang and my blonde boys are unwrapping new molds for homemade popsicles. Does it matter that it is 60degrees? Not at all. They are all boy, living the now, asking for this to be the “activity” for the day. . . (Yikes, do I usually only have one?) and wanting me to live in this moment with them. So I finish this by saying *thank you* and praying that I will grow softer and more *real* with each passing day.

  40. Ann, full of grace, I have been reading One Thousand Gifts and listening to your audiobook for days now…loving the calm, peaceful way Jesus is teaching me about eucharisteo…grace…thanksgiving…joy…through your wonderful work…I read the links to Tiger Mom and Dragon Mom and already loved the Velveteen Rabbit quotes…but it was the Dragon Mom, Emily Rapp and her sweet 18 month-old Ronan who have grabbed my heart and won’t let go…I serve in a ministry for children who have special needs at our church…thank you for this blessing today…it’s all God’s grace from start to finish…

  41. 5 of them…I raised 5 children on a farm. My husband has those large meaty stained hands that you speak of. I home schooled mine too and learned more than they did loving it the whole time. One of these 5 was from my own body, the other 4 were plucked out of the painful remains of what other mothers had abandoned. They came to me broken abused and neglected. They were our famiy. I was a Tiger mother at times, a dragon mother at times, but I would like to believe through it all that they remember a velveteen mother. My youngest is 25 and broken from a war in Iraq that he was really to sensitive to be part of. 2 others I didn’t get to say good-bye to as they went into a foreign world of drug overdoses, trying to kill there own pain of who they were and why didn’t their real mom want them? The other 2 are my joys here on earth. The oldest, my daughter has walked through a life already to cruel at the age of 33, I held her pain as she lost a 2 year old to a cancer that took 1 year to overcome his little body, but she sings a beautiful song of overcoming to her Jesus. My other joy has overcome obsticles of learning disabilities and trying to get on his feet and make his own way. He is serving Jesus with a joy that has always been so evident on his face. A husband, a father of a child not from his own body and a beautiful 6 week old from his own body. Those rusted tonka trucks are still in the sand box, now being used by the next generation.
    I started my gratitude list 2 days before I got the news of one son being found at the hospital entrance no longer breathing… I am on #1048 and it is growing, I can not stop. It has made it easier to breathe in when my chest hurt so deeply that I couldn’t on my own. Thank you Anne….I pray that someday you may know the depths that you have touched so many!

    • Crying out to God after reading the painful bravery of your words. Your heart is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • My son just graduated from Marine boot camp, so your post makes me hurt for your son. My son is angry and so I keep wondering how on earth God will bring him back as he faces possibly going to war already an angry young man….I will pray for your son and all the sorrow you have faced. I am so glad for the 2 that bring you joy!


      • My heart hurts for you, Peggy. Extra hugs sent your way & extra prayers lifted up to the Lord on your behalf. You are an amazing testimony of God’s grace. May His peace be with you!

  42. Ann,
    Today is the first time I’ve read your lovely blog, and it touched me deep in my soul. I feel I concentrate every moment on my boys; instilling value, moral, faith, sharing love, happiness, Christ, keeping them clean and fed (including my husband, lol). In all of this, every day feels so full and tiring. Your words stopped me in my tracks. They made me take a deep breath and reflect. They made me a little weepy =)
    I thank God for your message today and am excited to see what comes!

  43. Being a mother exposes all my selfish tendencies, and all the frustration I fear God feels toward me. I am aware daily, that for my children, I am a glimpse of the authority God must have in our lives. How I wield that authority and influence can help them to the right path or turn them around toward rebellion and eventual defeat.

    I was “on the shelf” when I finally married, 31. The one I loved came with two children, first only summers and holidays. Now after 10 years, and two more of my own, the oldest are near us, and with us more and more of the time. Step-mothering two children before having my own was good practice, but I fear I didn’t do the two oldest much justice.

    It’s easy to love the flesh of my flesh…not so much my “steps”. But I made a choice to love my two “extra” children, even at a difficult, full-of-girl-angst 16 and a trying-on-manhood-full-of-attitude 13.

    I try to remind myself daily that is how I am with God… a step-child of sorts, certainly an adopted one. He chose to love me with all my failures, selfishness, sinfulness, disobedience. And I must exercise “dying to self” daily, and choose to love them all despite their inability to be perfect, just like their oh-so-human mama.

  44. Thank you, Ann, for these words this morning…they are healing to my soul. I have 3 children, two knitted together in my own body and one that God gave us through foster care and adoption. My older two are a beautiful gift God gave to me, revealing to me the way He works in the hearts of those who are soft towards Him. My youngest is the one who is the gift that causes me to “never cease to pray for my own crooked heart.” I am so discouraged so much of the time, often by my own sin nature and it’s reactions, but only when I have forgotten to trust in God’s perfect plan and His redeeming, healing power. So thank you for pushing me towards hope again this day.

  45. Oh Ann,
    You just undo me every time!! As soon as I saw your title, I knew exactly what you meant–I love The Velveteen Rabbit, and your melodic use of the wearing down and the becoming real is just Spirit-woven! Yes!! I don’t have 6 like you, but my wonderful 2 are doing me the same service, they are wearing away all that doesn’t look like Jesus and they soften my soul in ways nothing else could. I know too, the catch in your chest when you’re faced with “all that’s slid away.” It’s going so fast (mine are 20 and 15), and I pray that I’m fully real before they go. Talk about counting graces–1 plus 1 adds up to a whole lot more than 2!! “love the indwelling of all the realest real” . . . yes, Lord, me too please?! Love you Ann-girl!!

  46. Ann,
    Even as I want to be a mother and I am waiting, I am praying that my heart is real and true to who Christ has asked me to be and is calling forth out of me. My hope is in Christ and my desire is to become the woman he longs for me to be, and may that be a mother…
    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  47. Thank you, Ann, for this post that is beyond beautiful. Thank you, dear sisters in Christ, for all these testimonies.

    My little one just turned one last week. I burst into tears while my husband hugged me and our family sang Happy Birthday. This sweet, laughing boy was our fourth child. He is the only one I was blessed to carry through delivery.

    But I remember the three before him, and I remember their heartbeats flickering on the screen, while I smiled and wept and prayed that they would get to stay. One loss after another after another, and I had never felt so fragile and I had never felt so brave.

    I was a mother now. Even though my children had been gathered to Him in Paradise, I was a mother and I was changed.

    And when my boy was a newborn baby, I suddenly, unexpectedly, went through dark months of suffering. It had nothing to do with him, nothing to do with his birth, but the timing was no accident. I wanted to die. But I loved him – I didn’t have enough room in my heart for all the love I had for him. I didn’t want to leave him.

    And Jesus saved. He saved as He saves every day. I saw the Savior protecting me; I saw Him using my son, placing him between me and hell, so that I slowly, slowly, stepped back from the edge of the cliff.

    I violently tremble when I remember how close I came.

    My baby, and what God had built into me from the losses of the three before him, saved my life. Christ, the One who is our only hope, took my hand and guided me out of the shadows and back into my life with my husband and our child.

    Deo Gratias, every moment.

    • Beautiful…
      I’m so sorry for the losses of your first three precious babies, and so glad you have made it back into the light with your husband and son. May you be blessed with great joy.

      • Thank you, handsfull, thank you.

        God bless you, and God bless and aid every woman here.

        Love to you all – love in Christ.

  48. I have two children – ages 8 and 5. I am a working mother with a wonderful husband following God’s call to return full-time to college. My best friends are stay-at-home moms, and I often feel like I’m failing my children by working. I know that it’s what God has called me to, and yet, I feel like I’m missing out on something. I don’t want to wake up in ten years and realize my little girl is leaving home and I haven’t done enough.

  49. Motherhood is the most terrifying, joyful, painful, exhilarating journey the Lord has taken me through. What else can bring you so raw-ly (painfully!) face to face with your own sin and weakness like the dependent neediness of a child? I used to think I was patient and slow to anger…and then I became a mother! Children are a blessing from the Lord as He teaches us to ever more deeply, daily die, interrupting our comfort zones and selfish expectations to grow us UP in Him.
    Even writing this comment is taking 10 minutes as I’ve stopped to nurse, cuddle, kiss, and throw my 2nd born into the air 🙂
    Ann, thank you for the beautiful and inspiring post.

  50. Motherhood has filled me with regret, that innocent souls are heirs to such dysfunction. Dysfunction, “hidden” until they arrived, shining light on all that is imperfect, evil, and seemingly hopeless. Sorrow fills me along with the regret that I chose this for them out of my selfish desire to be a mother. God have mercy, God make something to glorify you out of this mess.

    • Oh MJ. HE IS ABLE. I have never felt such failure as I have as a mom. My weakness, my sin has brought me such grief and regret. It has brought me face down on my knees and He has spoken and said, “Is it not for this that I died?”

    • MJ, I am praying for God to bless you, and to give you a heart that can receive daily a fresh gift of his love, faith, and hope. If there is one thing I’ve bee learning recently from my study of Genesis, it’s that God is very much in control of fertility and creation. We think in these modern times that we selfishly choose to have children all on our own choice, but watching the fertility struggles of Sarah and Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, it’s clear that God’s hand moves in the creation of each child too. That includes yours and mine. God loves them, and he knows the plans he has for them, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope, despite all the baggage their Mommies may bring to their up bringing. Take heart, my sister! God will do more than we can ask or imagine, and I am asking for his good an perfect will to be done in your life and your children’s lives,in Jesus’ name.

  51. My only child, my son is 21 and living on his own. It’s so hard for me. I’m not good at being an empty nester.

    Oh, I don’t mind the fact that my house stays clean and it’s nice and quiet, and I can go to bed early because I don’t have to wait up on him. Those are good things.

    But the fact that his bed lays empty across the hall, the fact that no one uses his shower, that his chair is empty at dinner time, those are hard things for this mom.

    I tell moms all the time, Don’t wish it away. Your little ones, the ones who keep you frazzled and tired, they’ll be gone before you know it. The years have a way of flying right on by. Don’t wish it away.

    I’d love it if you all would pray for me today, pray that I will trust God’s plan for my son’s life… that I’ll have faith in His ability to watch over my only child, now that he’s no longer under my own watchful eye. And I’ll certainly keep you other moms in my prayers, too!

    • Having just launched ours off to college, I am now living some of what you speak. The kitchen clock seems to scream loudly in the new silence, each blessed second “TICK, TICK,TICK”, like a taunting. The bedroom stays pristine, the bed perfectly made, the room smells sweet at all times, I can vacuum the floor easily with no obstacles to pick up, the cupboards and fridge have no real need to be full. Until I arrived here at this crossroad of motherhood, I just couldn’t understand the wise words of more seasoned mothers. I think we each have to journey our own path to finally “see”. Chrissy, I will lift you and your son in prayer, it seems the empty nest requires as much, if not more faith. My words to mothers of younger children/babies would be “those children are God’s, always have been, remembering this will give you peace when they launch into their own nest and leave yours empty” I do appreciate your offer to lift moms in prayer, we need one another.

  52. Oh how I needed to hear this today. Thank you so much for this gift. In this stage of our lives we are running hear and there trying to get to games, or meetings, and dinner, blah, blah, blah. I just realized through your wonderful devotional that it’s all very small in the big picture. What really matters is playing and nurturing, and being there for them. Thank you for that wonderful reminder.God bless you

  53. Motherhood has made me who I am…I am less busy, less apt to snap, less apt to become angry and more apt to pray…Motherhood has worn my knees by prayer…motherhood is the rarest of all gifts and the truth is we are birthing and raising someone…I could not be the hospice nurse I am today without the gift of motherhood…without the tears I shed as a mother…the prayers I pray as a mother…I have learned that my son is a gift loaned to me for a very short time and it is my responsibility to show him grace, give thanks for him, bless him and when the time comes give him back to God…for he really belongs to God anyway…he was just loaned to me…this is another life lesson…all things and people are gifts from God and it is best to hold them close…love them fully as if your life depends on it and when it is time to let them go…and send them with blessing…Motherhood the most gracefilled gift ever given to women by God…we are God’s co-creators when we raise children in the way that they should go…And I would say this to John Wesley(I am Methodist)…I learned more of God and Christ through my son than through all the theologians, books on God, sermons in all the world…
    Kathleen mother to one son who is 13.

  54. I long to be a Velveteen Mother. I am one in the making. Motherhood has shown me my need for Christ and the grace he offers and lavishes on his children more than anything in this life. I did not realize my propensity for anger, selfishness, and ugliness of the heart until my sweet strong-willed one arrived, followed by two more and one on the way. So, in a sense, that has hurt a great deal. Who wants to look in the mirror and see that? But without those experiences, and the ones I’m sure to come, I wouldn’t have known the sweetness of Christ’s love for me, his tender care in the details, and the hope I have in him. I kicked against his choices for me in the beginning of my parenting journey, but I’m learning to lean in to His love, and embrace what he wants me to learn.

    • Jayna,
      Your words could have been mine! I’ve never seen my need for grace more than in my journey as a mama. Some days it seems to bring out the worst in me. It is super painful, but I see so much more now my need for His GRACE! I long to be a Velveteen Mother too. Praying you continue to feel His presence on your journey.

  55. If I’m honest… I think I would balk at repeating these thoughts with friends face to face, but here? It feels safe. Maybe this is pride, or just a way to avoid the dirtiness. Even so, it is cathartic to be able to write it out….
    Motherhood has hurt. It requires me to look in the mirror of my heart. Everyday. What’s reflected back has oftentimes been wretched. Stench, really. I find it be a lot like marriage in that self can suddenly show its ugliness stark, and then it hangs awkwardly in the room, silent, until the spirit whispers softly, “so, now, what are you going to do about it?”
    Motherhood has healed me– confronted by my heart’s depravity I must run to God for a dose of his perspective, his Truth, his Love to fix me. He heals. But… it’s a daily process of which I am entirely dependent upon. No storing up manna here. Each day I must ask, and bend, and submit. But, oh what a great God who has given more than I could ask…. or think.

  56. Ann,
    This post made me cry tears of joy and awakening. A velveteen mother is what I pray to be each and every day, you put a name to it. With a husband in the military away for 5 months, I am being worn and shaped daily. I also see sin in myself that I sometimes make excuses for.

    God has a beautiful way of speaking through people, and you have done that today. You have given me the push I needed to strive for even more in my day to day parenting for Christ and my child. I sincerely thank you.

    Rich blessings in our glorious Saviors name

  57. Oh, my. . .
    My beautiful boys are nearly eleven and eight and a half. (They claim every month and day of their ages. 🙂 So I am knee deep in this journey, trying to rejoice in their growth and change, while I hurt a little all the time for the little boy years slipping away. . . Surely by the time they are grown these sons and the Father will have made this heart soft and tattered.

    Motherhood has given me such a clear vision of my own scars, but it has given me hope as well. Life is a journey of redemption, not for the times I have “done well” as a mother, but for the times I’ve known to ask my boys’ forgiveness.

    Please pray that I will respect and revel in, and not regret, their swiftly-passing voyage to manhood. I want to celebrate all God has for them.

  58. “They have made me sing and sob and they have made me know my sin”
    Yes, Ann, this. I’ve grown so weary with the recent addition of a new little one and my sin has been even more loud and clear, spilling out and splashing over everyone in my house. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve become a tiger, prowling and ready to pounce. Oh, Father, forgive me for tearing down my home instead of building them up.

  59. oh. i don’t know where to begin.

    i sit here, typing awkwardly with one hand, 9 month old baby boy asleep in my arms, his 2 year 9 month old big brother plays with trucks beside me. there are tears in my eyes.

    motherhood has been a trial by fire for me. most days i feel like i am barely eeking out an existence here. all i see is how much, how often i fail these sweet boys of mine. i do not deserve them. i don’t know what i am doing with them. i get angry so easily. at children. for being children and doing childish things. i am so tired all the time. i am being worn down and rubbed away, becoming Real, but it hurts so much, and i don’t feel like i am going to make it most of the time.

    i am so mean and controlling and so not full of grace. i don’t mother my children like God at all. and yet i am called to teach them what i know of Him…and all i see in my oldest son’s eyes is how much i tarnish His name by my hypocrisy, my temper, my tongue, my selfishness.

    i have begged God to just please protect my boys despite my failings, to draw them to Himself, to use me in their lives. but more often than not i feel like i am a force for evil and not for good.

    as time goes on i don’t feel like i am becoming more smooth, soft, gentle. i feel jagged, brittle, bitter, splintery.

    please pray for me today.

    • A.B.- I know, deeply, what you are talking about. Love, according to scripture, does a lot, but two are that it believes and hopes all things. I had forgotten that for a while. Don’t give up on grace or on softening. I know I have depended too much on my own ability to raise my children well- as though I didn’t need redemption or the white robe that is only a gift. Pray like fire. Watch Michael Card’s youtube series on Lament as Worship if you haven’t yet.. And remember the times that things were sweet and close and warm between you and God. Rember who God is- all of him. I forgot grace. And I became incapable of giving it- there seemed to be too much suffering and not enough air. God bless you- you have my prayers. There is joy and goodness- but sometimes we have to wait so long for a glimpse….

    • a.b.,

      i do not usually comment on these posts, especially not to ones who have left a heart-wrenching story, because i dont feel it’s my place to speak to that. but something about what you wrote grabbed me. your honesty, and i too, am a mother like this, a mother quick to anger and to let the tongue lash, and oh, that tell-tale appendage of the heart can do some damage. mother of four, homeschooling, dealing with chronic illness, days are hard and confusing. as Holly said, dont forget the grace. that is what God is trying so passionately to point you to. dont. forget. the grace, friend. i do it too–forget there is grace for me, get so caught up in my own guilt that i take all my frustration out on them–and i so get it, how painful it is–as God weeds the sin out. but take hope in this–it will happen–you will begin to see the fruit–it just takes time–it will come–continue looking to God and trusting in Him. i recommend a book called sacred parenting by Gary Thomas, while you are trusting. it will give you much clarity about grace in this great, hard, awful, wonderful job called motherhood.

      most days, when its really hard, ive learned to just stop doing whatever is causing the guilt, frustration, or strife in my home…is it because im writing emails instead of attending to their needs? is it because we are all stuck inside? because im trying so hard to stick to a schedule that i make us all stressed? getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air and no schedule is so good for us so many days. also, if i may, from one veteran mama to another one starting out: get plenty of rest. lots of naps, dear heart–your body has taken so much to bring that little one here, and you are giving so much everyday–you need the rest to continue. continue to read Ann’s posts at Holy Experience, gleaning all that you can, and maybe browse posts on mothering in the search box. soak in the grace. this is what ive had to do.

      praying for you. in fact, i just did, a.b.

      His grace and peace to you, dear sister,


      if you would like to be in touch:

      or email:

    • I am praying for you. I can relate to everything you have said. We have 4 small children ages 7, 5, 4 and 2. I have struggled from day one. I have been up and down with good days and bad days and horrible days too. As sit by their bedsides at night, praying for them, I often weep from a broken heart. A heart broken over my sin. I often feel like a failure. But, I have to realize, that is exactly what the enemy wants me to feel like so that I will sink down and not rise again. But, the truth is, I can rise through my failures because of Christ in me. He is my only hope. Yes, I will continue to fail, but the Lord isn\’t finished with me yet. And, if you are His child, then the same is true of you. Cling to Him and He will mold you and shape you into the woman of God that He desires you to be and that you desire to be. Don\’t let the enemy win, cling to what you know is true. Christ in you is the hope of glory! He will help you through this and grow you more than you ever dreamed possible. I am speaking to myself as well. Be encouraged today I pray.

    • wow. How I can relate, a.b. grace, grace and more grace to you… and me. We have need, and He is extravagant. May we really know Him, really be led by His very real, very near presence. Prayers for you. Pray for me too?

    • a.b. Tears in my eyes too. Tears for you. You are precious and cherished and loved. You are an amazing, wonderful creation. You have more of God in you than you realise, and you show God to your children more than you know. God says that He gently leads those that have young – that’s you! This is physically and hormonally the hardest time of all, and I know well the way the nerves feel so tight that even a wrong look can be the last straw.
      Give grace to yourself! Only you and God know if you are doing the best you can, and if you are, then that’s all that He asks. Notice I didn’t say ‘the best you should’, because those can be two very different things.
      Children are a blessing from God, and they are wonderful, beautiful and innocent. They can also be the most illogical, frustrating, aggravating little creatures on the planet. Even God felt this way about His own children – the children of Israel. In fact, at one point, He was so frustrated He told Moses to get out of the way so He could wipe them all out, and start a new nation with Moses and his family!
      Don’t beat yourself up for being human. You are not perfect, but nor is anybody else!
      Take lots of deep breaths, take all offers of help or babysitting, get time on your own if you can, and remember that it will get better. The tiredness will pass, the hormones will settle, the physical demands on you will ease. And when all of this happens, it’s amazing how much easier it is to be more gracious and patient and loving.

  60. The words spoke such truth from an eighteen-year-old man-child as he left to attend collage to be a Preacher of the word, if the first had not been born, “I would not have come to be most likely”. His words pierced my heart so deep coming from one I also knew not that I wanted. The gift of new life from the Father who knew my heart desire more that I had of self the need of that love. For a short time only of 20 years he gave us a man child to raise and teach the way he should go to honor his heavenly Father on earth teaching me a walk of faith hope and the peace past understanding. Today as my two together run on those streets of gold and only one man child still on his earthly path. I have been taught more than I would have ever been able to comprehend of how to be a Velveteen mother from on earth to those on those streets of gold in heaven they each continue to teach his grace that is sufficient through all things.

  61. And thank you, Ann, for every honest and full thing you say, things that make me soften a little- hopefully enough to run with.

  62. my journey of motherhood and into “velveteenhood” began with a stutter…the two who I carried and longed for were born silently…and so the journey began with empty arms and an aching heart. When having dead children didn’t actually kill me, even though I thought it might, I grew stronger and gentler and kinder and braver and calmer. No other event can be a calamity and so the troubles of the day have a perspective…God took me through death of a child, He can get me through this. Having a live child who leaves socks on the floor and doesn’t finish his chores is something that requires parenting input, but not despair. (I have my moments, to be certain, but life takes on a different hue). And now…I have two little ones that I long to see when I get to heaven.

  63. Dear Ann, These words cause tears to flow down my cheeks. I have 4 children, three from my body (14, 12, and7), and one through the miracle of adoption that has only been home 10 weeks. She is 16. To mother someone who has longed for one and yet was so disappointed by her own, to promise that she can trust me, that there is nothing she can do to make my love stop, that I will hold on and pray in the midst of her grief, all of it literally takes my breath away sometimes. Oh the grace….the grace that is being poured out on us is astonishing…I pray she is feeling it too. It is helping me become HER Velveteen mother. The one she always deserved.

  64. I am very confused about being a mother, because my husband and I raised my son to believe in God’s Love, and we tried to raise him in an environment of love, and yet he is 30 years old now and an alcoholic, living (by choice) in men’s shelters, crashing at friend’s apartments, for all I know, living on the street. I keep in touch with him via e-mail, but now he is living at the Salvation Army (a place he often chooses to stay) and I have no contact with him.

    I have read about all the dear mothers who have lost their little children, and my heart breaks for them, because I fear even now, with my son at age 30, that he will pass away before I do because of his drinking (and I hate to even write these words.) I am an Amazonian Prayer Warrior for him, to the point of exhaustion. There is a Catholic saint some of you may know, whose name is Therese of Lisieux, who said, “My vocation is love” – I feel, at this point in my life, my vocation is prayer. I try to fight the fears and dread even the sound of the phone ringing, for fear it will bring bad news.

    I thank God that my son has retained his faith and still deeply believes in Christ, but he will not stay in a rehab facility more than a week or so. I look at him and see the beautiful little boy with the good and generous heart, and I miss that little one, although I know he is still present in the 30-year-old man who is my son today.

    i would so appreciate it if you could pray for my son, whose name is Nick, that he might receive healing. My thanks to you, more than you know.

    • Asking our God, the Healer of brokeness to minister peace and comfort to your hurting heart, Janet. Lifting you and your Nick up in prayer to the One who knows your pain and hears the cry of your mother heart.

      • Bless you, Tracy…thank you so very much for your prayers. I do believe that God hears the cry of the heart of a mother.


    • Janet, praying for you, dear sister.

      you are loved, and so is your son. God loves him so much and sees him right where he is. and He hears you. He hears you, sweet sister. praying with you and lifting you and your son up to the Father today.

      blessings in His grace,


      • Be encouraged by the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Even though you are separated from your son he is in a good place where he is hearing about the love of God. Praying that his heart and mind will be open to healing and wholeness and that in this journey, God would bring that to your hearts as well.

        • Deanna,

          I feel your post was inspired, because I am encouraged by the comfort of the Spirit, when I pray and feel His life within me. Thank you for your comforting words and for your beautiful prayer.


      • Nacole, I received so much consolation from your post above. Thank you, my sister, for your prayers…


      • RubberChickenGirl! I love your name! Thank you, dear one, for your prayers for my son…

        My heart bursts open with love and appreciation for all of you kind and compassionate women who read my post and prayed…


        • Janet, my prayer for you is that you can say the same words Christ did: not my will but yours Lord. May you find peace in your faith for your own relationship with Jesus, which must be incredibly challenged witnessing the path your son has chosen. My prayer for your son is that God’s plan for his life be fulfilled.

          • Dear Mercy,

            Your prayer for my son is much appreciated, and since I pray each day that his life falls into perfect conformity with God’s Will, it seems that your prayer for him is very close to my own. Thank you…

            God has given me the grace to not lose my own faith as I witness the path my son has chosen for himself – I am so grateful that He allows me to feel, on many occasions, the protection and the love which He surrounds him with. Which is not to say that I don’t have “meltdowns” about his situation – but I can return, again and again, to the comfort of God and be healed.

            Bless you, Janet

  65. I have read this through tears. I am being made -REAL- through mothering. I have hurt, healed, cried, laughed, sang and rejoiced. (sometimes that was all day). The grace of God that is mothering is wonderful. I could not do this job of mothering my four, and the “extras” he puts in our path, without that GRACE. I cling to His word spoken truth, I bend my head in prayer, I seek advice of other Godly mothers, and I still feel “tiger-ish”. This becoming “real” hurts and it is joyful at the same time. Thanks for putting the day to day of parenting in perspective today. Teens and Tweens will soon be gone. The day-to-day will be different. My job description will change, and my “realness” will have made me all NEW!

  66. My three greatest gifts are grown now. Each one lives in a different state – different from each other and different from me. I kind of miss the days of children around the table or battling over beaters and a bowl still coated with cookie batter. But, honestly, I don’t pine for those days. I loved every phase with my children, and I’m loving this one as well. I do wish they lived closer to me, but I love the adults that they are. Mothering has been exciting and humbling, painful and pleasant. I learned more about God’s compassion, grace, and tenderness as I was called to extend those things to the three babies in my life. What a great gift to be a mother — and to glimpse the Father’s heart through that lens. Of all that God has called me to, mothering has been my favorite.

    • Thank you for showing us that we don’t need to fear the future! That even though it will be very different from now, when our little ones are grown, it will not be the end of the world, lol!

  67. I talked to my mother on the phone last night through the 6th and 7th innings of the World Series…(Texas girls and Ranger fans!) There was a three second delay between our broadcasts, and we were able to play a great trick on my dad.(He never even noticed that my mom was calling every play!) We laughed so hard that I am sore this morning. Laughter is such a wonderful way to show kiddos you love them. My mother laughs; her laugh is so genuine and hilarious. She is a true Velveteen Mother, and her worn places are what I CLING TO as I raise four daughters by the skin of my teeth. Her friendship is grace, it is a living gospel to me. She loves without limits, judgments, or conditions. Her love and gentle care is like and endless seedbed in my heart, and it produces fruit in her grandchildren’s lives in a miraculous way. Oh, how I love Jesus. Thank you for your post; tears of humility and gratefulness fall as I wonder at the love God has for us; and how He touches my heart with my mother’s love. I pray for the grace to pay it forward.

  68. I am a well worn mother who wonders (worries) if she was more Tiger – or even had a little of Velveteen. I know that I have been very real to my children. I’ve been honest and told them I was sorry, when I had been the one ‘out-of-line”. My baby is 37 y/o and I’m still praying that she walks the straight path.

    This line struck me and it has given me courage today to keep on praying and to keep on being real. “”And maybe that is all — a Velveteen Mother is a mother who keeps bending her worn knees with prayers that her child may walk straight paths. Never ceasing to pray for her own crooked heart””

    • Just talked to my 89 year old mother. Today she has been weeping and in prayer for her grandson who desperately needs prayer.

      She is the best example of a Velveteen Mother there ever could be.

      She literally is continuing to bend her worn knees with prayers for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

      We are NEVER past bending our knees for our children.

      • To “another Janet” with a grown child who worries:

        “We are NEVER past bending our knees for our children”.

        How very true…

        Blessings, Janet

  69. God saw fit to give me three beautiful girls before my boy not planned came to us. As my youngest, he was the first to leave and cleave. Going to Bible college he met a sweet girl and now he sleeps in his own house and doesn’t see the tears that course down his mama’s cheeks as I long for those days of Tonka trucks and bb guns. But I am trusting God to His plan. My second born is a special needs child and at 29 years now, she will always be my baby. Always requiring my care, always being here for me to love, laughing at my tears, and making me know that God is in control of everything.

    • Oh my dear sister, how I love and miss you! Your words here are beautiful.

      Thank you, Ann, for dissolving the miles and connecting sister hearts.

      Praying for my two prodigals, my first born boys, to travel the road of grace they have traveled before but somehow wandered away from. And so thankful for my niece who reminds us all that He is in charge, and never makes any mistakes.

  70. Motherhood for me has been a combination of all the above……happy tears and sad tears and reminiscing tears………as I watch my 19-year-old “man” and 17-year-old “woman” navigate through life. I wrote a poem called “Seasons” one day after glimpsing my sons’ long forgotten Tonka trucks sitting in the woods, the castaway toys of childhood. as I called them. (After my son read my poem about him, he went out to retrieve his Tonka toys, dusted them off, and put them in the garage….he has a tender heart for his sappy, melancholy momma….tee hee, but you other mommas would understand!) The last verse goes:
    “Who is this young man now,
    Who just yesterday would play all the day in the dirt?
    ….hauling rocks and sand and worms
    ….to a new home….
    ….with his big yellow dumptrucks.
    But who now walks past….
    In favor of the jingle of keys and coins,
    In his pocket.”
    I relate to ALL of your Mommas reflections…..we mothers share a common bond…..grace, peace, love and understanding to all of us.

  71. God gave me the honor, the challenge of raising four boys. Three are already young men in the world, with one still at home for me to dote upon. I lament the years racing past, the busyness keeping me from enjoying the day-to-day. Oh how I wish I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now of how quickly time flies and how soon little boys become men. I prayed daily for patience, and God provided. I miss my little boys but I am so proud of the young men they are becoming. It is amazing to have adult conversations and to share my heart with them.

  72. Ann, you just gave words to every emotion I have ever had as a mother. You are remarkable. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us all. I am near tears.

  73. So beautifully written, and I can so relate to it. Three sons, two are men on their own, one having given me the gift of a daughter-in-love, one at home a teen. There are more out there, in other parts of the world, some we may never have a chance to meet except through our letters, but I believe more will find their way to our home. God told me. I wait eagerly for that day too! Motherhood has shown me my reflection through their eyes. Some things I like, many I don’t. I’ve learned grace, unconditional love, discipline, truth, so many things from our children. I’m sure I’ve learned much more than I’ve taught. They inspire me to get up when I don’t think I can and to give when I don’t think I have anything left. I see their Dad in them, their earthly father, who has set such a wonderful example, but even more so their Heavenly Father. The moments, they go by too fast…I am so very blessed.

  74. i pray that I am a “Velveteen Mother.” Having a child with Down Syndrome that has already had more surgery than me, and is looking at 2 more within the next year is hard. I pray that she becomes who God wants her to be and try to help her be as independent as possible. She needs that in order to be who God wants her to be. Prayers for us (me and my family) are always appreciated!!

    • Dear Heather,

      Praying for you and your daughter – you are both so courageous –

      Blessings, Janet

  75. Ann, I love the velveteen idea of motherhood. It wipes away all the details of motherhood that divide and judge us. It allows us to let God make each of us into the mothers he wishes by His work in us. No comparing. Just torn and ruffed up and well loved by a heavenly father. Thank you Ann.

  76. Dearest friend, Ann, full of grace, imagine the thought of being a Velveteen Mother! I have been that through these 39+ years of mothering our seven sons. How I loved all the years – even through Peter who will return to me some day. Always trying to remember to “love them as Jesus loves them” – and that is more than we are capable of, especially when we are so tired! Being older when we married, has given me a huge advantage (30 with last baby at 46) – you gain much wisdom when you are a first grade teacher! Honored to stay at home all these years! Preparing them for life. They have watched me minister to others, and now I see them doing the same! Their little ones now talk much of Jesus, even making up songs about Him! What can I say but “Eucharisteo!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Look into their eyes and tell and show them how much you love them! Read His Word to them, and live it out! Blessings will follow! God is faithful! May we be the same! Thanks, Ann, for the wonderful inspiration you have been to all our family! Keep receiving His blessings as they flow into your home! 🙂

  77. I have been a tiger mom from their first breath. In hind sight, it feels as if it was also my first breath. I was as newborn as they were. When my 2nd son became a type 1 diabetic at 11, my claws came out (as well as buckets of tears) and I began what felt and feels like a fight for his life. He is now 21 and wants me to let him fight the battle alone. Letting go of my precious gifts from God hurts. Knowing that there is an extra health risk increases the hurt. I will have to be more of the Velveteen Mother now and bend my knees with prayer that God will protect them spiritually and physically.

  78. Dear Ann,
    ahhhh, warm, encouraging words for this mother and grammys heart, walking the way of Grace…………
    thank you!

  79. Being a mother has shown me just how much I need the Lord…and reminded me what a good & loving Father we have. My role as “mom” sometimes seems to magnify my imperfections, expose all my faults & failures under an unforgiving stark, glaring spotlight. Yet, I am forgiven & loved & accepted by a gracious God. As much as I look at my children and think, “Not like me, Lord, please don’t let them be like me,” I also realize I DO want them to be like me–children of God, unconditionally loved even in brokenness. I’m not perfect, nor do I expect my children to be perfect, and maybe that’s the best gift I can give them. What a blessing to one day be a Velveteen mother–that is my prayer.

    Thank you, Ann, for a beautifully articulated & timely post.

  80. Not sure if this is the correct place, but I read the blog everyday as my daily encouragement. I am a mama of two toddlers, 2 and 4, who has been suffering from a concussion since May. My brain is too slow to allow me to care for my children by myself. The doctors have said that I have to relinquish the care of my children to my family members in order for my brain to heal. No pain sears my heart quite so clearly as to know that in order to become whole again, I have to go against every instinct our Father ingrained within my soul and avoid my own children. Please pray for my dear husband who is shouldering the weight of caring for me and our children and doing all that a momma normally does..please pray that our Lord will equip him the way He has so many times for me in the past. And please pray that our dear ones will be calm and weather this storm no worse for wear,as they are too young to understand, and as any momma knows when they don’t understand, they tend to act out. Thank you for this daily blog- as I can’t attend church, this daily encouragement has become my daily worship.

    • Beautiful Jennifer…
      Oh, sister… I am praying with you right now.

      “In the morning let me know your love
      for I put my trust in you.
      Make me know the way I should walk:
      to you I lift up my soul.” Ps. 143…

      Praying with you, Jennifer…
      All’s grace,

    • Dear Jennifer,

      I am praying for you and your family. I’m so sorry you are going through so much pain.

      You can still be a good mother to your children by giving them the invaluable gift of prayer. I have come to believe this in my situation with my own son. But I believe that you are still a wonderful mother in your deep concern for them.

      Also, please remember that they had your loving attention up until now, and those were very formative years, when children are very influenced by the love of their parents – so I believe that they have that love, your love, within them now, and so you are with them, even in your outward separation from them.

      God bless you and your family,


  81. My very best accomplishments are my two kids. In their twenty’s now, it has been worth all the tears and pain, the laughter and the joy, the sleepless nights and frantic weekends. The hardest part was watching my kids grieve the death of their dad at 14 and 16. They were falling apart before my eyes and there was absolutely nothing I could do to ‘fix’ it. I couldn’t make the waves of pain stop for myself and they were grieving their dad and watching their mom flail about in life. It’s only thru God’s grace and mercy and the the gift of our church family that we survived those days. I am so very proud of the young man and young woman that I call my children. I have watched them care for others that are grieving because they learned at too young an age what grief is all about.

  82. After 36 years of becaming Velveteen I look back for the turning point that took away my desire to be the PERFECT Mother and have Perfect Children. My oldest went astray and in my search and pleading of God to show me the perfect parents in His word and how I had failed. He gently told me the He,I AM, God the father was the perfect Parent. Look at my children, I look at myself the imperfect child I had been. The wearing down was most difficult, hard to accept His grace for my failure … we all fail … I can not control my children into what God,(I think) wants them to be. Just as God does not control us but gives a will and Grace after failure. Velveteen Mother yes after many years of tearing and the wearing down.

  83. This made me cry…right over my bowl of morning cereal. I’m in that wondrous place of being between my kiddos growing up and becoming a grandmother. I wish I would have had ladies speak wisdom to me when I was in the midst of the growing, the homeschooling, the journey of raising young ones. I weep for all the times I failed to show grace. And now, in two weeks (or thereabouts!), I will have the privilege of seeing my firstborn become a mother herself. Hoping and praying she will be a mother full of grace. Hoping I can be to that little one all that I failed to be to her mommy. Knowing that her life will give me many more entries into my gratitude journal…:) Thank you, Ann, for the way you minister to us moms – whether we be young or old, just starting out or on the other side. May God bless you…

  84. Motherhood is painful…exhausting…hard. But I think the reason it is this way is because these are the real birth pains. Bringing them into this world? Anyone can do that. It’s turning them out into the world that must be our life’s work. The molding, training, correcting, loving…it is all so they can leave us and stand on their own. That is the most painful part of motherhood to me…the pulling away. Seeing the independence is beautiful and yet hurts so much as I see our days together slipping through my fingers. I can’t love fast enough. Oh to make it slow down!!

    The greatest blessing I’ve received as a mother is finally being able to see, wholly and completely, the way God loves me. To learn to accept His unconditional love. Because I know the way I love my own child, and because I must accept God does the same for His children -only more perfectly, I am learning truth about the way I am loved by Him. To think I could have missed this completely, we’re it not for my little girl. Thank you Jesus.

  85. I am so a tiger momma! My heart breaks when my daughter’s heart breaks! I feel so much guilt that I can’t protect her from every hurt, every disappointment, that I can’t make her world okay and safe. God is working in my heart and her’s to display His sovereignty in our lives, that He allows the pain so He can heal it and bring us into a right relationship with Him, full of His glory and empty of our fear and pride. I tend to live in the pain but God is teaching me to give my pain to Him and savor the joy that is motherhood and His gift to me in this season.

  86. Oh Ann…*thank you* for this. I want to be rubbed and worn, and surrendering to the becoming…becoming real in the surrender to the work He is doing in me through this motherhood journey. So moved by this and giving thanks for you…

  87. Dear Jennifer, My children are at least double the ages of yours and I feel sad at the thought of not being able to care for them. Prayed for healing for you, physically and peace while your children are being cared for. Prayed for husband to be strong as he cares for you and the children. praying also for wisdom, tenderness and blessing on the family members as theyncare for the children. may the children be settled and adjust well too. praying that the family would feel God’s love and trust in His care during this time and come through with praise and wonderful stories of his faithfulness.

  88. The ninth child…out of five birth, 4 adopted, me 56 and tired of being a mom…today began discouraged by this ninth child, boy bigger than me, seems to be always pushing, testing, … me, I’m getting my stuffing pulled out often, my eyes ‘bit off, my skin feels thin and worn…my ‘builder’ husband, there with his strong arms around me with encouragement, then you, Ann, with these, perfect for the day, words. Yes, it is GRACE, given to me from God to pass on to him, this son who represents my adoption into God’s family, yes, it is grace.

  89. Thank you Ann for this. The more I journey down this road of motherhood, the more I learn how much the love of the Father is. I have been worn out, only to be nourished yet again. I have held tight, protected, only to realise and learn over and over again, the best arms for them are the Father’s. I have learnt forgiveness, as I received forgiveness for words too harsh, actions too rough.

    I press on to bring them up into Godly men and women strong and yet tenderhearted. God knows, I can only do this, on bended knees.

  90. The dream of motherhood, of family, is central to my life. So often we follow our own dreams, instead of God’s dream for us. I am in search of God’s dream for me. My own dreams have all been swept away. I have no children of my own. At 46, facing divorce – that dream is just an ache in my heart. The dream of motherhood & family has led me to embrace relationship opportunities outside of my own home. I am the proud aunt of 33 nieces & nephews. I am blessed with beautiful siblings & friends. I have wonderful memories of my own parents & childhood. I seek God’s heart & beauty in all the moments I have with my extended family. And I am a worn & weathered woman for all the loss that lingers underneath those precious moments. To feel the joy of reading to my nephew & watching him learn & grow right before my eyes, to have the opportunity to be a part of how he is loved and in that very moment to experience the breaking of my own heart, the tears sometimes spill right there. Isn’t that part of motherhood, the realness of joy mixed with pain? I am blessed to have even a taste. I will never really be a mother though; no matter how many moments I sample, no matter how many people encourage me “You are the mother of so many.” No matter what, I am different from most of you. I am worn down in other ways that make me real, but I cannot experience the sacrifice that comes from the bond of mothering your own every day. I feel like something less than what a woman is supposed to be; I feel like I cannot belong. And “why do I forget that becoming Real – becoming a velveteen mother WOMAN – it will hurt a thousand ways? “ I look for the weary & the wearing away of not being a mother & wife, to be the most beautiful part. And there are moments when it really is & my heart overflows with thanks for the grace that comes from suffering. But to be truly real, I have to say there are moments, hours, sometimes days & days when my heart just bleeds, tears leak, & I am angry that my simple dream of motherhood (for better or worse), a dream that is available to most, is denied to me & I am lost searching for a substitute. Please pray that the beautiful days of surrender & grace would outnumber the days of heartbreak, depression, & anger. Please pray that I could better connect to God in the hardest moments. And please pray that God will give this very weary, worn-away woman the courage to hear His voice & do His will.

  91. Ann, thank you. Your words and the love of God that you have always set me back and ponder. A Velveteen Mother ~ wow, it seems so impossible at times. I have had to surrender my life to the Lord in order to have Grace for my children. And still at times I have no idea what “Grace” means or what it looks like. Please do pray for me that I allow the Lord to work in me. That the same Grace He hands me that I in returned to the same to my children. That I may put all my strength in Him and that I may always look UP.~Blessings~

  92. Today is my middle child’s 9th birthday. Between the years of meds for his 12 year old brother (who is finally stabilized in his behavioral disorders) and the birth of his now 7 month old brother (whose incubation and birth were terribly hard) he has seemingly been rustled over and forgotten. I want to be that mother that remembers, makes space, treasures. Thank you for this post and the heart that spilled it out. You have taught my heart to be thankful, to be an example, to grow right alongside my children. I appreciate you.

  93. Dearest Ann, how often I’ve read your writings and whispered, yes, that is just the way it is. Often I wished I had known some of what you have shared when my men and women were little ones; but I didn’t and I just did what I could with what I knew. We have 3 women, 43, 33, and 26 and 2 men 39 and 32 and 6 waiting to be rocked in heaven, may I say to the mothers….
    Dear mothers, my heart is full for mothers
    Mothers so hard on themselves,
    Mothers so tender,
    Mothers so clearly wanting with their whole hearts to do it all and to do it all right
    Mothers who look back and see clearly — it is called hind sight
    Mothers who look forward through a glass darkly — it is called faith
    Mothers who must take one day at a time trusting God to fill the gap between what I am doing and what I want to be doing — we are just not capable by ourselves.
    Some days, yes, tigers, coming quickly “to their temples” shaking the doors, getting their attention, making it, oh, so plain the need of the moment.
    Some days, we are that velvet comforter, wrapping, holding, nurturing, healing, still not in our own strength but in God’s comfort by which we are selves are comforted.
    Remember to everything “there is a season” and all seasons are covered by grace and all seasons are to be filled with thanks.
    Still growing in grace, Leslie Anne (with an e).

  94. Ann,
    Funny that you should write and post this today. This week, Thursday to be exact I will escort my 17 year old onto the football field for Senior night. He has filmed the football team for three years assisting the coaches cut film to send to colleges for the seniors. Then on Saturday I will sit in the stands at the Robotics competition. This is his fourth and final year, I have been at everyone. Saturday will be yet another end to a small chapter as a mom it makes me both sad and happy. Sad to see these days go by and happy because I know another journey begins. This year has many endings for me as my only child gets ready to leave the nest and begin college next fall. So far this year I have shared tears and laughed. My heart has hurt with that empty nest feeling quickly approaching.


  95. From the edge we can see in. If only I would have known that there is not shame in stepping out–out of the argument, out of the chaos, out of the habit and dress of being what I thought someone else wanted me to be.
    “How can rusty, bent steel make a mama hurt for all that’s slid away?” (Mine would be folded paper.)
    For what slid away a year ago this month…just prayers remain.

  96. With two freshmen daughters – one off to college and one starting the journey of high school, I find myself teary-eyed more times than not. I pray constantly for my girls – pray that they would love the Lord even more than I do…pray that they would marry well and permanently.. .pray that my mistakes in parenting them will not grow into ugly weedy seeds, but would be blown away with the chaff…on and on go my prayers. With my first-born not needing me every second, and my youngest determined to not be as needy as her older sister was at this age, I am finding myself alone and at Christ’s feet more often now. It reminds me of the season before pregnancy, labor, and birth – when it was just me, and then just my husband/best pal and me.

    I look at pictures on the walls of two little sisters throwing fall leaves in the air and laughing, and another one of them sharing the tree swing on a beautiful lazy afternoon. Where did those little girls go? Does Christ ask me the same? Where is that little girl who loved life with such abandonment….who laughed more, dreamed more, looked toward the future with more expectation? All this little girl seems to do now is weep. I should rejoice that I have done what God wanted me to do (well, almost!) in bringing two beautiful girls into this world and pointing them down the path to everlasting life with Christ. I should be glad that soon I will have my husband all to myself once again – and I to him. Am I sad, or are these tears just the left-over remnants of spilled apple juice, finger prints on every wall, diaper pails, and sleepless nights? Have I become so serious, so “mature,” that I can’t relax long enough to find something funny about how the cat always finds the darndest places to get into? Will I face empty-nested-ness and the golden years of life (with all its aches and pains) with grace and joy, or with an overwhelming sense of loss? It is my choice, I know. I also know that I have it within me (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit) to approach the coming seasons with joy and peace.

    So, why am I crying?

    Maybe it’s that Velveteen Mother syndrome. Tears only come from real moms, not stuffed ones….so maybe, it’s OK.

    • this is beautiful. us younger moms need to hear that its ok to cry–all of our tears deemed as P.M.S by our husbands (and im sure they are right), but still, moms cry for a reason, and i think you’re right–its because we are real, and that we pray–how i love the encouragement i feel here to pray for my girls–all four of them, that they would love their God– thank you for that.

      blessings in His grace,


  97. I am at my most real when I am the most balanced, when I am trusting and seeking God…and I am at my most real (the worst) when I am tired, overwhelmed with the needs of these 3: 6, 4 and 5 months old. All 5 of us have been sick for the last 2 weeks and today, as the babe has been awake all night, I need to simply ingest the becoming. That I am giving all I have right now, to care and comfort, to wash the germs from the house, preparing “comfort food” and all the while not feeling so patient. I NEEDED these words today. Tired, hopeful and real.

  98. This made me think of a book I own called The Velveteen Mommy. It’s a heartfelt comedic book about being a mother to little kids. Thoroughly enjoyable with a similar message: seeking God’s beauty and life even when worn out.

  99. How desperately do I want to become this ‘Velveteen Mother”, the one who is gentle and real and offers more tender grace, instead of tense hugs and harsh words… I vacillate and swing too wild back and forth on this crazy ride. May your words sink in, may my heart continue to break for my babies, for Christ, and may I serve Him well, by loving my children as he does, not just with my words, but with my actions, with my constant laying down my life for them.

    Ann, you have a direct line from the Father’s heart to your pen. What a gift he has blessed you with, the way you unknot the words, the images you paint… I can not wait to meet you at Relevant 11. It will be the highlight of my trip. Blessings, sweet Ann, so full of grace.

    • The humble grace will be all mine, Kris… just to stammer awkward thanks for your kindness and gift of friendship — the way you share of yourself that always points to Him. Godspeed, sister!

  100. I have been the realest me, the most shameful me, before my children. I could also add that I believe I’ve also been the best me before them, but it’s the moments with sin covering everything I do and say that I remember best and regret the most. And, in the way that children have, it has been they who have shown me the healing balm of grace. They whom God is using to teach me the true definition of grace. In my well-intentioned but so frequently failing realest me. Thank you for this today, Ann. The Velveteen Rabbit is my favorite book. And putting this journey of motherhood in terms of becoming real has been a wonderful epiphany.

  101. Motherhood has brought me to my knees in repentance and to my feet in praise. I remember the time when my oldest was 9months old and my husband came home to find me in tears and I looked at him and cried out…;how could my parents choose to rip my world apart by divorcing when I was such a little one?’ it was that moment when the reality of being a mother was realized. It would be and still is the hardest task I will ever do, but it has brought me to my knees before Christ laying all the hurts of the past at his feet. it is the emptying out of myself so I can be filled with him so that these hearts might see Him.

    It’s not to say that my children are being raised by a woman who has it all together….that is not it at all, but it is to say that my children have been a picture of grace to me. They are so quick to forgive me when I seek their forgiveness. So, yes, motherhood has brought its hurts–it has fleshed out painful memories of the past and it has revealed just how selfish I am, but it has brought sweet healing in that I have been driven to Jesus–my savior, my king, my strength, my guide, my everything.

    Thank you for the word picture–to be the velveteen mother–love it.

  102. As a mother of 3 (one in heaven), I believe that my children (and I) have probably learned the most not when I got it right, but when I got it wrong; when I had to apologize TO THEM for hurried words or “knee-jerk reactions. When they saw the authenticity of a heart full of love… in a jar of clay… poured out in repentence. I LOVE THEM SO! They are grown now, and I now have 2 beautiful grandsons! My prayer for them has always been to first have a servant’s heart.

  103. I have read every post today. How I wish there was such honesty as I was raising my kids. I thought every other Christian mom but me was doing it right. I never looked at child rearing as being broken and worn to become soft.Looking back, I can see that all the way through raising them. Thanks to all today for being open with all us other moms.
    I want to talk about something that hasn’t been mentioned here today. When I was young and rebellious and didn’t know the Lord, I had 2 babies that I aborted. How I have wanted to go back and undo that. But I have to share the love that the Father has for us who are His. About 20-25 years ago, on a Sunday morning, the custom at our church was to give carnations to the mothers at church on mothers day. This is the part I have vague memory about. I think it was before my hubby of 28 years and I were married. I had a daughter from a previous marriage(he left when she was 9 months) and she gave me a carnation as was the tradition at church. I had gotten several over the years. But this flower had one bloom and 2 buds on it. I had never seen a carnation like that. And the Holy Spirit spoke to me at that moment and said ” The bloom is for your daughter and the buds are for your two children who never came to fruition.” For those who don’t think God speaks to us today, I know he does. I had never heard the word fruition before. I knew in that moment, even though I had been saved for 6 years, that I was really forgiven for that and someday I would meet them in heaven. There was no condemnation, and even now His grace makes me cry. Fast forward, I have 2 more children( daughters) with my husband who are now 25 and 26. All I ever wanted was to be a mom and stay home and raise our kids. My hubby always worked 2 jobs so I could do that. But I soon found out that I too had many Tiger moments. I , like Mary in the bible, was too busy being sure things were done, and not taking enough time to hug more, laugh often, be soft, kinder. i homeschooled for a few years and then worked at a christian school where they went in exchange for their tuition. I did have some velvet times too. But about 5 years ago I spent a couple of years ruing over having not been the perfect mom. The Lord again spoke to my heart and said if they come to know Him, it would be for His glory, not mine. Set me free(unless I start to go there again. I have to walk in that now) . I watch my oldest with her three(my grandbabies) be the mom I wish I had been and am waiting to see my other 2 have their own babies someday. They are all wonderful girls who we are proud of, but the glory goes to God.
    Thanks for letting me be a non-plastic person.

    • this is beautiful. thanks for sharing something so raw. i cried reading this–God’s grace is so evident, so overflowing, so powerful in your life and in all of our lives. grieving and rejoicing with you today.

      blessings in His grace,


    • The beauty of Christ in your words … Thank you, thank you, Sally, for ministering to us all with the story of God in your life.

      God uses you, sister….

  104. The Lord is constantly showing me the parallels between me/kids and my relationship with him. I am a 4 yr old. I have similar heart responses to my Father. I’m grateful for his pursuit of me.

  105. I am the mother of 2 in Heaven and 4 here on Earth. God has seen to bless me with 4 children, all with challenges. Some days I question Him on why He feels I am so much stronger than I believe, when I question His giving me these challenges, & I know I can do nothing in the raising of my children without Him, without His guidance on a daily and continual basis. After our first, I prayed for many years for another one, wanting more. 13 years after the first, He blessed us with another son, and then, two years later, He gave us twins. The doctors said they are miracles; I shouldn’t have any children. God, in His wisdom, knows why He waited so long to answer my prayers……why do I question His timing? I am so tried, especially when the one with Asperger’s has given me a hard day. The boys are so rough on me, I know I fail them on a daily basis when I look back at how our days have progressed. I know they suffer because of my shortcomings. I know my daughter suffers because of my inadequacies in dealing with her brothers. Every night my mother’s heart weeps for lost opportunities when self has taken over and God has been forgotten. I pray that I may be such a mother to these children as my blessed mother was/is to her 5. May I remember to….breathe……let go……let God.

  106. Such a joy to enter your words and ride them to the throne of grace, dear Ann.

    “How has motherhood hurt and healed you?” In a thousand glorious ways, but today I think specifically of standing beside my first born’s brokenness, my heart shattered into pieces, helpless to raise him from his body’s devastation or awaken him from coma, and the Word whispered then: “I am doing something beautiful,” and then the slow, slow awakening, both his and mine. And then the second born, in the blossoming of her womanhood, diagnosed with RA, her body stiff and wracked with pain, and the panic prayers and the gentle reminder, “You know I’m good, and if I give this to her, it is a gift.” And the third born, whose coming almost killed me as I bled unknowingly until it was almost too late, and the promise whispered then, a promise even know unfolding with its own cross.

    How is it making you realest most beautiful real? Motherhood (and now grandmotherhood) is God’s means of my redemption, because it casts me on His grace, daily, unwaveringly — this love ache driving me to hold them steady before the One who created them for His pleasure and glory. It’s the life sentence that keeps me on my face while filling my days with countless unspeakable delights. It is my most cherished gift.

    Tell us about where you are in your personal mothering journey? How can we pray with you? My husband, brain-injured adult son, and I are about to move to Dallas to live across the street from my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and my father, who is her caregiver. Our youngest son, his wife, and baby currently live with my parents, precious missionaries of grace in a difficult place, and our daughter-in-law’s sister, in many ways an orphan, will also be moving in with us. This is where I am in my daughtering, mothering, adoptive mothering, and grandmothering journey, and my prayer is that I will daily present my body as a living sacrifice to God and joyfully, gratefully embrace the small gifts of each moment. “To be just a Velveteen Mother: worn and weathered down to the exquisite beauty of the frame of the Cross.” Yes. Just that.

    Thank you for this gentle, holy place, and thank you for your prayers.

    Love, Jeanne

    • Oh Jeanne…

      How you pour out the fragrance of Christ everywhere you go.

      Your testimony is powerful and profound and all of Christ.

      Thank you, sister.

      My prayers join yours — that He alone may be glorified in all these things.

      He makes you into a greater and greater gift….

  107. I really needed this. I have 4 children here (19,16,11 & 2) and 6 in heaven.
    My husband and I became christian after we had our first child and I feel like every day I am trying to “get it right”. Our oldest has recently seemed to totally change directions. He used to desire to share God’s love with others, through his music. He turned 18, got a new”friend” and has gone in the opposite direction of the values we thought we were raising him with. He has moved out of our home and seems to have abandoned his faith.
    I am in tears often and feel that I must have done something wrong. Lately I have been clinging to God’s grace and praying, praying, praying.
    Thank you for your words.

    • Dear Kristena,

      I am in a similar situation, as I have posted here, concerning my son. We also raised him in the love of God, and he started hanging-out with new “friends” and his values seemingly changed when he was 15. Up until then, he was very deeply involved in the spiritual life and path.

      Please try not to feel that you have done something wrong. Peer pressure is, unfortunately, very strong in the teen years, but doesn’t Scripture say that if you raise a child up in the “way he should go”, he will ultimately return to God? (Forgive my poor memory of the passage…) My son is still in harm’s way, so I pray for him constantly, but he is 30 now and has returned to God, for many years now. So I am writing this to give you hope.

      And I’m sure God will give you strength as you cling to Him, and your prayers will be heard and answered.


  108. Thank you for this timely encouragement! Too often do I allow the rough tiger of a mother… but God is relentless in pursuit and the peeling away the ugly and replacing it with His goodness, often painful but so sweet. The knees get bended, the tears they do fall, but for the grace that washes over every new day. It is the children that teach us so much about ourselves and this process of revealing the beauty within through Christ! Pray for strength to not grow weary and to be the vessel for His amazing love.

  109. Last night my daughter was screaming like crazy when I put her to bed. I was trying to be tough and let her cry it out but there was this sound of fear in her voice. She could have cried and eventually fallen asleep but instead I went in, sat with her, prayed with her, snuggled her as much as I could snuggle her growing body. And as I think it over today I realize I have the power to soothe, to help, to love, to calm, to make her feel secure. The night before I listened to her scream herself to sleep and I felt so guilty. After sitting with her last night she went to bed peacefully seeming to just need some extra moments in my arms and I felt terrible that I didn’t want to take the time because then the dishes would still be sitting out and the table would be a mess and nothing would be ready for today. I hurt for the time she laid there by herself the night before feeling however she was feeling, and pray that last night would be the one she would cling to.

    • I have decided that being on time, being organized, being “whatever” will give way if one of my girls needs to be held a little longer. Amen, sister.

    • just, amen. i do this too, and we are all learning. the only time we can really claim stake to, is the time spent cuddling them. its the only time that matters, that stands still.

      blessings in His grace,


  110. I feed my addiction again today…the words of Ann Voskamp; the music of A Holy Experience, which calms my home over and over.

    And in this moment, as my son has just pulled out of my driveway, headed back to base…a soldier, now a vet…who has seen war and knows the face of the barbaric far better than I do…the wearing of praying my child through a war around the globe has made me try harder to breathe grace. I must find a way to be more grateful.

    So, I feed my addiction, because God uses it to REMIND me. Another in a string of women through my life who speak eloquently about MOMENTS> Thank You, Lord. Thank you, Ann.

  111. “This is not easy, being a mother, and it is a vocation, a calling, and God’s Word, it will not return void”

    It might be hard to be profound through my blaze of tears. What true words. What a beautiful journey. Truth is, my heart is much the same as it was before I became a stepmom nine years ago, before I became a delivered-from-infertility-mama nearly 5 years ago…but it is so much bigger, sometimes I think it will burst.

    In all ways, becoming a mother has healed me, a heart that was searching for purpose before I even knew what that meant. And so, my current challenge is discovering it what ways I am still necessary and relevant. My stepkids are moving on into lives of their own, and since I recently went back to work, my almost-5 and almost-4 year old daughters are in pre-school, and Loving Every Minute Of It. I struggle with this decision and the ramifications of it every day, yet trust that God is faithful. Somehow, He loves these children even more than we do.

    A velveteen mother. yes. I would not trade my extra pounds (though I’m working them away), my stretch marks or C-section scar, or the fact that anything from a blog to a commerical to simply the sight of another parent and child makes me cry with the sacred beauty of these gifts we’ve been given. Keep growing, heart.

  112. These past months have been a weary walk for me and have worn me down. Mistakes as a mama have been made, harsh words said, tears shed. But through it all God has shown me His grace and His mission for me to mother these sweet babes.
    The quote from John Wesley really pulled at my heart. I want my little ones to see Christ in me. This process of becoming a ‘velveteen’ mother is not easy, but it is worth it.

  113. Ah, motherhood… in just a couple of months I will be Mom to four teenagers. I am blessed and praying for wisdom (and humor)! As I watch young women around me embrace pregnancy and wipe sticky fingers it is bittersweet to find that mine all know how to tie their own shoes ~ I miss those days when the wise women around me used to remind me to cherish each moment. I have tried, by the grace of God. He is so good ~ seeing me through each season. He does, you know… His promises are true. God spoke to me years ago after our 8th miscarriage, “I did not promise you a child, but I promise to always be with you. Always.”

  114. Oh, how I long to be a velveteen mother…. alas I have a long way to go. I yelled at my little one this morning until she cried. I was yelling about something stupid. She was wrong, but I was so much more wrong. I am grateful I have a God who is so much more gracious to me than I will ever be (even if I become a velveteen mother.)

  115. I have 5 children ages 12, 10, 9, 7, and 5. I feel like a Tiger mom almost always which leads down a path of frustration and anxiety. I love my children and when I laugh with them, it feels so good. I wish I did more of it. My husband told me yesterday that it might help if I followed a blog. He suggested yours and I’m glad he did. I may find a worn out bunny to keep on my bed to remind me that these difficult times are beautiful too. Thank you and yes, please pray for me.

  116. In recent years I have thought often of how God uses marriage in the sanctification process and uses motherhood even greater still! Amazing orchestration by the one who orchestrates all! I cannot even begin to put in writing all the ways He has changed me through motherhood, the ways He is continuing to change me … if we are refined by fire … motherhood is very HOT! But … simultaneously sweet and blessed and REAL! I am so grateful to be one … I am so HUMBLED to be one … I am so ill quipped to be one … it keeps me at His feet! Praise be to Him!

  117. Sometimes, my 17 year old son, hear’s my Tiger’s roar, to remind him of my love for him, to remind him of what I expect, but it is done with Velveteen love and he always smiles.

  118. I became a REAL Velveteen mother when I finally heard my husband say to me: “Every time you prove you’re right, you’ve just proved one of the kids wrong. Is this what you want to do?”

    Since that time, motherhood has taught me to surrender my “rights” and become my childrens’ biggest cheerleader. God can teach them the rest!

  119. I have 4 children ages 12, 10, 7, and 5. That 5 year old is the one I didn’t know I wanted. I so appreciate your words. When he uses his squeaky voice to tell me he loves me, or asks for help getting his spiky hair to lay down before kindergarten-I am reminded of God’s patience and grace with me. Thank you for this post. I don’t need more lists, I need more perspective. Bless you.

  120. I don’t know if this is the correct place to write this, but I must write it somewhere. The ladies of our church had their retreat last weekend and the Lord had led me to present “One Thousand Gifts” to them. At first I thought I would tell them about what was in the book, but as I read it for the third time I was still copying down many things from each chapter, so a book was bought for each lady. We listened to several of the interviews on youtube and the lovely video from Ann’s site. There was much good discussion about how gifts can open one’s heart to God. There were tears. We were all very blessed. Thank you Ann for this lovely gift to us. And thank you God for your unspeakable Gift of the One who holds all things. Julie Huisman

  121. Wow. I am a worn down Veleteen mother of four; two of my womb and two of adoption. My oldest son (adopted 5 years ago and now 15) grates against the very patience of my mind and heart. I love him deeply, grieve for the pain he fights against and pray for him to let God’s love in for transformation. His anger reveals my own sin and it hurts to be cleansed. Today I have prayed for peace; for consuming encouragement and wisdom. This Velveteen mother will keep giving because that is what we do. That is how uses us to knit his love in our children’s hearts.

  122. Oh how many times have I wished I could pull back into my mouth the hurtful words I have said to my precious children or when I’ve told them I didn’t have the time, and then hours later regretted that “no”, as I watch them sleep peacefully. How many times have I turned my back and cried because I’ve seen the hurt in their eyes after my sharp tongue has responded. I apologize and tell them I’ve never been a parent before and unfortunately this is not a dress rehearsal – we are doing the best we can. And I pray that the Lord will teach me to love my children the way He loves his/the way He loves me — forgiving accidents, remembering tears, and taking care of everything, great and small. I remind myself each day that if I were not here tomorrow, . . . what would my children remember . . . I want to leave them with thoughts of a velveteen mother.

  123. I read lots of posts and articles, and never ever comment. But today seemed a good day to add a voice to the conversation. Motherhood has been often laden with grief for me, as well as great joy.
    Today is the 8th anniversary of our oldest daughter’s homegoing to Heaven. She died in her sleep from complications of Cerebral Palsy. Eleven months after that, I miscarried our 2nd child. Fifty weeks after that miscarriage, our son was born via emergency c-section with catastrophic brain damage. We care for his every need and pray for progress and growth in that brain now for 6 years. And often, I pray Jesus will carry him home soon. All of those things, they cut deep.

    And God in his mercy makes great beauty from all those ashes. I am a stubborn one, and He uses the fiery trials of motherhood to sanctify the sin out of this cold,hard heart.

    God blessed us with our third born 3 years ago, one who walks and talks,sings and dances. And reflects back my sinful self like a mirror! But they have all given me great joy, and they cause me to fall on my knees daily to ask my Jesus to sanctify me that I may not cause them to stumble.

    Ann- thank you for your beautiful writing. It is of great encouragement to me.

    • Amy?
      It is your life that is the great encouragement — your clinging to God in all things, looking to Him in all things, asking Him to sanctify you in all things.
      I am praying with you right now, shining one…
      Praying too I long remember your testimony, Amy — you are a star in His heavens, all for His unspeakable glory.

  124. Our sweet Father knew how to show us a glimpse of true love. I had my first daughter out of wedlock and before all of my friends (who chose to marry before having babies, duh) and as each of them got pregnant and gave birth I continually said, “Isn’t it so crazy how much you love them?” Ah, the miracle of loving someone you just met, but carried for 10 plus (for some of my mamas) months. It’s so sudden and so overwhelming. It’s so unexplainable. We love this precious being that just broke through us, caused such pain. But the love is what we remember. It’s all we remember. Ask a mama of 6 like sweet Ann or a mama of 19 like sweet Michelle. We remember the love, not the pain. And I am convinced, He remembers the love, not the pain. Thank you Jesus.

  125. As a Mother of four (32,31,27 & 23) motherhood healed my desire for a family…a real family, one I never had. I have always been a “Mamma Bear”….a protector of my cubs no matter how old.
    It has hurt me each time I have had to let each child-man/woman move on to the amazing life He has designed for them.
    Motherhood is making me a more beautiful, beautiful real by making my heart grow bigger, stronger, more open, caring, understanding and more like Him every day.
    My journey has opened my mothering to people who need a mother in their lives to listen and support them and most recently to the utterly blessed world of daughters-in-love & grandchildren….WOW is that a journey and a MAJOR responsibility!
    Thank you Lord!

  126. Oh, Ann, if you could see the sobbing mess that is me today. And I throw this sobbing mess on our Daddy because how else does a momma watch her youngest sob for his dad and cry for just one more…”Not even a whole day, Mom. I wouldn’t even ask for a whiole day. Even 30 seconds. I would settle for 30 seconds to tell him I love him, to hear him tell me he loves me, to hear him laugh one more time. To hug each other one more time.” And I know 30 seconds would not do. A day would not do. A lifetime will not be enough. Love cannot be emptied by a grave or a cremation oven. And I see the love of an over-filled heart with no release seep its pain as tears and rage and questions, and I wipe the eyes and withstand the blast and offer my meager wisdom…and stare into Daddy eyes and ask Him how and when and, “Please comfort that precious velveteen rabbit who knows too well the pain of being real…and help this momma who has nothing in herself to help that very real pain.”

  127. As I read this today my eyes begin to tear because this is my oldest son’s senior year. There are many last and I am trying with all my being to slow it down and enjoy every minute. I have definitely been a Tiger mother in the past and still have those days. However, with the reality of letting go the Velveteen Mother is evolving. I love it when that big, football player boy comes in all sweaty and still wants to give his mom a hug!

    Thank you for your words and reminder of God’s grace.

  128. I am at the far end of the mothering spectrum, each of my three beautiful little boys grown into manhood. Your blog entry today touched and warmed my heart, as I relived all of those years with them in the home. The first thing they taught me as a mother was how ferociously I could love. They also taught me something I hadn’t previously realized about myself – that I was impatient and had a short temper. Much of my fur was rubbed off in those raising years, and I cried at each of their movings-on, partly out of regret for ways I could have loved them better and ways I had failed to be the mother I wanted to be. It is sweet that there is still time for explanations, confessions of failure, and apologies, and time to find new ways to express my love and devotion to them. It is also sweet to see that as they grow as men, they still sometimes come back to express appreciation, and even to seek my wisdom as they face life’s hurdles.

  129. I went through a dark time in my life over the last 2 years. Things that happened to me as a youngster, things I would not wish on anyone, spring back to my memory. I went to places that no one should go to. I am thankful for a God that heals. I am thankful for friends that hold your hands and heart through this mess. Now, for oh so many reasons, I am homeschooling my children. And I wonder, how can I do this each day? I am in ministry at a church, doing music every day of my life. Learning and loving, teaching and growing each day. I see the pain and the love of so many each and every day. This includes my own children. And there are days I wonder, how can I be enough? I remember… I am all God intended for my children, a mom. I know He is equipping me each day… growing me as he grows my children. Even if I don’t FEEL equipped, He has the strength I need, so I draw from His well each and every day. I do have one prayer this day. Could you please pray for my mamma? She is going “to loose us” in a way. We are venturing into a new life of ministry, a life of missions and reaching the un-reached in an area few would go. Pray for my mamma to find peace and strength. That He would be meet her every need. Thank you ….

  130. Honestly- I’m scared to death! Really.. I am so afraid of messing them up that I freeze up. Somedays I just think how someone else could do a better job. I search for the joy of mothering that I am suppose to have and it has yet to come. I pray that I would find laughter or even joy in my everydays, but the Lord has yet to send it. Do I fake it? Somedays.. You would never know. I just want to be joyful gentle and graceful velveteen mother. Why am I not? Do I fake it until I make it? But thats just not real? Do I assume everyone else is as well? Is real everyday laughter and joy achievable this side of heaven? I know this sounds horrible like some pity party but this is how I feel.

    • Oh, Kelly, I can so relate to you! Thank you for sharing your heart. May the Lord grant you the real joy you are so longing for. I pray that He will grant it to me as well. May He break us down to build us up more beautifully . . . more like Him. Know that if you are truly at His feet, then you are right where you need to be. Take comfort in that as you follow Him and love on the little ones He has blessed you with. Enjoy them. I am speaking to myself as well. It isn’t easy, but we aren’t alone. I am so thankful for that 🙂
      Lord, please give us the patience, the love, and the wisdom for each new day . . .

  131. My heart was shattered when my oldest chose to marry a man with many issues. After four children and a divorce she tried to commit suicide. Another shattering, another healing. For the last three years we have loved and raised her babies. Now she is ready to take on the responsibility again. Another shattering and I know another healing. His plans are so much more than our plans. Letting these babies go this is the hard thing. Loving them this is His will. This hard stuff it is the good stuff keeping me on my knees. Praying to be a velveteen grammy for all my days……

  132. I’m an old mother and grandma to 5 and just today one more was born. Through the long process of adoption………….a little pearl was born. Not yet ours…………….but His. We will wait for how His soveriegn hand works this out.
    I wait with a cautious optimism for my daughter…………….as she waits for His best.
    Oh these 3 married daughters and all these little ones keep my knee skin thin.
    So I guess I have become a Velveteen Gram! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  133. Having children has taken me on the most extraordinary journey, all I have ever wanted to be has been a mother, today have just heard that I have been excepted to go forward to a bishops advisory panel I now feel with all my children grown that God is calling me to still be a mother a Rev one! Could never ever have imagined that this would be the turn of events. I post this in memory of my precious middle child you taught me so much not least the awesome and amazing fact that even in one so disabled God’s image was so strong and so powerful. I take you in my heart as I journey on. Thank you Lord for all your gifts of grace.

  134. I knew motherhood would be new territory, but I didn’t know the unexpecteds would begin so early. At 31 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia, which led to the birth of a premature baby soon thereafter. It was not what I expected. It was difficult and uncertain. But now, five years later, I am SO grateful for it. In fact, I blogged about it yesterday ( This unexpected entry to motherhood changed me in profound ways. It taught me to trust and rest in the strong arms of my Abba Father. It may have added wear and tear to this velveteen body of mine, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for that beautiful image. I am a velveteen mother.

  135. This: “I remember him before he came, those months when he grew within and made me green, and me laying my head against a cold window in the dark of night. Telling God I just didn’t think I could, and I didn’t know how, and how does a weary mother become the dwelling place of Christ?”

    My 5th, the one I wasn’t sure I wanted, is nearly four months now. I could have written these words. Thank you.

  136. Thank you, Ann, and all of the Christian ladies here for the encouragement to keep loving, to keep persevering every moment in the long/short days of motherhood.

    I can rejoice today because we ENJOYED! We sat long today in the sunshine between days of rain; we stopped at the drivethru for ice cream & savored it on the back step; we took the time to read Uncle Wiggily before nap. No matter what a lousy mother I was last week… yesterday… TODAY we can enjoy.

    Peace, Joy & HOPE to you sisters in Jesus,

  137. Being a mother has been much harder than I EVER thought it would be. I had been a teacher for several years and thought that I could handle anything that my kids could throw at me. Oh the arrogance that I brought to this “table.” I have realized that becoming a mother has humbled me in ways that I never dreamed it would by pointing out EVERY single weakness and frailty that this perfectionist has and has never wanted to deal with. It has been more disciplining & controlling myself then it is about disciplining them. Hearing the Holy Spirit say to me, “Did YOU just hear what you said?!? Are you listening?” after I just told my boys that God can’t heal a wound if you won’t stop focusing on it.

    However, becoming a mother has been such a blessing. Boys, for this girly-girl, have been an education for me. They are loud. They are destructive. They are passionate about their mama. They are protective. They are warriors. They are little, very different blessings from my God to show me that men are not broken. My husband, by God’s own hand, is different from me and is an amazing, precious gift. These boys I have been entrusted don’t need me to “fix” them for they are NOT broken. As long as they stay in Him, they are complete. It is my job to be a steward of their hearts and our relationships. To honor them and to show them how a woman who loves the Lord really can respect the men in her life.

  138. This so resonates with me right now. I am weary, empty–my output exceeds my imput. 5 children under 6, two of them, 10 month old twins on the move, it is all becoming overwhelming. I have been my worst self lately–so in need of a Savior. And after reading both nytimes articles, I have decided that I can’t be a good mama by prescribing to a method–I’m too helpless for methods right now–they end up bringing out my inner ugliness and ruling me. What I need is to be right here, at the foot of the cross, constantly in need of His shaping and love–let Him wear me out, wear me down, love me to death. I’ve got to die–to me. I may be weary, but He is faithful.

  139. This mothering thing, the thing I didn’t know could feel anything other than happiness (before the birth)…. hurts… is labor every day….the stretch marks of the soul keep growing even when the babe has been birthed…..

    Ann, this post, must read it again and again…for the baby is awake and I need to go…but it speaks to me…and I think, yes I think, a velveteen rabbit may become my screen saver for a bit…for during this season I need to remember your words more than ever….

    All of you–your comments–precious, dear, soul searchingly real…

  140. Thank you for these words today. My oldest just turned 8. I am stumbling into the new parenting requirements that come with added maturity and understanding. No longer can I just tell her to do something “because I said so”. There are still times for that, too, but I recognize that what is needed for her more and more is conversation. She needs me to listen as she learns to process and understand and make good choices. It’s very difficult (and part of my own refinement) to try to explain abstract concepts, like choosing righteousness over results, to an 8-year-old. I thought that having lots of little ones was exhausting and that my motherly load would lighten as they got older. I’m starting to see that it’s not lighter, it’s just as heavy but in different ways.

  141. I loved this post…I stumbled upon all the great advice, the wonderful mothering blogs..long after my children had gotten past the stage of tonka trucks & hair bows, first dates and friday night lights. I was the worst kind of a “good”mom, taking them to sunday school, volunteering for youth outings and failing my own so miserably when my ugly words would scream loud and patience would run so thin. Thankfully my girls remember more of mama being always there than I do. I have had to trust God with my youngest through trials, and storms, through surgeries and his own journey away from the Lord. To be the Velveteen moma, the “one who keeps bending her worn knees with prayers that her child may walk straight paths. Never ceasing to pray for her own crooked heart.”, it has taken me giving them each one up – turning them over to Him and trusting Christ with my fears as well as my children. Only now do I see that even when I was messing up so terribly – Jesus was carrying them next to His heart as I carried them to Him in prayer. He hears. He sees. and I praise Him and thank Him for yet another gift.

  142. I love my children so much and daily I am straining to “be all here.” Sometimes I look at them and the mingling of so much love and pain at the same time is overwhelming. Time just seems to be moving so fast and years are gone in an instant. I wish I could slow it all down and at other times I want it to go faster. My third child has been in chemo now for almost three of his short 5 yrs. His birthday is Oct. 31- reformation day. How fitting. He has endured so much and taught me so much in the process. He is human sunshine and such a solider. However, at times I am poured out and spent and there is temptation to just give into fear. I do pray that I come out better and not bitter. I cannot see past this moment…Yesterday was awful. Chemo, I simply hate that day and all the effects it has on him. But today His mercies are new and I have to choose to stand up in the grace given. Press on, press on, even if with tears, press on. So today I will teach my children, I will bake pumpkin bread, I will dance with them and collect leaves, and we will make volcanos on the kitchen table and watch them erupt. I will laugh at the days to come. I must. I need Jesus so very much.

    • Anna,

      Prayers for you … experiencing what no mother desires…may you be surrounded by His comfort and peace. As we celebrate Reformation Day I will think you of you and your precious son.

      • Your prayers are very much appreciated. Pray for healing, for joy, for the ablity to live in the now and trust Him with our tomorrow. His name is Mattox. All prayers are welcomed!

        • I will write your prayer request in my journal as a reminder to pray for Mattox…and his Velveteen mother. Your request is a prayer we all can share…hugs to you.

  143. nothing has lived out Hosea 6 for me like mothering. He has torn me in it, only to revive me and heal my broken parts. You see, I have 4 children here on earth and 6 in Jesus’ arms. Two of the earthbound of them are biological. Two are adopted from Ukraine. The Ukrainian born children have major issues w/ attachment. They mostly hate me. The reason for all their pain is a lack of a mother in the early days and years of their lives. They don’t let me in. It has broken my heart. It has broken our family in ways I didn’t know were possible. They have both had to live out of the house for treatment. One still does, and might not ever return to live out the childhood I had envisioned for her. To say that the Lord has broken me to fill up my wounds with His love and joy, has come at a price. I have learned though, that in His Sovreignty, He has been giving me His Best: Himself… I can say with joy that it has taken me reading Ann’s blog and the book I believe He used her to write, that has taught me to receive His gifts and the receiving of them has changed me. I am not sure I can put it into words, but I am present with my children in ways I would not have been without this place of horrific sorrow, so I can express now that He is making me a velveteen mommy. So grateful.


  144. As I watch so many young members of our extended family welcome new covenant children into their homes and want to hold them and tell them so much about being the wife and mother God has called to us be…don’t make the Super mom mistakes I made, cherish this child, be confident in teaching them His words…but after reading about being a Velveteen Mother I realized it has to be experienced first hand. We learn from our falls and greatful for our children who love us anyways. After being a mom for over 22 years now I can feel the velvet wearing thin and God’s grace covering me.

  145. Thank you for this . . . my children, all 4, are out of our home now, but live nearby. This . . . this watching them leave and being left . . . this is the hardest part, yet the most wonderful part too. I am the one on the outside looking in . . . in at what is going on in their lives as God works, molds, and matures each of them. I am fervently praying for them with a love that consumes me . . . such a mystery, such a passion! I could never have believed that this journey of motherhood could be so incredible . . . and, ultimately, turn me into a Velveteen mom. I have a son and a surprise, natural set of triplet daughters. Life has been beyond belief! So much laughter, tears, heartache, and joy! How does any woman remain the same after becoming a mother? She cannot.
    So many stories . . . so much LIFE. How could we EVER manage without our wonderful Lord? “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8)

  146. Ann, this spoke to me so strongly today. I am in the midst of what feel like a thousand little trials, with a son who would try the patience of the most patient saint ever (and me with only ordinary patience, struggling always for more), longing for more babies but wondering if I can or should have more when I can’t parent well the ones I have, and then this week it seems that maybe that choice won’t be mine to make any more and what am I doing here where I never thought to be again? It hurts. It hurts a thousand times, and a thousand more, but here we are still, looking forward to the day when we will be Real.

  147. I sit here 16 years later and wonder how God has graced me with this one child. A child we thought we would never have. He appeared March 30 all red hair and dimple in his chin. I had/have such high hopes for him. There are times I have prayed for him and there are times I have not prayed. He came to know the Lord when he was young and now he has walked away a bit weary of all that is “christian.” I wonder what I could have done to change that or to make it different. I know that he needs to find his true center in God himself. Not my walk, not his dad’s walk, only his own.
    I have seen him struggle to understand other boys and why they are so mean. I have seen him struggle with what and who he is in this world. I am in the midst of his struggle for his sexuality right now. He is wondering if he is gay. My heart breaks for him in thinking that may be the life he chooses for himself and yet I can only turn him over to God and know that He holds him even closer than I ever could.
    I would love a guide book to tell me everything will be okay and that he will be “normal” and that I haven’t failed as a mother. I know it is in the walking out day by day with my hand in God’s that will lead me through the worry.
    I have learned that love is truly the only way and that when I remember that my sin is no different than anyone elses I can hold him closely and yet lightly as he struggles through this issue.
    I fully am the velveteen mohter,

  148. Mamma for 37 years…have loved and roared, soothed and prayed, cried and rejoiced… Ten children, seven adopted, five sons. Still raising five precious ones. Have had my heart broken so many times I’ve lost count (mostly self-inflicted?). I should be Velveteen mamma by now (sometimes I am?). Your words bring me back to Him, point me back to true north on this long blessed journey God’s called us to.
    Thank you… Thank you………….. God bless you………………..

  149. I have raised 6 and all but one have gone off on their own journey of life. Our 15 yr old is the only one left at home. My oldest, who is 28, lives far away and after 20 something years, he still does not forgive me for the divorce. He’s cold and distant and just last night I wept and cried out to God for some mercy and some grace. I opened my wounded soul so that He could see that I couldn’t take anymore of the separation from my first born. I said, “Father, can’t you see that I can not take one more day without hearing from my boy!! Lord, can’t you heal my heart!” I went to sleep last night feeling an emptiness way deep down in my innermost parts.

    When I awoke this morning, my son called me. The conversation was lighthearted. We laughed. He said he’ll come to see me. He said I didn’t fail him as a mother. I have spent the rest of the day rejoicing and thanking Him. He knew what my soul needed and He knew I could take no more. He is good and He is faithful and He is my strength.

    Thank you for this post, Ann!


  150. wow what a question. where am i today in my mothering? grateful for forgiveness and mercy and Jesus death on the cross so that i am free. see, im in recovery from a really ugly addiction to pain killers and then a short one with alcohol. I let my kids down time and time again and they still have mental pictures of the mom i was then. even though it was a short time period, it did lots of damage. Even today my oldest daughter dreamed i started drinking again and i was taken fromher in death. ive been in recovery now for 4 years. i have four children who were all witnesses to the addictive behavior. Thankfully, i can live out my apology by being who they need me to be. I read your blog daily ann, you are truly inspiring. youhave even prayed for us and our financial mess we r in. right now i catch myself wishing they had different parents and different financial situation. theyve seen the forclosure of their childhood homeand now possible eviction from out little condo . their dad is out of a job again. they feel abandoned. we sponsor a child and they do feel good about giving back. pray for our healing. their healing. i feel i am a rabbit to make up forthe tiger i once was.

  151. We have four boys, our eldest turns nine next week. I am 10 weeks pregnant with our fifth. Thank you Ann for admitting your past feelings about your fifth. I have been struggling with the same things. I know it is a blessing and I am thankful, but my emotions sometimes do not comply with this! I know that the Lord has a better plan for my family and myself than I can even imagine…why is it so hard to trust that moment by moment? I also love the part about how the weary and the wearing IS the beautiful part. Thank you for these words. I needed them so much.

  152. I was quite young, when I had my first. And i did not know then, but I had not finished growing up. I did not know who I was, in Christ, or anyone else. I fumbled, and experimented, searching for a way to parent, because I had never learned. Now the oldest is 16, and fourth, youngest, is four, I feel, one minute, I am finding the way, then suddenly, I am 20 again…without a clue. I hope and pray, when I say God”s will be done, it can happen that way. It is nice to feel encouraged here, and know I am not alone. Why do I feel like every other mother knows so much more than me? Why does one parenting skil work so well on one, and not on another? I am so thankful for God’s grace!!!

  153. I have recently learned that sometimes our hardest moment is the very one that God uses as our finest. It really comes down to my response. My children are my most precious gifts…I was made to be there Mother. Even in the most heart breaking moments, when I am not “cool” or “brilliant” in their eyes. When their tears sear my heart, their pain pierces my flesh, ..I know that I was made to be their Mother and it is counted as one of my hardest yet finest hours. Thank you Jesus!!!

  154. I have been a Tiger Mom and a Dragon Mom fiercely sheltering my cubs from hurts and bullying. My cubs are now 28, 22, 20 and I pray that I display the Velveteen Mother. I have long forgotten that book of old, one that I read many a time to those precious ones. Worn over with wisdom, The Word and time, I have learned a thing or two about silence, withdrawing theopportunity for my children to “skip” the hard part , the lesson that God provides in the hurts of life. I am very proud of them, wishing only that I had come to know the Father earlier in their life but perfect timing is His and I am grateful that my yes to Him became a yes for all of them in their own time. I encourage you young mommies out there to love hard and always pray, pray, pray, example ladies, be the example, and soon you will see them follow in it. Blessings,

  155. i dont usually comment in these posts, but something about some of the women’s stories here really grabbed me, and i find myself joining the conversation in grieving together, in rejoicing together, in prayer, and in encouraging and even mentoring (the older women to the younger women as in Titus 2) and this is as the body of Christ should be! this is encouraging.

    dealing with chronic illness–illness that came about after post-partum depression went untreated, and my fourth baby being mal-nourished–i have been on a hard path in my mothering journey. it is most definitely not an easy one. i write about it a lot over at sixinthesticks, and it is hard to just put it into a few words here. but i guess it’s suffice to say that God just gives more grace–where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, and He gives more grace, and He gives more grace. He never runs out, never stops, and im just so enamored with Him, but i cant thank Him enough, love enough, or do enough to be worthy of all He’s given. most days, i lean heavy into Him. thats all i can do. i feel the worn spots beginning to shine His love and grace. but a lot of days–really every day–i look and just see plain ol’ sinful me, and i just ask that He moves me from this stale place of selfish, self-focused, illness-laden season that im in and make me a velveteen mama.

    you can pray for me, by just asking the Father to lift this illness that has overshadowed our home, but to make the growth happen in our hearts as it pleases Him during this season.

    blessings to you, sweet Ann! (and prayers for you and your’s as well with illness this week)


    • You are brave in Him and so beautiful and I pray with you right now.
      I am so grateful you joined the conversation today, sister… God used you to bless so many.

  156. HI,
    My Mom raised us & because my Dad died when we were teenagers,SHE had to be a TIGER MOM . Yet, she always KNEW when we needed a hug.
    She spent the last 6 years in a Nursing Home with Parkenson’s & we all laughed at how we ever made it into our 50’s & 60’s since NONE of us “Would have to worry about driving, because we were not going to make it to our 16th Birthday”
    Yet, our kids”her grandkids ” were Perfect! “Because I said so” was one of Mom’s favorite saying also.
    She passed away in March & we would all give anything to have her with us, but have tons of Funny stories to tell our children.
    it’s the little things that we remember & cherish . God Bless

  157. Ann, thank you for this. This last week I’ve been feeling very weary, very weak, very much in need of God. My oldest (9yo boy) has been battling God and in turn battling my husband and I. He’s asking good questions beyond his years (is God real? how do I know I’m going to heaven if I keep sinning?) but is also rebelling and testing us. God’s using this to make me more like himself and as much as I don’t like the process I know it’s for my good. Thank you for speaking to my heart just when I needed this encouragement.

  158. All I can say is “Wow!” My husband and I have four precious children ages 7, 5, 4 and 2 years. We are missionaries in Belize. We homeschool. I struggle. How much I needed to hear all of this. I thank all of you for being transparent today. I read so many comments that could have easily been my own. It is so good to know that we are not alone in our journey to be made more like Christ. Oh, how I often pray that the Lord would make me more like Him and help me to be the wife and mama He has called me to be . . . the wife and mama they need me to be. I don’t want to look back with regrets. Oh, Lord, please change me now I pray!

  159. I love how our God works. Using whatever it takes to add depth and truth and [realness] to our lives.
    This post made me smile. I understand. I, who have no children, barely the dream of them anymore, understand. Because God has used my childlessness to make me real. Just as he used your six to add depth to you.

    May he continue to mold each and every one of us… day by day. Hour by hour. Into an image of Him.

    -In Christ-

  160. Train up a child in the way he should go, and be ready to forgive him. The way he should go is a road named Grace….

    This post struck a cord with so many–
    to me-I have so often wondered where that road truly is, was, will be–I have an answer now–
    thank you.
    It really is a road of Grace-what a tremendous Promise!

  161. I know a couple of “Velveteen Mothers” and never thought before of describing them that way. One of them once shared this scripture with me. Isaiah 40:11 “. . .he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bossom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” She said since God extends that grace to us as mothers, we should pass that grace on to our children. Oh how I want to lead, gently.

  162. This is so beautiful, it sums up all the feelings that I can’t put into words. The part that speaks the most to me: “Its strange sometimes how we need what we don’t even know we want.” My whole life my biggest fear was having a baby. Weird huh? It wasn’t until I actually did, that I realized how much of a blessing it truely is. I’ve learned so much about God through being a mother.
    For example, I’ve experienced the pain of loving my little boy so much, and knowing that he doesn’t (nor is he probably capable) of loving me back the same amount. I can’t comprehend how much God loves me, but being a mother has given me a small glimpse. Longing for me to love Him as much as He loves me.
    It’s truely amazing being a mommy. I look back on all the years I wasted being afraid and feel silly. How could I be so afraid of such a precious 6lb 1oz baby boy!

  163. As my belly swells round with our 6th blessing, I am made painfully aware at how much I don’t deserve each of them. The innocence, the love even after I’ve messed up, the forgiveness and the want to be more like the Savior I love so much. What a refinement and scouring of soul these little ones have on me. This is a gift. To be given something so precious to mold and bring up in the fear and admonition of God, as I am still working out my own salvation. A sinner, raising another sinner. Each of us equipped with only the love and grace of a perfect Redeemer. He is sufficient in my weakness, He is glorified in my need for him. That is enough. That is beauty.

  164. I felt once, a few years ago, God not so gently nudging me to pray this prayer for my three children…”please Lord, whatever it takes to bring them completely and passionately to You-that they would be sold out to You and live their lives for Your glory.” Whew, a hard prayer to pray and the testing has come but it’s so exciting to see God’s hand in all they go through! The oldest two have been through turbulent waters and the youngest asking if all teenagers have to lose their minds-but God is wooing them to Him with His great love, grace and mercy. I’m getting softer and more worn by the day…but certainly feeling more “real”.

  165. So long it took me to conceive. And I wouldn’t pray and did everything I knew how to do and I ached so much and I wouldn’t pray. And the years passed. And she came. And God in His mercy forgave my stubbornness, my refusal to bend to Him. And in His grace and mercy He has shown me His love … shown me, through her, that His love is unconditional. I wouldn’t pray, but He gave me my girl right at the right time. Had she come earlier, perhaps she would have been my idol. God, in His mercy, has shown me that she WAS my idol, before she was even conceived. But in His perfect timing, I can know that I don’t want a daughter idol, rather a good, kind, real God.

  166. This blog was exactly what I needed to read today. I have 3 beautiful children of my own one whom we think is adhd and I also had a special needs child in my care for 1 year. I thank God for them every day ! Parenting is such a honer that God chooses to bestow on us and entrust us with. To say I ever feel that I truley live up to my expectations of Jesus-likeness in my parenting just would not be true there is always some thing I can grow in. One thing I know is being a Mom has humbled me and made me lean into Jesus in a way I never knew exsisted. My children better me daily and make me want to spend more time with God to be more like him so my kids will be like him. Jesus strength for us Moms is amazing when ya think you haven’t a ounce of energy left to play on the floor, to clean up the toothpaste your son painted the wall with, to put supper on the table for the man whom you love . Jesus somehow breathes fresh life into us. They key for me is remember I am not holding up our family it is God and he is more than capable.

  167. Just today I was praying….I know my children are “good” by the world’s standards. But a couple of them are on the low end of the autism spectrum and can uncomprehendingly be so painful unkind or rude…and seemingly never be able to grasp that they have injured another. Is is an ‘idol” that God is rooting out…this deep seated pain when my children are unkind? It is a rubbing raw. And only God’s grace can make me a Velveteen mommy.

  168. I needed these words and tears tonight. so affirming, so healing. thank you. 3 children…the last, not planned who suffered more in her first two years of life than most adults ever will…she is so filled with joy and like Sarah, is my blessing in my “old age” of 47. My first, ready to hear about the “ugly” things of life…onto more mature things like “there is no Santa Claus…and my middle…who is so spiritually sensitive yet is battling a war in her little mind, that God really doesn’t listen to me and “i wish I were never born”. All along with accompaning my husband to two appointments addressing his past that haunts him and all of us. This is my journey tonight…my real journey. tomorrow will be a new day…where His mercies are new every morning.

  169. My “babies” are now 33, 32, 31 and 28. What I know is that even though they are grown up, I will never stop being Momma, and I love that. Sometimes I feel like it was just yesterday that they all little and we are doing activities at home. I am blessed with 2 beautiful granddaughters, and I get to be the grandmother that I always wanted to have. Most definitely the velvetine type! My husband calls our home “The Land of Never Say No!” we are helping my youngest son, (28) and his beautiful fiancé plan for their wedding in the summer of 2013. We feel so blessed! God has given us, and blessed us with such an amazing loving family! If I were any happier I would be in Heaven!

  170. First of all, I need to say how much I love this book! I read it to my child and just yesterday, I quoted some of it on my blog.
    I am not sure what I am. I am not a Tiger Mother. I may be a Dragon Mother and hope to be a Velveteen Mother. That hope just may come true considering my current circumstance.
    I have a beautiful 2 and a half year old daughter. Almost four months ago, I gave birth to identical twin girls, Emmerson Claire and Vivienne Catherine. My sweet girls did not survive. I handed them over to the Lord a lot sooner than I had ever hoped or dreamed. I feel that the natural order of things have been disturbed. I NEVER thought I would have to bury any of my children. I am now sitting on the other side of the unimaginable. I don’t know how to navigate these waters. It is rough.
    I have found that I ask questions and I search. I search HARD for the answers. I seek God. I seek really HARD to find Him. I have lessened my grip on the things in life I used to hold important. I try to savor every moment I have with my living daughter and consider it gift. It is hard. I sometimes cannot do this because of the grief. Because I am so consumed that I will never get a moment like that with my Emmy or Vivi. I am trying so hard to savor the moments and to simply live in them. The ugly in life has made its way into my life and I am trying to figure out how to consider it beautiful. How to glorify God in this. That is the only way it can be beautiful, isn’t it? I am trying. God knows I am!
    I am being honest, real with my daughter when tears stream down my face. She knows of sadness now. She has seen it on her mother’s face and she has heard the weeping and the wailing come from her mothers heart. She knows she has two sisters in Heaven, with Jesus. She knows her mother would rather them be here. That is me being honest with her. That is me being real with her. Life hurts sometimes, she knows that. People break sometimes, she knows that too. I hope what she has learned and holds on to for the rest of her life, is that God is the only way, no matter which way He leads.
    I need prayers for my King to continue to sustain me. For the glory to be seen and the peace to be felt.

    • Stephanie, my heart hurts for you as I read your reply. I don’t post, I read, but today I wanted to tell you that you are a beautiful strong brave Mommy that is digging deep in your greatest grief and your Jesus is well pleased with You. You are parenting your little one in beauty and honesty. Her character is growing even now through your love and realness. You are a velveteen Mama.
      Much love and prayer for you right now.

  171. Coming up to 20years of mothering – and as I drove along today, the weariness of waiting – waiting to see if the prayers, late night talks, tears and mentoring, really have come to this – whether she will choose Christ, or whether I face the pain that threatens – that she will go her own way. However the pain is a stark reminder that all I have done , attempted, poured forth, does not deermine an outcome, even though for years I was assured it would. It is only as He works on her heart, and she responds. Neither are actions that I control or instigate. So in this redundancy, I wait. And it hurts becuase, frankly I don’t know what comes next. Oh, how I need to walk in His grace more than ever. .

  172. Oh sweet Ann, are you really making me go to this place in my heart today? Of the year that I have been following you and sending everyone I know to your space, this is the 1st comment I’ve ever left. This subject is so raw, there is not enough space here to expound. I will say that mothering is they very thing that propels me to deny myself and take up my cross daily and follow Him. I feel like I’m getting it wrong more time than right. All I can say is GRACE….Another chance tomorrow and prayerfully the children will see more of Him in me tomorrow than they did today and more the day after than the previous.

  173. Motherhood has made me more painfully aware of my own sins and shortcomings than anything else in life–it makes me more and more aware of every teensy mistake I am making, can make, or will make. I have become more of a human by becoming a mother. God has used being a mama to draw me and keep me closer to Him than I ever have been in my life—that will happen when you make the kind of promises that Hannah made when she was praying for a child. In order to keep that promise, I have no choice but to stay close to the Word and pray, pray, pray for these girls to love Him and to serve Him before they want to do anything else in the world. But being a mama is messy for me and I have fallen and sinned and begged forgiveness–knowing that this shell of me is not always the best “dwelling place of Christ.” But children teach as much as they learn and they do give the best instruction in unconditional love and forgiveness than anyone else, with exception of Christ himself. God has shown me more and more of Him through my kids and I am grateful for that because that is the best gift of all. Thanks for this, Ann. I’m sharing this with all my mama friends!

  174. The picture of trucks brought tears to my eyes as I thought of the 2 brothers who played together peacefully in our dirt and how quickly the time has passed and now there are 4 who play and one day, the dusty mess that drives me crazy, will be empty of toys and boys. I am thankful for God’s nudging to forget the cares inside the house, but instead play with them and treasure these moments.

    I often want to shout, “This is not what I signed up for!”, but on the other hand, it is even more wonderful than I could ever imagined, and I know that the things worth doing will be hard. I rest in those mercies that are new every morning!

  175. Hmmm, Motherhood…. Hurt? Perhaps hurt in a very needed way… Hurt my own daily plans, my own selfish desires, my own agenda. Healed? Healed my soul of pure self-centeredness, and revealed how very self-centered I still am! Pushes me to the foot of the cross every day, many times a day. Shown me I am not the One in control! And I never was (did I think I was? yes!)

    Where am I in mothering? With a 7, 5, & 3 year old. Thought that they were my “plan.” Now wondering if God is planning more for our family? And how to know? Giving it all to Him one day at a time! How the days fly by! And just this month, starting to realize how truly fast it is all going.

  176. “A Velveteen Mother — made Real by the years — the way grace can happen to you. And not all at once — but you become. And grace becomes you.”
    These words caught me so off guard, all I could do was cry! Being a mother makes me feel the most me–the most Real. I feel like, as time has gone by(my kids are 9, 7 & 7), and I have settled in to being “just a mom”, I have become who I was meant to be all along. I sometimes feel like my husband and Jesus are the only ones who know the real me, who get that this is’s like the world is waiting for me to get on with something more.
    Knowing that I get to live my calling is a gift beyond anything I deserve, and yet God’s grace makes it so. And to know that being a mom is indeed a calling, well I still can’t believe this is the life I get to live.
    My kids are at the age where I want to start slowing the train…savoring every moment..not complaining when their needs disturb my wants and instead realizing that some day, my house will be quiet, and I will miss those “interruptions”.. I’m so happy to be homeschooling them, I can’t imagine missing all those day-to-day moments–even when I’m frustrated and cranky, I will never regret being home with my kids.
    Being a Mom has hurt me, in that I realize my tremendous lack, in so many areas–and my continual need for my Savior. Being a Mom has healed me, in that I was not mothered well, and to be able to be the Mom to my kids that I wish I had growing up heals up all the broken places in me.
    Thank you Ann, for your beautiful words.

  177. I LOVE this!!! My little boy is almost 9, and I am seeing every day the hint of a little boy turned into a little man. This post is … wonderful!

  178. My son, Joshua is 5 and he has Spina Bifida. He uses a wheelchair but is quite the active and independent little boy. He is kind, helpful, outgoing, and very social. But best of all, to me, he has a sensitive heart to things of God. My greatest desire is to nurture that and be a true example to him of Jesus Christ (which to be honest is challenging at times). My prayer is for him to come to an understanding of salvation, to always be sensitive to God, and to seek each day to know Him more.
    We also do online school with him and I would ask you to pray that 1)He would always try his best ( he has difficulties in some areas and at times will want to give up if he thinks it is too hard) and 2)That I would always encourage him to do his best and praise him for his effort.
    Thank you SO much for your prayers!

    • Dear Rebeckah,

      Your son sounds wonderful, especially his sensitivity to God. If your greatest desire is to be an example of Christ to Him, then I’m sure you will be.

      I am praying for you and for Joshua,

      Blessings, Janet

  179. I hope I am being what God wants me to be for my nephew that has lived with us a year now. He is twelve. We never could have children of our own. God has placed him in our lives and I pray that we are doing all we need to be and doing it correctly.

  180. What an incredibly beautiful post.
    I have had 4 treasures given to me. My two oldest are now living across the whole country on staff at a ministry. I am very grateful, as I know that is where they should be for now, however, I miss them both terribly. I not only love my children, but I like them as well. I like the people they are. I like their senses of humor, and just being with them. They have found the ones they will be marrying there. In a few years I will have grandchildren. My heart sometimes breaks into a thousand pieces knowing that they are living their lives so far away and I can not be part of it. Thankfully I do not feel like this every day. I am very busy, and still have the youngest 2 at home. Some days though, it is overwhelming.
    The pain of being a mom does not go away when they grow up.

  181. “A Velveteen Mother — made Real by the years — the way grace can happen to you. And not all at once — but you become. And grace becomes you.” Thumped with a velvet hammer I am! Always aiming, trying, and falling short, yet loving. Thank you, God, for grace. Thank you, Ann, for sharing. Loving and caring for a child rips one heart wide open and can burden this human frame–but in so doing the wonderful gifts.

    Gift of having to learn to rely on God — in the midnight hours when no doctor can come to ease the fevers and fears. When only God can keep breath moving into the lungs when pain of failure, or seeing this child hurt, sears my breath away. And gifts of utter delight, seeing the world through the eyes and heart of this boy.

    Thank you, Ann. Now this boy is grown and away, and I’m in grandmother season. But, I want to know–why does no one tell you–This will be the last time he will sit in your lap for a story, and so many other lasts that leave a hollow only God can fill?

  182. I am so very thankful for the 3 precious boys (and one sweet angel daughter) I have been blessed with. I have been through miscarriage, death of my baby girl, adopting my oldest son, my oldest son being diagnosed with autism and, by God’s grace, been drawn closer to my Lord in the midst of it all. My perfect plans, ideas dreamt long ago have been molded and changed as I have wound in and out of pain, disappointment and sheer joy. Seeking the Lord in the midst of school and growing and living, He is expanding my vision, my dependence and deepening the joy I feel in the little things.
    As I seek to understand the plans for my 3 and know where the Lord will take them, I find myself afraid for my oldest and what the future holds. Will you pray for sweet Nicolas and the Lord’s leading from boy living and growing with autism to young man serving Him?

    Blessings for this wonderful and timely post.

    • Alicia, I will pray for your sweet Nicolas. That the Lord will gently lead him him along unfamiliar paths, and make the rough places smooth, and make the crooked places straight. He’s a God who does this. And through it all, I pray you will really sense the strong arms that hold you when you hurt and wonder. Know with assurance that those same strong arms hold and comfort Nicolas. Being all he needs, even when you cant. I don’t know all the words, but there is no distance in spirit, so I agree with you now in Christ. Peace.

  183. With two out of five going their own way, it has been more painful and destructive and soul-killing than I ever thought possible. I don’t know if I could ever encourage anyone to have children in this day and age of porn and the internet and video games and the bottomless pit of temptation they face in this world. That’s where I am at. That’s real even if it isn’t the answer I am supposed to give.


    • I understand where you are coming from – young adult children that go their own way truly tears a mother’s heart asunder. I have four children – raised them up in the church (but wasn’t rigid about it) – not one of them is a follower of Jesus. It is so, so tough. I continue to pray for them that one day they will return to the fold.
      I am a well worn mother and I agree with you RCG that in this age of sexual freedom, temptation and promiscuity I would not encourage any of my children to have children. Sure there is joy – but the pain is much greater!!!

  184. This has really moved my heart. A velveteen mother , how beautiful, And motherhood has broken me and made me real, drawn me to God so close, Right now I am on my knees for my son who is walking away from God. Trying to stay strong and focus on the promises of God. Please pray I can release him and trust. Thank-you for your honesty

  185. Hello Ann – I LOVE how you describe things in such poetry. Such a simplistic beauty! This article speaks to me in such a powerful way. I feel like I am failing my children – too harsh, too quick, don’t listen, etc… BUT I am also seeing how being a mother is changing ME more than changing them!! I AM leaning more on God, realizing that HE is the only one that can get me through the day. 🙂 I am so thankful for beautiful blogs which help connect us moms and help us all grow more to be like Christ. I want to put it on my list over and over – just don’t know if we can write down the same things several times!!! 🙂

  186. There have been times when motherhood exalted me . Times it crushed me. Times it swallowed up all other aspects of life for me.

    On the day a 25 year old son returned to Christ he told me, “Mom, I know God will always love me because you have always loved me no matter what.” On the day a 30 year old Sergeant called me from the middle of a war he told me, “Mom, I am going to come home and just sit in your kitchen.”

    Sometimes the very moments we feel the most like we are lost or have been set aside are the moments of our greatest influence. When we feel that all we are doing is just watching the bread rise, maybe we should know it for a blessing. There is glory in the rising. Humility waits on greatness and patience has work to do.

    As mothers we build lives and we build them out of ourselves. It costs us. I would pay the price 10×10 and thank the Lord for His faithfulness.

  187. I really appreciated this post, as well as the comments following. I first started following the Holy Experience blog after God took our younger daughter- your posts were part of what gave me strength to go on. But one thing I learned to the depths of my soul was that we never have tomorrow. We never know what tomorrow, or even this afternoon might bring; if I had to lose my daughter in the morning, I am very, very glad, that I sat up with her crying all night- that I gave her whatever I had to give. When I put my elder daughter to bed now, besides praying that God would keep her safe through the night, and be merciful, I ask myself if I’ve loved her enough today, to lose her tomorrow. The answer is far from always yes, but now I understand that she isn’t mine- she’s God’s, and He loves her more.

  188. I have one I didn’t know I wanted too! My little surprise … he is 13 months old, and a true gift of God. How ashamed I am that I didn’t want another son, but even my feeble emotions prove that I hardly know my own heart and that God knows best.

    I am such a distracted mother, and I long to fully engage with my children, to really listen to their amazing words, their humor and their hurts.

  189. Ann, what lovely words to remind me that the wrinkles, tummy that won’t ever be the same and broken heart from a loss still fresh are part of being “real”. I love being a Velveteen Momma. Thanks for helping me embrace it.

  190. Hi…..I saw this link on the page of a friend on Facebook and I came along to read it…it touched my heart!
    I am not a mother…..but I have a Velveteen mother….she is so real….the years have made her that way! I am that last child the one she “didn’t know she wanted”; I came eight years after my last sibling(who I might add was number 6) and I arrived after my father had left our home. My mother brought me home by herself and I was welcomed by my six older siblings. There was a lot of love in my home. My mother and I grew up together she taught me everything there was to know….we laughed, cried, argued…..but in the end always loved one another. She was my greatest fan always cheering me on no matter what I did!! I love her more than anyone in the world!!!!!!!
    My mother has alzheimers…………………………..each day she slips away from us a little bit more…..but you can be sure to me she will always be “REAL”. I will do what I need to do to be sure she is never scared , cared for, comforted, safe and most of all that she knows she is loved….just like she did for me!
    You all keep going, love those kids…’re doing great!!! Remember those “surprises” may one day become your best friend!

  191. so raw right now, so torn. trying so hard to love on my babies. to show them the love of a Savior, that there is no need for perfection or even the attempt at perfection. yet at times i get so caught up in my desires for them i forget whose they really are. and in that process, i get angry with mistakes. grace, grace, Gods grace. how am i supposed to show my kids how He has given me lots of grace when i cant give them any. i love my girls, i am so blessed to have two healthy happy girls who love Jesus more than they love me. i just get scared that they will leave His side as i did and have endured sooo much pain because of it. please pray with me that i will give all my fears to my Father and that i will just become the mommy to those girls that He wants me to be

  192. I am a father looking for answers. My “blended” family has fallen apart. Where can I write for some help?

    • Dear Mike,

      I don’t know if writing to anyone would help as much as family counseling, and much prayer. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

      I think you need an objective and sensitive person to listen to each member of your family and help you try to heal whatever has caused the separation.

      I will pray for you and your family,


  193. I too get caught up in raising Godly men..that I forget that they are just boys. This has encouraged me to do what I know is the right thing, to do what I actually love about parenting…to get down on the carpet, out on my bike, into the fort with the bugs and just play. The other thing I need to keep learning is to let them play…on their own…wave goodbye as they ride their bikes off down the street (all the while handing them back over to the Lord!). I’m always learning. Thank you for your wisdom!

  194. I shed a few tears as I read this. Being a Velveteen mom is what I was, what I am. My three sons are now grown and I now am a grandma to two beautiful grandsons. I shed tears for the wonderful and hard times I experienced when I was raising my sons. It hurt because I didn’t know so many times what to do and it healed because I knew God would give me wisdom if I asked Him and if I listened I would hear Him. My life has changed so much from having been a mom because I realized I was responsible for other human beings besides me. It taught me to be unselfish. Thank you, Ann for this reminder. Linda

  195. I believe with all my heart that our children are God’s surest tool in revealing His own heart to us-His very nature. Before having children, I never even imagined the heights of joy nor the depths of pain He must feel with us, His children. In my own case, He has also used them quite effectively to humble me when I didn’t even know, blind one, that pride was my issue.

  196. I have a daughter who is prone to severe self loathing, rage attacks and physical and verbal abuse of me. She lives with me and her older sister lives and undergoes psychiatric treatment- I have gone to the wall trying to help her and truly adore her. I am currently trying the tough love approach which hurts me as well as my older daughter.

    My older daughter and I are going to sign eviction papers this Friday (I have had my younger daughter both arrested and hospitalized for physical and verbal abuse toward me and her older sister (she can control herself in other environments, just not at home.) Please pray that I am doing the right thing. My older daughter and I are living in a reign of terror created by my younger daughter. Please pray.

    • Praying for you just now – your wounds (and hers) are raw and deep – excruciatingly painful. Mental illness tears at a family in unimaginable ways – but God’s grace is sufficient, and he promises wisdom if we ask it of Him. May the Spirit of God hover over and above you, under and around you – all of you – and bring peace.

  197. A Velveteen mother… Oh the pangs of love and the pangs of being real in the moment of frustration in motherhood. The moments of a growing babe in womb to the moments of the babe laying in your arms after a hard and exausting labor of love… The moments I would teach one of my dyslexic sons to read in anguish over and over again the same sounds, the same words and my soul fails in temper and frustration~ why? God made him this way, so why does my heart fret? He is my smart, inquisitive, inventive, high ambitious son. How many times did I give into a woeful spirit when bedrooms were not cleaned and candy wrappers were hidden under beds, and a pile of dried up apple cores were found in the closet corner? How many times as I sat and read from God’s Word or a devotional book to my children that I would start to well up and tears would fall from my eyes because I KNEW God was speaking to me and my harsh word spoken or my fretting the little things… and in those tears were healing moments of God’s unconditional love. The moments of being real with your children and exposing your sin and then asking for forgiveness… the deep genuine love that aches because WE fail and THEY forgive and LOVE us. Yes, God is in our midst.

  198. Thank you for your thoughts and wisdom.

    My mind races through all of the mistakes I make from day to day with my two little girls, and the mistakes I will continue to make with them and with their little brother once he is born. I have often wondered how God could make me a mother. I am so broken, and though I have been offered such wonderful grace through my own parents and by Jesus, I flounder at showing that grace to my children at times in my impatience and desires to do other things besides being a mom…

    Praise Him for His mercy, which doesn’t depend on my strength, but rather my weakness. This was a gentle reminder of that. Thank you.

  199. my home is empty now and i come home alone day after day making void plans when my children should come home to live or at the very least to visit aain. the sons i raised are gone, one is in another continent and i don’t know what he is doing, he is in the jungle, the other is in another province and phones everythree months and says three sentences and goodbye. at least that is comforting. the two girls are close and busy with their own ives.
    but out in my yard are two tonka cats that are rusty and still sturdy and reminds me with a smile the days they played in the yard with those sturdy boylike playfulness.
    i don’t know about being a tiger but a lion, protecting to hard their lives and so i ask \god to bless them all and be with me in my lonlimess.

  200. What a lovely venue to encourage and share the trials and triumphs that come with the gift of motherhood. I see my four children, two grown and two straining towards their time to leave our home, as reflections of the good God has done and the ugly flesh that remains a part of me. This juxtaposition provides ample opportunity to chat with them about the good God does in His continuous work in them and also, to hopefully help them when they begin to stray. I am blessed with grown children who like to talk with me and seek counsel from both their dad and me. The teens still push against us at times but I see God working His purposes out in them and I have learned to back off and stay out of the way. That’s hard for a mommy!

    As I look back on the swing between tiger and velveteen mothering I rest in the work Christ has and is doing in each of us. I can lament the sinful mistakes I’ve made in not mothering them well but I’m immediately caught by the truth that we are God’s will for each other and He is faithful to complete His work in us. What a wonderful, merciful Saviour we have!

    That work He is working is now playing out in a trial; their Dad, my dear husband, has been diagnosed with the terminally ugly disease of ALS. I’ve always thought of my children as blessings and now they are proving that to be true in tangible ways. My youngest, a daughter I didn’t know I wanted, has helped me to find joy in this awful journey. When panic swept over me with it’s scary arms obscuring my ability to read the lesson I was preparing, that surprise-child prayed over me, encouraged me, read the lesson (2 grades above her), taught it to me, and gently nudged me to continue with what God had called me to do. The lessons of letting God fill you in your weaknesses came back in the most real way. The lessons we, moms, deliver either through our tiger or velveteen moments will come back to us, God redeems. I am undone.

    I started this mothering journey as a strict tiger wanting to prove to those around what a good mommy I could be. God has softened me to become a velveteen mama, worn out and okay with it! But the thing that leaves me filling with gratitude is how He worked both my good and bad mothering to His good purpose. He is faithful to complete the work He has begun.

    Thanks for this forum. Blessings to each of you dear moms as you live out this beloved calling on your lives. It really does go quickly!

  201. Motherhood has been God’s loving reminder, I can’t do anything w/o him! Oh, how I need my Savior…it wasn’t on my list of “what I want to be when I grow up”, but its what He calls me to everyday. My children are sensitive and passionate like me so I need to slow down, which is hard, and listen and look into their hearts, which between homeschooling, housework, and life, can be difficult. Nevertheless, motherhood is rubbing me down to be the “Velveteen Mother” (I like that)…and reveals daily how much of His Grace I see in them…and boy, do I need it!

  202. I love the line “the child I didn’t know I wanted.” I’m growing one of those right now and am so scared and tell God repeatedly how I don’t know if I can do this with four and long days and thin patience. Thank you for sharing what it means to be real.

  203. So beautiful. Motherhood has mostly hurt me in the tearing open of my eyes to my sheer brokenness and complete inability to be anything aside from Him. This task is so beyond me, I fail miserably whenever I attempt to work from my own steam. Three little girls in less than three years, and my need for Christ has never been more evident. But these children know grace and forgiveness like no adult I have ever met… And though our sinful nature is also evident in their gut reactions and instincts… I cherish the love, joy, peace, faithfulness, trust that they have in their mama. So humbling.
    Thanks for the reminder that hurting isn’t an indication of wrongdoing… Growing and learning and becoming grace to our children is a process that simply must hurt. Consider the raw material, right?
    Thank you for the lovely encouragement this gray October morning.

  204. So special being a Wife, mum and a grandma.

    A dear husband, Simon, who works so hard for our church and has time for everyone. Loves to swim, to run and cycle – can’t keep up with him but that’s ok. Such love for him. Such Freedom in Christ.

    A dear daughter of 34 who has been on a rollercoaster ride since the beginning of the year. Came home to Cornwall in the UK for the school holidays and now moved back.
    Words spoken to me her mum, who is 62, and never played in rock pools – paddled on the beach inspecting very closely hermit crabs together so special. It’s never too late to play on the beach. My girl said to me, ‘Mum whatever has happened this year I would not have missed this summer with you for the world.’ The Lord has blessed our relationship so much and I have truly received Freedom in Christ. Praise His name – Alleluia!

    Son Mark, just qualified at 38 and married now with my three lovely grandchildren. Praying for the return of the Prodigal.

    Grandson, Blake, 11, living 150 miles away, further up the UK who texts me lots of gobbledy gook about what he is doing on his other nan’s computer; uses me as his ‘text router’ to his mum until he gets credit.

    Precious grand- daughters Scarlett and Kennedy. Such vitality and life in them. Praise God for successful operation for little Kennedy of 2 and half.

    What a treasure being a wife, mum and grandma.

    Never give up – God is truly in control.

  205. Ann, I love your blog, and I look forward to reading it in the morning. I home school part time (my 4 kids are in a 2-day a week charter school). Your words always bring such peace to me, and help me center myself in our busy world. I must say you are right on track, though the tiger mom (as intense and maybe over the top as she is) has something to be said. It’s actually how I was raised, though I am not Chinese, LOL and now I am a professional violinist. I was, however, an only child, so balancing the crazy lifestyle of practice with 4 children is quite a trick. My first priority is that they love the Lord. I think teaching kids good work ethic (which they totally learn on a farm) is one of the highest priorities, as they are saying this next generation is a generation of “entitlement”. I think we need to throw the tiger mom a bone. I must say when I read her book, I laughed the whole way through, because, it was totally how I was raised. But, I was blessed, because my mother also loved to live in church, so I was raised in church, and practicing every day. I am thankful to my mom for giving me an incredible work ethic, and a love for the Lord.

  206. I am a single mom, I’ve served Christ for almost 5 years now with two beautiful children. Jade who will be 10 on Sunday, and Alex who is 5. I have made so many mistakes, and want so much to raise godly children…..I know God is a God who restores time back to us, and I can use all the prayer and encouragement in this journey that I can get. I want to find that ‘place’ with the Lord in between working outside of the home full time, commuting before and after work, cleaning house, serving at church, cooking dinner, cleaning house, doing laundry………….etc. Admist all the brokeness from my own past and my own childhood. I know God will restore.

  207. Oh, yes, I am a velveteen mom – 5 sons, 25 to 11 – and I have been dragged through adventures and left forgotten for awhile – but I think I am ready to be picked up again, held close and dragged to all sorts of adventures again – my oldest will become a dad and I think he looks at his velveteen mom with more remembrance and his daughter, my grand-daughter will find in me a treasure.

    My challenges? There is no mom more forgotten than the velveteen mom of a rebellious teen. I created 27 (so far) Unconditional Love Rules to remind myself that love is a choice, that love prays still, prays hard because I have not forgotten them, and unconditional love believes, like you said, that this mothering does not return empty – loving through broken-ness has taught me more about God’s love, God’s faithfulness and His unfailing Hope than anything else in my life.

    Beautiful post Ann! – Velveteen Mom, indeed!

  208. I burst into tears when I read: There are wrinkles I’ve made that there’s no ironing out.

    Thank you for blessing me today Ann. God bless you. Hugs…

  209. I am the complete opposite of a Tiger Mother, and now that mine are nearly grown and gone, I wonder if I’m done them an injustice. I’ve been accused of over-protecting, of not letting them make mistakes and learn from them. And all I can do now is pray that they understand that I wasn’t trying to control them, but trying to be thoughtful, helpful and show them the fullness of mercy and grace.

  210. Oh Ann,
    Nothing can prepare us for the joy and heartache known as motherhood. It breaks us like clay that needs re-doing before it is finished. And to surrender to Jesus is the only way to see joy in hard days.
    How I love what you write. You see the layers, and express with such beauty.

    with love and gratitude,

  211. My dream for a lifetime, mothering has been. Three long years and three losses scratched deep into the flesh of this heart’s dreams, the dreams that almost died. Yet, now he smiles at me through a toothless grin and my heart swells and breaks and bursts. Oh such joy! What almost wasn’t, but now is–the grace of a miracle and answered prayers–spoken softly on tear stained pillows. He made me a mother; me, this wounded, fragile and all too insecure woman who wanted nothing more than motherhood. Yet, to be reminded that HE made me a mother, created me for that purpose and plan. And to know that HE will enable and equip me to that purpose. It all leaves me humbled, face down on bended knees, praying for the grace to do this thing gracefully each day. And boldly, I pray He fills this spacious quiver to its fullest, that I, too, may someday count my five or six growing children and wonder where the years have gone!

  212. What a wise & loving posting, Ann. I’ve been shy for so long about replying, but this one touches that most tender of places in the heart. Thank you.

    Our precious daughter was born on the exact due date of my 6th miscarriage in 1988. She is and has always been the most loving, giving, brilliant… and humbling daughter anyone could have ever prayed for. She taught me to look at so, so many things differently. Through her, I learned to forgive my own brilliant, headstrong, over-extended, exhausted mother. Through our precious daughter I learned how wrong my assumptions often had been. Through her I learned my shortcomings, short-tempered exhaustion, stinginess with laughter, and finally learned to enjoy moments instead of waiting for perfection. Through her I am learning the wisdom of questions instead of demands.

    Through prayers I learned that when I pulled through the layers of what drove me, the rushing, frustrations, sleeplessness, were 9 times out of 10 fears of what I either didn’t know that she needed to know or worse what I had failed to learn that every good mother would, could, should teach their daughter.

    She’ll turn 23 this Thanksgiving weekend and she’s already done more living and loving than most of us can imagine. She’s worked in Haiti, Russia and South Africa with children in different states of organized settings, some loosely called orphanges. Based on a 5 month research program, she wrote a 65 page thesis on the work in South Africa as a junior. Three months after graduating from college, she went by herself to a mission assignment in Kenya for 6 months and then on to Tanzania for 5 months where in both places instead of caring for the children as she hoped, she sat in hot, lonely offices accounting for the expenditures of grant dollars. Now she’s working on a Habitat project for a year; hard work and she is loving it.

    We have the most amazing conversations now and as gorgeous as she’s always been, used to think every morning when I picked her up, “this is it, she can’t get any more precious and I can’t love her more”, each day she is still more wonderful than the day before. This summer we took a cross-country drive for 10 days to get her to the Habitat project; it was the time shared I always longed for – we talked, we laughed, we hiked, we visited friends, we loved each other the way she has deserved to be loved everyday. When I was so worried about my failings, I gypped us both of the joy & laughter we both longed for.

    God does answer all those prayers. And, Ann, you have been the gift to open our eyes and hearts to hear His beckoning for so many ladies. I join them in thanking you humbly.

    blessings for you, your beautiful family, and your ministry.

  213. I hesitate to write, but I feel I must join the ranks of fellow Mothers. Like you all have said, children are so wonderful and yet so difficult. My first is a spunky 7 year old little girl who believes it necessary to object to most of her parents directions based on the principle that she could be right someday. 🙂 She came out that way!

    It is so difficult to see beyond her faults – because they are my own. I have been learning the process of slowing and making time for those moments where I can purpose to see her gifts and tell her so. Spending time with her shouts to her that I love her, but making time in the ebb and flow of family life feels like a never ending hamster wheel.

    I already feel the loss of her young years… yet I know that God’s grace is enough. Enough for today and enough for what will come tomorrow.

    Thank you, Ann, for painting with words and encouraging me to keep on fighting the good fight! Ruth

  214. What good words. Daily, I thank God for my five precious daughters, though I wasn’t always thankful at the first news of their coming. They do hurt and they do delight. Am I really becoming more like Him in the process of raising them? I pray so. Many days, I despair. Many days, I fell like He’s no where in the middle of it, like I’m just doing this on my own. But then my beloved reminds me not to lose hope, like the times I encourage him not to lose hope.
    My homes not organized or particularly clean. We aren’t dressed in the latest and don’t always eat the very healthiest, but I do pray that I’m making the right decisions about sitting and reading or playing Old Maid, or taking the time to work the problem through between two of them or even with me.
    I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world, but I do love the idea of becoming velveteen rather than vicious!
    Thanks for the ongoing encouragement. Just knowing there’s a community and we all fail and we all are growing. Praise to the One and Only One!

  215. Yesterday, I skipped right past this article, because I am not a mother and never will be and that hurts more than I can say and has for a long time and has been made worse by well intentioned words from God’s people.

    Today, for reasons I cannot explain (God can), I read this anyway, read it with a heart full of worries of my own, worries about the people entrusted to my care in the life I do have. Worries about who they are, who I am with them, what myths we have created and what needs to be healed, and mostly worries because I don’t have the first idea how to begin.

    Ann, these words of yours blessed me on my journey, as different as it is from yours:
    “… they have made me sing and sob and they have made me know my sin. Strange, how hurting can heal. Strange, how sometimes we need what we don’t even know we want. Strange, how He makes ashes into beauty.”

    My thanks to you for being an instrument of His Grace for me today.

    • Wow, surely a peace that surpasses all understanding has been part of this that your write.

      I am so sorry for your sorrow. I cringe everytime I hear “children are a gift from God” because where does that leave those who long for children and recieve no “gift”?? Where does that leave those who struggle with/resent/regret the “gift”, sometimes even destroy the gift? Why would God take Job’s children/gift from him? No, we need to be so careful not to impose our human understanding on God and as a result be the cause of another person’s sorrow and pain.

      Thank you for sharing your experience, that shows God’s grace in a powerful way and is such an encouragement to me. Blessings to you who will never be anonymous to God.

  216. Motherhood has stretched me in ways I never thought possible, it opened wounds that bled out anxiety, fear and purpose. I longed for a traditional childhood, a mom, a dad, a brother and a dog, but that wasn’t in God’s plan, instead the mother left a family and a newness was formed, yet a longing that never subsided in my heart to have what once was. Now a mother of two, a husband and were are all under the same roof, I try to compensate for the things that were absent, this has built my character and my desire to be transparent to my kids, they still love me at the end of a rough day, they show me grace when I am weak and fall victim to sin, teaching me what true forgiveness looks like.

  217. So many brave women leaving messages! I am inspired and comforted. Thank you! I am Mother of Four Girls, with only one left at home age 14. I think it is, and has been the most rewarding time of my life, but somehow I have to turn a little different direction now. I have noticed that I sway between extreme Joy in what my grown girls have become and Extreme sadness that those sweet little girl days are over. Perhaps, some days I am now that little girl. Sounds funny, but I think it is God’s plan for me.I was twirling and dancing in my living room with Him just this morning. Remember to be His little girl too. He delights in you! I think my Grown girls will see this and know it is ok too for them to still twirl too. Mine is a gentle worn velveteen twirl, no doubt. Thank you for asking!

  218. I am so moved by your words today, and the honesty and courage of the women responding. I have been moved to tears by the confessions and admissions, knowing that I can identify with so many.
    I feel so inadequate as mom to my three beautiful kids, and yet I know God has given them to me to nurture and love. I pray that I’m less tiger and more velvet, less conscious of time restraints and more conscious of my little ones desire to talk to me and share.

  219. I am grieving for the grief my own five must bear as their father abandons us for somewhat of a cult……….The realizations as they age that their dad really has never loved them….so so sad! But the truth must come out into the light. It is good. Healing. Truth. “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”….we must go to the Father through Him….the Eucharist…the ‘giving thanks’ in all things. Amen.


  221. Motherhood has deepend within me the seed of Hope! You know that grace that does not disappoint….it looks to the future, when prodigal daughters are in a far-off land. And it continues to wrestles back in prayer the heart of the child who is living dangerously on the edge. This veleteen mother has an underside of velcro… One who will not abandon an inch to the enemy of our souls, those precious children who have been given and won at Calvary.
    Motherhood has also deepened HOPE within this well worn heart as I look confidently ahead to the “Party in Heaven” when Down Syndrone will completely bow before the King ….when mother’s and father’s prayers are fully realized before His Veleteen throne…I live in Hope! Sometimes worn thin, but nevertheless…. thankful for the Divine velco that won’t let me go.

  222. I just received a devastating cancer diagnosis today, and the hardest part is the thought that I may not be here for my children. They are 24, 21, and 20, in college, starting new careers, just beginning to live their own lives, but they still need me. They call everyday and share their adventures, they all 3 say “Mom you are my best friend”. They were homeschooled, so we are especially close. They are Christians and they are praying and they still want a mom. Please keep us in your prayers!

  223. I have five, beautiful, wonderful, talented children, who aren’t children anymore. The youngest just turned 18 last week. Monday was my 60th Birthday! On that day, all my children gathered and spoke words of blessing to me – what they appreciate about me – how much they loved different aspects of my personality and mothering. The one the spoke the most blessing was that I had become a best friend – listening without trying to mother, giving advice as a friend, guiding in spiritual formation. I cried. Tears of joy. May you all be so blessed on your 60th birthday!

  224. Just now, I drove in my car, weeping because I cannot make my daughter accept that she is loved, that the Creator made her for me, that He loves her perfectly. I cannot take away her fears, little and big. I cannot promise anything except that I will always love her with all my heart. And though she is nearly an adult by the world’s standards, all I see is a little girl who desperately wants me to make it all better. It hurts. More than I ever imagined it could hurt. I feel it in every part of my body. And yet, I would not change a single second of it or take away with the pain. Without that ache, the tears, there would not be her. This daughter who first made me a mother when I least expected. This daughter I love.

  225. The loss of my son hurt so much, but it has been so amazing to see how God is using my daughter to heal us. The sadness will always be there, but gradually with time, we are healing. Through watching Isaac’s story become HIS story, He is showing His glory and making of all things good, even through sorrow. To see where I am now as a mom, I don’t know what I would change if I could. Slowly He has chiseled away at me, making me more in the image of His son, and more into the mother He desires me to be.

  226. Your words feed my soul. It is though God has used your book and your blog to reach inside this old ma of 5 and scratch the surface of something real in my heart. Hidden there for so long…hope. Joy has been found in giving thanks, in all things, and in mothering. My youngest Grace is 5. My oldest is 24.

    Thank you from just below the surface of my heart.

  227. Thank you Ann for the book, the blog, the website, for serving the Father in your calling. I\’ve just finished the book in one week and loved it. I have an 18 year old boy and a 22 year old daughter with CP. Many, many issues with both, I am deeply in need of prayer as a single mother, things only seem to get harder, I am struggling with thanking for the hard moments, I do not see how they glorifiy God to see your child in sooo much pain, yes it brings me closer, but I am afraid circumstances may be driving children further away. There are financial struggles, there are anger issues with children from divorce, there are medical issues..and when you have to work full time and run a household there are not enough non-work moments, moments and years have been lost without those wonderful simple moments to praise. I so wanted to be a stay at home mom and that was taken away from me. How to cope with a life that was not the one you hoped for, where the dreams were taken away and you have to find new hopes dreams, I can only barely live moment by moment each day with his grace praying for strengh and wisdom and mercy, I find myself at times just wanting this life over so I can have the life in heaven where all the tears will be wiped away. To live in the here and now is painful and I am very tired.

  228. I’ve been a dragon mom today. I have everything I have always wanted and somtimes I just can’t live up to it all. I have beautiful, healthy children. I stay home with them, I homeschool them. We have money. The Lord has been good and faithful. Still, I am worn not into a soft velveteen, but worn down into yelling and hidden tears. Reading Michelle’s post, I am so ashamed. They are sleeping now and I just want to gather them up and erase the wrinkles I’ve made, hoping they are only wrinkles and not wounds. What is wrong with me?

  229. the story of the velveteen rabbit is one of my childrens favourite read alouds at night. It never ceases to bring a tear to someones eye (even if we don’t admit it) but I had never thought of myself like the rabbit, but it is so very true.
    We want so much at the beginning to be all that God has called us to be as real mothers and somewhere along the lines we get lost in what the world thinks we should be like. But if we just listen to God and spend lots of time getting worn out knees and hands, just then we might become “real” mothers.

  230. I am not a mother but I think this is the best way someone has explained the essence of being a mom. For the longest time I have said that I am not meant to be a mom but reading this I have goosebumps because I am thinking “God, I want to be REAL like this”. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  231. We always wanted a large family, considering children a blessing and privelege. Then, after 3 long, prayer-filled years, we were finally expecting. What JOY! It was wonderful. But then, 3 more years passed. We had to move, and reluctantly sold the baby things…. then found out we were expecting again! #3 came along sooner, and # 4 even sooner. And I began to wonder why I had ever thought I could be a mother. It seemed the only time I loved them truly was when I saw their sweet eyes shut in sleep, their busy hands folded in rest for the night. And I’d stagger exhausted into my own bed, my own eyes swimming, my hands folding in prayers for forgiveness for another dayful of failings.
    God mercifully kept answering our initial prayer for a large family, but gave us a four-year break (purely His doing) before #5 arrived, a year and a half ago. And reading this, and these responses, I suddenly realized it has been a while since I felt that despairing anguish of failure. Not that there are no more failings (not until His return) but His Holy Spirit IS working, shaping, changing, sanctifying… Not in spite of, but through it all. God loves His children. He hears their prayers. And though weeping may last for a night, joy comes in the morning!
    I see two things. One, I can go to God whenever. Again and again, be washed clean. Grace!
    Two. I go to His Word and know how to live rightly, joyfully. And by His Spirit, I CAN live more rightly, more joyfully, every day. Grace, again!

  232. At 53, I still struggle with never being accepted as a child. I could never do enough, be enough for others in my life. Eventually, I could never do enough, be enough for myself. I am in constant battle with the tiger of perfection, yet just today my adult daughter tenderly hugged me and told me how velveteen I *really* am. She said she could see through the mask of the tiger, see my true, tender, wounded heart, and invited me to share more of my soft spots with her. Oddly enough, it has been through her divorce that I have seen the tender heart of our Father, always loving, always there, always mine — because I know the fractured, imperfect love that comes through me does not sit in judgment of her, wants to be \”there\” for her, and still loves my daughter with a depth of love that could rupture this mama\’s heart. Oh, how He loves each of us, His precious babes!

  233. Hi Ann, I love what you wrote today about becoming a velveteen mom, it touched my heart. Sometimes I feel like over the years motherhood has worn me threadbare and I’ve become so real that my shabbiness can not be hidden anymore, but maybe that’s the point. A quote from the story goes ” He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real, shabbiness doesn’t matter… you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”… It’s nice to feel like someone understands and you seem to. Your writings make me feel like you could be a kindred spirit. Last winter I read a book called “The Velveteen Woman” by Brenda Waggoner. It was very encouraging to me and was wondering if you have heard about it? Thanks for sharing your heart and your life and for being real… Laura

  234. Hi thanks for the encouragement… with children from ages 22 to 6, I forget sometimes that this is a good thing to be worn out. However sometimes I feel more like the Dragon mother then the velveteen mother…. in those times I feel like I cry out to God most, once again asking for forgiveness and to be able to extend grace and patience, gentleness and kindness and soft answers. I want to be that smooth gentle, worn woman and truthfully wonder if I will ever get there…. that is where I need prayer…. to look through God’s lens toward my family… to see them with His eyes, His heart and put His desires for them to my actions toward them. (It makes sense in my head but I am not necessarily good at conveying what I mean) Any how could use some prayer there… thanks! In His grip, kt

  235. I am becoming velveteen.
    When I lay broken in a hospital bed and my daughter now almost a woman, combed my week-old, after a car crash, bed head. She painstakingly washed and combed my hair and we laughed and cried and praised God together that we had survived, lived through the terror.

  236. Incredibly beautiful insight as you continue to experience the beauty of the Holy Spirit’s assistance as the nurturer, the Comforter, as God’s Holy Spirit reveals the incredible, indescribable, majestic beauty of our God.

    I am in this place as a woman who gets to be a mom. I am a mom to my 19 year old ‘bonus’ son who recently became married to my dream daughter-in-law. This dashing young man, with whom I get to be a part of his story and journey since he was 11 years old, has joined the Marine Corp. He is no longer living with us as he is married and greatly enjoying his independence and responsibility of being a husband. For many years with him added to our family unit, I revealed the dragon…a few years later, his sophomore year, the Holy Spirit bid me to stop what I was doing in that very moment and wake him up, asking him for forgiveness for the way I treated him for those years in the beginning. Sadly, the way I treated him was noticeably different than our daughter. Of course, my ‘bonus’ son said, without hesitation, “Of course I forgive you!” He showed mercy to the dragon, and God melted my heart, releasing me from being the dragon to becoming velveteen.
    Then there’s my daughter; my gift; the one to whom I get to be a mom to. She is eleven, filled with the gift to dramatize and notice the smallest yet more significant things in life. We have ‘pinky swore’ that anytime we pass by a flower, whether it is outside as we walk; in the grocery store passing by the floral department, that we MUST intentionally stop and smell the flowers; enjoying the different fragrances as we are reminded of our Awesome God who is so into the details! My daughter has inspired me to become the Velveteen more and more, and with the experience of forgiveness from my ‘bonus’ son, how could I not?

  237. Children bring you joy that no one else can. Children (and their hurts and struggles) can wound you like no one else can. Bending the knee in prayer is the answer and our God hears. I am an empty-nester now and let me just say that time is all too fleeting. Those terrible twos that you think will never end , will and much sooner that you think. If you want to feel the heart string of being a Velveteen mother, just watch that car loaded with your child and all of their earthly belongings, pull down the drive. Sigh, you want the little chicks to fly, you want them to soar and succeed but that sure hurts the heart. I pray and love but it is not the same as having them all under the same roof. Enjoy the mothering time for it is fleeting.

  238. I work so many hours these days, I’m afraid my daughter thinks I am an imaginary mother. I’m going to have to stop reading this website, as I am reduced to tears of longing and regret every time I read Ann Voskamp’s post about “mama life.”

    • It’s ok, Nora. Take what you can from Ann, do what you can in your home. Every time I dissolve in confusion and sadness, God reminds me that if I could use well the hours I have, that would be a great blessing to my kids. We may not be able to change work schedules right now, but we can fill every home moment with the best mama-love we can–even if it’s praying over sleeping ones.

      I hear your disappointment; guard your heart and sleep with peace. We all walk the best we can.

      • Can I encourage you that God is bigger than the extra hours you wish you had. He knows… he knows. The widow’s mite was more than all the others. The loaves and fishes were more than enough. God doesn’t count the way we do. I pray he will make a way for you to have more time with your daughter, but until then… know that he multiplies. And he is enough. Grace and peace to your hurting heart.

  239. After voices were raised one night in the recent past, raised because of algebra, raised because of lack of trying, lack of hope and the presence of fear. I gave up. I called her to my side, to my lap. I held my 13 year old girl and cried. I told her how I don’t care about algebra. I told her I was afraid. Afraid to lose her, to be a voice that she can’t hear or worse – doesn’t want to hear. I was afraid of algebra and distractions and futures that put us at odds. I cried and asked if she could love me more than she hated the independent variables. She held me right back. We will struggle over slope, over delta and neatness of work but may God continue to give us the grace to love beyond algebra. He sure did that night.

  240. I always wonder what happens in other homes, in your home or Beth Moore’s home. I wonder What would a godly mother do in this situation. I ache to be christian mother that leaves a legacy bigger than herself, a rich tradition of love and compassion, despite her natural bent and her broken past… to bow, to learn from His word and others who are on this chosen path. To honestly point the way to Jesus, that my daughter might follow hard after Him.

    I struggle to forgive myself my mistakes – I must learn to rest in Him and know that when I am weak He works. Sometimes that’s hard for me.

    Thank you so much for all your honestly and truth.

  241. I am in the process of the empty nest my youngest is 16. Yet still and VERY painfully becoming The Velveteen…… I have prayed and showed my three beautiful children the right path, and now I painfully and heartbreakingly watch as they choose the wrong path. So I continue to pray and love them.

    • Lori,
      Keep praying. I am the daughter of a Velveteen mother…and at times she may have been a Tiger mother, but she never stopped praying. I am alive because of her prayers. I went thru wrong turns on a beaten path but today I am ever grateful to be a child of the King and it is because of my mother always believing in me and hoping that I would eventually make right choices. The best thing you can do for your children is to love them and to be an example to them of what it means to follow Christ. They will follow too very soon. It’s promised to us. What a blessing huh? Train a child in the way that they should go and when they are grown they will not depart from it. I will say a prayer for you and your children tonight.

  242. When I was thirteen, God began the call in me to work the inner city; in the past seven years, He has made that call a reality. With the oddness of Only His Timing, He has at the same time given me two beautiful preschoolers and one in the oven. 🙂 We live on the westside of Chicago, urban missionaries now, shouting kids in from the backyard when shots ring on the block and eating all our dinners in community with neighbors, stretching our Spanish as far as it will reach. It is a beautiful, desperate community that we love dearly; it is our children’s home.

    Sometimes I fear that the heavy load of the service here–the immense pressure to sustain ministry financially and to ease the burden of neighbor-children so injured that 11-year-old girls beat up pure strangers–that the weight of it all makes me excuse poor mothering. I’m too tired, too distracted, too called on by so many others, to rightly serve my own children. God has gifted me with incredible mother-friends to come alongside and the children are growing up beautiful, but where must boundaries lie in me to guard them? Once one has walked as far as we have from the culturally-accepted norms, little is left to guide this questioning. I have met face-on the depths of pain in our neighborhood and come out much softer on the other side. But if my neighbors have Real Velveteen in me, how much more so I long for that for my children.

    Thank you, Ann, for your writing. Last spring, One Thousand Gifts lifted me high above the City, giving me heart to serve (never outserved by God) anew.

  243. Ann, at 65 my memories of motherhood and tiger vs. velveteen are many, too many to list. Now I walk along with other mommas as a mentor in our Mothers of Preschoolers group. Times have changed, I have changed, they are struggling, I attempt to share God’s love and comfort for them. I’m happy to have this analogy of the tiger vs. velveteen momma. Thank you and grace always!

  244. How has mothering hurt and healed me? Oh how faithful the Lord is to heal the wounds…my daughter comes home from school, excited to see her, I greet her at the bus stop with a big smile and warm embrace, savoring every moment of having her in my arms but…she wants nothing to do with my smile or my hugs..she looks at me with disgust and she is cranky and all she wants is to whine and complain….I let her know wer were going to pick up a book at the library with her brother, my 12 year old son and the yelling and screaming begins, she again is tired from going to bed late the night before, a night before of me not keeping to the bedtime routine only to see the results of a tired little girl the next day. I knew she was just tired and maybe something happened at school that day but the screaming and yelling and mean comments seemed to be hard to ignore and dismiss and I lost all self control and begin to reply to her screams with why do you have to make my day miserable? I was so excited to see you but now you have ruined my afternoon and night, it is all because of you, you make everybodies life miserable ..these words were piercing to her precious little heart, words that I could not take back. Words that hurt and go deep..oh the pain and consequences of a lack of self control, consequences that hurt those who mean the most to you. Through her tears she said I am sorry and through my tears I said I was sorry but the sting of those words had hit her heart and I did not know how to be the “mommy that makes it all better” . So into the bathroom I went onto my knees, asking for forgiveness from the Lord and the Lord confirmed to me that yes, words hurt and cause wounds to the heart but the scripture that says ” I have come to bind up the broken hearted” was resonating so loudy on my knees in that bathroom. Only He can heal the wounds that I inflicted and though I may fail, that which I can not fix, He can and all the while drawing the wounded to himself. So I went to my precious daughter picked her growing 8, almost 9 year old body up into my arms and went to the rocker and rocked her and spoke about how I said things that hurt her that I did not mean. She did not ruin my day but I chose to let her behavior ruin my day..there is a big difference. She was not to blame but it was a choice I made. I asked her to forgive me and she did. I told her that Jesus can be her best friend and he is always there to hear about her hurts and he can fix the boo boo in your heart. We held each other and loved on each other…Oh does mothering hurt and oh does God heal!

  245. I am really feeling the hurt at the moment. Being a parent has exposed the depths of my sinfulness. In fact I frequently feel crushed by the weight of my sin. I look at my children and see all of the ways I have failed them. I see insecurity, shyness, harsh words between them and I see that I have been too harsh, not patient and loving enough and I really feel that I can’t bear it or myself. I lie awake at night loathing myself and just wish I could turn back the clock and begin again.
    Just recently I have been reading a wonderful book called ‘ Because He loves me’ by Elyse Fitzpatrick and it is explaining God’s grace to me, and little by little it is reaching my heart, but it seems that my heart is slow to respond, and I am so quick to turn in on myself again. Would so appreciate your prayers. Thankyou.

  246. Years, to be worn down by: I wonder if mud and war and a motherhood that mushrooms beyond anything natural can accelerate the wearing, the breaking, the becoming. I have never been married or given birth, but more than once I have gone out for bread, to the bakery right by the trash heaps in South Sudan where I live and come back with another baby found. And the birth pains begin after the home coming.

    In five years, I who said- NO God- no camping and no children now live among and am enfolded by 123 little lives. And when I think my heart can’t stretch one more millimeter I look into a new set of eyes and of course you can come home. Of course I won’t leave you like rubbish on the roadside and my heart stretches and breaks open wide.

    I don’t know much about tigers or dragons except love is the only answer and it is only found one place. Low and close to His heart. I too long to be real. REAL love spilled out in the RAW places.

    Ann, as always:: Thank you for the grace of reminding. Velveteen journeys are the only eternal ones. Much love in Him Who is its very essence-Michele

  247. I am a worn out, run down, bare-kneed Velveteen mother-without-children. 6 years of pleading on my knees, my face to the floor and soaked from the puddle of tears around me for just the chance to become a mother. there’s nothing like being denied the one thing you wanted in life to make you question if it can ever be “real”. My scars and bruises from surgeries (5 fresh ones as I right this) that I thought would help me become a real mother remind me that I am no match for this battle. I have no choice in the matter. I depend on a God who will have to make it real for me, and only in his timing, even though I believe it has passed, over and over again (and the clock reminds me of this). One little one in heaven, none on earth. What lengths have I not gone to just to experience real motherhood? Grace? Grace is what happens when your life is turned upside down, when you realize you have no control, when your questions remain unanswered, when you’ve experienced invisible grief and mourning that no one seems to understand, and your heart and soul are still longing for answers, for resolution to your pain……and you keep asking God…..and He is still silent, yet you STILIL hope because you know who He is. Velveteen Mother? Although childless, I am as real as they come.

  248. Oh, Anne–

    I too have a 9 year old, curly-headed boy–the last of 4! He will all too soon be 10, and I know–and so glad we both recognize–that those times of finding toys in the bathtub or shower will soon pass. This reminds me of your post aobut your first-born (mine is also about the same age) and how he “grew” you up into a mother. What a blessing God gives us in the form of our children, whom He uses to mold and shape us into what He wants us to be…and the privilege He gives of using us to mold and shape them for His work. BLessings–MJ

  249. This is the picture of what I have longed for, desired, even before I was married and children were a hope and a desire I did not know how to explain. There are women that I have crossed paths with in my life that I always coined as “Grandmothers in the Spirit”. They always had pain, sorrow, and struggle, but came out wise and loving… embracing. Meeting them would burn inside me. I wanted what they had! I always knew it came with a price. Now I have 5 little ones of my own.
    Recently I was graced with the privilege of seeing one of my friends becoming one of those women. Amy struggled with breast cancer, with every pregnancy she had it would come back. She in her pain, greeted me with love and joy every time I came to see her. She was the most graceful loving humble women I have ever known. She died this past Christmas Morning with 5 incredible children and faithful husband by her side. I told the Lord, I want what Amy had. I know that it comes by suffering, but it is so beautiful, I want it. This past year has been a hard one. Christmas eve, a few hours before Amy died, I found out that I have a very rare and problematic vascular disorder. GOD IS SO GOOD. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I pray that He takes this all an makes it beautiful, just like Amy’s heart.

  250. Can’t help but think of the first velveteen mother…Eve How difficult and heart tearing it must’ve been to have your boy take your other boys life and you lose both sons! I have 3 grown now…Boy (33) Girl (31) Boy (29) None married, but all 3 struggling to engage with life, purpose, love…O how I wear worn garments of grief to see their struggle, yet the need to breathe is greater and that breath of mine slips in and out with Almighty breath…yes! He is real…so I am! He has a plan & purpose for my children. Like gentle Hannah (Samuels mamma) I have prayed prayers of purpose for my childrens lives, and I get glimpses! What beauty and real-ness fills me then! God is good and all good comes from Him. I am the makings of both a Velveteen-Tiger mamma being challenged to run the race to the end…I plan on it! Thank you Ann for showing the beauty of the divine through words and pictures that speak a thousand words. All is well, Tonya

  251. I strive for a love that is without regret… A love that is fully Christ. My kids have seen my tiger mom, and have seen me humbly pray for forgivness for the outlash and pain that I have caused.. I strive to be more like Him daily… To die of self and live in Him!

    C.S. Lewis- “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

  252. I’ve hurt by realizing how I have hurt . . “hurt people, hurt people” . . the resentment that I have exudeded, the unreadiness and unassuredness, the overwhelming fears and worries, inadequacies, and dealing with my own baggage . . coming to grips with the realization that I cannot be perfect and I cannot meet all of my childs needs. I do not have perfect feelings . . .
    Learning to accept my role, my place in life, right now . . making allowances for my, for her, for us, for individuality and humanness.

  253. “LORD Jesus will you forgive me abusing my children in my anger and haste to win the crown for handling my house, my bi-polar husband loneliness, my irritability with life? Lord Jesus come into my heart and make me clean.”

    These are our parenting mantras, and we all know how to say these words. Will you forgive me, Seth, Annie, Jacob, Pearla, Christianne…these names get more, but the plea for forgiveness does it ever end? I think that’s the point, to ask now, and not need to have accounts settled later, in counseling, in silences, in distance, in setting boundaries with their aging parents who were not safe for them at times…I hope we are getting there by asking more freely, by having that twinge of resistance take less and less time to get over every time, “I will ask forgiveness quickly by gum this time! Because Jesus died on the cross to allow me the grace to ask forgiveness of my children!”

    Thanks for writing about the fleeting nature of the years as they go, to enjoy this moment. Thanks for praying for people who meet you and share their stories. I met you in Wheaton and it was a blessing 🙂 margaret

    • Thanks also for saying in your address, “Life is not an emergency…give thanks now in the middle of it….etc. etc.” That has helped me so much this last week. My life is NOT an emergency! I can give thanks and ask Jesus to bless it with HIM NOW! MB