Posts tagged Mother's Day

For mothers, moms, and mamas:


… I wish I’d known

 “For all who enter God’s rest will find rest from their labors…”

Hebrews 4v10

‘Come to Me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,

and I will give you rest…”

Matthew 11v28

“let Me teach you.”

Matthew 11v29

I sit, this morning, in my snug cabin in the woods. It is early, the day just arising—still crisp and cool. I am alone in the quiet, welcoming the day in the presence of the One who bids me come.

I flip the pages of my bible to these words, given me long ago when neither alarm clocks nor discipline were enough to pull me from my bed:

… He awakens me morning by morning,

wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed…

Is 50v4

Here in the silence I quiet my mind and still my soul. I lean in to listen, to wait with the intensity of another seeker from long ago,

I waited intently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry…

David, in Psalm 40v1

And I remember how I got to this place of craving Him so much that neither discipline nor alarm clocks are necessary anymore. How I slipped in the muck of my own ugliness, how I couldn’t find my way out, how I raged and wept bitter tears of despair at the unfairness of life, of my life.

And then I remember how He rescued me, setting my feet on solid rock, washing me clean, inviting me into this place I love. A place of surrender, of satisfaction, of genuine, all-the-way-through-to-my-heart happiness.

This place of Rest. 

I wish I had known about this place when I was a mother of little ones.

I wish I had known how to hide from the chaos and the neediness and the incessant conflict that sucks the life out of a young mama’s world.

But I didn’t. Instead, I tried. All the time, every day, I tried.

I tried to be patient… and failed.

I tried to be happy… and wasn’t.

I tried to be good and kind… and ended up irritated and mad—

and tired, just so tired.

I wanted so badly to be a good mama—the best—but I couldn’t be who I thought I should and wished I would be.

And this, my dear tired out mamas, is what I wish I had known then:

That trying harder is not the solution to your inadequacies and ineptitudes.

That the way to be the woman, the wife, the mother you wish you were is not found in books or podcasts or seminars or blog posts—but in Rest.

His Rest— God’s.

I wish I had understood that discipline is not what gets me there. That I will never deserve it… or Him… or any of His benefits. That being better and trying harder just managed to entangle me hopelessly in great knots of uptightness. And anger, and impatience, and self-pity and… shame.

I wish I had known that the Father is so madly in love with us— with me and with you just-as-you-are-right-now-in-this-flaw-filled moment— that He stands at the door and invites us to enter this place we all crave.

This place of Rest.

The key to this place? Not trying, not striving, not ten steps to a better you, but simply…

Belief.[1] Which is trust, entrusting yourself entirely and without reservation to God.

Entrusting your children to Him.

Entrusting your worries to Him.

Entrusting your failings, your past, your future, your wishes and dreams and happiness— to Him.

And then doing it again. And again. Over and over every day, every hour until your head begins to believe what your soul tells you is the truest truth:

That God is trustworthy… that He is good… that He is able… that He is beautiful and He brings beauty and He makes you—and your children— beautiful.

Just because He loves you that much.

And so my one wish for you this Mother’s Day is this:

That you would cease striving and know… Rest. 

I’ve offered no solutions here, no formulas. Because I have come to see that every single one of us has a different story… a story that urges us inevitably towards this place of rest.

I cannot tell you how (exactly) to get there, but I can and will pray for you if you will leave me a hint of who you are, of what you want and need from Him.

From my heart,


[1] For more, read Hebrews, the end of chapter 3 and all of chapter 4



Once upon a time I thought I knew everything I needed to know about raising children. Then I had kids. And every year since I’ve been learning a whole lot of things I didn’t know and couldn’t have known without these four humans who have the courage to call me mom.

Here are just a few things I wish I’d known right from the start.

1.    That every child is made in the Imago Dei… the image of God.

Not in the image of me. Nor in the image of someone everyone thinks they should be.

God created that little one to be an unhindered expression of who He is, highlighting specific facets of His beauty in surprising combinations. No two will be alike. Not one of them will fit a mold. They are incomparable and impossible to define.

Because of that, we must approach each of the children in our lives with deep respect for the One who created them. To be rude or harsh or disgusted or rejecting of one of these little ones is an affront to the One who crafted them uniquely in the womb. To deface His masterpiece in any way is to dishonor God.

It is therefore a mother’s honor to go on a quest to uncover her child— not to force him into a mold of her own making.  It is her honor to spend the rest of her life helping him to discover those unique contributions to the kingdom only he can bring.

 2.    That I am exactly the one God wants to mother my child.

Not someone better, wiser, calmer, richer, more patient… or more anything.

Somehow, in some way I cannot understand, He wants me to be the one to help my child become fully herself.  So instead of cowering in fear or hiding in shame, I can listen confidently to the Spirit of God within me for specific ways to mother well and wisely.

It is therefore a mother’s honor to believe that He has given me all that I need for the job, along with His heart wide open to pour out more love and more wisdom than I’ll ever come up with on my own.

3.    That nothing I will ever do will compare in importance to my role as this child’s mother.

Not a career or a clean house, not achievements or riches, nor the esteem and approval and friending of anyone. All those things that crowd my time and leave me stressed and worn out will never compare to the monumental impact of my role as this child’s mom.

Somehow I thought that maybe I had to prove something to someone in order to be important. Little did I know that the only ones who need proof of anything are those little ones in my own home. And the only proof they’re looking for is my unbudgeable love for them.

It is therefore a mother’s honor to sacrifice the more urgent but less important to see her child impact his world in unfathomable ways.

4.  That the mundane moments matter most.

When your child is sick and finds comfort in your arms.

When your son is stressed and finds relief in your words.

When your daughter is afraid and finds safety in your presence.

Those are the moments when you insert earth-shattering truths about God deep into your child’s soul.

It is therefore a mother’s honor to be alert to her child’s needs. To meet those needs with all the loving flourish of the Father— laying a ground work for that child’s faith to be  real, honest-to-the-bones, felt faith.

5.    That the busiest mother can still be bored.

And boredom is exhausting!

A woman who is not engaged in creativity that meets the challenge her own soul needs will wear out from all the work motherhood demands. There is always room for the busiest woman to squeeze in the pursuits that fill her full and energize her for more.

Whether it is learning or art or writing or fashion or science or order or beauty or design, there is time. There must be time.

Therefore it is a mother’s honor to keep feeding her own intellectual/creative/people needs so that she is in a place of thriving while she is busy growing her children into thriving adults.

6.     That our kids need to know that we like them.

Somewhere in all the correcting and training and disciplining and warning that happens from the moment our children are born until we wave them into their future, we inadvertently give off the impression that we don’t like them very much.

Our kids are haunted by the sense that we would like them if only… or when…

They grow up in good, loving, well-intentioned homes convinced that they are not enough… or too much.

It is therefore the honor of a mother to shower her children with affirmation. It is our mandate to assume nothing— to use our love for words and conversation to drill into our kids that we like them RIGHT NOW.

7.    That what we don’t say is often more harmful than what we do say.

Silence is not golden to a child. Or a teenager. Or a young adult.

The withholding of interest in what interests your child suggests somewhere deep inside that he is not interesting.

It is therefore the honor of a mother to be interested. To make a concerted effort to loudly proclaim that interest. To see her child  and then to say what she sees.  To offer her approval on a silver platter. To give voice to all the beauty she sees in her child. And then to keep that conversation going through every episode of that child’s life.

8.    That a specific, no-excuses apology from a mother opens floodgates of grace and forgiveness from a son or daughter.

That in fact, our shame-filled history of failure can be rewritten into stories of delight and joy if only we will own up to our mistakes. Our kids want to remember the best times… and willingly overlook the mess that we were so sure would mess them up forever.

But only if we admit the truth. Pretending just doesn’t cut it with kids.

It is therefore the honor of a mother to humble herself on a regular basis. To point out her mistakes and missteps and purposefully ask her child’s forgiveness for blowing it so badly.

9.    That my children would one day grow to be my most intimate spiritual brothers and sisters.

No one told me this! I’d only heard the horror stories of fractured relationships and rebellious teenagers. At best, I’d heard, children raised in “religious” homes might settle into an uneasy compliance to the standards set by rigid parents.

No one mentioned those exquisitely vulnerable moments when the people who know every hidden corner of my soul dish up wisdom and grace and reminders of our Redeemer’s mercy.

When the daughter who sees right through me refuses to allow me to stereotype teenagers with tattoos and piercings and mohawked hair.  Instead, urging me to see hearts courageously declaring a war on sameness.

Or when my son grows up to be my pastor, teaching me and opening my heart to worlds of wisdom I knew nothing about.

I had no idea the joy waiting for me.

It is therefore the honor of every mother to be taught by her children. To listen and to learn and to joy in the mystery of being joint heirs together. 

10. That my success as a woman does not hinge on the success of my children.

Because what I really want for my kids, the thing I hope for more than anything else is not health or achievement or good marriages or fat paychecks. It’s not even a good life.

What I long for more than anything, is that my children will know the incredible riches of God’s grace. That they will long for Him.

What I really want for my children is for them to spend every day of the rest of their lives reveling in this Redeemer whose shocking choice to love them in the midst of their ugliness brings them to their knees in worship.

And for that to be true they’re going to have to mess up. To fail. To make mistakes big enough to embarrass them— and me.

It is therefore the honor of every mother who has been covered in that grace to cease the strutting and pretending and Christmas card cuteness and to allow our children to fail. And then to weep and worship with them when they discover the riches awaiting every one of Christ’s redeemed ones.

The truth is, I didn’t know any of this on that day my firstborn son came rushing, red and squalling into my arms. And he loves me anyway. They all do.

John Mark and Beks and Elizabeth and Matt you’re more than I ever dreamed possible. You’ve led me in the way of grace straight to the Father’s heart. And for that and a million other reasons, I love you.

From my heart,


REDEEMING WHAT IS BROKEN... between you and your mom
(my daughters Elizabeth and Rebekah and I)
I am a mom. And I am a daughter.

When I was watching my body swell with the miracle of my firstborn three decades or so ago, I knew I wanted to do some things differently with my children than my own mother had.

Something inside of me needed to prove to all the watching world that I was not my mom. That I was me. And that in being me I could be a better mother than mine had been.

(my granddaughter Scarlet and I)

I was wrong.

Because, you see, in rejecting so much of my mom I  gave my children just me. And I wasn’t enough for them. I didn’t have all that they needed. And I made so many mistakes in the process of trying to prove something that wasn’t right.

And to be honest with you, I hurt my mom by failing to value who she was.

The truth I see now is that my mom is an amazing woman. Her own mother was nice and sweet and gentle and not very involved in her life. They didn’t talk about important things, she never said no or be careful or maybe you shouldn’t go there or do that. And that messed my mom up a bit.

(my mom and Scarlet)

And so my mom determined to raise us differently. She talked to me. Told me things I didn’t want to hear, warning her head-in-the-clouds daughter that life is not a fairy tale and I’d better watch out.

And she did stuff with us. She was the den mother and the chaperone and the driver of the car on trips to the beach. Everybody hung out at our house because she always had homemade cookies and enough food to feed the crowd. And she was fun.

And now you’re wondering what in the world I would reject about that?

I know.

I would saved all of us a whole lot of trouble if I’d simply made a few adjustments to allow myself to be me while still listening to mom.

My mother and I are friends now. Two women on polar opposite ends of the personality spectrum, we work hard to get along, to value each other, to give each other space to be who we are. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always work as well as we’d like, but we’re trying.

I’ve put together a list of things I have discovered in this process of becoming friends with my mother that I hope will help you with yours.

(my granddaughter Sunday and daughter-in-law Tammy)

I realize that there are some really mean and hurtful mothers out there who have caused immense pain. And I know that some of you will never be able to actually call your mom your friend.

But we can all try, can’t we?

And we can all take responsibility for our own responses.

You can be gracious and lovely and strong and nice back. No one can take that away from you.

And so with Mother’s Day just behind us and my mom visiting this week, here are…


1.    Accept her

This is what I failed to do for a long time. Instead of loving who she was, I poked and critiqued and compared.

What arrogance!

And what a waste.

When I finally began to let her be who she is, I began to see how great she really is and has been all along. She is incredibly organized and disciplined and smart and giving and open and fun. I really like her- imagine that!

2.    Forgive her

Holding a grudge against your mother is pointless and harmful and unwise and unproductive. You saw her at her worst. And your kids will see enough of you in their lifetimes to figure out everything wrong with you too. Set yourself free from all that pain she caused you before you end up dumping it all over your own children.

3.    Learn from her mistakes

Be honest with yourself about what she did wrong. Then choose differently. You don’t have to make a show about it like I did all those years ago. In fact, I’m inviting my daughters a little further into my story to allow them to build on my mistakes. There are things I’d do differently if I had a chance and I’m talking about some of those things with my girls.

A little humbling? Yeah, but amazingly liberating at the same time.

4.    Be grateful

It’s so easy to criticize your mom. To take potshots at her way of doing everything from laundry to love. What if instead we decided to start listing every memory we have that we’re grateful for? What if we stopped comparing her to The Perfect Mom and chose to value her instead?

5.    Show it

Every mother lives with a certain amount of shame. We remember every time we yelled, or were cross, or didn’t do enough. Some mothers harden up to put that pain into an untouchable vault, denying any wrongdoing ever. Others get all needy, sucking their children of every last vestige of affirmation available.

When my children point out something they value about me I hold those words close inside and relish every syllable. Its not thanks we need so much as recognition of who we are as women. And it’s my own children who have uncovered this need. They are generous with their words to me. And it’s making me see that I’ve been stingy with my mom.

6.    Know when to speak up

Sometimes a mother has hurt her children so deeply that it becomes impossible to overlook those flaws.  And sometimes a mother continues to hurt her adult children with her unedited words or unaccounted for actions. That’s when we’ve got to gather every last vestige of courage, risk the relationship, and obey the Scriptural injunction in Ephesians 4:25 to “Speak the truth in love”. The actual Greek wording is something like “Speak! Speak! that truth in a loving way.”

My advice to any daughter considering such a step would be to seek out godly counsel before going there. We’re such emotionally intense creatures- especially when it comes to relationships, that we would be wise to allow someone else to weigh in on our plan. After all, mothers get their hearts hurt too and most of the bad stuff can really be overlooked.

May this One who craves connection with us clear the way for you to have close and loving connection with your own mothers and daughters and sons in the year to come.

And may He give you the courage to do the hard work of learning how.

From my heart,


P.S. Thanks, Mom, for allowing me to be who I am. Love, Di


REDEEMING WHAT'S BROKEN... between you and your son

 It’s just past Mother’s Day. 

You’ve smiled and said your thanks and all is well.

But somewhere lurking just beneath the surface of your smile is that nagging wondering if all is really as well as you want it to be. And maybe it is— maybe everything is good between you and your kids or you and your mom.

But for a lot of moms it’s not.

Words were said. Awful words.

Or maybe worse— no words, just the sullen silence of rejection.

For the past few days we’ve been talking about fixing those broken places between us. Or at least trying to.

Trying God’s way, with the wisdom promised in His Word. Searching for how, begging for the strength to do it well, for the grace to push past all the pain and all the excuses and just do the right thing.

Today I just want to add a few words about fixing things with your grown sons.

Men are such a different breed. They look and smell and talk and think like aliens from Mars or Venus or wherever they’re supposed to have originated.

I know, I have two of them!

John Mark is my firstborn. I heaped all my perfectionist angst all over that poor guy from the moment he was born. Every ounce of my idealistic nature got aimed at John Mark. Before he was born I had it down— knew exactly what to do and how to do it. I would raise the perfect man.

Only I didn’t factor in all my own faults and flaws. And all the stuff I didn’t know. Or my blind spots or prejudices of just plain wrongness about things I was so sure I was right about.

I am so sorry John Mark. And so amazed that you love me still!

Matthew is my baby. Born with two sisters and nearly 12 years between them, my boys grew up with two different versions of me. The way-too-uptight version and the way-too-loosey-goosey version.

Except for a few years of horrific temper tantrums when he was really young, Matt has been just so easy to spoil.

He asks nice. With a smile and a hug and I-love-you-Mom, you’re-the-best.

How in the world do I say “no” to that?

Sometimes I have expected less than I should have and then doubted him and nagged and suggested and basically pestered my will on him. Enough to drive a guy crazy.

I am so sorry Matthew. And so amazed that you love me still!

But I’ve learned some things with all these mistakes I’ve made and all this grace my men have given back to me. And so I offer you…


between you and your son

1.  Respect him (Proverbs 21:9, Ephesians 5:33 for wives, but so wise for moms)

Men crave respect. They need it, thirst for it, feel broken without it. Your boy who grew into a man needs your respect. As his mother you hold incredible power over his vision of his value. If you respect him— you who know his history and his flaws and weaknesses, then he must be a man. Right?

Mothers have an opportunity to be the first to view their sons through the lenses of honor. But if you keep doubting him, keep nagging and poking and laughing at his less-than-perfect attempts at manhood, then you’ll hurt him deeply, Mom. Be very, very careful.

2.  Admire him (Proverbs 23:24,25)

Respect and admiration are not the same thing. Respect has to do with how you talk to him… how you treat him, how you respond. Admiration has to do with what you say. To admire someone is to notice him. To take a good long look at who he has become and then to pick out all the good parts and trumpet your discoveries loud and wide.

Admiration means doing your homework. Because somewhere between boyhood and manhood he took on some qualities and gifts and abilities that you might not know about.

What is he good at? What do other people think about him? Why do his friends like him? How about his kids?

Have you told him what you see? A lot?

3.  Ask his advice (Proverbs 26:12)

Your son knows some stuff that will and could and should help you live your life better. The ultimate show of respect and admiration from a mom is to ask for his advice. When you do that you are recognizing that he is a man now. A man worth listening to.

You don’t have to know it all anymore, moms. (And I’m preaching to me here…)

4.  Don’t need him (Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 25:6,7)

There is this weird tendency with us moms to think that after all we did for our children, they owe us.


And especially wrong for our sons. We raised our boys to be warriors and now they’re off fighting the battles in front of them. Earning a living, caring for a family, paying off debts, wrangling with customers and critics and who-knows-what-else-because-they’re-probably-not-going-to-tell-you!

Let’s challenge each other to be the one person in their circle of relationships that doesn’t need anything from them. Not a birthday card, not a phone call, not time or attention. If you get those things, great! But set your sons free to fight their battles like men, unencumbered by a needy mother.

5.  Don’t ever come between him and his wife (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 4:29-32)



Do not infer, do not hint, do not smirk, do not sympathize. She is perfect and you love her. No matter what.

Now that’s easy for me to say. I happen to have the only honestly perfect daughter-in-law around. I loved her from the moment she poked her head out of the tent at my fortieth birthday party-camping trip.

And she loves me. I hear it and feel it and know it.

I wish everyone had a daughter-in-law like Tammy. And even as I write, I’m praying for whoever happens to be Matthew’s wife someday… please, please, please like me!


It might be a good idea for you to go over last weeks post with your son in mind.

Do you need to apologize? Most relationships need some clearing of the air to set things right again.

Relationships with our sons are not nearly so complicated as with our daughters. But they still take work. And a determination to do things well and wisely.

May you listen to what the Father is telling you and chose the way of redemption,

From my heart,


If you’ve got a story of God bringing your son back… or a story of a son who has graced you as mine have me, please tell us. These are the kinds of stories that give us hope.

Next Thursday… Redeeming What is Broken Between You And Your Mom




It wasn't until I had kids myself that I realized how amazing my mother is. She beautifully laid down her life 24 hours a day for her husband and her children. All the while fully devoting her life to Christ and growing in her faith daily. Needless to say, she is my hero.

It also wasn't until I had children of my own that I recognized the significance of Mother's Day.

(It's next Sunday in case you forgot. Your welcome moms.)

Yet how could we possibly honor the women who laid down their very lives for us in just one day?

Although we can never repay what they have given, we can take a day and serve them with just a sliver of the service they have lavished on us.

Where do we start?

FOOD! Mother's day is a perfect day to close the kitchen (allowing it to be the one area of the house that remains clean for more the 30 seconds) and take her out to breakfast... or any meal will do!

Our beautiful city is full of amazing places to eat that use all real and whole food ingredients. Many of them even source all locally grown ingredients that provide us with the best tasting and most nutritious meals there are. Below are just a few that we love and would be great places to take your moms to brunch this Mother's Day.

Vita Cafe:

  • They have the best breakfast burrito I've ever had... My stomach is growling just thinking about it.
  • It has a bit of a hippy vibe but... maybe that's why it is so good.
  • Everything on their menu has a vegetarian/vegan option as well as a meat option. They use clean, grass fed meats and fresh produce.
  • They have a great kids menu.
  • They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Slappy Cakes:

  • The perfect spot for moms with kids... Or any age really.
  • You choose a pancake batter, toppings and syrup and grill up your pancakes right at your table.
  • They also have breakfast entrees with fresh ingredients and seasonal produce they grow themselves.
  • They have gluten and dairy free options and they are delicious.

Mother's Bistro:

  • Perfect name for Mother's day! A beautiful spot for brunch. They also serve lunch and dinner.
  • The food is delicious and the menu has lots to offer.
  • The menu doesn't specify dairy or gluten free but they do have options if you ask.

Bijou Cafe:

132 SW 3rd Ave Portland, OR

  • The menu is full of fresh, real food and they serve breakfast and lunch.
  • Limited dairy/gluten free options available. Be sure to ask how they cook the entree you are ordering if you are sensitive to dairy as they cook many of them with butter. The oatmeal and granola are safe!
Some not so healthy but super tasty...


3947 N Mississippi Ave Portland OR

  • You may have to wait a while but it's worth it!
  • Things to try: they are famous for their Creme Brûlée style oatmeal (it can be made with water or soy if you need it dairy free). Their french toast and hash browns are out of this world too!

Tasty and Son's:

  • This is a somewhat southern style restaurant with a great atmosphere.
  • Not much to say other then it is wonderful!



PS: If you have a favorite spot to eat in our city would you share it with us?