Bible Study Template- Christmas Gift

A Christmas Gift to You

No new post today but wanted to send out a quick…

Hello!!! 

Since Christmas was yesterday and the week has been filled with fun, laughter, joy and crazy-not much time to sit down and write an awesome article. Yet, we hope everyone’s Christmas was merry and bright.

For all our subscribers out there I wanted to let you know that I put together a bible study template that I thought you might all enjoy. Hopefully it can be useful to you in your quiet time with God. We made this as a Christmas gift for you as a thank you to all those who are keeping up with our posts and supporting Momentary Calm. Without you all, we have no reason to write. Thank you. 

If you haven’t subscribed, click here, and you can get access to our Free Stuff. Within the Freebies library will be the new bible study template. May it be a blessing to you.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Merry Christmas everyone! For me personally, this is the most wonderful time of year! I absolutely love the Holiday season and everything that comes with it. Whether it’s good food, beautiful lights, the smell of pines trees, the story of Jesus or the excitement of gifts under a tree, I’m all about this time of year! Sign me up! Count me in!

There are many things in this world that I simply love – and two of them are Christmas and dessert. Let’s be honest, Christmas time can also be a stressful time, but the beauty of the season is that it isn’t about us but rather the reason for the season. So let me just say, thank you, Jesus, for desserts!Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake

I have many favorite desserts for the Christmas season but this Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake is probably in my top 5! I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as saying this is the easiest dessert I’ve ever made, but I also wouldn’t call it the hardest.

Personally, cheesecake is my Achilles heel. There have been more instances where I have messed up making cheesecake than I care to admit, but it’s possibly my favorite dessert! Most of the time the reason for these mess-ups is that I put too much water in the water bath. Seriously… I just did it again over Thanksgiving. Little note of advice – take it easy on the water bath.

Anywho, I thought I would share how I make this cheesecake in case anyone wants to give it a go this Christmas weekend! This cheesecake is not only beautiful but I love that the pumpkin flavor isn’t overpowering. The chocolate swirl combined with pumpkin makes every bite amazing and topped with whipped cream, this soft and delicious cheesecake will blow your socks off!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


TIP #1 – take your time! The main reason I have made “oopsies” while making cheesecake is that I rush it and don’t read the directions slowly and thoroughly! Try to allow at least an hour to prepare the cheesecake so you aren’t rushed and avoid making mistakes.

TIP #2 – I would definitely recommend having all your ingredients out before you start – this will help make the process go more smoothly so you won’t be scrambling!

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake recipe

pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake recipe directions

To begin, place your oven rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees.

In a food processor,  you are going to chop your graham crackers until finely ground and then mix in the sugar. Then add the melted butter and pulse until combined and cookie mixture is evenly moistened.pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake crust

Pour your cookie/butter mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and using a flat-bottomed, straight-sided glass, press and smooth the bottom and nudge the crumbs halfway up the sides (you can use your fingers too). BAKE until firm – about 8-10 minutes and let cool.

Don’t mind my terrible artistry!

Once the pan is cool, wrap the bottom and sides with overlapping squares of heavy duty aluminum and place in a large baking pan (I use a roasting pan). NOTE – I will put multiple overlapping layers – anywhere from 5-6 layers as I tend to always get water from the water bath leaking through.

Leave the oven on and move your oven rack to the bottom third of the oven.

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute – try not to overmix. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the eggs, egg yolk and ¼ C. of the heavy cream. Mix until well combined and set aside.pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecakepumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake batter

Heat the remaining 1/3 C. heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil; remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and mix in 1 C. of the pumpkin batter.

Pour the remaining pumpkin batter into the prepared crust. Drop 2 tablespoon dollops of the chocolate batter over the pumpkin batter. It doesn’t have to look perfect as you will be swirling it. Using a wooden skewer, continuously write capital cursive L’s throughout the batter. Be careful not to scrape the bottom.pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake recipe

Pour 1 inch of boiling water into the baking pan. NOTE – I only put enough water to reach just below the first layer of foil so water doesn’t pour into the layers of foil.Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake

Bake until only the center of the cake jiggles when nudged – about 1 hour 25 minutes. If the cheesecake starts to crack this is typically an indicator that it is being overcooked. Turn the heat off but leave the cake in the oven with the door open for another 45 minutes.

Remove from the water bath and foil and run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the cake. Cool completely on a rack. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (without letting it touch the cake) and chill for at least 8 hours and up to 24.

When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, remove the springform pan. Run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust and carefully slide the cheesecake onto a flat plate. Serve with whipped cream and ENJOY!

Did you give it a try?? Let me know what you think!

 

*Check out our Recipe Book for more yummy recipes!*

 

 

Is God’s Grace Sufficient in My Failings as a Mom?

My grace is sufficient…. 2 Cor. 12:9

How many of you, like myself, have read that verse a hundred times over and nodded your head in agreement but never understood the true meaning? Or perhaps you just didn’t believe it? How could that be true? There is too much for grace to cover over.

I suffer from wanting to be perfect. Failing sends me into major pity mode and I feel as if I have failed God, my family, and myself. For some reason, I think I should have it all together by now. Shouldn’t I? I’ve been a follower of Jesus since I was young. Why am I not better yet? Why do I still get hung up on anger, impatience, unthankfulness, grumbling? The list goes on. It’s embarrassing. Get your act together, Shiree!!!

Can anyone relate to this?

Before getting married and becoming a mother, I thought I was a pretty  put-together-holy-righteous lady. Oh boy!!! Having a family has been like a huge mirror  reflecting my inner self back at me. And it’s like an unnecessary large mirror with the sun reflecting in it, blinding me and burning my retinas.

It’s hard to swallow the truth. For it we are honest, we want to think we are God’s gift to earth. We want to be the best, and the smartest, and the most liked. It’s our selfish nature in us. We want the best and to be the best. When the truth is not to our liking, we push it under the rug and ignore it. But with a family, that doesn’t seem to be possible anymore. If I shove it under the rug, my family trips over it and they suffer for my lack of humility.

The past week has been one of mess-ups, failures and not so pretty mommy moments. When the stress level is high, mommy is crabby. (I say that with shame and embarrassment.) I have been short with my sons, and have raised my voice in frustration. I have spanked them more out of irritation than in love. I wanted their behavior to change more than I wanted their hearts to change. It is a painful thing to admit. For when I do, I reveal how incredibly imperfect and inadequate I am.

I have cried out to God, wondering why he gave me these beautiful humans to care for….

Why did you give me tender hearts to raise?

Why have you let such a screw up have such an important job?

Why, why, why? I’m not adequate for this job!!!

You picked the wrong women!!!

The reply to these questions…….“My grace is sufficient.”

God knows what he is doing. He knows that we are imperfect women doing a bigger-than-this-world kind of job. He knows. And He is gracious.

Through our weaknesses and our failures He will make grace even more perfect. (2 Corinthians 112:9) For without our failures, there would be no room for God’s power and glory to work. If we were perfect, and without need of help, we would never look to God for help. He would not be needed. We would be sufficient in ourselves to be the mothers we need to be.

Somehow, God can make garden’s out of trash piles and diamonds out of coal. How He does it, I do not know, but I am thankful he can.

All things work together for the good of those who love him, the word says in Romans 8:28…. Even those things in you that aren’t so worthy of praise. Even the ugly in you that you don’t want any one to see. God is doing something good. He began a good work in you, and he will bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)  Perhaps, our children and our husbands are the very things God is using to bring that work to completion.

So, be patient with yourself. Don’t strive for perfection. “In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) 

GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!!!!

 God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Cor. 9:8

~Shiree



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Living with Anxiety: Having a Thankful Heart

I have a tendency to be discontent. I know the devil does this to me on purpose as he sees the weaknesses of my heart and plays upon them with a vengeance. Add this weakness to the silent, whirling pool of anxiety swallowing my brain and you have a giant monster of emotion called Cay-Cay. That’s me…. In case you didn’t know.

God continues to shine truth into my life through these times. Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable and a truth I don’t necessarily wish to think about, but I’m so thankful for God’s grace in these areas. Without it, I really don’t think I would be able to move forward.

There are times where we may stop and think, “if only we have more money we wouldn’t have to worry anymore” or “if only we didn’t have school debt then we would be okay” or “if I had this or that then I would be more content.” These are lies from the devil and I have learned and continue to learn this the hard way. I see something I want and convince myself I need it – and then afterward I realize I am still not filled with peace but rather with more guilt over spending money we didn’t need to.

A discontent heart treated with the wrong solution preceded by guilt that feeds our anxiety.

This has been my problem and struggle.

It’s so easy to think that the grass may be greener on the other side and I tend to think that if only I had something or other it would be better. We forget that God is the only one who can truly fill us completely. He is the only one who can give us peace and a heart of contentment.

It’s a comfort to me knowing that God is for us. He knows exactly what we need and He will continue to take care of us even when we run to worldly things rather than to Him! Why do I need to worry and suffer anxiety when HE has overcome the world?

As I live with anxiety, I have come to find that if I take the time to PRAY and ask the Lord for a thankful heart, surviving the day without guilt is a little easier.

When I take the time to stop and look around and list all the things I DO have – I am less likely to become prey to the devil’s tricks and lies which lead me to dwell on the things I don’t have.

When you feel anxiety creeping up on you or contentment escaping your heart, take the time to go to your knees before God. Pray and ask the Lord to take your heart and mind captive. Ask him to remind you of what’s most important. Ask Him to show you the blessings He has already bestowed upon you. Ask him for a fresh outlook on life so you can see just how much you already have.

Take the time to look around your house and to see every little thing as the gift it is. Are you sitting on a couch? Praise the Lord! For some people don’t even have a home. If you have a warm coat, you are blessed. If you have fresh water, you are blessed.

Whatever it may be, down to the smallest thing, remember how good you have it. For you could just as easily not have it at all.

“What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life…… Anchor your heart to the character of God. Your boat with rock. Moods will come and go. Situations will fluctuate. But will you be left adrift on the Atlantic of despair? No, for you have found a contentment that endures the storm. No more “if only.” It is the petri dish in which anxiety thrives. Replace your “if only” with “already.” Look what you already have. Treat each anxious thought with a grateful one, and prepare yourself for a new day of joy.”    -Max Lucado, ‘Anxious for Nothing’

Find a notebook or piece of paper. Take the time to write down the things you are thankful for. Write down the things you DO have. Focus more on what you do have and less on what you don’t. Let God be the salve for your anxious thoughts and let Him be the contentment of your heart. Thank the Lord for he is good!

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”     -Matthew 11:28-30

Daily Prayer Prompts

Daily Prayer Prompt Template Give-Away

The past couple days have been busy. Unfortunately, I was unable to write up a nice article for you this fine Tuesday. But I never want to leave our readers hanging so I decided to create a Prayer template for you all.

We all know how important prayer is. And if we don’t, we may want to dig into the word and find out it significance and power. There are also some wonderful books out there that can help in this area as well.

Prayer holds a lot more power in our life than we think. It is the way we communicate with our God. It is how we unleash all our fears, and burdens and pain and begin to heal. It is how we turn our eyes upon God and off of ourselves. Prayer gets us aligned with God’s will, not our own. And it helps defeat the enemy of our souls.

I made up this Prayer Template to give you some ideas on how to stay focused while praying. If you are anything like me, my mind wanders and I lose track of what I was praying about. This also helps me to stay focused on all areas of prayer. Many times we can get self absorbed, praying for only ourselves and our own family. These prayer prompts will help you remember all faucets of prayer.

Keeping a prayer journal might be helpful as well. I don’t have anything fancy with a bunch of sticky notes and bullet heads and organized chaos. My prayer journal is merely a $5 journal I picked up at Ross. Our prayer life isn’t meant to be fancy, just sincere.

Prayer Journals:

 

I hope that this Prayer Template is helpful to some of you. These are the prayer prompts I use daily. May they be a blessing to you in your walk of faith.

Prayer Template: *copy and save to computer. Print and use in journal*

prayer template

 

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~Shiree

 

 

The Loss of a Mother – Part 3

This post is part of a 3 fold series we have written on remembering the loss of our mother and how that has affected our own mothering. You can read Shiree’s post HERE and Raquel’s post HERE


My story is a bit different. I have no endearing or heart-warming story of remembered words or moments. I, unfortunately, have no story, either good or bad, that I can exactly recall about my mother.

In daydreams, I can pretend I remember everything – the sound of her voice or the smell of her skin. I can imagine the warmth of her hug and the feeling of being loved unconditionally. I can almost imagine the way her voice would sound if she would say to me “you are beautiful and I love you!” I can read her old journals and with the curve of every letter, I can imagine her writing words to me. I can imagine her smile when she sees me and what it would feel like to call her and say the words, “Hi Mom!”

It’s a strange sensation to feel like you know someone so well and yet you can’t remember anything about them.

mom and daughter loss of a mother losing a mother
Caylen & Sara

My heart aches for a life with a loving mother. But I am filled with hope to know that because of God’s love and grace, one day I will see her again.

The Loss of  a Mother

I was approaching 5 years old when she passed away and the only memories I can tangibly remember are of her death. I can remember visiting her in the hospital as well as the car ride the night that she died and the feeling of being in a numbing haze of loss and confusion. I can remember feeling troubled seeing her at the viewing and wishing she was smiling. Her mouth was such a grim line that did not suit her and it was strange not seeing her smile. I can vividly recall the iciness of her cheek as I touched it and said goodbye.

Thank you, Jesus! For this is not how she remained. I now know that she is whole, healthy, happy and complete. And surely she is always smiling, for how could she not be when forever with God?


As I hear stories, look at pictures and read her old journals, I can feel every part of who she was etched into my very bones. For not having her around for very long, I feel I am very much like her. And I strive to be MORE like her in many ways.the loss of a mother losing a mother bath time memories

My father tells me stories of her laughter and fiery temper. Friends tell me of her eagerness to serve and love others. Strangers tell me about her beauty, her big heart and her love for the Lord.

I am encouraged and filled with joy – for what I love most when I learn of my mother is that she was not perfect. That even though she would sometimes lose her temper, even when she was self-conscious about her body, wishing she could lose more weight, even when she was overwhelmed and anxious – she truly believed the Lord loved her and had great plans for her life – and she LIVED her life with this knowledge at the forefront.

She is remembered as loving, kind, and with a heart for Jesus. Even in the chaos of her busy life, she took the time to love her family with purpose and to minister to those around her.

This is the kind of mother I want to be.

My mother’s memory weaves its way in and out of every facet of my life. And as I grow in motherhood myself, I look at Lillian and I can imagine what my own mother’s heart felt when she looked at us.

With the loss of my mom and the memory of her – I know how I want to raise my own children. Not necessarily in perfection but in perfect love with the hand of God before me, behind me and on me.

I know how I want to raise my own children. Not necessarily in perfection but in perfect love with the hand of God before me, behind me and on me.

I want to love Lillian and mother her the way I always wanted to be mothered. Everything I was not able to experience with my own mom, the way I dream of what life with her would have been like – that is how I wish to raise Lillian – With love, with purpose, and with intention.

A Life of Intention

Raquel spoke in her post of being intentional in her mothering. She totally stole my thunder :p but she spoke of being intentional so well.

the loss of a mother losing a mom
Caylen & Sara

I want to mother with enthusiasm. I want to paint my daughter’s toes, throw a ball with my son, hold my children and encourage them with God’s word. I want to go shopping with Lillian and play with her. I want to love fiercely, to say I’m sorry and to forgive easily. I don’t want to be perfect. I want my children to see that perfection can only be glimpsed through the hand of God in your life.

I do not know what God has in our future. I do not know how long I will be on this earth. I do not know how much time I will have with my kids.

But I do know that with whatever time I have been given – I will hold my babies a little longer, I will write them letters, and I will tell them how much I love them. I will wake up each day and pray for God to fill our day to the brim with his joy and blessings. I will always strive to be a mom of intention that uses each moment, each word, and each action with purpose. I will put down whatever I’m doing and listen to their concerns. I will sit and give them undivided attention.

Will I fail? YES – constantly and far more often than I would like to admit.

But by the grace of God – my children will know that they are loved BEYOND BELIEF by an imperfect mother and a completely PERFECT God.

 

I would like to pay tribute to a few women in my life who have played a huge roll in filling the void of Mother with their own love and devotion.

Angie Steffen – there are hardly words to express the love I have for you and the special place you hold in my heart. You have been like a mother to me for practically my whole life. Whether it was curling my hair, having sleepovers, or spoiling me with amazing yummies and shopping trips – you filled my heart with a touch that only a mother could. You loved me through my weird and annoying stages and STILL love me to this day! You showed me how a mother should love her children – in faith and love. I love you

Aunt Juanita – there is no one like you. You have loved and protected me my whole life with a fierce and open heart. You have always been willing to support and help and encourage – even though we live miles apart. Hugging you gives me an idea of what hugging my mom would be like. Warm, loving and without pause. And when you play with my hair, my heart is full, for your very fingers are filled with the same love that flowed through my mother. I love you

Grandma Mollie – there is no doubt that so much of what made mom beautiful was a little bit of you. Being a mother myself I can imagine what your heart endured losing your little girl. And yet you went on without fail, loving and caring for us. I will always remember your voice singing “Little Indian Maid.” I will always remember waking up on Saturday mornings to peek outside and see you watering your flowers in your wonderful hats. I will always remember your love for kit-kat bars and how easily you laughed. Praise the Lord, for you and Mom are now together again in the very presence of God. I love you

Terry Ervin – perhaps you don’t know what an impact you made in my life personally. I remember well how you always loved on me. I warmly remember you doing my hair and filling out small empty spaces in my baby book that mom couldn’t fill out herself. You hold a special place in this little girls heart and I am so grateful that you took the time to love me. Thank you

Tammy Pauley – you have given and continue to give me the example of what a beautiful mother is. You give me a taste of what it must be like to be loved so freely by a mom. You spoil and love me without cause or hesitation. I take note of your love and heart for Christ and the way you allow the Lord to use you to love others. I wish to be a mother like you. Quick to love, quick to forgive and an all-encompassing fierce love. Thank you. I love you

Marla Mast – I am so grateful that the Lord placed you in my life. You love and love without hesitation or hope for something in return. You pray and love with all your heart and I am so happy to know that my mother-in-law is willing and able to love me wherever needed. Thank you

*There are many many women who have played huge roles in my life – whether big or small. Thank you for loving a wildly strange and wild-spirited girl who desperately wanted to be loved.

loss of a mother losing a mom
Keziah & Sara
the loss of a mother losing a mother
Sara, Caylen & Keziah

 

The Loss of a Mother Part 2

This is the follow-up article from our Tuesday blog post.We are on the subject of the loss of our mother and how it has affected us as moms. If you missed the first post you can go to this link here.
    Blog post #2 in honor of our mother is written by our older sister, Raquel. In regards to which daughter knew our mother the best, Raquel would be the one. We hope that this article is a blessing to those who read it and can be encouraged to be the mom God created you to be.
                 Raquel’s Memories: When I was about 9, I had a pretty heated argument with my mom that later left me feeling remorseful.  In an effort to lighten my conscience-stricken heart, I wrote an apology to her.
Now, my mother was a very busy woman… at that point she had 4 kids and was homeschooling.  She and my father owned and operated their own business, where she worked full-time.  She spoke at women’s events, sang at church, sewed us outfits… the list goes on and on.  She was BUSY.  And yet, in the midst of that chaos, she carved out some time to sit down and reply to a 9 year old’s letter of apology.
In that letter she wrote about how special I was.  She quoted the verse in Isaiah about “my name written on the palm of HIS hands.”  I literally thought it was my name (and my name only!) tattooed in God’s palm.  That letter gave me all the feels.  Even as a 9 year old child, I knew this was an important letter.  My mother not only forgave me, but took the time to write (in ink!) how very important I was to her – and to God.  That letter is one of my most cherished possessions.  As a 9 year old, that letter proved the importance of my existence.
Now, as a mother myself, that letter proves something new: my mother’s intentional parenting.  She knew what was most important at that very moment in that 9 year old’s heart: Not the cobwebs in the corners or the dirty dishes in the sink.  It was a life lesson.  A molding of my heart.  Even today, as a mother of three, that letter has taught me to be intentional in my mothering EVERY DAY.
Intentional in my actions
Intentional in my words to my children
Intentional in my words to my husband (because you know those kiddos are listening!)
Intentional in teaching my kids God’s Word
Intentional in making sure they know they are fully loved
Intentional in writing them letters
         Intentional, because our days are numbered and you don’t know how many you have.  I’m sure most people would have looked at my mom and thought she had plenty of time to mold and shape all six of those little ducklings’ of hers.  But, she didn’t.  She died at the young age of 38.
I’m in my 30’s now and the thought crosses my mind often.  “How many more days do I get with my children?”  That might sound morbid, but I don’t mean for it to.  It’s a way I stay intentional. It’s a reminder to look for “heart molding” opportunities in the daily grind of raising three children.   It’s a way I remain thankful.  Thankful for the days I do have with my family.  I wake up every morning and thank God for another day.  As my dad would say, “Another day to honor the Lord in all you do!”
Houzz - Gifts under $25
Now, don’t let this story fool you.  I am not a saint of a mother.  I’ve had some not-so-pretty parenting days.  And, that mom of mine I speak so fondly of…  Well, she was human, too.  Sometimes, after people die, we have a way of making them out to be a saint.  My mother was not a saint.   In the very short time that I knew my mother, I learned some very important life lessons.  Such as, buy white china because it never goes out of style. This life lesson bellowed from her pea-green china filled cupboards and burnt orange kitchen appliances.
 These little nuggets of wisdom arose from both good and bad parenting decisions on her part.  But, what I truly admired about my mom was she was able to look back at those occasions and own up to her failures.  She admitted to me when she had not been the kindest or most patient mother.  She used those moments to teach me… teach me how should act as a mom, as a woman, as a daughter of the One true King.  She did this to an 11 year old!  I appreciate that so much!  She shared nuggets of wisdom with me that were well beyond my years.  Ideas that I didn’t fully grasp until I became a mother myself.
 And, thank God she did!  Because, at the tender age of 11, I lost my mom to cancer.  The mom that taught me how to put my socks on.  The mom that led me to Christ.  The mom that trucked me to ballet and gymnastics and school and church and sleepovers and birthday parties and the pool.  The mom that stayed up all hours of the night sewing the most beautiful dresses just to make me feel special. Truly, a Proverbs 31 woman.   A mom that was INTENTIONAL.
~Raquel

The Loss of a Mother


A personal friend of ours asked us to write about a topic that is a little close to home. She wanted to know about how growing up without a mom has affected us as mothers. We agreed wholeheartedly without realizing what a tough topic this would be.

As I began to think about it, I wasn’t at all sure about what to write. I hadn’t really thought about it in great detail. How did I feel about it? How has it affected my mothering? These questions have rolled around in my mind the past few weeks as I pondered writing this article.

Today marks the 21 year anniversary of my mother’s death. On Dec. 5th, 1996, Sara Nadene Hill passed away from cancer. That is a long time when you really think about it. She has been gone longer than the length of time any of my siblings even knew her – longer than my father had been married to her. Twenty-one years! A lot can happen in twenty-one years – for example, myself and three of my other siblings getting married and becoming parents ourselves.

So much is missed by someone who should be here to enjoy it with us.

I still cry at times when I think of her. Even though I was only seven years old when she died. The sad truth is, I barely even knew who she was. I believe that is the most painful part of losing her. Someone I should know so much about, I know very little. How I would have loved to get to know her over the years of growing up. How I would have loved to hear her tell me the story of how she fell in love with my dad. How I would love to call her and ask for advice when I’m struggling with how to parent my children. How I would love to see her hold my boys and rejoice in the grandchildren she has.

As I ponder and cry over our loss of her, I begin to realize something – I remember her as a beautiful, loving mother! The memory of her is good, and lovely. When others share the memories they have of my mother, they are that of a woman that people loved and admired. A woman that loved Jesus and loved others.

But here is the shocker. She wasn’t a perfect mother!

This truth opened a painful spot in my heart and started to help me heal from the emotional scars I have inflicted upon myself. I began to heal from the shame and guilt I felt of messing up as a mom.

You see, I remember some not so great times with my mom.  Allow me to share a personal memory…..

The whole of the memory is foggy. I don’t even recall what caused my mom to get so upset that day. My sister’s and I were probably fighting and being little stinker butts like young kids can be. We ended up pushing my mom over the edge. Maybe she was hormonal or perhaps she was stressed or sad. Either way, she was not happy with us.

“Sometimes you guys make me want to get in the car and leave!!” she said with a loud and emotional pitch in her voice. 

She went into the bathroom and closed the door. After that, I remember my older sister, Raquel, and I began to cry. And behind the door of the bathroom, my mother cried too. 

Eventually, we braved it and walked into the bathroom. We hugged our mother. We cried some more. “I’m sorry,” my mom said minutes later.

I have done this! I have told my little boy that I wanted to leave. And when I did it, that memory flooded back to my brain like a frightful tsunami taking out an entire country. I did exactly what she did. I even went to the bathroom and cried.

I see a lot of my mother in myself. Even though I barely knew her she still has etched herself within the layers of my life. I am passionate and emotional like she was. I’m quirky and fun and love Jesus. My mom was able to make an impression even in such a short time.

You are probably thinking that the whole point I am trying to get at is how us as parents pass on parenting techniques and how what we do will affect our children later on down the road. That is true but surprisingly, not my main point.

What I want others to realize is that I still think of my mom as a wonderful mother. Even amidst the not so lovely times. I still see beauty and joy when I think of her. I knew she loved me and my family. I know that she loved Jesus. Mess ups on her part did not change that.The best photo editing features for free.

You see, even though you may have messed up with your kids, or raised your voice or got angry at something minuscule, you are still a good mom. If you are leaning on Jesus, and working to be the best mom you can be, then you are doing well. Jesus has so much grace for us. It is sufficient.

My memory of my mother is good. Was she perfect? No. She was human. She loved us with the love of an imperfect human being. And for that love, I am ever grateful. I hope that as my boys grow into adulthood they will realize that I was an imperfect woman doing the best I could. I hope as I did with my mother, they will remember the joy and the good times. The bad memories will still be there but I hope they remember them and show me grace.

Many other parts of me as a mom have been affected by the lack of a mother in my life. There would be a large list. But I will allow my other sisters to share their point of view so I don’t steal all the thunder. In the articles to come, my sisters, Caylen and Raquel will share their stories as well.

A Special Thank You

To end this article I would like to say thank you to so many women who did step up to the plate and helped me mature as a woman and a mother even after mine left this world. Without these women, I would not be who I am today. These women showed me the heart of Jesus and showed me the love of a mother.

First and foremost, my sister Raquel: Without your love and care I don’t know where I would be. You cared for me as a mom for so many years. For you I am ever grateful.

Aunt Juanita: You loved us with such intensity. I knew you felt protective of us and cared for us. I still remember you making the sacrifice to come be with me at the Mother’s Day Tea party I had in 2nd grade. I will always remember that.

Grandma Mollie: Though you are no longer with us, I still remember you and feel the love you had for me. Your lovely songs and warming hugs will forever be with me. As well as your beautiful garden –  forever etched in my mind.

My mother-in-law Pati: You have been patient with me as I have taken so long to be confident enough to ask your advice and share intimate conversations with you. You are a beautiful woman and I am so glad I married your son.

Angie Steffen: Oh what a joy you are! You loved me in all the awkward stages of life and made me feel important. I remember you curling my hair and having fun sleepovers. I will always love you. (I still sing the “Bed Bug’s” song we made up. I sing it to my boys when they go to sleep 🙂 )

Maureen Palmquist: I know now how important is to be polite and say ‘thank you’ because of you. I was always glad to come to your house. I felt loved and safe there. You hold a special place in my heart.

Jane Otott: If ever there was a woman who showed me the heart of sacrifice, you are the one. You are such a kind and faithful women. The fact that you came every Friday for so many years and asked for nothing in return amazes me. I think of you and think of Jesus.

Thank you to all the beautiful women who love as Jesus loves. Without joyful, Godly women this world would be a sad and lonely place.

~Shiree