Letter to self | When you need to hear well done

I’ve prayed when I didn’t want to.

I’ve stayed when I wanted to go. 

I’ve fought when I wanted to leave.

I’ve kept quiet when I wanted to point fault. 

I’ve forgiven when deeply offended.

I’ve sought forgiveness when I’ve wounded and hurt. 

I’ve trusted when all things point otherwise.

I’ve believed when it made no sense at all. 

I’ve spoken life when death’s all around me.

I’ve died to be born to new life. 

I’ve sung praise in the midst of destruction.

I’ve grieved for lives not my own. 

I’ve cared even though it costs me.

I’ve loved to the point that it hurts. 

I’ve pressed on when I wanted to drop out.

I’ve quit because I knew it was best. 

I’ve lived far from perfection, but friend, I’ve lived this life well.

So for now, I’m saying, “Well done. My dear, you’re doing swell.”


When you feel like a failure as a mom and you’re convinced you’ll ruin your kid

Anxiety plagued me for days and despite my valiant efforts to look within and determine the source, it wasn’t until this morning that I saw them.

Failed Expectations.

This isn’t the first time my expectations have caused me to worry and become anxious. It isn’t the first time they’ve stolen not only my joy, but my peace and the ability to clearly see whats right in front of me.

But these weren’t just any expectations, they were the deep longings of my heart;  the false expectations I had of me and my mothering.

Before I become mom and even as I’ve worn the title these last 13 months, I confess that I expected it to be all naps and snuggles, giggles and playtime. That she would perfectly fit into our old lives, love it herself, always act delightful and that our joy would multiple. That I would always delight in her, in return and in my role as her mother all the time- in every minute.

I thought that I would wake each morning eager to be with her and that I’d never want to be without her.

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That when life got hard, I would see the challenge through the lens of wisdom, compassion and a hunger to learn and grow. That tears would be few and regret none existent.

And that each moment, I would revel in the present moment, etching the beauty of it on my heart and giving thanks for it. 

I thought that because I had experienced the death of a child in my early years and trauma amidst my humble beginnings as a mother, that I would never take a moment for granted! And if I’m really honest, that because my hopes for motherhood were not (all together) selfish and focused on frivolous or materialistic things, that God would bless that!

In truth, this was much of my early experiences of motherhood.

While I may have been downing in tears of grief and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), God used my daughter to draw me to him – to turn my mourning into dancing. She was the break in my everyday darkness for nine consecutive weeks. She turned my heart and my head rightside up and so many things, like my priorities, my worries, and fears, suddenly fell into place.

She pushed me to look honestly at myself, for her sake, and deal with the ugly and hurt parts of me I’d hidden away for years, emerging on the other side a free, wholehearted and confident woman. She taught me to fully live and embrace life with the people right in front of me without distraction.

Then suddenly the page turned, we entered a new chapter and I went from just being with and experiencing life with her, to raising her. To failing every single day at being my best self for her – the self I liked and prided myself on being as a mother.


Instead, I’ve had to fight daily to respond rather than react, to have patience, show compassion and choose joy in the wake of struggle. I’ve let anxiety and fear steal the moment- our moments- and bait me with notions that I will forever fail and struggle in my role as her mom. And that perhaps I’m only cut out to be a baby momma and will cease to be what she needs. That I won’t be able to love her well or help her know and experience unconditional love and acceptance.

I’ve compared myself to the women around me who seem to thrive in motherhood and delight – even rave- about being with their children 24/7 and wouldn’t have it any other way. Comparing myself to women who juggle solo, not knowing the throngs of help or are privileged the gift of a village to help raise their child, like I am – and still they want more children.

And here I am struggling with one child and ample hands to help raise her along side me. Guilt and shame suffocate me.


For a moment I feel helpless and wish I were like them, willing myself to be different, believing she needs those kind of women as her momma.

Until I realize I’ve entirely missed the point.

I’ve believed the lie that true joy comes without suffering or sacrifice – without being challenged or stretched beyond my comfort zones.

And I’ve forgotten the thing I need to remember most: that God chose me, not them, to be her mother and her to be my child. It’s not by accident! He chose us for each other, specifically and with purpose. God sees every day of our lives and knows exactly what we need most – what will serve us best- in the people we each are, how he’s made us, designed us and gifted us as two individuals- me her mother, her my daughter.

And God’s plans are always for the good of those who love him; to give us a hope and a future.


But it’s not in my strength or hers that we will proposer, but in our weakness, because it’s there – in that place- that God’s power is made perfect. In our weaknesses we will seek him and see our need for him clearly. Our weaknesses will move us to step aside long enough to give God the reigns and take the wheel. Because  with him at the head, we will never be led off course.

So today, (and every day if I need to) I am laying down my expectations and my plans. I will own my weaknesses in motherhood and give my insecurities to God. And I will refuse to parent out of fear, but in love  because love covers a multitude of mistakes, of which I am chief. And I will trust God and his grace to bring us through.


7-10 So I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.  At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 | The Message



Perfectly Spent | When you’re done and have nothing left to give

It’s 6 o’clock and by all accounts I’m fried.

You still haven’t eaten dinner, despite my gallant efforts and I’m counting down the minutes until your dad gets home. Truth is, I’ve given up. I want him to feed you, then put you to bed, ’cause I’m tired and absolutely done. 

My tone is sharp and I don’t want it to be. I’m sorry. My patience is beyond mustering. I’m sorry. But the truth is, my love, momma is perfectly spent! 

For a split second, I’m tempted to begin the checklist of all the things I’ve done today, the majority for others and not for me. I’m tempted to give myself a solid dose of selfish praise then wallow in self pity.

I’m tempted to feel guilty and beat myself up, that yet again, I’ve barely made it to the end of my day before making it to the end of myself!

But for one brave second I stop.

But how else would I want it? To get to the end of my day perfectly relaxed, full of p**sing vinegar and raring to go?


I’m spent from spending myself well. 


I spent today loving you, from endless food patrol, diaper changes, giggle fits and story times; play ground trips and hide and seek and setting boundaries even when it hurt. 

I spent today sharing my gratitude to friends who show up and family that takes care, to God for his gifts and husbands who help. 

I spent today sharing others tears and hugging it out and talking about Jesus when they needed him most. 

I spent today praying bold prayers and begging for healing for me, my family, my friends and even theirs. 

I spent today using my gifts to worship The Lord and hopefully lead others to his heart with my story. 

I’m spent because I spent myself on the people and things that matter the most. I gave it my all and I didn’t hold back, so I shouldn’t be shocked when I’ve got nothing left.


So, as I throw my hands up and body just follows, I’m giving myself the only thing I’ve got left: grace. 

And His grace is sufficient for me. 

Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people. – Colossians 3:23

12 ways to help women in grief or after bringing home baby

You might be asking why I chose grief and postpartum (bringing home baby) in the same post. Because for me, they were one in the same and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

And it was in this season that I learnt to accept help (reluctantly) but gracefully from the people I loved most. While difficult for me to embrace my weakness, I see now that it was my vulnerability and willingness to let others carry me, that make both my heart and theirs feel whole, connected and loved.

So if you know someone who may be grieving or perhaps has just arrived home with baby, here are a few ways to show them you care, courtesy of those who loved me well in my own season.


12 ways to help women in grief or after bringing home baby


1. Deliver their favourite treat

For me that was a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks with an oat bar. For her it may be something else. But a little dose of treat-a-cheer goes a long way at bringing a smile!


2. Take the dog out to go pee or for a walk

For some, Simple things like taking the dog outside can became an overwhelming ordeal, especially if they live in an apartment. It’s far more than just opening the door in your PJ’s! It’s an exercise in getting yourself dresses, possibly a baby and presentable enough to not scare people on your way down.
Quite honestly, there were days when I completely forgot about the needs of said animal until halfway through the day. My own needs were screaming louder and realizing my own forgetfulness made me feel nothing short of a failure and bad person. Help a woman out!


3. Have someone else answer the door

If you’re planning to drop things off, make arrangements for someone else to collect the goods. Better yet, leave them on the porch, giving them a heads up once it’s done and you’ve departed.

Some days, the thought of even hello was paralyzingly for me, let alone the thought of making small talk or having to muster up the energy to show my true appreciation.


4. Pick up and Drop off the laundry

My bet is that the laundry basket is bursting and everyone would appreciate a clean pair of underwear! She’s probably worn her favourite pair of pjs or loungewear for far too many days in a now and would love to continue without smelling!
So grab those clothes and do a couple loads for them! If possible, take them to your house and drop them off clean along with a special treat. See number 1!


5. Grocery shop but ask someone else for a list

In the midst of new seasons and grief, simple things can become overwhelming, even paralyzing at the thought. Not to mention that food is likely last on her radar at the moment.
If you know what they like, grab some groceries when you’re at the store next. If not, ask someone who would know whats needed, other than her.


6. Send encouraging texts and scripture – let them know you’re praying for them

When you’re knee deep in fear and isolated at home, you can easily slip into despair, doubt and hopelessness. Reach out with a word of encouragement, perhaps from your own encouragement. Let them know they’re not alone and you’ve got them in your thoughts.


7. Make your visit a work party

If you’d like to drop by and visit, plan to help out a little. Don’t ask; look around and just start doing something around the house. Vacuum, dishes, clean the bathroom! Heck my mother-in-law took to reorganizing my kitchen drawers with new racks and organization systems.


8. Deliver meals – freezer meals

Better yet, have them put out a cooler on the porch to collect them without any need to make small talk.


9. Share your experience so they know they’re not alone

I think grief and change surprises us. Even if we’ve seen others go through it, it’s a whole other ballgame when you’re in it yourself. The darkness can feel all consuming and the voices taunt telling you there’s some wrong with you!
And in the after math of pregnancy and giving birth, your hormones are running wild! Yes you’ve seen it in the movies and witnessed pregnancy hormones be the bait of endless jokes, but you feel “crazy” when you’re in it! No amount of ratiouslizing or fact can make the habit seem sane, even for a season. Let her know she’s not alone by sharing your personal experience. Give her space to laugh and be angry about how’s she’s feeling, assuring her it’ll pass and she’ll feel normal again soon.


10. Give them permission to just be and not acknowledge you or your efforts

There will come a day when they will, but right now, their life feels all consuming. You can bet your bottom dollar you’re making a difference, they may just not know how much until later!


11. Take the kids so they can enjoy a leisurely bath or shower

It’s the small things, people, like taking a shower without rushing or enjoying a hot bubble bath in quiet. So, if they’re comfortable with you watching their wee ones offer in persistence or just show up and run the water.


12. Commit to short and sweet

Last and most certainly not least; possibly the most important! If you say you’re coming for a quick visit, make it one! And don’t wait for them to [politely] kick you out the door.
For me, that equated to a 45 minute max before I was antsy to see them leave. If you want to stay longer, make yourself busy. See number 7.


After publishing this post, I listened to an amazing podcast on God Centred Mom, where a woman battling stage 4 cancer shared ways people have blessed her socks off. A few things she suggested that I thought were worth adding:


13. Give her a foot rub

Or a back rub or whatever else might feel amazing!


14. Offer up whatever you’re good at and enjoy

Like decorating? Offer to set up their christmas tree or wrap gifts. Good at graphics? Design birthday or holiday cards. Perhaps write in them or address the envelopes and mail them for her. Like to organize? Tackle a project in the house for spring cleaning. Sell somethings on craigslist. Deliver parcels to the post office. No thing is too small!


15. Be specific – include your plans

It’s way easier to accept help when people are specific. “Hey, I’m going to target. Need anything?” streamlines the thought process much easier than, “I’m running errands. Can I pick something up for you?” Knowing you’re already heading there can make her feel less like an inconvenience.


16. If you offer, be prepared to help.

If you say no once, she’ll likely never ask you for help again because let’s face it, we all hate rejection. It takes courage to ask for help! So, if you reach out and offer to help, be prepared to make it work. If your schedule is not so flexible, or your uncomfortable with something they may ask, then be specific with what you’d like to help with.


And finally, remember…

Being there for people and helping sometimes requires sacrifice on our end. It’s not always convenient and flexible with our schedules.


Have you yourself experienced a hard season? Remember the mommy boot camp of bringing home baby? Share your ideas in the comment below!

Grief Filled Grace

My entrance into motherhood was anything but pretty. It shattered every elegant notion and bliss-filled fantasy that I had held onto in my 9 months of waiting. I don’t know why I was shocked when reality came crashing down… my wedding experience was no different.

This is how God has refined me time and time again; in the shattering of my perfect laid plans that my mess has become my message – where God has humbled me, stripped me raw and taught me grace, compassion and love for others, as well as myself.

I had been praying for the last year that he would heal me from the things that still held me hostage after years of trying everything [in my strength] to fix myself and for the first time in my entire life I believed he would, with every fibre of my being.

And a strange knowing told me motherhood would be the beginning of that journey.


It started with my pregnancy roller coaster: the inability to control my every changing body, not being able to run or workout past 12 weeks, facing my fear of food to discover it as fuel, and weeks of tests and complications that had no answers. All the while I felt alone, like I didn’t know who to trust or turn to for answers. Was there a right one?!

I was slowly accepting the reality that only God knew. As much as the doctors could tell me one thing, God was ultimately in control of this pregnancy.. of my hearts condition … of my healing journey.

My delivery was point 2 seconds in before my birth plan got ripped to smithereens and as I grieved my loss of control there [like I had any in the first place over this!] God began a work in my heart preparing me for the trauma of what was ahead.

Labour and Delivery

I never dreamed I’ve be hooked up to IV’s, summoned to a bed and without [any] food or drink for nearly 48 hours. I never dreamed I’d hear the words “undiagnosed pre-eclampsia. You might want to call your family. ” or that a weeks recovery in the hospital would be just the beginning; that my daughter would spend that same duration in intensive care, subjected to test after test asking a “why” that still isn’t answered. That I’d blame myself or that this would open the flood gates of grieving the loss of my 6 month old brother when I was 6 years old- a pain I’d never been able to touch.

Preemie Baby NICUpre-eclampsiaLabour and Delivery

I feared every day that my daughter would die. That God would take her from me and I’d be a heap of nothing on the floor forever….

And while anxiety surged hourly panic attacks through my veins and my fear bore witness to a woman unrecognizable to those who love me most, it brought about a vulnerability I’d never dared let anyone see- not my husband, my family or even God. It ushered in conversations I’d played out in my head for years, confessions of anger and frustrations and most beautifully, the asking of forgiveness for the ways I’d judged, blamed and harboured resentment for years- some my entire life.

And it was there, in the midst of my ugly brokeness, that my healing began. That I came to the end of myself and finally took Gods hand admitting defeat. And like a switch, my heart changed and I surrended. Fully surrendered to whatever God has planned for me.

new moms | motherhoodnew moms | motherhood

While I wish I could tell you things got easier from that point on, they didn’t and I’d go on to walk 8 weeks of darkness before the sun would shine again; the anxiety still plagued me, worry was my best friend, tears were my comfort and a quiet numbness kept the Kailey of yesteryear seem far far away. Yet God felt near and more real than ever before. I could feel his arms hug me, his palm cup my face and his whispers sing delight over me.

With every new dawn, I would extend a trembling open palm accepting each day as grace; every messy, unknown part of it.

And slowly but surely, my standing turned into walking and my walk into a run; my murmurs to grumbles, my grumbles to signing and signing to shouts of praise.

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A mere 3 months in, I still go back to that place when all feels hopeless and my weakness seems all consuming in this thing called motherhood. But Im learning what it truly means to lean on God, to know his strength rather than my own and to keep glued my eyes on him while everything else grows gravely dim.

new moms | motherhood

I’m settling into the passengers seat and for the first time, enjoying the ride.

Leaving room for miracles

When The Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive. Genesis 29:31

Our Father is a gracious father, who loves us unconditionally. His heart breaks for the things that break ours no matter how big or small. He grieves when we grieve, he rejoices when we praise and his desires to see us prosper in a hopeful future.

But by proposer, I don’t necessarily mean financially. I mean to flourish in the places he has put us; to have hope and joy beyond circumstance.

Leah was given to a man that did not want her and The Lord saw her. He wanted her to be loved and appreciated, so He blessed her with Child.


She gave him praise, but like us, far too often, she worshiped God while clinging to her earthly desires- expecting him to answer her prayers and heal her wounds in the way she felt was right and just.

“The Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:32 B

Three more times would Leah conceive, each time thanking God while focusing on her plans and making clear her expectations of Him… God that is.

Hear that. Expectations.

Oh how I have expectations for my life. And make them very clear to my Father. So often I dawn a Leah mindset, making known and clinging to my hopes and expectations for this life, like he owes me something for my “allegiance” to him.

But heres the thing; our hopes and expectations are so small! Compared to what God is capable of, our plans are akin to making sand castles in the mud slums because the idea of white sand at the beach is incomprhensible.

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The problem isn’t that our expectations are too high – it’s that we are far too easily satisfied.

Keeping our fists clenched, clinging to hopes for a “pretty little life,” we stifle space for God in our plans…

We don’t leave room for miracles!

Because that’s what he is capable of if we’ll simply make room and let him!

Miracles. Glory.



Yes, that’s what I desire to see in my life, more than the fulfillment of my demands and expectations. They never satisfy anyway… for long.

I know. I chased achievement after achievement; always raising the bar and never satisfied. 

Why? Because theres a hole in each of a us; one that God artfully created for a purpose and that purpose is him. It’s a void that only he can fill.

But so often, we try and stuff it full of the things of this world- distractions, busyness, influence, significance, accomplishment, possession, control– even good things, like service and loving others – and allow our actions to blink a no vacancy sign to the baby looking for an inn.

And when the sign flashes, God moves on.
No he doesn’t leave us. No he doesn’t disown us and not love us.

He simply knows how we’ll respond. He searches for an open hole- a willing and longing heart that desires to know him- to hear him…

to live for him, rather than ourselves.

It wasn’t until her fourth child, that Leah would mature enough and let Go of her expectations, simply giving God praise and surrendering her need to be loved by a man.

“This time I will praise the Lord.” Genesis 29:35


What heart ache could God have spared her if she had simply run to him from the start? How powerfully could he have revealed himself to her and comforted her, if she would have trusted him for the answer? How many laps around the mountain and years wandering in the desert of despair could he have saved her from, giving her joy and contentment in its place? How could he have used her to relate to others in similar situations and bring him glory?

We’ll never know. But if his promises are true, and I know they are, it would have been something to write home about!

Because when we seek him with our whole heart, there we will find him. And when we ask for what we need to do his will, he will give it to us abundately. And when we trust him with our lives, he will finish what he has started in us, taking our threads to weave a masterpiece.

A life that shines of his Glory and goodness.


Let’s not be like Leah or the Israelites wandering in the desert.

Lord help us to trust you with our lives, beyond our feelings and our circumstance, clinging to your promises and running to your for our every need. Because you are our best friend, our confidant, our healer, our comforter, our forgiver, our only hope and security! Help us to love you with our whole hearts and desire to know you unlike anyone one. Because the more we seek your face, the more we’ll taste glory and live the life we were made for!