Mother’s day. What a wonderfully messy, excruciatingly painful, heart-wrenchingly beautiful day. There’s so much pressure and weight carried in the label “family.” The truth is that families are messy and complicated and often times very broken – regardless of the facade that we all try to put up. There’s the text-book-movie-screen-perfect family. There’s the screwed-up-hilariously-disasterous-comedy-TV-show family. And then there’s reality somewhere between those two, however some of us and our families fall closer in line with one more so than the other 😉

Here’s the truth: You don’t have to change the entire world in order to change MY world. And there are SO many women who have changed my world.

I have no doubt in my mind that I am one of the luckiest ladies in existence. I am constantly surrounded by warrior women – women who wear their hearts on their sleeves, take a stand for what they believe in, speak up as leaders, but yet are somehow also humble and show exemplary examples of humility, grace, and forgiveness. Today is mother’s day and I’m taking this opportunity to not only celebrate my biological, one of a kind, wonderful warrior mom, but also to celebrate all the lovely ladies who have helped shape me into who I am today.

A teacher I’m studying with said to me: We’re all on the same team. After all, it takes a village.

I’m convinced that there has never been a more true statement. It takes a village, no doubt. I’m so thankful to my sweet momma for loving me with all that she’s got – providing for me in so many ways, supporting me, lifting me up, and then allowing me to go out into the world and experience the love of so many other wonderful women in addition to her. You can never be too loved.

By experiencing the love of so many women I am slowly learning how to love myself. I watch these warriors, sitting down the row from me in the pew at church, as they bow their heads and speak to God. I watch them as they stand on stage and perform. I watch them as they file papers, search for cures to cancer, teach children music and math and art, cheer from the sidelines of the soccer field, hold the hands of their husbands, comfort their own crying children, and so much more. I have had the pleasure of watching these warrior women grieve the most heart wrenching losses, celebrate the most victorious moments, and sit silently and bravely through everything in between. I have seen these women cry, clap their hands in joy, express anger and confusion gracefully, and take failures and set backs with humility and grace.

There are women whom I haven’t even met but who have still somehow managed to leave their mark on my life…authors like Brene Brown, Jennie Allen, and Shauna Niequist. Artists like Hilary Hahn, Ann Sophie Mutter, and Julia Fischer. I also know that I am outrageously blessed to get to watch women who are younger than me (but many of whom are also much wiser) grow into who God made them to be – I get to have the pleasure of watching them change the world.

I’m gotten to watch wonderful warrior women fall apart and gracefully (sometimes more than others) piece themselves back together again. There are women around me who have experienced more pain in their lifetimes than I could ever wrap my mind around, but yet they are still able to find the space in their hearts to love on me and lift me up. My mom is one of the absolute bravest people I know. Of course, living together for +18 years had its difficulties, but I am proud to say that today I am 23 and living on my own, 10 hours away from home, yet my mom and I are closer than we’ve ever been and our relationship is healthy and thriving in ways that I didn’t know were possible. This is one of the biggest blessings of my life because I know that there are so many people out there who don’t have their biological mom to lean on and to love on and be loved by. There aren’t enough positive adjectives in existence to ever describe what my mom means to me, no matter what we’ve been through or what’s coming for us down the road.

But I think mother’s day, with all its challenges and pain and searing losses, should also be a day to celebrate the women in our lives – DNA related or not – who have shaped our worlds. It’s the love I’ve received from so may women, some who have their own children and some who don’t, some three times my age, some half of my age, who have helped me heal, grow, evolve, and learn to love the world around me as well as help me get on the path towards learning to love myself.

I don’t have enough words of gratitude for all the wonderful-warrior-women in my life. It’s true – it takes a village, and I’m convinced that God blessed me with the best community of women to help me walk through every stage of life and to love and be loved by.

God gave me you for the ups and downs. I love you all so, so much! My heart is full and my cup is overflowing today and every day as I remember, celebrate, and love on these powerful warriors!

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
Mitch Albom

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue…Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
-Proverbs 31:25-26 and 30-31

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