In honor of Mother's Day, I thought it'd be fun to "interview" a few of the queen bees I know and love (contributors listed below). Imagine we're all at brunch, asking each other where we've come from and what we've learned...I, for one, am taking notes, cause these chicks are full of glittering wisdom. :)
Some may find themselves being celebrated today, while others may feel heavy-hearted. We all have different stories, as you'll see from my friends below. They've walked through deep waters, some experiencing pain and loss--but I hope you'll notice this thread of hope woven through each and every one of their stories: God is faithful. His goodness is proven on the pages of our lives and expressed uniquely through our God stories. On behalf of all my girls, no matter where you find yourself this Mother's Day, be encouraged, for God is forever faithful.
Q: What are the most rewarding things about being a mom?
A: Seeing my children grow into the men and women God created them to be. -Lynda Grove
A: It's so rewarding to watch each season unfold in Jessica's life as she is obedient to honor the Lord in her decisions. I can see the Lord's favor and blessing on the dreams and desires He has placed in her heart as she pursues Him each step of the way. -Kelly Sheppard
A: Watching my kids stand alone in what is right, even when they think we're not looking. This past week, my husband, Brennan, and I were at Central Market on a date with our youngest son, Hayden (3 years old). He was playing on the playground and I asked him not to scream so loud. A boy about 6 years old walked up to him and said, "Don't listen to your mom...come on, let's scream." Hayden immediately responded, "No, my mommy said, 'No, don't scream.'" The boy was persistent, but Hayden wouldn't budge: "No, I obey my mom." Can I get an "amen" from all the moms?! Seeing the fruit of our training is so rewarding.
Sometimes I think, "Are we doing enough? Am I enough?" In moments like this, I'm reminded of God's faithfulness. Even in my shortcomings as a mother, He will fill in what I miss...for when I am weak, He is strong. My playground story this week was a sweet reminder that what we're doing IS enough and I AM enough: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4). -Kelsi Webber
Q: Many women dream of being a mom. What would you say to encourage a lady in waiting, whether it's for a husband or for future children?
A: I married later in life than I thought I would. We lost our first baby and then walked through three years of infertility.
As I waited, I was so grateful for my sweet friends who were sensitive on days that could be emotional...our baby's due date, Mother's Day, etc. I also loved to see moms who were grateful for their husband and children. It encouraged me that what I prayed for was worth the wait!
For those who are waiting, surround yourself with those who will speak life, blessings and encouragement to you! This is also a great time to serve those who are in the season you are looking forward to. I threw over 25 baby showers while I was waiting for my own baby, which helped me rejoice with those who rejoice! Most of all, remember that God holds all your tears in His bottle, that He loves you and that He is faithful to keep His promises.
My prayers are with each woman who is waiting right now. I have wept many tears with you, and am believing with you for God to bring the deepest desires of your heart. -Kristin Pelphrey
A: We prayed for children for 7 years before we had our first. Don't give up if you are waiting for them. They are worth the wait! Our God is full of surprises. We always wanted and prayed for twins and God answered our prayers. We now have twins that are just over 1 year old!
A: We waited three years for Decker's arrival. We prayed and prayed for him, and God was incredibly faithful through the whole process. We learned that children come in God's perfect timing because God needs them on earth at just the right time to walk in their own destiny. God was also faithful in the pregnancy, birth and first year of his life. Decker turned one year old today...on Mother's Day!
Q: What's life like on the road now with a new baby?
A: This is my first Mother's Day and I am so excited. Cody and I travel a lot and we've just seen a new grace to have our new little team member come with us. Canyon is an amazing little traveller and he loves worship...he either falls asleep or just watches the stage while we lead. It's my new favorite thing and I am so thankful to be a mommy. -Kari Jobe Carnes
Q: What's your favorite story of God's faithfulness in your life as a mother?
A: God gave me an overwhelming strength to go through the death of a son. The strength and peace of the Lord was so great, that I truly experienced Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." -Linda Davis
A: Jessica started taking piano lessons when she was five years old. There were some rough times when she didn't want to practice or wanted to give up her lessons, but Tim and I could see that she had a natural talent, so it was obvious quitting wasn't an option. 😏 We explained to Jessica even from a young age that when the Lord gifts you in an area, it still takes hard work to develop and grow.
Looking back, we now see how God's faithfulness met her diligence and multiplied her efforts. Who would've thought 30-60 minutes of practicing, day in and day out, would open up Jessica's future in ministry? Even in our daily decisions of parenting, God is involved in the details of life. What could've been perceived as just "hobbies" or "after school activities" was truly God's hand at work. -Kelly Sheppard
Q: How do you keep all the plates spinning (family life, marriage, ministry)?
A: Spinning multiple precious things, up in the air, at the same time, is more than stressful. And, realistically, I usually drop something. Through the years I have learned two things: 1) Figure out what my husband needs most from me. During busy times, if I can still get that one thing done, I find that we all still function well; and 2) I make sure to set time aside for my son. If I have a big event coming up, I plan on special time with him before and after the event. It goes a long way and he never seems to feel left out or in need.
Visually, for me, it's as if I take some of my plates and find a secure place to set them down, then I can focus on one or two things at a time. And that's a lot easier than five or six all at once. -Mary Beth Miller
A: Balance! Choosing to work full time in ministry (with my husband) while having a little one at home definitely caused us to adjust our lifestyle. Our schedule often times revolves around a bed time...now we say "no" to things we never used to. Overall, we've tried to find a balance of working as a team, asking others for help, and mastering the art of scheduling. Also, planning ahead has become my new favorite hobby. :) We treasure times together as a family, make sure to carve out time for just the two of us, and buckle in as a team when it's a busy work week! -Connie Bates
A: My daily dependence on the Lord is the only way I can survive life. I spend much of each day casting my cares on Him and asking for wisdom and guidance--moving from one situation to another--standing on the Word and trusting in Him to direct my steps. -Linda Davis
A: I remind myself that God never gives us more than what we can handle. Yes, we have challenges, but He is always there to help us through it! He has blessed me and placed me exactly where I need to be...and He will not let me fail! -Maritza Trimble
A: I'm learning it's okay to let plates slip or fall sometimes. Perfection isn't the goal; prioritizing is. Stepping into Nolan's toys fives times before picking them up, or letting dirty laundry pile up for a week is okay...if it means making time for my family! I'm also learning that my ministry looks different in this season of motherhood and that's okay. It sometimes means saying "no" to things I really want to do in order to be home with my family. -Lindsey Novak
Q: What's one thing you wish someone would've told you about being a mom?
A: I wish I had been told to laugh at the mistakes and take hold of each moment. -Lynda Grove
A: That it's easier than they say! I grew up thinking that becoming a mom would just be hard. I was so full of fear at the thought of tending to a little heart, and motherhood in general was something I thought I wouldn't be very good at. If you don't think you're cut out to be a mom, you might surprise yourself! I felt an immediate shift of confidence and wisdom within weeks of being a new mom...God's kind like that, I suppose. -Connie Bates
Q: What's one of your challenges as a mom?
A: One of the greatest challenges I'm facing in this season of motherhood is feeling like I can fill each child's love tank each day. I'm really asking the Holy Sprit to help me see their needs and show me how to love them. With four children--five years and under--they have a lot of needs each day. Also, going from having two children to four has been an adjustment in trying to really take notice of each child's needs and loving them the way they need every day. -Angela Carrasco
Q: Is there a tradition in your family that's important to you as a mom?
A: Every night before I fell asleep, my mom would speak over me, "May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you, give you peace and pleasant dreams...and I love you so much." Her sweet paraphrase of Numbers 6:24-26 is now the same prayer I pray over my 3-week-old daughter every night. -Rachael Coad
Q: What characteristic do you admire the most about your own mom?
A: My own mom was the most positive person I've ever known and I had a tremendous start in life just being born to her. I can never remember a time she verbally hurt me or had anything negative to say about me. She was always my greatest admirer and cheerleader in everything my entire life. I was spared so much baggage of negativity, thanks to her positive influence in my life. -Linda Davis
A: Out of all the moms of all time, I'm so very grateful God blessed me with my mom! She's a woman of tremendous faith and unwavering belief that God can do anything. Daily, Mom gets up by 4:30 am to spend time with the Lord (on her screened-in back porch). Then, she still works a full-time job outside the home. What an amazing work ethic she has!
Mom's positivity and calm resolve that God is working everything together for the good is woven throughout her life. She speaks encouragement over everyone she comes into contact with. I would not be the woman I am today without Linda Davis in my life. I'm eternally grateful for my Proverbs 31 mom! -Kelly Sheppard
A: Her faith and strength. My mom is the strongest person I know! She's taught me to stand firm in my faith when adversity comes my way, because God has it all under control! -Jodie Harris
Q: What's one thing you've learned about God through being a mother?
A: Being a mom has many rewards along with many challenges. Some days I feel that I have a handle on things and that I have well-behaved children. Other days, I feel that I don't know what I'm doing and that my kids don't hear anything I say.
One thing that I have learned through being a mom is how our Heavenly Father could truly love us even when we don't do everything right. My love for my kids is like no other love I have known before and I freely give it to them. Even on the days that they disbobey or don't listen, my love for them doesn't change. There is nothing that they can do to make me love them any less.
I now understand the Father's love for me in a different way. I'm so thankful that, no matter what, He will welcome me into His loving arms anytime. -Lisa Corley
A: One of the greatest things I have learned about God through being a mom is, “His love never fails, it never gives up and never runs out on me.” Learning to love sacrificially and unconditionally as our Lord does all day and every day is the greatest challenge we face as moms. That’s why being a mom is a "high calling.” Every day you choose to lay down your life to deepen your understanding of the length and width, height and depth of His love for you and for others. One of the greatest rewards is seeing your children discover His love for them and desire to share it with someone else. -Shannon Alford
Q: What's one of your most memorable moments as a mother thus far?
A: The moment they called out, "IT'S A BOY" and I met our sweet son. A moment nothing can compare to! -Alena Moore
To my own mom: You are grace-filled and godly...everything I aspire to be. Your devotion to God and trust in His Word inspire me to stretch my faith. The sacrifices you make every day challenge me to serve others. Your ability to find my one lost shoe when it's "nowhere to be found" never ceases to amaze me. 😌I love you with all my heart.
SHANNON ALFORD - Author of 8 Is Enough, Shannon is the mother of 8 children, ages 11 - 22. Her husband, Sion, and she serve in worship ministry at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX.
CONNIE BATES - Connie just celebrated 2 years of marriage and has a one-year-old little girl named Bravery. Her husband and she work full time in Children's Ministry while pursuing other passion projects, like dance and film! Connie blogs about her family and life milestones on the-bates.com.
KARI JOBE CARNES - For more than 15 years, Kari's been using her gifts to lead people into the presence of God. When she began leading worship at age 13, she never imagined she would be nominated for a GRAMMY® or win a Dove Award. She only knew she had a heart for broken people and a deep desire to lead them to the cross. Kari serves in ministry with her husband, Cody Carnes, and is excitedly embracing her new role as "mom" to Canyon Carnes.
ANGELA CARRASCO - Angela has been married to the man of her dreams for almost 18 years and they have four little treasures together...5- and 3-year-old boys, and 13-month-old twins.
RACHAEL COAD - Rachael grew up in northern Virginia in a wonderful family and spent most of her hours dancing her little heart out. She has a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University and now enjoys teaching dance to her beloved students, ranging from ages 4-64. She's a nanny and a new mom.
LISA CORLEY - Lisa is a CEO of Corley Home Enterprises (stay-at-home mom), married for 16 yrs, and mother of three mighty men of God! She loves encouraging women to find their God-given purpose, nights out with her girlfriends, and has a weak spot for carbs (also note that she'd choose a soft drink over desserts any day).
LINDA DAVIS - Linda has been the principal of Boutte Christian Academy in Luling, Louisiana for 32 years. She is the wife of Bob Davis, mother to Kelly Sheppard and Kelly's three brothers, and grandmother to Jessica Sheppard.
LYNDA GROVE - Lynda is the pastor of Pink for Gateway Church's Southlake Campus. She's passionate about seeing women valued and encouraged. Lynda loves to cook, entertain, and spend time with her college sweetheart and husband, Kevin, and their four children, one daughter-in-law, and especially her handsome grandson.
JODIE HARRIS - Jodie is the wife to Mark Harris and mother of Matthew (22) and Maddison (20). She actively serves in worship ministry with Mark at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX.
MARY BETH MILLER - Mary Beth is the multi-talented wife of Thomas Miller (one of Gateway Church's Executive Senior Pastors and head of Gateway Worship). She's the mother of Harrison (11), is passionate about worship, and enjoys singing/songwriting and painting (visit instagram.com/dreamstartus).
ALENA MOORE - Alena loves God, her husband, David, of nine years, and her 2 year old, David Liam. She serves with her husband, David, overseeing Gateway Generate, the next generation worship ministry of Gateway Church. She is a graduate of Christ For the Nations Institute and has a bachelor’s in marketing from Dallas Baptist University. Alena has a deep love for the house of God and desires to see the next generation walk in the fullness of their calling and destiny as they serve the Lord.
COURTNEY MORGAN - Courtney is on the Worship staff at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX. Her favorite thing is spending time with her husband and little boy, who just celebrated his first birthday!
LINDSEY NOVAK - Lindsey has a deep love for worship and the presence of God. She loves encouraging young girls, being creative and online shopping!
KRISTIN PELPHREY - Kristin Pelphrey is wife to Gabe and mommy to 11 month old Ella. Her passion is to encourage women to walk in joyous, loving relationships and to enjoy each season as a gift from God. She loves her family, worship, travel, politics, shopping and coffee.
KELLY SHEPPARD - Kelly is married to Tim Sheppard, who's considered to be a pioneer in contemporary Christian music and is now Gateway Church's Executive Pastor/Artist in Residence. Kelly and Tim have served together in ministry since they were married 34 years ago. They have one child, Jessica, who serves as an Associate Worship Pastor at Gateway. Her main calling in life is to encourage and support Tim and Jessica, and her greatest joy is to see people reach their fullest potential in Christ.
MARITZA TRIMBLE - Maritza is blessed and honored to be married to Paul Trimble! They married on April 26, 2014 and one month later became pregnant with their first child, Lennon Anne Trimble. Now, 3 years later, the Trimbles are expecting their second daughter, Noa Hope Trimble. Maritza was born and raised in New Orleans (with her 3 older brothers), by her incredible mother. Having grown up in a single-parent home, God's placed a beautiful passion in her to help broken families.
KELSI WEBBER - Kelsi and her husband, Brennan, have been married for 14 years. They both graduated from different Teen Challenges in 2001. Kelsi is mother to Payton (10), Hunter (7), Colson (4) and Hayden (3). She stays active keeping up with her kids and loves working out.
Much love and Happy Mother's Day,