The Underground Stories of Motherhood

We take the best of what we’ve seen of the others around us and roll it all into one amalgamated standard of motherhood.


She greeted me at the door, took my coat and introduced herself as if she was twenty (not twelve). This wee thing looked me in the eye and called me ma’am. She was fixing me water before I crossed their home’s threshold.

They stood shoulder-to-shoulder, seamlessly reciting words too big for their small frames in poetry form, all pomp and pizzazz in this little performance. These sisters didn’t squabble, they banded together — beauty on display. They shined, jewels on their mommy’s crown that day.

He was among a group of high school buddies, all making an object out of a young woman with their words and their eyes when he stood up and said: ‘You know what, guys, my eyes are for my future wife, alone. I won’t dishonor this woman, this way.’ What a son. What a story.


My daughter sinks down in her chair and I lose her behind her eyes and my words bounce off her heart like rain on pavement. I pace the floor underneath where she sleeps, pleading with God: awaken her heart. We pray together. I coach and counsel and talk her through that hard moment that she’s resisting, only to have her stumble all over again. She’s mad and trapped in her flesh and my strategies are floundering.


What’s a mama to do when love is hard and the fruit isn’t hanging, low?

It’s the story no one tells but all of us mamas have a chance to live.

The child who doesn’t budge, whose heart appears hard. The life that takes years, not months, to mold in a new direction. The one who introduces us to 3am again as we wake in the night to the twinge of pain, reminding us we have a broken one down the hall. The enigma in the family tree at any given time.

These aches of motherhood, these conundrums, they are our invitations.

She buckles and my reserves dry up for this one (who’s not bringing me any accolades right now) and it’s there, in the dark, that I find the Eyes that fuel me. They’re on me, not marking what I haven’t done but responding to my emptiness as an opportunity to fill.

I reach and grapple for normal — for successful — and He says, I’m here, too, in your thwarted mommy moments.

I crave what I can measure and see and He says I’m making a woman out of you in the dark. 

Door Handle

My daughter stumbled and I reached in and held her heart, bleeding … and He saw me.  She pressed hard against love — her former-orphanhood speaking louder than the years since we came for her — and when I went to her again … He was the witness. My 3am prayers for her were golden, to Him.

We make a standard for ourselves out of the outward “bests” but overlook that the underground stories — the ones that happen when no one is looking — move the heart of God.


I want her to grow up and over this season — I want to it be her story of the past — and yet He says, now: let me see your eyes, let me hear your voice. When you look at Me while you wait on her, I’m moved. 

He’s forming His own amalgamation of my motherhood — and this list includes the minutes no one else but He sees.


For Your Continued Pursuit: Psalm 81:10 | Song of Solomon 2:14 | Matthew 8:5-13 | Psalm 34:5

Blessings, Sara Hagerty

Photos compliments of Mandie Joy.

A Letter To My Children


I’m writing this letter to you at the end of the day. I’ve given you everything and I’m too tired to shower. Today I’ve fed your hungry bellies and bathed your little bodies that wear the marks of dirt and sticky snacks. I’ve lost count of the dirty diapers and potty accidents. I read you books and colored with you. I made you popsicles and wrestled you on the floor. I lost my temper. I hurt your feelings. I sang you to sleep and counted the freckles on your nose.

My precious children, sometimes you might think I don’t like being your mom. When my face gets all weird and scary looking. When my patience is short. When I’m too tired to read and I get frustrated that you didn’t make it to the toilet in time. You have seen sides of me that others have not. You have seen me at my worst.

It has been your little hands and hearts that have brought me to my knees. I have learned through your lives that there is always someone more important than myself. Serving you has left me tired and drained. Serving you has been the best thing I could do in my lifetime. Your lives remind me every day that life is not about me, it is about loving others.

You have no idea now, but you are teaching me to lean hard into the moments that shape my character, no matter how uncomfortable they are. You are teaching me that serving others around the clock is hard work. But it is turning me into something beautiful.

Before I had you I was told that children are a blessing. They were right, but I didn’t understand what they meant. I thought children were a blessing because they were fun and and really cute to carry around. Now I know that children are a blessing because they turn my eyes away from myself. Your lives have stolen my heart. My heart can’t beat for myself anymore. It beats for you from morning to night, and all through the night. When you are in pain or when you have to work extra hard, I feel what you feel. When your feelings are hurt, my heart breaks with yours. When you experience something new and you scream with excitement, I am cheering right along side of you.

Today I am celebrating the greatness of being your mom, but I don’t want to be honored for the things I have done. I want to honor the one who hasn’t given up on me. When I slammed my fists and cursed his name, he held me close. When I yelled at you and my face turned red with sin, he forgave me. I want to honor God for the work he has done in my life. My beautiful children, you are a blessing because you bring me joy and you point me to the one who will never give up on me. You point me to the one who is making me great!

Natalie Falls

Little Dreams – a poem for mothers


Heavy eyes.

Arms wrapped

we rock.


Nuzzled rolly neck

of graham cracker smells

and stickiness.


Tiny fingers lightly pinch

your brows




Far away smile

halfway to dreams.



Drink it in with

mother’s heart.

Drop lips upon your

sun-kissed hair.

Remember other tiny heads.

More kisses for those

bigger now.


Soak your sweetness in.

Wistful how

it flies.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Blessings, Christy

6 Summer Projects for Your Tweens & Teens

Are you a mom who dreads the summer months with your teens, fearing the unscheduled time and worrying about them being on their screens too much? Do you feel anxious about the rhythm of packing and unpacking for camp drop-offs and pick-ups in between family vacations?

Imagine being the type of mom who looks at the calendar and sees a blank canvas ready for doing life together, especially with your tweens and teens.

That’s what I’ve asked the Lord to do in me this summer, recognizing that I only have a few years left with my tween and teen at home. I’m so keenly aware that now is the time to make life-time memories, while also seizing the moment to train them up with the skills I’d like to see them take into their future.

Summer Projects for Tweens & TeensSo rather than letting a summer pass without purpose, I’ve come up with six summer projects that I can do with my tween and teen that will enable us to connect while expanding their skill set.

1.  Paint a Room {or Something}

Learning how to paint a room or a piece a furniture is a skill worth having, so look around your home — or maybe a grandparent’s place — for a small space that can be painted in a day with a gallon of paint. This is a low budget project that offers a great reward!  Work with your teen, teaching them how to pick out the paint and supplies as well as prep the space:  clearing out the room, getting the walls ready (Spackle, sand, etc), taping edges, cleaning the floor before painting, etc. And then do the job with them, showing them how to roll, cut in, etc. If painting isn’t a skill you have, watch some tutorials on YouTube and do the research together before you start.

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2.  Prepare the Food

How about having your tween or teen plan the family’s menu for a week, or for an upcoming trip, and prepare all the food? Offer them a budget as well as assistance in the shopping and food prep time. Use the process to teach about how to select produce and meat, what unit price really means, shelf life for food, how to determine quantity, measurements, etc. Depending on your son or daughter’s maturity, let them handle as many of the responsibilities as possible. You could even toss in an incentive for an older teen, such as “Here’s the amount we spend on food per week.  If you can fix our meals for less than that amount, without us eating bread and water all week, you can keep what you save.”

3.  Purge Something

I’m guessing that you have a closet, storage room, garage, or cabinets that need some purging and reorganizing. Maybe even your tween or teen has a personal area that needs some TLC — like their dressers, bedroom, or old toy room. Let them pick one space to totally purge and reorganize. Be involved in the process in the beginning, but also give them space to figure it out on their own. You can keep it simple and have them focus on “keep, give, toss” for the space. If there is enough to give away, considering letting them organize a Yard Sale and keep the proceeds for themselves.  Or, if your budget allows, you can let them redesign the area, including painting and creating organizational systems.

4.  Put on a Party or a Small Gathering

Since everyone doesn’t have the gift of hospitality, learning how to put on a party or small gathering is another skill worth developing. Consider hosting a party for a birthday, anniversary, or a milestone celebration, or put on a small “themed” gathering for your tween or teen’s friends or your own friends. Have your son or daugther organize the details, including the invitations, menu, decor, party schedule, and setting up the house as well as clean up. Offer a budget as well as working with them through each step. If you do not have the gift of hospitality, don’t fret. Here’s some help just for you, and ideas for a simple tween party here and here.

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5.  Pick a Project

Is there a project your teen would like to work on, but needs your approval, input, and budget help? Maybe it’s learning a new instrument or developing a new skill, like how to paint with watercolors or write an app for a smart phone. Take your tween or teen out for ice cream and ask them, “What is one thing you’d like to learn how to do this summer?” Help them brainstorm and offer your support in the process, making a timeline and setting attainable goals.

6.  Plan for the Future

This one is definitely the most serious of projects, but worth the investment of time. Have your tween or teen begin the process of preparing for their future — specifically their college years — by creating for themselves a College Bound Checklist & Portfolio (CBC&P).  They can do this either in a binder or notebook, or online using Google Docs, which they can share with you. Their CBC&P can be divided into sections based by grade-level, with a “to do” list for each year. We’re using the Countdown to College: 21 To Do List for High School as our guide. Your teen can also include in their CBC&P a list of college scholarship opportunities (something that can be researched throughout the summer), college picks, and a record of their volunteering, work experiences, and awards throughout high school.

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What summer projects are you doing with your tween or teen?

How are you using side-by-side experiences to connect with your teens while they are still at home and train up skills they’ll need in their future?

Shine Bright,

Elisa &


For more ideas on how to connect with your tween or teen, especially a daughter, visit


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