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To my close friend in Washington: I can’t choose only twelve amazing moms, because I don’t want to offend or overlook anyone. It would be too hard to try and sort through my friends list and share your post—the one you were so generous to share with me. So, instead, I’m writing this.

In my rosy-glassed-world I would naturally assume every mom is a good mom.

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And I would assume every mom loves her kids as much as I love mine. I would also guess that as tough as it can be at times, moms everywhere would slay giants, wrestle bears, climb mountains and brave tsunamis to protect her own flesh and blood.

But when we spent a few years being a foster family, I learned one thing: not every mom views motherhood the same way I do—as a privilege and high calling, accompanied by huge responsibility, requiring immense selflessness, but showered with—just for the asking—Divine grace to get us through each day, to make us more like Christ in the process, to point our children to Him.

I know of a mom who stood before our local judge, listening as he told her he’d have to take her kids away, because of her continued drug use. What did she say?

That’s okay. I can always make more.

Another mom whose neighbor complained to me that her friend’s kids spent their free time at her house, because their mom was either at work or asleep or out of town or doing something besides being a mom…

Doesn’t your church teach women how to love their kids and how to be good moms?

Yes. I answered. But we can’t make them do it.

Motherhood is a choice. Like love is a choice. If you don’t know how to love, or don’t want to learn to love, or can’t imagine investing time and energy into anyone but yourself, think long and hard before making a baby. Because once you do, you become a mother.

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Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.  –  Proverbs 31

I used to have stronger opinions about what makes a good mom. And I worked hard to meet the Biblical standard as well as my own standards. When I thought I had covered all my bases, I discovered there were bases and other games going on I didn’t know existed… and when I lined everything up nice and neat, life took a detour that almost derailed us. (Sorry for mixing my metaphors…) Some days I just held on and prayed for Help!

But our family survived—the detour and life with this frazzled mom!

Of course, being a mom opened my understanding.

It’s not really about short moms, tall moms, rich or poor moms, carefree or worried moms, fast moms, turtle-paced moms, tattooed moms, life-is-better-in-yoga-pants moms or every-hair-in-place moms…

moms who are organized and moms on the fly…

moms who cook and moms who do a whole lot of other things except cook…

clean and neat moms and Mind-your-manners moms, and Oh, look—they made a mess—where’s the camera? moms (if you haven’t already guessed, I wasn’t that kind of mom)…

educated or barely-getting-by moms…

moms with one or two kids and moms with a houseful…

there are even deaf moms and moms in a wheelchair, or moms working two jobs and going to college and raising their kiddos without a man to help…

aristocratic moms with housekeepers and cooks, chauffeurs and tutors and nannies…

and moms in war-torn countries who have nothing to give their offspring, except their love, their prayers, and their constant presence.

Because whatever kind of mom you are, it’s love that matters and love that counts in the end. And if your kids don’t know that now, keep loving and keep praying and keep seeking wisdom. Because someday they will.

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So, no matter what kind of mom you are, if you love your kids—close to the way God loves His kids—then you are a beautiful, amazing mom. And if you happen to be among my friends, I am blessed to know you. (And I’ve probably learned a few things from you along the way!)

It’s to you I give the Amazing Mom Award.

He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.  –  Isaiah 40:11

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