Today you are 16…a letter to my daughter

family 2013 101

Dear Amanda,

Today you are 16. Wow! Happy, happy birthday, dear girl.

Since I was eight years old, all I’ve ever wanted to be was a mom. But you know that story. You know how long we waited. You know how excited we were to be chosen to be your parents. You know our grief when we had to give you back. You know our joy when you came back to us. Sometimes I think what is joy to us is great sadness for you.

I’m not your first mom. I’m your second. I’m not sure how happy you are about that these days. I’m sometimes asked if it’s hard not being your only mom. But with you and for you, I’ll be second any day. And today you have two moms thinking about you, praying for you, wanting God’s very best for you.

It’s been a bumpy year for us. A painful bumpy. This mother daughter thing doesn’t come easy for us. To be honest, some days I didn’t know if we would make it to 16. But you’re here and I’m here and we did. We made it. That’s something to celebrate!

You are stunningly beautiful.

You are smart.

You love people.

You are a good friend.

You are creative.

You are loved by many.

God has amazing plans for your life, and I get a front row seat.

I love you, Amanda Brown – when it’s easy and when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!



Love at 2:30 a.m.

I love mornings. Not 2:30 a.m. haven’t been to sleep yet mornings. But I’m in the season of teenagers. They give a new definition to time.

It’s the end of the quarter here. My daughter, Grace, had a big project due and little miss perfectionist was struggling…and procrastinating. I wish I could say I didn’t have a clue what that was like. Ha! It’s my every day battle. That’s another blog post for another day.

The later it got, the more anxious she became. All my words of Mom wisdom were doing nothing for her. As midnight passed, I must admit my words were no longer said in tender tones, but with great urgency and a tired edge. And then it happened. His gentle whisper to my heart. “Deb, just love her. No words.” What I deserved was a harsh “shut up!” I’m grateful for His kindness.

So for the next two and a half hours I sat with her on her twin sized bed. I watched her type away on her iPad and prayed for this sweet, determined girl of mine. And then it was done. Finally, it was done. The clock said 2:30 a.m.

She fell asleep in mere seconds. It took me awhile longer. God taught me a huge lesson about love that night. Love is rarely convenient. Love is flexible. Love doesn’t always need words. Love gives just enough courage to take the next hard step.

God loves you, Grace, and me just like that.

You are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you.   Isaiah 43:4

When life is messy, and you’re tired, and you’re afraid, God loves you. You are not an inconvenience to Him. He loves you always. Even at 2:30 a.m.


I’m joining Holley Gerth on Wednesdays for Coffee for Your Heart. It’s a sweet place of encouragement. Please come and join us.


My One Word

Happy New Year! For lots of years I dreaded the start of a new year. I labored over all I didn’t accomplish and dreaded the thought of creating another long list. I’m not sure exctly why I thought I had to, but I did. You, too?  

A few years ago a dear friend challenged me to find one word. A word I could focus on all year. A word that would help define my daily choices. It’s worked well for me. I’ve learned so much.

My one word for 2014 is…



If you’ve heard me speak or have spent any time at this blog, you know I’m a recovering fear girl. I’ve learned that every one of my fears is rooted in unbelief. So each step I take away from fear needs to, has to, start with believe.

And not just believe as in acknowledging something or someone exists, but going deeper than that. defines believe as having confidence, trust, faith, or conviction in something or someone. The Greek Lexicon says this – “to trust in Jesus or God as able.” Love that.

Do not fear, only believe.  Mark 5:36

Do you have a word? Please share it. There’s so much we can learn from each other. I’ll be posting one word updates throughout the year. I hope you’ll join me.

What I’ve Learned About Living Bravely


It’s day 31. As you can see, I started out well, but my finish was pretty weak.

I’m glad I took the challenge. Please don’t ask me for a while if I’ll be doing it again. (big sigh…)

Your emails were a great encouragement to me. Together I think we’ve learned some things.

Living bravely is not a solo pursuit. We need each other.

Living bravely is not living perfectly. Waiting around for perfection keeps us from taking that first step.

Living bravely is embracing our stories and sharing them.

Living bravely is doing the thing afraid even when everything in us is screaming NO!

My life verse is Habakkuk 3:19.

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

We are brave girls only because the Lord is that for us – our personal bravery. Oh that we would no longer choose to stand still in terror! God has so much waiting for us just one step beyond standing still. He taught me that all over again just this week.

Let’s do this brave thing. And if you see someone standing still, reach out your hand and take that first step together.


Next week I’ll be finishing up the God’s Girls series. I have lots to share about what I’ve learned from those amazing, ordinary women. I hope you’ll join me.

To see most of the days in this series, just click here. Thank you.