I’m a mom. Plain and simple. I’m one of those people who has always wanted to be a mom. I spent much of my time growing up with children, and I have always felt that motherhood was where God was calling me. But as is often true with many of our life goals and dreams, I quickly found that motherhood was not all the warm, fuzzy, sentimental moments I envisioned in my childhood. Where I imagined restful and peaceful pregnancy, I found aching hips and disrupted sleep. Where I envisioned soft cuddles with my newborn, I found spit up and exploded diapers that would challenge my self-identification as “not a neat freak.” Where I envisioned fun engaging activities for my toddler, I found temper tantrums and mundane routines dominating… You get the point. Every stage has proven to challenge and stretch me, and yet every stage has also brought profound sanctification, and therefore, life.

I’m writing these letters to my firstborn daughter, Leona, because I’ve learned in life that some lessons are best taught “in the thick of it.” I have benefitted through the years from watching and learning from faithful women in my life as they’ve trudged through the muck and the mire to find the “life to the full” that Jesus intended. I have also found myself amazed at how quickly we are to forget the struggle, idealize the difficult seasons, and cease to be a place of validation when hurting women need encouragement.‚Äč

My prayer is that these Letters to Leona will someday refresh and encourage her on her own journey to faithful motherhood and womanhood, and in the meantime my prayer is that these words would find the eyes that need them most.

As I write to future Leona, I simultaneously write to present “me,” and present “you.” If you’re here reading, my prayer is that I might extend the beautiful and life-giving lessons that have been bestowed upon me through scripture, discipleship, and spirit-led living; and that you might walk away encouraged to lean into the beautiful mess of life that is mothering in Christ.