am i a motherless daughter?

i am a motherless daughter.
i am a motherless daughter raising a daughter.
i don't feel like a motherless daughter.
i had a mother.
she loved me.
i can remember her eyes looking at me.
i can remember her disappointment when i let her down.
i  can remember her laughter and her mouth forming the words, "when did it happen that i have a daughter that is prettier than i am?"
i  can remember her face when she tried to explain to me how i had changed her forever.
how my birth changed her meaning in life.
how the day i started living was pure joy in her life.
i was so loved, by a really beautiful person.
who wasn't perfect,
but she was able to allow herself to be put aside and let that perfect love flow from her God and into her girl.
there were enough times that this happened for me to believe that that is who she really was.
it was enough.
so, in a way, i am not motherless.
i just got that lovely love for a certain time.
and now i just get to remember all that loveliness, and pour it out into my girl.
that's not too shabby.
i know many aren't as fortunate.

i want to share with you a letter my mom wrote to me on the day of my wedding shower about 11 years ago.
(just for your own reference, my mom's mother was killed in a car accident when my mom was 12 years old)

march 2000

i don't remember the day i actually became a Christian.
My wedding day was a happy blur.
But there are two days of my life that i remember with crystal clarity:
the day my mother died, and
the day you were born.
one was pure grief; one was pure joy.
and in many ways, the one day healed and redeemed the terrible other day.
Because, as Dr. Laura says, you get two chances in life to have a beautiful parent-child relationship:one is with your own parents- but if for some reason that doesn't work, or is cut short, you get a second chance- with your own children.
i praise Him over and over again for the wonderful joy of raising you, my darling daughter.
i love you, Shauna-

"i will wait on the Lord...
I will hope in Him.
Here am I and the children the Lord has given me!"
Isaiah 8:17-18

isn't that.....remarkable!?
that my mother wrote those words down on a piece of paper for me.
years before she had any hint of the story that would play out?
that shows me that those are not only her words, but my Father's as well.
He knew.
He showed me the kindness to inspire her to write those soothing words down so that i could hold them and ponder them and keep them close to me.
i am touched and i feel loved beyond measure.

i am hoping this post will touch the hearts of any of you that have also lost your mothers
or any who are faced with that heartbreak in the near future.
(there are a few who specifically come to mind, old friends and new)
be encouraged.
your Father is kind and compassionate.
look for Him.
He will find you in your hour of grief.
there is nothing too hard for Him.


  1. What a beautiful treasure to have....and what wisdom of Dr. Laura too. :) My own parent-child relationship was cut short...twice. My first mom died when I was 9, and my 2nd when I was 36. Too young to lose two moms...but I've tried to pour myself into my 4 kids. They are my joy. Thanks for this sweet reminder.

  2. your mother was and is remarkable...I cant say that my mother has ever written or said such wonderful things....you are truly blessed shauna...


  3. Shauna... I stumbled upon your blog tonight and now have tears running down my cheeks... at any minute my husband will walk into the room and shake his head at me in awe that I am still online and reading people's blogs that I don't even know. But I know there is a reason I am, I lost my mom 10 years ago and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and your letter from your mom. It is encouraging to me, to pour the LOVE into my son the way my mother did to me. thank you!

  4. *bawl* this is a beautiful, beautiful post

  5. Wow - what an absolutely amazing letter for her to write to you - and for you to live out now. Beautiful photos and amazing words. xoxo

  6. 'member that season when you were pregnant with ella, not knowing she was a she, and not thinking you wanted a daughter? and suddenly...full circle joy, directly from the hand of our good, good God.

  7. seriously a precious and remarkable letter. You brought tears to my eyes. I do have a mother. We dont have much of a relationship. I have never been good enough for her no matter what the accomplishment. The Lord is healing my heart though and I do love her very much.

  8. oh wow--so i am crying--your mother was incredible-and that letter is beyond words. such a beautiful post and pictures~

  9. this is completely and utterly beautiful. thank you so much for sharing it. my mother is still alive but our relationship is strained. very, very strained. your post reminds me that what i have with my daughter can be so, so different. and one thing that came to me the other day was that God can not only be our Father but our Mother as well. love your posts. xoxo.

  10. Incredibly beautiful post! I was linked to your blog sometime ago through other blogs, of course! :) I absolutely love checking in to what you have to say. I know we don't know one another, but I praise God for the love He has for you and for the relationship you have with Him. You are a true light, and your kiddos are immensely blessed to be raised by you and your husband!

  11. Such a lovely post, Shauna. All teary eyed over here. Just beautiful. Hugs.

  12. While I am blessed to still have my momma here on Earth, I can tell you that you've really made me appreciate her...her presence...more!
    While my mom was pregnant with me, her momma came down with cancer and her only dying wish was to meet me..the baby. My grandma kept telling my mom"its a girl" but in a family of all boys(my mom had been the last girl, 38 years before)my mom didnt believe her.
    Then the day before I was born (April of 1980) my momma had to bury her momma. Her best friend in all the world. Shes often said what Leslie said above: God brought everything full circle.And as He closed one door, a new one was getting ready to open up.
    Oh and I totally think you should frame the letter from your mom. Its a precious memory to hold dear!

  13. I often do not know what to say to you on these heart felt posts about your momma. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for being vulnerable and honest and sharing. Even if we are not walking now this path someday we will and you have shown us how to do it beautifully.

  14. *sigh* You are so lovely. I imagine your mom outside the window that Ella is looking out of, and she is smiling so big and throwing her head back in laughter at Ella's sweet silly disposition. I think that because you, val and grace are 3 of the most beautiful girls I know(inside and out...of course;), I have thoughts of your mom all the time on how proud she must be of you all. I vividly remember her joyful face and smile...so full of love.

  15. ugh... crying right now.
    what a beautiful, beautiful picture of God's love for us... through our mother's.
    and we can use His love poured out onto our daughters.
    thanks shauna. xo

  16. This is breathtakingly beautiful. I'm passing it on...

  17. I'd like to say so much, but I'm crying a little. And shaking a little. So for now, this is all I can muster... Hi Shauna, I'm Kristi, a motherless daughter.

  18. This brought tears to my eyes. I'll share with others, you can be sure of that. It will help others heal. Be blessed.

  19. I loved that, even if you did make me all teary. I'm 30 and going on 21 years since I lost my mom and most days, these days, I'm fine. But there are others where I'd give just about anything for 5 more minutes. So thank you for reminding me to treasure the short time we had together.

  20. oh man this was hard to read but so touching.you are so blessed to of had a relationship you could treasure and for her to put into writing words you can come back to often.I have the opposite dilemma,i have 5 children 4 of them daughters,and i have been raising my teenage sister for almost 5 years now.Growing up my mother was very abusive physically and mentally and i have been damaged beyond words.Although i have grown up and am a mother myself there is never the part of me that needs my mom that goes away.I question and have since i gave birth to my first daughter if i was capable of raising a daughter,i felt my brokeness could only break my children.I still struggle daily with this although it has gotten better but i am constantly reminded of what i dont have,it was the hardest when i was pregnant each time, i longed so deeply for a mother to guide me and calm my fears,for a mother i could call on,I never got that but i am day by day trying to right the wrongs of my life and make sure that for what ever amount of time i am blessed to be leading my children that they will learn from me and never feel the emptiness.

  21. goodness. goodness. goodness because i have no words. and goodness... that letter and you and pure goodness. what a miraculous thing to know you - the perfect inperfectness that all comes together to make one of the most beautiful souls i have ever met, and then to read the words of your mother. it was almost as if it was just one continuous person speaking... not you then her then you... but the same woman. she gave you so much in your heart that you just pour her out of you when you speak, type, laugh, live, love and mother. what a gift that letter is. i know i told you every time i come to your blog it is like opening a present and the most amazing thing about it is that it is always the gift God knows i need at the time. the gift of a friend that speaks the words of your heart when you have forgotten for a while. i love you, friend.

  22. why do you always want me to cry?
    shauna i love when people have REAL depth to them....real stories...growth....heart....love....pain.
    you have it.
    what a story God has given you!

    THAT header is amazing.
    i wish i'd thought of it.
    i love it so much.
    i want to copy that and take a picture with my family.
    i won't use it as a header but i think i would hang it up big on my wall!
    i am in love with it.

  23. that is so beautiful, I am so very happy that you have this letter. what a gift!!!
    I keep journals for my daughters, and I know one day they will love to read them!
    thanks for the lovely post!

  24. I just love reading your blog and getting a glimpse into your day to day. Beauty shines through in your creativity as a mom, friend, sister and in this post a daughter.

    Thank you for sharing the beauty that rises from even the hardest of experiences!!

    I was thinking of you the other day as I sat down to read, A Thousand Gifts. It has so directly impacted life. And because it is so clear that you see beauty in so much, I know you will be impacted too!

  25. what a beautiful post my friend. and i am in love with the picture of ella, with sparkly eyes, laying on the cream blanket. miss you.

  26. Thank you, I just happened here by accident and it worked out beautifully...