Why Mothers Cannot Give Up

My 13 year old has a thing for shoes.

She loves funky and sleek. Modern and cool. Athletic and colorful. She got shoes in her Easter basket, under the Christmas tree, for her birthday and at the start of school. And boots during the rodeo this year. She saves her babysitting money for shoes and if you ask her what she wants or needs at any particular time, she might just say shoes.

Too bad she only has two feet. And they are still growing.


She wanted a pair of sandals for summer since she’d outgrown the last pair and so I brought home cute ones from Target. She liked them and I sighed in relief (because y’all know that’s a big point for mama).

The next week, her brother, who owns a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of cowboy boots (period), needed a new pair of shoes to replace his one battered pair. And that’s like pulling teeth, taking a nearly 11 year old boy shopping, but that’s another story.

We went tennis shoe shopping and without getting into all the details that are nobody’s beeswax, I ended up having an ugly argument with my daughter about shoes.

I huffed and puffed. She lamented and apologized. I realize it was just regular mom/daughter stuff but I felt very defeated about the whole thing that night.

A few days later, I tucked my kids into bed the night before my trip to Kenya. I didn’t cry when I covered up my 6 year old and ran my hands thru her hair. My lip didn’t quiver as I prayed with my son and answered his “what if” questions. By the time I made it to my teenager’s room, I was proud of my stiff upper lip, knowing her age would make her the easiest one to say goodbye to.

She put her book down and scooted over so I could sit on the edge of her bed. That’s when I noticed the bright orange and green posters tacked to her bulletin board. I stood up so I could get a closer look and when I read the titles “Prayer Requests” and “50 Blessings” my resolve broke.

Her lists were precious. I mean absolutely humbling and one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

How can you not cry when your daughter puts bobby pins, sweet tea and your name on her blessings list?

But it was # 2 on her “Prayer Requests” list that made me do the ugly cry.

We are amateurs in this teen mother-daugther world, she and I. We are learning how to dance through hormonal highs and lows, clothing battles, friendship heartaches and messy rooms. It’s not easy. There have been big fights and bigger apologies. We have cried and prayed and loved each other to understanding.

We both have regrets and pledges to do better and love more.

But we are making progress in the journey and learning a lot about each other in the process. We love each other deeply and are finding new ways to let each other know every day.

When I read #2, “Help me be thankful for my sandals” I knew all the hard work and teaching and crying and praying, all the pouring into, the mistakes and challenges of motherhood were finding their mark.

We cannot give up on our kids because they don’t give up on us. No matter how hard the day or long the road, our consistent love will pay off.

I felt like I met God in my daughter’s room that day and instead of filling her up, He used her bright orange list to encourage me.

#21 on that “50 Blessings” list: sandals.


I think we have some shoe shopping to do.


Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! Don’t give up!

p.s. I always get approval from my kids when I write about them and I might have cried reading it to my daughter.


  1. 2


    Sometimes I feel sad because I don’t think I could ever get my 12 yo son to write a 50 blessings list. (He just doesn’t work that way) but the other day he asked me if i noticed if he’s been less argumentative and more helpful without complaining because he’s been trying really hard… and that that right there makes it all worth it. ALL. OF. IT.
    Your blogging is such a blessing to me btw!

  2. 3


    This just made me want a little girl even more! I love the whole 50 blessings list! What an awesome idea for your kids. I loved reading this! Thank you!

  3. 4

    Sue says

    Thank you for getting your children’s permission before writing about them. When my husband was a pastor, he vowed never to use our family in illustrations unless he had their permission. That was BIG! I do hear other preachers tell stories about their children without their permission. It is very hard to listen to that story when the pastor’s child is hiding his head in shame. It even caused one child to attend another church. Love reading your blog all.the.time! Thanks for being honest and vulnerable.

  4. 7

    Carolyn says

    I have a 17 year old daughter. The mother/teen daughter relationship is one that can be difficult and such a blessing all in one hour of the day. I found the age of 14-16 is the most trying. When she finally go her license and could come and go (somewhat) as she pleased, things suddenly got much better. We have a great time together, and I’m thankful for every minute she lets me spend with her! HA!

  5. 10

    Heather S. says

    Your daughter is just a couple years older than mine and I find reading your posts about her make me more aware of my daughter and the changes our relationship is going through. One thing no one ever taught me about parenting, that I’ve learned on my own, is that while your kids are growing up you, the parent, are really growing up, too. You grow together and in reality you are both going through changes that stretch you and mature you. I am not the same woman at 35 that I was 24 (thank the LORD) and it’s important to note that changes are happening to everyone in the house. Grace is really the ultimate thing here. I have asked my children’s forgiveness and begged grace from them so many times. I pray they learn something from that…because I sure am learning a lot from them!

  6. 13

    Larisa says

    God has blessed me with your posts this week! It’s been a tough week on this mommy! Thank you for sharing….guess I’m not the only one who feeling that way!

  7. 16


    Wow. That was filled with wonderful, hope and grace. Thank you for sharing! I have 2 girls: one 14 and one 10. They are a hormonal roller coaster and sometimes not good for my own self-esteem. Thank you for this post!

  8. 17


    My daughter is 23. It was B.A.D. during her teen years (15-18). I think (too often) that she still hates me.

    I happened to call her earlier today while on a work break. When she realized I was calling just to say “hi” she seemed bummed.

    Got home from work a short while ago. Wait! What’s that? There was a delivery of flowers (roses) sitting on my porch with the sweetest, love note to me for Mother’s Day.

    Kirsten, you ain’t seen an uglier cry.

  9. 19

    Katie says

    Thank you for sharing your heart. It reminds me that we can’t read their minds or their hearts, that is God’s job. But clearly you are being a great mom and bringing her to Christ through your daily witness.

  10. 20


    Thank you so much for reminding me to think about ‘Thanks’.
    Tonight as I tucked my 2 year old boy into bed and he said “Hey momma!” after prayer for the…I dunno 600th time, I said “What Lucas…” and his sweet simple response stopped me dead in my tracks. After our really hard day and even harder week I remembered that God is sovereign and exactly how wonderful my kids are. “What does forgive mean?” with a big grin plastered on his big beautiful cheekers.

  11. 22


    thank you for that post, it helped my heart too, even tho I don ‘t have a teenage daughter but I do have a 13 year old son, who seems to be going thru the same mental/physical angst of new hormones. We are always happy to have new friends pray for us.

  12. 24


    My baby girl’s is only 19 months, but I really hope that we have that same open, loving relationship that you do with your oldest girl in 11 years or so. It’s beautiful!

  13. 25

    Jennifer says

    Girl, can you write anything that doesn’t hit home with me! We are definitely walking the same road and I so appreciate your ability to bare your feelings and encourage other moms along the way! Miss you!

  14. 26


    I’m right there with you. Some days are just so tiresome and some days are jouful. It is truly a journey with my daughter and it makes me thankful for all that my mother did for me while I was a teenager.

  15. 28


    It is so refreshing to see that kids are grateful for what they have, and yours were able to write down and share that with you. Giving thanks is the secret to good kids.

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