All this week leading up to mother’s day I will be posting on topics related to this most favorite of my subjects:  the delicious, demanding and high calling of motherhood. And on Friday I’ll invite you to link up your own answer to the question, “Moms matter because.” Feel free to share from the perspective of either parent or child.

I play this game with our boys. I ask them, “Where’d you get your blue eyes?”

And they yell out in glee, “From mama!”

“Where’d you get your hair?” – from uncle Josh.

“Where’d you get your nose?” – from daddy.

“Where’d you get your lips?” – from daddy

“Where’d you get your belly button?” (and this answer is my favorite, favorite).

“From mama!” they squeal in delight.

Then they inevitably ask their own never-tired question, “Why, mama? Why’d we get this from you?”

And so I tell them.

I tell them the belly button love story.

It begins at an outdoor café in Kyiv, Ukraine at a birthday party for a girl about to turn thirty. She has never wanted children. But all year long the Lord, the giver of only good gifts, has been unwrapping her heart and presenting her with fresh perspectives on motherhood.

She is surrounded by missionary women who adventure on trains, planes and automobiles with their babes and kids and teens. Undaunted by language barriers or the state of the toilet facilities they go. They go into the villages and churches with excitement in their eyes and kids in their wake.

They never tell her she is missing out. She can see it for herself.

And with thirty candles on her cake she wishes only one thing. And a short year later he is born in Pretoria, South Africa. Three days before her next birthday.

My firstborn grew me in ways and places I didn’t know I had. And I am not just talking about stretch marks and pants sizes. With each week of his development I understood more about how God loves me and how my existence is wrapped up in his. Sustained, nourished, fed, buffered by Him.

Jackson was umbilical cord anchored to me.

We breathed together, ate together, moved together. And on a warm August morning the Creator of the Universe bent down and allowed me to share the mystery of co-creating life with Him; out of darkness I spoke and yelled and groaned my new light into being.

And I discovered that I was both the  clay and the potter. And it was so very, very good.

And while his legs might shoot up in height, while his attitude might take unpleasant turns, and his feet outgrow his shoes, that belly button remains the same.

It is the living reminder of where he came from. Of who he came from. And why.

Anchor, compass, love story.

They are on my list of endless gifts.


Belly buttons


Long, lean legs of a boy-child that tippy toe touch the end of the bed

Friends visiting from Owosso

Hot summer nights

Bright green Hawaaian print swim suits for eager boys

Hours of fun with a hose pipe

Picnics outside the Church with soccer balls and quesadillas

Phone calls from home

Lemon sorbet ice cream

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