We are our mother’s daughters. Whether we want to be or not.

me and my mom in zululand

My story starts with hers all wrapped up in DNA and days spent under the mango trees in Zululand.

I have her crooked smile and passion for late night movies and ice cream.

I have her love of dancing in the rain.

Her books. They’ve traveled to three different continents with me.

I have her DNA and her story – it beats here in my chest. This blood that aches for home no matter which country I’m in.

She was always going to write a book.

She wrote love poems to baobab trees. Africa ran in her veins.

She gave me her name.

And while I consider myself an accidental author it’s no accident that I see the world through stories. She took me out of school to take me to the movies. She drew timelines to explain time travel. She burnt food over happy endings.

I understand my faith best when I’m knee deep in the remembering of someone else’s life – even if they never actually lived.

I see faith in the pages of a book; on the big screen.

I see parables buried at the bottom of popcorn buckets and every, single story aches with the one universal ending – we are made for more than the right now, right here. It’s what makes cleaning the toilet so significant. That we are made for eternal significance.

So that what we sacrifice here is an echo of everything that has been sacrificed for us. By the God who wrote a love letter across the universe and plowed his life and his son into our universal ache for more.


My mom loved Bruce Springsteen. And charades. She sent us out to pick up chocolate during emergencies. She curled her hair. She had hips.

We can pretend we can outgrow our mothers, when really motherhood is all about making sense of the women who made us.

I am Jo’s daughter. Born under the mango groves on a mission hospital in the heart of Zululand. She died before she could teach me anything about love or sex or what comes next when a boy asks you to go out with him.

I watched her die with courage. She fought her way to the end, hands wrapped tight around her faith – determined to do justice to the God who had trusted her with this story.

When she prayed I felt Jesus in the room.

I was 18.

The day dad came home with her small blue suitcase.

I was 18 and still a long ways to go on the journey she’d left behind. No map. No plan. Just the blind belief that I would find my way home.

Tomorrow her book comes out. I wrote it. But her DNA beats in my fingers and her story lisps on through my three kids.


This unexpected full circle.

This legacy of grace.

This beginning.

A quiet, stunned thanks for how many of you took up the challenge to let Amazon know that we’re coming for Surprised by Motherhood tomorrow – you took our book all the way to #319 out of ALL THE BOOKS on Amazon.

Tomorrow is the official release date. I love doing this with you all because this is our universal story of the glory and the ache of motherhood. And daughterhood.