Surprised by Motherhood

This is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.


Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp

Author of the New York Times Best Sellers, One Thousand Gifts and The Greatest Gift

This is a book that is straight-from-the-hip honest, straight-out-hilarious, and straight-from-God holy…  that I will turn to again and again.

Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst

New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Lisa-Jo inspires me to look for God in every moment of my own beautiful but imperfect motherhood journey.


Angie Smith

Angie Smith

Women of Faith speaker and bestselling author of several books including What Women Fear and Chasing God

Allow these pages to sink into your own story, blessing you with a lot of laughs, a deep sense of camaraderie, and above all else, a wild sense of hope.

Sally Clarkson

Sally Clarkson

Best selling author of The Mission of Motherhood and Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Surprised by Motherhood is filled with grace, comfort, encouragement, sympathy, and laughter for … moms in the trenches of motherhood.

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Author of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval—and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes

This book is rocket fuel for weary mamas. I am recommending this book to every mom I know.

Crystal Paine

Crystal Paine

Founder of and author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

Hands down, this is one of the best mothering books I’ve read. Highly recommended!


Melanie Shankle

Melanie Shankle

New York Times bestselling author of Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living Room

Motherhood is one of the great surprises of life and Lisa-Jo has captured the essence of that with her exquisite words.

Holley Gerth

Holley Gerth

Best-selling Author of You're Already Amazing

Whether you are a mother, know a mother, or have a mother…you need to read the words on these pages.

Meet Lisa-Jo Baker

mother | super hero | tea drinker


Lisa-Jo is the social media manager for DaySpring, and the Community Manager of the company’s website,, an online home for millions of women the world over. She shares her every day life lived in between kids and chaos at, is a contributor to HuffPost Parents, and her writings on motherhood are syndicated from New Zealand to New York. Born and raised in South Africa, Lisa-Jo currently lives outside Washington, DC with her husband and their three very loud kids.

It was not something I ever imagined doing.

Writing a book. Or becoming a mother.

Most people who talk about motherhood start out by telling you how much they always wanted to be a mom. That is not my story. I was the girl whose mom died a week after she turned 18, the girl who swore off motherhood, the girl who believed her story had to be bigger than just being someone’s mother.

Today I’m the woman who believes that God doesn’t ask us to trade who we are for the label of “Mom.” Rather, he builds all the courage and calling of a lifetime into a story line big enough and rich enough to encompass kids, passion, work, creativity, and dreams that don’t end in the labor and delivery ward.

I’m also the girl who believes that Jesus saved the best till last when I finally became a mother.

But I’m just as convinced He would have loved me the same whether I ever had kids or not. It’s right there on the front dedication page of the book.

This is my broken, backwards journey from losing a mother toward becoming one. This is my testimony that all the “how to” and “what to expect” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

This book is a reminder that being a mom isn’t about succeeding at some parenting checklist — it’s about what motherhood prepares us for while we’re busy preparing for it; how a new identity brings new meaning for our future and new appreciation of our past; and how there is wonder to be found in the daily merry-go-round of dishes, laundry and tiny humans.

This book is the one I wish I’d had in my hands nine years ago when I was certain I was failing motherhood.

This isn’t a “how-to” book, it’s simply my “you can” story.

This is the book I wrote for me. And for you.

This book is for us.

We Built a Water Point, Playground and Veggie Garden for Moms and Kids in South Africa!

This is the story behind the story: how there is nothing ordinary about being a mother. Especially to the hundreds of kids who don’t have one. Thank you for being part of a movement of moms who are changing the world and building a community center in South Africa while changing the diapers, the laundry and the loads of dishes.  Support another mother for Mother’s Day this year.

So far, moms the world over have partnered together to build a water point, a laundry facility, and a vegetable garden, and they are working on a community center for a group of mothers, orphans, and vulnerable children just north of Pretoria, South Africa, in an area called Maubane. Whether you are a mother, know a mother, or have a mother, thank you for taking action with us. Because there is nothing ordinary about being a mom, especially for the hundreds of kids who don’t have one.

#SurprisedbyMotherhood Community

Share your moments of daily motherhood because we’re all in this together.

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Top 10 reasons moms are saying you should read this book:

  1. Because you need something to read when you are locking yourself in the bathroom for some quiet time – Angie click to tweet
  2. It’s a heart-to-heart from a friend who “gets it”- the hard, the hurt, and the heights of this mysterious messy miracle called motherhood. – Katie click to tweet
  3. Because no matter how old you are or how old your kids are, it still feels pretty fantastic to have someone tell you that motherhood (and you) deserve a medal, a superhero cape, and likely, a chocolate sundae. – Rebekah click to tweet
  4. Because it’s a reminder you’re doing holy work & also it’s OK to cry a bit when they get out of bed AGAIN.  – Alia click to tweet
  5. Because sometimes you need your friend to sit you down and tell you that what you’re doing right now – all of it – will build the love in our kids. – Andrea click to tweet
  6. Because it’s better than fried chicken. – Kate click to tweet
  7. Our mothering either comes from our own mom’s or in spite of them – Lisa-Jo’s journey is a beautiful combination of both. – Susan click to tweet
  8. Because Lisa-Jo really gets it… she gets the whole loving your kids and at the same time wanting to throw yourself on the floor and throw a tantrum of your own. – Julie click to tweet
  9. Because Mom’s need a guidebook, to go with their afternoon chocolate, while waiting in the school pick up line. – Kashoan click to tweet
  10. Because in my crazy, try harder life, I need a reminder that I really don’t want this mothering thing to be over. – Lori click to tweet

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