This Mother’s Day, Seacoast celebrates the gift of motherhood and highlights moms on different parenting paths. Read how a mom of a child with autism, a stepmom, and a foster mom have learned to overcome challenges and recognize blessings by drawing on God’s love.
Surrendering The Storm
By Tiffin Lamoreaux
My husband and I have two wonderful boys. Will, 12, is autistic and Sam, 9, is neurotypical. Despite their differences, and some challenges, the boys share an inseparable bond.
From the outside, it isn’t always immediately recognizable that Will is autistic. I often hear, “he doesn’t look autistic,” and for a long time, that comment was a source of immense grief for me.
Raising a son with special needs has been an incredible challenge and an incredible gift. Early on, Will’s meltdowns were brutal and often violent. We focused most of our energy on damage control and protecting our family. Sam often retreated to our bedroom for protection and to pray for the storm to pass. At the time, we didn’t have the option to join common childhood activities outside our house. In those moments, I felt isolated and alone. I told myself that I was too much for God. I was walking through a dark valley of discouragement, hopelessness, and fear.
“We still face the storms, but when they come, I remind myself that he goes before the storm, and he is the only thing that can hold me together.”
Although I felt far from God in that valley, he was never far from me. God put the right people in my path to remind me that I wasn’t too much for him and I wasn’t too much for his Church.
God was showing me that he cared for my family. He wasn’t giving up on Will, and most importantly, he was reminding me that he loves me. The only step left was for me to respond. Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This verse reminds me that I must put God first. Without him, things fall apart. While I needed the support of others, and that support continues to encourage me, the real healing came after I surrendered everything, including my boys, to God.
Surrendering didn’t lead to less challenges, rather, it gave me faith that God was with me in the battles. He uses each battle to strengthen me. We still face the storms, but when they come, I remind myself that he goes before the storm, and he is the only thing that can hold me together.
Recently, Will announced to us that he is ready to give his life to God. He has selected his 13th birthday in June as his baptism date. I’m so excited to stand beside him, surrounded by our church family, as he, too, surrenders his life to Christ.
Blood Doesn’t Make A Family
By Krista Jackson
Stepmom. Wow! Had you asked me years ago what my life would look like now, stepmom is not a role I would have imagined. However, it’s exactly one of my God-appointed roles. I’m a bio mom to twin eleven-year-old boys (yes TWINS) and bonus person, aka stepmom to three: a 22-year-old girl, and 19 and 15-year-old boys.
My husband and I married in February 2020 right before COVID, which I now know was God’s perfect timing. My life verse as a mom and stepmom since then is Galatians 6:9 (NIV), “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
“I’m not always going to get it right, but I remind myself that I’m right where God wants me to be.”
As a stepmom, I’m constantly checking my heart and intentions, and working to study my children—all of them. Being a mom and a stepmom is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding gifts, which is why I hold strong to Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
While I have that peace, I can still be plagued with doubts about how to navigate, love, lead, and pour into my three bonus children. For me, one of the most challenging areas of being a stepmom is parenting, coaching, and guiding. I am continually wondering if I’m doing well, overstepping, or under-stepping. My heart wants so much for each of them – and while I may not be the parent primarily directing and coaching, I am without fail, a parent who is loving, praying for, and cheering them on. I’m not always going to get it right, but I remind myself that I’m right where God wants me to be.
I have always felt that blood doesn’t make a family. Sometimes you get to choose your family, and I choose to love my stepchildren as if they were my own. I challenge myself to look for and see their hearts. It’s my hope and prayer that they will feel loved, delighted in, safe, and welcome in our family and home.
Equipped Through Community
By Allison Cordle
On August 28, 2019, two wild animals—I mean active toddlers—were dropped off on my front porch. In that instant, I became a mom.
That past Mother’s Day, I had convinced my husband to watch “Instant Family” with me while I lamented the plight of kids all over the world growing up without a family. My plan was to move to Mexico and solve the border crisis. His level head prevailed, and he convinced me there were plenty of kids in our own city that needed resources, love, and hope.
We became licensed foster parents that August, and six days later we were thrust into the crazy world of foster care and adoption. We entered bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of hope, naivete, and the goal of changing the world, one kiddo at a time.
“I’ve learned that no matter how much truth you know, how many worship songs you sing, or how many prayers you pray—you need community.”
I didn’t have the benefit of a magical moment where minutes after birth I felt a love and a connection to this human I created. I didn’t have the first smiles, the coos, the baby giggles. Instead, I had hours and hours of therapy appointments, visits with biological family members, and a revolving door of caseworkers and Guardians ad Litem (GAL) advocates. Zero sweet moments existed in my memory bank to pull me back from the brink when things got hard.
Three Awesome Things
My community rallied for me. They believed we could become equipped when we were out of tools. They encouraged, loved, and cheered.
One day, I asked a good friend if she could name three awesome things about my kids. When she did, I quickly scribbled what she said on a post-it and taped it to my mirror. Every day, I stood at that mirror and spoke out loud the good that other people saw in my kids. It took some time, but praying it consistently became the truth that I could speak over and believe about my kids.
We now have four kids who call me “mama” and I wear the name like the badge it is. But I also hold it in tension and honor for the three women who were their first moms. Their little lives are miracles thanks to them. I share this day with them in a posture of deep gratitude.
I am wiser, smarter, kinder, and much louder than I was in 2019. These four years have taught me to become a passionate advocate, not just for my kids, but for the other foster/adoptive kids in the state of South Carolina. I’ve learned that no matter how much truth you know, how many worship songs you sing, or how many prayers you pray—you need community. You need other people walking a similar road, people who can remind you during times when you might have forgotten—just how awesome your kids really are.