So I just wanted to start off by giving an enormous amount of credit to every mother out there who has sacrificed so much of their time, energy, and life for their kids. We are your world and we are so thankful for it. We couldn't do this life without you. Your dedicated, loving spirit has not gone unnoticed, and we are forever grateful for your kind and selfless hearts. The way you love us, protect us, and serve us on a daily basis is incredible and admirable. Thank you for seeing all the things we can't, and always having our best interest in everything we do. Without your guidance, we'd be lost. We love you and we appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

What initially inspired me to write this article was a note that I had written on my phone from almost a year ago today. I was scrolling through and deleting the older items to clear some clutter when I came across a specific one that I had written out. Now, this wasn't like an actual note to someone specific, or something like that. It was a realization that I had 12 months ago while babysitting this little girl that I absolutely adored. So I felt the urge to write it down when it happened because I had never really felt like that before. (Also not sure why I'm so weird and mark down how I feel in my phone notes, but hey let's just roll with it.) So, as a pre-Mother's Day appreciation post, I thought I'd share.

It was a hot day at the park and I was sitting back observing the scene of kids; taking it all in for a moment (shoutout to all my fellow babysitters out there, when you finally get a second to sit, you have to soak it all in). As I'm watching my little girl (the girl I'm babysitting) run around the playground, giggling and care-free, it honestly warmed my heart. I loved witnessing this type of joy. With kids, it was so pure and real. It was untouched and innocent. I could literally watch it forever. But as most of us know, with toddlers things can change pretty quickly.

Within the next couple of seconds, she had tripped on the wood chips and fell to her knees. Although she was completely fine and in no way hurt, she was wailing; scared and confused. I ran over to reach her, but before I was even halfway there she had come running in my direction to meet me. With tears streaking her face, she wrapped her arms tightly around me and clung to my chest.

Watching the fear in her eyes, and desperation to feel loved and secure moved me in a way I hadn't really felt before.

The utter confusion and pain on her face from something so small genuinely hurt my heart. She didn't know she was going to be OK, but I did. And the sudden jolt from joy and laughter, to tears and hurt allowed me to watch something deeper unfold.

For the first time, I saw things from a different perspective. It wasn't about her falling. It wasn't about the simplicity of the situation that had just happened. It was about her future. Because at that moment, she wasn't even mine but I wanted to protect her forever.

From every heartbreak, from every tear, and from all the pain of this world. It broke my heart a little to know that I could never do that. I could never be there to save her forever. Even when she's sheltered in my arms, trusting me, she'd eventually let go. And as soon as she did, she would step back into a place of endless possibility and free choice. And with free choice of others and herself, she would be susceptible to heartache and hurt. I could never prevent that.

Foreshadowing on these future struggles that she would have to endure in order to grow into the beautiful women God created her to be was hard for me to grasp while looking down at such a small, vulnerable human in my hands. The confusion, hardship, and shame of this world were crushing and relentless. I didn't want her to have to face it. I thought back to all the things I've been through, and it killed me. It was inevitable to experience as a human being, and I knew that. But the idea that such a pure heart would one day have to face this world made me sad. The sting of rejection, disappointment, and circumstance was around the corner waiting; and I didn't want that for her.

As she grew up, she was going to have to fight and learn the same way we all do: through trial and error. Through pain and tears. And it was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that her youthful innocence wouldn't last forever. But just as I was realizing the bad things, the remainder of light came through. She would also learn through faith and love. She would learn by guidance and hope. She would find Joy in the life that she was given. She would cherish and appreciate it. She would wake up learning to love it for new reasons every single day. That would also be her choice.

To cherish her family, friends, and those around her; and to live with a full heart. That was the light I realized. The light of truth. That even though for my own kids one day, I could do nothing humanly possible to prevent them from future obstacles they may face; but, I could have peace knowing God created them with a plan and purpose way greater than I could comprehend.

That with Him, they would always be safe and secure. Led by grace and hope; never lacking healing. Always being loved and protected far more than I could ever provide. Because their lives would be completely out of my control, but fully in His. And knowing that they would never be alone, even in their darkest moments, gave me the courage to accept this.

It was crazy to think about how hard it must be as a mother to send your child into a world that might not treat them the way they deserve.

So to all the moms out there, thank you. For your bravery and encouragement in a world full of brokenness and pain. For doing your best to love and protect us in every moment. And for being able to let us loose in a world full of uncertainty; knowing that even when you couldn't be there to hold our hand, we'd have a God who would.

So thank you for trusting us and believing in us. For always being there to pick us up when we fall, and reminding us that we are strong and worthy. That this life doesn't win. That we were created to conquer it. And even though many of us don't yet understand the immeasurable love that a mother has for her child, we do know that the love we have for you in return comes pretty darn close.

And to my own incredible mom, Jonna, who has a heart unlike anybody else, you gave me the best example of what it's like to truly support and sacrifice at all costs. Thank you for loving us so well.

You're the best, mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all my amazing Momma's out there! Y'all deserves to be celebrated every day.