May is a month to honor moms, but author and GLCC mom Susan Besze Wallace feels strongly that moms can and should encourage each other no matter what the calendar says. Her latest book is “Always There: Reflections for Moms on God’s Presence,” (Revell 2012). This devotional is a collection of stories and introspective questions likely to have every mom nodding as they read about the roller-coaster of life raising little people, and God’s abiding presence - noted or overlooked - at every turn. Here’s a little sit-down with Susan in print…
Being a mom is not something you take for granted, is it?
Not a day. Todd and I lost two babies, including a daughter, Olivia Grace, who died during birth 12 years ago this week. The fact that I have three sons will always be a miracle to me. I went through some very dark days on the way to motherhood, but my life and faith changed dramatically because of the loss and growth I experienced. Her legacy is alive in so many ways, but the overarching way is that I see being a mom as a privilege.
How did your writing journey start?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t putting words together. I joined the yearbook staff because I didn’t make the eighth-grade basketball team (everyone got taller that year but me). That totally jump-started my journalism career. My kids are probably sick of that story, but I love to tell it. I wrote for newspapers for 12 years, and now I am blessed to get to write about motherhood, among other things.
What inspired the book?
My Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group in Colorado was a formative part of my life when I had my kids. When I moved I got more involved with MOPS International , and have written for their Momsense magazine for years now. I’ve been asked to do a few different books that encourage moms on the journey. I was especially excited about this one.
Because motherhood can feel isolating. I had great friends when my boys were babies, but I also felt like an island at times … from the exhaustion and the constant wondering if I was doing it “right.” “Always There” is series of devotions that reflect on God’s presence in every corner of our lives – from sweeping the floor to staying up all night to other “dark” moments to fortifying your marriage to the unspeakable joy those little people bring. He is in it ALL. I hope this book inspires women to communicate with God more and learn, or remember, that they are never alone in mothering. He sustains us for the journey and He loves us through it.
What inspires you as a mom?
My kids inspire me every hour. Their questions, their love, their joy in discovering, their ability to create seventeen loads of laundry a week … I’m always in awe. They make me want to be a better woman. I’m also inspired by mothers of teenagers who stay close to their kids and truly enjoy that stage of their children’s lives. That’s who I want to be one day. Hopefully that day will come very slowly.
How has GLCC impacted motherhood for you?
Laurie Frasz told me about the church and its reputation for an awesome VBS before I’d even moved here. So even though we hadn’t found a house, I signed the kids up and volunteered. No one knew I was coming from a one bedroom apartment with only blow-up mattresses on the floor. I was a crew leader and sat in the pew between crews led by Stacey Harper and Laura Lund, strong mommas I am friends with to this day. Another woman invited me, during VBS, to a mom-and-me group at church. I met women there who continue to be a part of my life four years later. Everything from seeing the Patti brothers sing on stage and being encouraged as a mom of boys, to watching the Benedicts open their home to a child, to taking a class from the Hagenhoffs… I’m not sure we realize the ripple effect we have on others in the course of our daily lives. This Easter the dramatic services had a huge impact on us, and sort of renewed my desire to teach my children about Jesus’s love and sacrifice in tangible ways.
What impact do you want to have? I just want to raise my boys to be men of honor that honor God. In the process if I can encourage women through my writing and speaking, that’s a privilege, too. “Mom” will always be my favorite title though, hands down.
“Always There: Reflections for Moms on God’s Presence” is available on amazon.com and is rolling out to bookstores this month.