On Showing Your Waist Grace

May 5, 2014 | 12 comments

For many years, I was among the thousands of moms who plopped herself onto the cyber-couch at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog — all of us looking for some light at the end of the Cheerio-strewn tunnel of motherhood. She gave us hope. She gave us virtual chocolate. She gave us permission to give ourselves a break.

Lisa-Jo Baker was like a trusted friend to me. And then she became one: A real-life trusted friend.

We’ve shared actual chocolate and late-night hotel room laughter. We’ve cheered each other on, and believed in each other’s dreams. And now, we share a book cover. Lisa-Jo Baker is the author who wrote the amazing foreword for my book, Love Idol.

But did you know she has her own book? It’s called Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom — and it was born, just in time for Mother’s Day!

I’m so happy to have Lisa-Jo Baker joining us today. This is a message for all the #preapproved mamas, and for anyone else who 

needs to show herself (and her waist) a little bit more grace.


On Showing Your Waist Grace
by Lisa-Jo Baker

I’m older. My son thinks it’s incomprehensible that I’m 38.

He likes to ask me over and over again and then shake his head in awe; mutter under his breath, “I thought you were only 37. Wow, 38!!” But I find I fit into this woman’s skin better than I did a year ago; so much better than a decade ago. I am becoming the surest version of myself. I feel it in my heart. Sometimes I feel it in my tired feet too. But those simply tell me I’ve been busy. Busy with children and their wrangling and wrestling and carrying and tending and it is a soulful kind of busy.

I am not afraid anymore of who I will grow up to be. Dressed up on Sunday mornings or wound down on Friday nights.

I feel the wrinkles climbing happy around and about my eyes, my cheeks, testimony to laughter and life. I feel so full of the wonder of being alive. Even on the days I am tired or frustrated or desperate for an hour to myself. I am aware that the God who made me finds me useful and this is a miracle to me.

I feel Him at my shoulder when I’m leaning over Zoe’s crib watching her sleep. I can’t help but lay a hand on her back – feel the gentle rise and fall of life. Because I know He knows this is the good stuff. These are the moments like treasure hidden for us to stub our toes on, since we’re not expecting it.

Boys who bury their heads in my chest and stifle me with their hugs. A baby girl who just turned two. A man who wants to dash out at 9pm after taking the long commute home to go and buy cake.

This is older. This is better. This is good.

And I know I’ve made my peace with this time and place when I put on my jeans and care more about their comfort than their size. Those jeans have been on a journey with me and seen the rise and fall of hips and belly as I carried three babies. Men don’t have closets full of clothes in such a unique array of sizes I don’t think. But they haven’t worn their children on the inside either.

Once upon a time I bought a pair of jeans in Prague and they were gorgeous. It was the year before I became a mother for the first time. I bought them in a store that was just a stone’s throw from the Charles Bridge and they fit in ways that made us feel like newly weds on honeymoon all over again. But better; five years into marriage and so much better than when we were still fumbling our way forward that first year.

Those jeans could tell stories of late nights in expat restaurants ordering onion rings in a country where the phrase is foreign. Of an afternoon watching Cats, an evening at the opera when I ditched them for dress up, a long walk along the sky line. Those jeans. Those jeans could tell stories on me. And more and more they tell the story of what it means to say good bye to that size and that version of myself. Not because there’s a perfect size. There’s just an irreversible change in the set of the hips, the heart, the fit post-babies and that’s OK.

But some days it’s also something to be missed.

Most mornings now there are kids clamoring for breakfast and my eyes are blurry without contacts as I dig into my closet for comfort and bring out a pair of dark blue denim that is a friendly fit. And my daughter walks over and rubs a booger against one leg. A boy wants cake for breakfast. And I’m more likely wearing my converse sneakers than my heels.

But my waist can tell stories now bigger and grander than the view from the Charles Bridge in Prague.

I am a life maker, grower of tiny humans, raiser of sons and daughter. I fit into my self better than I ever fit into my Prague jeans. I fit into this house and this family and this story we’re living of tired parents who glory in the quiet beauty of waking up beside boys who have pretzeled themselves in between us under cover of dreams.

My waist made this moment possible.



This moment. This moment, fits me like a glove.

This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom. No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.

Bookplate Giveaway

I have three signed bookplates available for three commenters today. So, if you’ve purchased Surprised by Motherhood today or previously, let me know in the comments. I will pick three winners. (Note: This is a giveaway of signed bookplates, not the book itself.)


by | May 5, 2014 | 12 comments


  1. SimplyDarlene

    I’ve seen you, miss Lisa-Jo Baker about these interwebs (at InCourage), but I’ve not yet read your personal blog or book. Believe it or not, the booger-ed pants and blurred eyes are very inviting. 😉


    • dukeslee

      Lisa-Jo is the REAL DEAL, Darlene. Just like you. 😉 Only no one is JUST like you. You are uniquely and wonderfully YOU!

  2. tinytwig

    this is great, friend. xo.

    • dukeslee

      She’s pretty awesome, isn’t she, tiny twig? Fun to see you in the comment box! 🙂

  3. Dena Dyer

    I so appreciate this message. 🙂 Thank you, Lisa Jo. Your writing is so warm and personal–I love that. I feel like we would be great friends, and hope to meet you in person one day.

  4. Katie Kump

    “My waist made this moment possible.” — Such a timely, lovely word for all of us outgrowing our before-baby wardrobes for the first time. Thank you, really, so much.

    • dukeslee

      I know, right? Just love that line.

  5. Bonnie King

    Jennifer, our bible study group is in the middle of Love Idol and we are thanking God for giving you the courage and desire to share your wisdom with us! Your message is freeing us from the draining, never ending search for approval. I also have to say I’ve been a long time reader of Lisa Jo’s. She is balm to a momma’s tired soul! I purchased her book and two for my sisters in law recently! Thanks for having her on your blog!

  6. Meredith Bernard

    This is a beautiful post from Lisa-Jo! I have found much solace on her “virtual” couch with “virtual” chocolate and would revel in the real deal with both of you…;) Thank you for sharing you story here and His story here…I am blessed by yours and Lisa-Jo’s words daily. xoxo, Meredith

  7. Nancy Ruegg

    Lisa-Jo, I love your writing-style as well as your message! To me, you are still YOUNG! (I’m a few decades ahead of you, an empty-nester now.) But you’ve already accumulated great wisdom about what’s truly valuable. It’s not a trim figure, a toned body, or an unlined face, It’s those glorious moments of love and life with family and friends. Especially when we share it all with God, our constant companion. Thank you for highlighting the precious treasures we already own!

  8. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Oh Lisa Jo, you are such a wise YOUNG woman! It’s taken me much longer to come to the realizations that you own. But I too, am now able to embrace my figure…the soft tummy and largish Italian hips I inherited. My body bears the story of 2 beautiful daughters, and the strength it took to carry them each 9 months before pushing them hard into this world. Thank you for leading a whole generation of moms to appreciate their bodies. To recognize the work our bodies are capable of, and to embrace the glory and magnificence that they really are.


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