Lots of Ways to be a Momma

Momma You rolled over, snuggled deep into my arms and told me, “Mom, I can’t wait to be a mom because I’m going to puff up my cheeks and let my kids poke the air out, just like you do.”

You said the hardest part is you just don’t know whether you want a boy and a girl or two girls or two boys or what.

You have always said that when you grow up all you want to be is a mommy and a grandma.

(And a songwriter- but we’ll talk about that gut-wrenching-non-paying job later; motherhood and songwriting have much in common).

And you are going to be the best momma in the world. I can’t wait to watch you love and nurture and lead. And I want to tell you a million times over what an amazing mom you will be.

But more than that, what I really want to tell you is this- there are lots of ways to be a momma.

You walk around with animals and pillows stuffed inside your tiny 4-year-old dresses and pretend you are growing a baby. Then you have the baby right there on your bed! You always have your babies a lot more gracefully than I had mine. You nurse your babies at your chest and ask me when you can have your own bra, because of course, your babies need to eat and you are worried you won’t be able to provide. You come to me, when I’ve had one too many cupcakes, rub my belly and ask me when you are getting a baby sister. You know that babies are formed deep within a girl’s body. It seems you’ve always known.

But what you don’t know is this- there are lots of ways to be a momma.

When I was 4-years-old I dreamed about starting my own Snoopy Sno Cone empire on the corner of the street where the nuns passed by on their way to the convent. I was convinced that nuns couldn’t turn me down and I would have a monopoly on the market.   I dreamed of writing newspapers, creating art and making money so I could buy more Scotch tape and Lisa Frank stickers to fuel my construction-paper-bound books. I pined for money; you pine for motherhood.

You dream of birth and babies. And you only dream of what you know- But momma’s get their babies ready for what they don’t know. So I need to tell you- there are lots of ways to be a momma.

Your babies may come from your body. But baby they may not. 

Your babies may be like your best friend. Brave, bold, beautiful, black. Not from her momma’s belly, but another momma’s belly. A mom who couldn’t care for her, a mom who left her on a doorstep to be found by another.

Your babies may sit in your Sunday school room, clinging to your legs and listening to your stories about Jesus. And you may teach them and lead them to grace and hope.

Your babies may glare at you over the crook of a book in a school library, acting as though they don’t care about you, the middle aged volunteer.  And you may practice tough love and enduring empathy.

Your babies may smell bad and look unruly as they stagger into the shelter or the rehab house looking for food or freedom. You may care for them as they come off their drugs or thaw out their frozen feet.

Your babies might be adult babies. Never able to care for themselves, never able to mature past the mind of a child. And you may dress them and feed them and love them well.

Your babies may be your neighbor’s babies. Your cousin’s babies. Your friend’s babies. And you may read to them, pray with them, inspire them, challenge them as they grow up, a constant force of light in their life.

Your babies may be the grown-ups next door. And as they check on you, their elderly neighbor, you may ask them about their jobs, listen as they figure out their careers and marriages, guide with the wisdom of your years.

One momma once said, “Surely the poorest of the poor and the lowest of the low can have the love and devotion of us few.” She reminded people that we can do no great things, only small things with great love. Some say she was the most devoted, loving mother in the world and she never had a single baby grow within her body! But talk to those she lived alongside of and they will tell you, Mother Teresa was their mother.

By definition a mother is a woman who raises or brings up a child. And many women have raised me up. They have raised up my spirit, mind, imagination, soul, courage, bravery, tenderness, compassion, faith and beauty. Many women have been mothers to me.

And I want you to be able to have your own babies with all my heart. I want to see your belly grow, your baby kick and tickle the inside of your rib cage, her hiccups keeping you up at night. I will always want your dreams to come true. And you dream of being a momma, so I pray you have all the babies you could ever want grow inside of your belly. But if not-

What I really want to tell you is this- No matter how they arrive at your door and in your heart You are going to be a beautiful momma because baby There are lots of ways to be a momma.

Free Music - Help Spread The Word!

New Songs.New Journey. Same recognizable voice. Jenny Simmons.

The voice behind favorite songs like Hope Now, What Do I Know of Holy and Fight Another Day (from Dove nominated band, Addison Road).

Download her new music for FREE with this limited time, special NoiseTrade Sampler.  Help me spread the word- share this NoiseTrade link with your friends:  http://noisetrade.com/jennysimmons/jenny-simmons-addison-road

The Cost of Freedom

Freedom Two days before my wedding, my dad received a call. He was being called up on a surprise deployment for the first anniversary of 9/11. He would leave in two days. By God's kindness, this was extended to four days and he was able to stand on the alter and lead my husband and I through our wedding vows before leaving to serve. He is a Chaplain, and as long as I have been alive, he has been in the military. I am 32.

My mom could tell you the same kind of stories about her dad. My grandpa spent the better part of her growing up years deployed to Vietnam. He has four daughters and they all have moments where dad couldn't be there.

My sister has a similar story. She and my brother-in-law tried to get pregnant for several years without luck. Then one day, they found out they were pregnant. The next week-literally the next week-he was deployed to Afghanistan. His third deployment to the battle zone since graduating from West Point nine years ago. My little sister is the most brave woman I know. As are most military spouses. He deployed and she journeyed through her very first pregnancy alone. Stationed half way across the world from our family, with her husband in eminent danger each and every day, she grew a baby. In the military, you get something called R&R, rest and relaxation. It's a two week escape from war. He chose his R&R for two days before her due date. He flew from Afghanistan to Hawaii- and I promise you my sister coaxed that sweet baby girl out of her the second he landed on Hawaiian soil! They knew they were on borrowed time. He watched his daughter come into the world. He spent two weeks with her. And then? He flew back to the war zone of Afghanistan.

No new momma should have to figure out motherhood alone by day and pray that her husband will come home alive by night. But she did it. With grace. Strength. And bravery. She did what was required.

Freedom is never free. It always requires sacrifice. And sacrifice hardly follows our plans. It doesn't check to see if anyone is getting married, buried or having a baby. It doesn't inquire about whether this is good for the kids or good for the spouse or even good for the man or woman being asked to serve and put their lives down on the line. And still, for hundreds of years, men and women have voluntarily said that this experiment in freedom is worth it.  If, as Thomas Jefferson wrote, we truly hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; then someone has to bear the cost of those liberties both at home and abroad.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation and this grand experiment in freedom and self-governance, I am so grateful for the men, women, children and families who understand that freedom is never free. To those who offer themselves up as willing and ready- no matter when the call comes in- we thank you for protecting our inalienable rights. Life. Liberty. And the pursuit of happiness. We remember and celebrate you, and the many men and women who have served America before you, as we remember and celebrate our own freedom.

Thank you for paying for the cost.

"Our great modern Republic.  May those who seek the blessings of its institutions and the protection of its flag remember the obligations they impose."  -Ulysses S. Grant

Video Premiere - This I Know

I am so excited to share the video release of "This I Know" with you guys!  A big thanks to NewReleaseTuesday.com for the premiere of the video. This video was made by yours truly- hope you enjoy it!


Official Press Release:


Solo artist, Jenny Simmons, to release the single This I know, a timeless song based on the beloved children's classic Jesus Loves Me, just in time for summer!

This I Know is a whimsical and infectious tune that draws from the familiar chorus of Jesus Loves Me and dives deep into the heart of anyone struggling with God's free, unmerited grace. It is a perfect follow-up to Addison Road's popular re-make of the children's song, This Little Light of Mine and is already a favorite among fans!

Children and adults of all ages will be drawn to the nostalgic lines of the chorus, but mom's will particularly find themselves drawn to the lyrics in the verses.

"When it comes to being free, I am my own worst enemy. Oh I can, criticize every move I make, I've got a microscope on my mistakes and I steal glory from the one who made me me."

Written by a mom, for moms, this song encourages those of us struggling with self-criticism, guilt and imperfections to internalize and believe the very words we teach our own children.

"Jesus loves me- this I know- and it's not because of anything I've done. This love is unconditional. So at my worst or at my best, you don't love me less, you can't love me more. This I know for sure."

As a mom, I realize I have a huge responsibility to model for my daughter a healthy love and care for myself. When I constantly tear myself down, spend too much time in the mirror or focus too much on the outward mistakes and imperfections, I set an example for my daughter, that what I look like and how well I perform is what defines me. In doing this, I also risk setting an example that God's love is earned, kept or granted in much the same way. This song is a constant reminder for me to ask for God's help believing in my heart, what I profess to be true with my mouth.

You and I- all of our quirks, imperfections, weirdness, silly moments, off days and all, bring a smile to the heart of God. Made for God's glory and in God's image- the Bible indicates that God takes joy and delight in his children. That indeed, He LOVES us!