The Beauty of Motherhood Excerpt: Nourished

Even before being discharged from the hospital following the birth of my second child, Isaac, I discovered my blood pressure increased. In the weeks leading to delivery at check-ups, the nurses had to double-check my pressure multiple times as the numbers kept getting higher and higher. I never needed additional medicine or a hospital stay, but the raised pressure was a new experience. Once Isaac entered the world, I assumed that my blood pressure would go back to a normal range. Postpartum preeclampsia didn’t even register in my mind. So, when my blood pressure increased post delivery, I sat in shock and disbelief. 

I can only describe the experience of having raised blood pressure as feeling “off.” I could hardly focus. Baby and I both needed rest. During our first postpartum experience after the birth of our daughter, my mother cooked many of our meals. But this time around we needed more help. We were driving back and forth to the doctor for blood pressure checks. They told me to get rest and take my medication. All I could manage was feeding Isaac and taking deep breaths to try to lower my blood pressure. So, when our church young adult group started delivering meals for our entire family, I received their gifts with open hands. Their food nourished our bodies and our spirits. 

I remember the lasagna and Texas Toast, the box of Panera scones, tater tot casserole loaded with cheese, chicken and Red Hot sauce, the homemade pizza, crusty and pepperoni-filled, and the garden vegetable soup. We found bags of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs on our porch. Iced coffee and donuts were delivered for breakfast. Repeatedly I opened our front door to be met with warm food from our community. Each meal handed over felt like our friends were wrapping us in their arms and holding the wonder of this new child along with our fear and worry for health and healing. Their food became extensions of communion—a meal given and shared, a hope extended, and grace overflowing. 

God nourished us through food and community and humbled me as a mother to receive the bounty of friendship and offerings before us. Sharing a meal brings us closer to others and to God. Jesus knew the power found in sharing a meal, and as mothers, we do, too. Throughout motherhood we find ourselves both receiving this nourishment and providing it for others. Maybe you have a go-to meal you make for families welcoming a baby, or perhaps every time you think of that fresh garden salad and homemade dressing, you are taken back to those early weeks with a newborn. You may know by heart that casserole recipe and with every chop of veggies and stirring of pasta, you offer a prayer for the family who will be fed. 

Now that I’ve received these gifts of friendship and food, I try not to miss an opportunity to bring a meal to a home with a new baby, or friends in the midst of challenging circumstances. I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily about what I bring—whether it’s a takeout pizza and a bagged salad, or a homemade meal—but about how I show up: with open hands and food that declares you are not alone.


God of iced coffee and freshly made bread, you come to me in the form of friends and family. Your love tastes like spaghetti and meatballs. Your love smells like chocolate chip cookies. Your love feels like a hot mug of coffee. Your love looks like friends who don’t say anything but bring a full meal to our table. Your love sounds like a doorbell. Open my hands and heart to receive your gifts, and when the time is ready, to extend them to others. Amen. 

Excerpt from The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller and Erin Strybis. Copyright © 2023 Morehouse Publishing. Used with author’s permission.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is a writer, pastor, wife, mother of two, and the co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years (Morehouse Publishing, March 2023). She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Missouri. When she’s not at the park with her children, walking around town, or tending to the garden, you can find her with a pen and paper. Or a good book and a cup of coffee. She believes in the power of words, unearthing the extraordinary in the ordinary, and encouraging others to follow their passions. Connect with her online at, on Instagram (@kknowlezeller), or sign up for her monthly newsletter

This week’s sponsor of Mothering Spirit is Be A Heart Design, a modern Christian lifestyle brand that creates beautiful products to help both adults and children grow in faith. Be sure to check out their new “Jesus Heals” bandages and beautiful ceramic wall altar!

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