Confession is good for the soul, so they say. Here’s mine. Most of my growing up years I wish I had another mother. My mother had emotional issues and the brunt of them fell on me as the oldest child. It’s not productive to delineate what went on. I was always aware that on some level she loved me. It just wasn’t sure what way that was.

Dad and Grandma, the two adults I trusted would tell me often that my mother loved me “in her own way”.  As a kid, I could never figure her out no matter how hard I tried.

Four Generations—My great-grandmother, Mary Jane White is holding me while my proud mother, Donna Shields, left, and Grandma, Maydene Carr look on.

Four Generations: My great-grandmother, Mary Jane White, is holding me while my proud mother, Donna Shields, left, and Grandma, Maydene Carr, look on.

A Mother’s Hope

I did know that my mother loved books and secretly wanted to write. She also had a penchant for art and painting. When I was growing up, she did none of these things, except read voraciously, but I knew they were secret dreams of hers. Life, though, had become overwhelming to her. Just getting through the day was all she could do.

In her later years, God touched her and started her on a healing journey out of the deep depression, anxiety and wide mood swings that had characterized the mother I knew until I was 19 years old. She started writing a few stories for “Grit” magazine. She painted. She learned how to do floral arrangements.

Her hope of writing a book never materialized. Cancer took her all too soon.

A Daughter’s Dream

When I began thinking about college majors, I was extremely interested in Creative Writing or some degree which would propel me towards writing a book. Both my mother and grandmother steered me towards a more stable major, where I could earn a living. So I majored in journalism.

My dream, though, was to write a book, preferably fiction. I also loved biographies, true stories written in story style, not just he did this and then he did that, but ones that actually set the scene and involved me in the narrative.

I realized somewhere along the way that my deep desire to write was born out of watching my mother escape her problems by getting lost in a book. It always appeared to me that any book she picked up was like David who played the harp for Saul. While David was playing, Saul was soothed and the tormenting spirit would leave for a time.1 The same was true for my mother when she read a book.

I wanted to do that. I wanted write books people could get lost in and possibly be made better by.

Would She Be Proud of Me?

As my third book launched on Amazon and then the study guide, a thought crossed my mind. “If my mother were here would she finally be proud of me?” See, my mother and I had an oil and water relationship. People say opposites attract. The reverse is true of people who are alike. We were both strong personalities and we clashed often.

Some of her talents, though, were passed on to me and although as a kid I thought the worst thing would be if I turned out like my mother, now I’m glad I did. I see the gifts she instilled in me, a love of books, of writing, of art, a compassion and mercy I never wanted, but never-the-less got by the grace of God. Most of all I remember her overcoming spirit which I have drawn from on my own journey out of the insanity of super morbid obesity.

We were cleaning out some things after my mother passed away. She had a large bureau in her dining room. She loved to save clippings from newspapers about people she knew. Sometimes she’d put them in scrapbooks, but mostly they were just loose in the drawers.

Imagine my surprise when we discovered an entire section in her bureau stuffed with every article I had ever written from junior high until the day she died in 1992. I had been writing for over 20 years and she had saved every piece. God reminded me of that discovery when I asked Him if Mom would be proud of me. I saw myself holding those articles and knowing in that moment she was extremely proud of me and would be today.

Kindred Spirits

We were kindred spirits in many ways. Hindsight is always clearer with age. I see the gifts she gave me. Even though life was sometimes stressful being the oldest child and forced by the situation at hand to do things I didn’t really know how to do, it made me a strong, resourceful and responsible woman. Those qualities submitted to God can be of great use in the Kingdom. I have my mother to thank for that.

Today, I fully embrace who my mother was and would not trade her for another, even if she was PTA president.

Mom, in case you are wondering, I am proud to call myself your daughter. I thank God that I am like you in many ways. Thanks for being my mother. Another would definitely have not have been able to survive having me as a daughter.



A big desire of mine is to help you get this point, where you are signing books at your book launch party. Several months ago I did a six-month writing coaching group. Through that group one has already launched her book and several more are waiting in the wings. I know your story can be next in line. Before a book can be published, though, it has to be written. When I wrote my first book, I had no idea it would hit number one in its category on Amazon within a few months and stay there for over two years and counting. The process is long and you’ll want to throw in the towel. I want to be that voice saying, “You can do this. Change this. Write it with this slant. Think about adding this or taking this away.” I’ll answer your questions and guide you on your journey.  Let’s write a book, nonfiction, fiction, memoir, devotional or whatever your dream is!  Write the Vision Coaching Group is open now just for you. Go HERE for all the details.


1 1 Samuel 16:23 NLT

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.

Her books include: "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor"; "Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds"; "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy"; "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help": "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation"; and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don't miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.