Lisa Leonard
About the Author

Lisa Leonard is mom to two boys, David, 13 and Matthias, 12 and wife to Steve. In between school and work they spend their time playing outdoors on the central coast of California, eating chocolate chip pancakes, tapping tunes on the piano (David) and choreographing elaborate light saber duels (Matthias)....

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa,
    What amazingly precious boys you have. I can tell from the words of Matthias that YOU are an incredible mother. What a blessing David is to your family.

    • I’m such an imperfect mother, but there’s so much grace there. And I see God at work. Reading Matthias’ words gives me courage that God is molding him into a compassionate man! xx

  2. I can’t even begin to express in words how much this blessed me tonight. it’s not too long ago that I posted a tweet that was a battle going on in my head and it said “know who you are (and who you aren’t) and be confident in that…regardless of what others may feel or think”. to then read these beautiful words by your sweet son hit me deeply. THANK YOU! I needed them tonight.


  3. Lisa,
    Truly both boys are a gift from above. You are a wonderful Mother and have been blessed with such love. Thank you so much for sharing this heartfelt essay written by Matthias. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  4. This is beautiful! The love your sons have for each other is a gift from God. I love that we are all knit together by the same God and that we are each precious and loved.

    This was a sweet reminder that I am not loved for what I do, but because of Christ’s redeeming work in me. I am precious and loved simply because I belong to Christ Jesus.

    With an overflow of thanks,

  5. As I read this, I too, teared up. What a beautiful testimony of your faith in God…so much so that your son has been taught (and learned) what true love is. Your son, Mathias, already know something most people spend lifetimes trying to learn and obtain. It speaks volumes about your husband and you. I have been studying Psalm 139 this past month, reading it daily, and I thank you for sharing such a perfect example of it. God’s blessings be upon your famiy.

  6. Thats very sweet! Thanks for the encouragement lisa, bless your heart and your family! … And for sharing this

  7. Dear Lisa,
    What a wonderful story by Mathias, about his precious Brother, David! These feelings don’t come by “Let me think”, there are embedded, with true family values. This comes from home! Mathias, has got a lot of things, he knows, he has to take charge in…even if he has to talk for his brother. This is a wonderful boy!
    Bless you and your family, especially Mom…for being the “Rock” for her family!!!

  8. Beautiful words & such a great reminder. My daughter, Clara, has Cohen Syndrome, a rare genetic condition. I feel the exact same way about her.. . while she might not be able to communicate with us like other children, her soul and heart are just like ours.

  9. Lisa,
    I echo the sentiments of all the other ladies…what a testimony your sons are to God’s unconditional love. You are a wonderful mom! It’s amazing what we can learn about God from our children…no matter what their size or shape. God bless you and your family!! Thank you, Matthias, for giving us a blessing this morning!

  10. Incredible words from a ten year old. Sound like he has a very wise, old soul. And congratulations to both of you for being such an example to him, to all of us! This is a great reminder for us too. Thank you Lisa, and may God bless you!

  11. {Kathy} Our children’s first church is the home. Your children have experienced Christ’s love for us first handed through each other. What a blessing. Peace be to you and your family.

  12. As a special educator, these words ring so true to me. Your family is awesome, thank you for sharing.

  13. Lisa, thank you for sharing Matthias’ words- his sweet heart. I loved the line “he can’t speak, but we understand him by his emotions and feelings.” I think of the ways God is shaping and molding Matthias for His glory through his beloved brother David. Growing him into a compassionate, thoughtful young man, who will protect and serve others. You are blessed -and I know you know that, but I rise up and call you blessed!

  14. From a mom of two special needs kids, this wrecked me. Oh for all of us to have a heart like Matthias. You are raising him well. God’s glory shining bright! Thanks for sharing your family Lisa!

  15. In tears. Such a courageous, tender, warrior-heart. What a gift they are to each other. As a mama of a little girl with a severe speech disorder, this one will stay with me a while.

    Thank you Mathias for letting your mom share you with us!

  16. Welling up inside with you, Lisa. What profound words from a young heart. Matthias is so right! And he knows it deep because you and Steve have modeled it well. Thank you for continuing to allow us glimpses into your life. Yes, I am encouraged by both your amazing boys, and by you, too!

  17. Lisa, the essay was beautiful!! I too, have a daughter with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). This is so amazing to be reading about another CdLS child on a blog!! Yesterday, Feb. 28th was Rare Disease Day & I shared on my FB page. Wow! So incredible to see your story & what a great God we have to create our special children. We are so Blessed!! Please contact me, would love to speak with you. We are part of the foundation & have attended nine Family CdLS Conferences. Wow, such a divine providence in reading about David by his brother Matthias. So sweet! My daughter, Shannon is 23 & was diagnosed at 2 yrs. old. Our biggest barrier is the communication due to the lack of speech. She uses her voice some, signs, gestures, & body language & I never know what she will use.

  18. Such a beautiful tribute to his light of a brother. Matthias is an amazing brother, friend and protector to David. I love reading about your adventures and your families struggles, faith and triumphs.

    One of my favorite sayings that I try to live by as does my son reminds me of Matthias’ love for David.

    “Do Everything with so much Love in your Heart that You would Never want to do it any other Way”

    Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful testimony! What wisdom and love for a 10 year old! And what a great reminder that we don’t have to strive for perfection, acceptance or love–we are loved just the way we are! Thank you God!

  20. thanks for sharing that- matthias’s essay made me tear up. especially the part: “Despite someone’s outside, everybody is the same on the inside. So when you see someone with special needs, see the world in their eyes.” this will be my bread for today… your son’s quote and psalm 139.

  21. Thank you for this post. You touched my heart in a very dark moment and reminded me of what is true and real and the only thing that is really important in this life.

    Thank you.

  22. From the mouths of babes. What tenderness and sheer love! I had to stop and savor Mathias’ quote “Despite someone’s outside, everybody is the same on the inside.” Simple, profound, truth! Thank you for sharing- it is a word I needed and will carry with me today!

  23. Oh my goodness. Teary-eyed through the whole post. Matthias’ love for David shows how deeply he himself feels secure and loved in his place in the family. My favorite…”Despite someone’s outside, everybody is the same on the inside.” Reminds me of 1 Sam. 16:7 “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” <3

  24. What beautiful words, Lisa! Thank you for sharing. I love how he says:

    Despite someone’s outside, everybody is the same on the inside.

    Can’t we all relate to this??? Special needs children are uniquely beautiful. They have the opportunity to teach us so much about love.
    Each of us is His Materpiece and we need to see others by connecting to their inside. Training our eyes to see them as He sees them – fearfully, and wonderfully made.

    What an awesome way to start the day…Bless you!

  25. What a tear jerker! Thank you for sharing this amazing story, Lisa, and the comforting lesson it teaches. What a depth of understanding and empathy Matthias has! So precious how he brings out how much David brings to this world in spite of his limitations.

  26. Matthias is true to his name a gift from God. Both of your boys are incrediable but you already know that! 🙂

  27. Thank you Lisa. I shared a bit on your Instagram but your boys and their relationship encourages me so much for my own life in raising a 2 year old son with significant special needs and his younger brother. I spent so much time anxiously imagining problems that could come… yet Abba has so graciously given me glimpses of a Holy love perfusing thru them for one another, especially the younger for the older. Thanks for your words;)

  28. That is just precious! I love that he included his “naughtiness”, ha ha. So funny, and so very brotherly. Indeed, we are all the same on the inside and we are are beautiful on the outside too. Thanks for sharing that, Lisa!

  29. This made me tear up too. Such beauty and selfless love. So parallel to how He sees and adores us. Ugh… I can hardly stand it. 🙂 thank you for sharing.

  30. Just so beautiful, Lisa (and Matthias), and I echo the words of all the previous commenters. The photo of your wonderful family just radiates love, and it spoke volumes to me. Thank you for touching so many hearts today, and please give hugs for me to your precious boys.

  31. You have two amazing sons. The essay is touching and heartfelt. You are a lucky mom.

  32. What an awesome young son you have!
    This is also a testament of the kind of mom you are!!!!!!!
    May god richly bless your family!

  33. I have 3 boy. My middle son it take him a long to do thing. When the 3 of then where in elementary school. They may not seen together, but when walking halls they would give each other a look to say hi. When someone would pick on the bother the other 2 would be there for him.This how it was no matter what school could be in at the time. Now they are grown and in there 20’s. The middle son was 1st to marry. The other 2 live together. the 2 bother live on the east side and middle bother lives on the west side about 30 miles a part. They call each other, have dinner, and babysit, Bottom line they are for each other. I have been blessed with wonder boy.

  34. Deeply touched. I wish more kids looked at the world from the perspective Mattias has! Your family is beautiful!

  35. I read your blog and wear my favorite necklace from you with my two boys names. Thank you for sharing these heartfelt and amazing words. Made me cry because it is so lovely. May the Lord bless you and your sweet family.

  36. Thank you so much for sharing this thoughtfully written and personal letter from your boy. Life through a child’s eyes often seems so easy. Need more money? get some. Love everyone because they don’t know hate or fear yet… its truly beautiful and I pray that David is ALWAYS protected and that the syndrome he has is something your son always speaks of to educate people. I know I learned something new today. Praise God for you and your family!

  37. I read this, thinking I would just read a sweet story about two brothers. But then, at the end, you truly spoke to me. Me who worries about the baby weight, the lack of a clean house, and if, what I’m freeding my family is healthy enough. Seriously, how could you write it any more to me. Thank you for your words today. They spoke to my heart when I needed it. It’s so amazing how God works!

  38. Oh, my! How sweet! I am blessed that you share your world with us, Lisa. Your family is truly a gift from God. Your family inspires me.

  39. You are so very blessed, your sons are amazing gifts. Such forthright words of beauty, you should be so proud. Thank you for sharing his wisdom.

  40. We pray that our son Judah will love his little brother Ezra like this someday! Ezra is 10 months old and has Noonan Syndrome. Sometimes I wrestle with that beautiful scripture, that Ezra is truly fearfully and wonderfully made, when his inside (and outside) seem to be working against him at times. But I am reminded that to God, Ezra is perfect…after all, he was created in His image. Your story is so inspirational to me, Lisa. Even before Ezra was born and before I was inducted into the world of being a mama to a child with special needs, I was in awe of the way you live with such grace amidst such adversity. Thank you for your beautiful example.

  41. Lisa,

    Matthias is soo wise beyond his years. He can teach us older people how to treat and look at others–especially those with special needs.

    Thank you for sharing something so personal and heartwarming! You are a great mama!!

    I was born with 2 perforated tympanic membranes (ruptured ear drums). Couldn’t hear much and did not speak till I was 2.5-3. I used emotions and hand signals to get what I wanted. Once discovered I had ear operations to repair them. Growing up with that made me very shy and introverted. I did not have a lot of friends.

    To this day I have trouble pronouncing some letters and words. I am a little shy and don’t like getting in front of crowds. But with God’s love I have learned to deal with this and it has made me aware of others with hearing problems.

    Blessings 🙂

  42. I so love when our own children are able to minster to us and encourage us with their own wisdom. That is exactly what your son did for you. this was a wonderful reminder today of the strength and wisdom of children and we are indeed wonderfully and fearfully made by our God who loves us more than life. Thank you, Mary!

  43. Thank you for sharing from your personal story, Lisa. What precious boys you have! I was taken by surprise when you extrapolated from Mattias’ essay into a lesson for all of us: that we don’t need to change or do better, lose weight or accomplish more. We are loved and accepted by our Heavenly Father, just the way we are. Praise God for his grace!

  44. Oh, thanks for sharing this. So, so precious! Yes, HE does love us, just the way we are and I’m so grateful. Blessings abundant to you Lisa!

  45. What a beautiful paper written by your son. That is so special and shows what a kind and loving heart he has. What beautiful sons you have…. sweet souls made in God’s image. I pray you are blessed immeasurably.

  46. Thank you! I needed this today. Isn’t amazing how incredible children are! They are so forgiving and understanding … being with them helps me to see God’s love for me, and those around me.

  47. This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful, compassionate and gentle heart Matthias has. His love and feelings of protection for David are inspiring. God bless your entire family!

  48. Lisa,
    Thank you for allowing us a peek into the hearts of your sweet boys. I teach at a private school and our key verses for the human anatomy & physiology unit come from Ps 139. With your permission and blessing, I’d be honored to share this post and pic with my high school students.

  49. Thank you for sharing. . .God has truly blessed your family with His love. May He continue to bless and protect you!

  50. I know how touching those words can be to a mother when a sibling writes or says something like that. My children who are 31 and 30 share the same bond. My son Jamie has autism and his sister Erin has always been his protector and as he is to her. They may not communicate like other siblings but you can see the love they have for each other from a mile away.

    Thank you for sharing how special both your boys are.

  51. I know it has been said in comments above, but I must say also: Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with me today. It was nourishment for my parched soul.

  52. Let the young lead us…
    Such a priceless treasure to have in writing his feelings about David for you to read and keep AND
    for us to receive the most priceless gift of learning how to really see.

    Thanks so much Lisa for sharing.

  53. Lisa, I know you said you are an imperfect mother, but, I’s like to encourage you that you are teaching Matthias the heart of God; to love and protect those who have no voice to be heard and those weaker than themselves. Now your older son happens to be unable to talk with his mouth, but the premise is still the same. This made me tear up. This love is beautiful.

  54. God’s grace is oozing all over this. It’s absolutely precious. Matthias wouldn’t be the Matthias you know without David. What a gift they are to each other. And to you. Thanks for sharing this.

  55. My heart just stretched. What amazing boys you have, Lisa. What wise words from a little boy. I think my kids teach me more than I teach them. Thanks to you and your son for sharing this.

  56. What a beautiful essay! He is going to be a writer and sensitive like his mama. Matthias is teaching us all a lovely, beautiful message today.

  57. This was beautiful.

    I have kind of a “reverse” situation story: Our oldest son, Joshua, has Down Syndrome. He and one of his younger brothers had “words” over something one day. Joshua got to feeling bad about it and went to his brother to apologize. His brother was receptive, and they made it okay with each other, but I was struck by my Joshua’s words, “you’re more than my brother, Logan, you’re my best friend.” 🙂

    Thank you for sharing.

  58. Thank you so much for sharing. Wise and beautiful words coming from a young boy!

  59. I just got to read this today, Lisa. And they soaked into my heart like butter on toast. I save every word Josh and Caleb write at school – they teach my heart so much. Give Matthias a hug and let him know his love for his brother David encouraged a grown up today. 😉

  60. Lisa,

    I have a friend in my class who has special needs and this is exactly how i feel about him, except for he isn’t my brother. (sometimes i feel like he is)

    Thank you for Sharing this,
    Olivia Bartels

  61. I purchached one of your bracelets today, on my sons 16th birthday. He is troubled which means so am I. Your note of One mothers’ joinery of pain and beauty is what really sold the bracelet, and now that I am home to read about you I am thrilled to have found a beautiful christian mother who loves her children like I do. Thank you for yet another reminder to trust God.

  62. Lisa, i found your blog through Ruby Denbow from smile and wave. And I’m
    So glad I found you! You’ve inspired me with your faith. Thank you for reminding me that I am loved despite my imperfections.