The Many different seasons of a mother’s life

Albert Bierstadt

I think that fall may be my favorite season (or spring!). I love the colors, the sunny, crisp days, the opportunity to begin drawing in and making homemade soups and breads and reading a great book and creating more beauty and life-giving friendship and fun with more people inside the walls of our home. (I also love autumn art!)

Even as there are seasons with variety and scope in our lives, so there are so many seasons to a mother’s life. One day she loves her children and thinks they are the greatest gift God has given. Another day, she isn’t sure she even likes them, but she is obedient and has to put one foot in front of the other just to keep going.

Recently, a young mom I know confessed that she sometimes has a hard time “feeling close” to her young children and being available to them emotionally because she is tired. Most women feel this fairly often. I know that as the tasks of motherhood need to be pursued every day with intention, or they will overcome the home, so life can feel tedious. There were many times throughout the years that I did not feel like giving or even feel close to my children. But, I would just put one foot in front of the other and seek to be loving and gracious and patient, even though I did not feel like it, and eventually, my joyful feelings would return.

It seemed to me, that I would read stories of families that seemed to be all together–studying Greek and Hebrew by age 5, perfectly neat house, home-cooked meals and all in order, with children who had perfect attitudes.

That was not my reality. Mine was a whirlwind of seasons–some were fresh seasons where I loved my children and they seemed to be growing and I enjoyed them and others were winter seasons of darkness and struggle and seemingly no real life or  growth in our home. But I learned that all homes have seasons and it is the faithfulness through all of the seasons that determines the outcomes.

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart is the first book on Motherhood I ever wrote. I would learn different truths about God, about how to cope with the different demands and challenges of each season and write down what I learn and how God showed me to walk through the seasons by faith and with His wisdom. Topics addressed in the different seasons of my own life were coping with messes and learning to focus on relationships in the midst, dark seasons of depression, learning to live free of other people’s rules and expectations, growing with my children through the seasons of babyhood, childhood, teenage years and beyond!

I wanted to write about this book today because it answers many of the questions I get in my emails from sweet moms and just can’t seem to find time to answer.

A sweet friend, Erin,is hosting a book discussion of Seasons of a mother’s heart.You will also love her blog and her encouraging writing at Homewiththeboys.net.  Find all the info about how you can join her book club discussions at: (http://homewiththeboys.net/seasons-of-a-mothers-heart-getting-started-connected/)

I know I love seeing what other moms are learning and thinking when reading a book. You will enjoy her blog and her musings about the book. In light of her book club, wholeheart will give away one book by Monday morning if you leave a comment telling me a little about season of life you are in right now. Or tell me your favorite chapter or topic that you have read in this book.

I have just gone through a season of winter with deaths and children leaving and medical and financial issues and weariness, but every time I go through difficult seasons, I know that spring is coming and I will see all sorts of growth and blessing springing up everywhere. I am so very encouraged already to see God’s grace and blessings in my life. He is so good and He always leads me in His blessing, when I endure the seasons with His grace and waiting for Him to bring the life. He shows me the reasons for the seasons and has given me such deep fulfillment in my life as I have learned to trust His timing and live by HIs strength and grace.

May our precious Heavenly Father strengthen you today in whatever season you find yourself and may you hear the voice of His love and encouragement in the midst of it. I hope you will find His encouragement as you read Seasons of a Mother’s Heart.

: You may order it here: http://www.wholeheart.org/store-2/#ecwid:category=1117022&mode=product&product=4605088

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Comments

  1. Casie says

    I have 2 young children, a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I also take care of 6 adult ladies with developmental disabilities. We are in a very busy stage. I have been shocked at how difficult this task of parenting is. I know that I have been told, but it is always harder in real life. I feel like the way I respond and the decisions I make are already shutting down the little heart of my 4 year old boy. I can discern his heart and his needs, but I don’t know what to do or how to respond. I am now wishing I was better prepared- had memorized more scripture, read more parenting books, etc. Does that describe a season?

  2. says

    My season of life is preparing for next week’s wedding of my second daughter while continuing to build relationships with my three other adult daughters (married or in college) and a teen daughter in public school, and home schooling the five younger children, ages 6-14. (Today so far we have read Greek myths and The Golden Goblet, and they are working on other assignments.) I also occasionally care for my toddler grandson who lives nearby. And somehow I still manage to write frequently. My current blog series is reflections on Dr. Tim Kimmel’s Grace Based Parenting, which is very much needed right now! :-). Thank you so much for all you have written on that topic.

    And now, on to phonics and wedding programs!

  3. NatlalieC says

    I would love to read this book! I have just been praying about this very topic. I am in a season of weariness, it seems, right now. I have a 4 month old boy, a two year old boy, a 4 year old boy, a 5 year old boy and a 7 year old daughter! I am homeschooling the two oldest. I really enjoy my life, and yet I feel that if I could change anything for the better it would be to just get a good night of sleep and have the energy to DO all required of me. I am making efforts to exercise and I do eat well, but it seems those things also just take more TIME that I feel very short on. I am learning to just do the next thing as Elisabeth Elliott reminds us, and the Lord will bless my efforts when they are focused on Him. I just need as much encouragement to keep faithful as I can get. I praise God for your blog! You encourage me daily!

  4. says

    Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I love all the color and even the food that we associate with it. :)

    I think last year was the real start of this new season in my life. By the time Christopher moved into his own apartment this year (to live near campus), I was ready for it. Last year when he lived on campus for a semester, that was the true breaking of the apron strings… and it hurt!

    I now love this season of older children and grandchildren. But the surprise for me was that I did not love it immediately. Any change… even good changes… can be very difficult when we are first going through them.

    Thinking of you and praying for you and yours often.

  5. Jeri Riddick says

    Oh, Sally, I don’t know what season I’m in. I just wrote you a long response and deleted it. I’m in the middle of allergy season. :o) Beautiful flowers all around…I just want to sit in the middle of them, touch them all, breathe them in…but then my nose goes crazy and I can’t breathe. They make me crazy and unable to function. But I love them all.
    Jeri (mom to 5)

  6. Kelly says

    We are coming into a season of Spring (or should I say Fall since that’s my very favorite season?)! We are beginning to taste & see the fruits of hard labor – in our marriage, in my husband’s career, and in our children. When we got married a little over four years ago, God broke us down and showed us the need to rebuild our lives on Him. It was not easy and sometimes it seemed totally crazy, but we are now thriving in a home overflowing with faith and love!

  7. Michelle Clinton says

    My boys are 10, 9, & 6. We are trying to sell our home so that we can move to a new state that God is calling us to. I feel lost as far as schooling goes right now. Just today I thought, “I don’t really like being a mom. It’s so hard. ” It’s all I ever wanted. My boys are precious, but they are sinful creatures just like me. I’m trying so hard to train them in righteousness and godliness, but I don’t make the right choices with my attitudes. I’m sure they think I’m crazy…

  8. says

    I’m not sure what season this is. I have two girls, 5 and 7. Our 5 year old finished 28 months of treatment for leukemia 6 months ago. We’re in an interesting time of transition right now. On one hand we’re looking to what’s ahead, and on the other we’re trying to make peace with how leukemia is going to be in our lives now. It’s taking a different, lesser role, but it’s still there. It will always be there. It feels very much like and in-between season. Honestly, the in-between is starting to bug me! I want to know what’s next!

  9. Lindsay says

    I feel like I’m in Spring right now in my parenting. We’re preparing to welcome child #5 and the other kids (ages 7-18mo) have started new school years and schedules and there are definately some unexpected “spring showers” along the way that make the path muddy, but also make the flowers grow!

  10. Kim Allen says

    I seem to be going through a season that has two seasons within it…if that makes sense. On the one hand I am trying to spend as much time with my mother who has advanced emphysema. We don’t know how long it will be till she passes and are trying to make all our times with her special. On the other hand I am trying to homeschool 6 very strong willed, spirited children. They are 10,8,5,3 and twins of 1 which we recently adopted. There are so few homeschooling families in our area and even fewer people who have adopted, so I stand out like a sore thumb. It can at times be difficult. Every day is a battle to keep my focus on God and rely on His Grace.

  11. says

    I’m in a very busy season as well (I think every mom is). I have three children, 5, 3, and 1. We also just began homeschooling a few weeks ago. I love this time in my life! It is so busy, but so full of fun, noise, and excitement about everything. I really cherish these days!

  12. Amy says

    My family seems to only have two seasons right now. Husband/Dad is home or gone. We’re working through our third one year deployment in six years. I would like to say I’ve learned a lot and just flow right along with the changes but if that were the case, I might not be so very interested in your sweet wisdom. :)

  13. says

    We are in the very beginning season of parenting right now, as parents of two little ones while dreaming of our next. I am learning and reading and soaking up every molecule of wisdom that I can find. Thank God for His promise: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1.5). Yes, please, Abba!!

  14. Sharon says

    I am in a season of feeling overwhelming joy and love for my toddler. Sometimes. And then other times vowing to never have any more children on the rougher days! Sally, I so appreciate you sharing your humanness with us. I’ve read lots of your posts and some of your books and found myself wondering how on earth you were able to make such a wonderful home and life for your children. It’s refreshing to know that you did have rough periods too.

  15. says

    I am in the busy but beautiful stage! :) I have an 4 kiddos 8 and under and am 26 weeks pregnant…it’s the living day-by-day stage, I think! :) I really do love it, but whew, I’m tired. ;)
    I would LOVE to read this book!

  16. says

    I’ve missed the last few days of your blog….so good to be back catching up. I’m reading Season’s right with the other moms in my homeschool group. We just read about sympathy…..it was so refreshing to practice showing my children sympathy this week. It has made a huge difference in their attention span and patience.

  17. says

    I think as far as life, this is winter…waiting, waiting, waiting for our house to sell, waiting for direction, waiting for answers. But as far as parenting, its spring! Little babies, lots of growth and newness!

  18. Jenna says

    I am in a season of mothering little ones…growing and stretching. It has not come natural to me, mothering. It has changed me though for the better. But I find it a bit challenging. I struggle with “self” way too much which I am working through, thanks to reading your blog and a God who hears my cries to rid me of “me”. And I have come a long way. Four years ago, I would have never thought of homeschooling my children, and now, it seems to me that there is no better way, at least for my family. But because of that, I really just need to learn to let go of the selfish parts in me.

    It is also a lonely season. I am finding it difficult to really make connections and find a kindred spirit…that is not via Internet. :) I think that is what makes this season hardest. But God knows my needs and I know He will place a kindred spirit in my path. The lonely days seem to bring me to Him more often and perhaps He has me exactly where I need to be.

    Although this season has been the hardest for me so far, with all the stretching and growing pains, it has definitely been the most beautiful…Fall perhaps. I love watching my children grow and learn and I love that I feel purposeful in my role as mother (my mission). I love that I have seen changes within myself that only God could have brought about. I love that I have realized I need less of me and more of Him. I am blessed even on my hardest day.

  19. says

    I think I might be in a bit of winter with hope of spring.

    I love how you say, “all homes have seasons and it is the faithfulness through all of the seasons that determines the outcomes.” That is so good.

  20. janell says

    I am happily married and a Mama of three (4, 2, 1) & 21 weeks pregnant with our 4th! We just started our first year of homeschooling too! I feel blessed, overwhelmed, anxious, lonely, hormonal, tired, in love, and helpless at times. I know the Lord has been graciously teaching me that I need Him each & every day. So, I guess I am personally in a growing season…being stretched, feeling uncomfortable, and needing my King every single day just to make it through. As hard as this season has been, I am so thankful for what God has taught & is teaching me.

    I have learned so much from you Sally, thank you for being a true Titus 2 woman and teaching us. I would love to read this book! I am just finishing “Mission of Motherhood” Soooo GOOD!

    Blessings. <3

  21. says

    I have 3 boys and 2 girls from ages 2 to 14, and presently I feel I’m on an upswing! :) I have a late reader I’ve been concerned about forever, and we are hitting our stride right now, and it is bearing fruit! There is a lot I started to write here, but some of it seems awfully personal… Our CM homeschool group will be reading this book together in a couple of months, so I would LOVE to win a copy!!!!!

  22. Jessica says

    I feel like Janell above could be my twin right now! I have a 4, 3, and 1 year old and am 19.5 weeks pregnant! It is wonderful and overwhelming, beautiful and messy, kind of like a combination of summer and winter! I really appreciate your blog, Sally. It is an encouragement to me! Thank you for being real and giving mothers hope!
    May God continue to bless you,
    Jessica

    • Janell says

      Oh Jessica, feels sooo good to know I am not alone. It is so hard some days. I’ll personally keep you in my prayers <3

      Janell

  23. Tracy K says

    I am currenlty weathering a storm but catching glimmers of light and calm. My husband is an alcoholic desperately trying to heal from a disease that has devastated me and my precious innocent little ones ages 5, 3 ,2. I am seeking out a closer relationship with God for strength during this challenging time and hopeful that growing with HIM will give me what I need to survive and grow from what at times feels like such a curse. My little ones keep me grounded, reminding me of simple joys and unconditional love. Despite the storm it feels like spring most days doing the best I can to feel growth and being reborn…
    Your book sounds incredible and I have loved reading your blog as I try to deepen my relationship with God. Thanks.

  24. says

    I so understand the weariness this mom has expressed. I was just thinking yesterday, “Can a tired Mom really walk in the Spirit?” I know the answer is Yes, but it feels like no.

    Sally – I am so excited to come to your tea time at Relevant! I can’t wait to soak up what God puts on your heart! I know we will come away blessed!

  25. says

    What season am I in…well I have a 13, 6 and 2 year old! And I feel plain overwhelmed in my mothering right now. I get to the end of my day and feel as if I’ve messed it all up! Thank you so much for your ministry to moms Sally! You are a blessing.

  26. Leah Franklin says

    I am probably in winter, approaching spring right now. (It’s got to come sometime, right?) My girls are 7, 4, 3 and I have a two year old boy. It seems like I do not have enough energy for them all at once. I homeschool, which is fabulous for my 7 year old – she is an apt learner! But the others are strong-willed and take up most of my energy, trying to correct behavior which never seems to change, at the same time trying to cultivate a heart for God in each of them. In the midst of all this, our family is handling a church split and all the baggage that comes with that, death of a family member, and a very busy time in the family business. Trying to see, and thank God in all these things, but this mama needs a break ! : )

  27. says

    This post had me in tears! You have touched a part of my heart for which I have felt much guilt. I am in a season of winter in my life. I recently lost my dad, moved countries and seem to be going through a time of confusion in my home educating journey. We have not yet found a church family and I mourn the loss of christian fellowship and community.

    When I first started along our home educating journey, God placed such a strong vision in my heart. The most important thing was for my children to love and serve God with their whole hearts. Somewhere I have taken the wrong road. My vision has been distorted by various ‘philosophy’s’ and opinions. I desperately want to get that vision back, desperately want to have that enthusiasm and joy back in my parenting and homeschooling.

    Reading your blurb on Seasons of a Mothers Heart, it seems like it is just the message I need to hear right now. I am definitively going to order a copy from a local supplier.

    Thank you for this post Sally and for your wonderful ministry.

    Blessings in Christ
    Shirley Ann

  28. Lori Beth Stephens says

    Sally,
    I, too, love to embrace the seasons. The imagery, the purpose, the growth, the rest, the componets of each season is what draws me to be in love with God’s creation. I began to understand how to apply seasons to my personal life when I was single, and a public school teacher for 10 years. I then met my love, and now a 3 year old son and a 10 month old daughter has changed my life. Being home has brought a new spring season that seems will last forever. I am learning to “be still” and seize these moments knowing the that the wind of change will blow quickly through. My goal is to pursue these seasons with godly wisdom, intentional mothering, and purposeful living. Although the tireness of serving my family can take its toll on me at times, I make sure to take vitamins and drink lots of water :) But there is nothing that can provide more nutrients than the true Vine. Your writing has inspired me to daily abide and receive those nutrients so graciously given. I am very picky of what I read because I don’t have time to waste. I find your books to contain wisdom and a real down to earth honesty that is difficult to find. I am looking forward to reading Seasons of a Mother’s Heart. Thank you for your obedience to serve the Lord in this manner. You have encourage many mothers.

    Blessings,
    Lori Beth Stephens

  29. Jennifer says

    Sort of a split-season here…toddlers to tweens…with the younger ones benefiting from my learnings with the older ones. :)

  30. Jen B. says

    Well, right now I’m in the “3 boys, ages 5 and under” season. It’s a busy season, very busy. There is never enough of me to give to each one of them. And I think that’s where I struggle the most. Right now my health is not great, so fatigue sets in and then I can give even less to them. But I know my God is good, and big, and he can meet every need that I can’t. Thank you for the book giveaway. Even if I don’t win, I’ll have to buy a copy. Thanks for your encouraging blog posts and always pointing us back to God. :)

  31. says

    I am participating in Erin’s online book club for this book! I am only on chapter 6…and have enjoyed reading it so far. My favorite chapter so far is chapter six– finding joy! Sometimes I get stuck in that state of mind of seriously…is this my life, but then step back and remember that YES! this is my life…the life that God has chosen just for me…I have been enjoying every minute of it since I have come to realize this…no one is going to come “rescue” me from my kids. No one is going to do everything that needs to get done…that is my job (for now). My little ones are 6, 4, 2, & 10 months…we are in the early stages of homeschooling…I have a 1st grader, preschooler…and pre-preschooler. As a former public school teacher…I LOVE that I have the opportunity to teach my kids at home…we have so much fun learning and I love seeing their little minds at work. If I was to win a book from your ministries…I would choose Season’s of a Mother’s Heart, and give it to my friend…S. She has been homeschooling now for 16 years and still has 10 kids at home that are high school on down to 2 years old. She has already graduated 3! She is getting burned out …and I have been trying to encourage her to find the joy in her kids instead of constantly focusing on the daily task of getting through. Thank you for your encouraging words through your books and blog!!!

  32. Shelly says

    I think I would describe my season as Autumn. We have sold our home and my dh is looking for employment in another town. He is working long days at his current job faithfully and coming home to apply online for jobs outside of our bush Alaska town. This is a time when I find myself drawing my three (14, 10 and 9) children yet at home closer, sharing lots of love and conversation and good soups and homebaked goodies. I would love to win a copy of Seasons! Thanks for the opportunity, Sally.

  33. Carrie says

    I would love to read this book! I am in a season of life with a baby and a preschooler and a house that is a mess and a farmer husband trying to make ends meet. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it and I always feel like something is not getting the attention it needs! I need to know that there are other seasons out there!!

  34. Shari says

    I don’t know what season I’m in! My little girls are 5 and 17 months and are tiny bundles of energy. The 17 month old thinks she’s 5 and the 5 year old thinks she’s me and it’s nuts around here!! There are days that I love them bigger than I ever thought humanly possible. And then there are days that I wonder if I’ll live to see them get married! LOL!!!

    I looong to be a godly mother. I looooong to have the sweet, gentle spirit like my mother has. I want to always be able to give the appropriate answer for the moment. How hard mothering is. But how WONDERFUL, too! I wouldn’t trade it for anything the world could ever possibly offer! I have, by far, the GREATEST job in the world!!!

    His,
    Shari

  35. Katie says

    I really enjoy your blog and encouragement…and wish I could be one of the young mothers in one of your discipleship groups. You have been where I am and your encouragement helps me pull up my boot straps and keep focused on what I feel God is calling me to do. I am a wife to a wonderful and very busy man who is working in ministry as well as the marketplace while providing for us and seeking to follow God’s will in his life. I am also the homeschooling mom of my 7 and 5 year old daughters with a busy 23 month old son in tow. Life is busy and lots of work, and I constantly need to remind myself of why I am doing what I am doing and to keep the right attitude while doing it. Thanks for your service Sally!

  36. says

    I kinda feel like a growing bulb trying to reach up for spring. Just had baby #4 (1st girl!). I want to grow and become a more godly and joyful mother each day, but I am really praying and trying to find a way to do “it” all: homeschool our 6 yr. old, not get buried in the chaos right now (I am having a really, really hard time keeping up), adjust to our baby (figure out a schedule? Or just go with the flow?). Not a lot of answers…but seeking them.

  37. Janet says

    I am in the process with my youngest son of looking at colleges. Next Fall my oldest will be home from college and starting graduate work. As I send one away another comes home. I love it!! I am happy to see my son wanting to go and encouraged by a daughters return.

  38. Karie says

    I am in a new season. My daughter started high school and my son started junior high. Some days are very challenging, but I am so amazed at how God keeps answering prayers. Your blog truly is such an encouragement and full of wisdom and insight to help me in this season.

  39. Amanda says

    We are in a time of change right now. I have three children; a preschooler, first grader, 4th grader. We moved to escape a community of high stress. We needed an environment of beauty and growth; we are seeking balance. We have made many changes in our lives in order to encourage a life of servanthood: loving God and loving others, growing and learning together as a family. We have been in this new state for 7 short weeks and my husband is literally experiencing bullying in his work place. It has been tough for him. We are seeking wisdom.

  40. Charlene says

    I think I might be in the fall season… with colors but yet the falling leaves indicating a season of change. In response to God’s call, I left my job to homeschool my three children. We moved back from Asia as missionaries and am now adjusting back to the US. My biggest challenge is homeschooling my son (age 5) whom I suspect has ADHD. He is such a sensitive boy (hence the beautiful colors of fall) but I am still trying to figure out how to be his teacher, to capture his attention, to be a mentor, etc. to him. Today, he was discouraged during the reading lesson because I got impatient with him and when he said that “I am not good at this,” my heart ripped. I was convicted. Your story about your son is encouraging to me because it gives me hope and it reminds me to look at my son (incidentally, his name is Jonathan – a reverse of your son’s name) differently. I am praying that God will use me to help him.

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