Have you ever pined for the next season of motherhood – as I have – in the following ways?
- If only my baby was sleeping through the night, I’d get more work done around the house.
- If only my one-year-old would be happy with a babysitter, I could join a Bible study.
- If only my toddlers were out of diapers, I’d have more money for groceries.
- If only my kids were already in school, I’d have more time to pray – uninterrupted!
We often long for our child’s next milestone. Partly because we love to see them grow and change. But perhaps more so because whatever developmental phase they’re currently in determines our season of motherhood.
I’ve been through the newborn-sleepless season, the toddler-tantrum season, and then (joyously) graduated out of the diaper-changing season only to be forced into the school-challenges season. I’m now in the midst of the middle-school-years season and also experiencing the first, bittersweet tastes of the independent-teenager season.
In all these seasonal shifts of motherhood, I’ve longed for the next phase the most when my children were babies and toddlers.
Even though I knew the truth – that God valued my role as a mom of little children, that my family was more important than a clean house, that I was growing in faith even if I didn’t have as much quiet time with God as I wished I had – it was a constant struggle for me to keep these truths at the forefront of my thinking.
I often regressed into feeling sorry for myself, feeling like I would have more value, could do more, could be more, could grow more spiritually, if only I wasn’t stuck in the season of motherhood I was in.
How God Accepted Me in the Nursery
I remember one Sunday morning when I was determined to get to church, despite total exhaustion. I’d left my baby at home with my husband and packed up my three-year-old. When the two of us arrived at church, my son started acting out in the lobby.
I brought him to the nursery to have a chat about “listening to mommy,” then we found our seats in the chapel.
A few minutes into worship, I asked God to help me praise him because I was feeling distracted and tired. Just as I felt God’s presence ministering to me, my son acted out again.
I brought him to the nursery for a second time. We had a talk, he had a time-out, and then he agreed to behave, so we joined worship again.
Not two minutes later, he was at it again. Ugh, if only he were old enough to sit through a service!
I brought my son to the nursery for the third time. By now, I was frustrated that his behaviour was preventing me from meeting with God. I was confused because he usually would have responded to the second “talking to.” And I regretted attending church at all.
Holding him on my lap with one arm wrapped around his waist, I could still faintly hear the worship team singing, “Holy, holy, holy.” So, I raised my other free arm and sang along through tears.
Right then, there in the nursery, I suddenly realized the beauty of the moment. I’d wanted to meet with God, and here I was in a quiet room with a now-calm toddler, experiencing an intimate moment with Jesus.
It wasn’t what I’d expected church to be, but it was special.
I thought, “Lord, motherhood is too hard. Sometimes I just want a break from being a mom. Sometimes I just need someone to take care of me.”
Just as I prayed this, a woman walked into the nursery to ask how I was doing. (I guess she’d seen me crying through the nursery door’s window.)
She listened as I shared my desire to meet with God and my frustrations with motherhood. Then she encouraged me and prayed for me before returning to the chapel. She left me feeling calm, loved, and peaceful.
That morning, I was comforted by God’s acceptance of my circumstances. I was touched by how he cared for me in the exact situation I was in.
God didn’t need me – or my son – to be in a “better” season. He was just fine with where we were, and he met us there.
God Accepts the Season We’re In. Shouldn’t We?
I know motherhood is difficult. It’s easy to believe that once we’re in a new phase, once the kids are older, we’ll be able to connect with God better or be more productive.
God doesn’t need you to be in the next phase. He understands your circumstances, and He will meet you where you are.Tweet
I’ll be honest. My children are now 13, 12, and 9; yet, mothering challenges continue to arise, and I sometimes catch myself thinking, If only…
If only we lived in the “olden days,” my kids wouldn’t have to grow up in this perverse world. If only my stress-load in this season was less, I’d be a more patient mom. If only I could skip ahead several years, I wouldn’t have to teach my kids to drive, or worry about the dating years. (Scary!)
My “if only’s” look different now than when the kids were little. Yet the root issue is still the same: I’m pining for something other than the season or circumstances I’m currently in.
So, then, how can we accept the season we’re in, be it a season of mothering newborns, a season of loneliness, a season of raising toddlers, a season of depression, or a season of chauffeuring teenagers?
You can begin the process of healthy acceptance with this week’s action step.
This Week’s Action Step
Take a moment to answer, or journal about, the following questions:
- What life season are you in?
- What challenges are you facing in your current season? What do you find difficult?
- What blessings come with your current season? What do you enjoy about it?
Why bother journaling or thinking about this?
Acknowledging the challenges and the blessings of your current life season is the first step toward healthy acceptance.Tweet
I’ll share more practical ways that we can continue accepting (and hopefully enjoy!) our current season of life in my next article: 7 Ways to Accept Your Current Life Season.
Until then, let’s pray together.
Let’s Pray Together
Dear Heavenly Father, our perfect Parent, our constant Help and Guide, thank you that we’re not alone in motherhood. That you never leave us on our own, regardless of our season in life. Thank you that you are here with us every day. Today, I lift up my dear friend to you. Bless her today. Fill her with energy by your Holy Spirit. Give her wisdom, discernment, and knowledge to take care of herself, to mother her children, and to manage her family. Help her to recognize both the challenges and the blessings of her current season of motherhood. Give her a heart that loves you and praises you, in good times and in bad. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.