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"Even the Sparrow Knows:
Trusting your Savior with a Troubled Heart"

What to Remember When Motherhood gets Tough

What to Remember when Motherhood gets Tough

It’s tough when you are pregnant and dealing with nausea, pain and every other pregnancy symptom in the book.

It’s tough not worrying about that little life inside your womb for nine months.  With all the things that could go wrong. you have to put that worry into God’s hands.

It’s tough when you bring that newborn home and aren’t really sure what to do next.

It’s tough when you’re feeding a newborn all through the night and can’t remember what a good nights sleep feels like.

It’s tough when your baby gets sick.  You wish so bad that you could take the sickness away for them, but you can’t.

It’s tough when your toddler becomes defiant, throws tantrums and tells you no.  Figuring out the right way to discipline is hard.

It’s tough when you are potty training and become convinced your child will be in diapers til he is at least 25.

It’s tough when your toddler sleeps 12 hours at night and all of the sudden is waking you up at 6 am every morning because “the sky is awake so I am awake.”  Thank you Frozen…

Being a mom is tough…

But it’s also amazing, fun, rewarding and the most fulfilling experience of my life.

Like most moms, there are times in this adventure of motherhood, where I feel like I am doing everything wrong. That I must be the worst mother ever known to man.  That I can’t possibly be doing anything right.  I begin to question everything: Am I spending enough time with my child?  Am I talking to him enough about our Lord and Savior?  Am I making the right choices with discipline?

Sometimes it seems like I am stuck in survival mode!

I don’t have to be defined as one barely hanging on in survival mode.  I can be a mom who thrives and lives and loves the great adventure I’ve been called to.  -Lysa TerKeurst

This epic adventure that we are on was given to us by our God.  He called each of us to these specific children.  He gave them to us.

[Tweet “”You are exactly the mom God knew your children needed.” @LysaTerKeurst”]

Do I want my children to remember me as the mom who always was anxious, frantic and crazy as she strived to be the perfect pinterest worthy mother?  Or do I want them to remember me by the way I loved on them, the way I spent time with them, the way I taught them about Jesus?  What kind of legacy do I want to leave with these sweet children that will one day grow, leave the nest and start a family of their own?

Sweet momma, if you are feeling like you are in survival mode, you aren’t alone.  There are so many mommas that are feeling this way.

You aren’t alone!  God is with you every step of the way through the good and the bad.

With God, I’m never a bad mom. I might be having a bad moment…or two…or seventeen, but a few bad moments do not define me as a bad mom.  God’s grace is there to cover me. Teach me. And even in the middle of a bad moment, interrupt me, redirect me, and change me.  Forgiveness is there.  Love is there.  A second chance is there. And another one after that. -Lysa

Satan loves it when we are in survival mode because those are the times we are especially vulnerable.  He will point out our flaws to us and make us dwell on them. In those moments, call out to Christ!  Allow Him to guide you in this adventure we call motherhood! We may have bad moments, but we are not defined by them.

Anything I do right as a mom is because of my constant dialogues with God.  Anything I do wrong as a mom is because of trying to do things in my own strength. -Lysa

Do you feel like you are stuck in survival mode?  

Reader Interactions


  1. Loved and could related to every single word….the survival mode and how the enemy attacks that…the potty training….everything. I was just considering the other day the “big picture” of my day with my kids. Is it more tantrums right now or happy times? Do my kids get more of the gentle voiced mommy, tired mommy, frustrated mommy, creative mommy, funny mommy? and what mommy do I want them to remember…. great things to consider!

    • Being pregnant, I find myself being the tired mommy and feel bad that I haven’t given him enough attention. I really try and he is happy, but I am thankful for God’s grace. He’s knows there are seasons and being pregnant and having a toddler is one of them! It’s a tough season! I need to consider the big picture too and probably show myself a little grace 😉

  2. Hi Stephanie, Congrats on the feature, wonderful post! Certainly there are “survival mode days”, it helps then to step back to see the big picture, take a deep breath, and know that this too shall pass. Remembering that you are leaving a legacy is very motivational on the hard days to do your best to be a blessing to them and someday, their children. xo Karen
    Karen recently posted…praying while doing the laundryMy Profile

    • Thank you! Yes, it definitely helps to step back and say “okay, the impact I have on my children now is going to affect the way they parent my grandchildren someday.” Big picture stuff right there!

  3. Oh, Stephanie, I remember! And as we celebrate my oldest’s 13th birthday TODAY (!!!), I am so thankful for the privilege of being his mom – and his sister’s – even though it’s without question the hardest I have ever done – much love!

    Great post – lots of memories stirred up by your words – especially around potty-training! 🙂

  4. Stephanie,

    You described what is in a Mommas heart so beautifully, wrapping them around Lysa words like a frame does for that picture that is “just right”.
    Thank you for sharing them. I hope you feel better. .. Thank goodness the period of gestation (at least for human Mama’s) is only 9 months! Motherhood on the other hand…..!

  5. Thank you for your insight. I needed to hear these words. It was very encouraging. I have had many more years of “questioning moments”. I have wanted to be that Pinterest mom. I pray to be that gentle and quiet spirit but my feisty Irish heritage just overpowers me some times.

    I spend most of the school year in survival mode with my under achievers. I get silent when everyone talks about their honor students and the AP classes their children are taking. Often I want to just sit in a closet and rock. Homework, the bane of my existence.

    But then I remember that God chose me to be their momma. ME. Wow. What was He thinking? I am so grateful God has faith in me because I surely don’t.

    But you certainly summed up my thought about being a mother. It’s amazing, fun, rewarding and the most fulfilling experience of my life.

    I look forward to getting to know more about you. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Very encouraging! I think it’s a constant battle & we are always growing and changing with our children.

  7. Thank you for you sweet words of encouragement. I am way past this but now as a grandma I see my daughter going through it. I wish I could figure out how to share this with her. She is in the middle of the Frozen loving, won’t potty train & everything is “No” phase with her little darling. Thank heavens none of this does define you!! God bless you!

    • Thanks so much! I feel for your daughter! If you want to send her this, just copy/paste the url into an email to her! Or you can simply click on the little mail icon on the bottom of the post and send it to her that way. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. It really does help to know that right across the world , moms are experiencing the exact same emotions. (I am in South Africa and now I actually feel quite silly thinking that I am all alone in this on going tug of war between scared, anxious, overwhelmed, fearful, exhausted, stretched to the limit. While at the same time filled with absolute love and adoration for my kids). Now I have proof in writing that I am in good company. 🙂 The section from your message that touched me was where you ask the question of what you would like your children to remember most about you. I am going to use that question to guide my actions (well I am going to try really hard). Very similar to the WWJD question. I guess the challenge for me would be to remember the question in time, before I act! God bless. Xx

  9. Thank you so much for your blog post Stephanie! I am a single mom and am constantly in survival mode! I struggle with anger and feel like I am TRUELY messing up my boys. I love the quotes from Lysa…they give me such hope! Thank you for the reminded that I am not defined by my bad moments!

  10. It IS tough – I agree. And I always thought it would get easier, but it just changes. Its tough to let them drive away for the first time alone after getting their license. It’s tough to wait up at night for them to pull into the driveway. It’s tough when they are swamped with ridiculous school assignments and only get 4 hours of sleep. Ahhh…. just shows how needed we are though, right? And if we are given the chance to be a blessing, that is a gift indeed. Loved your post:)
    Seana turner recently posted…Introducing “Polly Tries”My Profile

    • I can’t even imagine my little people being teenagers, but I know it will be here before I know it! As they grow, some things get easier while new things become hard. Being a mom is always tough, but also always a blessing 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness some days i am a survivor and I am awful for getting all worked up over the little stuff! Thank you ladies all so much for this study! I am looking so much deeper and although we are only a week in and I have read about 5 of Lysa books now I am truly learning to face the heat of the moment when stress is at it’s peak with a prayer asking God’s help with my reaction. IT has been a long road learning when to do what. When I tried not to melt down and come unglued I had a tendency in the past to end up just letting my kids slide with their bad behavior. Now I am learning that God is helping me through these tough times and he is my true strength. I’m not letting things slide but I am focused on the important task of leading my kids and showing them right from wrong!
    Thank you proverbs 31 ministries for everything you do in your ministry!

    • I find so much encouragement in this parenting journey just knowing that God is my strength. With my three year old, there are days I am just not sure that I will survive lol! But when we put our focus in the right place and really ask for His guidance, He gives it to us. What a blessing it is to be a momma!

  12. Thank you for this. I am in the midst of potty training a 3 yr old and I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. My beautiful stubborn daughter refuses to train. It’s a great encouragement to know I’m not alone.

    • Oh I feel for your Christina!! Potty training was a nightmare here. I really was convinced he would be in diapers while he was off in college. We did potty charts. We did potty rewards. We did a timer. We did everything in the book. But one day, it just clicked! God taught me some SERIOUS patience through that one!

  13. So very well written! I sure do feel like I am in “survival mode” lately. Praise God for this Bible Studay and posts like your that help change perspective. I also am writing 3 positive things everyday for 5 days on FB. It sure helps too!

    God bless you and thank you for your post.

    • Thank you! I am no stranger to survival mode. During the first trimester of this pregnancy, I was so sick and so fatigued. Having a toddler while feeling that way truely was survival mode. As long as he was fed and clean and alive at the end of the day, I felt like I did a good job! LOL!

  14. Stephanie – Thank you for sharing your heart with us. You have captured the essence of being a momma!! Keep writing my friend, Sure encouraged me this morning. God Bless You and Yours on this journey. -Teresa

  15. This is so encouraging, Stephanie! Thank you. I have really been trying to remind myself how I want my children to remember me, as you advise. This is a great way to change focus when I’m in a screaming, anxious fit :). I’m with you on being in “survival mode” and completely agree that Satan wants us there. Making sure we are spending plenty of time with God is the best way out of this stressful mode.
    Candace recently posted…Being A Mom Is ToughMy Profile

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