Ornaments, Candles, Tees and More! Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

I remember reading a news article a few years back that talked about how rates of depression and suicide peaked for people in their 40s, and thinking about how odd that was. Aren’t the 40s a season that includes the best of everything? By that point, for many, the kids are growing, the exhausting “new parent” learning curve has eased, and career paths are probably settled. You’re old enough to be confident in your own skin, but young enough to have health, energy, excitement and financial stability. It seemed like that should be one of the best times of life, not the worst.

Talking about it with my husband, who has an uncanny knack for getting to the heart of things, he said something that changed my perspective in an instant. He said, “By their 40s most people realize that they’ll probably never achieve the dreams they had when they were younger. They look around and wonder if it’s too late for them, if they’ve already experienced their best in life.”

Well, here we are in our 40s, and I’ve got to say, it is definitely a time of wondering. Wondering what life would be like if I’d made some different choices back in my 20s. Wondering which dreams are still worth pursuing and which ones are too much of a waste of time and energy at this point in life. Wondering at the new adult me who continues to emerge anew after being consumed and transformed by motherhood for so many years. I feel a bit like an insect coming out of metamorphosis.

There are still dreams simmering on the burner, but the change-the-world ones have been replaced by smaller bites to chew. More immediate goals that are easier to see and reach, more tangible. Life is so busy, full, and (mostly) happy at this point. Big, all-consuming dreams are muted a bit by a toddler that demands my full attention, hollering “Mom, I TALKING!!!” I know at this point that I can’t change the world, but I also know I can profoundly shape her world, and that, ironically, now seems just as good, just as satisfying.

But what if this is as good as it gets? What if those old dreams never fully materialize? What if my life’s greatest success is limited to raising a handful of happy, caring, productive kids to adulthood, building a loving home, and contributing locally to my church and community? Could I die happy, knowing I’ve fulfilled my life’s purpose? I feel a twinge of guilt even asking the question. This is a first-world issue, after all. These are the existential questions that nag those who have enough comfort and leisure time to mull over them.

I think my answer is yes. A thousand times yes. Since I have sought God’s guidance in my life, I will be content with the path that I’m on, with the faith that I am exactly where I should be. Society’s view of “success” in our North American culture is materialistic and individualistic. But we are not islands; we are wired to live and thrive within families and communities. And I know the most important, sacred work I can do is to love, guide and support the people in my home. They are my greatest joy and my impact on their lives will outlast anything else I could do, by far.

Maybe there are other great things and yet-to-be-fulfilled dreams on the horizon. I hope so. Maybe not. But right here, right now, I know that if my family and friends know I love them with my whole heart, if my little corner of the world is a brighter and kinder place because I’ve lived in it, that will be enough, in the end, to put on my life’s resume and offer to the King.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Zrinka Peters

Zrinka lives on 35 acres in MN with her husband, six kids and an ever-changing number of furry and feathered creatures. She loves book clubs, flowerbeds, and successful gluten-free baking. One of her greatest hopes is to lead her children to love deeply. She sometimes catches a few minutes to write in between snacks, laundry, and kid catastrophes. She hopes to make her little corner of the world a better place one word at a time.

When It Just Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas, Look for the Baby In the Manger

In: Faith, Grief
Nativity scene lit up

I don’t know about you, but each Christmas season I find myself trying to catch the “feeling.”  It seems like every year I hear myself say as December 25th looms around the corner, “It just doesn’t FEEL like Christmas.”  Part of that is living in Florida. I have never felt like I belonged here. I’ve always longed for cooler weather and the changing of seasons. Oh how my heart aches for a “white Christmas” that I fear I’ll never get.  I’ve heard others echo something similar. But it seems like we’ve become obsessed with chasing this evasive feeling that is...

Keep Reading

What Single Moms Really Need

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mom holding toddler on hip outside on dirt road

No, you’re not a single mom for a weekend. I’ve heard it said at social gatherings, in passing at church, and on social media. Perhaps the words are being uttered in a state of awe as if comparing themselves to valiant warrior princesses, knights in shining armor, heroes.  Usually though, it’s an under-the-breath complaint about being left by their otherwise attentive and loving spouse for the week or weekend. “I’m a single mom this weekend; my husband is on a golfing trip with his brothers.” “My husband is away for work, so I feel like a single mom this week.” ...

Keep Reading

You’re Never Alone in the Trenches of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, color photo

This one goes out to all the mamas in the trenches. To the mamas in the kitchen stirring dinner with a baby on their hip. To the ones waking up an hour earlier than the rest of the house to pump after waking up countless times throughout the night to attend to both your toddler and baby. The ones who must take care of business from lobbies, bathroom floors, lunch breaks, and the carpool line. To the mamas who pass on their own birthday presents so their kid’s medical bills can be covered. RELATED: This is the Sacrifice of Motherhood...

Keep Reading

When You Stop Running into My Arms, I Pray You Run to Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child and mother walking on beach in sunlight

I love seeing the light in my little girl’s eyes when I pick her up from school at the end of the day. Her eyes open wide, and she runs to me loudly saying, “Mommy!” for all to hear. I pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss on her cheek. She smiles ear to ear and knows she is loved and adored. She feels safe in my arms, and I pray that never changes. I want to always be her biggest cheerleader and greatest fan–holding the streamers on the sidelines in shades of brilliant gold encouraging...

Keep Reading

Praying For Your Kids is Holy Work of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom hugging daughter by bed with open Bible

While excavating Mount Masada in Israel, archeologists discovered something extraordinary . . . a date palm seed. It might not seem like much (especially if you’re like me and totally expected it to be a new dinosaur or something), but this particular seed sat dormant in the dry desert soil for almost 2,000 years. Scientists ended up finding several more seeds like it throughout the Judean desert, and with a little TLC, they were able to sprout not just one but six of them. Six date palm trees, now bearing fruit that hasn’t been seen in two millennia. Incredible, right?...

Keep Reading

Choose to Be a Mother, Not a Martyr

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, black-and-white photo

There is a trend in motherhood right now . . . maybe it’s happened for a long time, but now since I am a mom, I am experiencing it: this idea that everything we do as moms makes us a martyr. And honestly, I am guilty here more times than I’m not. RELATED: You’re a Mother, Not a Martyr We have these inner, silent dialogues between us and our husbands, parents, in-laws, and friends. Things we say and think, but they never hear. They compound on each other in the hallways of our hearts before bitterness creeps in without us...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Reminds Me How Much I Need Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby in nursery, color photo

Parenting is not only about the work it takes to raise up a child, but it’s also about continuing the work of being raised in Christ. Stripping back our innermost layers of selfishness and laying our pride exposed. Seeing ourselves as the center of our own personal schedule is no longer an option. Feeling like we have power over anything quickly vanishes into thin air. Parenthood pushes us to surrender and accept God’s sovereign control. Parenting sanctifies us.  Parenting shows us our sinful attitudes. When plans are ruined, when another blowout spoils the perfect outfit you chose, when your toddler...

Keep Reading

When Did I Become Such an Angry Mom?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman with head in her hands

My oldest children and I had just navigated a tabletop board game. My son lost. My daughter won. I also lost. She’s four. For the record, I was trying my best. We were all putting the game away together when my son grabbed my daughter by the face and yelled, “IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYWAY BECAUSE YOUR BREATH STINKS!” And then, Mount St. Meredith erupted. I (not so gently) removed him from the situation and (not so calmly) insisted that he . . . brush his own teeth. Yep. For the record, I was trying my best. RELATED: Mom Anger: Taming...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading