Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

The first time I ever heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) I honestly thought it was a joke. I mean, really, the acronym for a winter mood disorder was actually SAD? I read a little about it and thought it kind of made sense. Grateful it didn’t affect me, I tucked the information away.

Then, this past winter, suddenly it did affect me. At first I just figured I was in a slump. I was hoping it was just PMS, or the prolonged recovery from an injury, or being introverted, or some other similar issue to justify my feelings without labeling them DEPRESSION. I admit, even after living through four bouts of postpartum anxiety requiring meds, I still feel a stigma associated with mental illness in all its manifestations. I’m afraid that to be depressed is to be C-R-A-Z-Y, even though I know that is not the case. Just for fun I checked the symptoms of SAD again last night. To varying degrees, this past winter I could have identified with every single symptom: oversleeping, irritability, low energy, weight gain, craving carbs, trouble concentrating, and loss of interest in usual activities.

One of my favorite activities is spending time with Jesus in his word. This winter, though, those times were few and far between. During the cold and gloomy winter,  my soul felt buried deep under the weight of overcast skies. More than that, the chill had settled in my heart and distanced me from the Son.

After months of frozen winter, I felt as if my soul was in need of a good thawing. The shortage of daylight paired with gray and dreary skies had done nothing be sink me deeper into a dark and lonely pit. By the time March hit, I was read to burst out of my house and out of my own head.

When the first warm rays of sunshine were just beginning to hint at spring last month, my cooped up soul yearned to be outside. I wandered out one afternoon with my husband and for some reason we ended up sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, our legs just dangling. The chill of winter not-quite-over was in the air, but the sun was warm and it was golden and bright. We weren’t talking, just sitting there, soaking up the vitamin D and so much more. I eventually kicked all the way back, lying in the truck bed with my eyes closed. My skin tingled under those warm rays of sunlight. After some wonderful minutes had passed, I absently turned my face to the sun.

In that nearly mindless action, something inside me sparked and spread a happy warmth throughout my body. I was immediately reminded of the way some plants follow the movements of the sun. They need it so desperately, depending on it for life and nourishment. I realized that I was a starving plant, and I was in great need of both the sun and the Son.

Surprisingly to me this realization didn’t send me plummeting low. Instead, I swelled with the renewed hope and peace of a God who longs for me to turn my face toward Him. I’m deeply grateful He was with me during my dark months. But more than that, I’m also thankful that He welcomed me into his warm light the moment I turned back to Him. As I basked in the sun last month, in the bed of that dirty ole truck, I knew it was a holy, life-giving moment with God. And my soul breathed a sigh of relief.

I almost scrapped this article because a fellow Her View From Home author, Abbie Ginther, wrote about her own journey with SAD this same week. I didn’t want to be redundant. The odds of two of us writing about SAD the same week? And then it hit me. The sun is finally shining again and we are feeling better, so of course we would both be emerging from our winter cocoons at the same time. I’m reminded once more that I am not alone in this.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Pre-Order Now

Dusty Reed

Dusty is a wife, a mother and a friend. Having grown up in a big city, she is now raising her family of seven on a farmstead in rural Nebraska. During weekdays Dusty can be found teaching her children at the dining room table. Or napping; it can be exhausting raising five kids! Dusty is always on the lookout for ways to avoid housework. Her favorite ways are meeting friends for coffee, preparing meals to take to others, or simply laying in a hammock with a good book. Often feeling like an inadequate mess, Dusty is allowing God to enter into those fragile parts of her heart to heal it. Anything she learns along this tangled path of life, she longs to share with others.

The Quiet Work You’re Doing Matters, Mama

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two girls playing on bed

Mid-morning light spills through the kitchen window as I stand at the sink washing dishes.  “Mom, Caleb just punched me!” 3-year-old Aiden calls from the living room. “He took the remote right out of my hands!” Caleb contends. “I saw the whole thing happen,” their big sister interjects. “It was totally Caleb’s fault.  He started the whole thing.” “Mind your own business!” Caleb barks as he charges toward his sister with his fist in the air. It takes every ounce of restraint I can muster, but I manage not to get sucked into the yelling match happening in front of...

Keep Reading

Wear the Pretty Underwear

In: Faith, Grief, Living, Loss
Woman in evening gown, color photo

This week was monumental.  After 15 years, I finally finished a bottle of Victoria’s Secret perfume. I just wish I would have emptied it sooner.  It was one of those special occasion luxuries because it was not cheap. For years, I had saved this decadent perfume for date nights and holidays. It was too fancy for everyday use. And then, I was widowed without warning. My husband was here one minute, then gone the next. Impossible. Unfair. Traumatic. RELATED: What If Tonight Was Your Last Chance To Have Sex With Your Husband? But we were going to die in our...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Raising My Child’s Future Spouse

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy lying on car seat with puppy, color photo

Oh, hey there friend, you don’t know me yet or maybe you do, but at least for now neither of us know that our children will one day commit their lives to each other and by doing so forever knit our families together. One day, we will all sit in the front aisles of a church filled with scores of people who have influenced our babies, but none like us. No one else in that church will know the intentionality, love, and grace of God that it took to reach that day, but we will. The work you are doing...

Keep Reading

Spanking Made Us Parents We Didn’t Want To Be

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of mother pointing finger at child

Fourteen years ago when my husband and I were preparing for our first child, we felt we already had several tools in our toolbox. Both of us worked with children and youth, and we felt prepared for parenting. We decided early on that we would never spank unless we were completely out of options.  As our bright, sweet, bubbly firstborn entered the terrible fours (yes, he was a bit delayed in his toddler rebellion), we were surrounded by a community of people who believed in “controlled spanking” with hugs and grace afterward.  RELATED: These 6 Words Transformed Discipline in Our...

Keep Reading

I Was Raised by an Easter-Only Mom and I Want More for My Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter read Bible

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted, and women tend to look to their upbringing for guidance. We may not even realize we’re doing it! But being a godly mother is even more difficult when you weren’t raised by one. The questions are endless: How do I model forgiveness? How do I set the right priorities for my household? How do I explain baptism to my 6-year-old? Is it okay to have undiscipled friends around my children? Do we have to pray over every meal? Is the occasional swear word acceptable?  These questions may be less intimidating if you were fortunate enough...

Keep Reading

Even When it Feels Like I Can’t, I Keep Going

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom holding toddler

When I feel like I can’t do one more thing. When I am overwhelmed and touched out and lost in the logistics of it all. When my physical and mental energy are depleted. When the length of my to-do list needs more hours than I have. When I am so bone tired that I’m sure I just can’t go on. And there is still more to do. And the only choice is to keep going– I keep going. I dig a little deeper and find strength I didn’t know I had. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

Ordinary Mornings, Extraordinary Grace

In: Faith
Emily Ley holding Sure as the Sunrise book by water's edge

“From his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Today, take note of what brings you gladness. That which gives you pause or causes you to take a deep breath. These are glimpses of God’s goodness in our lives, brought to life through moments and things, memories and sounds. Realizations and hope. In its biggest forms: a moment you wish you could freeze in time, and in its smallest: a sliver of grace, otherwise overlooked. I wake up to the smell of fresh laundry, sheets cool against my skin. One eye open, I peek down at the...

Keep Reading

She Just Needed to be Held

In: Faith, Motherhood
A little girl held by mom, color photo

“She just needed to be held,” I texted my husband after a two-hour battle to get my 3-year-old to bed. She’s been sick. Daddy’s been gone. And she needed to be seen. Held. Loved. And in that split second, I felt God say, “Just like you.” When things are chaotic. When we feel alone. When we feel weary. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama When our spirit feels sick. When it all feels like too much to carry. We need Him. To breathe life into us. To remind us of our worth. To remind us of the hope He offers....

Keep Reading