I’m coming out of a season I didn’t realize I was in.

My youngest baby turned one in January of 2015, but didn’t walk until about June of this year. I mentioned it a lot in conversations, on Instagram, on my blog, but I always brushed it off like...“I’m not trying to make a big DEAL about this. I’m not WORRIED or anything.”

And I wasn’t worried about my daughter. I knew that physically she was fine, just a little slow in the gross motor skills department. (She probably gets that from me – I’m still amazed anytime I catch the keys or my phone or something totally insane like AN ACTUAL BALL.) While she was fine, it would have been wise to consider how I was actually doing.

I’m realizing now that I sort of pulled back for a few months. I didn’t take my kids as many places, and I had pretty strict boundaries on the kinds of things I’d do with them. This is because taking a five-year-old, (then) three-year-old, and immobile twenty-five pound-one-year-old out in public can be absolutely nuts.

I remember one day some preschool friends invited us to a gymnastics place for free play. My kids love that place, and I’d taken all three before, but it was back when Piper was a tiny little nugget and she slept in the Ergo the whole time. I knew that if I tried to take all three at this stage, it would be a disaster. I wouldn’t be able to talk to the friends who invited us at all, my head would be on a swivel, and surely somebody would get lost in the foam pit of doom.

Now listen, I do some pretty crazy things with my kids. Just last month I drove up to Indiana with all three by myself to go to the Influence Conference. For nine hours it was just me, my tinies, a stack of DVDs and some Kidbopz. (No shame.) So it’s not that I’m afraid of adventures, it’s that in that season, where Piper was active but not walking and the youngest of three, I had to have some pretty tight boundaries.

We’ve felt this kind of thing at other times along the way, like the going out to dinner situation. Sometimes we go out to eat and it’s a dream. Our kids sit and color quietly, they drink without spilling, and they’re ecstatic about what we’ve ordered them. And then there are the other times. I can scarcely speak of them. When the drinks end up splashing so far the guy three tables down needs a towel, and the food sits untouched on the plates, and the tears just. don’t. stop.

I’m finally pressing into the reality, into the comfort, really, of knowing that that these seasons are just...seasons. The eating out will get fun again, we just need to give it a while. And in the case of the toddler who refused to toddle, well, we’re finally stepping back into a somewhat social world again. And it’s so good.

Mamas, I know you get this idea of seasons that come and go. I know you’ve heard it before. I have too. But I forget it anyway. I sometimes get stuck in the hard places and things get a little darker. So I share this as a reminder for those of us who are still in the weeds of parenting in the little years. These seasons can come quickly and then pass, or they can last half a year like our accidental pseudo-isolation. Some seasons are really beautiful and some are just something we work through.

But God is with us in every single one of them. In the good, it’s our pleasure to praise Him for the beauty of these lives we lead. In the hard, we have to ask for help, knowing that we aren’t forgotten. He meets us in both -- His grace covering the ugly moments and mercy pouring in each day with the dawn.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
-Lamentations 3:22-23

Kristi James is a pastor’s wife and mom to three little girls. She’d tell you more but she has a newly reactivated social calendar calling her name. (Find her at her blog And Babies Don’t Keep or on Instagram.)