When I was a young mom, I {knew} how I wanted to raise my family.  We started having children and my dream  began.

A strong-willed, temperamental child, a few more toddlers later, motherhood was not the the idyllic picture I originally had.  I often felt alone, wondering if I was the only mom struggling.  My friend’s children didn’t have open outbursts like Microsoft Clipartmy challenging one.  Why couldn’t I have a compliant child?  Was I the only mom who struggled with frustration, shame, guilt, and {anger}?

Unfortunately, our struggles compounded over the years.  We felt like we struggled alone for a long time.  We’ve been through a lot, but God has been good in replacing the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:22).  I’ve seen first hand the power of lives redeemed and overcoming adversity through perseverance and steadfastness.   I could write a parenting manual on “What Not to Do.”  But, through God’s grace, we’ve also discovered how to parent in the midst of difficulty.   We’ve learned things we would not have known if the going was easy.  We are still parenting.  Through our pain, we have grown and learned, and have been able to encourage others when the parenting road gets rough.

I began Life Beyond the Picket Fence a few years ago, reaching out to any one whose parenting or life experience was not the storybook image.  I figured if I felt alone, others may feel alone, too.  From that, this ministry has evolved.

I’ve had the privilege to meet another mom, Kristin Nelson, who has the same heart for mothers who feel alone in their walk.  Her ministry is focuses on reaching women, moms-in-the-trenches, who need encouragement.  She wants moms to know they are not alone.

I was that alone mom.  I needed a space like Not Alone Mom.

I have the privilege to join her ministry as a weekly contributing writer on parenting every Friday.  She, in turn, will be contributing here also.  Please read her complete bio here.Kristin Nelson

The ministry at Life Beyond the Picket Fence reaches a variety of people other than just moms.   Join me Fridays at Not Alone Mom for parenting posts and here on Wednesdays for parenting posts from myself and other writers.  It’s a privilege to join others who desire to parent well in the midst of real life challenges.  Together, we are not alone.

Also, visit My Catholic Blog for a mention of a past post on Raising Children in Favor with God and Man and other parenting tips.  Thanks, Janet, for the mention!

Blessings to you this day, this weekend, this New Year.


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