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I remember growing up in a rural area, homesteading before it was the thing to do. Back then it wasn’t put forth as a fun and fantastic way to live—it was how we survived. Growing our meat, raising our vegetables, was how we survived on my father’s disability checks from injuries in WWII.

I remember when a rather wealthy—in our eyes—uncle came to visit and wanted to buy us some ice cream. I had no idea where they sold ice cream. He took us all to the Dairy Queen and let us have anything we wanted. What a treat!

We really did get bananas and oranges in our Christmas stockings and they were extra special treats. Perhaps that is why I still feel like they are an indulgence.

Whenever I could, I would slip away to our grove behind the barn, where an old plow had been abandoned. I would sit in the seat and dream about the day I would be a wife and mother. I even managed to lose my mother’s wedding ring during a pretend wedding with my siblings.

Other girls my age were dreaming about being teachers or nurses, but all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother.

... all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. @butifnot #imperfectmom Click To Tweet

Fast forward a lot of years, and here I am. Married to a wonderful man, I have some precious children. And for many years I found myself wondering, is this all there is?

Three babies, a miscarriage, and a baby with leukemia within five years kept me so busy there didn’t seem to be time for anything else. My husband worked long hours to support us, so I often found myself alone after the children went to bed. The silence only added to my sense of loneliness.

Now what? There was always more work I could do, books I could read, handicrafts I could do, but…

This was a season when I didn’t have a close female friend, mostly because I couldn’t do much with Eric having leukemia. I had to keep him away from colds, chicken pox, even vaccinations with live viruses, because he might catch something. All of my friends had children, so it was rare that I was free to do things with them.

It was during this season of my life that the Lord showed me that He wanted me to come to Him first for everything. The Lord had rescued me later in life, so I was still on a steep learning curve. For this season, it seemed that the Lord had called me aside to learn to rely totally on Him.

The Lord showed me He wanted me to come to Him first for everything. @butifnot #imperfectmom Click To Tweet

He became my best friend; He became the one I went to when I needed a confidante; He was the one I reached out for first when I was lonely, sad, or overwhelmed.

He taught me contentment, right where I was, with just what I had.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Ti. 6:6, KJV


My mother-in-law, Manghild Sather, was a great inspiration to me during those years. She was a vivacious, outgoing woman who had done everything with zest and vigor. Then in 1980 she went into the hospital for eye surgery and came out three months and five surgeries later, a shadow of her former busy self, weak, thin, and suffering the aftereffects of a stroke. She never regained her strength and spent the rest of her life only seeing out of one eye, able to walk only while holding someone’s arm, and sidelined. She lived hundreds of miles away, but her letters were very encouraging.

I compiled a short book of her thoughts during those years, titled, Thoughts on Being Left Behind. It has blessed a lot of people who are feeling alone for one reason or another.

I hadn’t thought to include it in this article until I received this review, just a couple of days ago:

“This short but thought filled book will speak straight to the heart of many homeschool mothers. We know that we are called to minister to our family. This often makes us feel as if we might be missing out on other things in life while we answer that call. These inspirational stories will guide and uplift you through those trying times in life. Very encouraging.” by Evamarie S

Here is a sample of her poetry.

Inside this Tattered Tent

By Manghild Sather 1987

Inside this tattered tent
Lives a spirit that soars —
A spirit that thinks, has intelligence and feelings.
O, how I wish
You’d look past the tatters
And see the Real Me



About the Author:
Phyllis Sather is an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. She has been the joyful wife of her best friend Daniel for 31 years and became a stay-at-home mom 30 years ago after retiring from a management position. She homeschooled their three children, Emily (28), Rebekah (26), and Eric (24), for the past 20+ years and they are now continuing their education and working. She wrote a column on mothers and daughters for five years and has published several books. Her favorite is Purposeful Planning. Visit her on her site at Write the Vision. Please connect with me: Face Book, Twitter, or Pinterest.
© Write the

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  1. It is such a blessing to see how God used something so hard and trying as leukemia to draw you closer to him. Thank you for pointing out the good out of the bad and the way he makes all things new. That alone time with God, whether by choice or his, never goes without growth or fruit. Many blessings on your family.

  2. Thank you Tiffany. There were many lessons to be learned during that time of our life.

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