November 2012 - Sarah Mae
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Monthly Archives: November 2012

A 25-Day Christmas Countdown That Counts

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If you’re looking for more than a candy countdown this Christmas, you might like my new eBooklet, More Than Candy – a 25-Day Christmas Countdown that Counts. It’s 25 days of things to do with your family that matter to your neighbors, your local community, your family, and those in need.

I began creating Christmas countdowns years ago after being exposed to them during college. Every year our church would hand out an advent calendar that had scriptures and actionable steps to take to make a difference in the community and in our own hearts. I loved it and I ended up continuing the tradition when I moved away from that church.

What you will find in More Than Candy is our family’s Christmas countdown (it is not an advent devotional). I start with an overview of the days, and I then add more detail and/or ideas to accompany each day’s opportunity.

This year, don’t just let the days go by in a flurry, missing an opportunity to serve. Make the days count. I’ll be counting right along with you.

“Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissoute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us. Do you want to close the door or open it?”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger

More Than Candy will be available for purchase as a PDF and on Kindle mid-November, 2013

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We Are The Sorter-Outers Of The Tangles In Our Children’s Hearts


Twice now she said, “You never listen to me.”


Never is big and I’m pretty sure “never” is not accurate, but to her, it is.

To her, it’s never.

My insides hurt and I want to say, “Yes I do!” I want to defend myself. But what is the good in that? So I tell her I will listen. And I tell her I try and always listen and be fair and really hear what she’s saying, but sometimes I don’t do it right. I ask her to come to me. “You feel offended, and that I’m treating you unfairly?” “Yes, and I’m sad and angry and I don’t know why.” “Okay, let’s talk about that.”

She talks, I hear and take in, and I try to unravel the web of bitterness in a little ones heart. Strand by strand I gently pull until we get a little closer to the knot being undone. I can see the knot, but I know that I can’t get it out, it’s too tight. I ask her if we can pray. She says yes. We go to the only One who can untangle our mess, all the mess that is of  hurt, self-righteousness, anger, and un-forgiveness.


She lingers on my lap for awhile,  her head on my shoulder.

We just sit.

How tender is a young heart, and how easily wounds fester. I’m 32 and I wonder at the wounds in my own heart. I feel more untangled now than ever; freedom is all over me because of Him. But I have understanding; I’ve lived and I’ve fought for freedom. My little ones, they don’t understand the fullness of forgiveness and sin and pain and injustice. They haven’t lived enough. It’s confusing for them, they just know how they feel. I’m the sorter-outer.

We, us mamas and daddies, we’re the ones who have to keep at the sorting. We must keep on listening, really listening, discerning, and teaching our babes so they can be open to freedom. We help make the way for Jesus.  With compassion, patience, and time we give to the work of sorting the heart strings so He can come in tie them up new and beautiful.

It’s slow and meticulous, and it requires nothing short of grace.

“God puts the fallen on their feet again.” Psalm 147:6

Love, SM

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Photo Credit: Heart-Shaped

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Your Child and Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse happens all the time, to girls and boys.

In light of the recent, horrific scandal at Penn State (my Alma mater), I want to ask that you take very seriously how prevalent sexual abuse is.

It happens in church Sunday schools, Awanas, and vacation bible schools.

It happens at summer camps.

It happens with friends.

It happens with uncles and aunts.

It happens with family friends.

It happens with those you trust.

It happens at the Day care.

It happens at the babysitters.

It happens even when you’re around.

Adults abuse children. Children who were abused abuse other children (often times).

It is a cycle that has crept into the childhood landscape bringing shame and trauma. And listen friends, your children aren’t just going to tell you about it.

You must ask them. You must ask specific questions. You must take the time to gently, lovingly, talk with them. Even as young as two years old (very gently and wisely).

Ways to talk to your little ones about abuse:

“God made our bodies, and no one is ever supposed to touch your private parts {be specific in naming the parts and pointing them out}.”

“Has anyone ever touched your bum (or whatever word you use)?” Ask if anyone has ever touched any of their private parts – go through each part specifically. Ask if anyone has showed them their private parts.

Do all of this gently and without a trace of shaming in your voice. Let it be natural, and smile. Keep it light.

Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to the child’s stuffed animal, asking them questions about your child (so that your child can have the stuffed animal respond).

If you notice your child acting strangely, or getting grumpy or difficult before you go to a certain place, take note-ask questions-be alert! Take note about how they act differently than other children in otherwise normal situations. You’ve got to be an attentive parent. Pay attention!

Listen! Always listen to your children. They can’t always communicate clearly. If they say they don’t like someone or don’t want to be around them, or they say, “bad person” or anything like that, listen! It may be their way of alerting you.

Believe a child if they tell you they are being abused. 

Don’t make your child hug someone they don’t want to. Don’t make your child be held by someone they don’t want to be held by.

Let them know you are a safe place for them and will always listen to them.

There is so much shame in sexual abuse that children rarely say anything.

Above all else, pray. Pray that nothing would happen to them that hasn’t first gone through their heavenly Father’s loving hands. Pray that Jesus’ voice would be lounder than the enemy’s.

Also, remember that children are just that, children. They can’t be expected to protect themselves. You may tell your child that if anyone touches them they can scream or slap them…and I say, yes, tell them that. But remember that if someone does abuse them and they don’t scream or slap them, they may feel shame that they didn’t do that. So make sure that you tell them that it’s okay if they don’t, and just to always tell mommy and daddy.

Be trustworthy. Talk with gentleness. Pay attention to your gut.

Don’t leave your children alone with anyone that you do not absolutely trust. Don’t take a chance.

You can’t control evil, and you will not always be able to protect your child from abuse, but you can pray.

Never stop praying for your children.

If something has happened to your child…

Know that God is faithful and is with your child and your family. Don’t beat yourself up, abuse happens in families where the parent is attentive – evil finds a way. Go to God and accept grace so you can move forward and help your child. Pray for your child that Jesus’ voice would be louder than the enemy’s, and that your child would listen to Jesus’ voice. Ask the Lord for a verse for your child that you can pray over them. And friend, keep steady. You are fighting a spiritual battle for your child. Don’t give up, stay alert, persevere. It’s hard work, and you will have to make sacrifices. Keep on. Believe that God will bring good (He is faithful, but the enemy will try and steal this truth from you). Pray for discernment on whether or not you should put your child in counseling, and ask God for specific ways to help your child in the short run and the long run. Finally,

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Ephesians 6:10-18


Recommended reading:

7 Steps to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

The Molester

Warning signs of possible abuse

Protecting Against Child Abuse in Your Church

“Slate of Eight” Restitution Suggestions for SGM & CLC

P.S. Get pornography out of your house. Period.

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Two Ways to Lose Your Life

There are two ways to lose your life.

You can lose your life by doing too much, draining out, and then missing out on the fullness of life, or you can lose your life by choosing the selflessness of the cross in order to invest in the eternal.

I’m losing my life in the wrong kind of way, and I’m tired. I’m bored, and selfish, and I forget what it feels like to enjoy my children. I thought I was back in the groove, but it’s the wrong groove. I remember before I started I blogging, I was a pretty good mama. Granted, I only had two at the time, but I really invested in them, and my home, and my husband. I was excited to teach them, and be with them, and cultivate their souls. And now, I’m shallow. I’m overwhelmed with the responsibility of teaching and training my sweet ones, meeting my husbands needs, and making a home. I rely too much on the internet for a source of escape when my children don’t listen, or they fight, or they want too much of me. They don’t even have enough of me. I can’t live like this; I don’t want to wake up in 15 years and regret my life.

I need to live.

I want to keep my life by losing it for the eternal. 

I’m not going to be online in November, because I’m out of control. I’m going to spend my days re-learning how to enjoy my family, make a home, reading in the evenings to my children, baking with my babes, doing Thanksgiving crafts, getting out into the community, having coffee with my in-the-flesh friends, and living. I want to live fully alive for the glory of God. I want the eternal in my home. I want to win my kids hearts. I want to love my man well.

And for whatever reason, I can’t seem to do those things and blog.

I’ve been living in the tension for too long. You all have seen it, I’m so back and forth. I’m sorry for that.

So it is.

See you in December. Maybe.


Leaving The 99 For My One

The Ultimate List of Thanksgiving Freebies & Resources

Thanksgiving Your Way eBook (free)

Thanksgiving Beads

Thanksgiving Tree


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