March 2013 - Sarah Mae
Hi, I'm Sarah.
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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Inviting Our Children Into Our Journey

Today is a guest post from my friend, Christin. She is such a gift to me and I think you will really enjoy her words today. Also, make sure to check out her new, super encouraging and practical eBook, Blog at Home Mom – Balancing Blogging and Motherhood.

As a mother, motherhood can look pretty messy from my point of view. No matter how hard I try to organize my home, my schedule, or my life to make things as smooth as possible, it is never lived out the way I picture it.

But, something that I am slowly beginning to learn, is that motherhood is not meant to fit into the box of neat and tidy. It’s just not. And when we try to stuff it in there, and it doesn’t fit, we grow increasingly frustrated. We believe that there is either something wrong with us, or with our children, because we don’t fit the mold we’ve invented.

When I became a mother, I hung up the idea of writing. It was kind of a subconscience thing. I believed that once I became a mother, everything I did needed to be filtered through that identity, and if it didn’t line up with motherhood, it had to go.

We often believe that because our lives are filled with mothering duties, that our identity is found in only that place. That is simply not true. Our identity is made up of a thousand little pieces that mold us into the character of Christ. Motherhood isn’t the only piece. But it is a beautiful piece–many beautiful pieces.

There are other pieces, too, that make up the greater picture of a life lived for Christ. As mothers, we don’t want to exclude everything from our lives that don’t include our children. Once our children leave the nest, not only will our home be empty, but our hearts will feel empty as well. We won’t know what to do or who we are without our children.

Using the gifts God has given us throughout our years of mothering allow our children to see God’s glory in action through us in various ways.

Your identity is in Christ. His plan for your life is made up of a myriad of moments that make up the whole. When we have children, we bring them along on the journey Christ placed before us. It doesn’t change once we have children, we simply gain companions that we have the privilege of mentoring, leading, discipling, and loving. We then get to show them how to follow in the footsteps of Jesus by fulfilling His will for our lives.

Sure, there are seasons. There are seasons for more of one piece and less of another. The myth of the balancing act is that we believe everything needs to be given the same amount of time, and attention and that’s the mold that keeps leaving us feeling hopeless.

It’s more like a dance, and you follow the rhythms of the seasons of life. We cannot control life events or our children’s free will (i.e. tantrums or rebellion). But we can take what we’re given, and allow God to use it to make life beautiful.

As a writer who wanted to help women understand they could blog and mother, I wrote an eBook addressing the practicality of “balance” between the two. It’s called Blog at Home Mom, and you can check it out here. It’s not about the act of blogging (or writing), it’s about how God chooses to use it.

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What gift has God given you that you think God may be nudging you to use?

8287416023_2d189e37f5Christin has a heart to encourage and equip women in aspects of discipleship, marriage, mothering, writing, blogging, and community. She sees the body of Christ as an important community of encouragement and discipleship and works to foster that around the web. Her biggest ministry is to her family and she knows how beautiful, hard, overwhelming, and exhausting mothering can be. Her passion is to encourage mothers who need a challenge or a lift (or both). She has been married 12 years and has 5 children ranging in age from 10 down to 2.

You can find her encouraging moms at her blog Joyful Mothering, helping women in blogging at ChristinSlade.com, managing the Allume blog, and chatting it up on Twitter as @ChristinWrites.

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What To Say To A First-Time Mom

Today’s post is from my dear friend, Mandy. She has a beautiful, passionate soul and I know you will adore her and her wise words. Enjoy!

IMG_6008Maybe you had your first child years ago. Maybe you haven’t had any children yet. Maybe you have no desire to have children. We’re all in different places in life.

But I bet you know someone who is pregnant. {Just a guess}

I’m 20 weeks pregnant with my first child. I’m half-way through the 40 week journey; half-way to life as I know it changing overnight, half way to a world that is so different than the quiet, clean, organized, 8+ hour sleep a night-filled world that I live in today.

And I’m scared.

You see, surprisingly, I’m not really scared about pushing the baby out {although I’m not quite sure I believe it is physically possible. I mean really, how can that be?}. I’m not scared about sleepless nights, breast feeding, or figuring out what my baby needs when he/she cries. I’m not scared about loving the baby; I know it’ll just come naturally. I’m not scared about buckling the baby in the car seat right, or SIDS. I’m not scared about any of those things.

I’m scared about making Christ known to my child.

You see, I grew up in a home where love overflowed. I grew up in a home where we dressed nicely and went to church on Sundays. I grew up in a home with amazing parents.

But I didn’t grow up knowing Christ.

And so above all, I wonder how to raise children zealous for Him.

I wonder how I raise children hungry for God alone, when I myself lose sight of my God.

And I wonder how to raise humble children, when I myself struggle to live humbly.

I recently overheard a close friend of mine having a deep hearted discussion with her third child, her “wild child”. He was disobeying her, and she pulled him aside to discuss what was going on. As I listened to her kind and gentle words, I was blown away. She said things I would have never thought to say. She brought Christ to the center of the issue, allowing her son the opportunity to confess his sin to both her and God right there in that moment. She made it about Him. She brought her son to the foot of the cross right there before me, standing in a hallway with people buzzing by.

And I thought, how can I ever do that? Her words were so gentle, so loving, so Christ-centered…very much the opposite of how I would’ve handled his disobedience in that moment.

So I asked her. I asked her how she learned to do that, how she learned to get to the heart of her son’s sin. There in that hallway I told her my fears, that I won’t be able to do that for this budding child inside of me.

She smiled.

She told that mothering is a process, a process that doesn’t occur overnight. She said that it will come through His teaching, and that I don’t need to fear. She told me that she wasn’t always that calm or collected, that she does mess up, but that God {and her son} give her grace when she falls. She reminded me that He fills in the gaps, even the gaps that we don’t realize are there.

And above all, she reminded me that He, the Creator of my child, loves him/her more than I ever will, or ever can.

And so, as I {and the handy app on my phone} count down the days to the birth of this sweet babe within me, I cling to the words of my friend. I cling to the truth that she spoke over me that morning.

He loves this child with an everlasting love. I need not be afraid.

If you know a budding first-time mama, will you tell her that? Will you remind her that mothering is a process, and that you don’t always get it right? Will you reminder her that God will fill in the gaps of her failures, and that He can even use those failures to mold her heart {and the hearts of her little ones}? Will you embrace her and calm her fears?

Don’t allow that mother-to-be to walk around with such fears in her heart.  Your love and support can help set her free from the fear of failing as a parent.

You can read more of Mandy’s writing at her blog, MandyScarr.com!

mandyMandy is a lover of deep relationships, theological discussions, and peanut butter. She feels called to ministry, seeking to share with women of the freedom she walks in because of her relationship with Jesus. She and her husband live in the beautiful suburbs of Washington, D.C. She writes at mandyscarr.com. You can connect with Mandy further on Facebook and Twitter.

Need more encouragement in motherhood? You might like Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe!

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Sometimes You Just Need to Let Your Kids Eat Cheese Off the Floor

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There is cheese smushed on my kitchen floor.

Do you know why there is cheese smushed on my kitchen floor?

Because I let my kids eat shredded cheese on the kitchen floor…no plates, no silverware…just straight out of the bag.

Sometimes parenting is just that way.

And sometimes you just need to roll with it so you don’t have a freak out.

Which I almost had today.

But I didn’t.

Read the rest of my article over at MomHeart.org today!

P.S. Head on over to I Take Joy to read the conclusion of the Desperate book club!

Love, SM

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4 Ways to Forgive (When You Don’t Know What to Do With The Unfairness of it All)

(Can’t see the video? Click here.)

Recap of the video:

Recently, I was wronged by someone, and I have been really having a hard time letting it go. The situation feels so unfair, and I have just felt so angry and lost as to how to deal with it. Last night I was up at midnight praying and asking God what to do with my feelings, with all the unfairness, and how to genuinely move on. Below are the thoughts that were impressed on my heart.

4 Ways to Forgive (When You Don’t Know What to Do With The Unfairness of it All)

1. Say to God, “Lord, I feel like this situation is so unfair and I feel so wronged and I don’t know what to do with it, but I trust that you do know what to do with it. You know me, you know them, and you see all the things I don’t. Plus, I know you love me and have my back (as well as their’s), so here you go God, it’s all yours.” In other words, trust God with the person and the situation.

2. Would you agree that life is hard? It is, and the fact is, nobody gets a free pass to skip the battle, not even the person who wronged you. When I remember that truth, that everyone is facing a hard battle, I can have compassion on the person who wronged me. Also? Think about all the times you have wronged someone. Yea, that helps me to be more compassionate as well.

3. Is there something I have done that I should ask forgiveness for with the person who wronged me? Ask it. And ask without expectation that you will be asked for forgiveness in return. Free and clear, ask genuinely (ask God to show you where you may have gone wrong/offended).

4. Choose to be a person of the light. The enemy wants nothing more than to keep you in the dark – seething, feeling vengeful, getting worked up, having major lack of peace – he wants you faraway from forgiveness, because forgiveness shines blindingly, beautifully bright.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that…” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes 

Love, SM

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Be The Mentor You Never Had (Plus, Is Desperate Only For Those Who Can Hire Help? Addressing An Amazon Review)

desperatebook1-196x300Today is the last day of the book club here; Sally will write about the last chapter on itakejoy.com on Thursday.

There are two things I want to address from the chapter and from some of the reviews on Amazon. First, an excerpt from Chapter 14, Desperate…Not Defeated:

“If you go through this season of desperation alone and without help – though I pray that does not happen – then I want you to write down what you’re experiencing and how it affects you. Put in writing how you are going to be there for your children one day and the other young women God puts in your path and be the helper you never had. I want you to think of all the times you have said…

“I wish I just had someone to help me with _______.”

“Why don’t any of the older women ever volunteer in the nursery?”

“I’ve been praying for a mentor, but so far, no one has shown up.”

“It seems like the older women don’t want to invest in the younger women; where are they?”

“I have no money so I can’t go anywhere when I need to get away. I could really just use a night away alone.”

“I’m drowning in laundry! I wish I had some help!”

You have probably thought many of those things, and more. You recognize that you need help, you need time, and you need refreshment. I want you to commit right now that, Lord willing, you will be that person fo a few younger women one day.”

And there it is, the heart of Desperate – reaching out and helping/being friends with another woman so that we can persevere as mothers.

No one should have to do motherhood alone. Which brings me to a comment on a couple of the Amazon reviews:

“Most of their ways to “breathe” are only possible if you can afford to hire help.”

I cringed when I read that comment, for two reasons. One, that is not at all what Sally and I were communicating, and the fact that a couple people felt that was what we were saying, well, it’s painful, and sad and wow, do I need to communicate better?. The second thing is, it’s just not true. The whole of the book is to encourage mothers that they are not crazy for how they’re feeling, and that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings of desperation, and that they shouldn’t have to do motherhood alone – not by way of “hiring help” but by way of friendship and mentors! We mention that if you can you could consider hiring some help around the house, that there is nothing wrong with that if you’re able, but it was just a suggestion. I understand that many women cannot afford any help, but I also know there is so much guilt around the idea that if you hire someone to help you clean here and there you are somehow a failure or less than. I say boo to that! Also, I know what it’s like to not have the money to have some help; heck, I remember not having enough money to buy groceries some weeks! So for those commenters to assume that out of our whole book we are saying the only way to breathe is to hire help, well, I’m just honestly at a loss, but even more so I want to say: I’m so sorry you felt that’s what we were saying. We do not believe that to breathe you need to hire help, we believe that you need help, and we hope you find it in friendship and mentors, and ultimately in the One who loves you and guides and is there for you in every desperate moment.

In fact, here’s a little resolution I wrote up to encourage you in overcoming the desperate feelings that motherhood can bring on, and none of them have to do with hiring help (these are the concepts in the book):

The No-More-Desperate-Moms Resolution

(Get a pretty PDF version of this resolution to print by clicking here)

If I am a mom of little ones…

I will choose to celebrate each day with my children as gifts from God.

I will remember that I am not alone in my feelings of inadequacy.

I will remember to accept my limitations with grace.

I will remember that one day, this season of little ones will be over.

I will commit to making my relationship with my spouse (if applicable) a priority, knowing we are partners in the raising of the eternal souls in our care.

I will pursue friendships with other moms.

I will not feel guilty for taking time for myself to refresh my soul.

I will fill myself with good things in order to keep growing as a person.

I will talk to my children about the importance of serving others.

I will not compare myself with other moms, but instead be the mom God made me to be.

I will remember the hard years of raising little ones so that one day I will help a mother of little ones. I will do for another mom what I wish someone would have done for me.

I will remember to look my babies in the eye, nibble their toes, nuzzle in their necks, dance with them, giggle with them, and remember in whose image they were created.

If I am past the little years and my children are grown…

I will commit to teaching a young mom how to walk with God and read His word every day.

I will “adopt” a young mom who doesn’t have a mom, and I will mentor her and love her.

I will commit to take a mom of little ones a meal from time to time.

I will commit to offer to watch a mom’s little ones once a month.

I will commit to doing an act of service for a mom with little ones once a month (laundry, dishes, general cleaning).

I will encourage my older daughters to serve young moms.

I will remember to tell women to accept their limitations with grace.

I will remember that I am raising generations by helping and loving moms so they can persevere in the noble call of motherhood.

I will do for a young mother what I wish someone would have done for me.

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And there it is, the conclusion of the book club here at SarahMae.com. Please head over to itakejoy.com on Thursday to read the final book club post.

Thank you so much for sticking with this study, and I pray that you would find help and encouragement and resolve to overcome and be the mama I know you are. So much love to you.

SM

You can get your copy of Desperate at Amazon, B & N, CBD, or DaySpring.

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