Because Life Only Moves Forward - Sarah Mae
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Because Life Only Moves Forward

Today is a guest post by my friend Melanie Shankle, author of the Big Mama blog and the book Sparkly Green Earrings (which I recommend – so funny and sweet). You will love Melanie’s tender heart and hilarious sense of humor, so enjoy!

mel shankle-0220

When I was in the process of writing Sparkly Green Earrings, I knew that my daughter Caroline would read it one day. In fact, it was my hope and prayer that she’d read it and know how very much she is loved and that I treasured all the moments of her childhood, even though there have been more than a few of them that I thought might buy me an early ticket to a retirement home. Or an all-expense paid trip to a mental institution.

And considering she’s only nine years old, I’m sure there are more to come.

But she completely caught me by surprise one night when she announced she’d like to buy my book on her Kindle. I told her she could, never imagining that she would actually decide to go ahead and read it, because she is a fan of anything with lots of action and adventure and maybe even a little science fiction thrown in. I can say with all certainty that my writing contains none of those things. Largely because I have little to no imagination and that’s why J.K. Rowling is a kajillionaire and I have to do my own laundry and sweep my own floors.

Well, at least one of the reasons.

Caroline began to read a few chapters of my book every night before bed and we’d usually laugh the next morning about how she used to refuse to poop on the potty or the time I was eight months pregnant and locked myself out of the house wearing a non-maternity bikini swimsuit.

But then one night before I went to sleep, I walked into her bedroom to check on her and her little voice said, “Mama?”

“What is it, baby?”

Her voice started to crack, “I read the chapter tonight where I went off to Kindergarten.”

“And? What’s wrong?”

She launched into full-blown sobs, “I read where you cried in the car after you dropped me off at Kindergarten and now I’m just so sad that I had to go to Kindergarten and leave you.”

Well. I had not envisioned this scenario.

I hugged her to me and said, “Babe, that was five years ago. And I did cry in the car because it was a new step and I was nervous and excited for you, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Remember how great Kindergarten ended up being? Remember how much we loved Mrs. Cook?”

She sniffled and replied, “Yes. But Mama? I was five when I went off to Kindergarten and that was five years ago now and I’m just afraid I’m growing up WAY TOO FAST and that I’ll be mean to you when I’m a teenager!”

Yes. That makes two of us.

Then she began to cry again as she said, “I don’t want to ever have to move away from you and Daddy. I just want to live at home forever and never leave.”

And as much as part of me wants that too, I know it’s not the way it works. God has made this incredible little person that I get to love and raise and spend about eighteen years with under the same roof, but he’s also created her to have her own dreams and desires. A big part of my job description is to continually lead her to him in everything she does so she’ll have the courage and faith to go where he leads. Even if that’s far away from me.

(Please God don’t let it be too far away.)

(And if it’s far away, please let her remember to always call home. Every night.)

So, as I tucked her back into bed and smoothed her hair away from her impossibly sweet little face, I assured her that it’s hard to believe right now, but a day will come that she will be ready to leave home and start her own life. And that I am so excited to watch her grow up and become the person that God intended her to be and I will always be cheering her on from wherever I am and that she can always come home when she needs her mom. Then right as I kissed her goodnight, I said, “Sometimes when we think ahead to the future it seems scary because we don’t know what’s going to happen yet, but God always makes us ready for the next step.”

Which is so true.

But in that moment I saw so much of myself. I fear the future. I worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow or what could happen the next day and I can take myself straight to FREAKOUT town full of worst case scenarios in about 2.8 seconds. If you think I’m kidding then I’ll confess that in the last six months I’ve diagnosed myself with at least four different types of cancer based on symptoms I read on the internet.

Did I just lose you on that? Did you just click away to quit reading the words written by a crazy person?

And what God has shown me lately, which echoed LOUDLY in my conversation with Caroline, is that I am guilty of envisioning possible scary scenarios without factoring in the mercy and grace he will give me in any situation I encounter. That I like to sit and worry about what will come or what might come without trusting in his provision. I’m doing the grown up version of Caroline worrying about leaving home even when that’s still at least nine years away.

Maybe you don’t relate to this at all. Maybe you are very healthy and secure and never doubt or worry. If so, please let me know what that feels like.

But part of me bets you do. There are so many days I feel like Peter when Jesus called him to walk to him on the water. He stepped out of the boat and, for just a few moments, experienced the sheer wonder of standing on top of water that he’d fished from all those years. But then he started to doubt. He began to look around and likely envisioned himself sinking straight to the bottom. Or maybe he thought there might be a shark nearby waiting to bite his leg off because that’s totally where my mind would go. Whatever the case, he let his fear of what might be ahead take his eyes off the one who holds it all.

I once heard it said that courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s doing what you are afraid to do. It’s having the strength to let go of the familiar and move ahead into new territory.

More than any words written in a book, that’s what I want to give my daughter most of all. A faith that, even when all else fails, knows that God never does and he goes before us, holding our future in his hands.

And I like to believe he’s cheering us on all the way.

Have you got your copy of Sparkly Green Earrings yet? You can do that here. If you want a chance to win a copy, just leave a comment and I’ll pick one winner via!


Buy this book now, thank me later! Also, just wait until you read the porch + sickness story, you will laugh out loud. -SM 🙂

P.S. Desperate is still on sale for only $3.99!!! I don’t know why, but hurry and get it if you’ve been wanting it! Also, don’t forget to enter this giveaway for the maid service (and more) and this one for the Blessings Unlimited Grace & Gratitude Collection!

Love, SM

Print this!

  • angela

    I would love to win!

  • Courtney D. Sebastian

    Great post! I, too, sometimes let worry about the future get in the way. I would live to win this book!

  • Jenn Heintzelman

    What a great post. It echos how I feel very often.

  • Katrina

    This sounds like a funny, poignant book. I, too, understand the worry…

  • Jennie Woelpern

    I would love this book! I am better at not worrying, but ask me that in a year when my oldest goes off to kindergarten.

  • Paula P.

    Thank you for the reminder that God provides the grace when we need it. I’m in the stage where my children are ready to leave the nest, and worry often wants to be my companion.

  • Amy in PA

    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing this story & message!

  • Lindy Johnston

    Great post! Makes me realize how fast this all goes…

  • Kristin Anne Smith

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book – I have heard so many good things about it!!

  • Kelly

    This post spoke directly to my fears….amazing how God keeps reminding me to trust Him!

  • Brenda

    Wonderful message. I needed these words today to pass on to my soon-to-be college graduate.

  • Brenda Veinotte

    Have you been spying on me?? You wrote what my heart longs to say. Thanks for writing about my fears. This is one area that God is really speaking to me about and wants me to work on. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book. I know it would speak deeply to my heart. Hope I win a copy. If not I’ll be seeing if my library can get a copy. Thanks for writing and sharing your heart.

  • Rachel

    This post could have been written by me, word for word, esp as I’ve been emotional since we received my daughter’s last preschool newsletter, wishing the kids well as they move on to “big kid” school. I already feel the lump in my throat about her going to Kindergarten. I appreciate the reassurance from this post, that God is holding her hand, as well as mine, as we start this new chapter.

  • Kelly Ballard

    Thank you for the post and the giveaway. I have the same thoughts, too.

  • Sarah B

    Thank you for sharing…having a long struggle with fears. Thankfully He is still working on me! Blessings!

  • Elizabeth Holtrop

    Thank you for sharing. I’m going to save this post for rereads.

  • Sarah Speer Scales

    What a sweet moment with your daughter! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • JennAynn

    This post is so true. I relate 100%. It’s great to know (and comforting) that God is there preparing us for the future. I can’t wait to read Sparkly Green Earrings.

  • ree

    Oh, this made me cry. I’m like that too, thinking of all the disaster scenarios and all that could possibly happen “without factoring the grace and mercy”. And yes, that’s what I want for my daughters too, that steadfast faith. Thank you for this.

  • april

    I’ve been wanting to read this book—my library does not have a copy yet 🙂 Come on rafflecopter!

  • Aimee G

    I can relate to this post in a thousand ways. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  • Chris & Erin Gross

    Right where I am now…making decisions and feeling swept along by life always moving forward…forgetting most times Who holds it all

  • Dawn Gray

    I’d love to read your book. Have not been able to buy it, yet! Pick me! :0)

  • Jennifer Harris

    I would be so happy to win a copy of Big Mama’s book!

  • Karen

    Cool- I have this book on my Goodreads “to read” shelf. I would love to win this!

  • Jenny King

    I’d love to win this book–love her blog!

  • Sylvia Baker

    Such a great post! Thank you for sharing exactly where I am!

  • Shannon

    Thank you!

  • LaliMamaMia

    I have three daughters ages 5, 1 & 2 months.

  • Andrea

    My baby’s only 14 months, and I’m already dreading kindergarten!

  • JacknMisty Lindsey

    Love her realness! I can definitely relate. This is what i needed to hear this morning. I have 4 little ones & I’m getting ready to leave them for a week for a conference. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Jenny Lee Sulpizio

    I have three children and now that my youngest is four and my oldest is ten, I’m beginning to freak out when it comes to this time-speeding-by-way-too-fast-for-me kind of thing. 😉

  • Kristin Welch

    I cant wait to read it!!!

  • Robin at Recess

    Lovely post. Would love the book.

  • Fijab

    I remember the day i had to drop my son in a daycare because i just got a new job. He was a year and a month and i just stopped breastfeeding him. I cried because i was so attached to him being the first time i would leave him with someone else.God has seen us through. I loved the article.

  • Ann Huston Mills

    Those earrings! They get to me. I am in line here to read it. Thanks for the chance.

  • Kristen

    What a sweet post! I would love the chance to read your book.

  • Rosann

    Melanie, this was so lovely to read and I can completely relate with you. I’m a worst case scenario thinker too and often live by the seat of fear rather than faith. Yet God uses my fears to grow my faith which is actually kind of cool when you think about it. Especially when He shows me how irrational my fear actually was. Haha! But, I have had a very similar conversation with my almost 8 year old daughter about her one day moving away from home. She thought she’d have to move super far away because I moved clear across country from my family and due to financial hardship haven’t been able to get back to visit them for quite some time. It’s heartbreaking and my daughter worries she’ll have to follow in my footsteps. I told her if she ever does what I do, rather than what I say, she’ll be grounded for life! Lol! My girl has a sweet sensitive heart like it sounds like you daughter has. I really appreciated this post and the way you shared so honestly. Thank you for that. 🙂

  • Rebekah

    Thank you for your words. They encouraged me this morning. 🙂

  • Amy

    This sounds Iike a great book!

  • Patti Bodenhamer

    Love the post and the book. would love to win one to share with others.

  • Sarah

    Well, now I’m crying over here after reading that! Love Melanie, have read her blog for years, and eager to read her book!

  • Michelle @ The Willing Cook

    Wow! This post echoed so much of what my 10 year old daughter has said to me. I loved how she weaved such an important lesson into the little conversations we have with our children. I’d love to win her book!

  • Marianne Buelterman Gleason

    I downloaded it to my Kindle,but would love a hard copy!

  • Rebekah Stevens

    Great post by Melanie once again. Already have my copy, but would love a copy to give away to my sister!

  • Lisa White

    Great post! Sometimes it is so hard to trust Him with my children… but I must remind myself He loves them even more than Hubby and I do (Wow!) and has their absolute best in mind. Thanks for the reminder!

  • T. Walton

    I would love to win this book! Love your post about it!!

  • Cheryl

    I laughed out loud and teared at this post! Would love to win and share with my own daughters!

  • Katherine L.

    So important to remember these truths…God’s love for your children is so great and deep and he seeks their hearts!

  • AmandaK

    Would love to read this!

  • Melanie Sullivan

    Awwww. made me cry! Would love to win the book!

  • Emily

    Would love to read Sparkly Green Earrings!

  • Marla

    I would love to win a copy of Melanie’s book! Thank you for your sweet post.

  • Kate Craig

    This is such a sweet post!

  • Tracy

    I’ve heard so many great things about this book – would love to read it! I’m also excited to have picked up Desperate while it was on sale and can’t wait to dive in :). Thank you for your heartfelt post!

  • Kimberly

    I would love to get a get acopy of the book!

  • Emma Roe

    I love reading all that you write. Your book made me feel that I am not alone and I’m not crazy! If I win the free copy I will be giving it to another mom I know really could use it.

  • sassypooinms

    From an actual single Mom who has stage 4 bi-lateral lung cancer, I understand your fear. BUT, please, don’t cross that bridge unless you come to it, then God will provide you the grace to go through it. Believe it or not, I bought myself some beautiful sparkly green earrings even though I have not had the opportunity to read your book yet. I’ve read excerpts and love it! Savor every moment you have with your children because they pass too quickly.

  • DavidandYolanda McLean

    I have read this book but I would love to pass a copy on to someone else.


    So funny and sweet and true! The book is amazing and I’d love another copy to pass along.

  • Jennifer Scopel

    I’ve heard great things about your book and would love to win a copy!

  • Charley Me

    Melanie, I have that quote on a banner in my porch “Courage: not the absence of fear or despair but the strength to conquer them.”

  • Annie in Indiana

    I can’t wait to read it!

  • Melissa Droegemueller

    This was beautifully written.

    • Melissa Droegemueller

      And apparently, I clicked the wrong button. 🙂 I’ve been waiting to read this book from the library; I’d love to have a copy to read and pass on to someone else. Melanie writes like no one else!

  • Coleen Deiter

    I’d love to win a copy! It sounds like a great book!

  • sara Karr

    awe so sweet and say I can relate would love to win this

  • Jenn H.

    Would love to win a copy of Melanie’s book!!

  • Trez Drake

    Sounds like a great book.

  • Jennifer D.

    I love reading her blog. Can’t wait to read her book!!

  • Dori Watkins Gray

    I laughed and cried. So, just maybe I’m not so crazy after all, just in good company. I am going to read your book, whether I win it or buy it. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  • eileen

    Love this post! Needed to be reminded:)

  • KimberlyC

    Great book! Would love to win one to share with a friend!

  • Alicia D

    I’d love to have a copy!

  • DittoAshley

    Beautiful, amazing post!

  • Michele

    I would love a copy!

  • Brenda Fletcher

    Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!!!

  • Ashley

    Love this post! And I’d love a copy! 🙂

  • Melissa

    Loved reading this .. and would love to read the book!

  • Kate

    Awesome. Many thanks 🙂 Would love to read the book!

    Kind Blessings,
    Kate 🙂

  • Amy

    Thanks for the opportunity. Just starting these moments that I obviously need to be writing down for my dd to read in the future. 🙂

  • Daryl Rodgers

    This is me! Thank you for sharing!

  • melsbels

    I’d love a copy!

  • Laura

    I’d love to win. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Amy K.

    Beautifully written! I would love a copy of her book 🙂

  • Hannah Guillory

    Oh, me! I can’t buy it right now and our library is soooooo slow at getting new books in.

  • Melissa R

    My daughter is only 1 1/2 years old and I am already feeling the past year and a half with her has gone by so fast! I want to enjoy every moment of motherhood! I think this will be a fantastic book!

  • Elizabeth Giger

    So beautifully written. Thank you for this!

  • Vince and Lillian Gimmelli

    Thank you or your article, perfect timing. Lord knows I need this now. Thanks.

  • OneGirl

    Alright. This made me tear up. So sweet!

  • Becci Huss Cutting

    I can relate. Too often I live in fear instead of relying on Christ.
    Melanie made me laugh!

  • Barbarann Probst

    I too have a 9 year old and get filled with fear–this is exactly what I needed to hear and to remember! would love an opportunity to win the book! Thank you!

  • LeighAnn

    My daughter is only 2, but I felt like this already hit home for me! I can’t imagine how much I’ll be able to relate in the years to come. Thank you!

  • KristinHillTaylor

    I devoured Sparkly Green Earrings this past weekend. It was so good for my soul. I cried and laughed and totally related to so many things. I’d love to win a copy for a friend.

  • Gay Ham

    Wow – powerful words!

  • Erin @ My Mommy World

    I totally could have written this! There are so many things I am afraid of, and like Melanie, I forget to factor in God’s mercy and grace. Thanks so much for this 🙂

  • Julie

    So glad a friend introduced me to your blog! Love it!

  • Kim S

    Great post, I would love to read the book.

  • Sarah

    Ohh, I love this. It makes my heart ache. The future is scary, but God always makes us ready for the next step…

  • Melanie

    This msg made me cry!!

  • Marissa D

    This is so me, and my kids are even younger! I fear what the future holds for them, for me, for us… but the reminder that God is the Planner and has cleared a path, that is a comfort. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jace Marie

    My goodness, I have a daughter and can relate to you already on so many fronts! Thank you for this post .

  • Tammy_Skipper

    this is truly one of the most beautiful posts I’ve read in weeks…love the tenderness and hoping I get a chance to read the book soon

  • emilywlemacks

    I have the book and love it! I would love to give it to my good friend!

  • Sallie E

    Good post!

  • Elaine

    Love Big Mama!

  • Chelsey Roberts

    Beautifully written! Touched my heart! I would love to win and read this book!

  • Deborah Tomai

    I love Melanie’s blog, and I’ve been meaning to read her book. What a sweet post!

  • Karen

    I would love to read this book.

  • Joyce (and Norm)

    Great post, Melanie. It made me smile because your little girl sounds a lot like a little girl I know.

  • Jennifer Hill

    I’d love a chance to win this book. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

  • sheespatti

    I would love this book!

  • Jessi

    Such a lovely post! I would love to read her book.

  • Alexis Nicole Spengler

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book, I’m so excited about reading it!

  • Sanchia Marshall

    Beautiful Melanie. I needed to read this! Thankyou. And yes Dr Google with health diagnosis I can relate to, its not a nice feeling and trusting in God is a beautiful thing.

  • Lisa Freeze

    This post really blessed me! I am grateful to hear from fellow mothers who, like me, have to wrestle back worry & fear daily!

  • Julie

    great post

  • Mel

    I would love a copy of this book

  • Stephanie W.

    Good words–this is a book I would love to read.

  • Helen G.

    Thank you for your thoughts… I needed to read this today.

  • Jessica Newland

    Totally want to read this book!

  • Lis

    Well, I’m crying. Thanks a lot.


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