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Truth for the Downcast Soul

There’s a girl I know who is precious and young and has a tender smile that makes you think she’s just fine.

But I found out recently that this girl has darkness swirling around her mind and she can’t shake it and she’s just very sad. She’s so sad in fact that she wants to cut herself or hang herself, and my God, she’s only a young thing. And my brain tells me maybe she was abused in some way, but maybe she just suffers from the darkness. I don’t know. What I know is that she needs to know that even in the dark, there is light, because there’s nowhere she can go where God won’t go for her, where He isn’t already.

You all know I have been in the depths, but I’ve also been on the wings of eagles. I have felt God and I have soared with Him, even in my darkness, even in the anxiety and depression, there have been heights with such awesome views, I can only praise Him.

One of the reasons I love Jesus so much is because He is close to the brokenhearted. He is gentle and kind and tells me to come and rest with Him. He tells me I’m not alone, and I’m not my brokenness. He fills me with light and beauty and He leads tenderly. I have never feared God in the sense of being afraid of Him; He’s my Father. I fear Him in that I respect Him and remember He is God (!!!), but I know I can run to Him with anything and everything, and He will surround me in grace and mercy and help.

Why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you these things because maybe you have a darkness swirling around you and you need to know that God wants you to know that He hears your cries and He wants to heal your broken heart. He will be with you in the depths, and He will be gentle with you.

If this is you, I created something to encourage your spirit. To get it for free, just click here.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139:7-12

Love, SM

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When Life Becomes Like Water, Slipping Through Your Fingers

I remember the morning I sat up in my bed and thought, “If something doesn’t change, I’m not going to make it.”

Life had become like water. I couldn’t catch it; it just kept slipping through my fingers. I felt so behind, so robotic, so stuck. Why couldn’t I change? Why couldn’t I get myself together? Why couldn’t I do the things I wanted to do?

I just felt tired and overwhelmed, and many days, defeated.

But that morning in my bed, I decided I wanted to live; I didn’t just want to go through the motions.

And it was that day I purposed to wake up to my own life and choose it. No one was going to do it for me. Whatever it was that clicked in me that morning made me see that I didn’t want to regret my life. I didn’t want to look back one day and see that I missed it.


It’s such a funny thing when you become a mom. You lose yourself to it in the most beautiful way. You give of yourself, you sacrifice, and it’s good and you wouldn’t change it. But then one day you wake up and you think, “Who am I now?” You have to figure out a new normal. You’re you, but you’re different. So this waking up I was doing was more than just getting out of a funk; it was figuring out a new way to live in this mother-self-skin.

“Daily life is very seductive. Weeks go by and we forget who we are.”
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

I committed to making small changes over a period of several months in order to wake up to my life. I experimented with myself, trying all sorts of things having to do with self-discipline, diet, mothering, spiritual depth, figuring out who I was (and accepting myself), and learning to serve out of who God created me to be. I basically boot-camped my own life. And it helped. It woke me up.

I want to share with you the two initial things that changed the course of my life:

Read on at (in)courage today.

Love, SM

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Give Yourself Time

My youngest daughter is so much like me.

There’s this fieriness to her, this loudness, this tenderness, this bent toward wanting to scream and then cry when someone wrongs her; she is so dear and so thoughtful and so… worried. She’s worried she won’t be able to control her temper, find peace in conflict, or just breathe long enough to not yell at her brother when he irritates her. She thinks she’ll never change.

“Oh sweet Caroline, you are so much like me,” I tell her as we drive, just the two of us.

“No, mom, not really.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you know how to control your anger and I don’t. I’ll never be able to.”

And there it is, the lie that she’ll never change, the start of a downward thought process that can lead to despair if not corrected in truth.

“Care, how old are you?”


“Well, I’m 37, so I’ve got some years on you, and through those years God has helped me to have self-control, and He will help you too, but give yourself time to grow and learn and surrender and wait as He helps you. You can have self-control. Here, I’ll share some of what I’ve learned…”

Read the rest over at (in)courage today!


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Goodness, Beauty, and Truth: A Fiction Book List for Adults

I go searching and searching for book lists for adults on truth and beauty and goodness and I seem to only find (mostly find?) book lists for children. Which is great and all, but I want to fill my soul with rich stories and beautiful words too, and I don’t want them only to be classics.

So I did what we do in the modern age and I asked Facebook this question:

I’m looking for books that are filled with truth and beauty and goodness. I’d like fiction, and they don’t have to be Christian. What I’m not looking for: Crude talk, detailed sex scenes, lot’s of unnecessary cursing. Hard stories are fine if they inspire the soul. What do you recommend?

Here’s what Facebook (or rather my awesome Facebook friends) gave me as recommendations. Enjoy!

As with anything, use your discernment! I have not read all these books!

Goodness, Beauty, and Truth Book List

(In alphabetical order by author)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows  and Mary Ann Shaffer  

Hannah Coulter by Wendall Berry (several recommendations)

Jayber Crow by Wendall Berry (several recommendations)

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (several recommendations)

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (A favorite of mine)

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

The Yearling by Patricia Reilly Giff (I was told about this one, “Trust me”)

Father Melancholy’s Daughter by Gail Godwin 

Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

Sisterchicks on the Loose! (Sisterchicks Series #1) by Robin Jones Gunn  

Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Mitford Series by Jan Karon (several recommendations)

Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger

Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo

The Curate’s Awakening by George MacDonald

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

The Father’s Tale by Michael O’Brien

Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers (several recommendations)

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (several recommendations)

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 

Like a River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani  

Words by Ginny L. Yttrup 

And my personal favorite, the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, my favorite of the three being Perelandra. Be still my heart!

Authors Recommended

Karen KingsburyFrancine Rivers, Julie Klasson, Laura Franz, Lynn AustinKatherine Reay, Charles MartinBarbara KingsolverKathleen GrissomSusan MeissnerFannie FlaggKatie Ganshert, Erin Hilderbrand,

Happy reading!

Oh, and for more helpful lists, check out Modern Mrs. Darcy’s site!


P.S. I’ll keep adding to this list, but go ahead and comment with your recommendations!

There are affiliate links in this post. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

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The voice in our head that speaks condemnation

Every week it’s the same thing.

We study for the spelling test and my child cries and says, “I’m so stupid! I’d rather not be in this world. Everyone is smarter than me.”

They go down a dark trail of negative self-loathing and harsh talk about themselves. It’s awful, and it’s sad and it’s hard and it makes this mama feel so helpless. I pray and I ask God for all the grace and patience and gentle words and gentle touches to help, but it’s a fight. And I know the enemy will use this disposition that my child has to try and steal and kill and destroy.

I think, why? Why does my child look at themselves so poorly? Why can’t they see what I see? That they are a wonder, smart and funny and passionate and driven and thoughtful and made with purpose? 

And then I turn the gaze inward and I think of all the ways I have spoken harshly to myself. I think of my own particular bent: I’m so stupid. 

I don’t say it out loud, but I speak it in my head and my heart. I’m dumb. I have nothing to contribute to the world. What’s the point? And now that I’ve seen my child say these things, I wonder, Does God view me the way I view my child? Does it break His heart when I condemn myself? Is it painful for Him to see?

Click here to read the rest over at (in)courage today.

Love, Sarah Mae

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