Blog - Sarah Mae
Hi, I'm Sarah.
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I always wondered what it meant to feel God’s pleasure

I remember at a conference a woman saying that she felt God’s pleasure when she blogged.

Another friend felt it when she ran, which is of course is like the famous Christian missionary and olympian, Eric Liddell.

But I, I didn’t know what it meant. I asked God for it, to understand it, to feel it, to know it. I tried to manufacture it, you know, thinking maybe it was when I mothered my children or homeschooled or wrote, but the truth is, I didn’t feel God’s pleasure in the way I think others were meaning it.

I couldn’t define it or hold it or figure it out. Maybe it was just words, this pleasure of God, and maybe Him being pleased with me as His daughter was what it was. Or something like that.

But today, today I felt what I can only describe as God’s pleasure, His love over me, just because it pleases Him to see me pleased. I’m botching it up here, because I can’t quite explain what I’m trying to say, but He gave me a gift today and I felt His pleasure in the giving of it. I think I especially felt His pleasure because I didn’t deserve the gift; I’m not worthy of it. And yet He is so kind and so merciful and so happy to give, just because He likes to give His children good gifts.

I was excitedly talking to a friend about the gift and he said, “You’re giving me delight in your delight.”

Yes, that’s it. That’s what I think it means to feel the pleasure of God: to feel His delight over you in your delight.

I told my husband about feeling God’s pleasure and he told me he felt God’s pleasure this year for the first time, and it had to do with doing woodworking projects that delighted him. He felt God’s delight in his delight.

It’s overwhelming.

And it’s awesome.

Just as a father takes delight in seeing delight in his daughter, this is how God sees us; our joy makes Him happy.

I make Him smile, and so do you.

Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that just the best?

My prayer for you today is that you would experience the pleasure of God, personally and intimately and overwhelmingly. He loves you. He takes delight in you.

Can you feel it?

SM

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I have some feelings about gray hair

I feel like I should tell you that I have decided to grow my hair out.

And by “grow my hair out” I mean the gray parts, which apparently are at 50%.

50 freaking % of my hair is gray.

I know, you think I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy too.

But I do have a reason and it all began last week in Portland.

My literary agent’s wife was going to be picking me up from the airport, and you know how you have a picture in your mind about how someone is going to look? Well I pictured her as a blonde. I don’t know why, I just did. So when she picked me up I noticed that she wasn’t a blonde, but rather a gray; her hair was ALL gray. And you know what my first thought was? “Why?! Why does she have gray hair? Doesn’t know about hair salons? She’s beautiful, why has she let herself go?”

Yep, those were my first thoughts. I know, gross. But that’s what they were.

Now, you know how when something is not what you seemed and then you have some thoughts and then you become obsessed and neurotic with said thoughts and become obnoxious to other people about them? Yea, that was me with her and the gray hair situation. I couldn’t get it off my mind. And, because I obviously can’t help myself, I asked her about her gray hair. I asked her when she grew it out and why. She told me she grew her out when she was 45, and she said it like it was no thing, like gray hair was normal. Which we all know IS NOT NORMAL unless you’re 60 or 80. Everyone dyes their hair, and by everyone of course I mean women because men don’t seem to have to/want to. Whatever. Anyway, back to this beautiful woman with gray hair who was totally confident, and obviously totally crazy.

But she wasn’t. She wasn’t crazy.

And I couldn’t stop thinking about gray hair and why my immediate thoughts about gray hair were always mixed with “letting yourself go” and “old” and “I’m not going down like that.” I was so judgy about women who had gray hair. I mean, I’m paying nearly $120 every two-three months to take care of business because of the 50% situation.

I started talking to her more about her gray hair, and I’m pretty certain I got quite annoying because at one point, while we were cutting vegetables, I said, “I’m making a much bigger deal about this than it is, aren’t I?” And she just said, “Yes.”

I was making a big deal out of gray hair. Why? I asked God, and of course, when you ask God about a thing He may answer the thing in a way you weren’t prepared for. And that’s just what a happened as I was standing and taking in the worship music on a Sunday morning in Portland.

You are afraid.

You are afraid if you have gray hair you won’t be desired anymore.

You won’t be taken seriously.

No one will want to work with you.

You will be embarrassed.

You will look old and like you let yourself go.

At the heart of it all, you’re afraid of not being wanted.

But the thing is, you already are.

And there it was, fear of not being wanted and the truth that I already am.

In that moment of realization I also felt an intimate voice in my spirit letting me know there was freedom either way, freedom to dye my hair or let it grow out. But perhaps, if I let it grow out, I might find a deeper identity in Christ instead of in how I looked and how deeply I listened to and relied on my fears.

I’ve decided on door number two.

I’m going for it.

Now, you should know that I’m still going to pluck my chin hairs, and I still want to look nice, and wear makeup, and maybe even put on some false eye lashes sometimes. But my hair? It will be 50% gray. So if you see me in person, just know I won’t look like my pictures online. The lovely blondish-brown will be gone. But hopefully you’ll see something that wasn’t there before. Perhaps you’ll see a woman a little freer in who she is in Christ, confident in His love for her and that being wanted by Him is, truly, enough.

With love and a root line, Sarah Mae

A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.

Proverbs 16:31

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The Art of Gentle Homemaking (Video Series and Maid Service Giveaway)

How many of you would like to have a maid?

How many of you feel like if you just had a fresh start, you would be encouraged to keep going?

How many of you are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed WITH ALL THE THINGS? And how do you get your kids to clean up after themselves anyway?

How many of you ever wonder if you got the wrong personality when it comes to being a “keeper of the home”?

Let’s talk.

For years I thought that being a “good” homemaker meant that I had to act (and let’s be honest, look) a certain way.

I thought I had to fit a mold, one that included aprons and chore systems and cleaning routines. I mean, good moms, good homemakers, they have this homemaking thing figured out, right? Why is it taking me so long, and will I ever get “it” together? What is the secret?

As I wondered and tried and worked at being a “good” homemaker, it seemed like I just kept failing. I’ll just try harder, I thought.

But it turns out trying harder doesn’t actually work as a sustainable way of living. Because every time I tried harder and failed, the crash bruised me up a little more, and eventually, I didn’t want to get back up; I didn’t want to try anymore.

The discouragement was too much.

But I didn’t want to give up, because my heart wouldn’t let me. The same heart that accused me of failing was also telling me to keep going. So I had to learn what it meant to keep caring and trying without the condemnation. I had to learn how to embrace my weaknesses, carry on in my strengths, and rely on God for all of it.

If you’re feeling discouraged or like you keep botching up this homemaking thing, if you feel like you got the wrong personality to keep a home, I’ve got something that will encourage you:

The Art of Gentle Homemaking: Trading in “Good” for Gentle.

This is a new video series I created to encourage those of you who are ready to give up, or have at least begun to settle for some mediocre version of yourself in fear of failing, again.

In the series we’re going to talk about:

  • Homemaking guilt and “What does it mean to be a “good” homemaker, anyway?”
  • The idea that only certain personalities can do this homemaking well
  • The “How-To’s” of trading in “good” for gentle (learning how to be gentle with ourselves and others)
  • Having a deeper relationship with Christ through our {perceived} failures
  • Homemaking and depression and how to get through the hard days without everything falling apart
  • Expectations (for this one my husband makes an appearance)

To get access to The Art of Gentle Homemaking, go HERE.

Giveaway: FREE Maid Service!

Who could use some help around the house? Yea, me too.

If you would like to enter to win a $100 gift card towards a maid service to give you a fresh start, just fill out the form below (and please share this post if you know someone who could use it!). This giveaway is open to everyone. You will received your maid service gift card at the end of May.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE WINNER IS ERIKA MERKLE! Congrats! 🙂

Love, Sarah Mae

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Two Matching Socks Walked into a Bar (just kidding, there are no matching socks, ever)

Have you ever done all the laundry in your house in one day, and then sit back and think how great it is and how you’ll never go back to having piles of dirty laundry again? You’re changed, you think, and you love the smell of clean clothes and how nice it is to find something that isn’t wrinkled (because you actually hung it up).

Your kids even have matching socks.

You have figured out the secret to laundry and you can now conquer the world! (It’s almost as good a feeling as when the kitchen is clean.)

Until one day you walk down to your laundry room (because someone says they can’t find socks) and THERE ARE ALL THE CLOTHES IN ALL THE PLACES and what happened? Didn’t you just do laundry, like, a week ago? Why oh why can’t it all just stay clean and put away?!

Maybe you can just run to Target and buy some new socks.

Anyone?

This is my life. I am maybe not the most awesome at cleaning, but I am a homemaker. Can you be a homemaker if you stink at cleaning? Yes, yes you can.

Let’s talk about that for a moment, how you can, in fact, be a homemaker even when there are no matching socks to be found.

How to Be an Awesome Homemaker When You Are Not Awesome at Cleaning

First of all, part of being a homemaker is teaching your children how to do their own laundry.

I did not do laundry until I was 14 and faced with the reality that my mother did not do laundry and I would have to figure out how to do it if I wanted clean clothes. I’ll never forget walking into the laundry room, navigating around piles of clothes until I got to the washer. Which was the washer? I lifted the lid and read the directions. WHO READS THE DIRECTIONS ON A WASHER? Me. I did. I followed the directions and a miraculous thing took place: my clothes got clean.

Here’s my point: kids can do their own laundry.

My kids are 8, 10, and 11, and when they say to me, “Mom, I don’t have any matching socks!” Do you know what I say? DO YOUR LAUNDRY. I love you. 🙂 Get a step stool for them, and BOOM, they can do it.

Next up in being a homemaker who is not awesome at cleaning: Submit to your husband when he insists on doing his own laundry.

So I maybe shrunk some my husbands clothes and I maybe mixed colors and turned some of this things pink. And he maybe told me that I was banned from doing his laundry from here on out, except underwear and socks (of course).

I am nailing the excellent wife thing.

Let’s move on.

My next tip in being an awesome homemaker is to hire someone as soon as you can. 

I am telling you, if you can swing it, GET YO SELF A MAID. (Is “maid” still used? Can we say that?) I am waiting for the day when I can hire someone to clean my house. I CAN’T WAIT. I don’t know if that day will ever come, but if it does, I MIGHT ACTUALLY BURST WITH JOY. See, it’s possible to be a joyful homemaker!

I remember the days a couple of years ago when I had the most wonderful woman come over and clean my house once a week. I miss her. I would walk into my house and it smelled, CLEAN. I didn’t even know what that smell was before her. My husband would come home and say, “Was Missy here?” Yes, yes she was. Bless her. (Missy, come back.)

There is nothing wrong with hiring help my friend. You are the keeper of your home, and if you can keep someone cleaning your home, you are managing like a boss. NO GUILT FOR IT.

Here’s my last bit of encouragement for today for you homemakers who aren’t sure you qualify as homemakers: Don’t be so hard on yourself.

So what if you’re not the best at cleaning. Your identity is not in your ability to clean well or keep a home or be a “Proverbs 31 woman.” Cleaning and homemaking and caring your people, those things matter; your work in the home is good, holy work, planned before time by God for you to do. But it’s not your identity. Be gentle with yourself. It’s easy to look around at other women who seem to have their homemaking stuff together and you’re over here like, “WHERE IS THE OTHER FREAKING SOCK?!” It’s okay. Do what you can. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up.

One day at a time, one thing at a time, one sock at a time.

You know what makes a “good” homemaker? Loving your people. Love your people, love your neighbors, and care. Care about your home and the atmosphere and how you talk to people and how you talk to yourself. These are the things that matter. Care enough to not give up. Care enough to let go of perfection and comparing and just enjoy your people and your home.

Be kind to yourself and others.

And there you have it, the key to it all: love.

Love makes a home. So keep loving and doing the next thing.

Love, Sarah Mae

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Parenting in the dirt of our humanity

The other day I was sitting with my one of my children when they looked up at me and said, “Mom, you look like Rumplestiltskin. Under your eyes are all scaly and kind of purple.”

THIS is the Rumplestiltskin they thought I looked like.

I know.

I said, “That’s not a very nice thing to say.” They grinned. They didn’t mean to be unkind, they just thought it was interesting and funny and fascinating, like they were just making an observation.

We carried on with our day, but a little while later I had a “tea and discipleship” time with each of my kids individually. I had each child come into my bedroom with some hot tea and cookies. I asked them what was on their heart, and then I shared with them what I saw in them and then addressed an issue I saw that I felt like needed to be acknowledged. When it was the child’s turn who told me I looked like Rumple, I began to open the Scriptures when, as though they couldn’t contain themselves, said again, “I just can’t help it mom, you look like Rumplestiltskin under your eyes.”

It was then that I started to cry.

It just happened; the tears flowed out and I covered my eyes and said, “That really hurt my feelings.” As I was wiping away my tears I saw that my child was crying too. So there we were, both crying, and both tender-hearted, and we hugged and my child said, “I’m sorry mom. You’re beautiful. I’m so sorry.”

I looked at my sorrowful child who felt the pain of hurting another person and said, “I know you’re sorry and I know you love me. I don’t mean to cry, but your words hurt my feelings. It’s important that we use words that build people up, not tear people down, do you understand?”

“Yes” came out through the sniffles.

My sweet child was repentant and they felt what I believe to be godly sorrow. They saw that their words hurt someone, and they felt it and they didn’t want to do it again. They didn’t want to use their words to hurt and tear down.

I’m glad I cried in front of my child. I wouldn’t have chosen it, but I’m glad it happened and I’m glad they felt sorrow.

After the sorrow came forgiveness and grace. And that’s the part I love the most, the forgiveness. It’s in forgiveness that my child gets to experience being in the light after something dark. It’s there where I can show them the sweet gift of gentleness and grace and kindness. Forgiveness in purity is the best. My hope and prayer is that forgiveness becomes an ingrained part of their psyche, this knowing that they don’t have to be ashamed or locked up, but that they can experience good guilt and then be set free to keep on in grace.

This is the dirt of parenting: vulnerability and humanity laid bare before our children; honesty mixed with love and grace and forgiveness. It’s in this dirt, I think, that our kids learn to be kind and compassionate and forgiving. I think it’s where they learn they are in it with one another, and this “in it-ness” leads them to know they are loved and that they can love. They are loved in the mess of their sin and humanity, as we are loved by God in our sin and humanity, and they can turn around and love others in their sin and humanity. Love and grace and forgiveness sets people free.

This is why God says to love and forgive, over and over and over, even when it’s hard, even when it hurts.

The hope is freedom.

So I’m hoping today that I will lead my children towards freedom and that you will too. I’m hoping that we will be women who are not afraid of our humanity or our tears or our mess laid bare before our children; that we are okay to not have “it” together. I hope we’ll be women who show our children that we are in this dirt with them. Messy and loved and free.

Thank you Jesus.

SM

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