Life & Faith Archives - Sarah Mae
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Category Archives: Life & Faith

Following the Spirit to Public School

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. 

 John 3:8

My kids started public school a few weeks ago.

(I know, weird and surprising.)

To put this in perspective of the randomness and weirdness and unlikeliness of us putting our kids in public school, my husband reminded me that I told him that if I ever died to never put the kids in public school. (No pressure or anything). I don’t know why I was so adamant, but apparently I was. It’s all a blur now. All I know is that last month I found myself thinking about it all, and then I found myself driving to the district office for enrollment papers, and then I just casually filled them out “just in case” and all I can really say is, I guess the Spirit moved.

I’m not being silly. There is no way to explain why we all of a sudden put our kids in school. But we did, and we follow God and are in His will, so, so be it. We follow the Spirit even when we don’t know where He is going, or why this is happening. It’s all a faith walk.

Now a few things about the decision I want to share with you:

  1. It felt agonizing at first to even consider putting our kids in public school. I wrestled with feelings of failure and selfishness. I wondered, was I sacrificing my kids? Why was I even considering this?
  2. It felt, and feels, surreal. We’ve never considered public school, at least no since they were babies and my husband and I first discussed schooling options. We keep looking at each other and saying, “This is so weird.”
  3. I was so scared that my anxiety would keep me up at night if we put them in school and I begged God for peace if this was from Him.

Now let me dive into the things I just mentioned:

Am I a Selfish Failure?

Shame runs deep, and when you believe you are selfish and a failure, especially as a mom; it’s gutting. I kept telling a friend of mine, “Is this selfish? I just feel so selfish if I put my kids in school, because if they’re in school I’ll write, and I like writing and working, and that’s just selfish of me.” She said, “Is that selfish though?” And that question got me thinking. And thinking. And praying. No, it’s not selfish to put my kids in school and it’s not selfish to like working, because we are following God. Also, my husband thought the whole selfish thing was messed up. He said, “If you put the kids in school, don’t be a martyr about it, enjoy what God has next.” Yes. I like that. And it’s true.

I spoke with another friend over my questions and feelings and she reminded me, “God is good, and God is faithful, and God is gracious. Ultimately, it’s the Lord that goes before you and it’s Him who’s going to fight for your children. This is not law, and we don’t find our righteousness in how we school. Our righteousness is in Christ and in Christ alone. Nothing at all changes in who you are and how you are viewed by what you choose to do with your children and school. This is not a sin issue, a righteousness issue, and this is not a law issue. You are under grace. So be free.”

Basically, what I’m saying is, I’m not a selfish failure.

It is Weird

At first, it was super weird to not have the kids with me. I cried for two weeks and then I went to a doctor and got on anti-depressants. There is more to this story of course, but I can see now that having the kids with me all day was covering up something inside of me and God, in His kindness, was going to be peeling back the layers of my heart. Now that’s it has been a month that the kids have been in school, I can see more of why God led us the way He did.

Peace AND Joy

After I made the agonizing decision to put the kids in school, I got the peace. The peace came after the obedience, as it usually does. And not only do I have peace about the decision, I have joy. I feel grateful and joyful and confident in what the Lord is doing with our family.

“Not only is it to the Father’s glory that we get to bear fruit, but we actually get to find joy in it!” -Beth Moore

As an aside, some of you read this post on my depression, and I want you to know I’m doing well. The meds seem to be working and I’m feeling like myself again, light shining in the darkness.

God is so kind.

Love, SM

 

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When You Can’t Fix Your Weary Soul

It feels like being stuck in a glass box. You can see out but you can’t get out.

It feels like you have to cook a feast for 5o people while also cleaning your house and schooling your kids, and you have less than a day to do it (but really you have nothing to do).

It feels like drowning and trying to swim is just too hard.

It feels like rage under your skin.

It feels like fog.

It feels like loneliness when you’re surrounded by people.

It feels like being in a slow-motion dream.

Everyone else seems so normal. Everyone seems to have energy. Everyone seems to be able to get dressed and do things and take pleasure in air and people and pumpkins.

I am tired. I am so tired and I am sad and I feel overwhelmed nearly all the time for no reason. My body crawls with anxiety, in the middle of the night, during the day.

I am jealous of people who seem to be able to function well and get things done and enjoy life.

I am tired. I have tried to claw out of this box, this thing that has me under it. But I can’t. I can’t fix this weary soul.

“God, help.”

Read the rest over at (in)courage.

Love, SM

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Thigh Dimples, Gray Hair, and an Underarm Situation

We were at Burger King because my kids like Whoppers and it was baseball season and it was just EASY.

I reached over to the nice lady handing me our food and my sweet, precious, delight of a child took hold of the skin UNDER MY ARM. You know the place, where triceps are supposed to be. The dangling place. The place that has names I shall not refer to as to not offend. THAT PLACE. She squeezed it, and then she jiggled it. With her sweet little fingers SHE JIGGLED MY ARM LIKE IT WAS JELLO.

Let’s take a moment.

Okay. So she did that and I said, “Could you please not do that?”

She grinned.

She took her hand away from the place. We moved on.

So here’s the thing: my bits are changing.

I am growing out my gray hair (which, by the way, I reserve the right to change my mind about at any moment). I am realizing that I am going to have to make peace with the thigh dimples because I have no Jillian Michaels abilities in me. At all. I called to cancel my gym membership the other day and the lady was all, “You’ve only been a member three months.” Nice try shaming me lady. I LIFTED 20 POUND WEIGHTS AND MAYBE SPRAINED MY WRIST IN THE PROCESS. I’m on medical leave. Anyway.

The dimples aren’t going anywhere.

My wrist hurts from lifting a dumbbell, (Lord, help me).

I’m not going to starve myself (goodbye metabolism).

And while I’m watching my sugar intake and eating more smoothies and salads, there are times I just want some wings and beer in bed with my husband.

Here’s the point: It’s okay to age.

Read the rest over at (in)courage today!

SM

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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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