The Hidden Years

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Me with my Ella girl

A year for sure.

Maybe longer. Maybe 10.

My sweet Ella will turn 18 in 10 years.

My boy will be 16, and my Care will be nearly 15. I will be 43.

These are the years I have to teach, train, influence, and disciple my babies. And once these years are gone, they’re gone. I will never get them back.

See, I don’t just want to get by in mothering; I want to mother with clarity and intention, seeking to raise Kingdom-minded children who will, Lord willing, go into the world with strength, and courage, and integrity, and faithfulness and a resolve to be light wherever God leads them. This doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work and time. And I don’t want to miss my chance.

Here’s what I’m saying: I quit.

I quit the public life for awhile.

I had a dream this past weekend, and in it I was yelling at my children, and then crying out of guilt, and then my daughter walked away. And the feeling was that it was too late, and I felt the full weight of regret all over. And it hurt bad. I woke up terrified that that dream was a future feeling I would have if I didn’t change course.

And so this is about faith and obedience and the offer of a gift.

Over the weekend I heard Sally talk about the “hidden years” where she did the work and raised her kids before God used her publicly. Something about that phrase, “the hidden years” stuck with me.

I think hidden years are a gift from God where we can privately grow in faithfulness, integrity and wisdom in preparation for the years where we will have opportunity to teach and influence others. Sally said to me years ago, “We need women who are willing to do the work in their homes, raising their children now so they have something to say later.” This isn’t about working women or stay-at-home moms, it’s about doing the hard work of teaching and training and growing so that we have something of substance to say and teach later. I hear wisdom in that statement, and I want it.

I want to teach and influence and encourage moms one day, but I don’t just want to relate with them, I want to have something of substance to offer them that will help them practically. I want to be a woman of integrity who will speak from the experience of a mom who did the hard work of bringing up her children with intention and faithfulness.

I just don’t want to compromise.

There are so many voices out there that will give permission to compromise in motherhood, and it is alluring and it sounds really good, but I can’t. I am all in to go after my children’s hearts and their behavior. I want to love them practically; I want them to have me available.

I also see a wisdom principle for those who will teach found in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 -

“He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)…”

Yes, this scripture is out of context as it’s about an overseer or elder in the church. But the principle as I see is that someone who will be influencing and teaching others should have their own home in order. It has to do with integrity and faithfulness.

My home is not in order. Oh, it’s not bad, but my kiddos are little and are in the training years and I have much work to do (plus I homeschool); I cannot be distracted. This is my life, and my kids lives, and how they will interact with the world (I want them to make an impact!). Raising my children well is really important to me. I know there are no guarantees on how they will turn out, but I don’t want to look back on my life one day and know that I didn’t give it my all.

Jesus discipled 12 men day in and day out; he taught them and loved them and did life with them. He has modeled for me what I can do for my children.

Also, this is my calling. I am 100% called to be a mom, and so I want to walk fully and faithfully into my calling. And when I do that, when I mother well (albeit quite imperfectly) I lay my head down at night and experience peace instead of regret or guilt. It is the best feeling ever.

Okay, so does that mean that I can’t write? I don’t think that’s what it means, and I’m not interested in telling others what they should or shouldn’t do. God has offered me, I believe, the opportunity to have the hidden years. I believe He has also asked me to stop writing publicly for a season, and so this is obedience.

That season is at least a year.

And that’s really hard for me, because I love being here and writing and encouraging you all as you encourage me in return. However, my hands are up and this is faith. I trust God with my life and my words and everything. Truth be told, I’m really looking forward to seeking His face more intimately this year as I pursue Him and His Word more diligently.

I will continue to write privately, and I do have a book coming out April 2015, called, “Unregrettable” (published by Tyndale). It’s about waking up to your own life and really living it, and not regretting it (so fitting right now!). The book is about a journey I embarked on to get unstuck and enjoy my life. It has been a delight to write and I look forward to sharing it with you. If you want to be notified when the book is available, you can click HERE to subscribe to this blog as I will post about it when it is available. I’ll also be updating my Facebook page from to time.

Well ya’ll, I guess that’s it.

Thank you for being faithful readers and encouragers to me. You all are a gift.

See you in a year (or 10).

Love,

Sarah Mae

Recommended (these are my favorite parenting books):

The Mission of Motherhood

The Ministry of Motherhood

Heartfelt Discipline

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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How to Enjoy Life When You Feel So Guilty (Or, How I’ve Kicked Guilt to the Curb)

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I used to feel guilty all the time.

Mainly, mother guilt.

But I’ve had wife guilt, house-cleaning guilt, homeschooling guilt, eating guilt, and a slew of other “guilts”, if you will. In fact, I would say that for most of my adult years I’ve lived in a perpetual state of guilt. The, “I’m-not-doing-enough, I-keep-failing, I’ll-never-get-it-together” kinds of guilt.

It’s a plague, really.

A plague I have not only allowed, but invited.

I’ve let the guilt in to do it’s dirty work, to make me feel worthless, to keep me down; to keep me looking down instead of up.

Up.

And there it is, the trick of that slimy, slithering devil, always tempting us, teasing us, encouraging us want to look down, down, down. Down to our weaknesses. Down to our struggles. And right on Down to him. He wants us bent in his direction, not free and wide-open, head back, gazing up.

Oh sure, there is a built-in guilt that is good and of God and that shows us the way when we forget His goodness and we try out our own…our own way. But I’m talking about the guilt of constant self-critique, of always feeling like a mess, like a wreck, like a fraud. Like someone who lives in fear that she will damage her children and will never get intimacy right or who still has clothes piled up in crevices of her bedroom.

And all may be so, but that is not the place for guilt. That is human, and personality and quirks and bents and strengths and weaknesses wrapped up in a flesh that will struggle until that glorious day when the struggle will be gone.

Be free.

You’re never going to get “it” right on this earth, except the right that accepts the pure, wondrous grace of God…and keeps walking by faith, looking…

up.

Keep your eyes on Him, sisters. Let go of that guilt so you can really start living. You’re not meant to wear those guilt shackles. You’re meant to live free.

He gives the freedom, and it’s the only real kind.

Now go! No more guilt for living out your human. You’ve got a God who is willing to live inside you, to guide you and comfort you, and He is perfect. Perfect intertwined with human…intertwined with you (if you are in relationship Him). God, He is so kind.

So look up, be free, and

live.

Love, Sarah Mae

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time to Be Neurotic

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Me two years ago sending in my first signed book contract

I was going through some old posts of mine, and as I read them I thought, “These are pretty good.”

Now before you think I’m being arrogant or some such thing, let me tell you that I struggle deeply with feeling like a fraud as a writer.

I fight and squirm when I have to write, and I’ve all but convinced myself that I have no business writing. So when I tell you that I said to myself that I actually like some of the things I’ve written, it’s kind of a big deal to me. It tells me, maybe I can write, maybe it doesn’t matter what I think so much as that I get out of my own way, keep my eyes on purposes of the kingdom, and just keep on writing. Ain’t nobody got time to be neurotic. It’s a self-disease, this constant critiquing of self.

Read the rest of this post at (in)courage.

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Do I Have to Be Quiet to Be Precious in the Sight of the Lord?

 

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 I sang 1 Peter 3:3, 4 to my kiddos this morning and my 8-year old girl says, “Mom, do I really have to be quiet to be precious to God?” And I said, “No, the word used for quiet actually means “peaceful” or “tranquil” – it is about having a peace in your soul, a calmness, that you are steady in God.” She says, “Oh good, because I love having fun!”

Such a misunderstood scripture. Friends, if God made you “fun” then be fun! You do not have to be quiet, but keep your eyes on Jesus and have an anchor in your soul that you are His, and whatever comes your way, “It is well with my soul.

Love, SM

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Can Modesty Make a Comeback?

showImage This is an exceptional talk given on bikinis and modesty and dignity. A must watch: CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.

“Brain scans revealed that men who were shown pictures of scantily clad women…responding to the photographs as if they were responding to objects, not people.”

“When men viewed images of women in bikinis they often associated with first-person action verbs such as, “I push, I grab, I handle.” But when they saw pictures of women dressed modestly, they associated them with third-person action verbs such as, “She pushes, she grabs.” Analysts at the National Geographic concluded that bikinis really do inspire men to see women as objects, as something to be used rather than someone to connect with. So, it seems that wearing a bikini does give a woman power, the power to shut down a man’s ability to see her as a person, but rather as an object.”

“Modesty isn’t about covering up what’s bad, but about revealing dignity.”

Watch the video talk here.

Love, SM

A little aside: In sharing this video I am not advocating that men aren’t responsible for their thoughts and actions, of course they are, no matter what a woman chooses to wear. However, I believe it is a loving act to try and dress in a way that helps a man see a woman as a person rather than an object. I’m saying, how we choose to dress is certainly a worthy consideration.

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