My Year Off – An Update, Two Announcements, and a Gift for YOU!

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Mmmm…sweet potato cake with my dear friend Logan who came to visit!

Most of you know that I have taken the year off blogging and public ministry. Today I thought I’d offer a little update, and then share with you two little happenings, if you will.

First, the update.

Time off has been WONDERFUL.

Glorious, I tell you.

I have been really enjoying my family, my home, my neighbors, and private writing.

But mostly, I have come to see this time as a time of centering. I needed to pretty much quit everything in order to get centered and clear. I’m only four months into my year off, but I can tell you that it is the best thing I could have done. No regrets!

If you feel like you’re going under, or you’re burned out, or you’re not able to give your kiddos the mama they need, I strongly urge you to consider stepping back and getting quiet. I know from experience it can take a long time just to get to a place where you can actually stop for awhile. There are jobs and commitments and on and on it goes. But if you can, or if you’re willing to ask the Lord to help you get to a less stressful place, a more unstuck, “I-want-to-enjoy-my-life-and-my-family-and-not-regret-my-life” place, it’s worth the time and sacrifice.

I am tickled with all the freedom I have right now. Bliss.

But I love writing, and I look forward to the day when I begin here again. :)

Okay, now for those announcements!

First up…

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe is now an audio book! WOO HOO!

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This means that if you’re the mama who can’t get a break to read, you can just listen to it while you do what you do!

You can get it at Christian Audio, Audible, Amazon, or wherever audio books are sold!

2nd Announcement…

I am once again a part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle! My contribution this year is the Discipleship & Discipline eCoursemy Christmas eBook, More Than Candy, and a brand new resource for those who purchase the bundle through me (a gift for all you sweet readers who keep coming back). Keep scrolling down to learn more. You can get those and a slew of other incredible resources for a ridiculous deal.

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The Discipline & Discipleship eCourse alone is $17.99. Throw in Kat Lee’s Blog Planning Kit at $15 or Jolanthe’s Homeschool Planner at $20 and you’re already over the amount of the WHOLE bundle (which happens to be under $30).

With 78 ebooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products (like a free art print, DaySpring greeting cards, and more), this bundle is a steal.

Plus, I have a little something for those of you who decide to get the bundle…

Can’t see the video? Click HERE.

My Gift to YOU!

Ever struggle with getting your kids to do their chores? I have a tip for you!

(Can’t see the video? What a bummer! Click HERE and all will be well!)
Want more tips like this? When you purchase the homemaking bundle through the “Buy” link below, just email me a copy of your receipt and I’ll send you my new resource, MamaTips: 10 Practical Ideas for Everyday Mothering, for FREE (currently only available to those who get the bundle). This is a great resource for moms of little ones!

Buy the PDF Bundle Buy the Kindle Bundle

OH! You probably want to know what’s in the bundle, yes? Of course you do! Here’s a nice visual for you (scroll to the bottom for a list and links of all the titles available):

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PLUS there are BONUSES!

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For all the details, including information on the Mama Tips gift, eBook links and titles, and all the fine print, CLICK HERE.

 

Buy the PDF Bundle Buy the Kindle Bundle

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Ahhh, well, that was fun.

It will probably be another long while before I pop up here again, but do consider following me on Instagram because I’M GOING TO LA for the premier of MOM’S NIGHT OUT! I’m not excited or anything. JUST A TAD. Anyway, I’ll be posting pics there. :)

Love to you all!

SM

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

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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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