Slow and Steady

slowandsteady

If I let my house go for a few days, it becomes overwhelming to clean. I look around at the piles and the papers and I purpose in my heart that I am going to become a minimalist and just throw everything away.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with my house and my to-do list, I think, “Slow and steady. One step at a time.” My friend Amy taught me that, and I’m learning…slow and steady. Pick that up. Put it away. Wash that dish, sweep, put on some music, fold clothes, do a little dance with my kids, keep on. Slow and steady.

And when my heart hurts and the waves of discouragement come full on, I have to slow and steady myself. Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One. Slow and steady is how I make it through some days.

Whatever it is today, your home, your seemingly out-of-control child, your work, your marriage, your soul, think, “Slow and steady.

One step a time, one day at a time, slow and steady, you’ll make it.

Love, SM

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Choosing to Wake Up to My Own Life

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...

A hotel room, pizza, and my girl. Great choice.

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 then 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 worked. It woke me up.

I haven’t shared too much about here, but overtime I will. But what I want to share with you today are the two initial things that changed the course of my life: 1.) I chose to live, and 2.) I fought for it.

Choosing to Live

I literally had to say out loud, “I’m going to choose to live my life.”

It was a light bulb moment for me to awaken to the fact that I could choose my life. That God, in His kindness, gave us minds and hearts and guts and bodies to be able to choose how we want to live; He gave us the ability to think and make decisions and act on them. It seems so obvious, right? But life does this thing to you sometimes where you just feel like you have no choice, like you just have to roll where the waves take you.

I know now that’s not entirely true.

We might not be able to change our personalities or our circumstances, but we can make daily decisions that affect our whole life. We can choose to say and believe that we were made for more than a mediocre, just-get-by existence. We are made to live and live fully; a half-dead people cannot be effective in the Kingdom, but a fully-alive people? Watch out. Life calls forth life, and if you are alive, you can call forth life in others. (Tweet.)

I am choosing to live because it matters. It matters to God, it matters to my family, and it matters to me. I want to enjoy life, and God, and His people, and the glory all around me. And when I do that, I am in a soul-alive place where I can help others. Yea, it matters.

But you have to choose it or life will pull you under.

Choosing to Fight

Once I chose, I had to face the reality that it wasn’t going to come easy. I was going to have to fight. I had to make plans, and begin again and again.

And again.

Because my plans fail and because my body sometimes fails, and my hormones course through me and make me crazy. But I keep on. I’m fighting. I have a vision to live and enjoy and be delighted in and bring God’s Kingdom to bear on this earth in creative ways. So yea, it’s imperfect, but it’s faithful. It’s something. It’s slow and steady, one day at a time. I will live today.

And when I can’t fight, when I’m feeling battle worn, He fights for me. And He will fight for you.

He sees our broken places; He doesn’t forget.

You are not alone, and I am not alone. We are in a sisterhood, together, and together we can make it.

“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”

Victor Hugo

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10

Love, SM

Related: 

My new book, Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure – Right Where She Is

Longing for Paris

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Burn-Out Messes With Your Kingdom Work (Plus, What You Can Expect Here Going Forward)

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The thing about burn out is that it messes with you.

It messes with who you are and it messes with your Kingdom work. Here’s why.

When you are burned out, your vision begins to blur and you don’t have the clarity you once did. You’re tired and you’re not sure if what you’re doing is of God or the devil or your own sin nature. You begin to lose your footing, and those balls you’re juggling begin to fall.

You fall with them.

You hit the ground hard and you’re hurting, but you think, “I’ve got to get up and keep going because I have commitments and deadlines and promises and…” an endless list of reasons why you shouldn’t, why you can’t get a break.

You are dying for rest and clarity and Lord am I doing what you want?

You feel stuck. You’re not sure what to do. But whatever this is, isn’t working.

This is burn out.

And it is here that you choose your path.

Will you stay with the jugglers and the doers and the limping-out-of-exhaustion ones, or will you reclaim your life? We don’t reclaim our lives for only for ourselves; we reclaim our lives in order to live free and available and ALIVE so that we can be effective in the Kingdom.

I haven’t read it yet, but I image there are some wise strategies in The Best Yes for helping you to say no in order to say yes to the good things, the life-giving things, and your people. No one else is going to tell you what to do; here and now you decide whether or not you are going to own your life.

Friends, I have learned the hard way. I have not only been burned out, but it has taken me YEARS to learn how to own my life so that I can live well and happy. I’m happy. I know “happy” isn’t always the Christian thing to say, but I am happy; I am joy-filled because I am free.

Finally.

And moving forward I am going to try and stay free by counting the cost and trusting God with how He made me.

With that said, I bring you what gives me life and what you can expect from me in the future…

What Gives Me Life

Being in the quiet with God and His Word, a cup of coffee in hand, and a journal on my lap

Being intentional as a mother, doing things that I know build into my children

Making a home (NOT synonymous with cleaning)

Time and good conversation with dear friends

Writing and speaking for the JOY of it and to encourage other women to keep on. Life is hard enough, we shouldn’t go it alone and we all need as much encouragement as we can get! “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

What You Can Look Forward to at SarahMae.com

First of all, let me just invite you to pull up a chair and kick your shoes off. {Exhale}

WELCOME.

I have found such freedom over the past year as I’ve learned to see God for who He is and see myself as His daughter who He delights in. I believe God takes pleasure when we let ourselves be loved by Him. It’s a really lovely thing when you can be happy with who you are. There have been times in the past when I was very neurotic with my writing. What if it’s not good enough? What if I’m a fraud? I should blog more. I should know more. I wish I wrote like her. I’m no good. Maybe I should just quit.

No more of that.

I mean, maybe sometimes those things will creep in, but I don’t want to be anyone else. I love God and I love that He loves me and intimately made me who I am, weaving me together with purpose and love. With that said, I’m going to do things on this blog that bring me life. For instance…

Prettiness! I’m going be re-designing my blog so that I like seeing it and it brings beauty to you all. Like a journal or a book, I want to be writing and reading in a space that feels warm and inviting and also invigorating. I also want you all to have a good experience while you’re hanging out with me, so I will try and make things as simple as possible as far as navigation and such goes. The design should be in effect sometime in February.

Sporadic writing. Because I’m writing here for the joy of it and to encourage you, I will only write when I feel inspired to write. Maybe that will be every day. I don’t know yet. But I can tell you this, I won’t write just to make words, because that kind of writing is filler and it doesn’t bring relief to people. I want to be a writer that brings an offering of relief and encouragement to the soul, and I can only do that when I’m writing from my own well (more on that later). In addition to these things, I am taking on Emily Freeman’s fantastic list on how she plans on staying sane on the Internet (bravo Emily!). Here it is:

  • I will tell stories.
  • I will be myself.
  • I will remember it’s “better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self.” (Cyril Connolly)
  • I will refuse to romanticize the writing life.
  • I will write to connect, not compete.
  • I will remember fear is a normal part of the process, but courage gets the final say.
  • I will remember how ego feels pushy and afraid but calling feels kind and free. Most of the time.
  • I will remember people write online for a million little reasons and I will respect them theirs.
  • I will practice writing words I can’t take back.
  • I will refuse to write from a frantic place of hurry.
  • I will be gentle with myself when I choose to hurry anyway.
  • I will be relentlessly helpful to the souls of others.
  • I will write as a kind companion rather than a truth machine.
  • I will let love lead.
  • I will not be a jerk.

Good stuff, right? You should read the whole thing here.

Video courses. NOW WAIT. I know that courses are all the rage and some people are so pushy about their courses that you feel like stabbing them in the eye. No, that’s just me? Kidding. I don’t want to stab anyone in the eye. But just like you I get frustrated with anything bombarding me. BUT I don’t think that means that the medium should be to blame. Just like blogging, courses are a way to communicate, and for me it’s a way to communicate through video that is focused on a particular topic. I will only do courses when I have something from my own “well” to pass on to you. Be not afraid. When I have a course, I’ll tell you about it but I will not bombard you with emails. :)

I think that’s it for now. Sound good to you? Sounds good to me!

Here’s to a BEAUTIFUL, wonderful, INSPIRING, pleasurable, WIDE-AWAKE, freedom-filled, NEW YEAR!

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8

Love, SM

What I Learned From My Year Off:

Part 1: We are Not the Providers, God Is

Part 2: Counting the Cost

Part 3: I’m Still Me

Part 4: If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

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What I Learned From My Year Off, Part 3: I’m Still Me!

authorlaunch

Here I am (with the lovely and talented Allison Vesterfelt) getting to be a part of something that will help so many release the color in their souls! (I’ll be telling you all more about this soon!)

I had this idea in my head that if I quit for a year I would not only be happy and content as a homemaker and homeschoolin’ mama, but that I would excel at it.

Turns out, I don’t excel at homemaking (understatement of the year if we’re talking about cleaning), and I while I love homeschooling my kiddos, I’m not awesome at it. Or maybe I am. You’ll have to ask my kids in a few years.

As for happy and content? Mostly. But only mostly.

Because it turns out, there is this color that God put in me that I can’t stuff away or make black and white. This color in my soul that lights me up (and Lord willing, glorifies Him) when I let it out. What is this color? It is the color of my personality and my gifts and what God put inside me before the creation of the world so that I would be a part of bringing God’s Kingdom to bear on this earth.

That’s right, good works given to me to do in advance, which I can only assume correlate with how He made me because I am compelled to do them. Or, said in another way, how He made me can be used in the good works He’s planned for me. And since I’m clay and He’s the potter, I’m going with it!

I’m accepting who I am and the color God gave me because I believe when I am fully me He is fully glorified.

What does this mean practically?

It means that I will have anchors in place to help me keep focused on my time with God, my home and my family and living out of who God made me to be (which, incidentally, fills my soul. God is so kind). Some of my anchors include: Journaling, praying, and scripture reading sometime in the morning before the day gets carried away. Bible reading with my kiddos (curled up on the couch all snugly), chores and school, and then COLOR (soul-time!), and then life and then tea time with reading (comfy pillows and snacks; my kids love this), more life and daily living and COLOR and then dinner and life and bedtime reading in my bed with the babes cozied up around me. Then, BEDTIME, which equals (once the babes are actually in bed) COLOR!

Mostly, I am just living life by holding on tight to grace and begging God for Holy Spirit power to help me get the days done well and with fun (fun is so good for souls). When I get the anchors in, there is so much more freedom in my heart to do other things, like write and speak.

And so I don’t forget, I have to say that one of the good works that God prepared in advance for me to do is to mother my children! That is a good work! And I am thankful to have the opportunity to use the color God gave me to do just that: love and raise my babies. Isn’t that encouraging knowing that our good works are sometimes right in front of us?

There is, of course, so much to say about all of this, and I do! I say it in my new book, which doesn’t come out until August! Ha! Sorry. More on that later. :)

So here I am, doing my best to trust God with all of it, make wise decisions, and just enjoy who I am. Probably what most of you are trying to do as well. So glad for that. It’s wonderful not go at this life alone.

“Listen to the rhythm of your own timing.”

-Tales of the Kingdom

Love, SM

What I Learned From My Year Off:

Part 1: We are Not the Providers, God Is

Part 2: Counting the Cost

Part 3: I’m Still Me

Part 4: If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

 

P.S. The Own Your Life Webcast replay is available to watch now! Just head HERE.

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Own Your Life in 2015 (Plus a Giveaway of Sally Clarkson’s NEW Book!)

UPDATE! The Own Your Life Webcast replay is NOW AVAILABLE. Click HERE to watch it!

withsallysbook

It’s a great mail day when your mentor’s book gets delivered!

Today is the day!

Sally’s NEW book Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love is NOW available!!!!!!

“God has given each of us a unique cup, so to speak. A unique personality, a unique stewardship…and yet the only person who can drink our portion well is ourselves. And I want to encourage and inspire you in this book to think through, what is the portion that God has given you as a part of your life? How does He want you to drink it faithfully every single day?”

As you can imagine, I’m thrilled, because Sally and her words have provided such wisdom over the years. I have personally been deeply impacted by her, and particularly by this “own your life” message, something she has been instilling in me for the past few years. And friends, once you really grasp the concept, it’s a game-changer.

I am so excited for her to pass this message onto you! You really must, must, MUST get this book. Here is a portion of the foreword I wrote for it:

“Sally taught me that a wise woman, that a wise person, takes responsibility for their choices and understands that “each person has the power and authority to bring his or her life back into order; we are stewards of the days allotted for our lifetime…”

Friends, Sally has done the work; she is a woman who has walked faithfully and with integrity throughout the seasons of her life, and she has words that are worth being heeded.

Her gracious admonishment to own our lives and leave a legacy that matters is not just a sweet encouragement, it is a life-changing call to live for God with all of who we are and all the choices we make. And furthermore, Sally doesn’t just tell us to own our lives, she tells us how we can do that.

And I’m first in line for this message, and I’ll be last in line as well, because I need these words. We all do, because our lives matter, because God has a story for us to live for His Kingdom.

And to live it, we must be willing to own our lives.”

Free Webcast!

TONIGHT, in a FREE webcastSally, myself, Crystal Paine, and Angela Perritt are going to share with you how we are learning to own our lives and how you can own your life in 2015. UPDATE: Watch the replay HERE.

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Here is some of what we’ll be talking about:

  • Learning to love who God has made you, leaving guilt and inadequacy behind
  • Living into the generous, abounding and unconditional love of God
  • Finding peace, rest and strength to live the life God has given you
  • Discovering the ministry moments God has designed for you to engage in every day
  • Finding contentment right where you are, single, married or somewhere in between
  • Building a home environment that gives life to all who come there
  • Becoming the friend and lover of all, that God created you to be
  • Embracing your ministry of parenting and learning how to do it with grace
  • Building a long term story of faithfulness in your marriage
  • Leaving a legacy of a strong faith, generous love, an intentional life

In addition to the webcast, I am also hosting a book club for Own Your Life that begins on the 12th, so GET YOUR COPY QUICK! All the info on the club can be found HERE.

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Giveaway!

I have FOUR copies of Own Your Life up for grabs today! WOOT!

To enter, just fill out the form below! Good “luck”! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love, SM

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