Hi, I'm Sarah.
Join me in keeping on and beginning again!

Category Archives: Motherhood

You’re not crazy, but you might be desperate (get Desperate for only $1.99!)

Desperate

To all the moms out there who think you’re going to end up in an insane asylum because your child keeps getting out of bed and you’re SO DONE,

I hear you. Been there.

To those who are so worn out you aren’t sure you’re going to make it one more day. I know. Been there.

To those who love your sweet babies and just need some encouragement and practical advice to keep on, this is for you.

Hang in there. You’re going to make it. You’re not crazy, but you might be just a little bit desperate.

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (Kindle version) is only $1.99 on Amazon right now.

And if not for you, for all your mom friends who are tired and need to know they aren’t alone.

We’re never alone. We’re not crazy. We’re just in this thing called motherhood and it’s glorious and exhausting and beautiful and ridiculous all at the same time.

You’re going to make it. Keep on, mama.

Can’t see the video? Click here!

Get it Desperate HERE before the sale ends!

Love to you!

Sarah Mae

There are affiliate links in this post. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Print this!

Sibling Conflict is Par for the Course (Here’s Some Help in Dealing with It)

The day almost always starts out so promising.

I make my coffee, start slow, the kids get up and play together for awhile, and I get some time in the Word. I love our mornings. But then, almost without fail, I hear the first harsh tone. And then a yell. And then I can almost feel the hearts being hardened.

I’m trying to concentrate on reading my Bible, but before I know it I shout, “Why don’t you all just beat each other up and get it over with!”

Yea, not exactly a holy response. I cringe after I say it because I know it’s just a sinful impulse and I let it fly. My son says, “We don’t want to beat each other up.” And I say, “Well your hearts do.”

Oh man, I’m blowing it. {Deep breath.}

“Lord help me.”

I go into my oldest daughter’s room and sit on the floor and begin to rub her feet. I ask her how she is feeling. She talks, I listen. I call in her brother. She tells him how she feels, he listens pretty well. He tells her how he feels. She listens pretty well. We talk, we work things through, we say we’re sorry, we forgive.Hearts are tender. They hug and move onto playing again.

This is the hard holy work that happens every day. This conflict? Par for the course. My sinful response? A constant reminder that I am in process right along with my children. We are all in process, and our hearts can only be molded and matured by Him. I can’t fix their hearts. I can’t fix my own.

But forgiveness. And grace. And new days with new mercies. This is how we get through.

Here are some things I’m learning that might be helpful to some of you out there.

Have Coffee, Take a Deep Breathe, Invite the Holy Spirit In

When I begin to feel the tension of the morning, or I feel myself getting angry, I think, “Get the coffee stat!” And then I sit, breathe, and pray. “Holy Spirit come. Be with me, with our family. Help us.”

I also tell my children to never let me begin homeschooling them until I’ve had my coffee. Seriously. They know.

When you feel like you’re going to lose it, go somewhere and breathe. If you haven’t had your coffee or your tea, get it. And pray. If you’re kids try and interrupt this time, tell them, “I’m getting my heart in order. I’ll let you know when I’m good.” If they’re younger and wouldn’t understand that, go into the bathroom. Or your closet. Or hold them close and breathe and pray. But do stop. It’s in the getting still and quiet – a quietness of soul – that you will be able to gain composure in order to keep on.

Ask Forgiveness, Give It

I’m pretty certain I ask my children to forgive me every single day. Because every single day I blow it. I remember Sally telling a story where she says she woke up one day and told her daughter Joy that she would not sin that day and Joy said, “Oh just give it up mama, it’s bound to happen!” Because WE ALL SIN. We all blow it. We all are desperately in need of Jesus.

When you lose your cool, or tell your children to beat each other up, or sigh loudly when they can’t do something, or whatever, go to them and humbly ask for forgiveness. They’ll give it. Kids are pure grace.

And when they blow it, which they will, forgive them wholeheartedly. Look in their eyes and say, “I forgive you, and I always will.”

Without the tenderness of forgiveness, hearts become hard and bitterness grows. Pay attention to the heart, yours and theirs. Work towards tenderness.

Don’t Ignore It

It is so tempting to ignore the conflict because you’re just SO SICK OF IT. I know. Lord knows. We all know. But ask the Lord for the strength to keep on dealing with it. Be in the Word. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Talk to your local girlfriends about how they deal with sibling conflict; talk to older women. Listen for wisdom and truth and grace.

“Indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom…”

Proverbs 2:3-6

Talk issues through with your kiddos. Work it out. Listen. Don’t let it go.

Letting sibling conflict go will likely cause bitterness to grow, especially when one child has take offense to the heart.

Don’t just try to mask the conflict with good behavior or right words, but really dig into the roots. Ask the Lord for help in seeing the truth of what’s going on. Yea, sometimes you just have to say, “Work it out.” But there is a time for intervening, especially when you see hardness. I tell my children, “God gave us to each other, and relationships are hard, but they’re worth working on.”

Keep working on relationships, in love. This is great practice for their marriages!

Pray for Their Hearts

You can never fix your kids sin issues.

You can guide, teach, correct, love, forgive, and prepare the “soil” for them to believe and receive the gospel, but you can’t fix their hearts. You must pray. Pray that your children will stay tender, that the love of God would fill them so deeply and profoundly that they would follow Him forever. Pray that they would submit to the power of the Holy Spirit, because only that power can change a person; only that power can fix a heart.

Know You’re In For the Long Haul

Raising children is a good work that takes YEARS of loving, training, correcting, forgiving, over and over and over and over and over again. The prayer is that one day it will all click and your hard-fought efforts will have sunk in deep to you children’s souls.

And listen here, because this is important: even your breadcrumb efforts can make a difference if they’re all you’ve got. Some of you out there are reading this and thinking, “I’m trying but I feel so inadequate. I feel like I’m failing all the time.” Motherhood is hard, and we all blow it. But here’s what the Lord does when we ask, He multiply’s our small offerings, our fishes and loaves. We do the work the best we can with who we are and where we are, and then we pray for God to multiply our efforts. Don’t let your tiredness, your bad days, your weaknesses or the constant conflict discourage you. It’s all part of the gig. Submit it all to Him, do your best, one step at a time, and keep going.

Yes, you’re in this for the long haul, but this good work of mothering was prepared in advance by God for you to do. And He will not leave you alone in the doing.

sibling hug

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

With love, SM

Need a space to catch your breathe? Check out A Night to Breathe, happening in January!

Related: Why I’ve Stopped Trying to Tame My Kids Tongues

Print this!

At What Age Did You Stop Sinning?

IMG_7355_2

My two friends and I were sitting at the kitchen counter eating fresh strawberries from a local farmer’s market and telling war stories. You know, stories about all the crazy things our kids had been doing recently. At times like this, we talk about what we do when our children back-talk, what training techniques seem to work well at what ages, what we do when we are sleep deprived, and on and on the stories and lamenting and encouragement go. We support each other and affirm each other and give counsel when needed. We love each other and we cry and we laugh when we talk about life with little ones.

This particular evening, much like our other times together, we found ourselves complaining a bit about the naughty things our children had done. And then my friend said something to the effect of, “If only I could cure my complaining problem! Guess we’re not much different from our children!” We laughed and agreed, and the words went deep.

We are not much different from our little ones…

Read the rest over at (in)courage today!

Love, SM

Print this!

I think I’m not so scary, but maybe I am

I yelled at my kids tonight.

Oh I yelled.

They were supposed to be cleaning something, and I was hot while cooking dinner, and I was hungry, and I walked in the living room to see they weren’t cleaning and I just blew it.

I blew it because I blew up.

I looked at their little faces and I yelled and I told them to clean the bathroom up and down until it was shining.

And then one of them told on the other, and that made me mad. And I told them they’d better work harder than the other.

I went back to the kitchen, a sweaty mess, and continued to stir the spaghetti sauce. But my heart clinched because I hate yelling.

Yea, I know, sometimes we moms just yell. We lose it. It happens. And, I’m Italian. We’re loud. But here’s the thing, after I yelled my first thought was that I wasn’t so bad.

My second thought was me wondering if the person who used to yell at me growing up thought it wasn’t so bad.

It was. I was scared and I used to get sick to my stomach. Tense. Anxious. I hated it.

I hated being yelled at, and I vowed early on that I would not be like her; I vowed I wouldn’t be a yeller.

But here I am, yelling at my kids, thinking I’m not so scary when maybe I am. Maybe I am scary. Maybe they tense up and their tummies hurt and maybe they are afraid of me.

I set down my spoon and my kids came into the kitchen. I got down on my knees, pulled them near, and looked in their eyes. “I’m sorry I yelled at you all. I was mad you didn’t listen, and you need to listen, but I shouldn’t yell. I don’t like myself when I yell at you. Will you forgive me?”

They do, because kids forgive and are so gracious. They are grace to us so completely human, susceptible-to-sin mothers.

After they forgave me I asked them if I scared them. Two no’s, one yes (from the the littlest). We talk about it some more, and then we move on. My husband cracks a joke and we all laugh and all is well. We begin again.

In last night’s Core Lies Intensive, Kimberely said that motherhood often triggers our lies, the things we believe that have led us to make vows to protect ourselves and those we love, but that do more damage in the long run. She said that the bad part of the triggering is that is surprises and unnverves us. But the good part is that it brings light to our lies, and light breaks the dark allowing us to see and heal and trust our Father God.

I made a vow not to be like the person who yelled at me, but see vows give the illusion that we can stay in control.

When I break my vow, when I yell at my kids, it unnerves me because I see that I am just so human, so imperfect, so prone to sin. I can’t always control my temper. This isn’t an excuse to not change, it’s a reality that I am so in need of Jesus and His power in me.

Here’s the other thing: the gospel gives us permission to be radically honest and authentic. (Tweet that)

Sometimes I yell at my kids. I don’t like to yell at them. I sin so often. But I am also so loved.

See into my life and my story and you see a real mess who is utterly dependent on a real God.

There is such a rhythm to life and parenting and we will mess up, but we can always, always move forward in humility and grace and forgiveness. And when we are locked up and find ourselves getting overly angry when the situation doesn’t call for it, we can get help; we can ask God to show us why we reacted the way we did.

As Kimberely so beautifully puts it, kids don’t need perfect parents, kids need whole parents, parents who are willing to invite the Holy Spirit into their weak places and ask, “I wonder why this is happening? Will you show me God, why, and what the truth is?” God wants to heal us so we can be whole and free. He wants us to know how much He loves us and wants us to see Him as Savior and Father.

One more thing about my yelling. I, by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, asked my kids to forgive me. I think there is a release in forgiveness, not only for myself, but for my children. They can release me in grace and not have to hold the imprint of my sin on their lives; I don’t have to live in their memory as a scary mom. I think forgiveness can heal wounds faster so there is less scar tissue in the long run.

I realize now that my wounds have taken longer to heal because forgiveness was never asked of me. But now that I’m older and I see more clearly and I’m whole, I can forgive without the asking of it. I’m free.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

You don’t have to keep beating yourself up. There is healing and freedom available to you, and you don’t have to whiteknuckle your way there.

You are loved and you are invited into a place of freedom, you just have to be willing to go there.

IMG_7443

Goofy, vulnerable, strong-in-Christ girls clinging to grace!

Love to you, SM

Print this!

The Influence of a Mother

The influence of a mother

As I’ve been reading through different articles on the Syrian refugee crisis, one stood out to me as particularly inspiring.

Some of you might be familiar with the Greek yogurt Chobani. Well it turns out that the founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, plans on giving most of his wealth away to help the refugees, and this is what he says about it:

“I have always planned to give most of what I had. Growing up, I watched my mother give to those who needed and it came from the most amazing place in her heart…”

“…Today, I dedicate my signing of the Giving Pledge to my mother and I am publicly committing the majority of my personal wealth—along with everything else I can do—to help refugees and help bring an end to this humanitarian crisis.”

Ya’ll, it was the influence of his mother that so profoundly imprinted on him that he is choosing to give away his money to help others.

What a beautiful reminder of the influence of a mother.

For all of you out there mothering, you matter. Your hidden work matters. Your sleepless nights and your constant giving, matter. When you feel weary and just done, know that all of your imperfect, beautiful, faithful offering is impacting and imprinting on your children. And yea, I know you feel like you’re making a million mistakes, but your little ones, they are gracious and God is kind, and the good things are getting in them. Don’t doubt that.

Keep praying, keep going, one step at a time, slow and steady. When you mess up, when you sin, confess it to God and ask your kids to forgive you. Begin again. Don’t give up.

You matter more than you know.

Because maybe one day your kids will grow up and give and serve and love so well they may make an impact that has eternal significance.

They may be the hands of God to someone one day.

Just as you are, right now, to them.

Love, SM

Sarah Mae's Longing for Life Course

Print this!

All Content Copyright © 2015 by Sarah Mae | Design by Emily Rose

css.php