The Stuff of Life Archives - Sarah MaeSarah Mae
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Category Archives: The Stuff of Life

How to Make a Home When You’re Feeling Depressed

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My husband sent me these beautiful flowers when I was sad. It was a first. He’s learning to love me (and understand me) more with each year we are married.

Back in November I was really struggling with a downcast soul (as David calls it).

I couldn’t wash my dishes without crying. I couldn’t seem to do the laundry or make meals or even get out of my chair. I just felt so…defeated. Weary. Sad. And there was no specific reason for it; I just seem to be a bit predisposed to discouragement from time to time. And when it hits, it hits. I have no control over it. In fact, this last time it hit, I just rested in it. I didn’t fight it.

Today I wrote an article on doing the work even if you feel lazy. A sweet woman commented and said that it’s hard to do the work when you feel depressed. I told her that post wasn’t for her, and to rest and be gentle with herself. Here are few more things I want to say to those of you who are just feeling discouraged, or sad or weary, but you are still trying to make a home.

*If you are severely depressed or the dark days never end, please talk to a doctor.

The Only Way Through is Through

If you are struggling with depression or discouragement, I have found that you can’t rush it. You can’t just climb out of the dark place, you have to walk through it, one step at a time. But you are not alone. You have the Holy Spirit with you as a guide. Which brings me to my next thing…

Ask the Holy Spirit

Sometimes I forget that I have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me and that I can ask Him what is going on. The Scriptures say the the Holy Spirit is my counselor, comforter, guide, and advocate. I have access to His wisdom. “What is going on here? Help me? Comfort me, guide me, show me the way I should go with this.” I do not have to go through the dark times alone.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

I have a tendency to crawl away and hide when I’m feeling depressed. I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone, and I really don’t want to inconvenience anyone. What a lie from the enemy! God gives us friends and relationships and puts people around us because life is hard and we need each other. When I try and hide away, my friends hunt me down. Sometimes I lie to them and say I’m fine, but they know. It’s so good to be honest and vulnerable, because they offer lifegiving words to my weary bones. They speak truth over the lies I tell myself. They bring me flowers or coffee, or just listen to me. If you are feeling discouraged and you want to hide away, call someone. Talk to your husband. Reach out to someone.

Ask for Help

If the laundry is piling up along with the dishes, ask for help. Can your husband or a friend or your kids help out? Even something, some help, is better than nothing.

Do One Thing

My friend Joanna reminded me recently that when she is feeling down, she tries to do just one thing. She said to me, “I operated under the false assumption that I had to feel like cleaning my house.” When she doesn’t feel like cleaning, she purposes to do just one thing. Sometimes that’s all we can accomplish. That’s okay. One thing.

Be Gentle With Yourself

It is so easy to beat up on yourself during the dark times. I always feel like a failure when I’m in the dark, and I speak words of failure over myself. No good. The enemy will whisper lies to you and you will believe them so easily when you are harsh with yourself. God is kind and gentle, He is our gentle Father, and gentleness is all throughout the Scriptures. How can we be gentle with others if we can’t first be gentle with ourselves? Friend, in the dark times, speak kind words to yourself, listen to the truth, and cut yourself some slack. Be gentle with who you are and where you are. You are loved and looked upon with compassion. Try and see yourself through those kind of eyes, the compassionate kind.

Slow & Steady

There are no rules with how you have to clean your home. We are all different, and we all go through different seasons, and during the dark ones, take it extra slow and steady. No rush. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One. 

Ask God if There is Something You Need to Repent Of

During my time of depression last fall, I kept telling one friend of mine that even though I felt so sad, I could still feel God’s kindness all around me, it was so odd. I kept repeating to her how kind God was, and she said, “I hear you keep using that word, kind. Look at this.” And she opened up the Scriptures to Romans 2:4, “…the kindness of God leads you to repentance…” I was familiar with the verse, but hadn’t thought about it. Could there be something I maybe needed to repent of? I asked the Lord, and I was very encouraged to be reminded that He is not mean or punishing to me, but gentle and kind, especially when leading me to something I need to repent of. And here’s the thing about repentance, it isn’t always something a thing, like spending less time online, or quitting yelling at your kids, or whatever. It might be an attitude. You might need to repent of trying to fix yourself. Or maybe you need to repent of believing lies. I don’t know, but I do know that if you’re discouraged yet you feel God’s kindness all around you, perhaps you can just ask Him, “Is there anything I need to repent of?” There might not be anything at all, but there might be.

Buy Flowers

If you can swing it, buy some cheery flowers to put on your dining room table. There is something about flowers that brighten the soul.

Worship

When the dark times come, and likely they will continue from time to time, and I know I have to just walk through them, I listen to worship music. I let the words of truth and praise wash over me, and I sing them back to God because even in the dark times, He is with me and He is light. I encourage you not to listen to music that holds you down in the dark, but praise God instead; let your soul be lifted.

“Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God. Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 43:4,5

With love and compassion, Sarah Mae

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You will find gentle encouragement from a friend in my new book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way.

You can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, My Givingtons Shop, or wherever books are sold.

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Trying to Live True (Why I’m Giving Up My iPhone)

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My kids were splashing and playing at the indoor pool at the rec center near my house.

I was sitting on a bench watching them, while also perusing through my iPhone, checking email, reading blogs, looking at Instagram, etc. And this thought kept surfacing, “What if someone recognizes me as the girl who wrote the unwired book, and here I am sitting on my iPhone while my kids play without me.”

I looked around.

When I went to the pool yesterday, I took a notebook and pen and convinced myself I’d use my time to write: I’d sketch out bits of life and notes and intersections on how I really want to live. I like making life-maps.

But I didn’t write, I got online, for pretty much the whole time. And there is nothing wrong with doing that, but for me, I felt…not true.

I knew I wasn’t just on my iPhone; I had to be on it. The pull was so great. And so I took my notebook and pen and I wrote a list of pros and cons for having an iPhone:

Pros

I can look up phone numbers (Internet)

I can get directions (Internet)

I can listen to podcasts/music/audiobooks wherever I am

I can use it in my house to play music/audiobooks over our Wi-Fi speaker

Voxer (I love this app)

Sharing life on Instagram

Cons

Constant pull to be online – check email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Always on it, even while driving

The pros list is longer, but the cons list is heavier.

I made some calls to find out if there was some device that I could use to listen to podcasts, music, and audiobooks without having a phone or Internet attached. The kind lady at the Apple store told me about the iPod Nano, which would do what I wanted, but would cost $149. I then called the Verizon store because I’m up for a free new phone in two weeks. I told her what I was looking for and she said I could get a cell phone (not a smart phone = no Internet) but I could keep my iPhone and use it without a data plan. In other words, I could still use the iPhone for podcasts, music, and audiobooks and use the Wi-Fi function in my home (since we have Wi-Fi) to play those things over our Wi-Fi speakers, but not have Internet or phone when I left my house. Perfect.

Come July 11th, I will be Internet free while out and about.

I will miss Voxer (Logan, how will you ever do without my morning songs?).

I will miss the easy access to phone numbers and directions.

I will miss Instagram.

I will miss a lot of things, I’m sure. I might even kick myself. But I’ve got to be authentic, and I’ve got to be free.

Many of you will read this and think, “Girl, why are you so drastic? Just use a little self-control! For the love!”

I hear you, I do. But I know myself and my weaknesses, and I would just rather be drastic in this case.

So it is.

Here’s to living true.

Love, SM

Have Cell Phones Taken Over Our Lives? Must watch:

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4 Ways to Forgive (When You Don’t Know What to Do With The Unfairness of it All)

(Can’t see the video? Click here.)

Recap of the video:

Recently, I was wronged by someone, and I have been really having a hard time letting it go. The situation feels so unfair, and I have just felt so angry and lost as to how to deal with it. Last night I was up at midnight praying and asking God what to do with my feelings, with all the unfairness, and how to genuinely move on. Below are the thoughts that were impressed on my heart.

4 Ways to Forgive (When You Don’t Know What to Do With The Unfairness of it All)

1. Say to God, “Lord, I feel like this situation is so unfair and I feel so wronged and I don’t know what to do with it, but I trust that you do know what to do with it. You know me, you know them, and you see all the things I don’t. Plus, I know you love me and have my back (as well as their’s), so here you go God, it’s all yours.” In other words, trust God with the person and the situation.

2. Would you agree that life is hard? It is, and the fact is, nobody gets a free pass to skip the battle, not even the person who wronged you. When I remember that truth, that everyone is facing a hard battle, I can have compassion on the person who wronged me. Also? Think about all the times you have wronged someone. Yea, that helps me to be more compassionate as well.

3. Is there something I have done that I should ask forgiveness for with the person who wronged me? Ask it. And ask without expectation that you will be asked for forgiveness in return. Free and clear, ask genuinely (ask God to show you where you may have gone wrong/offended).

4. Choose to be a person of the light. The enemy wants nothing more than to keep you in the dark – seething, feeling vengeful, getting worked up, having major lack of peace – he wants you faraway from forgiveness, because forgiveness shines blindingly, beautifully bright.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that…” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes 

Love, SM

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Allume Pics! Oh, and that 31 Days thing…

With Jessica (Allume co-host)

With the hubs

With Christin

With @Claire

With the DaySpring crew (and other friends)

With Jessica, again

With Logan

With Darren Rowse (AKA Problogger)

With Crystal Paine and Sally Clarkson

With the hubs and other great friends

Just…giggle

With Elizabeth and Trina

There was just so much goodness and beauty. Will post more soon. Oh, and about that 31 Days thing, clearly, did NOT count the cost. 

Onward!

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Rejecting Second-Hand Living

“…significant figures in the life of faith were fashioned from the same clay as the rest of us…fan clubs encourage second hand living…scripture, however, doesn’t play that game. Something very different takes place in the life of faith: each person discovers all the elements of a unique and original adventure…each life is a fresh canvas…” Eugene Peterson, Run with the Horses

I used to morph into other people.

I hid myself behind a series of manufactured lives.

Being someone else, living out all the good and beautiful things I saw in them seemed better than the vision I had of myself. I was immature, never good enough, awkward, and sad. There was this cloud over me that showered me with lies. This “morphing” began when I met her.

I wanted to be vibrant and wise and mature, all of the things I figured I wasn’t; all of the things she was.

She was smart and alive and I had never met anyone like her. I hated her, but wanted to be her. For years I fought comparing myself to her.

Years.

Read the rest of my story here

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