My Year Off – An Update and Two Announcements

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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.

BigBookBundle

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.

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.

Okay, now you know!

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 spring or summer of 2015 (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

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A Sweet Gift For Your Word (You know, your husband!)

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Looking for a sweet gift for your word? If so, check out these Mr. and Mrs. Mugs, on sale right now for only $5 at DaySpring!

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The Mr.

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The Mrs.

Get them HERE! Enjoy!

Love, Sarah Mae

Related:

#HusbandYear

My Word, My Priority for 2014

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I’m Sort Of Panicking…Because We’re Getting Rid of Our T.V.

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Well.

I have thought about it several times, about getting rid of our T.V. But then I come to my senses and think about all the times that T.V. has saved me from going crazy by putting it on for the babes.

Also, we have movie night every week.

And I like watching movies with my husband.

And, did I mention it’s saved me a time or two from going crazy?

Yet, I thought about it. I thought, “What if…”

Could it be better for our kids if we didn’t have it?

Could it be better for my husband and I if we didn’t have it?

Could I end up in a mental institution without a T.V. break for the kids?

All valid questions.

Then my husband, about a month ago, says, “Why don’t we just get rid of our T.V.?”

And I was all, “Um, no…I need it, just in case, you know? Plus I like watching movies with you and having family movie night.”

I didn’t want to get rid of the T.V., but I was willing to try a week without T.V., except for movie night.

And we did it, we went a week without T.V. and it was…easy. The kids only asked to watch it once or twice, and when I said it was no T.V. week they found something else to do. They got creative. They used their imaginations. They were fine. And I was fine.

Huh.

But then we went back to watching it, because it was easy, and so accessible.

Fast forward to today.

We were driving to the library and I put in a tape about Beethoven: stories of his life and bits of his music throughout. We all enjoyed listening to it. What struck me was this: I wonder if Beethoven had T.V. if he would have realized his gift at such a young age…or even at all. I wonder if we would have his brilliant compositions if he had a T.V.? And then I thought, “I wonder how many children in my kids generation will never fulfill or discover their potential if they are too “busy” watching T.V.? How many gifts are we missing out on because kids aren’t “bored” enough to tinker and explore and think and create?”

I shared my thoughts with my husband and he said, “Let’s just get rid of it.”

And so we are.

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little panicked. It’s a crutch for me when I’m tired and I want the kids to be occupied.

But what I want more, is for my kids to use their imaginations and maybe, just maybe, discover some unexplored talent. Maybe I want them to be bored. Maybe I want to get uncomfortable so I can invest more into them, and maybe have a game night instead of a movie night.

Maybe.

Because….

What if?

Taking a deep breath and remembering that people lived without T.V. for hundreds of years,

Sarah Mae

Have any of you taken the plunge and gotten rid of your T.V.?

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A Very Special Human

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I was speaking with a friend and we were talking about parenting and how we want so badly to do it well. She said something that profoundly affected my viewpoint on God, my weaknesses, and His grace. She said,

“I’m praying that God stands in the gap where I fall short.”

Hearing her say those words was like a long-awaited breeze drying off a summer sweat. They were so hope filled. Yes, God wants to see my children walking with Him, so  because He is well aware of my inadequacies, I believe He will stand in the gap when I fall short.

Because ya’ll, I fall short.

But so what, because the fact is He loves my babies and wants them to know Him and enjoy Him.

I love my babies too, but the reality is I’m just another human on this journey with them.

(Well, not just another human, their very special human. :) )

I wasn’t born with motherhood figured out. I wasn’t even born self-less and awesome. I was born prone to wonder.

Yet, I’m clinging to the hope that He will fill in the gaps as I pursue this goal (as spoken by Sally Clarkson):

“I don’t just want my kids to be moral. I don’t just want them to know all of the biblical rules for behavior. I don’t just want them to make it through my home with good grades, no drug addition, and no premarital sex. I want them to leave my home with a hunger and passion to know God personally and to be used by him to accomplish great things for his kingdom.”

Oh this.

I want to pass on to my children a hunger and passion and a Kingdom focus. But it won’t come easy and it won’t come cheap.

What great thing does?

My goal as a parent then is to be as intentional as possible when it comes to instilling in my children a love of God. I suppose this will be something they see in me as I teach them.

It will, of course, take a lot of falling down and getting back up. A lot of forgiveness and grace and the seeking of His face.

A lot of beginning again.

But it’s all okay, because He knows.

And He’s for us.

With three small children, I know I have a long road ahead of me. One that requires much sacrifice on my part, but one that will no doubt surprise me one day as I look back on how fast it all actually went. I am also anticipating great joy.

I know God is continually, gently, guiding me to persevere, have vision, and keep my eyes on Him. He is my shepherd; He is my children’s shepherd, and He stands in the gap with a mercy that makes the spirit inside me swell with gratitude and peace.

I can do this.

Because He’s with me every step of the way.

“…I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Love, Sarah Mae

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER

P.S. How about one last giveaway in honor of the one-year anniversary of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe? And I’ll make it two things since I didn’t write yesterday.

Today you can enter to win this beautiful Redeemed Necklace from DaySpring (I have this and I wear it often):

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And also this Wonderful Grace – Carved Wooden Serving Tray (also from DaySpring, and also something I use):

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To enter, just leave a comment. I’ll pick, at random, someone for the tray and someone to win the necklace.

Good “luck!”

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER

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