Sarah Mae‘s an honest, brave woman, who has this infectious laugh you can’t help but love — and she’s a woman who longs for home, the place where she is really known and loved and accepted for who she is, even on the bad days. Her purpose in writing is to encourage women to keep on, and begin again, knowing that none of us are alone as we walk through this life. It’s a grace to welcome my vulnerable and courageous friend, Sarah Mae, to the farm’s front porch today…
T wo things followed by lots of questions.
First, I would read posts or hear proclamations about following our dreams.
“Follow your dreams!” is the mantra of our day, it seems.
But it confused me and if I’m being really honest it made me mad. And a bit resentful.
Sure, maybe you can follow your dreams, I lamented in my mind, but I can’t. I have responsibilities; I have a family and I can’t just up and leave and follow my dreams.
I was always particularly resentful when men said this.
They didn’t understand the life of a woman.
They didn’t understand my life.
Second, I watched through a screen the beautiful pictures of Tuscany coming from writer friends who were enjoying a retreat of sorts in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
With every scroll through, my heart beat a little faster and I longed to be there with them. I wasn’t so much jealous as I was stuck.
I felt stuck and sad and I didn’t know what to do with this intense pull towards the beauty I couldn’t have.
My heart ached.
So this pain and these pulls and this resentment all collided into questions, as ache oftentimes does.
What do I do with these longings that beat hard in my chest?
What are dreams and what does it really mean to follow them, and is that even a biblical concept?
And as a woman particularly, what does it all mean?
What am I here for? Is it just to be a wife and a mom, which is good and beautiful for sure, but what is this stuff in my soul that won’t go away?
Am I selfish for considering my longings? Aren’t Christ followers supposed to die to themselves? Can I live a cross-centered life and still “follow my dreams”?
And the deepest question of all for me was this: Lord, how do you see me?
Because I’m a woman, do you even care about these longings in my soul? Do you even really care about women or are we just for the pleasure of a man and to raise children?
These questions were the cry of a woman desperate to understand, and the cry of a woman who also has daughters.
I needed answers.
I feel I need to pause here for a moment and say that I am so thankful for my life and my family. I am deeply grateful that I have my children and am able to be with them day in and day out; they are a delight to me.
These questions, these deep-seated roots that came out as questions, they are just honest and vulnerable and a part of the story that God is unfolding in my life.
When we are desperate as beggars (Matthew 5:3, literal translation)the Kingdom is ours and the blessing can be found.
It was in my desperation of wanting to know how God saw me that I was able to see Him.
And to see Him, God took me to Job.
Most of us know the story so I’m not going to go into, suffice to know that Job suffered greatly and is known for not sinning through his suffering.
What I didn’t know as I walked back through the ancient pages of the story is that Job accused God of being cruel and unjust. He accused God of seeing man as just a “hired hand” (Job 14:6) who must suffer through his days.
Job accused God, and it’s exactly what my heart was doing. “Why God?” was an accusation more than a question, because that’s what it comes down to, the why. “Why do women get treated so badly in the world? Do you even care about women? Do you even care about me?”
There was a young man in the story of Job that was not one of “Job’s friends”, the ones who were painfully unhelpful in Job’s distress and depression. Elihu, a man who had the courage to say to Job, “You are not right in this”. (Job 32) And through the many good and true words of Elihu also comes this: “Teach me to see what I do not see.”
Oh that I would. Teach me to see what I don’t see.
At the end of it all, after the pain and brokenness and the rebukes and the truth and God questioning Job, Job says something profound. As he is repenting, he says, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You.” (Job 42:5)
But now my eye sees You.
Oh how we so often think we know and understand God because of what our mind’s understand about him, but it is a wonder for us to really see Him for who He is.
Job didn’t repent because he did something wrong; he repented because he didn’t see God for who He was.
He thought he understood all of God’s ways, and he thought he could argue with God. His accusations were based on the darkness of his mind, his not know all there is to know. Job didn’t see God.
And I wasn’t seeing God. To know how He sees me, I must first see Him.
I must settle in my heart that He is good. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is this: I must settle it in my heart that He is good to me. His daughter. His beloved.
See God doesn’t die for a “hired hand” as Job said. No. God dies for His loves.
He died for me and He died for all women and for all the broken and confused and desperate among us.
And it is there we can begin.
We are loved. We are seen. And God cares about our dreams and our longings and every inch of our hearts because He cares about us.
If you are broken or alone or have questions and aches, good.
It’s good to be desperate if you’re willing to be desperate enough to cry out to Him and let Him reach into the aching places and reveal you and heal you and speak to you.
When you are wide open and vulnerable and desperate as a beggar,
you will be blessed.
Sarah Mae hosted a wondrous webinar last night about answering the longings of a woman’s heart, and if you order Longing for Paris, send a screenshot of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org — Sarah Mae will send you the complete webinar.
This book’s for you, the woman who loves your husband and your kids, and are grateful to God for your life. But there are days when you feel as though life is rolling over you in waves and you are just going through the motions. You find yourself aching for something more, something that is calling to the depths of who you are, maybe for something you can’t even name.
Join Sarah Mae, wife, mom, homeschool teacher, and the coauthor of the bestselling book, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, in Longing for Paris, a soul-searching, light-filled journey for the woman who knows she can’t uproot her life to discover herself and her longings, but who desperately wants to uncover them so she can get unstuck and choose a life that is filled with beauty, adventure, and deep joy. A read for a woman’s heart that’s like her own personal vacation– when she wishes she could wing to Paris before the summer’s over…
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for their partnership of today’s devotion ]