book review: desperate: hope for the mom who needs to breathe

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Back in April when I had some birthday money I bought up a bunch of books that had been on my list for a while. Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe was one of them. I have read Sally Clarkson on and off for years and honestly have been mostly fascinated with her life. Her personality and approach to life is so opposite my nature; yet how I would long to be (gentle, quiet, kind, creating a beautiful house with flowers and tea parties, etc). Sarah Mae was new to me. In a few words this book baffles me and I’m not really sure how I feel about it.

The book is set up this way: Each chapter begins with a letter from each of them to each other. Then the chapters are essentially an expansion of those letters; one section written by Sarah and one by Sally. Part of what made this book different for me is the reality of the stage of parenting I am in. At the time of writing, Sarah had 3 children under 6. Although I refuse to accept it, my children are nearly 10 and 6. I am truly in a different stage of mothering. My daily struggles with my children and my approach to them are so different than someone walking through life with little people.

But that said, I did walk away with some encouragement. Mainly to accept who our family is and who my children are. I quote Sally:
I would like to encourage you to find freedom and grace to live within the limitations of your own family puzzle in such a way that cooperates with your personality and with the gifts God has given you. There is no one “right way” or formula to follow for every family, mother or child. Live in the freedom of faith and the abundant life Jesus came to provide.

Despite the stage of my mothering, I have to be who I am and who God is molding me into being. I can’t depend on others that I “meet” online or on books that I’ve read to give me a list of characteristics that I can tick off and say “I’ve achieved a good motherhood!” It comes from being in God’s word, surrounding myself with other mothering friends (those younger and older) and prayer. If there is anything that I’m learning on this journey of sanctification called motherhood is that I can’t do this without prayer.

Overall, this book was an easy read. There were some parts of it I kind of wanted to roll my eyes at as it seemed a little hokey. But it is filled with good scripture and asks some good probing questions for journaling at the end of each chapter. There are also QR codes at the back of each chapter you can scan (??) to watch a short video clip of Sarah and Sally. I do think the beginning section was the best for me as it talked about removing the image of what a “perfect mother” really is and being who you are…sin and all.

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