desperateI think every mom has felt desperate – desperate to breathe, to think without noise, to slow down for a moment, to reflect or pray, perhaps take a bath or a walk.  The book Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson reminds me so much of my relationship with my mentor, Eileen.  I was handed this book during a rare visit with a treasured friend – a mom of three boys and one baby girl, all relatively young children.  The book was tucked underneath some treasures and toys, no doubt left by the kiddos during their playtime, and the title grabbed my attention immediately.

I wasn’t certain if I should bring up the subject to my friend or not, because I didn’t want to imply that I thought she was desperate.  But she noticed my gaze landing on the worn paperback, so she casually and frankly asked, “Would you like to borrow that book?”  I shrugged nonchalantly, though inside I was eager to read it.  The truth is, I was feeling so desperate every moment of every day.  The book’s title seemed so pertinent to my life’s journey during those days.

I was expecting the book to be more of a how-to manual, advising me on what to do to overcome this feeling of desperation and depletion as a mom of young kids.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at how strong and beautiful, eloquent and wise were the thoughts and reflections of both a young mother and her more experienced, older friend.  Their close friendship was evident, though it was so much more than a friendship; the women shared the bonds of love that transcended generational gaps, and the humble gift of sharing God’s Word and His love between them was so refreshing.

Out of Desperate came vitality.

My soul was enlivened with each word and chapter, because something in the deep recesses of my soul swelled with excitement.  Not only did Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson very honestly and authentically share anecdotes about their own desperate moments of motherhood, but they also explained how their character and strength grew exponentially.

I paused during these reflections, because I realized that self-awareness is truly crucial in unveiling the desperation we experience as moms while concurrently responding to the voices of our hearts.  Our hearts often cry out with the parched longing for spiritual, physical, emotional and relational nourishment, but we don’t always stop in a moment of frustration to listen to the voice of our hearts.

Sarah and Sally are gently reminding all moms that we can and we must stop and listen.

We must listen to our own needs, but most importantly to what God is whispering to our battered and often wounded hearts.  The Divine Physician always has words of healing, encouragement and guidance when we are feeling lost and weary.  One word Sarah  Mae uses often that I found very succinct is “bone-weary.”

Haven’t we all felt that way from time to time?  So completely exhausted that our bones hurt.  I know I have – on more than one occasion.  It’s refreshing to know that even successful, hardworking, published authors (who also homeschool their children) also feel that way.

Desperate is a book for all moms.  It speaks to the heart of motherhood in a way that challenges us to nourish ourselves while also encouraging and coaching mothers who just don’t feel cut out for motherhood.

Both women express the gift of authentic femininity and how to embrace it each day – despite and in the midst of chaos and strife.  They appeal to you and to me, because they have been there, too.

What makes this book a step above a typical parenting book is that it would be perfect for a mom’s book club or church study group, because each chapter concludes with some reflective questions and a video that captures the essence of its message.  It is such a book for the times in which we live, because Desperate is a language we have all spoken.

Yet desperation is not the focus of this book; instead, the focus is on the hope we have in God’s grace that carries us on eagle’s wings each day.

I like to remember the words of a wise and trusted friend:  “God’s grace makes up for where I lack as a mother.”

There are many desperate days when my head hits the pillow, and this one statement, this one prayer gives me that hope that I haven’t entirely screwed up my two girls, because God gives the grace.

This book reminds every mom that she is, indeed, gifted with God’s grace to raise and love the children who have blessed her life.

Copyright 2014 Jeannie Ewing

This post first appeared on Love Alone Creates.