When enough people tell you to read a book, you start to listen. Several bloggers received advance copies of Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae’s latest collaboration, “Desperate”. These blogger friends kept saying, “Have you read Sarah & Sally’s new book?”, “I think you really should read their book.”, “Make sure to get a free copy of “Desperate” when you are at Allume.”

The positive peer pressure won me over.  A free copy of “Desperate” if I wrote a book review blog post? Sounded like a win-win situation.

During a rare quiet moment in my hotel room in Pennsylvania I read these words from Sarah Mae:

“Dear Sally, I’ve taken personality tests that say I’m an off-the-chart extrovert, but I don’t feel extroverted anymore.  I just want to be alone more and more these days.”

And later in the chapter she wrote,

“What happened to my resolve, my strong ideals and convictions? I still loved my children completely and wanted the best for them, but something was dying inside me.  I didn’t feel like the vibrant woman I used to be; I felt dull.”

Weren’t these my feelings this past year?

Back in Pennsylvania, a fortuitous elevator ride allowed me to look Sarah Mae in the eyes and say, “Thank you for writing this book. Thank you more than you will ever really understand. This is the season I am coming out of and moms need your words. Thank you.”

If you are a mom of little ones this book is for you. The subtitle, “Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe”, perfectly describes the book’s purpose.

Life with young children can feel like a game of Survivor. Drowning in a sea of constant needs and responsibilities and dirty diapers. Like the comedian Jim Gaffigan said, “Do you know what it’s like to have a 4th child? You’re drowning and someone hands you a baby.”

What makes this book different from anyone I’ve ever read is the combination of a younger and older mom. A living out of the Titus 2 command, for older moms to teach younger moms how love their husbands and children.

Sarah’s memory is still fresh with the exhaustion and frustration of motherhood. She wrote my thoughts, the honest and struggling ones. Then Sally answered Sarah’s questions with understanding and wisdom. 

“Dear Sally, My house is a mess and I’m so overwhelmed I just wish I had someone to help me clean it. I clean one room, and ten minutes later it’s wrecked again…”

the reply:

“Dear Sarah, …Housework has never been my strength, and dirty dishes in the sink will always make my heart drop.  Yet I focused more on the atmosphere of my home, the rhythms of keeping it going, and in time my capacity to work became stronger and I didn’t feel quite so overwhelmed…”

Sarah’s words make you feel understood. Sally’s words give you hope & direction. 

This book did not give more “to-do’s”, but permission to be proactive. Instead of surrendering to a desperate, miserable mothering existence, Sarah & Sally give you practical ideas on how to enter into a relationship of love & beauty with your children. 

These women echoed the message I hope to communicate on my site. Both directed the reader to seek God’s voice over the voices of others. To live a God-centered life. To serve selflessly, yet not miserably. To enjoy the life you’ve been given.

“God calls each of us to seek Him, to look for His wisdom and to follow where He calls us by faith, and it will be a different story for each family, marriage, and individual mom and dad.” –Sally Clarkson

Words that encouraged me as I’m coming out of my season of lamenting were in the chapter entitled,“When the Dark Invades.” Sally gives a plan that helped her lessen the impact and duration of depression. It’s a little checklist which perfectly targets the areas of my life which were out of “whack” this past year:

  1. Do I need sleep?
  2. Have I been reading my Bible?
  3. Do I feel alone?
  4. Am I watching my health?
  5. How can I get help?
  6. What do I need to invest in the joy factor of my life?

If you are in a parenting “rut” or if you feel desperate, I highly recommend this book.

“God lives in my home, but sometimes I ignore Him and don’t hear the music He is playing just for me.” –Sally Clarkson

If you are looking for a place for community and support while reading “Desperate” you can find various Facebook groups. Also there will be a book discussion group on www.theBetterMom.com starting January 29th. Or gather 5 or 6 of your mom friends and start your own discussion group (check out the giveaways if you order 8 books). Maybe even go on a limb and ask an older mom to read it with y’all and share her wisdom.

 “A happy mom who is secure in herself and at ease in her life is a rare gift that children love and appreciate” –Sally Clarkson