"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Am...Desperate

Many of you have been following along my chaotic life with stories of my desperation as a stay-at-home mom. Recently, while perusing Facebook, I noticed a post from Thomas Nelson publishing for a book called, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (see book description below). The title alone spoke directly to my heart and soul. It was exactly how I was feeling...like I had no breath left inside of me.

After reading a sample chapter I immediately began my hunt for the book. Although I could have immediately uploaded it to my Kindle, I'm one of those people that for certain books needs to hold it IN my hands so I can highlight and make notes and easily reference back to. So I began calling Christian bookstores in the surrounding area, and would you believe no one had it!? My next call was to the Barnes & Noble that was 25 minutes away, and sure enough they had it. I didn't even shower. I just got dressed, put on a hat to cover my messy hair, and ran out the door to buy the book that I had them hold for me.

That was last Saturday, a little over a week ago. Since then, I have committed to reading a chapter a day. As a writer, I'm ashamed to say that I'm not entirely even sure how to put in words how much I feel this book was not only written FOR me, but it also sounds like it was written BY me. The stories are my own. They tell the very circumstances of my past and my present day(s). Each day God uses this book to save me from myself, and yesterday, after a ridiculous incident with Tavin at the gym, and stopping the car to sit and love on Tavin rather than yell and scream at him (like I typically did in the past), Jared looked at me with huge eyes and said, "THAT was impressive!"

The lessons I'm learning from the book isn't what's healing me. It's this idea that I'm not a bad mom!!! PRAISE GOD! I'm normal. My son is normal. Our house is normal! I can't tell you what a relief it is to know that these two amazing Godly women went through, or are going through, the very same things I am on a daily basis.

This is not a bible study, nor is it  book of formulas or "things" to do. This isn't a parenting book, either. It's real, honest, and raw emotions from one mother who is going through it (Sarah Mae), and another who lived it with her children years ago (Sally Clarkson). The stories from Sarah are truly my own...as if she sat in my home for months and documented my every destructive move. But it's Sally's insights and experiences on how she handled those very same problems that have been my saving grace.

Each day is like a miracle to me, because it never fails that when I put Tavin down for a nap and pick up this book, God speaks directly to me through it with stories of what I had just gone through earlier in the day. One day in particular last week, I was SO angry and SO frustrated with Tavin that I literally felt like packing my bags and running away forever (I was THIS close--holding my thumb and index as close together as possible). I couldn't take another day as a mother, not like this. And when Jared woke up that morning, I didn't say a word, I just stomped upstairs to my prayer room and slammed the door behind me, my heart racing and my hands trembling. I was going to lose it. I couldn't even talk to God. I was too mad. And the last thing I wanted to do was pick up that book because...what did it matter anymore? I was done!

But I listened to God's prompting and picked up the book. The chapter was called, "Oh Right, There's Sin." Sarah explains: "...our children struggle just like we do. They have to fight the ugly in themselves, and it's no fun for any of us." She then went on to say that she started telling her children that she, too, had to fight to do the right thing on a daily basis, and that she needed help just as much as they do.

Do you know that right after I got done reading that chapter, my sweet, genuine, affectionate little boy came up to my room with a "peace offering" of a picture he drew for me and an apology? God's so good. I then followed Sarah's example of telling Tavin that he has a sinful nature, just like I do, and I forget that I'm not perfect, either, but I'm going to try to do good even when I want to do bad, and we can both do it if we trust God to help us.

Tavin sat quietly and lovingly in my arms as he listened. When I was done, he then asked me to read from my Bible. Ironically, God led me to Psalm 51.

Have mercy on me,  O God, 
according to your steadfast love; 
according to your abundant mercy 
blot out my transgressions. 
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, 
and cleanse me from my sin! 

For I know my transgressions, 
and my sin is ever before me. 
Against you, you only, have I sinned 
and done what is evil in your sight, 
so that you may be justified in your words 
and blameless in your judgment. 
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, 
and in sin did my mother conceive me. (vv. 1-5)

After I read the entire Psalm, which again, he sat quietly through, listening attentively, he then asked me to read from my Max Lucado devotional, Live Loved. And sure enough, God spoke to us again through a devotional about having "dark days."

I used to review books for Thomas Nelson, but since my mother passed away I haven't been doing much of that lately. I'm books and books behind on my reviews. So this is not a review for the publisher! This is my own heart reaching out to you and telling you how this book has saved my life. And starting this Tuesday, January 29th, Sarah (on Tuesdays), and Sally (on Thursdays) will host an online study of the book on their websites (just click their names to be taken to their websites). I am NOT running this study; however, I will be blogging about each chapter during the study to link up to their websites. Please feel free to follow along.

In the meantime, check out the book at Christianbook.com for an exceptional near $6 savings!! (Yes, I am an affiliate, so if you do purchase books from Christianbook.com, please use these links that are associated with my affiliate ID, or use the Christianbook.com search menu on the right sidebar for any of your Christian book needs. Thanks!!)

204663: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
By Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

You always dreamed of having a houseful of children, but who knew it would leave you feeling so stressed out? Offering encouragement from one mom "in the trenches" and an older mentor whose kids are grown, this compassionate resource will lift the spirits of any woman feeling isolated, frazzled, or depressed about the throes of parenting.

And if you're interested in Max Lucado's devotional, which I highly recommend, too, here's the link for his book:

190061: Live Loved: Experiencing God"s Presence in Everyday Life Live Loved: Experiencing God's Presence in Everyday Life
By Max Lucado

Imagine how your life would change if you were sure that God loves you! Covering a broad range of topics such as facing your fears, accepting his grace, and truly knowing God's omnipresent love, Lucado's devotional features 150 all-new meditations accompanied by an ending prayer. Nurture your spiritual life by deliberately living in God's presence! Features a padded hardcover binding, presentation page, blank pages for personal notes, and a satin ribbon marker.

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