Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Desperate


It's been awhile since I read a book that hit me smack dab between the eyes, grabbed me by the shoulders and met me right. where. I. was. at that moment in my life. 

I was curious to read Desperate. Intrigued even. But I didn't expect it to have such a powerful influence and to be so pertinent to my current season of life.

I only have one baby- she is 18 months old, pretty sweet most of the time, and even naps two times a day still. This motherhood gig, while it certainly has had its ups and downs, has been relatively easy so far.

Until I got pregnant that is.

Because for the past two months I have been exhausted and feeling nauseous 24:7. As a high risk ob patient, many of my usual cleaning tasks and responsibilities have been delegated until after I deliver {I was given strict orders to take it easy}. Yet even with this great reduction in my work load, I haven't been able to keep up with the simplest tasks-dishes, laundry, making meals, and keeping my home in a relatively orderly state.

This baffles me. I have less to do, much less, and really- I can't get it all done? Many days have found me lying around on the couch, feeling sick, tired, and slightly depressed... mindlessly surfing my smart phone while my baby plays {neglected} nearby. So I guess you could say I was getting a little desperate. 

Enter Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson's new book. I sat down one night, weary and worn, to just sample a few pages. Five chapters later I went to bed with an encouraged heart and a renewed outlook.

Desperate addressed my struggle with housework. Housework is a beast that will always need taming. All that a body can do is their best- there will be seasons of real struggle, and seasons not quite as bad. Sally Clarkson encouraged me to just keep going, developing what structures and routines I can to ease the load. More importantly, though, she {and Sarah Mae} renewed my motivation. The real "why" of housework? No matter how dull and impossible and monotonous it may seem, I am trying to create a haven of beauty and rest for myself and my family!

Desperate addressed my need for beauty and rest. Speaking of beauty and rest, we all need a little more of it in our lives, amen? When I care for my own body and soul, I am equipping myself to better care for those who count on me {my husband and babies}. I was encouraged that getting away and taking little time outs is not selfish, but absolutely vital. Candles, music, and pretty things around my home will not only encourage my own heart, but they will bless my children and husband too!

Desperate addressed my real heart issue. It isn't wrong to feel tired, burnt out, or discouraged. These feelings are a normal part of life in a fallen world. What is wrong, however, is when I run to broken cisterns that cannot satisfy in those dry moments. When I am empty and discouraged, I need to run to the Lord- seek Him in prayer, be refreshed by His word, and figure out what practical things I can do to be physically and spiritually refreshed. This might mean taking a nap, leaving my daughter with Niall to enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend, or reading a book. Unfortunately my auto pilot reaction to desperate moments is to drown myself in social media as an "escape." "Escaping" this way not only doesn't solve my problems, it makes me feel worse. Beyond my exhaustion and despair, I add an extra heap of guilt to my plate. Desperate exposed my problem, and gave me a God-honoring solution for it.

Desperate challenged me to hold fast to my Biblical ideals. Some of our ideals going into parenting are naive and unrealistic- but some of them are truly God-honoring and worth fighting for. While I will never achieve perfect parent status, I need to hold fast to the Lord and fight for the Biblical ideals He has lain on my heart. There will be many days of failure along the way, and many days that make me feel like giving up. His grace covers those days, and His grace is what will equip me to get back up and try again. Our children's souls are worth the fight, are they not?

While I didn't agree with everything written word-for-word, Sally and Sarah left me free to disregard their advice {and anyone else's!}, as there are countless opinions out there, and all that matters is my obedience to God's Word and His calling over my life.

I was extremely refreshed, and have found that in the two weeks since finishing it, I've had greater energy and motivation to keep trying to order my domain, to love my husband, and to love my daughter well. With the nausea and exhaustion still lingering, there have still been moments of despair, but I find I'm bouncing back quicker, and my heart is hungrier for fellowship with the Lord.

Couldn't recommend this easy read enough to any other tired mamas out there! You are not alone. And there is hope, friend.

How has the Lord brought you through your "desperate" times? What one thing do you wish you had been warned about before embarking on your motherhood experience?


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