Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

by Sarah Mae, Sally Clarkson


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Desperate is for those who love their children to the depths of their souls but who have also curled up under their covers, fighting back tears, and begging God for help. It’s for those who have ever wondered what happened to all their ideals for what having children would be like. For those who have ever felt like all the “experts” have clearly never had a child like theirs. For those who have prayed for a mentor. For those who ever felt lost and alone in motherhood.

In Desperate you will find the story of one young mother’s honest account of the desperate feelings experienced in motherhood and one experienced mentor’s realistic and gentle exhortations that were forged in the trenches of raising her own four children.

Also in Desperate:

  • QR codes and links at the end of each chapter that lead to videos with Sarah Mae and Sally talking about the chapter
  • Practical steps to take during the desperate times
  • Bible study and journal exercises in each chapter that will lead you to identify ways in which you can grow as a mom
  • Mentoring advice for real-life situations
  • Q & A section with Sally where she answers readers questions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400204663
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 01/08/2013
Pages: 220
Sales rank: 305,257
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sarah Mae, listed as one of the Christian Broadcasting Network's "Six Women Leaders to Follow on Twitter," is an influential blogger, conference host, and author of the best-selling ebook 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way. She makes her home in the beautiful Amish country of Pennsylvania where she celebrates life with her husband and three children.

Sally Clarkson is involved in ongoing discipleship and teaching ministries to women, parents, homeschooling mothers, and Christian mothers and their children. She is the author of numerous books and articles on Christian motherhood and parenting and leads WholeHearted Mother Conferences.

Read an Excerpt


Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Sarah Mae Hoover and Sally Clarkson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4002-0467-0

Chapter One

Ideals and Going Under

Sarah Mae

I had it all figured out; my life, you know. I was excited to be a mom, a hands-on mom, a fun, good mom. I was going to teach and train my babes, spend days enjoying their laughter and curious little minds. We'd bake cookies together, read all day when it rained, play for hours, do crafts, and dance every morning. Oh yes, I knew how it was going to be because I was going to create that picture. The vision was fixed in my mind and my heart, the vision of the woman, wife, and mama I was going to be. The woman who occupied my mind was lipstick and familiar perfume, pancakes and smiles, singing and a gentle voice.

She was up early preparing for the day, all dressed, hair done, cute shoes on. She was kind. And she always had her quiet time as the sun rose, breaking the dark into light ... she was light. Good, nearly perfect. Oh yes, I would be this woman, the woman that my children needed.

This woman, this idealized '50s cliché of perceived security and togetherness, was what I clung to. This vision of the lipstick pancake mama somehow warmed my heart and made me long for what I never had. My mom was the opposite of my dream. She was cigarettes and oatmeal at the babysitter's, alcohol and cutting words, inappropriate and lost. She was a woman who succumbed to the only way she knew how to make it through this hard life. She chose alcohol to get her through, so that is the smell I remember when I think of her. She wasn't bad; she was wounded. Her own pain came out in sarcastic, unnurturing, unsympathetic, unmotherly ways. Because of all the wounds she instilled in me, I threw out all the good that came with her, all the fun and free-spiritedness. She was everything I was not going to be, I vowed it. I loved her; I just didn't want to be her.

I was determined to be the "good" mom, the straight arrow, responsible and loving, always mature and wise. I would be that woman on the cover of the 1950's Good Housekeeping magazine. I thought I had a choice to be her, to be me, wrapped in her. Yes, that's what my children needed, because that's what I needed.

I thought I could wrap myself up in an image, but I couldn't, because that picture wasn't real. When it finally dawned on me that I couldn't be my vision of what a "good mom" was, my little world of "perfect" came undone. It was like someone punched me in the gut when, no matter how much I tried, I couldn't be my ideal. I felt tired all the time. I didn't get up early or even get dressed sometimes until the afternoon. I was a terrible housekeeper. Lipstick? Forget it. I was a woman lost, grasping for air, and with nothing to hold on to, I fell flat. Discouragement, depression, and hopelessness surrounded me.

The days became long and impossible. Taking care of my children was too hard. Being a good wife was too hard. Cleaning, creating life, living ... was just too hard.

My ideals dropped one by one, as the days turned into blurs of time that I couldn't contain. I went from a super-motivated, driven mama to a "don't-get-me-out-of-bed-I'm-depressed" zombie. Because I couldn't achieve my unrealistic goals, I became lifeless and depressed. I didn't even want to try anymore. "Why bother?" I found myself saying over and over again, "I'll just mess up again." I was in a sad state, and I desperately needed someone to speak truth into my life. That's why this book is so important to me. I want to share the experiences I've gone through and am going through as a young mama because I want you to know that you're not alone, that there is so much hope waiting around the bend. I promise you.

Good Ideals

Many of my ideals were good, but the standard I set for myself to meet them was completely unrealistic. A good mom, in my mind, was up bright and early before her children woke up; she got dressed, did her hair, put on her makeup, had her quiet time, and had breakfast simmering in the pan as she went to wake up her babes. Of course in my fantasy she was always cheery, always smelled good, and never raised her voice. She was what God never asked us to be apart from Him: perfect.

What was I thinking? And why didn't someone set me straight?

The reason it hurt so much when I couldn't live up to my ideal was because I had imposed an impossible standard on myself. I forgot that I am a complex human being who has a sin problem. And so do my babes! I didn't take into account my personality, my weaknesses, or my strengths. Rather, I just chose an image and purposed to be that image. I didn't purpose to be Sarah Mae, a unique individual with gifts and talents from God. I didn't even purpose to be who God wanted me to be. Without a realistic vision, I was crushed before the season of motherhood even began.

It was immaturity and an idealistic spirit that led me to think I had motherhood figured out. I like my idealistic spirit, and I want to hold on to it because it's part of how God weaved me together, but I don't want to get snared into the assumption that all my ideals will be just as I envisioned them. Rather, I want to see my ideals as guideposts to look to. I want to set realistic goals that fit who I am, and what God requires of me. I want to always say, "Lord, what do you say?"

And above all, I need to remember that "good" motherliness has nothing to do with how God sees me. Nothing. I am pleasing to Him on my good days and my bad days. His love for me never wavers ... and never will. Because I'm His.


Enthroned in an overstuffed chair, I was surrounded by a sea of pink—tissue paper, ribbons and bows, baby booties, tiny lace dresses, and rose-budded sleepers. My heart was swirling with idealistic and peaceful dreams of my coming daughter and me. Beloved friends of all ages had come together to throw a shower for my highly anticipated baby girl, soon to be born.

"Oh, you'll be the perfect mother!"

"Don't worry about her birth, it will all be over so quickly, and after all, you seem so prepared!"

They were certainly right about that. I had carefully read all the baby books, attended all the birthing classes, and eaten all the right foods in all the right months of development. I had practiced repeatedly the correct way to breathe during labor, packed my overnight luggage and diaper bag with all the extra needed baby items, and decorated my baby's room with great skill. I was fairly confident I had everything under control.

After I collected all of my newfound treasures and said my thank-you's, I started down the hall to make my exit. As I slipped out of the room, a woman I barely recognized as a member of my church was very intentionally waiting in the hallway to corner me.

"Sally, I feel I owe it to you to warn you about what is ahead. All of those easy-schmeasy comments about giving birth and having a baby and being a mother are just lies. You are going to hurt like you never imagined during labor and your first weeks are going to be harder than you ever thought. I just wanted to warn you that this is the hardest thing you have probably ever done in your life, and if you are not ready for it to be hard, you will become quite depressed!"

What a thing to say to me at my baby shower! I just brushed off her comments as extreme and assumed she was a serial whiner. As I made my way outside, I whispered a prayer for her under my breath, "Please, Lord, bless this poor woman and help her to grow a healthier attitude!"

Fast-forward to my daughter Sarah's birth: twenty-two straight hours of labor, and more pain than I thought possible. Sarah was stuck in the birth canal for two and a half hours, and so eventually a doctor had to perform an emergency removal using forceps. There was a seemingly endless amount of grunting, groaning, twisting, and drugs just to get her out.

Yet the moment she was placed into my hands, I was filled with such awe and surprise at this baby—my own sweet, precious baby—who was in my arms. Her little face was battered, but her dark blue eyes were looking pensively toward my voice. I was smitten—and a little shocked as well. I don't know what I was expecting, but it seemed so much more of a miracle to me than I ever had imagined. I fell in love instantly.

"I'm so sorry, but we must take your baby away from you for a little while. She failed the AGPAR test and could be having some severe problems."

After three hours of immense anxiety, my normally straight-faced, bearded doctor walked into the room and said with an exhausted sigh, "I am so sorry, but Sarah's lungs are filled with meconium and she is not breathing very well. She seems to have some other mysterious issues, and I am afraid you will not be able to hold her or have her with you for at least a couple of days."

After all of the anticipation, excitement, and planning, my hopes and dreams were dashed and my mother-heart was already broken. As my husband, Clay, wheeled me through the hallway passing happy, smiling moms showing their sweet babies off to admiring relatives and friends, I felt the intense pain of heartbreak, of having nothing but the sadness of empty hands.

The next time I saw Sarah, it was only through a thick, protective glass wall, and I could see her pathetic little body surging up and down as she gasped for breath. Oxygen tubes were in her nose, monitors were strapped to her fragile, tiny body, and tubes were seemingly everywhere.

This was hardly the entrance into motherhood of which I had long dreamed.

To make it worse, I developed the flu while I was in the hospital and became quickly dehydrated. Consequently, my milk never came in.

"Some women just don't have the right kind of breasts," the self-important nurse commented to me as we watched baby Sarah strain at her first bottle of formula, amidst tubes and constraints. Just the words I needed to make me feel even more insecure! In retrospect, I wish I had reported the surly nurse to the hospital—just what are the right kinds of breasts?

Finally, three days after her birth, after what seemed like an eternity of complications and challenges, I was able to take my sweet first child back to our home. As I sat in the faint light of an early morning in our little den, I held my precious little one ever so tenderly, feeling very isolated and alone. Little did I know that this moment would signify a pivotal moment in my life as a mother.

Fear flooded my heart, and the insecure thoughts began to surge in. What if I don't know how to take care of her? What if she gets pneumonia? Anxiety wrapped around my whole being and sent me into a hole of insecurity. I had no parents to advise me until later that week, and in their own raising of my siblings and me, they had taken all the detached routes—no nursing, attaching, or nurturing. There was no one to give me the kind of advice I was longing to hear or validation for my newfound ideals from all the books I had read.

As I sat in the still darkness, my heart cried out to God, perhaps more sincerely than ever before.

"Lord, teach me how to be a mother. I feel so inadequate. I don't know what to do. But you are Sarah's heavenly Father, and you love her even more than I do, so please show me your way and help me to know how to do the right things."

This is the true beginning point—God. He is the one who created babies bursting with life and the mamas who love to care and watch over them. He brought forth from His imagination the most beautiful of gardens, threw galaxies of stars into orbit, and painted our world with color. In keeping with His character, He must have intended something beautiful in creating a woman with this ability to give life, nurture with love, and cultivate the soul of a precious human being entrusted into her hands.

Each of us has a story, but God, who originated the design of motherhood, is the expert advisor to whom we should turn. God has equipped us for every good work, and I am quite confident that He who designed this role to be so eternally significant is the one who is ready to help, support, instruct, and guide. He will provide all we need for the task He has given us to fulfill. But to hear from God we must become women of the Word and women who pray, so that His voice may lead us as we grow into this role with grace. I look back now through all of the huge obstacles, unexpected twists, and challenges on this course of motherhood through my life and see that at each point, He was there, helping, carrying, guarding, and blessing as a true and present advocate. He is the reason for any success or blessing I have felt as a mother.

As I sat in my little den, unsure of either my or my daughter's future, I gave little Sarah into God's hands, put her at my breast to attempt nursing, and by faith rested in this new assurance that this place called motherhood would become a new pathway in my life. I caught a glimpse of God's longing to teach me more about His ways and His grace as I accepted this gift He had given into my keeping, my very own little girl. It was here that great thoughts and inspiration began to be birthed, as I held my precious one and pondered in the presence of the Lord what He had in mind for mothers.

In this culture of quick satisfaction and gratification, many of us have never been taught to believe that someday we will have to give an account to God, face-to-face, for the spiritual, emotional, and moral work that we steward in the lives of our children. The souls of our children will last for all eternity, and if we believe Scripture to be true, the way we shepherd them will undoubtedly have repercussions far beyond our lives here on earth. As I searched Scripture in my own walk as a young mom, I began to catch a glimpse of the profound meaning imbued by God into the home environment. My identity as a mother would be wrapped up inextricably in the very place in which my moral character would be formed. My home, then, became my kingdom over which I longed to rule well as I was crafting lives, my own children, for His glory.

This kingdom of home is the place of refuge, comfort, and inspiration. It is a rich world where great souls can be formed, and from which men and women of great conviction and dedication can emerge. It is the place where the models of marriage, love, and relationship are emulated and passed on to the next generation. One of the great losses of this century is the lost imagination for what the home can be if shaped by the creative hand of God's Spirit.

When I considered the role of motherhood as well as the shaping of my children into warriors for His kingdom purposes, I walked by necessity through the questions of what it means to take on the calling of motherhood and to embrace home as a place of such great potential. Becoming a mother is a role that most women are ill-prepared for or ill-trained to understand, yet it has such vast consequences in the course and direction of history. I have even come to believe that a mother's role might be the most determining factor as to how history will unfold.

Understanding that the best and most lasting "work" I would ever do was wrapped up in my call as a mother gave me a grand scope for my life such as I had never known before. I began to see that the nurturing of my children was my great stewardship in every part of their little lives: accepting them into my arms and bearing the responsibility of their very health from feeding at my breasts; developing their emotional well-being by encouraging them to attach deeply to me as infants; stimulating their brains by talking with them, touching them, snuggling with them; and predisposing them to know the love of God by building pathways in their brains. I was just beginning to grasp how profound God had created the role of a mother to be.

However, when I look back now on the grand scheme of things, I can see clearly that motherhood is a process, a journey. It was fraught with so many moments and days of failure, anger, stress, and exhaustion. Little by little, I have learned grace, joy, patience, and hope, and slowly my soul is being shaped into His image. I wouldn't trade the journey or my ideals for any other life. But I couldn't have known any of this starting out. I hope in the following chapters that I might help you see the bigger picture, that as you pursue this beautiful design that God planned from the beginning, you will find deep fulfillment and lasting affirmation that will serve you the rest of your life.

* * *

Your Turn

Isaiah 41:10: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

* Remember, a woman who is alone in motherhood becomes a target of discouragement for Satan. Are you alone in your role as a mother?

* If God created you to be a mother and is present with you each step of the way, how should that make a difference in your role as a mom?

Matthew 11:28: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

* Does God understand and know when you are weary?

* How do you find rest amidst this exhausting journey of motherhood?

* Where is your source of strength?


Excerpted from desperate by SARAH MAE SALLY CLARKSON Copyright © 2013 by Sarah Mae Hoover and Sally Clarkson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Ann Voskamp....................xi
Introduction: "I Can't Be a Mother Today"....................xv
Chapter 1 Ideals and Going Under....................3
Chapter 2 The Go-It-Alone Culture (On Needing People)....................15
Chapter 3 Formulas Don't Always Work....................27
Chapter 4 Oh Right, There's Sin....................41
Chapter 5 When the Dark Invades....................55
Chapter 6 Lack of Training....................67
Chapter 7 Sacrifice in the Mundane (On Selfishness)....................79
Chapter 8 Escaping....................93
Chapter 9 Taming the Beast of Housework....................105
Chapter 10 Figuring It Out New....................119
Chapter 11 All the Voices That Influence Us....................129
Chapter 12 Living on Purpose....................143
Chapter 13 The Art of Life....................155
Chapter 14 Desperate ... Not Defeated....................167
Conclusion: Living the Story of Motherhood for Eternal Legacy....................179
Q & A with Sally Clarkson - Your Questions Answered....................189
A Special Note to Single Moms....................213
About the Authors....................219

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

I hold these pages, words of Sarah Mae’s and Sally’s, that are a gift to every mother, that welcome mothers everywhere out of hiding and loneliness and into a fellowship of sisters and mentors, that will make you feel not alone, that will make you feel that there is real God-given hope. -Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts

You need this book! I’m buying it for all my friends who are in the mom stage of life. -Linda Dillow, Author of Calm My Anxious Heart and What’s it Like to be Married to Me?

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Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
JamieLittle More than 1 year ago
Desperate. A word most moms can identify with. As we travel this journey of motherhood we can often find ourselves at end of our rope. Desperate for space. Desperate for understanding. Desperate for help. Desperate for hope.  Sometimes we can even put a finger on what it is we're desperate for, we just know that we are DESPERATE!  The good news is that we don't have to be desperate, we don't have to feel have to feel overwhelmed.  We don't have to feel like we don't measure up as a "good" mom.  We don't need to feel like failures.  We can put our hope in the One who can take away our desperation for good, if we choose to live in his freedom! Although Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson are in different seasons of mothering, they've both experienced the desperation we do. In their book, Desperate, they bravely share their hearts and experiences.  Before you think to yourself, "oh great, another book telling me how to be a good mom" - think again.  Desperate is not a book filled with formulas and step-by-step instruction about mothering; it's more like a mentoring session with two of your most supportive friends. It's like joining in a conversation between two mothers; one who is in the throes of raising small children and one whose children are grown.  Desperate is hands-down the best mothering book I've ever read!  Each chapter has a section written by Sarah Mae and one written by Sally. It was awesome to see issues tackled from both ends of the mothering spectrum. At the end of each chapter there are questions to answer and an exercise to help you get our of the pit of desperation. Another nifty feature at the end of each chapter is a link to a short video by Sarah Mae and Sally that wraps up each chapter nicely. This book helped me to remember that I am not alone on this journey and that my journey will not look exactly like anyone else's. God has given me exactly what I need to raise my children, I don't need to compare my journey to those around me. This book gave me hope and filled me with wisdom that I'll use as the years go on. I would highly recommend this book to ALL mothers, even if you think you aren't desperate. There is an abundance of biblical wisdom in this book that will benefit moms at any point on the journey of motherhood. I am so grateful that these two women stepped up and wrote out of truth and love about issues that most moms feel they may struggle with alone. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
CStine More than 1 year ago
This book has changed my life. It has transformed my view of motherhood and has given me the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It is the story of motherhood from two points of view - hip deep in the chaos (Sarah Mae) and survived and thrived (Sally Clarkson). There are honest, hard questions and conversations - the ones you wish someone would have told you about instead of talking about how cute all the clothes would be. There are hard answers - the ones you wish you could ignore, the ones that make you dig deep into your heart and seek God. There is hope, Scripture, encouragement, love, and grace. And the message, at the end of the day? I'm the mother God chose for my daughter. He doesn't make mistakes and I need to trust Him. Desperate is set up to help mamas go further than just another parenting book. It's personal. It's Christ-centered. It's hopeful and full of grace, and just what this desperate mama of a toddler needed to read right now. 
jenalambert More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. I struggled to even see the words through my tears. Sarah Mae understands. She knows. I went through my struggles alone when I first had my girls, beaten down by the enemy and awash in grief that I could barely cope with my life. Oh, if I'd had this book then. Or a friend. Now that I'm through that storm and looking back from this sunshiny other side, I can see that dark place and wonder at our amazing God who saw me through it. I was not alone. But I didn't have any help. I had no mentors. I had no friends who offered assistance in sincerity. My husband was at a loss, not understanding what was happening, why I felt the way I did. I was just overwhelmed. Sarah Mae fills that gap that I needed and still need. That so many moms need. Help. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At this point in my motherhood journey I related closely to the first and second sections. My biggest take-away is becomming intentional with my work as a mother. I appreciated the scripture and "Your Turn" sections and look forward to revisiting this book in my next "season."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the idea of the book, but, being a little new age, mostly agnostic and not religious, it took a little wading through the "God talk". Had I known that was the "real" underlying premise of the book, I would not have bought it. I would have read it for the bits of wisdom, but only if it were free or checked out from the library. However, if you live your life for God and you are looking for common ground with other moms, then this would be the book for you.
MizBanks More than 1 year ago
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson was an eye-opening read. I must admit that I did not identify with the issues of not being proficient at housekeeping or having more children than adults in the home, so it took me a little while to find a rhythm in reading the book. Although I'm a single mother of an only child, I didn't experience the frustration or depression that Sarah seemed to experience the majority of her early years as a mother and wife. I did find a connection on some very poignant and crucial aspects of being a mother, though. For example, I understand and knew before reading that children are a gift from the Lord and as parents we're stewards who won't find peace in child-rearing without submitting the child to their Creator for direct instruction on how they receive love and direction most effectively. I also agreed with Sally's advice to Sarah and all mothers that we have to create the atmosphere in our homes based on our individual family's needs and personalities; an atmosphere that is grounded on your family's mission and beliefs.  I appreciated Sally's experience and wisdom included which served to balance out the struggles Sarah expressed throughout the book. It speaks to the importance of being trained by mentors who've successfully navigated the various stages parent-child relationships undergo. I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on my blog.
SweetPeanutsMom More than 1 year ago
In a nutshell it's nice to know you're not alone.  Even the most experienced moms have moments of despair but faith and friendship can see you through.
S-Scales More than 1 year ago
Have you ever really, Really, REALLY liked a book that you thought “I might as well highlight the whole book!”? Well, that is me with Desperate! After just seeing the title, I knew I would read this book and am so glad I did. (I was even extra blessed to get to review it!) I’ve needed a book like this for several years and would highly recommend it to all moms!! We moms may be exhausted and desperate....“But you have a faithful God who loves you and whom I believe will bring you what you need to get through. There is no one answer for everyone, because the Lord works differently in each of our lives, but you need to know that He hasn’t forgotten you. He doesn’t forget His children, big or little.” (from Sarah; Loc 2689, 78%) Sally Clarkson, an older mom, became a mentor for Sarah Mae, a younger mom, and now they are joining forces to minister to other moms. At the beginning of each chapter they share a letter from Sarah and then Sally’s response to it. Next they each share very honestly and beautifully from their heart. And don’t worry; We are not given a new to-do-list, but instead understanding and encouragement...   “I came to realize over the years that the forming of their souls was a hard, long-distance race. In retrospect I can now see how it has become an essential part of my spiritual service of worship to God. He entrusted these precious souls into my hands. The work of motherhood was the way He wanted me to serve and love Him...In order to stay the course, we mothers must see the nurturing of our children as a spiritual call in order to have integrity in our own Christian lives.” (from Sally; Loc 2753, 80%) The book is divided into three sections -- 1: The Dream Life...Altered, 2: Getting Real About Mama-hood, and 3: The Redeeming -- with chapters breaking topics down. At the end of each chapter is “Your Turn” with verses, questions, suggested activity and even a video. Then at the end of the book is a question and answer with Sally Clarkson. Now, go get a copy for you and a few more to share with your mommy friends!! :) Disclosure: I received this ebook free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
MountainsJJ More than 1 year ago
I have found a fantastic book for moms that I wish I'd had seventeen years ago when my kids were young. Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have discovered a heartbeat of moms that I haven't seen much on book shelves. This book is different because it isn't one woman telling other moms how to be a "better" mom.  There are no lists of ideas to try, or new recipes that all kids will eat, or discipline that works!  This book is DIFFERENT. My favorite thing about Desperate is Sarah Mae's crystal-clear honesty.  She shares her heart openly - even the stuff we don't like to say out loud.  Like, "I just can't be a mother today." "I just want to be alone ..." "Lately it's been easier to put on the T.V. than put on being a good mother." "I am so selfish!  Every day I see it in myself more and more." "When my life feels overwhelming, I escape to the Internet." The second thing I love about Desperate is Sally Clarkson's wisdom shared within her own failures turned into victories.  Each chapter starts with an exchange of letters between the two women - Sarah sharing her heart and asking for help.  Then Sally counters with words of godly wisdom, encouragement and all are completely bathed in "been-there-done-that."ere are also times after each chapter to open scripture and speak openly with God with your own personal struggles and ways to re-think them.   Could be used as a group study of women together. In the end of the book are twenty-two pages of Q&A with Sally and Sarah.  I loved hearing other moms express their questions from the heart that make me feel so "normal".  My fears and questions are actually felt by others out there.   And that may be the greatest reason to buy this book and pass it on to every mom you know - so not one mom ever feels she is not normal. There is also a special note of attention for single moms included.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to every mom out there. It is an inspiration just to read this first page. This book gave me hope when I couldn't see it anywhere.
Mccullh More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book- lots of relatable stories.. and while I dont feel like a mom that is on the edge.. It did make me feel good to read from a mom who had gone through similar emotions and feelings of not being good enough. I think this authors message would be great for any mom to read- it provides encouragement and some things that are very wise. I turned down many pages of things that I want to go back and re-read. I recommend to any mom to read!
Heathahlee More than 1 year ago
When I was asked to review Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, I couldn't wait to read it (just as a disclosure, I was given a copy of Desperate in exchange for an objective review. The opinions shared are completely mine). Sarah Mae is a bloggy friend of mine, so for that reason alone I was excited about it. I didn't know how it would apply to me, because I'm a mom of an only child who is now 13. I'm not a mom of toddlers or young children who needs help just to make it through the day. But wait a minute...I DO need help to make it through the day. As I creep ever so closer to that "M" word, my body has decided to flake out on me. I've had more health issues in the last three years than I had the first 39 years of my life, TOTAL. It's all I can do to get out of bed some days. I get done what I have to get done, and that's about it. I do have good days, and I'm not a completely run-down mom, but there are just those days... Which is why I shouldn't have been surprised at how much I have highlighted and underlined in Desperate. You don't have to be a mom of young children to need Hope. Do you need encouragement as a mom of ANY age? Desperate is that encouragement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sister-P More than 1 year ago
Where was this book when I first had my child? I would have loved to have read such a helpful and encouraging book as "Desperate". I enjoyed how each chapter begins with correspondence from Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. You then read about each author's experience on a particular topic of motherhood. I gleaned a lot from this book even though my children are not babies anymore. Yet and still, I was convicted and enlightened by this book. "Desperate" is a unique read; balancing Sarah's experience as a young mother versus Sally's years of experience and wisdom. I learned the value of younger women having older women as mentors from this book. "Desperate" offers biblical wisdom and practical advice for mothers, especially, new mothers with children. I can't recommend it enough.
Lisa413 More than 1 year ago
Though I am not in a season of having little ones and feeling desperate {I have 1 son who is now 13.}, I still enjoyed this book. Desperate is inspirational, encouraging, and full of good practical advice for moms. And I can still relate to the chapter on Selfishness! That is a struggle for many of us no matter what the age of our children. Sarah Mae is able to speak to desperate moms so well because she has been a desperate mom. She knows what you are going through! And she wants to share the mentoring and help she received from Sally Clarkson during her motherhood journey so far. I recommend reading this book if you are an overwhelmed mom with small children, if you are a mom feeling discouraged and/or isolated, if you want to know how best to help and encourage a desperate mom that you know, or if you just want to be inspired to join the no-more-desperate moms movement and help other stressed-out moms {with babysitting, ladies night out, words of encouragement, a big hug, cooking a meal, etc.}!
MamaCara More than 1 year ago
You can never go wrong when you are shining light in an area most keep in the dark.  Motherhood is hard, it can be isolating and a roller coaster of other emotions. Many woman dream of being a mother but they have no idea how life changing it will really be. In turn they are left feeling guilty because they have negative feelings. Desperate is so open, honest and raw look at motherhood. Sarah Mae pours out her heart and shares with the world what all mothers have felt and Sally Clarkson comes in as a mother who has made it through the young years of motherhood to assure us all that we are not alone, she too felt the mix of emotions we all feel and she made it through.  I must say my absolute favorite thing about this book is the heart of the authors and their desire for mothers to reach out to others and do life together. I love how the theme throughout the whole book is to turn to God, dig into him and them reach out to make friends. I can't wait to see how God uses this book to change mothers all over the world. 
stailing-blogspot-com More than 1 year ago
Desperate hits you hard with "I'm not the only one going through this" reality and gives you practical advice on how to go from just living to life-giving.Bundled up in this book is hope for every mom who is desperate to mother with purpose and honor God through His gift of motherhood.  Each chapter gives a challenge to reflect on your own values of motherhood, sow the seed of the  Word deep in your heart, and to put the truths you've learned into action.
Kelley_H More than 1 year ago
I can not tell you how many times while reading this book I wanted to jump and down and scream from the rooftops "YES!!! Someone finally get's it!" From my relationship with my own mother, to my feelings of emptiness and loneliness as a new mom, it is all in there. I am so thrilled that there is finally a resource to bring women together to encourage and support one another, and to give them hope.
Whitfieldwalker More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS A NECESSITY FOR EVERY YOUNG MOTHER! Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have done it again. This duo has each written encouraging books on their own, but the combination of their strengths has made their first co-authored book a must read. The encouragement and hope they offer young women is timeless. This book speaks into the heart and lifts spirits of discouragement and depression, giving women a vision of what their home and life can be, lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is instruction, Biblical counsel and hope outlined in the pages of this dialogue between a struggling young woman (Sarah Mae) and an older, been-there-done-that woman (Sarah Clarkson). I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was especially inspired to lay down my ideals in exchange for the reality that God has given me. I am evaluating my circle of friends and realizing that I can’t go this mom road alone. I need to cultivate a support system and allow for some downtime to refresh my spirit. This is a long distance race, this road of mothering and you will find encouragement for your journey in the pages of this book. This book is not filled with theories or a list of do’s and don’ts; it is just two women’s story of how they found their way and cultivated a family culture in keeping with God’s Word to raise a generation of children committed to Christian values to make a difference in our world. You will laugh, cry and find hope as you treasure this volume of wisdom for years to come. Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of the book by Sarah Mae via Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 
BPreston More than 1 year ago
I have waited with great anticipation for this volume--a book written by two of my favorite authors--one who writes with the grace and wisdom of one who has lived to tell the story, and one who writes with freshness and openness so real and humble that the connection I feel with her heart stuns me. And now I've held the book and read it--twice. First with the eagerness of someone who was hungry and, well, desperate! And then after the initial dash through, once more with pen in hand and thoughtfulness of mind. This book is a lovely marriage. I hear the voice of Sarah Mae so clearly echoing my own--a voice of desperation, fear, loneliness, and concern that she isn't measuring up to her ideals. And I hear the voice of Sally--a voice of calm, measured wisdom speaking truth and courage and assurance into her younger counterpart. While I have loved Sally Clarkson's works in the past, I have found myself thinking that Sally did sound so calm and measured and wise--all admirable qualities to be sure! But it made me wonder if she had ever truly been as haggard and confused and awkward and frustrated as I seem to be at times. With the addition of Sarah Mae's voice and the conversation between them, I began to see that, yes, even Sally had at one time been in my shoes--in Sarah Mae's shoes. Only commitment, faithfulness, obedience, time, and the power of the Holy Spirit had shaped Sally and her family into who they are today. I began to realize with increasing hope, that perhaps with the same commitment, faithfulness, and obedience, God could fashion me and my own family into something beautiful of His making as well. This book is for every mother who has ever felt as though the circumstances of her roles as mama, homemaker, and wife would surely drown her. Everyone who has ever wondered if she truly has it in her to be the kind of mama she really wants to be. Everyone who is overwhelmed with just how plain hard mothering can be. This book is also for every mom who has walked through the years of raising her children and now stands on the other side. It's a call to reach out a hand of help and grace and challenge to those who are coming up after you--to walk alongside them and infuse them with courage and hope. It's about doing motherhood together.
ShariMiller More than 1 year ago
The book Desperate: "Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breath", by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson will change the lives of mothers forever. It strikes a chord with the hearts of both young and older moms alike. It gives youngers mothers the hope and encouragement they need to realize they are not alone on this journey. It also challenges the veteran moms to step up to the plate and re-enlist in the army of motherhood by mentoring a younger generation of mothers. This book provides a wealth of inspiration to first time moms. It provides advice and scriptures to help you hold your head high with confidence as you walk the long and sometimes lonely road of raising young babies. It also equips older moms with advice on how to be a mentor. It helps older moms to say just the right things to younger moms, the types of things that you wish someone would have said to you. Desperate was such a good book, I had a hard time putting it down. One of my favorite parts of the book were the sections at the end of each chapter that took you to videos done by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson that referenced the chapter you just read. I will definitely be reading Desperate again. I highly recommend this book! {Disclosure- I was provided with a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.}
rivka_reverer More than 1 year ago
I am so excited about this book! It really is like coming up for air when you've been under the water for too long. It's like having a Godly mentor sitting at my kitchen table helping me see a different perspective of life in motherhood. A desirable perspective of life that I would have never seen if it weren't for Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson being willing to sit down and be transparent about their lives and struggles in the early stages of their growing families. For me, as a momma of four little ones, and for most women as well, sometimes we just need to realize there is an easier way than doing it all by ourselves -- we don't have to face womanhood or mommyhood alone! I am so grateful for their perspectives, ideas and wisdom found within these pages. I am forever changed. I can breathe. :) Thank you, Jesus, so SO much. <3