The past few years have been hard. Moving away from my home community, old friends, trusted mentors, all that is familiar – many of you know what that is like. You know the ache in your heart for friendship, for someone who will listen as you pour out your heart with its hurts, fears, desires, and dreams, – and then give you wise counsel and compassionate understanding in return. I’ve prayed for deep, honest friendships here, and while I have begun to form some close friendships with a couple of moms and a wise, older “mom in the faith” I still needed some direction in building a home, being a wife, and (especially) in being a new mom. My mom friends share what they’ve learned, but we’re all in the same stage of life right now. My “mom in the faith” never had children, but she does have excellent wisdom on being a Christian woman, wife, and homemaker. To fill the gap I turned to Instagram, temporarily.
The thing with social media is that is often an echo-chamber instead of an edifying place. You can choose to only follow people who believe exactly what you do. As people share their struggles, lots of voices chime in with “me too!” and scold the ones who pop in with “actually, not me.” Or the “not me” person is afraid to speak up. Or someone asks for advice, and gets lots of affirmation, pats on the back, and very little actual wisdom. Or it seems that the brand or “ministry” or what have you decides that how they are doing it is how everyone should be doing it, and unwittingly puts burdens on men’s backs, swallowing camels and straining at gnats. I get really caught up in following along, wanting to be in with the cool crowd, wanting the accolades – and then I get overwhelmed, frustrated with my less-than-cool life, my less-than-pretty house, and my less-than-inspiring family. Well, if you are evaluating them by social medi’s standard.
Here’s where Sally Clarkson comes in. She’s written lots of books. The ones I’m working through right now are Own Your Life and Desperate. I bought Own Your LIfe when I wanted a Christian perspective on setting boundaries, overcoming depression, and getting on with life. Desperate was sent to me by one of my best friends, after she found it in Goodwill and thought I might like it. I’ve needed it more than I could have ever known. It’s for mamas who are depressed, overwhelmed, who yell at their kids and hate that they do, who are drowning in despair and housework, who desperately want something more and better, but don’t know where or how to start. Sarah Mae writes it with her. Sarah Mae could be my twin – reading her words are like reading my own journal entries. And Sally Clarkson could be my sister. Or my best friend. Or maybe my mom. At any rate, we have similar personalities, similar heart desires surrounding home and motherhood and family.
So I’ve chosen Sally to be my mentor-from-a-book, an older voice full of gentle and biblical wisdom on how to live and how to be a mother. She isn’t the only one, as Elisabeth Elliot and couple of others also fill this role in my life. But she is has the advice most applicable to my current season of life, and I thank God for bringing her books my way.