Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
Authors Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae
(For a PDF of this Q &A, click here)
Q: In a nutshell, can you tell us what readers will find in your book Desperate?
Sarah Mae: They will find encouragement from one mother in the midst of the little years who understands the reality of just how hard motherhood is. They will also find, which is of tremendous encouragement and help, is wisdom from an older, wiser, “been-there” woman. Sally is a gift to every woman who lays eyes on this book.
Sally: To me, the best part of this book is about friendship. Our book tells the true story of two friends encouraging each other in the midst of a journey of motherhood—a young mom needed input, encouragement, love, and grace, and an older mom who has been through all of the seasons to speak into her life from a perspective of wisdom. Any moms who need encouragement, help, and grace will find inspiration, ideas, stories, and hope in their journey as a woman and in her role as a mother.
Q: Why did you feel that now was the time for you to write this book?
Sarah Mae: I had to write it while I was in it, in the trenches of motherhood in the little years. They are precious years, but WOW years. They should be called the blurry years.
Sally: I get literally thousands of emails, comments and letters from women all over the world who feel like they lack direction, support and encouragement in their roles as a mother. When Sarah Mae and I became friends, and I literally “adopted” her, I began to see anew the heart’s cry for other young moms to have companionship and support in this journey as a mom.
Q: The role of a mother is not an easy one, despite its rewards. But women often feel alone and are worried of being judged as they try to be the best mom that they can be and navigate all that motherhood throws at them. Why do you think mothers feel this way, and how have you personally dealt with this same crazy cycle?
Sarah Mae: I think they feel this way because there is a lack of older women mentoring/coming alongside the younger women to teach them, encourage them, and help them. Sally coming into my life was like much needed rain on dry soil. She chose to invest in my life, lift me up, speak wisdom to me, truth, and just love me. I think if women felt loved, they would at least have more resolve to keep going in hope. I have dealt with these feelings, and it’s dark and discouraging. But in community, we find light and understanding. We need people.
Sally: We live in an isolationist culture where few know their next door neighbor, most live far away from their families and mega churches create anonymity in life. Consequently, mothers are more alone than ever before in history, raising their children without the benefit of the loving community of family and friends. Add to that the myriad of voices and the prolific information that flows every day on the internet, which women are using as substitute friends, and women feel confused, don’t know which philosophy to follow and end up feeling like a failure.
Q: What made you decide to write this book together?
Sarah Mae: I knew I couldn’t write this book alone, it would only be a half offering. I wanted to relate with women, say, “I get you, I am you!” but Sally is the wisdom and experience. Plus, we want to encourage real-life mentoring relationships, and we hope to do that by allowing people into Sally and I’s relationship.
Sally: The story of our friendship was mutually gratifying, fun, and fulfilling. Our friendship grew out of real life and I loved being able to use our friendship as a means of helping and encouraging my younger friend in ways that I was never encouraged as a young mom. We thought together we might have a unique message of hope, share the need for friendship and mentoring, and the ability to give confidence and a model for others to build such a relationship. We also just wanted moms to feel that someone understood the loneliness and desperation that often fill the days of moms all over the world.
Q: As your book reveals, mentoring can have a huge impact on both the receiving and giving parties. What would you say to someone who was considering this?
Sarah Mae: Yes, mentoring is a must, and it’s biblical (Titus 2: 3-5, and what Jesus did with His 12 disciples)! We need each other, we were made for relationships and soul investing. Mentoring/friendship/having an advocate can change your life.
Sally: God pre-wired us as women to be relational. A friendship built on mutual ideals and encouragement is not only an overwhelming blessing to both, but is a Biblical accountability to help women hold fast to their faith and their ideals as mothers.
Q: Why do you think it’s so important for older and younger moms together to care for and lift up one another?
Sarah Mae: Well, it’s God’s idea, and it’s a beautiful one. Younger moms need the wisdom and experience of older women, and older women need to know they are still valuable and have something good to pass on. We can love each other so well in a mentoring relationship – a give and take of grace, love, and understanding.
Sally: Titus 2:2 tells us that mentoring between women is a Biblical admonition for older moms to encourage younger moms, and so it is a pattern to follow. However, I also promised myself that if I made it through my own mothering, that I would give my life to other young moms to encourage them so that they would not have to feel alone as I had felt. “Two are better than one and have a good return for their labor, but woe to the one who has no one to lift up his hands,” reflects the heart-felt need that I had for a close friend and someone who would pour wisdom into my own life. We all long for help and love.
Q: What tips would you have for someone seeking a mentor?
Sarah Mae: Pray! Pray for God to bring you someone, and don’t give up, even if it takes years. I prayed for a mentor for a long time before Sally pursued a relationship with me.
Sally: Pray that God would bring a mentor into your life. Then, begin looking around your circle of life for older women whose life you admire and ask them out for coffee or to meet with you. Share your desire for a mentor and see what happens. Sometimes you have to try this with several different people, but hopefully someone will make that time for you, as God put it on my heart to do with Sarah Mae.
Q: What tips would you give to someone who wants to start mentoring?
Sarah Mae: Pray for who to mentor, wait, and then seek that person out and ask to get together. It will be different for everyone, but with Sally, she told me her intentions right off the bat. She felt so strongly that God had put me on her heart that she said she wanted to invest in me, and then she called me every week! She persisted, and I am so thankful she did.
Sally: Understand that the basis for Jesus influencing his disciples was that He was a servant leader. He loved, gave words of affirmation and encouragement, taught and basically laid down His life for those he wanted to redeem. If I choose to mentor, I need to understand that true influence will come as I serve, love, and lay down my own life for those I mentor. A cup of tea and talk, taking care of the children, or giving regular time to talk and pray are some of the elements that will help reach the heart of these precious exhausted and overwhelmed moms. Give grace and love and the relationship will usually open wide.
Q: Friendships are encouraging, but you point out that having the compassion of the Father will allow them to persevere in their ideals without the pressure of them. Can you speak to that some?
Sarah Mae: I think we need to ask God to help us craft our ideals to meet His ideas. It’s easy to create ideals that haven’t weathered reality. I think ideals are good, and needed, but we need to always go before the throne of grace and ask, “God, what do you say about this?” God is compassionate, and our ideals help us in this life, but our God is pleased with us when we believe Him, when we seek him and have faith. That’s the core message – your ideals aren’t your identity. Find yourself tucked in the shadow of His wings and trust His Holy Spirit in you.
Sally: Believing in the potential of a friend and sympathizing with their struggles and giving them space in which to grow opens their heart to hope that they can actually grow into and live up to ideals. Criticism and negativity or superiority kill the spirit of a friendship. We take our cues from Jesus, who gave without restraint and always extended His own love and hope.
Q: Your book Desperate not only encourages and nurtures moms, but they will also have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger: An entire “Mom Heart” Movement. What does that really mean?
Sarah Mae: My heart is to see a revolution take place between women – that the older would pray and seek out the younger to mentor, and that the younger would lean into the wisdom of the older, mentor her own daughters, and eventually become the older woman. I want to see a generational movement where all women are mentoring someone.
Sally: Our desire is to open up thousands of Mom Heart Groups all over the world where moms can find friendship, fellowship, encouragement and help in this great role as a mom as together they help each other raise their children into godly, healthy adults. Without support and encouragement, moms become a target for Satan’s discouraging attacks that make them feel hopeless, discouraged, and alone. But with a group of like-minded moms to surround you, there is accountability and ideas to follow and burdens to be shared so that this journey of motherhood becomes a blessing and a fulfillment of a mom’s life work.
Q: What is your hope for readers of Desperate?
Sarah Mae: My hope is that they would walk away knowing they aren’t alone in how crazy or desperate they feel – they are normal, and it is sad, and they shouldn’t have to be alone. I want them to learn and receive wisdom from Sally, and I also hope they receive the vision to mentor; have vision to persevere now, and eventually do for someone else what they desperately wish someone would have done for them.
Sally: I pray that moms will feel that they are not alone and that there is hope and help for them in the stresses they feel. Sarah Mae and I also hope that we will spark a movement of moms, young and old, all over the world who can bring health, life and faith into the homes of moms seeking to build a godly heritage and that they will find great joy and fulfillment in their homes and families.
Q: Anything else that you’d like to share?
Sally: Truly, writing this book was a delight and pleasure as Sarah Mae and I grow closer in our friendship and the strength that we both gained from focusing on our own ideals together. This kind of friendship brings beautiful grace into a woman’s life.
I also want moms to know that they are dearly beloved by their heavenly Father—He sees them and hears their cry and is present every day to help them and respond to their needs. He, the crafter of each child in their homes, wants to bless their faith and He wants to make motherhood a gracious gift from His heart to them.
For more information, author interviews, excerpts, articles, and images, contact:
Brenda Smotherman, Publicist, 615-902-2231, @bsmotherman, @bsmother