He Used Them… (when I needed to breathe)


It happened again this morning.
Last night was a rough night and I had incredible intentions of getting up before the kiddos and continuing on with my plan for spending time in God’s Word.
But between midnight and 6 am, a certain-three-year-old-someone woke up three times calling for me.

Eyes swollen and puffy.
Starting our back-to-school-routine-week not quite as I’d hoped for.
And then her beads came off.



Tiny little beads, splashing across the counter and under the table,
In every direction they weren’t supposed to go.
A symbol of the morning in general.
And the rats in my cellar started to appear.

But God– was good to give us a fairly cheerful breakfast and devotion time.
The car started.
The bags and lunches all made it to school.
And then He used them– those mamas-who-know-the-feeling.
Between the coffee and our drop-off huddle, I came away refreshed.

And He has used them so many times over the years when I needed someone to help me just breathe.
When I just needed to know I wasn’t alone.
When I needed someone to understand and care,
And to remind me that He does too.

“None of us are made to deal with life alone.  All of us…are made for relationship, to experience God’s grace through the dearest friends around us.” ~Desperate


And I remember them all…
All those women He’s placed in my life over the years who have walked (muddled) with me through the thick of it.

The ones who have prayed for our children as if they were their own.
Those who have walked circles around the block while we talked circles around our lives.

Or the one who invited me into her hallway to watch a mama-trying-to-help-a-little-one-learn-to-stay-in-bed-during-naptime.
Or the one who took our older children ice skating because they just needed something not-sad when all we could do was weep over Selah’s death.
Or the one who brought me jello and Sprite on the day that the stomach bug hit, when our 3 and 1 year old were leaning over bowls on the couch and I was nursing our newborn while slumped against the bathroom wall in my own nausea.

Those women who have pointed me back to Christ in struggles.
Who have reached into my marriage and loved the both of us enough to encourage change.
The six of them who this very week, are my go-to-team carting children to different places because I have jury duty.

“Two are better than one because they have good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” ~Ecclesiastes 4:9 & 10

I just finished Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae’s new book last night:
Desperate– Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.

And this need we have for each other,
The way that God uses other women (older, younger, same-stage-er) to offer hope, encouragement, and wisdom,
Is the message that rises from the pages.


God brought Sally into my life just when He knew I needed her.
We both write for The Better Mom and I was able to meet her at a conference last year.  Since then, she has been kind enough to continue our conference-started-conversations…

God has used her wisdom to help me see some areas that He wants to mold and shift and soften in my parenting.
Places where my desire to see results has crowded out real relationship with our children.

I don’t know Sarah Mae well.
But I think I know her youngest.
Because her words about their out-of-the-box-child could have flowed from my own heart.
And with her, I praise God for every. single. one. of our five children.
Each one a bit of a puzzle.
Each one helping me cling to God in a different, deeper, more desperate way.

“The only formula I want my children to tuck deep into their hearts is this: God (wove) each of us uniquely, and we are wonderfully made in His image. We have sin-tattered hearts, but Jesus mends them when we lean into Him and trust Him with our lives.” ~Desperate


This book is a call to– relationship.

Between each mama and her child.
Between each mama and the women that God brings into her life.
Between each mama and the Savior who loves her so much that He offers the rescue and redemption of her very soul.

Not a formula for community, but a nudge to realize the importance of having women in our lives who will walk with us through these mama years.

“One of the biggest problems with isolation from others is that there is no accountability–no one knows what you are doing with your time or the imaginations of your heart. No one is there to warn you or to help you in your soul struggles…If we sow loneliness without accountability or friendship, we will reap a loss of perspective of the danger of our idols and temptations.” ~Desperate

Already, I’ve seen hearts moved by this whisper.
A local friend has started a mom’s group to read through this book together and these women will meet weekly to share what God is teaching them as they read.
I plan to join in with our church’s study for the spring.
But mostly, this book makes me want to cultivate and replenish the friendships I have with the women God has placed in my life.

And I know that’s not the case for all…
To be this surrounded by relationships.
My heart’s throb after reading this book, is that the message here will sink in deep–

Permeating and resurfacing as a desire for women from all ages and stages to weave their lives together in a meaningful way that offers encouragement and that brings glory to Him.

“…there is only one voice that matters, and that is God’s.” ~Desperate

But–  God often uses other relationships to help us hear His voice.

“These pages 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 (from the foreword of Desperate)

You can find more information about this book on the Desperate website.
The book is also available to purchase on amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com.

And all week long (1/7 – 1/12) there will be many incredible giveaways offered on the Desperate website.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~C.S. Lewis

As you draw near to God, my prayer is that He will bless you will deep friendships and relationships…and that if you are a mama, you will find refreshment and encouragement in knowing you are not alone.  There are so many of us on this journey that understand the struggles and the joys.  And above all, may you find strength in knowing that we can cling to our Father, who promises to never leave us or forsake us.  He reaches into our moments of desperation and calls us to come to Him for real hope.

With Love,

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  1. Great review, Kara! —and I think I need to email you for some advice for that “out-of-the-box child” who, by the way, won’t stay in bed at nap time. ;)

    • Ha! I’m with ya…
      It has been interesting going back to the “little years” stages again.
      Our gap isn’t huge, but it’s 6 years between Cavan (9) and Lydia (3)–
      (our youngest 2) and I forgot about some of those bed/nap-time battles.

      It’s getting better for us, but believe me…we still don’t have it sorted out.
      God knew I needed a couple like that though, because we also had a couple who transitioned to staying in their beds without much of a glitch at all
      He knew I could’ve been a little too sure of my “formula” if we didn’t have 1 or 2 where it didn’t go quite so smoothly…

      If that makes any sense at all… :)

  2. I sure have an out-of-the-box child…luckily, I am often too impressed by her creativity to get too upset. I adore her artistry. She’s #3. If she’d been my first, I would’ve gone in the nuthouse for sure!

    • I’m convinced they are all a little “out-of-the-box” :)
      And that I enjoy them more and appreciate them more when I quit looking for the box…and trying to stick them back in it.
      Thanks for stopping by Jennifer

  3. Beautiful! It’s great to hear which portions spoke most to different people.

  4. LeAnn Williams says:

    What a very lovely post; I really enjoyed your thoughts today. I too have friends that have been near and dear to me for years. Friends that are there to lift me when in need. I hope that I do the same things back to them. I have a friend that I would say is my sister; since I don’t have one. She is my sister and we have shared many experiences together. Thanks for your thoughts today they were heartfelt.
    Blessings to you!

    • Thank you LeAnn…and I love that God has given you friends like this (and it doesn’t surprise me that you have deep friendships because you have a heart for relationship…and God has wired you to be an encourager). I also have a few friends who fall into that “like a sister” category…SUCH a gift!

  5. Kara, what a real, transparent, and hope-filled post that describes beautifully the way God wants to use the body of Christ for the sake of one another and his glory!

  6. Hey Kara, man I miss you, even tho we hardly collided, I so love your writing and the few times we have talked in person, I always felt refreshed and realigned inwardly. God uses YOU in my life, this blog post today, especially right now, far away in NC and I feel so lonely and asking God to supply a miracle, a deep deep friend, someone who truly ‘gets me’ and can dish out the love as well as need it from me too.

    Happy January to you and your sweet family, hugs to you!!
    Becca Bozarth

    • I’m so so SO glad you wrote.
      I tried to write you a note yesterday on FB when you “liked” the post, but it wouldn’t let me “tag” you and I gave up.
      Thank you for all that you wrote above and how much it encourages me.
      And WE MISS YOU!!!
      I just was thinking that yesterday when we were standing around in assembly. Praying God will bless your family in this transition and that He will give you those deep connections in NC. I need to side message you…wanting to know what town you’re in, if you’ve found a church…we have family and friends in NC.

  7. I’m always encouraged by your words. Especially today. I am not alone. There are other women who have come before me and who will come after me. I just need to reach out to them. To be encouraged. And to encourage others. Thank you for sharing.

    • I really appreciate what you just wrote here–
      “I just need to reach out to them”.

      In all of our mama-stages, we can be waiting for others to reach out to us and while that is incredible when it happens, so often, all it takes is us initiating contact and connection.
      Thank you for the encouragement Di Ann…
      Love, K

  8. What an awesome post Kara!
    So true ho we need each other, how it is God’s design for us to be in true fellowship with one another.

    Love to you and the Family

    • Thanks so much Angie… :)
      Have been praying for you and the new book…I feel like I’m just checking back into the writing/online world after a nice, long break over Christmas.
      And love from our family to yours as well…
      Looking forward to reading Redeeming Childbirth… and for how God will use it! Love, K

  9. Sally Clarkson says:

    Sweet Friend,
    I am so very honored by this wonderful post. Your writing and painting with words always stirs or excites my heart. I look so forward to seeing you soon. Thanks for this great post! Sending love.

  10. Jody Collins says:

    Kara–we are ‘neighbors’ at the SDG Sisterhood link up this week. (And ‘real life’ sort of neighbors–we live in Renton WA.)
    I so enjoyed this post….my son and his wife have 5 children also. They just visited us for 4 days and nights (I’m so very thankful for a two story house!!). I’m sure my daughter in law would enjoy a book like this…They live in Vancouver WA and attend Crossroads Church where they have a wonderful support group of likeminded parents, which I know keeps them alive and going.
    Thank you for writing so beautifully and honestly about what it’s like to walk with Jesus in the daily-ness of life.

  11. yes. this. I wish I could through and click the “like” button on each of your paragraphs. :)


  1. […] First time in my life… And a big thank you to the six friends involved in watching kiddos, picking up, dropping off, homeschooling, nap-sitting, child feeding… Who are helping cover “normal life stuff” while I’m gone. On Monday I shared about them and how– He uses them (when I need to breathe). […]

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