About the Author

Sarah Mae has a past that would be her present if it weren’t for Jesus. A blogger, author, and co-author of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, she’s currently writing The Complicated Heart, a book for broken-hearted lovers of Jesus. Learn more at @thecomplicatedheart on Instagram or...

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  1. Sarah Mae,
    We love each other the best we know how. No human love will ever look like the love of our Lord and Savior. As I look back to my dad, who has passed away, I can see that even though his love language to me was different than what I may have preferred, he still spoke love to me the best way he knew how. He wasn’t a real warm, fuzzy man and he he had no tolerance for nonsense. He may not have said, “I love you,” but he showed it in his actions. To him, providing a safe home, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, 3 squares a day, and loving my mom was his way of showing his love. When I stopped setting an agenda for how I wanted my dad to love me and simply accepted his version of love, it helped to take away an ache in my heart. Thank you for sharing so beautifully that God is ALWAYS there in our longing, and if ask Him, he will work that truth into our hearts.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, I needed to read your comment this morning. Maybe it hit me because my dad was an absent father. As an adult we had a relationship, but not an easy one. Your words “When I stopped setting an agenda for how I wanted my dad to love me and simply accepted his version of love” hit me. Dad has been gone several years and I still struggle with forgiveness. This is exactly why. My expectations, my agenda. Maybe even now I can learn to forgive.

      • Debbie,
        I’ve been in your shoes. Ever since my dad’s passing, I’ve had to work through my issues with how I viewed God due to how my dad parented me. Forgiveness is another hard one, but I’ve been realizing that the only person unforgiveness holds captive is me. It can be a tortuous prison. One thing that’s helped me with forgiveness, in general, is that I know that even though believers are forgiven of their sins, we will all, one day, have to account for our lives to our Maker. By releasing those who have hurt me to God and letting HIM be the ultimate judge and jury takes it off my mind and my heart. Instead of wanting them to be accountable to me, I release them to God’s sovereignty and to be accountable to Him. It is truly freeing and God wants me/you to walk in freedom. I invite you to my blog for a piece I just wrote this week about how I’ve grown to see God differently – not an absentee, angry father, but a Father who has unfathomable love for us. Lifting you in prayer right now…
        https://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com/2019/12/a-tale-of-tears-and-timbers.html
        HUGS,
        Bev xx

        • The holidays are tough, i wish i could tell my daughters lets stop hurting in our hearts. But there are a lot of outside family that poison the water, of hope.

          • Maria,
            Praying for you this season. My daughter has said she won’t come around at all during the Christmas holiday. She is hurt, angry, you name it. I just don’t know how her heart became so hardened. Praying the Christ’s love can soften the poisoning that has taken place in all of our children.
            Blessings,
            Bev xx

  2. I’m sorry for the loss of your mum. As a parent I realise there is no hand book and no person or way of raising kids! We all just do the best we can or know how to do. Mothers make mistakes just as their children do. And I’m not talking about young children here. Life is not perfect it’s hard. Harder for some than others. But through it all He our one true saviour is there…

  3. This had to have been hard to write, but I do appreciate your setting down the truth in black and white that we can mourn and celebrate our way through Christmas as we remember the past with a full dose of Truth. So grateful that Jesus is full of both Grace AND Truth and carries us through all the seasons.

  4. Thank you for your post, my mom was also an alcoholic and I spent many years trying to reconcile the why, and she passed over 24 years ago due to her alcoholism. It was after she passed and as my relationship with Jesus has grown did I fully understand how lonely she was, but how she never had the chance to fully let go of her demons. You have given me a better understanding of her perspecitve. Bless you!

  5. It’s been 10 years since my dad passed away and I think of all the things he would have loved, especially the no fuss double knockout rose bushes, iPads and Alexa. Desperately in need of prayers for my son at work, ultimately the fight is the Lord’s. Trying to love my son as best as I can as he goes through a hard situation that he has no control over.

    • Marie, I’m going to pray right now for you and your son. May you and he be blessed this Christmas season. And may his work problems be solved quickly and in a fair way.

      • I wanted to reach out and tell you thank you for praying . It meant so much to me. Knowing there is a community of others that will pray is so comforting. I kept reciting 2 Chronicles 20:12 We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you. And after a time God miraculously changed the situation that couldn’t be changed. We serve a good God. Continuing to pray for God to pave the way, as my son is now up for a great opportunity, if it be God’s will. Many Blessings!

    • Father, draw near to Marie’s son. Let him feel your presence with every breath he takes. In Jesus holy name… let it be so.

      • I wanted to reach out and tell you thank you for praying . It meant so much to me. Knowing there is a community of others that will pray is so comforting. I kept reciting 2 Chronicles 20:12 We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you. And after a time God miraculously changed the situation that couldn’t be changed. We serve a good God. Continuing to pray for God to pave the way, as my son is now up for a great opportunity, if it be God’s will. Many Blessings!

    • Marie,

      Just prayed for your son’s situation. May God guide the steps of those involved & get the problem solved quickly.

      Father God,

      Help Marie’s son’s work situation Guide each one’s steps in the decision making. Help everyone involved feel your presence. Help everyone to trust you to solve this quickly.

      In Jesus name AMEN!

      Blessings 🙂

      • I wanted to reach out and tell you thank you for praying . It meant so much to me. Knowing there is a community of others that will pray is so comforting. I kept reciting 2 Chronicles 20:12 We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you. And after a time God miraculously changed the situation that couldn’t be changed. We serve a good God. Continuing to pray for God to pave the way, as my son is now up for a great opportunity, if it be God’s will. Many Blessings!

  6. It’s so true that parents love in different ways. I feel my mom loves me more now in her 90’s than ever before. Yes, we had food and clothing and a roof over our heads growing up but no affection. It is often very difficult to live with the choices our parents make. If nothing else I learned how NOT to be. I know I made plenty of mistakes raising my child but I’m thankful that love was there no matter what, just as our Heavenly Father loves us, no matter what.

    Blessings to you all during this wondrous season!

  7. I loved your write up. my mom’s life sounds exactly like your mom’s.. divorce after divorce..she became angry and lost both her daughter’s and lives alone now .
    I was just pondering how to handle things . I sent her a Christmas card but getting any closer then that she spews out verbal abuse to no limit.
    my prayers are for her.

  8. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing this hard-to-write – and hard-to-read – post. My relationship with my Mum was not easy, although I knew she loved me, and I loved her. She was diagnosed with MS at only 38 years old, so as a 16-year-old, more of the homemaking duties than usual became mine. My Dad took care of Mum at home for 30 years, until she went to meet Jesus in 1998. After college I married an Englishman and moved to live in England, so I didn’t see how hard it was for them both. My sister had to come home again during a time of unemployment, so she saw first-hand the life they had to live, as did my 2 brothers. I know both my Mum and my Dad would say their faith in God kept them going, so I do know I will see them again with Jesus. Dad has been there now since early 2018, and I find it very difficult sometimes because I miss him so much. We used to Skype every Sunday evening. I’m finding that the more difficult memories I am using to draw closer to Jesus myself, and it helps to know that they’re both healed and rejoicing with Jesus.

  9. Thank you for sharing this, Sarah. I have a difficult relationship with my parents and am trying to love them well where they are. Reading this from the perspective of not having that relationship this side of heaven is a shift in my heart and mind. I so appreciate your heart and thoughts and I’m taking this as an area to sit in and pray more on. Bless you, as you continue to process and learn on your own journey. And yay for the Echo Dot adding some humor and fun into that place. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    • I heard something profound once in a 12 step room (one of many, actually), when a friend there said that “her parents did the best they could with the light they could see by”. I’ve thought about that comment many times over the years. As a young mother there were days when I could see only by a pen light… some days a flashlight. Today, if given opportunity to raise my children with the knowledge and wisdom learned in life, it would be a floodlight. But… I did the best I could with the light I could see by… at the time. It’s been easier to extend grace whenever I realize that the lights people possess may be varied based on life experiences, wounds and relationship with our Lord. Thanks for sharing this Sarah. I lost my mom in May this year. It was not unexpected, but it was sudden. I believe I loved her well, and she knew it and felt it. But I do wish I had affirmed her more than I did. As I read your words this morning, I felt the tears brimming. Loving well is a journey. Somedays we get lost. I agree with Bev… no one will ever love as well Jesus does. For his love…. I am supremely grateful. And the relationship you have with your daughter, that the enemy has broken the cycle… is definite cause for celebration.

  10. Hi Sarah Mae. Thank you for this. I’m a young mom, and I write about prayer and the home. My husband passed unexpectedly this summer, and as our 1st Christmas without him approaches, I get this on every level. We love the best we can. That’s actually something I’ve been holding on to for the last several months. In our house, we say something my husband taught me long ago: “No shoulda’s, coulda’s, or woulda’s.” When those creep in, I whisper a prayer for grace and don’t let the regret take hold.

  11. Sara Mae, thank you so much for this post. So many hide loneliness because they don’t want to bother people. Or, as in my case, there is no family to reach out to. My parents have been gone for a long time and my brother and sister both passed away in 2016. I cannot describe the loneliness that overwhelms me during the holidays. I thank God for my wonderful husband and truly terrific friends who are always here for me. I talk to Him about being lonely and always feel His presence when I give it to Him and not try to go it alone. Again, thanks so much.

  12. thank you, my mom was a wonderful woman, though she mad many mistakes, i will be experiencing my first christmas without her as she is in a different state and in a nursing. im not grateful for her stroke but knowing shes not the same person cushions the blow of her upcoming death. my dad was pretty abusive to her and i tended to adore my mom i have regrets for the harm ive caused and wish i could always forgive like Jesus but im human thank you for this. it will be a healthy christmas but a sad one.

  13. Sarah Mae,

    Thank you for being so open & honest about what could be a touchy subject. There are so many people out there with family relationship issues. My hubby & his dad never really got along. Dad was in military for 20+ years & that may have had something to do with it. He believed that putting a roof over your head, food on table & clothes on your back was enough. He wasn’t the hugging kind. Even so my hubby was there for his dad & step mom while his dad battled stage III bladder cancer almost 2 years & had a bilateral ischemic attack, bladder infection. He passed the Monday before Thanksgiving. Near the end my FIL did appreciate all the help we could give them. Also son & dad did talk some & hubby learned some things.
    We are all imperfect humans who love each other the best we know how.

    Blessings 🙂

  14. Wow. This one has me choked up as I sit at my work station this morning. I’ve lost both parents and my husband lost his mother to alcohol abuse 4 Christmas’s ago this year. The holidays stir up so much emotion. The memories arise, especially as we work together to raise our own two children. We speak to our kids about our angels in heaven quite a bit. Death is not a dark topic to them because we have experienced so much loss around us. My relationship with my mother was very strained. And even as I tried to build a better relationship and bond as I entered into adulthood, I still never felt the love from her I desperately craved. I never felt like I was enough in her eyes. And yet, after her passing, I was told by so many how much she loved me. I wish both my parents were still here, but I especially wish I had the chance to try again. To show how I mother my children and to observe her be a grandma. I often wonder if she would’ve been as hard on my kids as she was on me. I find comfort in speaking their names out loud, just as I do in speaking His name. If not for my faith I don’t think I would’ve mentally or physically survived such deep losses in my life. I know she did the best she could with what tools she had. It’s true, He is always with us. Even in our darkest hour we are never truly alone. That thought alone gives me comfort. Happy holidays to all of you who read this. XOXO -Wendy