February 25, 2013

This is one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve written to date. In fact, I’ve started and stopped it at least a dozen times. Typed until my fingers were sore and then erased huge chunks of text.

How does one summarize a decision that has been whispering for a while and only recently found its full voice?

The gist is this: The Lord has asked me to put writing on the back burner for a season.

There are many factors involved, the main one being I’m the mama of two young children–one of whom will be entering the world of kindergarten in August. That’s six months away.

Pardon me while I hyperventilate.

I’ve heard so many people tell me these years are precious, to invest in my children now because once school starts, I’m releasing them to the big, wide world. (Thank you, Erin MacPherson.)

But the truth is I haven’t always done this as fully as I should. Too many times I’ve allowed my heart and emotions to become divided between my family and the pursuit of publication. All of this to the detriment of what’s most important.

Let’s back up to give some context. (Be forewarned I’m going to have a rare preacherlike moment, but I feel led to share it, so there ya go.)

Six months ago began a journey of spiritual restlessness for me. It’s like something clicked inside and I realized I didn’t want to keep paying lip service to my faith. I wanted to live it out in a deep and authentic way. And this wasn’t just a nice little nudge from God….It was an all-consuming urgency, propelling me to crave more of Him and to seek His true will for my life (as opposed to what I thought His will should be).

And let me be honest. This restlessness scared me like crazy, because past history has shown that whenever God draws me to Him like this, something big (and not always what I view as good) is coming.

As I searched and prayed about where this restlessness was taking me, I started to hone in on a sobering truth. If someone would ask me what my top priorities were in life, I would say: God first, family second, and writing and other interests next. But the way I was spending my time–not to mention my mental and emotional energy–was in the exact opposite order.

Something was wrong with this picture.

Somewhere along the way I had allowed my writing to inch its way to the top of my focus, taking away precious time from my family and my Savior (who incidentally gave me the gift of writing in the first place). Sure, I had surrendered things along the way, but as this restlessness grew, I knew God was asking something bigger of me.

He was asking me to sacrifice.

How many of you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible? Remember how Abraham carted Isaac up the mountain, strapped him to an altar, and prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord? This was his chosen son! The one through whom God had promised to number his descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky.

And yet God had a test for Abraham. It was like He said, “I know I’ve given you this miracle son, but exactly how much does he mean to you?”

In the end, we know that God provided a ram to take Isaac’s place. But before that point, Abraham proved his faith by obeying God, even to the point of risking the loss of something extremely valuable.

Now I’m not trying to get all spiritual-giant on you and make it sound like I’m sacrificing something that equals Abraham’s father-of-the-nations sacrifice. But God did use that story to remind me that no matter what He asks of me in this particular season, He loves me and will provide.

And the truth is, while a step like this would have freaked me out a year ago, I have absolute peace that it’s the right decision.

So what does this look like on a practical level? Well, the most obvious thing is that I won’t be blogging for a while. At this point, I know I need to step back until the fall and I’ll reevaluate after that.

I do plan to keep my writing juices flowing whenever God gives me windows of time, and story ideas are still bursting in my mind and begging to be told. So I’ll seek His guidance each day and use whatever time He gives me.

And while I’m not able to visit your blogs, I don’t want you to become strangers. I’ll still pop into Facebook now and then, so please keep in touch with me there or through email.

Please know that I cherish all of you and can’t wait to see God’s purpose lived out in each of our lives as we serve Him!

God bless you,
Sarah


 


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A Season of Sacrifice: When God Asks You to Set Aside a Dream
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66 thoughts on “A Season of Sacrifice: When God Asks You to Set Aside a Dream

  • February 25, 2013 at 5:48 am
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    I have been missing you on here and will very much miss you even more now that I’ve read this! But I so appreciate you following the prompting of the Spirit!! Much love to you!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm
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      Aw thanks, Bekah. I’ve missed visiting your blog lately and getting my daily dosage of laughs. I’m sure our paths will cross elsewhere.

  • February 25, 2013 at 6:13 am
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    Sarah, I completely understand where you’re coming from and have gone through a very similar situation myself recently (and am still wrestling with it). I applaud your honesty and sincerity in following God’s leading for you. Enjoy those kiddos! 🙂

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm
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      Thanks so much, Heidi. And don’t be afraid to keep wrestling. God will make your path clear at the right time.

  • February 25, 2013 at 6:20 am
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    Sounds painful but good. 🙂 I’ve got no doubt He’s working something in your life. Kudos to you for putting Him first!! 🙂 *hugs* I’ll see you “around”. 🙂

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm
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      Jessica, I’ll never forget how you reached out to me as one of my first writing blog buddies. Your kindness has made this journey a joy.

  • February 25, 2013 at 7:15 am
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    I am so thankful our lives have intertwined along the writing road. I respect your decision and know God will bless you — and your family — for your choice. Looking forward to keeping in touch, even as I know I will miss your blog.
    Love you!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm
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      Ah dear Beth, Thank you so much for not just your words here but your all-around encouragement. Love you back!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm
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      Thank you, Jennifer! It’s been a joy to get to know you. I think it was Julie Lessman’s interview that first brought you here, right? I’m so glad we crossed paths and look forward to keeping in touch on Facebook.

  • February 25, 2013 at 9:08 am
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    Hi Sarah – Your obedience to God will bring great reward down the line. I’m so glad I got to meet you. Blessings, Susan

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm
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      So glad I connected with you as well, Susan. Thanks for your constant encouragement.

  • February 25, 2013 at 9:12 am
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    I’ll miss your blog, Sarah, but it’s SO COOL to hear anytime someone has that oh-so-clear knowing that God is pointing a new direction. Seeing someone else listen and obey is a blessing…and also the perfect opportunity for a check in my own spirit. Thanks for sharing. I’ll miss ya!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm
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      Thanks for your words, Melissa. I really struggled with how much to share in this post, but even if God uses it for one person, my mission is accomplished. 🙂 So glad I got to meet you via blogging, and I can’t wait to cheer for your debut later this year!

  • February 25, 2013 at 9:24 am
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    Praying for you as you walk through this. I’ve walked through something similar. I didn’t write for almost a year before I got my contracts. I don’t know whether or not your story will end in book contracts, but what I do know is that God can do anything – far more than you could ever imagine, guess, or request in your wildest dreams. 🙂 I have a sneaking suspicion that God is doing something really cool in your life right now. Here’s the link to what happened when God asked me to stop writing: http://www.juliejwrites.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-journey-to-publication.html

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm
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      Julie, Thanks so much for sharing the link to your story. I got goosebumps as I read it. I know God still wants me to write a little bit, but the landscape of my time looks very different than it did before. I love what your pastor said in his sermon–that God fills our voids with something better–and often that something better is simply more of His presence. Yesterday I downloaded K-Love’s free song, “Worth It All” by Meredith Andrews, and the lyrics describe perfectly where I’m at in this season. (http://www.klove.com/music/store.aspx)

      I let go of all I have just to have all of You
      And no matter what the cost I will follow You
      Jesus everything I’ve lost I have found in You
      When I finally reach the end I’ll say
      You are worth it all
      You are worth it all
      You are worth it all
      Jesus, You’re worth it all.

  • February 25, 2013 at 10:03 am
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    I can only imagine what a tough choice this has been for you, you really do have a Gift, it has been my pleasure to share. But as you say, this is the Season you are in, while the littles are little. You know your Gift, you know who gave you that gift, and using this time to get close with Him again, and to show your children that is your Priority is a Strong thing to do. Good for you! We’ll see you around!

  • February 25, 2013 at 10:15 am
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    Sarah, every mom’s journey is unique, remember that. Part of discovering that is to keep in step with God’s direction in your life, through prayer. I, too, had to lay down my writing goals while raising my children and now I am happily discovering that His timing for me is as it should be. Many years ago I was reading Catherine Marshall’s book Adventures in Prayer. Her chapter on “The Prayer of Relinquishment” hit me right where I was. She, too, a writer had to lay down her aspirations to become published, to share what the Lord had put in her heart via the printed word. In years since, she has blessed countless individuals who have been touched by her her fiction (Christy, etc.) and non-fiction (Beyond Ourselves, etc.),
    May you be blessed in all that you do for His glory. And I pray that he will comfort you and give you joy as you go through this process of relinquishing. It is ok to grieve a little while when we let something go, but be sure to embrace the blessings right before you.

    Love & Blessings,
    Carla

    P.S. Thank you again for having me on your blog and being an inspiration to so many! ❤

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm
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      “Be sure to embrace the blessings right before you.”

      So well stated, Carla. Thanks for your example and encouragement.

      • February 27, 2013 at 10:06 am
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        Hugs! I’m confident we shall see you in the future. Enjoy those beautiful kiddies of yours, it really goes by in a flash!

  • February 25, 2013 at 10:49 am
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    Sarah, I completely understand. I chose to do the same thing at the beginning of the year and it’s been such a blessing. I’ve had more time with my husband and kids and I’ve felt more involved in their lives than I have in a long time. Listening to God is never the wrong choice and I know you will be blessed in your life and your relationships because of this. All the best with your writing, and have fun with your family. You’re right, you only have this time now and it goes by so fast!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm
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      Cindy, So glad to hear your experience of letting go and being blessed. It’s easy sometimes to let all the competing voices fill our heads, when we really only need to worry about the voice of One. Hugs to you, my friend.

  • February 25, 2013 at 10:50 am
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    I completely feel your heart on this. I’ve been doing some of my own evaluation of what’s important in my life, and I am so proud of you for making this step a priority! Our children are only little for a short time– we need to take advantage of every second. Like you, I’ve decided that I will write when God allows the time, and that time will not take precious moments from my children. Love you, Sarah!!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm
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      You’re so right, Jenny. The last thing I want is to reach my publishing dreams, only to leave my husband and children neglected because I’ve failed to love them the way I should. Your world is about to get shaken up with a new baby, so I know you’re facing that reality as well. Love and hugs!

  • February 25, 2013 at 11:38 am
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    Sarah: God will reward you for your obedience. I have had to put my plans down for my family in the past. I fully understand. Go with God.

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm
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      Thank you, Cecelia. I’m so thankful to have connected with you.

  • February 25, 2013 at 11:41 am
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    Dear, sweet Sarah, my heart goes out to you. I know this decision didn’t come easily, but I admire you for listening to the Lord’s leading. Those years with our children at home go by so quickly. You’ll be busy making memories with and for them, but I know that creative mind of yours will continue to dream up story ideas. Be sure to jot them down so that when you enter a new season and are able to write again, you’ll have those gems handy. I wish you well. I’ve got your email addy, and you can be sure I’ll stay in touch.

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm
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      Thank you, dear Keli. You’d better believe I have pads of paper handy in just about every room of my house. 🙂

  • February 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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    Sarah, I love your obedient heart! I didn’t start writing until my babies were in high school. Now they are off on their own…it goes by quick…in a blink. I couldn’t have done it when they were small. I am so glad that I dedicated and sacrificed my life to God and my family at that time. My kids have all grown, they are educated, and chosen career paths that help other people who cannot help themselves in this life. I have been blessed. I know God is proud of them…I sure am. Keep in touch!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm
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      Loree, I can’t tell you how encouraging your words are. Knowing that you’ve walked the path of sacrifice and have seen the rewards in your children is great validation. Thank you for sharing!

  • February 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm
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    I love your heart here!! I know this wasn’t easy but God will abundantly bless you for being obedient.

  • February 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm
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    Sarah, you have such a beautiful gift with words. I’ve been reading Genesis lately myself and am touched by your mention of Abraham and Isaac because it really is so true– when God gives us extraordinary gifts, He wants to know we’ll give them back to Him, no holds barred. What hope we have in God’s intervention to not let those dreams and promises and gifts die through the sacrifice. Prayers God blesses you and speaks to you as never before as you take this step of faith in Him. Love you girl!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm
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      Thanks, Ashley! Genesis delivers some hard-hitting truth, doesn’t it? Amazing how events thousands of years ago are still applicable today. Hugs to you!

  • February 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm
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    Sweet Sarah, I had to put my writing on hold for several seasons over the years, some periods were by choice and some were unplanned. I was never sorry that I placed my writing on the backburner because of those fleeting years spent with our young children. Now, they’re older, but I’ve never ever regretted being witness to first milestones or making them my priority when they were little–you won’t regret it either. Hugging you from afar and sending you loads of love and prayers! 🙂

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm
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      Thank you for your hugs, love, and prayers, Cynthia! I feel them from afar. 🙂

  • February 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm
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    As hard as this might be, Sarah-I love your obedience and I know that this sacrifice will pay off for sure. I know your struggle too–trying to fit in blogging with writing, social networking, social media and all of the other duties we’re trying to fit into our schedules…it can be rough. Please understand that I look forward to hearing from you in the next season and know that God’s plan for you will be nothing short of awesome.

    Continued Blessings…

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm
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      His plan is always best, right, Jenny? Thanks for your encouragement. So glad I’ve gotten to know you!

  • February 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm
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    Sarah,
    Thank you so much for the amazing love you poured into your blog. I’m honored to be among the last few of your guests. You’re a very special lady and I think it’s awesome you are listening to and honoring God’s voice and calling for your life. As a mother of nearly grown children, trust me, cherish those younger years. They fly by. I’m so thankful I wasn’t published until my girls were much older. God’s timing is always best. <3

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm
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      Dani, You know I wouldn’t leave my blog without shouting how much I love your books. 🙂 Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.

  • February 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm
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    Thanks so much for sharing Sarah. I know what you mean about spiritual restlessness. I’m in a similar place and grappling with the thought that God wants me to release something big as well (my job). You are an amazing writer and I know God will bless your obedience to him in laying it aside for a season.

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm
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      Thanks, Kara. Prayers for you as you continue to grapple. It’s funny…Sometimes we fight so much to hold on to something that we fail to enjoy the very thing we’re holding onto. Letting go brings release and peace.

  • February 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm
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    Blessings your authentic faith journey Sarah. May God richly bless your obedience to Him. May He anoint your spirit and lead you deeper into His wondrous heart. We all live with regret, but you are being proactive to avoid the worst kind of regret–the kind you don’t get a second chance with. I totally believe God is a God of second chances, but that He desires to be first in our lives and hopes we will never have need of second chances. God bless.

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm
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      Thank you, Anne, especially for your words about regret. That’s something God pinpointed for me as I prayed through this decision, and I know it’s not a mistake you mentioned it here.

  • February 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm
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    Cheering you on in your journey, wherever the Lord may lead you! I’m glad we met through blogging, and look forward to seeing you around on FB. Will miss seeing you here but I am glad you are doing what you need to do.

    Love and blessings,
    Karen

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm
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      Thanks, Karen. I’m glad too for the connection with you. I look forward to staying in touch elsewhere.

  • February 26, 2013 at 1:40 am
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    i won’t be saying goodbye….we will still keep in touch via email, though we’ll have to do better than we’ve done before. i stand by you in your decision and support you! with my own daughter about to start school in august, and yes…hyperventilating ensues….i GET it. good for you!! praying for you during this time!

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm
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      Thanks for your encouragement, Jeannie! We both get to hyperventilate together then. (Isn’t there therapy for that?) 🙂

  • February 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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    I love your tender heart to God’s leading. 🙂

    • February 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm
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      Thanks, Erica. Sometimes tender means flat-out painful, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be. 🙂

  • February 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm
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    Wow. Thank you, everyone, for your words of encouragement and support. I got teary-eyed reading your comments. I know I’m biased, but I’ve got the greatest blog friends ever. 🙂

  • February 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm
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    Sarah, just read Lacie’s post, too, and commented over there. Bottom line–your family/marriage is always first. It’s easy for that writing dream to overtake everything else! I couldn’t have pursued it when my kids were little. God will bring you back to it, if the dream keeps burning in you. I just think it’s great how you and Lacie both felt that deeper hunger for the Lord. We have to be willing to sacrifice our most precious, tightly-held things for God, and He will never disappoint us. God bless you as you follow His leading!

  • March 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm
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    Sarah — Thanks for sharing this. Especially the part where you said, “no matter what He asks of me in this particular season, He loves me and will provide.” Right now as God asks me to release back to Him the dreams He set in my heart, it’s so easy to resent the sacrifice and want him to provide me with everything I want. He does ask for sacrifice, without knowing if He will give back what we turned over to Him. Abraham set out from the land he knew to follow God, not knowing if the place God sent him would be “better” or “good.” I’ve been thinking about you lately and making a trip down to get our little people together before K. and Z. are in school all the time. I’ll get in touch with you soon.

    • March 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm
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      Angela, We would love to have you. Hard to believe our babies are getting so grown-up on us!

  • March 11, 2013 at 11:31 am
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    Sarah, since coming home for ACFW I’ve backed off my blog-hopping (for some of the very same reasons you’ve stepped away from blogging), which means I didn’t even know you’d taken a break from blogging until today! But today I’m so excited to see that you’ve signed a contract and God had a way-too-cool plan in light of your sacrifices. How awesome is that?!?!? I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see where this journey will take you. Congrats, again!

  • May 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm
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    I just now saw this, Sarah. I wanted to say, “God bless you.” He’ll honor and reward your obedience.

    Waving and applauding your courage from here,

    Rhonda

  • Pingback: A Season of Work: When God Says Go | Sarah Forgrave

  • March 6, 2015 at 6:54 am
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    Thank you so much for directing me to this post, Sarah. You’ve given me much to think about. xo

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