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. I feel the deep pain and through it you touched this girls heart this am. I need to love like that not out of the deep recess of my broken heart. My husband of 19 years wants a divorce and I don’t want to show him love. Thank you for your vulnerability.
    Tracey

    • Tracey I am praying for you and your husband this morning. Know that God is right there beside you. He will neither leave or forsake you and He loves you!

        • I will agree with my sister. God’s love for you is so much more than our human minds can possibly grasp. Praying He reveals more of that amazing love to you. May His grace take you to new levels as you go through this difficult time.

        • tracey
          whatever is tomorrow know that you and your husband are firmly but softly held in God’s warm hands and my heart. please feel the strong support you are being sent .

    • Father God I pray in Jesus name for strength and health and Tracy’s mind and body Lord. I ask that you would cover her with your peace that you would use the pain to help others. I asked that you would destroy the enemy in their marriage and restore it, in Jesus name. I thank you for Tracy’s life and pray health in all the broken areas. Amen.

    • Tracey- please consider joining some of yours sisters over at Greater Impact …the Strength & Dignity online group with Nina Roesner of Respect Dare. It’s a group for women in difficult marriages. It’s a Jesus sized life- boat so you know how big and strong that is. It’s got wisdom. Sessions. Life lists..and women who get it like me praying our hearts out as we walk through the fire. Love you!

    • Tracey, praying that the Lord lifts you today into His sweet and comforting arms. May He touch your heart gently, whispering reassurance 🙂

    • Tracey,

      Praying for you and your husband now! May God restore this marriage and the love you once had. I pray for peace to transcend your soul!!

      Blessings 🙂

    • Oh Tracey, I am so sorry for the greivious words your husband spoke to you. I am praying now that you will remember who you are in Christ. It can be so easy to go to the default emotion of feeling not of value, but please try to picture Jesus saying you are of value in that same moment you first heard those stinging words from your hubbie. I am praying God will be the victor in your mess and that goodness and joy will be in your tomorrow. Much love from me to you, Tracey!

  2. Beautiful! I was blessed to have a mom like you wanted but when I read this it could apply in so many other ways. I can see me in the lonely part but see friends thru your feelings. Beautifully written, thank you for sharing.

  3. I feel like your mom must have felt, the lonliness, the burden of being. My life is so broken and i feel like i have no purpose. Wish i could be with Jesus. I have one son,,should i share my heart with him and leave him broken too.Im not a good mom but i do love him so. Thankyou or sharing your heart.

    • You have a wonderful purpose my sweet friend. I feel like this far too often, you are not alone. God is with us, He knows just how you feel and He will help you through this difficult time. No one is perfect and the good news is we don’t have to be! Jesus is perfect and He is enough. Trust in Him and give thanks even when it’s hard too. Thank you for sharing this, you blessed me today and don’t forget, you have a beautiful purpose that only you can accomplish. God bless you and your son. Praying for you. Xoxoxo

    • K – Praying for you today…that you’ll cling to Jesus…that He’ll give you the strength and peace and JOY your heart needs. I hope you’ll have the courage to share with someone close to you that can walk with you. ❤️

    • K,
      You DO have purpose and that is just to be God’s beloved and delighted in daughter!! We were made to be in relationship with our Father in Heaven…that’s it. Open up and let your love and hurting be known. I will pray for you for the strength to do so and let God usher in His love for you.
      Blessings and ((hugs)),
      Bev

    • I have a broken relationship with my daughter. So many hurtful damaging things said between us. It’s only something Father God can fix. So I wait patiently until he does. I have forgiven and forgotten. I hope she can do the same someday. Your words about your mother and you gives me hope. God’s blessings my dear!!

    • K,

      God doesn’t make junk. He makes everyone and everything with a purpose. He has plans for you!!! Share your heart with your son. Tell him you love him. Let him know you feel broken and pray together. Stick close to Jesus and pray my dear sweet sister. I will pray for you now!

  4. Lord, help those of us, with imperfect parents or parents-in-law, to adopt our Heavenly Father’s way of parenting: Grace, Forgiveness and above all, Love.

  5. Dearest Sarah Mae,
    Though l do not know the circumstances which your mother passed, I know what it feels like to lose a mother. I lost my mother at a young age. She did not know how to to love but did the best she knew how. I watched her waste away before my very eyes due to her illness and her habit, which she loved more than me. It took me a long time to realize that at the end she didn’t want to be alone and wouldn’t allow me to go to school or play with the other children. She knew she was dying and didn’t want to be alone. I pray for her soul and I hope to see her again one day. I doubt she was saved but I can always hope for God’s mercy and compassion on her soul. She left nothing behind , not even a picture. Just a scared little girl who watched them take her mommy away one day never to return. So, today I pray for you Sarah Mae, may God’s love shine through you as you have shared such a tender part of your life with us. I too want to love everyone because God instilled that in me as well. Goodness and love are a part of me and no one can take that from us. Thank you Jesus for taking something so broken and making it whole and beautiful again. Amen

    • I say a prayer for you and yes all shall be well. I lost my husband 2 years ago and it has been some journey but God is good

  6. Sarah, how I’d love to sit across the table from you and share our experiences. I’ve wrestled a lot lately with the relationship I have with my mom…wanting to release all the pain and all the questions that go unanswered in my heart and mind. Thank you for sharing. I’m praying God will use this to continue teaching me how to respond to and love my mother while I still have the chance.

  7. Wow! It’s like I could have written this, even down to the burying of the ashes. Thank you!

  8. Sarah Mae,
    This is the best writing I’ve read of yours.

    I understand well what you are saying here and how it has made you who you are.
    There are people in each of our lives who flat out don’t know how to love.

    But I choose to love. In all its gut wrenching pains and in all its deep wells of joy, it’s much better to love and love well.

    Thank you for digging deep!

  9. This was touching…and so heart-wrenching all at once for reasons I wish I could share here. Thank you for your words above, Sarah Mae. If you only knew the spot of tenderness this touched within.

  10. Oh Sarah Mae, even though I know the story it hurts to read it. I hurt for you and all you struggle with, but I’m proud of you and how God is moving you forward. And you’re taking so many sweet girls with who, through your words, are releasinguch of their own pent up emotions. Your transparency is healing not only for you, but so many others. And if that weren’t enough, you’re fulfilling your mom’s wish that you write her story. She’s well now and she wants you to be too. I love you Sarah Mae.

  11. It was only late last night that I subscribed to the (in)courage blog…and to wake up and read this post, which hits so close to home, tells me God is on the move. (#IHearYaGodLoudAndClear) Sarah Mae, bless you for having the courage to write about your Mom in such a beautiful and transparent way. I’m really grateful God brought me here this morning! ❤

  12. Sarah Mae – Tears here . . . What you have written I’ve been hiding from – unable to admit. Surely my mother was able to love!!? To question it would reign down all hell, though I know it to be true – that she was broken and hurting in her very private world she hid from everyone – it’s a legacy she passed on to us girls and we practice it well. This kind of brutal honesty is what is missing from today’s church. It saddens me. I love, I love large . . . And yet, I need so very badly for someone to see through me, see my pain and see my need to be loved. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Crystal, when no one else sees, the Lord sees…all our pain, all our hurt, all our joys. You are seen and known by Him, when others don’t, can’t, or won’t. We see you here, dear sister, May the Lord be so close to you today and everyday 🙂 Hugs!

      • Thank you An for this reminder. . . Though it is so difficult much of the time, and for this I am ashamed! Your kind words mean a lot, thank you !

  13. Thank you Sarah Mae. I can relate. I too had a mom who did not know how to love and carried much deep hurt and woundedness all of her life. This has touched a deep part of me that I cannot reach but I am asking Jesus to do the surgery only He can do. May His love go to deeper levels within you.

  14. So sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the feelings that must be surging through you at this time. Thank you for your example of forgiveness.

  15. I admire your compassion and ability to forgive. My mom is still around but I don’t know how to get past my grief that she has never been or can be the kind of mom I desperately need. I fear the day she’d be gone without knowing the Lord and I will have regrets the rest of my life.

  16. I could have written these words about my own mother, except she is still numbing herself and I have yet to bear the second grieving. It is only a matter of time now. As a woman in her mid-30s now who is long past the first time she lost her mother, I am far more inclined to love than anger these days. And I will love her wildly until I have to bury her under lavender and a tree. She showed me right where a couple of years ago. But for the grace of God.

    Thank you for your honesty. I cherish any moment I have to know I could be understood should I spill the whole rotten, but redemptive story.

    – Dana

  17. Oh my word. Thank your for being so real. My Mom is still living in the flesh here with me today. I often feel the way you spoke of about your Mom. I need to release her of expectations that aren’t fair to her. Thank you so much for this post.

  18. Sarah Mae – Thank you for opening your beautiful heart and sharing your story. I’m praying for continued peace and healing for you. ❤️

  19. Thank you Sarah. I lost my mom suddenly, 4 months ago. She was a heroin addict among other things. I couldn’t keep my tears back while reading your words. They were my words too. It’s hard to believe someone else has a carried that unique pain and lost too. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  20. I read this over my morning cereal with big, fat tears rolling down my face – turning my raspberries salty. So like this bittersweet life. I had also read this morning somewhere on the interwebs before even getting out of bed, that pain doesn’t kill us, but what we use to dull/mask/treat the pain just might. Thank you for sharing your pain. A dear friend forwarded this to me to help me feel not so alone in my own mother-daughter struggles. Mine, unable to love me as I had with a child’s heart, always hoped…now has dementia and for the first time, has forgotten my birthday. Thank you for reminding me that the only thing I can do is love. And continue to forgive. As my heart breaks and bursts, may it – as you so eloquently and truthfully express – overflow and extend to all. Who says you have to be healed and whole before you can love? I think we are asked to do it from brokeness all the time.

  21. Thank you for writing this. Replace “mom” with “dad” and I could have written it myself. It’s been 20 years since my dad went to be with the Lord and I’m still walking through healing of all the ways his brokenness broke me. But today I rejoice in knowing that he’s no longer broken, but healed and whole. Thank you for that.

  22. As I started reading what you have shared Sarah Mae, I immediately begin to weep, then cry those deep down cries of pain that have been locked inside for so many years. I am 63. My mother passed away 1 1/2 yrs ago. All my life I longed for a mothers love, but realized, now that she is gone that will never happen. I knew she hid much, I think it was her way of coping with her own inward pain from her childhood and marriage to her 2nd husband. She was like a friend in a way when I was married, but never a mother , nor a grandmother to my children now grown. Her cover was to laugh and to make people laugh. People wanted to be around her b/c she was fun, but on me, she dumped her complaints. I felt more like her mother then she mine. In my life, too there has been things that have happened that have been too traumatic to talk about. with anyone except my therapist. It is only in recent years that I have been able to truly begin to unlock the pain that lies within. I have felt so alone in walking this healing journey, not having the support, most times no support in this or even in the physical realm dealing with the many health issues I have and the difficulties being disabled, needing a wheelchair. I have been so much in life, but now God is beginning to see the roots of it all. I am very broken, my mother was very broken and her mother and I suspect my great grandmother as well. My father too was a very hurt, broken man. My children do not call or come around much. I thought I was a good mother, I gave all I knew how to do. Their father, was in the house, but not in their lives except for fun things. He was proud to tell me he had done all he could do to turn my children against me. I don’t understand. My world fell apart almost 20 yrs ago. There have been very hard trials along the way, keeping me from grieving, from working through one thing before I had to deal with another. I love my children, I miss them, I feel cheated at not being given the chance to be a real grandma to my grandchildren, something I had always looked forward to. Through it all, I have continued, with God’s grace to persevere, getting up time and time again. I am a survivor wanting to go past surviving to thriving. I want my children to heal. I long for them to see me for who I am, not for the box they have put me in. I long for us to open and share our hurts and pains, to forgive, to grow together, not apart as is the case with my family background. There is so much deep pain past from generation to generation. I hold onto hope that both my children come to know Jesus and to know the true love of God for them. Forgiveness is something I am working through, slowly, I suppose. Please forgive my rambling. Thank you for sharing your heart today, Sarah Mae, While I am grateful to read your post, I am also thankful, I am not alone in what I have felt/feel and experienced. I pray for your continued healing. It is not an easy road to travel, but worth it to have relief of pain, to better know oneself and that it is not that we are not worth loving or deserve what we got and to know come to know the truth of the Love of God the Father for us.

    • Dawn,
      I am praying that God would hear your desperate prayers…I know He does and I know He sees your heart. He hears your plea for the hurt to stop being passed from one generation to the next. The fact that you are calling out to Him is the catalyst for Him to bring beauty from the ashes of your life. Know, sweet sister that I am praying your prayers right along with you. I pray for strength for you to keep traveling the path to healing and wellness. I am praying for your family and all the relationships that have been touched. Praying for His merciful hand to be upon it all…you are worthy and you are loved!
      Love and ((hugs)),
      Bev

    • Dawn, praying with you, dear sister, in all your pain and courage. You are never alone. The Lord hears and we do too-praying that He answers all that you place before Him. Bev is so right, you are worthy and so loved 🙂 Hugs to you always 🙂

  23. I doubt any but those of us who have loved an addict can really understand the depth of Sarah’s pain and ultimate forgiveness. It is a lifetime of living breathing grief that only God can heal.

  24. Sarah Mae,
    This is remarkable…you have touched so many of us in those hurting places. Thank you for daring to be vulnerable so that others might derive hope and healing from your wounds and your words.
    Beautiful….
    Love,
    Bev

  25. This is so heartwrenching to read.. I feel your pain in every word! Thank you for sharing your heart. God’s love is all encompassing & brings healing, forgiveness & redemption to an incredibly painful situation. May you feel His loving arms & comfort – that only He can give- as you grieve the loss of your mother.

  26. Blah. I don’t even know how to respond. I’m 42 and I’m just now realizing I don’t have a mom and never really have. I’ve got three kids and it’s becoming so evident how many dysfunctional and hurtful coping mechanisms I picked up from my depressed, distant, hurtful mom. I desperately want to feel something for her but I just don’t. She loves Jesus, and for that I am thankful, but she is painfully handicapped in loving others well. My rockstar counselor is worth her weight in gold as we work through it (along with the Wonderful Counselor) but the struggle is so very real. I pray that one day, when I receive news that my mom has passed on into Eternity, I will have some feelings of warmth and/or redemption as you’ve shared. I pray this is part of a beautiful story, but at this moment in time….well, hope is hard. But after reading your story, I’m tempted to think…maybe. Just maybe He will do something miraculous for me and my mom, as He’s done for you. Thank you.

  27. Sara Mae,

    I understand, while it’s not the same, the loss of a Mother. I’m deeply sorry for your’s. Thank-you for sharing your pain, and sorrow in such a gracious way. Acceptance can be hard to overcome.

    Have a blessed day,

    Penny

  28. How strong, brave, and encouraging. Thank you for your openness and your honesty. Prayers for peace and love as you grieve and beyond.

  29. I’m struggling with a complicated mother/daughter relationship with my mom. And my worst fear is how I will feel when she’s not here. I have bad dreams that I can’t post here about my mom, and want to write about all of the mess but can’t find the words to represent my feelings in a logical and graceful way. I wasn’t beaten or anything “bad”, but emotional and psychological. This piece is a very very rare, precise thread that is only found common by a few of us, and comforting to know we aren’t alone.

  30. Sarah Mae, this is beautiful. I was with you at Emmanuel, hearing your healing words, only days after your mom passed. Such strength you showed even then. God bless you as you continue to share your deeply healing story. It will be a balm to many as you continue to put words together honoring your realtionship with your mother.

  31. Not Scripture, but truthful. I hope it comforts and encourages.

    I had no time to hate, because
    The grave would hinder me,
    And life was not so ample I
    Could finish enmity.

    Nor had I time to love; but since
    Some industry must be,
    The little toil of love, I thought,
    Was large enough for me.

    –Emily Dickinson

    Dear Loving Father, please help us turn our hearts to understanding, to empathy, to agape love!

  32. Some day, maybe sooner than anyone expects, my kids will read my journals and fully know how much hell my life here has been and continues to be. I am lonely, so lonely that words cannot express the depth of it. I have tried to be the best mom I could be. They are all grown now–this of course adds to my loneliness and sense of worthlessness. A chronic illness with pain and accompanying deep depression remind me of these things every day. They have their own lives; for this I am glad. For me, though, I have worked myself out of a job and am at a loss for a reason to continue.

    • Becky, don’t let Satan win. Rebuke him. Keep the faith. The Almighty give you the peace that surpasses all understanding. I am praying for you. Our Creator loves you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. I pray you will feel His love.

  33. This is so touching. I think my Mother was related to yours! She passed away 4 months ago and although she didn’t show love easily I too know she loved me & my brothers. I desperately miss my Mom. ♡

  34. Powerful story. Wow! You could have been talking somewhat about my mom and me, only she is still alive. Still I have had to grieve her and our broken relationship and that she will never be the kind of mom I need. As my sisters and I have no real mom, we are trying to be there for each other in ways our mom cannot be.

  35. A beautifully written and honest piece. It will make me a better person by realizing there is so much hidden underneath each individual I come in contact with. After reading these InCouage prayers for about a year now this is the first I felt compelled to respond to although another favorite which I keep going back to is ‘a Prayer for my Daughter’ by Ann Voskamp. I am so grateful for this site. God bless.

  36. Thank you ladies…..other than that I have no words. I’ll try to find that group recommended.

  37. Sarah Mae, thank you to the Lord for this sharing, your vulnerability. I have known and still know these pains from broken parents and am so grateful to out Lord who never stops loving us, for His love that never ends. Having experienced another rejection, a hurt person hurting others, I hear your tender words that the Lord brings. Thank you for sharing this here, for speaking words in so many hearts. May we each speak our hurts to Him who heals us, letting our broken open us to His love so it is poured out through our broken as He was broken for us 🙂

  38. God bless you Sarah Mae.
    Life is hard but God is good.
    I love that you have honored your mom .
    Blessings.
    Lynda

  39. Sara Mae,

    Thank you for being open about your mom. Your honesty is refreshing. Proud of you for forgiving your mom. Sometimes it is hard for people to love others. Because of what God has done for me-especially this year for my aging dad–I will love everyone. I think of the Jason Gray song “Good to be Alive”. Lyrics include: “I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow. Love like I’m on borrowed time. It’s good to be it’s good to be alive”.

    Blessings 🙂

  40. Thank you for your transparency, Sarah Mae. Your writing was beautifully visceral. Your heart ripe with agony, but it’s the type of agony that helps others heal through their own trauma. May God bless you as you walk the road of grief and may He share even more wise insights with you.

  41. Sarah,
    That was beautiful and something I have not taken jnto consideration when I am hurting myself. When I am at my worst I forget others may be too. Thank you for your beautiful words that I will keep to heart as a reminder that we are all broken in need of an encompassing love our Heavenly Father blesses us with.