Monday, May 2, 2016

New Places, New Spaces

Hi friends! I wanted to update you to let you know that I will no longer be posting here on In an effort to rebrand myself as not just a blogger and have one place to hold all my projects, you can now visit
So check it out and click around. I think you'll find it easy to navigate and all my previous blog posts should be in there, so you can still search for your favorites.
Don't forget to subscribe via email to my new blog at so you can receive new posts right to your inbox!
Thank you all. I'm excited about this new change and hope to see you over there.  

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Hard I Wanted

As a young married woman I dreamed of the day when I would be able to quit my job and become a mommy - a full time, stay-at-home mommy. The thought of those days ahead of me made my heart race. Days filled with tiny people to love on and care for, tiny people who looked a little like me or Josh or both and whose personalities I would watch unfold over the years. It sounded blissful.

In December of 2010 that dream finally came true. I quit my job, gave birth to my first baby, and was blessed with the ability to stay at home with him and spend my every waking moment drinking in his perfection. Don't get me wrong, it was hard. It was the most life-altering experience I'd had to date - I mean, never before did I have a job where I had to be that selfless. It rocked my world. But still, I loved it. I mean, I truly, really loved it.

Motherhood is something I was built for. And I don't just mean the having babies part. I mean the entire, completely pouring all of my life into someone else, losing my own identity, showering quite infrequently part. Really, I was mentally ready for that. My heart was ready for it. I felt so built for it. That was the hard I wanted.

What I did not feel built for, however, and the hard I did not want, was losing two of my babies. I don't remember that being a part of my young twenty-something dreams.

God certainly has a sense of humor. Although I don't necessarily like that term because it makes it seem like God is a practical joker, which I'm pretty sure He's not. What I mean though, is that He often operates in what we would call "irony". 

Like, why did the woman who was so set on and driven in her corporate career suddenly feel called to stay at home with her four children?

Why does the middle-aged woman, who wanted nothing more than to find true love, find herself still single?

Why are those who want to stay called to go and those who want to go, called to stay?


Why does God do this to us?

I wonder if Paul ever looked at his life and chuckled at the irony. I mean, as a younger man he wanted nothing more than to see the followers of Christ mauled by hungry beasts. One road to Damascus later and he's now preaching and seriously sacrificing his personal comforts for the very thing he once vowed to crush. That's irony at it's best.

I recently listened to a podcast from Surviving Sarah. In that particular episode, she was interviewing Shannan Martin. Shannan was talking about some of the dreams she had at one point and how God seemed to take her in a completely different direction. She said this:

I literally "hmmm" ed out loud when I heard that. It was sort of an Oprah-esque aha moment. It just made so much sense to me.

For me, whose heart was set on completely saturated and abundant motherhood, God asked me to surrender two of my babies. And then, just to push me a bit farther out of my comfort zone, called me to reach women who are also hurting. I think, so often, God asks us to surrender the parts of our heart that are so set on making this world our home. He asks us to surrender the parts of our heart that forget that we aren't supposed to really settle in here. He asks us to surrender the part of our heart we are keeping for ourselves. 

Do you have anything like that? I thought I had surrendered it all after Evie, but I guess I hadn't. I feel like, when God took Charlie, He whispered, Let this motivate you to do more for Me. Lose yourself in My cause.

I don't know where you are, but I think it's safe to say there are things you've had to surrender to the Lord - things you desperately wanted to cling to. I just want to encourage you today, don't let that surrender leave you bitter or wanting. Let it motivate you to run your race, looking always to your eternal reward in Heaven. God never promised comforts in this life or dreams coming true. What He has promised, however, is a reward for those who stay faithful, even when they're asked to walk a path they would never have chosen. 

Therefore ... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
Hebrews 12:1

You can do it friend. Don't forget, you're not alone <3 

If you haven't already heard, next week's podcast guest will be my stud of a husband. We'll be talking about infant loss from his perspective. We would also like to open it up for Q&A. If you have any questions for him or for me, or for us as a couple regarding this infant loss road, please submit them via facebook or email me at

If you haven't listened to this week's podcast, please check it out! My friend Rory shares her adoption journey twelve years in the making. She shares some very encouraging words for those in a season of waiting. 

Also, please find me on Instagram @sarah_rieke. I frequently post with the hashtag #brokenbeautiful and invite you to share your story, or parts of your story, with the same. I also started a #wednesdaysword - just a simple word and Scripture that you can meditate on throughout the day. Sometimes we need encouragement, but a word is all we have mental space for. Believe me, I know!

Thank you all for your support! I love getting to know my readers so please, feel free to send me an email anytime. I hope you all have a great week. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Heart Lessons Podcast | Episode Ten | Journey to a Son

In this episode of the Heart Lessons podcast, you'll hear from Rory Cookman. Rory is a devoted wife and mother with a heart for adoption. Today she shares the journey that led to bringing her sweet son home, a journey that took well over a decade. She talks about her faith through it all and how the Lord sustained her through the waiting process. She encourages those in a waiting period to just hang on and be confident that God is still working. Her uplifting words are sincere and sure to strengthen your faith with the heart lessons that carried her through her journey. 

Heart Lessons:

- God doesn't forget.
- God really does work everything for good and sometimes we just have to trust that without seeing it.
- Honest questions produce honest praise.

Connect with Rory: facebook // email // blog

Scriptures mentioned:

Psalm 68:6
James 1:27
Romans 8:28
Proverbs 13:12
Habakkuk 3:17-19
Philippians 1:6

Sarah's Related Blog posts:

Showing More Love: Waiting to Bring a Child Home (guest post)
What God is Saying to Me Now
The Least of These
The Next Right Thing

Other Related Material:

Living In-Between Means Waiting
Still ...
Because of Love (blog)
One Side of a Heart - On Adoption

Adoption Resources:

Bethany Christian Services 
How to Fund Your Adoption: Dispelling the Myth that You Can't Afford to Adopt

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Refined and Defined

I've written before about a quote from Jennifer Rothschild that encourages those who endure trials to allow those trials to refine them, and not define them. I understand that. I understand that we are meant to learn from our hard times and grow from them rather than be paralyzed by them. I get that. 

However, I can't help but realize that this two-time infant loss experience does define me. I mean, it's kind of how I define myself and my ministry - wife, mother, two-time infant loss survivor - it's kind of inseparable to who I am. I imagine, even years down the road, that's what people will remember me for. Just like Daniel and the lions, David and the giant, Job and the ... crazy stuff, sometimes God gives us all a very defining "thing" that sticks with us for our whole lives. 

But, I hope more than just losing babies, people will remember my faith. I hope that it's the refining that happened as a result of those incredibly defining experiences that really comes through in all that I do. That the peace that passes all understanding that has truly guarded my heart and mind will be impossible to forget. And that the God who brought this hardship into my life will still be seen as good. That's my hope.

I think I'm ok to be defined by my losses because it is that definition that motivates me to continue to refine myself and reach out to those who feel very lost in their newfound label as fellow sufferer. I count it a true privilege.

Monday, April 18, 2016


The Lord has been impressing upon my heart so much lately this idea of stories. Everyone has one and, when shared, they are so incredibly powerful. Stories give us the ability to see God work in very tangible ways and envision how He could possibly work in our lives in a similar way. Simply put, stories allow us to see God.

I wish there was a way to hear the stories of every person who comes here. I realize that so many of you were drawn to my painful story because of your own pain. I'm so sorry for that, but very thankful that we found each other.

I've been brainstorming of ways to be able to hear your stories better and the Lord gave me an idea, inspired by the #oncomingalive project at Scribbles and Crumbs

So, starting today, I'd like to invite you to share your story via Instagram with the hashtag #brokenbeautiful. Share a picture of yourself and your story - the messy, the painful, the hard - and then share, But God.

I want to read your story but, most of all, I want to hear how God sustained you, met you, redeemed you. I want Him to be glorified through it all. 

Please don't feel intimidated by sharing - don't feel like your story isn't as "bad" as someone else's and not worthy of sharing. The truth is, we're all a little broken and in desperate need of God's redemption. All stories are worth sharing. 

So, please, share your picture, your story, and your "but God" element with #brokenbeautiful. And tag me @sarah_rieke so I can read it and comment and share. And, later today, a podcast will be up from Heart Lessons where I talk a little more about this idea of sharing stories. Don't forget to check it out. 

I can't wait to read your story. Looking forward to it very much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heart Lessons Podcast | Episode Eight | Dream Big, Live Bigger

In today's episode of the Heart Lessons podcast, you'll hear from Krista Sartin. Krista and her husband, Landon, are partnered in their band, Landers Road. Krista talks about their journey in pursuing a ministry in music and trying to find her fit as her husband pursued this dream, and how the Lord led her to open an Etsy shop that makes fun, modern baby wraps and slings, and finally, her most recent project on instagram, #thedoorposts. Tune in as Krista shares her story and inspires us all to dream big and live bigger for the Lord and His kingdom. 

Heart Lesson: Dream big, live bigger

Connect with Krista: Landers Road // etsy // instagram 

Scriptures Mentioned:

Deuteronomy 6:9
Galatians 5:22-23
John 7:38

Sarah's Related Blog Posts

A Dream in My Heart
The Story of a Girl
If I'm Honest About Blogging

Other Related Material

Are You Feeling Discontent as a SAHM?
When You Feel Unloved as a Mother
The Surviving Sarah Podcast: Episode 16


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Rend Your Heart

I'm trying to finish reading through the Bible. It was a venture I started four years ago (yes, I've been at it for that long! not ideal), in 2012, the year Evie was diagnosed. To be fair, it was really hard that year for me to read those passages in the Old Testament that talked about all the awful things the Israelites were doing and the things that were being done to them (burning their children alive or cannibalizing them, for example), and I just needed a break for a while. But, anyway, I'm still chugging along at it. Slow and steady wins, right??

I read this verse the other day in Joel:

Rend your heart, and not your garments ... 
Joel 2:13

And it made me think of Jesus's words to the pharisees in Matthew:

Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. First cleanse the inside so the outside may be clean as well.
Matthew 23:25-26

These verses just reminded me how much more important it is to the Lord for our hearts to be clean and pure, and not just our actions. 

I do think it's a little tricky, though. Because, even when your heart feels a certain sinful way toward a situation, we are still called to act well. I don't think this verse gives us excuse to behave without self-control when we feel a lack of self-control on the inside. I think, in that case, what keeps us from hypocrisy is having a heart that desires and is willing to change. 

So maybe that's the first step toward a clean inside - recognizing and calling our sin what it is so that we feel the desire to please the Lord and feel convicted when the miry filthiness of our hearts bubbles to the surface. 

Judgmental thoughts toward others seems to be the place where I find many incongruencies between how I act and what my heart is thinking. I do recognize it though, and try so very hard to change. 

One way the Lord has shown me to combat those thoughts is to immediately, or as immediately as possible, turn that judgement into some sort of prayer or praise or spiritual truth. I read or heard somewhere one time (ha! helpful reference, right ;) that, if you turn these types of sinful thoughts to prayer, the enemy is going to think twice before attacking you in that way. I like that. 

So here's what it might look like in my head when I'm tempted to be a judgmental fartface:

(Scene: A sunny Sunday morning at a local church in Southeastern Virginia. Our protagonist sees a young mother juggling her unruly children)

Protagonist (inside her own head): Good grief, I would never let my children ... sorry Lord. Thank you that she's here. Thank you that she's bringing her kids to learn about you. If she's had a really hard morning I pray you can calm her spirit and ... does that one have cereal in their hair?!?! Why on earth didn't she ... ack! Sorry Lord. Thank you for providing food abundantly for us. Thank you that you accept us in worship, even with cereal in our hair. Please help my stupid brain not to do this anymore ... please, help me ... cleanse my heart ... 

So, anyway, that's a bit of my battle strategy. At the very least, I'm better at recognizing these awful tendencies and attempting to turn them into something positive. I try so, so hard to not let myself indulge in these pharisaical moments. It takes work, but I think the Lord is pleased when I at least give it my best shot.

This week I've just been praying for God to show me where my Regina George insides don't match my Pollyanna outsides. And then praying for strength and strategy to change. And, once a good work has been started, the Lord won't return void. 

I'm so thankful for that.

vs. This

How about you? Where is it hardest to match your heart and behavior? What are your strategies for combating these attacks? Do you also tend to feel all Mean Girl on Sunday mornings? What is up with that??