May 3, 2013

Book Review - 'Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe'

Confession: It's been awhile since I finished up this book, so this will be a review of broad and sweeping impressions, rather than one of great detail.

Disclaimer: This book is for moms and is written by Christians from a Christian perspective.  Sorry to you readers who do not fit into these categories.  But perhaps you might have a friend who would benefit from and enjoy this book, and could pass on the recommendation to her.

DesperateBook: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
Authors: Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

I have read many of Sally Clarkson's books.  Her books Ministry of Motherhood and Mission of Motherhood were instrumental in major changes in my heart and home.  The Holy Spirit used them to do some major work in my attitude about being a mom.  I'm grateful, eternally, that Sally wrote the books that she has written.  With that being said, I always offer this disclaimer when sharing those books with friends or giving them as gifts: Sally has thought a lot about these things, don't be intimidated by how it seems like she's done everything right.  (She hasn't but it can feel like she did.)  And also, don't try to be Sally; be yourself, putting the principles (not rules or regulations) that she teaches, into practice.   As you know about me if you've been around Life in the Valley for a while, I want a plan and program, to do it, and have everything turn out perfectly.  Sally points moms to Scripture, the life of Jesus, and calls us to disciple the little ones with whom we've been entrusted.  It's a call of faithfulness and trust in the Lord.  Her words are a blessing to our generation.

I share all of that with you to say this.  Desperate is different; different than any of Sally's previous books or any other book about being a mom I've ever read.  I didn't feel at any point like I had to talk myself down because I was feeling intimidated or overwhelmed by what I was reading.  THIS BOOK IS REAL.

What makes it so powerfully real is that each chapter has a contribution from both Sarah and Sally about real issues mommies face day by day by day by, well, you get the idea!  Sarah is "in the trenches" so to speak, with a few young ones.  Sally is "on the other side" (yeah, that special place we all dream of getting to, more ASAP some days than others!  Did I hear an, Amen, out there?!) all of her children having graduated from high school.  Each chapter begins with a short letter from Sarah to Sally about some issue or topic surrounding being a mom, and a brief response from Sally to Sarah.  The meat of the chapter that follows expands on the question at hand.  The format is wonderful.

But it is the content that "makes" the book.  As I said, THIS BOOK IS REAL.  There are chapters ranging from depression to housework, staying sane with so many voices around us to finding joy in this life of mundane busyness.  The pages are bursting with hope; the reader finds herself relieved to know she's neither alone nor crazy (reading Sarah's words) and then uplifted and encouraged to persevere because it's worth it (reading Sally's responses).

Desperate is a must-read if you are a mommy, no matter what age your children, though I suspect even more so if you are a mom of a bunch of little ones.  I also recommend it to "seasoned" mommies, because it's a good refresher/reminder of days gone by and the call to mentor and teach those coming along behind you, a la Titus 2.

In the pages of this book, we're invited in to the mentoring relationship Sally has with Sarah Mae, enjoying the privilege of gleaning from Sally's wisdom without her needing to mentor each of us individually!  I highly recommend reading this book with a friend.  Every chapter ends with questions for reflection and a QR code to learn more by watching a short video interview with Sarah and Sally.  Cool, right?!  (I need to go back and watch those, still!!)

Hm, maybe we should have a book club in Pittsburgh this summer?  Any takers?!

Have a great weekend!


  1. i saw this book advertised and felt led to get it...thanks for the review!

    1. Oh wonderful! I hope it's a blessing to you, too. :)