Slave to Righteousness

Posted on February 18, 2013 8:18 PM MST by Sara Richardson

Sometimes I struggle with feeling like a slave. Each morning I start out ready to serve my family, but there are some days that I am weary of the demands, the chores, meeting everyone else’s needs by midmorning. Feeding hungry mouths, soothing woeful tears, wiping faces, cleaning up toys when there’s an explosion in the playroom, washing the dog after the daily accidental spill, changing diapers, doing dishes, cooking dinner, running errands, making lists. I don’t do these things for myself. It’s all for someone else—usually the one who happens to be complaining the loudest. I. Am. A. Slave. But that’s exactly what I’m supposed to be.

As a Christian I am, by the very definition, a slave. The official definition of a slave is:

- “A person who is the property of and wholly subject to one another.”
- “One bound in servitude as the property of a person or household.”
- “A mom.” Oh, wait, I added that one in.

When I made a commitment to choose life over death, joy over despair, grace over self-redemption, I indentured myself to a life of servitude. And I’m still learning how to cope with it. It’s not easy. I don’t think it was supposed to be. I don’t think it’s a commitment to be taken lightly.  Think about what Jesus said to his disciples in Mark chapter 9: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” I imagine that’s not exactly what they were expecting to hear. I imagine a couple of them whispered under their breaths, “Wait a minute. That’s how Jesus is going to make things right? He’s gonna stoop to the same level as a slave?” It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but that’s exactly what he did…all in the name of sacrificial love. We’re called to that same love—a love that goes beyond discovering what’s in it for me.

According to the Bible, being a slave—serving others at the expense of serving yourself—is the highest calling, the most important thing a Christian can do. And yet it goes against everything in us. All you have to do is spend a few minutes in a room full of two-year-olds to see inherent selfish tendencies surface. Just like them, there are times I feel like yelling “Mine!” That’s MY breakfast, no you can’t have any. Those are MY pots and pans, stop banging them! Naptime is MY quiet time, how dare you wake up! At times like that I have to talk myself down. Repeat Jesus’ words over and over until they break through the chaos.

Because, when I really stop to think about it, I know that being a slave is worth it. I know where I would be without the hope to which God has called me. I know the alternative and I don’t want any part of it. “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.”  (Romans 6:18 NLT)



Cheap Therapy

Posted on February 10, 2013 12:00 AM MST by Sara Richardson

I’ve decided that every mom needs therapy. I could launch into a big long explanation about why, but I really don’t think that’s necessary. Endless noise, dishes, cooking, mopping, laundry, grocery shopping, diapers, mysterious growths in the refrigerator, whining, dust, unidentified flying objects that break the lamp…. Oh! Toilet scrubbing. That’s definitely got to be in there. I’m sure there’s more, but you get the idea. A lot to do and never enough time.

Of course the blessing of having kids far outweighs all of this, but every once in a while we need to escape. Recharge. In the midst of all these responsibilities, here’s what I do to maintain my mental health:

  • Run. (Now don’t go thinking I’m some kind of marathoner. Three miles is about my limit.)
  • 30-day shred video with Jillian Michaels. It’s amazing how strong you feel after 20 minutes of intense strength training!
  • Read. Is there any better escape then to let yourself get caught up in a good book?
  • Visit the coffee shop. I’ve been having issues with caffeine, but I can’t seem to stay away from the coffee shop. Even just the smell makes me happy!
  • Girls’ night out. Go somewhere you can laugh with your girlfriends. Laugh about your kids. Laugh about your mountain of laundry sitting in the closet at home. Laugh about the fact that your size six jeans no longer fit. Then order dessert and laugh some more.
  • Sing. You should hear me rock out on my iPod while I’m running or walking. It’s a great stress reliever (even though I’m pretty sure it scares my kids). 
  • Write. Fiction, bad poetry, complaints, letters to God, journal entries, epiphanies…most of which no one else will ever read.

I guess that’s about it. What do you do for therapy?


Patti ( commented on 05/12/2010 7:33 AM:
  I TOTALLY agree and always have, starting 24 years ago, when baby Sarah joined us!!!I do ALL of those things, except Monday I ran 7 miles to pray and get out the frustration.Hey, you are SOOOO loved by me!! Why? You are fun, wise, and about the best darn editor/writer I know. Yep. If I could, I'd call from China just to tell you I love you.

Waiting. Always waiting.

Posted on February 4, 2013 12:00 AM MST by Sara Richardson

To live is to wait. For things to slow down. For the season to change. For a trial to end. For answers. We are always waiting. You would think, by now, that I would have gotten this waiting thing down. That I’m at least okay at it, if not good at it. But I hate waiting. I always have. I’m a doer. For me to sit still and wait is painful and discouraging and … well, I’ll just be honest. It’s annoying.

Maybe that’s why God keeps insisting that I wait. Because I am so resistant to it. I fight against ambiguity. Temptation beckons me to push and shove my way forward until I get what I want, or until I discover all of the answers. And then I mess everything up.

I am the very person Oswald Chambers described when he said, “It is much easier to do something than to trust God; we mistake panic for inspiration.” I do that all the time. But I love that quote because it gets at the heart of the issue. Trust.

Right now I am waiting on many things. Details, direction, divine intervention. There is freedom in learning how to trust, in learning to let go. I am always waiting, but I can always be learning, too.

What are you waiting for right now?


Wendy ( commented on 09/29/2010 4:43 AM:
  Word about my book. God has so much to teach me in this wait. Linked here today. Wendy
Heather ( commented on 09/29/2010 6:45 AM:
  Hi, Sarah! I'm waiting on some of the same things you're waiting on. I think I'm always waiting on direction, and I sometimes fear that maybe, just maybe, I've been given direction, but I'm hesitant to let go of fear and go for it. Thanks for making me think today.
Anonymous commented on 09/29/2010 7:47 AM:
  Waiting for snow! So tired of hot weather. :
Traci commented on 09/29/2010 12:25 PM:
  I think in the last week I have said "I can't wait" over 100 times. Now that I officially have a full term baby, I can't wait for her to join us! Waiting for me has become a daily chore, there is a light at the end of the tunnel but no way to predict when the wait will be over. Uhg... I hate waiting.
Katie Ganshert ( commented on 09/29/2010 12:28 PM:
  I've been waiting for a looooong time to hear back from a publishing house. My book's been awaiting pub board for a long time. I agree. Life is waiting. That's why I love that song about worshipping Him while we wait.
Sara commented on 09/29/2010 1:18 PM:
  Wendy, Heather, and Katie such a blessing to have other writers friends who understand the waiting game. It's so funny. All this waiting and then it only takes one yes to make things happen fast. Well, not fast, but at least fastER! TraciI CAN'T WAIT EITHER!!!!!!!! So excited to meet my first niece on the Remley side. Come on little Luci, we're ready for you! Did Kyle tell you how much I freaked out when he called me this morning? Before he could even say anything I yelled, "Is she in labor????" Poor guy.
Tiffany commented on 09/30/2010 7:31 AM:
  Funny thing: this past week, God's been teaching me the difference between having faith in my faith vs. faith in the living God. I thought I had this down, but it keeps coming up. He tells me to pray over someone, then I think, "What if?" What if it wasn't enough? What if I didn't do enough? And He says, it's MINE now. You have faith in ME. Wait on MY timing. Wait, wait, wait. Of course since I'm a slow learner this is coming up all over the place.
Aunt Karen commented on 09/30/2010 1:38 PM:
  I'm waiting for some new pictures of AJ and Kaleb!
melanie ( commented on 10/01/2010 1:38 PM:
  wow, what a poignant post. This really blessed me today, thank you.

Once Upon a Conviction...

Posted on January 27, 2013 12:00 AM MST by Sara Richardson

From the time I could pick up a pencil, I wanted to be a writer. When someone would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t even hesitate. “I want to be a writer.” As a painfully shy child, there were times I felt like a prisoner in my own body. When I did speak, I was surprisingly articulate, but I didn’t speak much. (I know some of you are laughing in disbelief right now.)

But when I would pick up a pencil, everything I could not speak would flow out of me and land on paper—words, thoughts, emotions, all converging together to create perfect syntax harmony. It has always been that way for me. At some point in my journey, I transitioned from an introvert to an extrovert, but words are still my escape. Stories too. Books have always captivated me. Somehow, even as a little girl, I understood that stories have the power to change people. Stories change the world. By sharing our stories with others, we make sense of life. We are enlightened and encouraged and inspired.

The writing profession is different than many other professions in that there are few rewards, few recognitions. There is little acknowledgement of the struggling writer. We are often invisible. Fame for writers is an anomaly, not the norm, and even if you do find fame, you also open up your stories—your heart—to the rest of the world. We all know the world can be a cruel place.

In the last few years since I officially started my writing journey, I’ve thought a lot about the pull between a career and a passion, making a paycheck and submitting to my convictions. I have been given well-intentioned advice to write for the market, to make my stories fit into a box that will “sell.” But I’ve had to accept that is not my conviction. I can only write what lights my heart on fire. As I’ve learned in the last couple of years, I typically don’t write what the market says will sell. My books don’t fit neatly into a genre. I’ve had to accept this about myself, and I’ve had to accept that this is my conviction—to only write from that deepest place of my heart, and to make every sentence I write the absolute best it can be. That is all I can offer. This last year, I have finally let go of pursuing a writing “career.” I am now pursuing my writing conviction. Here is the difference:

  • A true conviction will never loose its grip on you. You may try to walk away, but it will always snag you back, sometimes when you least expect it.
  • A conviction doesn’t offer you a performance plan or a guaranteed salary. It only offers you an abundance of passion that somehow carries you through.
  • A conviction is not motivated by the recognition of others, or by any specified goal, but by a deep sense of God-given vision.
  • A conviction does not stop for disappointment, delays, or distractions. If anything, these things only make a conviction stronger.
  • A conviction is perhaps God’s strongest force within us—His power giving us the divine ability to continue on even when we see no way.

I am learning how to be true to my convictions. My conviction is to write real stories that communicate reasons for hope, and I will keep at it. I simply don’t have a choice. It is what I was made to do.


Anita Mellott ( commented on 02/25/2011 5:44 AM:
  Amen! Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to be true to what God puts in our hearts. May He bless your steps on this path.
Anita Mellott ( commented on 02/25/2011 5:44 AM:
  Amen! Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to be true to what God puts in our hearts. May He bless your steps on this path.
Aunt Karen commented on 02/27/2011 4:12 PM:
  Sara, don't forget God gave you that writing conviction for a reason, and someday, you'll know why.

Good Isn’t Always Good Enough

Posted on January 20, 2013 12:00 AM MST by Sara Richardson

My senior year in college, I worked as the advertising and promotions intern for the CBS affiliate station in Minneapolis. WCCO-TV taught me a lot—how to be a self starter, how to entice random people on the street into doing on-air promotions for the station (they actually called me a “talent wrangler”), how to write a clean television script, and how to search through hours of footage to find one perfect clip. At the end of my three-month stint in the television biz, they wanted to offer me a job as an advertising/promotions producer. After I graduated, my old boss at the station actually called my mom at home in Colorado to track me down.

It would’ve been a good job. Fun, even. I liked the people I worked with…well, most of them anyway. I liked the creative process of combining words with a visual medium. Not only that, I was good at it. I’d gotten to the point where I could whip out a script in twenty minutes. But after thinking about it for a while, I decided not to call them back. It would have been a good job for me, but somehow I knew it wasn’t the best job for me. For three months I’d watched my boss, an advertising/promotions producer, work sixty-hour weeks. I’d watched her stress over pretty much every detail of every promotion we produced. I didn’t want that for my life. I knew I’d never be happy chained to a job, even a good job.

This past year, I’ve learned a lot about pursuing the best even when other things look good. Sometimes the best things are not always the most obvious things. They can defy logic. Over the last couple of months, I’ve devised a new strategy for making decisions about “good” things. I’ve started to ask myself what will honor God most. Not what is the easiest thing to do, or the thing that will serve me, but what is best beyond what I can see. I don’t always make the right decision, but I’m discovering that the best things are freeing, even if the path is painful at first. Sometimes you can’t see what’s best until you’ve learned that the good isn’t good enough.

This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  Isaiah 48:17


Traci commented on 02/09/2011 1:16 PM:
  That is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank you!
Melanie ( commented on 02/15/2011 7:55 PM:
  Sara,I LOVE coming here. You always inspire me and remind me to look upward. I want to ask those questions, too & I'm blessed by your desire to seek God first in everything.Mel
Tiffany commented on 02/21/2011 5:10 PM:
  Hey, I found a link by Athol Dickson, one of our buddy bloggers listed up on the right side of this page. For more on Good and Good enough, follow this link and scroll down to his blog titled "The Worst List of All Time", dated January 19th of this year. It's all about listening to God's version of great as opposed to the "good enough" of other people.