God’s Voice has Always Led me to pursue a different path– The opposite direction from the World.

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

(On a hike this fall in the Austrian woods–2 roads diverging……and I took the one less traveled by, from experience.)

“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

A cheap hotel room did not offer haven or beauty.Yet, it held me, a sacred sanctuary  as I shyly approached the throne of God amidst worn, shag carpet, a faded utilitarian  bedspread, holding my bowed head.  On my knees, at 22, I  had gone away for my first 24 hours alone with the Lord, I sincelerly poured my child-like heart  and gave Him all the rights to my life.

“I love you. Use me. Show me how to live for you and your kingdom–I come as a willing student and want to know you and your ways.”

Philippians 3: 8- 11 became my innocent heart’s cry, along with Paul: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

This was a come to Jesus meeting between me and Him–understanding that knowing Him would become the goal of my life–and that I was giving all things into His hands–my life, goals, paths, relationships, expectations, ministry, hopes and dreams–they were placed into His hands and so began my life-long pursuit of Him–the treasure of my life. I am not super-spiritual type,  but more of a Peter, passionate and committed, often, just quite flawed in my perceptions and insights .

Yet, understanding this always gave me a place to go–that my lifetime goal was to know Him and love Him. Through the years, I would find mystery: “I don’t know why this is happening.” or “I don’t feel qualified to handle this, God.” But–I gave my life into your hands and so I will follow you where you lead and seek to understand Jesus more from every circumstance, at every turn in my road where you lead. And please know I long to glorify you.”–this has made all the difference in my life. Every step became a point of looking to learn, to know, to worship.

 As a young, naive, in-experienced woman, I had no concept of what this commitment would cost me or where it would lead me. The trials and battle I would face, would at times totally overwhelm me, as I had not trained to be a warrior for righteousness, and I did not know how much it would cost. And yet, my life was owned by Him, so I followed and obeyed and sought His ways, because a commitment between me and Jesus had been made.

God whispered, “Raise the children I gave you for my glory. Disciple them to go back into the world for my kingdom.” And so through this knowledge, I home-schooled so I could spend all of my time with them, to cultivate their hearts, minds, manners and souls for His glory and to be a good steward of the lives He entrusted to me. It was what He called Clay and me to do, against all the advice of those in our circles.

Take a risk, have one more child. Even in the midst of 3 miscarriages, one in which I almost died, I had my 4th child at age 42, against the voices of those who thought this extreme–and who meant well, but they had not heard God speak to me in my quiet time. Children are a blessing, the fruit of the womb is a reward, and so at early mid-life, he blessed me with one more little girl, who has brought me so much Joy–pun intended.

God led us to disciple, through grace, a foundation of love and building character. Love is the foundation of your influence, he whispered.

“You aren’t spanking enough,” the voices whispered. You will ruin your children.

You aren’t being the parent who stands on top of your children. Bowing your knee to serve them will give them a rebellious heart and they will get away manipulate you and become rebellious.”

But Jesus’ example was to love sacrificially and to give up his time in heaven to live, love, teach and serve his own disciples–and so we followed His ways.

And then, God led us to send our children back into the world to bring His kingdom work in very secular places, where the world was dark. New York City Film Academy; Berklee school of music in Boston, Oxford, Cambridge, Hollywood. College at 17, over 1000 miles away from home.

Your children are going to fall in such dark, lost cultures. I can’t believe you would let them go there without your supervision.”

The voices kept haunting us through all of our years. And yet, we followed Jesus–he had said, “Father, I do not pray that you take them out of the world, but keep them from the evil one.” And so we served them, instructed them, trained them, loved them with our whole heart and passed on a personal vision from our own lives to them as best we could, that God had especially chosen them to bring His light to the world-that they were designed to live a story of significance.

But along the way, Jesus whispered, “The world is a hard place–Have fun, and learn to memorialize joyful moments and  life. Honor the beauty and pleasure of  my world. Teach your children to dance and celebrate life–because I made them a beautiful world to experience, so they would know more of my character and grace for them. Don’t live by someone else’s law–live as a child, secure in her Father’s love.”

We started dinner groups, took trips international and at home, read and discussed every day, all the time, had our children serve by our side–because that is what Jesus did–He was “with” His disciples every day and taught them to serve alongside Him. And so we lived as a family with freedom, music, feasting and learned to be ourselves, in spite of the criticism or whispers of others who were afraid to live in His pleasure.

Because Jesus celebrated and made new wine when He ushered in His coming with a wedding feast–a joyful party. And He promised to come back and take us to a new feast in heaven. We had to follow the feasting, artist God, and learned to live life well.

And when we were criticized and pushed away from some circles of those who followed harsher laws than we had been led to obey, we forgave, practiced love, and extended grace–because, Jesus, while being reviled, did not revile in return, but kept trusting Himself to God who judges righteously. (I Peter 2: 23) And so we practiced and practiced and practiced forgiveness–mainly to other “Christians” who were the ones more difficult for us in our lives.

And when we were in darkest of dark times, we kept still and waited. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. In this world you have tribulation, but I have overcome the world. Be still and know that I am God.” And he said in Psalm 139, that “even darkness was not dark to Him”–so we trusted through our tears, that He could see even if we couldn’t. He told us to trust Him, so we practiced.

And we loved wildly, deeply, generously through all of our mistakes, because Jesus said that all the laws and prophets could be summed up by “Loving God with all our heart, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.”

And so like Peter, we remembered that “love covered a multitude of sins.” And we lived for His kingdom–the one that will come, not the one that is here–because Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”

And now, as we look back on our lives, we are so very grateful that His voice led us–because the fruit of our life in following Him has been so very sweet. He is good, He is kind, He is loving and He has guided us all these years. His voice can be trusted. His ways are sure–and in the end, all of us are more suited for heaven, because of His sanctifying hand, where we will be with Him forever at the marriage feast of the Lamb and us, His bride..

Knowing Jesus and following Him–the best and most blessed wisdom, and worship, we ever could have learned.

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(A sunset that Jesus painted in the sky for Joy and me just, recently as we walked together on the beach in California,

for our pleasure and all who would see His fingerprints…….)

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Watch the video below to hear of a new book about  living an idealistic life., written by my friend, Tsh Oxenrieder.

Today, I am giving 3 away 3 copies of Tsh’s new book!

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And, because it also calls mamas to set up their ideals, to win their children, I am giving 3 copies of 10 Gifts!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Comments

  1. Lisa Noble says

    I do want to live an intentional life and have made some “radical” choices in order to do this. For one, I don’t have a Facebook account or a Twitter account (by careful, intentional choice), so leaving this comment is the only way I can enter this drawing! I try to be very deliberate about how much time I spend online, and this is one of the very few blogs I regularly read. Would love to read both these books!

  2. Lori says

    Thank you for your words reflecting God’s truth.
    I would enjoy reading both of these books- I Pinned it on Pinterest.
    To live intentionally takes time and I need to constantly tell myself that it’s so worth the investment. Thank you for sharing your story. We also have 4 children who are growing up into young adults.

  3. says

    Dear Sally

    Thanks for writing. I am reading this even as I make one of the most difficult decisions in my life. I can identify with you in that God’s voice has always led me to take the path less travelled; against conventional wisdom, against the well-meaning words of people close to me, and even against people who are physically close in terms of blood ties, but yet so far apart both spiritually and ideologically.

    Thank you for reminding me of that promise I made to God so many years ago – to honour Him with all of my life, and to be obedient to Him no matter what.

    Truly – to know Him and to make His name known; that is after all our primary call :)

    God Bless,
    Mark

  4. says

    Hi Sally

    Oh how I needed to read this post today. I am struggling with the same negativity from others around me. I too believe God wants me to choose a path on this road of life. I would love to have another child, but fear that I may have my third miscarriage. However, the fear of what others may say stop me more.

    I so need to listen to God and God alone. I say I do, but when the negativity and the struggles of this world get me down, I see that I am not listening to the voice of my father, God.

    Blessed you for writing this, it as been a blessing to me. And yes, this year I will follow the path of God.

    Peace to you.

  5. Jodi says

    The inspiration I gain from reading your words is truly amazing. You are a gift to this world and I rave about your writing to my circle of family and friends. I too homeschool my children and appreciate so much your wisdom and encouragement. You truly are a blessing. Thank you.

  6. Sunshine Meister says

    Thank you for sharing your experience as a guide and example for others. You provoke others unto good works-namely a more intimate relationship with the Savior and a more fervent love for the Father.

  7. Anne D says

    Truthfully, my life feels a little chaotic most of the time. I have ideals that I want to impart to my children, but I’m not quite sure how to do it. And, my husband and I are not quite on the same page, which makes it a little harder. But, for now, I am just praying and praying about it!

  8. Holly says

    Sally – You are such an inspiration to me. I’m at the beginning of the journey w/ my kiddos, and I pray I can write what you’ve written 25 years from now. Thank you for this post.
    I would love help in thinking through intentionality in the chaos of life. I think we do things pretty intentionally around here, but we need help in forging ahead with growing kiddos. Thank you for storing up wisdom during the hidden years and for sharing it with us now.

  9. says

    How am I living an idealistic life? I think the older I get, the less sure I am. And paradoxically, the more confident I am in HIM. Maybe that’s idealistic. Knowing that God is surely my Rock.

  10. nancy says

    Good morning,
    I’m inspired by your message to me as I carve out time in the morning to meditate with Him before our home comes alive. I have been asking the question about my calling in this earthly life and if I am really listening. I give thanks for all my blessings, one of which is waiting for me on the couch. He is an early riser and this time is precious. Thank you for giving me a chance to win. I plan on ordering the Ministry of Motherhood too. ;)

  11. Brandy says

    While my life is far from idealistic, I do intentionally pursue holiness through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. We first seek Him will in all parts of our life, and work towards the mark that He sets before us in all love and humility.

  12. Holly says

    I completely agree with the other Holly above! As I sit here rocking my 3 week old in the dark before her brother wakes up I was reflecting on how your writings are currently influencing me more than any others toward intentional motherhood. I have been praying for God to elevate my view of the everyday and to help me embrace my role as mother. Reading “The Mission of Motherhood” on my phone during nursing sessions has been such an encouragement. Thank you so much for being a precious mentor!

  13. Shannon says

    I needed to read this this morning! I’ve been so discouraged by the way I am “Supposed to do things” and exhausted from trying to please everyone. This reminded me again to go back to the beautiful words of scripture and live in trust! Thank you! God has taught me so much from your books!

  14. Kate says

    Your words are such an inspiration. Thank you for all you do to encourage us and teach us. I would love to read both of these books.

  15. Karen says

    I want to be intentional with my time, young child, and household. It requires many small decisions throughout the day to stay on that path. I know I often choose the more chaotic option. Thank you for your inspiring blog post.

  16. Tina says

    I struggle to not keep up with some of my kids friends who attend public school, it’s hard especially when they are some of the best friends and their parents buy into the constant business of this world. I want to be able to be strong in the choices we have made and not compare but it’s hard to explain that to young children.

  17. Aimee says

    I think living intentionally is also about finding contentment in the moment. If you are constantly looking ahead to “when things get better”, then you can not appreciate the fullness of your life presently. It is easy to do especially when littles need so much and you dream about when you will have more freedom. How much we would miss that is precious, however, by focusing on what lies ahead. When things get crazy I’ve started practicing “being there” and noticing all the beauty of my children (usually also means ignoring the mess of my house). When I do that, it is like a cool breeze of peace and joy in that moment.

  18. Sarah Sanders says

    I am currently reading Crystal Paine’s “say goodbye to survival mode” and am eagerly embracing and implementing her suggestions- eliminating the unnecessary to embrace the Most Important things in my life. What a freeing time for me! I don’t have a twitter account, and while I do still have my Facebook account I am seriously cutting back my time which I spend there. Striving to live in the here and now with my children and husband in order to minister to them fully. I would love to read these books! Thank you for the opportunity!

  19. Ella says

    Homeschooling is one way we live intentionally. Planning “etched memories” – events that our children will remember with joy – is another.

  20. JoLynnH says

    You are always such an encouraging force for good, Sally. This post spoke to me on many levels. Lately, I’ve been feeling a pull in two areas of life – seeking out new friendships with women of faith and minimizing or eliminating my facebook time. I have a cherished group of childhood friends but as I grow in my own life, I’m beginning to realize that we all have our own paths and while I hold these friendships very dear, they are not life-giving for me as a wife and mother. It’s very difficult to admit to myself but I’ve been longing for a stronger connection with women of faith in my early wife and motherhood. While I enjoy facebook, blog hoppping and pinterest, I know that cutting down on computer time will force me to focus more intentionally on my children (4 and 5 mos) and home life (I raise our children from home) and I know that is really where God intends me to be. It’s the unknown, putting my self out there and shutting myself off from familiar avenues that is hard but I’m working on building up the courage and TRUST to follow His calling and let Him truly work in my and my family’s life. Thank you for this post. It’s just reminded me how very important it is that I follow God’s call and TRUST Him no matter what. God Bless <3

  21. Shelley R. says

    More than anything this morning, as I can hear our bundles of joy stretching and moving in the pre-waking moments, is the kind nudge to set aside time to hear God’s voice directing me in how to do this parenting/teaching life. And then trusting and following. Thank you for that reminder. Sometimes I doubt what I feel He has said (it makes us look so different from other Christian families) but then, we have five very uniquely gifted and interest led people in our family! May His joy given from listening well to Him continue to stretch and fill your sails!

  22. says

    We are homeschooling our 3 kids and trying our best to follow Christ in.a broken world. Thank you for your daily words of wisdom and encouragement.

  23. Michele Mwanza says

    Thank you for this pertinent reminder to lead and serve our children out of an obedient response to Jesus’ call, rather than out of fear of others’ opinions and parenting styles. God bless you!

  24. says

    Thank you for your continued generosity! I believe to live our lives with intentionality is to do just as you testify to, listen to God’s voice, obey where He is calling you and trust Him to lead, give wisdom, protect and expand His kingdom in the most joyful of times and the darkest. He is both our Creator and the Master Planner of our lives. He is our shepherd. Everything we need is found in Him. Our purpose is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. Even when the path is dark, He offers us treasures along the way that encourage our hearts, remind us of His love and His nearness. What path would be greater than the one He is on with us?!

  25. says

    Sally,

    Your words ring true. Bless you as you continue down the ‘road less traveled’ and know that your life has made ‘all the difference’ in the lives of so many others.

    I anxiously await your new book!!

    Love from Texas ~

  26. Amy P says

    Thank you, Sally, for your humble example of godliness lived out so well for many of us to benefit from. My husband and I have made some very drastic, Scripture-driven changes for our family in the last 2-3 years (decreasing income by 2/3 so I can be home to educate our children and manage our home, to become debt-free, to re-create margin, to have another child, and more) . Decisions that have drawn many negative responses, unsolicited unhelpful advice, judgment and isolation from family and Christian “friends” who have chosen to live in “fear of freedom” and true joy. While I needed the inspiring reminders to work hard and continue living intentionally and idealistically, what I really needed in the midst of continual judgment were these gentle reminders:
    “we forgave, practiced love, and extended grace–because, Jesus, while being reviled, did not revile in return, but kept trusting Himself to God who judges righteously. (I Peter 2: 23) And so we practiced and practiced and practiced forgiveness–mainly to other “Christians” who were the ones more difficult for us in our lives.”
    Thank you, Sally, Thank you.

  27. Jenny says

    I feel like such a newbie in my faith, even though I grew up in a church. But real, deep faith, the kind that you trust God to guide you, is all new to me. I needed to hear this message today, because I know I want and need this kind of a relationship with God, but there is still a voice in my head that says I don’t deserve it, that I don’t know enough yet, that I don’t trust enough yet, that I don’t even know where to start. I am starting today, with an on my knees prayer and conversation with my husband. Thank you Sally.

  28. Janine says

    I have struggled a lot on this journey of raising children in comparing and thinking we need to be doing differently in our training because of how my parents and our friends did and are training their children. This has added stress to our marriage in the past and by God’s grace I am letting go of other wisdom and only trusting God’s wisdom. Thank you for this reminder.

  29. Bridgett says

    What truth! I did not know the true cost of motherhood not was I properly trained BUT I should not hide behind those excuses!

  30. says

    We’re still trying to figure out what that looks like for our family. But I do know that I’m sick of so much online time and even the TV. I’ve cut back on that a whole lot, and am weaning my kids off it too.

  31. Stacey says

    I have so many ideals in my heart, but I always seem to fail. I feel like my kids are growing up too fast and I’ve made too many mistakes.

  32. says

    My dear friend Sally, this post shows your heart like nothing else I’ve read of yours. And when I thought your writing couldn’t get better or more transparent. I also adore the video of the “Blue Bike” book and am looking forward to reading it. Love you much!

  33. Tara says

    I am so incredibly blessed every day by your blog! I am currently reading your book Seasons of a Mothers Heart and The Lord has used you as one of the instruments in changing the way I do things … especially with raising, disciplining, training and homeschooling my children. I recently decided to quit the private homeschool group we are enrolled in …. not because it doesn’t have some amazing qualities but because I want to BE with my children and not have a divided heart. I read recently about creating margin in ones life so that when the opportunities come to minister and serve we are open and ready … if we are too busy then we can easily miss what God is putting in front of us!!

    Thank you for the giveaway! I know that those who win will be blessed and in the meantime I will be adding both of these books to my Amazon list!

  34. Amy says

    Been struggling with homeschooling my kids. It’s been so frustrating and not how I envisioned it. Feeling stuck! Love my kids and desperately want to lead them well!

  35. Kristin G says

    Thank you for taking the time to share your words of wisdom with us, Sally. I’m glad you mentioned showing your children grace instead of harsh discipline. This is something I struggle with. Having six children I often find myself in drill sergeant mode. I need to be more intentional with showing grace and compassion. Thank you for your encouragement!

  36. KimmyA says

    Thank you for your encouragement and for giving me hope through your story. I am really struggling with how life is going for me and its hard to see how He will work all things out for the good but like you I promised to follow him and listen to Him through it all. Sometimes I fear that I am letting other’s voices dictate my life and family more than God’s. Thank you for your grace and wisdom:)

  37. Lori says

    I have 3 very young children, so am trying to figure out what an “idealistic” life looks like right now. :) Both of these books are on my “to read” list!

  38. Heather C says

    This is so encouraging to me as I find it hard at times not to listen to all the voices of the world and of the enemy when it comes to raising our children! My word for this year is “intentionality”! Seeking to intentionally savor every moment and to savor God’s beauty in creation and in community. Seeking to be intentional in laying down my life so that Christ may transform me and pour out from me!!! Only when I am abiding in Him can I truly love and train my children for His glory! Currently reading 10 gifts of wisdom and would love love to read Notes from a Blue Bike!

  39. Melanie says

    Idealistic Life…trying to focus on Jesus in the daily, mundane tasks of life – thanks for the encouragement!

  40. Tirzah says

    And I love how when tuning an ear to Gods voice he teaches us who he made each of us to be, individually and as a family unit. That is so important because living differently can create so much insecurity unless you are listening to his calling!

  41. Tirzah says

    And I love how when tuning an ear to Gods voice he teaches us who he made each of us to be, individually and as a family unit. That is so important because living differently can create so much insecurity unless you are listening to his calling!

    Battling insecurity is so hard!

  42. Kristina says

    Your blog is such an encouragement to me! I read daily though don’t comment frequently. I have preschoolers that we’ve decided to homeschool, and I can already see how this decision goes against cultural norms (and family expectations too), but we trust that God will honor our desire to follow his plan for our family. We’ve just started reading heartfelt discipline and have been so encouraged!

  43. Dovey says

    How am I living an idealistic life? Well, I do feel that my life is ideal – we have 6, soon to be 7 children, and homeschool. I stay home with them and my husband works from home, when he’s not traveling. I do need to work at being much more intentional in my interactions with my children and also in my scheduling and housework. I believe that if I were more intentional, I would reap greater benefits with my children.

  44. Emily says

    I’m seeking God’s guidance as how to take daily baby steps, laying foundations, towards my long-term ideals for myself and my children. These books look like they would be wonderful resources of encouragement on the path of living a life of love for God and others. Thank you for making them available!

  45. Gabrielle says

    I was just thinking the other day how badly I need to read another Sally Clarkson book and refresh and renew my vision as a mother. I follow Tsh, also, and would love to read hers as well. It sounds like a very timely read.

  46. says

    I pursue an idealistic life foremost by asking God to help, but also by reading blogs like this one and books that help me create a beautiful ideal. Thank you for this giveaway!

  47. Judy says

    Thank you for this personal testimony of faith, Sally – a wonderful story of submitting to Jesus, and His loving faithfulness through all the years.

    God bless.

  48. says

    Ugh. So hard. Living an idealistic life seems allusive. I think it’s more about not letting the distractions of this world choke out my vision of eternity. When I invite time suckers in, I end up rushed, panicked, and depleted. When I purpose each day to limit temporal distractions, I find that peace pervades my life and allows for true LIVING.

  49. says

    This is SOOOO inspiring and so beautiful even though it is in reality HARD to walk this path! Thank you for sharing your heart. I love the photo of you by the beach! :)

  50. CarolFromMurphy says

    How am I living an idealistic life? One day at a time. It is a work in progress. Surrounding myself with people to learn from and to teach. Asking every day for a clean heart that is willing to obey. Walking in and to His word every chance I get. Working through what it is He wants me to know and do. Love you, Sally, you are a blessing, dear lady!

  51. Maria S. says

    Thank you for your blog, Sally. It is so encouraging. I am currently reading “Dancing With My Father”, for the second time. Life is hard, and I so want to live with joy.

  52. Monique says

    Great post! It was really inspiring to me to walk the path of motherhood God has placed me on, in righteousness and love, despite what outsiders will say or think.

  53. ColleenInWis says

    Sally, I appreciate the testimony of this blog post! God is so faithful to lead His children when we get onto our knees and listen to Him rather than the other voices around us. I would feel privileged to receive one or both of these books.

  54. Natalie says

    We are trying to live an idealistic life by slowing down and take into consideration what really matters. What does God want us to focus on in our daily lives, homeschooling, interactions with others, and within our own family.

  55. says

    Thank you Sally! I needed to read this today, to help me continue on the path that God has shown us. I so easily vear off when I get discouraged and tired; I’m thankful to have met a fellow traveller like you through which I can receive encouragement to stick with it till the end. I’ve graduated one from our home, and I have two more to go!
    Thanks for your daily doses of Holy Spirit directed wisdom!!
    Leanne in Ukraine

  56. Anna says

    An idealistic life? DH and I live out in the country, which takes sacrifice, because that is what we feel is best for our children. Our family has fewer distractions and less worldliness to deal with. Getting spiritually distracted can happen anywhere though, and I really appreciate this blog post to refresh my personal vision as a mom and as a child of God. You really helped me look at how we are living with a new perspective. Thank you!

    I would love to get one or both of these books. They both look very helpful. Either way, THANK you for refreshing my vision.

    Anna

  57. says

    An idealistic life for our family means missions overseas, homeschooling and an orderly life (my daily “to do” list to keep me on track). It means placing my eyes on the goal and keeping a heavenly perspective. All of those things with a lot more mishaps, mistakes, grace and forgiveness thrown in the mix.

  58. Sunshine says

    Being at home with my children is my idealistic life – I’ve always wanted to do so, even when I had teacher and professers tell me that I would be wasting my gifts to do so. I love that I can use all of my gifts in raising my children. I have high ideals, and I so appreciate finding other people who encourage us to them. Thank you so much for your wisdom and sharing it with us.

  59. says

    I feel like we are stuck in between. Trying to learn to live a “simpler” life while homeschooling our 5 kids (from pre-schooler to teen), building a new home, keeping house, and helping My Man with his business when I can. I want to instill in our kids that faith in God and following his plans are so much more rewarding than what the world has to offer. Thank you for this opportunity and for this blog post.

  60. Alysha says

    Hi Sally!
    I went to Biola too…is that Sunset Beach? I would love to win these books, I am learning so much from your writings!

  61. says

    I so enjoy your blog. It makes me want to be a better mom for Christ. This new book coming out seems to be just what my family and I need. With everywhere life takes us we sometimes forget to include God in. At least I know I do this. Maybe this book will show me how to slow down and make moments with God matter.

  62. Emily says

    Oh this is so hard. I feel like I am at a point where I am reevaluating so many things I thought I knew about motherhood. I have been letting it take me for a ride, rather than intentionally steering it in the direction that God wants me to. I need to spend more time in prayer and seek HIS VOICE only. In a culture where we have such easy access to so many other voices, this is a challenge. How thankful I am that we have access to the giver of wisdom!! This mama certainly needs some.

  63. Sara L says

    Thank you for transparently sharing your heart, Sally! God has led us to homeschool as well in order to intentionally lead our children. it has been a blessing that i never guessed i would be enjoying! i’m so glad that i listened to HIS voice! i would love to read both books listed above! thank you!

  64. Amy says

    I am trying to be purposeful in teaching Biblical principles as well as reading and memorizing God’s Word with the children. Baby steps each day.

  65. Jenn says

    We are learning to abide in the Lord Jesus. Learning to recognize and trust His whispers, in spite of how it seems to fly in the face of the expectations of those near and dear to us. This is hard, and requires an intentionality to live and serve our Master first and only. Thank you SO SO much, Sally , for your consistent encouragement in these very things. You have no idea the ripples that your writings have made…

  66. Gigi says

    I don’t feel like I can pursue an ideal life anymore, now that I am almost twice divorced. :( But I am doing the best I can with whatever life I have left.

  67. says

    I attempt to live intentionally by being with my kids all day most days and living life with them. The good and the bad. Studying God’s Word together and teaching them and learning beside them all the time.

  68. Kendra says

    I recently discovered Sally’s wisdom through a few of her books and am thrilled to discover itakejoy.com! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us!

  69. Kristin says

    Thanks so much for these encouraging words…just what I needed to read today. And thank you also for the giveaway, such a great opportunity.

  70. says

    I’m pursuing a more idealistic life by giving up idols in order to be more focused and intentional with my children. I’ve shut down my Facebook account and have made other life changes in order to sloooow down and be present. My husband has begun reading the Bible to the children after dinner time and that time has been so refreshing and good. It’s God’s grace really. I’m pursuing and praying for JOY in my homeschool, and God has been so faithful. He is good.

    Thank you for your ministry Sally! I’ve been blessed!

  71. Kristel Petty says

    I hope that with every step I am going towards Christ. I try to incorporate scripture reading and memorization into every avenue of our life.

  72. Heather says

    What a helpful, refreshing article. Just what I needed as I sit here in be sick listening to my girls ages 9 and 8 care for our boys who are 3 and 1. I have been in a pity party for myself since I haven’t been much of a mom the last couple of days. Thank you for the encouragement!

  73. Becky J says

    Dear Sally,
    I am so, so blessed. I was raised in a home where Jesus was loved above all….and I was loved. My husband and I have been married for 22 years and have a 21, 18 & 14 year old. We desire and strive {and fall and get back up} to walk in a manner that brings the heart of the Lord joy. That means getting lower and washing feet and there has never been anything that has even come close to being so satisfying. I wish I had had your loving guidance when I was our kids were little…I would have shown more grace. Hallelujah, nothing is wasted with the Lord Jesus!! Blessings!

  74. Lana says

    I am pursuing an idealistic life by trying to keep “clutter” out of our family’s life. We don’t use facebook, don’t have cable and homeschool our children… all in an effort to hear God’s voice and lessen the voice of the world. Thank you for being a model of one who chooses the road less traveled!

  75. Edwena says

    Trying to slow down without guilt and really treasure what means the most time with my children and husband. Not have to be in the know on facebook. It is about living rather than watching others life their lives.

  76. Lisa says

    I have chosen to homeschool my children, to teach them daily about what I believe is important in life. I live by lists and planners to keep my organized, on track and focused on priorities.

  77. Robin says

    I fight the productivity monster daily! It can become an idol of its own unfortunately. The steps you have taken in your walk with our Lord are encouraging to hear again and again as I have seen similar choices in our family bring responses that have been difficult. I have been interested in Tsh’s book and so glad to see it ready! I have yours on my kindle app and I appreciate all you do to encourage us to follow after our Lord.

  78. Tina W. says

    I pursue an idealistic life by putting aside my ‘hopes and dreams’ and being content where God has us in the here and now. My dreams are now to pour into my kids so that Christ shines through and they grow to be Christ loving people that can further His kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  79. Viki M. says

    Thank you for this beautiful post.
    Idealisting life: we have started only recently – strangely via tidying up our financial messes. Selling our apartment in order to start living debt-free has brough so many options, and with them so much fear as where this all will lead to. This has been bringing us closer to the life of prayer and living far more intentionally, also with our children.

  80. says

    I have high ideals for our family. I have set before my children a vision of being the kind of God-centered family that God wants His people to raise up. We focus a lot on relationships and how to walk in love toward each other and toward others outside of our family. We have learned to pray together and to live by faith through lots of adversity in which we have had to trust God for our daily bread.

  81. molly says

    I would love to read the new book. I so enjoyed your 10 Gifts. Your words are so encouraging. I am a idealistic, homeschool mom of four myself. That is one of my favorite poems. It is easy to feel isolated when your choices are so different from those of people around you. Your words make me feel supported and validated.

  82. Nicole Corman says

    I found myself spending too much time on Pinterest, Facebook and blogs this last year. A practical way that I’m living more intentionally is spending more one on one time with each of my kids reading. They get the sit down cuddle time with momma that they all love and desire.

    Sally, thank you for your words and encouragement. I was just at your conference in Denver and have forever been changed as a mommy!

    • Carrie says

      Replied too quickly. I try to live a lifestyle to show my children my beliefs through my actions. I say no to things that do not show my values. I also, put my phone down and focus just on my family.

  83. says

    How am I living more idealistically? It’s a process. I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama; a calling that the Lord gave me specifically. Each day, I am learning more and more how to simplify my life, my home, my expectations…so that I can more fully embrace, enjoy and equip my little people. But I’m learning…there is so much I don’t know…which is why I love reading and of course, the Mom Heart conference (TX here I come!) for inspiration, encouragement and refreshment in the journey.

    • B. King says

      In answer to your question re. an idealistic lifestyle…. I try to keep a long-term goal in mind when it comes to my child…keeping a steadfast eye on Jesus and not bothering much what others may think.

  84. Georgia says

    Living a slower, less-materialistic, intentional life has been my passion for the past year and a half. I have listened to Tsh’s podcasts and would love the opportunity to read her book about her journey! Wonderful article!

  85. says

    I loved this article. And it reminded me of your Friday night talk at the Denver Momheart conference. I could read/listen to this encouragement again and again. Thank you for giving me a grand vision of motherhood and all God designed it to be!

  86. Norah Russell says

    I’m really striving to be more intentional with my children. It’s all too easy to start down that worn path and sometimes a struggle to fight against the flow and live for Him. Thank you for this post. It struck such a chord with me today. Blessings.

  87. Rachel M. Dow says

    Beautiful words Sally! Thank you as always for sharing your heart and being willing to be open and honest… It has helped me so much as we travel down the road less traveled by…. I find such comfort in your stories, knowing that we are not the only family that has faced the critics!! Blessings to you and your family! What a blessing it would be to win these two books!

  88. Tara says

    I am prayerfully seeking God’s path for our learning at home as it is easy for me to rely on formulas. Thank you for your encouragement!

  89. Kristin Joy says

    Thank you for this lovely picture and post. Also, I loved the Colorado conference! My first time, though my mom went several years ago as a homeschooling momma, and now I am following with 4 children of my own. Thanks for your legacy.

  90. Kristi says

    Thank you for this! Very inspiring! As my relationship grows with God, and I thought I already had a pretty strong one, I see and feel changes within me and I definitely am trying to bring that out as a mother and make necessary changes to our life in regards to what you spoke about. Still trying to figure things out but I believe I am being guided in the right direction!

  91. says

    Beautiful post! It’s lovely to follow God’s paths. They take us to places we never dreamed of, even the hard ones can turn into beautiful beaches with a sunset just for us.
    I am seeking God’s ways in everything I do- that’s how I am ideally living. :) Hope to win one of the books. Right now I am reading a sample of your book on my kindle. thanks for the give away.

  92. Lisa says

    My husband & I made the decision for me to stay home with the kids, which feels very counter-cultural. Trying to treasure this time & use the moments I have to invest in my kids!

  93. Judi Porter says

    I am pursuing this kind of life by homeschooling but also doing ministry with them. They complain some but I’m trusting it will impact them eternally.

  94. kelsey says

    I would love to read either of these books. I plan on homeschooling our 2 and 4 year olds. We are very new to christianity and only feeling very recently called to live our life for god. Thank you for your website it has been a huge source of encouragement and support.

  95. Amber says

    I try to live a life of high ideals by focusing each day on spending time in the Word. Life is hard, but with Christ’s help and the Spirit’s guidance, I can do it!

  96. sarah says

    I try so hard to be intentional, but I think I’m not doing well. I seem to battle EVERYDAY with my sinful nature and not really make much progress. It’s exasperating.

  97. Denise white says

    Thank you Sally,
    Yesterday was such a struggle! How encouraging your message was to me for today. Press on! Many Blessings!

  98. sue says

    Thank you! This is the story of my life:) I am 38 now and I used this Robert Frost quote in my high school year book. Little did I know!

  99. says

    This season of homeschooling my kiddos (four precious girls, ages 1 through 8), has been one of survival. I try to plan and prepare and be intentional about our life at home together, but find that by ten in the morning the plans have given way to a screaming second grader, a whining kindergartener, and a 5 lb bag of rice spread from one end of the floor to the other. :) Living intentionally and inspirationally is not easy! I would love to read Tsh’s book – and 1000 Gifts has been a favorite, so I would love to share it with someone else!

  100. says

    oops. Somehow I saw Ann Voskamp’s name and thought the second giveaway was her book, not Sally’s. I would also love to receive a second copy of her 10 Gifts, which is currently encouraging my ideals as I nurse my baby to sleep.

  101. Catherine says

    My “one word” this year is simplify. I want to get back to basics in every area: my faith (two commandments Jesus said: love God and love people), my schedule, my finances, my stuff. I crave simplicity but the pull of this world is great. Praying God does a mighty work in our life to get it to this ideal.

  102. Meredith says

    I love your writings, Sally. You have inspired me over and over to pursue an idealistic life with my family. My husband and I dream of having grown children who love to come home and are our best friends. They are 2 and 4 now, so we have a long road. Having this goal helps us as we make decisions about time, training, etc.

  103. gina says

    The Father (Abba) uses this site to speak to my heart, and to slow me down. Thank you for sharing for the glory of the kingdom.

  104. Amanda says

    Thank you, Sally, for being the Jesus idealist. Being radical and yet winsome: this is what draws others to Christ. Our own rules, our ‘try harder’ lives don’t impress God, don’t feed souls. Wholehearted for Jesus is really all there is.

  105. Julia says

    I’m trying to copy wise women! Sally, you are one of the wisest and I so appreciate the role you’ve played in my life!

  106. Abby says

    I’m living an idealistic life by trying to protect my children from the nasty things of this world, but still preparing them to go out into it to be a light to bring glory to God. It feels like such a struggle when all of the voices around you are telling you you’re doomed to fail.

  107. Lola says

    I pursue an idealistic life….

    ~By studying, praying and applying Gods truth to my life.
    ~By laying down my selfishness and reason to hear Gods voice and feel His presence.
    ~By loving God and loving others without conditions.
    ~By handing over my fears of the future and trusting He in control!

  108. Sally V says

    I’m learning to surround myself w others who desire to live intentionally, read books which encourage my soul, feed my children’s minds w the like and read and pray and be w God the One who inspires to live set apart and so much more, my hubby and I both strive for these things…

  109. Elizabeth Velderman says

    Thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I needed them today. It can be so discouraging to go against the flow. I would love to read your book, 10 Gifts of Wisdom!

  110. grace says

    what an encouragement .. i feel like a failure so many times, comparing my life with others (wives or moms) out-there and always think that i am not doing a good job – not good enough for my husband or my son. i need to focus on God and remember that i created for His glory and not for me to please others so i will focus on this – to make my daily routine life more meaningful – to know Him and to be close to Him and to glorify Him.

  111. Heather says

    I love this imagery of Robert Frost’s poem…the world lays out such a different ideal. Thank you Sally for reminding me in such a simple way to choose HIS road less traveled, because it has made all the difference!

  112. says

    so thankful that all your words are always straight from the Lord to affirm what he has called us to do. they always encourage me to keep on seeking him in the quiet hours so I will be strengthened to obey when all the voices start in. thank you for your example and for being used to spur us on.

  113. Carley says

    Thank you for always sharing your words of wisdom. What a blessing to my heart. The Lord uses you in so many women’s lives. Thank you for being obedient to the Lord and submitting your ministry to him!

  114. sarah says

    Oh how I desire to live an intentional life! Thank you for sharing your heart and the fruitfulnes of obedience. Your wisdom is a huge blessing.

  115. says

    Prayer. Learning to rest. Pausing to catch the special times with my kids. Working to keep up with the mundane to create time for the awesome.

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