Hi there! I’m Sarah.
Yes, you can call me just Sarah.
I’m an 80’s/early 90’s child who grew up living with my dad in Pennsylvania but visiting my mom in the summers (Alaska! Georgia! Arkansas!). I rode a bike with no helmet, roller-skated with friends till dark, played the games Girl Talk Date Line and Mall Madness, loved She-Ra, and watched Saved By the Bell, Full House, Growing Pains, and all the rest.
My highest hopes were to be just like my mom or Madonna.
When I was 14 years old I decided I wanted to move in with my mom, who was the coolest. We’d go to the pool together during the day and in the evenings she would read to me or teach me French (she lived in France for a couple of years when she was girl). She was fun and laid back and I felt like I could talk to her about anything and everything. It never fazed me that by the time I was 12 she was on her fourth husband, or that she relaxed with a beer after work, or that she threw a plate of chicken at her husband. She was just… passionate…untethered…unedited…
So I went to small-town Georgia to live with my mom and her 20 year old boyfriend. And it was awesome. At first.
The best way to tell you how things got worse is tell you a story of a dog, my mom’s dog. He was sweet and playful and sensitive, until one day he got out of the house to chase a female dog in heat. My mom told me to go after him, so I ran out the door and through the neighborhood chasing the dog as he chased the scent of the other dog. I finally caught up to him, and I grabbed his collar and yanked him. He turned around and, for the first time ever, bit me. It made me furious. I let him go and went home and told my mom I couldn’t get him. Adrenaline was pumping and angry tears were in my eyes. It was then that mom looked down at my hand. I followed her gaze and saw blood dripping down my fingers. I hadn’t even felt the bite or noticed the tears in my skin or that my hand was red. But as soon as I saw it, I felt the pain.
This is what it was like with my mom. Things were good. She was good. But she chased her drink, beer, vodka, whatever it took to numb her pain, to give her an escape. I watched the chase and I noticed how she changed. Her words were cutting and her laughter was tinged with mockery. I chased her, wanting her love and her willingness to stop drinking, and so I told her I thought she was an alcoholic. I pleaded for her to hear me, for her to come back to being the mom I knew. But like trying to force a dog home when he was on a scent, it was useless. And like the dog who bit me so I’d let go, she sliced through me, ripping the tender skin of my heart, and she did it with her laughter and her sharp words. So I let go.
My anger kept me from the pain, until it couldn’t anymore. I’d swerve between hatred and longing for her love and approval. The only time I got it was when she needed that love and approval too. Here’s an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Complicated Heart, to help explain:
(Pre-Order The Complicated Heart HERE.)
It was a twisted time and we were twisted up with each other.
To survive and to get my needs met, I clung to a guy, and when I was 16 that guy sat in a car with me and watched the colors on a pregnancy test indicate pregnancy.
I was pregnant. 16 and pregnant.
At three months along I had an abortion. You can read that story here.
Oh there’s more, so much more, and so I wrote about it all. I wrote about my mom, and addiction and abortion and sex and escape and setting boundaries and dealing with manipulation and forgiving when the wounds are still open. I wrote it for all of you who are hurting, who have wounds from the shrapnel of broken relationships, and who need to know that hope and healing and freedom aren’t just a trite ideas in the landscape of seemingly hopeless terrain.
There’s something else I want you to know, because it’s the most important thing about me and to me.
I met Jesus. And meeting Him changed everything.
“I don’t claim to have found the truth but I know it has found me.” -Sara Groves
The God I did not know wooed me tenderly for years, but it wasn’t until late high school that I put my whole heart on the line and said, I believe. I got a Bible and I couldn’t get enough of it. I read and read and read and underlined and wrote Scripture and I actually understood it. But now here’s the mystery: I don’t know when, and I can’t explain it, but when I believed, when my tender heart cried out for rescue, the truth entered into me and became my lifeblood. To not believe would be to bleed out; I could not live anymore; Jesus is that much a part of me. Adam Young, a counselor and podcaster I greatly admire, told me that there is a word for what happens when you can’t explain going from despair to joy. He said that word is rescue.
God rescued me.
That rescue is not the end of the story though! God is still working in me, inviting me to look at my wounds, to see the lies I believe and I live out of, and to head into areas of my heart that are still camping out in death, so that all of it can be brought into the light where healing and freedom take place.
And here’s where I get fired up! Because I have feasted on freedom and grace, because I have experienced the path of emotional and spiritual healing, because I have seen God answer impossible prayers, It has become a delight for me to inspire and help women get free from emotional and spiritual bondage so they can love God and others freely. I do this through my books, my podcast, blogging, and speaking.
If you’re ready to begin the path of healing, or if you’re on it now and just need a friend to encourage you along the way, I’d love to walk with you.