Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

Ten years ago today I walked down the aisle, bouquet of red roses in my hand, cheeks flushed with excitement and anticipation and aching from smiling so big, eyes brimming with tears. Ten years ago today I linked arms with my best friend and told him I’d stand with him forever, no matter what life would bring. Ten years ago today I was a bride on her wedding day.

we did it!

Ten years ago life seemed so simple. It seemed so full of hope and bliss and opportunity. Ten years ago we weren’t privvy to real suffering or the fact that Josh leaves his sweaty, stinky workout socks literally anywhere and everywhere, all over the house. Those are the things that take time to realize.

But ten years ago today I don’t know that I would know how much I really, truly needed that man in my life. How he would lead in good times and crisis times, how he would know exactly what to say to lift me up, how he would love and shepherd our children. I didn’t know. Those things take time as well.

In his book, You and Me Forever, Francis Chan talks about loving his wife with an eternal perspective:

Because I am crazy about [my wife], I want her to have a great life. But more than that, I want her to have a great eternity. I want her to look back at her life without regret. I want her to be confident that the time she spent on earth prepared her for heaven. Most importantly, I want her to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23). 

This man that I married has my best at heart. He encourages me in my faith, in my motherhood, in my creative pursuits. He knows that there are bigger things at work than just what we can see on earth.

Happy anniversary to my iron sharpener, my beloved, and my friend. Here’s to many more <3

wedding kiss

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“… and dear Jesus please give us a little brother, one that we can keep for a long, long time. Amen.”

I opened my eyes and smiled at my son who had just blessed our morning meal. His request was so sweet, so sincere and honestly, so random. We hadn’t been talking about babies and he had no idea what Josh and I had been discussing regarding expanding our family. And he most certainly wasn’t privy to the “25% chance each pregnancy” statistic the doctors had given us after Charlie passed away. This request simply came from the depths of the heart of a five-year-old boy with childlike faith. Precious.

A short time later my heart broke for my husband when he shared a part of himself with me that I didn’t realize was hurting. He shared how, since Charlie’s passing last September, he didn’t feel like he had the life energy for something he truly loved, something that I know God has gifted him with and has been used before for His glory. I wept over this broken piece of him and asked God to please take that brokenness and heal it in some special way. The ladies in my Bible study prayed along with me, although they prayed without fully knowing the details of this request labeled “unspoken.”

Several weeks later I woke up before the kids to spend some time alone with the Lord. I sat at our kitchen table, shades wide open so I could take in the beauty of the daybreak.

My heart was stirring. God was putting a song in my soul but I didn’t quite know what it meant.

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through …

You amaze me, redeem me, call me as Your own …

These lines from Kari Jobe’s I Am Not Alone looped over and over again in my mind. I know what I wanted them to mean but I was too afraid to believe it.

After Charlie passed away Josh and I both prayerfully considered what to do about adding to our family. We both felt led to try just one more time. I knew it was time for my body to let me know if this was the start of that one more time.

I opened my Bible to read, trying to push aside the desire to run upstairs and find out for certain. These were the holy words I laid my eyes on that very morning:

Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Hosea 6:1

Tears filled my eyes. I immediately ran upstairs and just moments later the white strip of plastic confirmed what my heart already seemed to know.

The Lord was giving us another chance at life.

As I sit here typing I can feel 21 week old Baby #5 squirming and wriggling around inside of me. We have had a total of three ultrasounds so far, each confirming that this little guy (yes … little guy) is healthy and well and on a growth trajectory to come home with us Thanksgiving week. We are truly grateful.

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I know that not every story of loss ends this way – a healthy pregnancy following a very troubled one. I don’t want to pretend that I’ve done this right and that’s why God is adding this sweet baby to our story. All I know is that it’s happening and my soul is quietly rejoicing. It seems a bit too surreal sometimes for more than hushed whispers of thank you directed heavenward.

 We’ve experienced two very deep losses over the last few years. I’ve met so many women who have lost babies in so many different ways and I know that, while we have been cleared of the anomalies that claimed Evie and Charlie’s life, there are a thousand other possibilities that could take this sweet guy from us. I’m trying not to think about those.

Instead I am trying so very hard to rest in the fact that my good Father wants to give me a good gift. Not because I am good or deserve a redemption baby after losing Charlie but simply because He is good. And if I as a sinful mother know how to give good gifts to my children, how much more would my Heavenly Father know how to give good things to me?

Every day I am grateful and hopeful and wonder what life will be like with three kids to love on. And every day I am scared and anxious and confused about how God works. But I continue walking in this story God is writing for me and I’m hopeful for what this November will bring.

… every good gift and every perfect gift is from above … James 1:17

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  • Jeanette - This blessed my heart! I am crying happy tears for your precious family! God bless this little one and your family!ReplyCancel

  • Iris Streeter - I love you Sarah and so admire your faith. Thanks so much for letting God use you for His glory. Praying for you, your baby boy, and your entire family.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa - Micah’s prayer is such a great example of child like faith and answered prayers. I continue to pray for healing for the broken places of my children’s hearts.ReplyCancel

  • Kami - So beautiful, Sarah. I’m so happy for you both and this precious gift being given to you. Such a treasure after so much heartache. Praying for continued health and peace for you all! ?ReplyCancel

Episode 20

My guest on today’s episode of Heart Lessons is Kelly Gerken from Sufficient Grace ministries. Kelly shares about her own experience with infant loss – losing two baby daughters to twin to twin transfusion syndrome and a baby son to Potter’s Syndrome. She also talks about the birth of Sufficient Grace Ministries – how it started with her trying to minister to a friend after losing her baby and asking herself the question, “What would I have wanted someone to give to me?” Since then Sufficient Grace has grown to offer not only these “Dreams of You” memory books, but also Comfort Bears, perinatal hospice services, doula services, and even trainings for medical staff to better equip them to support a family walking through infant loss. Kelly’s story personifies the character and hope that develops from persevering through a hard time and has so much truth to speak about God’s daily sufficient grace.

Heart Lesson: God answers my not enough with plenty and that is the very definition of sufficient grace.

Connect with Kelly: facebook // instagram // twitter // book

Connect with Sufficient Grace Ministries: website // facebook // instagram // twitter

Scriptures Mentioned:

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so Christ’s power may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others with the same comfort we have been given by God.

Episode 20

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Five on Friday

My week has been weird … lots of busy stuff and kids staying up late and schedules being thrown off. And eating wayyyy too much leftover birthday cake from Joci’s celebration Saturday. And I kept feeling like every day was Monday. What’s up with that? But nothing to complain about really. Here’s what I’m reading, listening to, loving, making, and hoping … I would love to hear yours too!!

Reading: Looking for Lovely, by Annie F. Downs. This book just released a couple months ago and it’s so great. I’ve been so challenged to stop and look for the small, lovely moments God puts in my life. Her writing style is so easy to read and her stories very relatable. Love it so much.

Listening to: The Happy Hour, with Jamie Ivey podcast. She has such a great interview style and wonderful guests. I feel like I learn so much not only as a listener, but also as a growing podcaster in desperate need of guidance from someone much more experienced than I am! I really wish I could go out to coffee with her and say, “teach me,” and then absorb all the podcast-y wisdom she has. Dreams of mine 😉

ps … if you’re interested in something new to listen to, I was so privileged for the opportunity to share my story on the Tell Her Story podcast this week. Click here to check it out.

Loving: Weekly trips to the beach. Since we moved last summer we are a bit more inland and our drives to our favorite beach take 40 minutes instead of 7, but the kids and I still usually pack up PB&Js and trek out there once a week. I love taking the time to step out from my house where the to-do list is so in my face and spend a few hours soaking up the sun and the sweet moments with my kiddos. Truly loving it.

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Making: So this year for Independence Day, in order for all the family to get together before work, etc., we are having brunch instead of a typical cookout. It seems kinda fun! So, I’ll be making these cinnamon rolls. Seriously, best ever. The instructions seem intimidating as first, but read through them and you’ll realize none of the steps are difficult and the rolls are for real out of this world delicious. Alton Brown, you culinary genius you.

I’ll tell you what I’m definitely not making. I tried an Indonesian Peanut Chicken recipe this week … totally not for us. Josh literally spit it out of his mouth. He ended up rinsing off the goopy sauce and making a standard stir fry that we could all actually consume. Phew, talk about dinner fail! Safe to say that one won’t be making it onto the dinner rotation …

Hoping: For continued guidance as I write and pursue podcast guests and all the things I think God has for me right now. Right now taking things one or two weeks at a time is about all I have energy for, but I’m trusting that God knows my limits and that this is enough.

I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start. Would love to hear what’s new in your world!!

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Episode 19 - Risen Motherhood

Joining me for Episode 19 of Heart lessons are Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler from the Risen Motherhood Podcast. We talk about this ministry they’ve started where their focus is all about how the gospel message intersects with every aspect of a mom’s life. Their podcast touches on all sorts of topics: breastfeeding, self-care, the struggle with comparison, and much more. If you’ve never listened you totally should – you will not be sad that you did. We also chat a bit about their personal motherhood challenges and how they are still able to find joy even when circumstances might present challenges. And of course they share their heart lesson – how God is leading them in motherhood and in their ministry. I know the truths shared in this episode will give purpose to your everyday, whether you’re mothering in the trenches or in the mundanity of a 9-5, we all have purpose in light of eternity.

Heart Lessons:

Emily: Knowledge in motherhood isn’t enough; it’s important to be doers of the word and not just hearers.

Laura: Keeping the eternal perspective that God accepts me for who I am because of what Christ did for me and because of that, I can be fearless and courageous in motherhood.

Connect with Risen Motherhood: show archives // website // facebook // twitter

Connect with Emily: blog // contact // facebook // instagram // twitter

Connect with Laura: blog // contact // facebook // instagram

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  • Rachelen Hensler - Ladies, this episode resonated with my heart. Thank you for sharing with Sarah. I am eager to peruse the website to learn more and am grateful for another resource to turn to for processing life through a Scriptural lens.ReplyCancel

    • sarahjoyrieke - They are such lovely ladies!!ReplyCancel