Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.


Today’s episode features author and speaker Nicole Unice. I had the opportunity to talk face to face with Nicole late this past summer and it was such an encouraging experience for me. Today we chat about Nicole’s book, She’s Got Issues, about the six core issues that seem to plague women from the time they are teenagers. I ask specific questions about comparison as it relates to social media, control and when to know if we’ve crossed the line, and what happens when our deepest fears become our realities. This episode is a bit shorter than the average Heart Lessons podcast but it is so dense with amazing truths. Listen and be encouraged and then let me know what part touched you the most, what Heart Lesson you were able to come away with. I know there are so, so many.

Heart Lesson: God is a generous God with His love and with His presence for my own struggles and places of need.

Connect with Nicole: website // blog // books // facebook // twitter

We Mention:

James 1:5

Parable of the Prodigal Son

Romans 8:38-39

Psalm 27:13

Tell me, what did you love about this episode? There was so much truth and so many quotable parts. I would love to know which part of this struck a chord with your heart. Share with me via facebook or instagram or shoot me an email!

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My guest for this episode of Heart Lessons is Katie Moormann. I was able to connect with Katie through a mutual friend and I’m so glad I did. Katie has three children and her middle daughter, June, has special needs – a combination of autism and cerebral palsy but no official genetic diagnosis yet. We talk about what it’s like to have a seven year old with special needs and how Katie handles her emotions when life feels frustrating and overwhelming. We talk about self-care and being intentional about spending time with her other children and husband. She shares practical ways to support and show love to her and her family. Katie also gives us gracious words to say to those we might encounter at Target or the playground who have children with special needs. I feel so privileged to share Katie’s story with you and I know you will be challenged to find contentment and embrace the life God has given you, no matter what it looks like.

Heart Lesson: Embrace the life you’ve been given with thankfulness.

Connect with Katie: blog //email

We Mention:

Isaiah 58:11

ABA Therapy


Examples of Sensory Play

Botanical Gardens

Jesus heals a blind man





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Hi friend. I’ve had a lot on my mind but not a lot of cohesion to write it all down in a readable format. Mostly thoughts, fragmented and half-formed, thoughts that feel too incomplete to type out. But over coffee? Well, over coffee I think I can share them with you …

This new baby. Oh my word I can’t shake the worries. I don’t know why my two bad experiences have overshadowed the two amazing ones, but I can hardly wrap my brain around the idea that this little guy is healthy and coming home with us, Lord willing. I keep saying things like that: “Lord willing” and “I hope”. Maybe that’s what multiple losses does to you? It’s very unnerving.

Speaking of unnerving, for a couple of days in a row I was getting a lot of texts from family and friends asking about my pregnancy, a thing that I certainly appreciated and thought was very sweet. But every time I texted the words “due date” my finger would hit the wrong button or autocorrect or something would change it to read “die date” and it really shook me. I know it’s completely stupid but I think the enemy was trying to get to me. I’m trying so hard to be happy and excited but it’s not been easy. I haven’t even used words like happy or excited or even said, “I can’t wait until _____!” I just can’t. It’s like my heart-guard named Self-Preservation who has been on vigilant watch duty since Evie’s diagnosis won’t let me. I can’t go there, to the happy excited place. I hope that changes when I see him’s adorable little face.

And I am soooo nervous about another birth. I have yet to have any type of pain meds during all four of my previous deliveries and so I know the pain. Heavens do I know the pain. And my midwife said, “Well, the carrot we dangle in front of you is that you get a nice, juicy baby at the end of it!!” Yeah, except 50% of the time I’ve endured that pain that reward hasn’t really happened for me. It is mentally a really tough statistic to get over.

It just so happened that an instagram friend shared with me the same verse that we are memorizing for Micah’s Sunday School this month. And so since it has come from two different places I’m taking it to heart and taking it as the Lord’s message to me as I anticipate another birth:

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

I’m trying. I really, really am. And ps, if you think about it, pray that this baby will not have meconium and that I will be able to labor and maybe even deliver in the blessed birthing tub …

Seeing that I am approximately one thousand months pregnant with Baby #5, my body is just not feeling it. And by “it” I mean life efforts in general. Some nights sleep evades me and I feel awkward and immobile in my own body. I wake up tired and my back aches constantly. I want to sit. A lot. And my mind is busy with prepping – nesting they call it. I want to have everything in order by the time this little guy comes because he’s coming right smack in the middle of a super busy season (Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas), so I want to be prepared. Christmas cards, gifts, birthday plans for Micah … the list goes on. So while the inside of my brain might look like the checkout line at the NYC Macy’s on Christmas Eve, my body feels like a beachfront tourist shop on the dead of winter. Hashtag, the struggle is real.

On top of baby prep, I’ve been wondering exactly what to do with my online space once my little man arrives. Certainly a maternity-type leave could be in order. But I don’t know? What if I need a longer break? What if adjusting to being a mommy of three takes much longer than I thought? When I’m tired the first thing to go is my motivation for anything creative and non-essential. Blogging and podcasting fall into that category. But should I just straight up call it quits for a while? Should I post sporadically? And what about my personal guilt factor? Oh I should be doing this with my online space or that or …? I don’t know. A rational mind would just tell me to go with the flow, see how it goes and then make the call. But I tend to be super Type A when it comes to planning (see above paragraph) and the whole “leaving it up in the air thing” makes me feel panicky. I want a text from Heaven or something that tells me exactly what to do. Hey, a girl can hope. Plus I really do love this space and my podcast. I love encouraging and comforting others the way the Lord has encouraged and comforted me and I love connecting with other women doing amazing things and sharing their stories and their hearts. But I don’t want to love it more than I love mothering in the trenches and being all I need to be for my young family.

I’m trying to sort through it all. I want to enjoy my time with my young kiddos over the holidays and soak up the newborn moments. I want to give myself grace but I also don’t want to let you lovely people down and completely disappear from the interweb. I think God gave me a story that I’m supposed to tell and I don’t think I’m meant to completely stop, even right now. So here are some rational conclusions that I’m working on accepting:

I am hiding Joshua 1:9 in my heart and quoting Chris Tomlin and Mat Redman as my anthem for this baby … the Lord is with me … I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side … Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. I am praying for a healthy baby and a safe delivery. I am trying to be hopeful and excited. And I’m hoping that once I see his sweet little face all my fears will melt away.

I can be unapologetic in my attempts to blog and podcast only as it works with my life. And although the inconsistency and spontaneity of it all will likely strain and stretch and suffocate the “J” part of my ISFJ self, I need to accept it. I don’t think anyone will die without their daily (or weekly, or monthly) dose of Sarah.

I can trust God with my cause. As I’ve heard Christy Nockels preach from her lovely podcast time and time again, the Lord gives us the desires and dreams of our hearts. He also gives us specific seasons of life. He is more than capable of allowing me to carry out my passions born from my experiences with Evie and Charlie, but maybe now is not the season. Maybe this is newborn/toddler/early school mom time for me and ministry me will come in a few years. I can trust Him with my dreams and desires and passions and know that I don’t have to strive for them, He has them. I only need to keep walking forward with an open hand and and open mind as to what He wants me to do in my current season.

So I will still be here. I will still write and I will still podcast. But I’m going to give myself permission to be a little more flexible with regular output and trust that you understand and won’t hate me forever because of it. I’ll still have things to share, I just know how my brain works … er, doesn’t work … when I’m tired. I need to keep my margins big so that my stress levels can feel small. Small-ish, anyway.

You’ll also still be able to find me writing for JellyTelly twice monthly (view my posts here) and Mothering Beyond Expectations* about once a month as well. Don’t forget to check out those wonderful blogs that provide a lot of great support for the parenting journey.

I think that’s all I have for now. Thanks for processing through these things with me. I’m wishing you a happy fall season with plenty of scarves and cardigans and boots and warm fires and hot apple cider. And as much PSL paraphernalia as you can stand. Happy fall, ya’ll.

*Mothering Beyond Expectations is a new collective blog developed by an old college friend of mine! If you’ve found mothering to be slightly different than what you originally expected (hello … all of us!) then head on over and be encouraged. Maybe also consider sharing a part of your motherhood journey as a guest poster. 🙂 

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  • Anna - I’ve recently been struck with something Lysa TerKeurst wrote in her newest book Uninvited. “To love God is to cooperate with His grace.” And how true is that! It’s scary when we don’t understand how He is working but His grace is sufficient. I hope you feel encouraged and know how much I love you! I’ve seen God help you through terrible things and I’m always encouraged by your testimony of love to Him! I’m excited to meet your new little love and cherish the moments I’ve had with each of your other little loves!ReplyCancel

    • sarahjoyrieke - Thank you Anna. Those are such good words. I will keep those in the forefront as well <3 To love God is to cooperate with His grace …ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Ritchie - Thanks for sharing your heart! I love coffee conversations, and I especially love your heart. <3 Also, sometimes when stuff is way more up in the air than I'd like it to be, I give myself a certain time frame to not think about it until I know more, but then literally make an appointment with myself on my calendar for a time frame where I will have all the necessary info. (e.g. to use your example: "I know I will give myself ___ weeks off for maternity leave on the blog, and then I will meet with myself on January 12th to see how it's going, and make the next decision then. I'll post an update at that time."It's realistic about the control you have, and it gives you peace of mind, because there is a plan! You plan to plan in January. 🙂
    And sorry for the world's longest comment, but also, as a blog reader, sometimes missing one of my favorite authors makes me even more loyal when they do come back from a hiatus. Not that mothering is/will be a break, but you know what I mean.
    I love you! You're wonderful, inside and out, and I'm praying for your brave heart, and your beautiful little guy. He's coming soon! <3ReplyCancel

    • sarahjoyrieke - That’s so good! For real. I mean I like planning, why not plan to plan 😉 I need to do that.

      I love you too Sarah … so glad you’re in my life and always speaking truth to me <3ReplyCancel

  • Holly Colonna - I love your honesty regarding fears over your 5th child entering this world and the permission it gives me to be honest about my own fears. Of course we know God’s plans are good–but we also know on an extremely intense level that His good plans often can include the things of our (earthly) nightmares. I pray He spares your new son from early death and allows your family the joy and privilege of taking him home from the hospital, allowing him to live, grow, and experience life on earth, crazy as it is. I pray your new son comes to know the Lord early, and fiercely. I pray and trust that his 2 siblings who are living on earth will both teach and learn from him, and that his 2 siblings who have gone before him to heaven will be used via the Holy Spirit to minister to him and guide him into the Kingdom. I pray that you be blessed with the gift of birthing him in water as you desire, and to labor with this baby in the way you desire, with a celestial sort of pain, caught up in a space between heaven and earth, redemptive and outstanding.ReplyCancel

    • sarahjoyrieke - Holly, this is amazing and touched me so much. Thank you <3ReplyCancel


You plunge your arms elbow-deep into the soapy sink water and shove the bottle brush into the crevices of yet another baby bottle that rolled under the crib and laid there forgotten until the stomach-turning stench of sour milk sent you on a hunt for the source.

You sigh a deep, sleepy-filled sigh as you strip the covers, sheets, and mattress pad off your daughter’s bed once again. Another nighttime accident.

Laundry. Oh my word the laundry. And you’re pretty certain that your load would be cut in half if your son actually picked his clothes up and put them away while they were clean instead of leaving them on the floor for a week and then chucking them all back in the dirty clothes hamper.

You robotically scoop dinner onto plates on this busy Tuesday night, tired from a day at work, an afternoon of errands, and an evening of soccer practice. You sit down and feign energy when really all you want to do is fall deep into the comfy corner spot on the couch and finish that TV drama series you started three weeks ago. But they need to eat and it is important to be together.

Gosh it can be hard to serve. It can be so difficult to serve people day in and day out with all the monotony and humdrumness and altogether lack of thanks involved. Especially when we’re talking about serving little people. The amount of laundry, sweeping, carrying, and meal prepping involved can be so overwhelming. And the truth is, it feels like no one notices or even cares. Your best efforts are often met with complaining and whining and the promise that you’ll have to do it all over again the next day. Or even the next hour. How are we to find the energy and motivation to keep on keeping on when there seems to be no point? As with so many things in life the answer lies with Jesus.

(Continue reading at > > > > > 

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Mary Hairston joins me for episode twenty-seven of the Heart Lessons Podcast. Mary is a wife, mama, and a gifted artist who uses her talents to illustrate the scriptures that encourage her everyday. We talk about the years before she became a mother – growing up as a pastor’s kid, living overseas, and teaching ESL – we chat about her decision to stay at home with their first baby and how Marydean Draws was born. We also chat about her creative process, her goals to encourage others, and what it looks like to be a work at home mom. And of course she shares her heart lesson which is a challenge for us all to evaluate what we think we need in life. Mary has such a sweet spirit and her drawings are winsome and uplifting. I know you are going to fall in love with her just as I have.

Heart Lesson: In Christ, I am full. (coloring page)

Connect with Mary: blog // facebook // instagram // pinterest // shop

We Mention:

This post about adjusting to Thai culture

Isaiah 12:3 – With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Christy Nockels podcast

**Get your FREE printable HERE**

Use the coupon code HEARTLESSONS for 15% off your order in Mary’s Etsy shop

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know! Leave some love for Mary on her facebook page or instagram or by supporting her shop. Leave a review/rating on itunes for Heart Lessons or post on facebook or comment on instagram … I would love to hear how Heart Lessons is reaching you!!

Have a great week friends <3

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