Hello Famine, How Soon Can You Leave?

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+author+speaker+healing+famine+women+wild+leadership+development

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. […]

Dear Inner Critic, You Can Shut Up Now

by Sarah
critic+sarah+mcdugal+author+speaker+mentorship+mentor+prayer+pray+coach

Maybe some of you have the luxury of walking around with a naturally quiet mind, but not mine. My brain pretty much never stops whirring. Those memes about brains that have 14,763 tabs open at once? Yea… they were written about me.  At any given moment, I usually have a dozen mental dialogues running in […]

Love the Desert You’re In

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+desert+author+speaker

I’ve been thinking about the desert lately… About all the people I know who are seeking deliverance from our various challenges and trials. Over the last year, one of my favorite social activities has been participating in a powerful women’s prayer group. We surround each other, support each other, share promises and encouragement when someone is […]

On Loving Day

by Sarah
love+sarah+mcdugal+valentines+author

I stood at my bathroom sink this morning, thinking about loving, and cried. Tired motherhood eyes staring back at me in the mirror. Instead of choking it down, I buried my face into my warm washcloth and let the tears flow. Maybe I’m exhausted. Maybe it’s the combination of obstacles I’m facing right now. Maybe […]

You See Me

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+coach+author+speaker+abuse+advocate+blog+2018+hagar+abuse+cover up+see

“Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me. Have I truly seen the One who sees me?”” Genesis‬ ‭16:13‬ Hagar is sometimes vilified as the woman who came between Abraham and Sarah. The Egyptian temptress, if you will. But […]

No Fear, Just Faith || Hello 2018!

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+coach+author+speaker+abuse+advocate+blog+2018+new year+faith

Exactly one year ago today, I went naked on the internet… figuratively speaking. I wrote a blog post shedding masks I had been carrying for more than a decade. I hit publish, and then quaked in writer’s remorse. It was terrifying. But I knew it was right. I knew I was being called by God to […]

Abundance Beyond Abandonment

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+coach+author+speaker+abuse+advocate+blog+abundance

It’s the end of 2017, and you’re supposed to be counting your blessings. Assessing your growth in the past twelve months. Looking forward to abundant new experiences in 2018. But what if your life doesn’t feel very abundant? What if you’re looking back and you can’t see any of those traditional things to be thankful for? […]

Friends Don’t Let Friends Date Abusers

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+coach+friends+author+speaker+abuse+advocate+blog

This year… it happened to yet another one of my friends. She’s brilliant, accomplished, beautiful. The trifecta of admirable feminine qualities. But still, nobody warned her… She met him one Friday night at a Bible study group. She hadn’t been intending to go, but later she wondered if the reason she went anyway was because […]

Weinstein, Hollywood and #MEtoo

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+abuse+recovery+heart+Weinstein

So this Hollywood media mogul named Harvey Weinstein spent years getting away with predatorial sexual  behavior — because everyone wanted something from him, and because everyone assumed his power made him untouchable. Right up until he wasn’t. It really couldn’t be any more appropriate for this to be the news cycle during October’s Abuse Awareness Month. […]

Sorry, Not Sorry

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+author+sorry+one+face+abuse+recovery+narcissism

So you’re in a this relationship and every time something goes wrong, whether or not you had anything to do with it, you end up saying Sorry! and taking the blame. Maybe it’s your boss. Maybe it’s your colleague. Or your roommate. Or a parent. Or your spouse… This can happen naturally between people, even […]

Broken Brings Beautiful

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+author+broken+one+face+abuse+recovery+narcissism

You find that the spark of determination in your soul gradually roars into a fire that blazes to consumes the nonsense and the mediocrity and the self-preservation. Somehow you’re more soft than before, but oddly, you’re also more steel. What people think of you matters both less, and more, than it did before. Less, because you’re not doing it for them. You’re not craving their applause. You’re not driven by their attention.

Forgive or Forget? You Can’t Do Both

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+blog+author+forgive

Every abuse victim has experienced secondary abuse at some point. These are the people who could have made it stop, but didn’t. The onlookers who were too afraid of the abuser, or refused to believe the victim, or just didn’t want to get involved. One of the most common ways secondary abusers contribute to the ongoing devastation of a toxic situation is to demand quick “forgiveness” and push for immediate and trusting reconciliation between abuser and victim.

When Your Pastor is Working for Satan

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+author+lie

Biblically, there is no such thing as instant trust after broken relationship. There is no scriptural mandate or recommendation to extend the privileges of relational intimacy to an unrepentant party. And nowhere in the bible is saying “Sorry!” weighed equally with genuine repentance.

Silence and the Lambs

by Sarah

As a survivor of abusive marriage who now works with women in the same shoes, I hear more than your average number of horror stories. Before you start casting stones and assuming that I think every person who has difficulty loving their spouse ought to cut and run — let me make some pre-emptive statements: […]

Happily (N)Ever After

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+author+happily

As a young woman, I told God I trusted Him to choose my spouse. I desired to give that aspect of my future to Someone who was wiser and more well-informed than my own heart. When I married, two days after graduating from university, it seemed God had clearly answered my prayers. I’d submitted my […]

The Shame Antidote

by Sarah
joy+shame+sarah+mcdugal+easter+sunday+psalm 119

It’s Easter Sunday. For people of faith, Easter is a day of rejoicing. Ecstasy. Delight. Hope. Joy… I’ve done a lot of pondering about joy this month. You know, the whole month-long theme of #embraceJOY. About those people who always seem to wear a smile, even when they face devastating difficulty. What brings joy when […]

When Beauty Makes A Mess || Guest Blog

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+holly+aamot+ilex+author+creative+mess

#embraceJOY || day 10 Any mom will tell you — creating something as significant as a child is all fun and games… until it’s not. First trimester sickness, fatigue, medical appointments, swollen feet, food cravings—these are just the prelude to childbirth, where hard work and struggle are par for the course. And yet, despite the risks […]

#SaturdaySong

by Sarah

Every weekend, I post a #SaturdaySong in my Facebook group. It’s a way to reflect over the challenges of the week, ponder the questions we’ve tackled together, marinate on the stuff that has bubbled to the surface in need of processing. Music has a way of doing that. Digging down deep under the facades of […]

When Love Hurts Like Hell

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+blog+author+lovewell

#lovewell || day 27 The Strategy of Love (Contributing blogger: Nicole Parker) Like the rest of us, in His humanity Jesus was limited by hours in the day. But this was not purposeless: Jesus was to be our Example in all things. He had to model for us how to engage in balanced, healthy relationships with […]

5 Steps to #LoveWell When You Feel Unsafe

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+unsafe+author

#lovewell || day 20 We’ve talked a lot about what it means to #lovewell. We’ve stretched and grown and explored and reflected. We’ve asked brutally tough questions and dug deep under layers of self-sufficiency and self-protection that keep our hearts from genuine connection.  Some of our key discoveries include the call to do hard things: shed the […]

I Don’t Judge, I Just Love

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+blog+author+lovewell

#lovewell || day 13 “God is love.” I John 4:8 “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10 (Contributing blogger: Nicole Parker) Love is the atmosphere of heaven. It is the force that connects the universe in one glorious community of peace and harmony. It is the law and character of God. It is […]

How Tossing My Alarm Clock Taught Me Trust

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+alarm+author

For most of the last decade, my wakeup routine has looked something like this… Every morning, my alarm jangles by 6:30, unpleasantly jarring me from deep slumber. I stumble groggily to the sink, drink a glass of water to wash my vitamins down, and tiptoe to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. The kids hear me and […]

day 30 || Listen to the Hard Stories

by Sarah

Yesterday, we talked about telling our hard stories. The ones we’re afraid to share. The ones we think no one will listen to. The ones so painful we have spent a lifetime clutching them close and protecting ourselves from the pain. But what if your story, your journey through healing, your tale of redemption — is exactly what someone else […]

But What if My Mask Is Polite?

by Sarah

Shedding the mask doesn’t mean tossing good manners out the window.
It isn’t liberty to speak every cruel or unconstructive thing that I may feel.
It isn’t a requirement to broadcast details on every mistake I’ve ever made, or a demand to publicly share my darkest secrets and struggles — unless God calls me to do so.

Perfection Isn’t The Goal

by Sarah
perfection+shed+the+mask+sarah+mcdugal+author

Flowers are perfect. Clouds are perfect. Babies are perfect.
You and me? Not perfect. Not when we try. Not even when our halo seems pretty convincing. Not even when we obsess on it.