The Complicated Heart by Sarah Mae–Book Review

“It’s complicated.”  How often have you said this, or heard it said about a relationship?  Sarah Mae leads us through the story of her complicated relationship with an alcoholic mother.  Sarah (with God’s help) learns to set boundaries, grieve, lower her expectations and eventually understand and forgive the mother who often hurt her.  In the end, she understands that her mother was also a child who was broken by bad relationships with others in her life.  Interspersed with Sarah’s perspective are letters and journal entries written by her mom.

A useful addendum includes a number of resources with those dealing with similar issues:

  • What Do I Do Now?
  • For When You Think It’s All Impossible
  • Six Ways to Forgive
  • How To Work through Your Core Lies

This book will be helpful to anyone struggling with issues of alcoholism, forgiveness, abortion and dysfunctional family relationships.

VERDICT:  5 stars.  This book was not only an interesting read, it offers concrete suggestions and help for others in difficult relationships

If you would like to purchase this book or learn more follow the link below:

The Complicated Heart

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

Sibling Relationships

Well, we’ve talked about friends and spouses and neighbors so it seems to me the time has come to talk about relationships with siblings.  Let’s face it, these can be fraught.  Sibling rivalry goes all the way back to Cain and Abel — and it didn’t end well.  There are a host of other dysfunctional siblings in the Bible — Joseph and his brothers (pride, jealousy), Jacob and Esau (deceit, favoritism), Mary and Martha (resentment, anger).  Nobody knows us better than our siblings;  they can push our buttons and return us so quickly to childish behavior and feelings;  they can also empathize with us in ways nobody else can.  They grew up with us in the same environment;  they competed with us for love and attention;  they understand our strengths and weaknesses.

My husband and I should be experts on sibling relationships — he comes from a family of 5, I grew up in a family of 7.  We used to say that when our kids were little, they had so many aunts and uncles that any adult who showed up regularly around the house was automatically assumed to be one!

When you come from a large family you learn that common DNA shows up in very different combinations.  We’re not all alike.  We have different talents, interests and even personalities.  We’re closer to some siblings than others — maybe based on age or temperament.  Somehow, though, we all feel the family connection and it’s comforting to be part of a group.  For better or worse, our siblings are our “tribe.”  The Greek word for family love is “storge” and it means a kind of rough and tumble, daily love which is not at all romantic or idealistic.  It’s a realistic love that has learned how to rub along together, despite all the mundane irritations and differences.

It strikes me that relationships within our congregation are a lot like that.  After all, aren’t we called to be brothers and sisters in Christ?  Don’t we have the same parent (our Father in Heaven?)  The same older brother as an example (Jesus)?  There are great temptations as we work together to become angry, resentful or prideful.  There are members we feel close to and others we can’t understand at all.  We may sometimes want to walk away from the “family.”  In the end, however, isn’t it a blessing to be part of the church body?  They know us, accept us, and love us through thick and thin (and even when they don’t like us very much). We have things in common that we can’t deny and don’t want to live without.

So today I’m giving thanks for all my sibs, biological and spiritual.  Life is better as part of the tribe.  I’d like some of our other authors to weigh in on the topic of brothers and sisters.

“…treat the younger men like brothers, ….younger women like sisters, in all purity.”  1 Timothy 5:1-2