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Ordinary Work

Ordinary Work: Sarah Bessey

I simply get to work on ordinary things.

This is all I know to do when I don’t know what to do.

We go for a walk in the morning’s cold. We pay attention to the snow dusting the tops of the mountains to the north and to the east of us: look at that, we say, isn’t it beautiful? We pass a bit of time with neighbours as we run into them. We can see our breath and our ears are cold so we turn for home sooner than we planned. We listen to music and we draw pictures.

I make a plan for the week’s meals and then a list for the grocery store, carefully grouping each item by section. I load up two of the tinies and we go to the store, pushing the cart up and down aisles, piling in an abundance of food for the weeks ahead. We negotiate in the aisles over bags of chips and lunch meat. We drive home and unload the groceries, organizing and prepping.

Then I put the baby on my back in the baby carrier, I get out the vacuum, and I drag it over the floor, sucking up every crumb and a few stray Lego pieces. The tinies go outside to putter in the yard with their dad, digging in the dirt and pulling up logs and filling old sand buckets with worms. I move around our house, picking things up and putting them back where they belong: socks, books, more Lego pieces, permission slips, empty cups, inside-out shirts, toys, shoes, soothers. One after another, everything is restored to its place and order slowly returns to this house. The sun is sinking earlier and earlier with each passing day: today, I turn the lamps on at 4 o’clock. I get supper started and then yell at everyone about tracking in all that yard dirt on my clean floors. The sky is pitch dark by the time we sit down to eat as a family, just a regular old meal of burgers and oven french fries.

After supper, I dance the baby around the kitchen while the girls dance in the living room. We’re spinning to Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift because I’m never above happy-pop music and yet I feel like crying. We measure them up against the wall, they’re growing by leaps and bounds now, I’ll never be able to keep them in jeans. There is a bin of broken crayons in the basement and there are clean sheets on the beds, everyone has been scrubbed and I’ve clipped forty fingernails plus forty toenails. The hockey game is on mute and now I’ve got the baby down for her first shift of sleep so the rest of them get out their books and they read by the lamplight.

I don’t know what to pray and I don’t really know what to do.

The world seems like it’s crashing around us, from all four corners of the world and right next door, too. We are afraid and we don’t know what to do so we are reading the news and watching the news and we are pontificating on Facebook and we are writing letters or emails and we are getting mad at each other for all the ways we’re all doing it wrong.

I don’t know what to do.

I’m lighting candles now. It seems a bit silly.

I show up here with intention and I try to notice my own life a bit more, I consecrate the ordinary work. I figure that if the world is being desecrated the least we can do is try to notice all of the sacredness that remains still around us and in us.

So I notice things like the old-man pine trees with their stooped and swayed boughs, I notice the pink streaks of the sunset, I laugh at the lame jokes my tinies tell me, and I put away the phone while I nurse the baby in order to look at her quiet face. I stop my husband to thank him for how hard he works and I hold on just a bit longer when he wraps his arms around me: stay with me, I say, just for another minute, I love to be here with you.

I am not that powerful and I’m certainly not important. I feel like there isn’t much I can do about the fact that the world seems to be ending every Saturday night. I write letters to politicians with my suggestions for improvement. I send money to people who seem like they know what they’re doing. I read a lot.

And I pray. I pray while I work.

That’s what my ordinary work has become for me, an embodied prayer, a way of holding space for all that is broken while my hands work towards creating a bit of cleanliness, a bit of order, a bit of beauty around me.

I feed people, I clean, I walk, I gather people, I sing, and the whole time a corner of my soul is crying out to God in braided grief and hope and longing: strengthen us, embolden us, light our hearts on fire, show us we belong to each other, break down the barriers between us, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand.

I call down fire and love and justice and peace like falling stars and I pray for the courage to crack open my own life to receive their burning clarity.

Continue Reading · faith · 39

Today is the day!

Out of Sorts :: Sarah Bessey

Sometimes you’ve just got to embrace being a big happy dork


Well. Here we are, eh? After a year of dreaming and then a year of writing, and now a few long months of edits and planning and marketing, it’s finally time: Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith has now been released into the big wide world.

It’s already been out in the UK and Ireland but as of today, it’s also out in North America. It’s on bookshelves in bookstores, it’s waiting for you in your mailbox if you preordered it, it’s in your purse or on your bedside table. (It’s fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine…)

This is such a weird time in the life of a writer. This work that you’ve midwifed is about to head out into the wild to do what it was meant to do or needs to do. And it feels strange – a mix of excitement and nervousness and pride and hope and gratitude and wonder and even a teensy bit terrified altogether.

As I’ve chatted about the book from London to Abbotsford, people often ask me, what is it that you want people to receive from this book? And honestly, I think it’s probably best summed up in the dedication of the book. I dedicated this book to my children, our tinies, with these words:

Out of Sorts Dedication :: Sarah Bessey

I know we will all feel out of sorts sometimes.

Don’t be afraid.

You are so loved.


This was, without a doubt, the hardest book to write for me so far. It wasn’t just about the subject matter – although it’s tricky to write about such a tender and intimate time in a person’s life, to tell your own story while still holding space for stories that are so different than your own, to attempt to shepherd people well in the liminal spaces of their faith journeys – but it was also just the season of life with being pregnant with our fourth and then giving birth and suddenly having four tinies between the ages of 9 and newborn meant I had a lot less time with a lot less energy (and even less sleep!) and yet way more work! So I’m glad to reach this finish line, let me tell you! I just may collapse across it and sleep for a while, m’kay?

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support over this process. It means more to me than you could ever know.

So many of you have also asked how to help support the book as well as how to grab all the free stuff like printables and playlists and the first four chapters to read NOW and that kind of thing to celebrate the release.

So keep reading below for all the fun stuff and someone hand me some coffee.


With love and hope,


Free Printables

To celebrate the release of the book, we’ve created FREE Prints to download! The amazing Taylor Rauschkolb has created four amazing prints based on the book for you to download and print at home. No charge, my friends! Just click on the images and you’ll find your way to the page for downloading the PDFs. printscollage

How to Support the Book Launch

It’s always awkward to do the self-promotion part of this stuff so I’ve resorted to Doctor Who GIFS because they make me feel better. So here is How to Help Launch “Out of Sorts.” Let’s do this thing, my friends! (TL;DR version: leave a review at online retailers, buy the book, spread the word with #OutofSortsBook.)


Out of Sorts Playlist

Click here to check out the songs that were my companions while I wrote the book – I think they’ll be great companions for you as you READ it. All the praise hand emojis for old-school Jesus music!

Read the first four chapters of the book FOR FREE! My publisher is giving you a sneak peek. Click to “grabb” the first 4 chapters right here.

Synchroblog: November 5

On November 5, I’m hosting a synchroblog with the prompt “I used to think _____ and now I think _______.” Here’s how it works:

  • Write a post on your own blog using that prompt. We’re telling our stories of transformation, of the ways we’ve changed and evolved and grown, the ways we’ve changed our minds or our hearts in response to the unchanging Christ. It can be as serious or as light as you want.
  • Come to my blog on November 5. There will be a post here for the synchroblog with a link up. Just enter the link to your post (the post itself, not your blog in general) and you’ll be part of the fun.
  • Click on a few of the other posts, leave comments for each other, get to know a few new bloggers. It’s meant to be a way to connect us and our stories with one another.
  • I’ll select one of those posts for a guest post on my blog, featuring your work here. Plus that person will also receive three copies of the book as a thank you for participating.


What Other People Are Saying

From Jen Hatmaker, author of the bestselling “For the Love” and “7” (excerpted from the Foreword):

Listen, Wanderer, Wonderer, Church Girl, Question-Asker, Status Quo Upender, those of you in the in-between somewhere, those of you in the wilderness, those of you safely home: this book will be a balm. If you have ever trusted me, now is the time. What you will find in these pages is nothing short of a gift. There are plenty of us out here reimagining, rethinking, reevaluating, restarting. You aren’t alone. Sit down, pour yourself a cuppa tea (I’m channeling Sarah here), and receive this permission to leave behind the stale trappings of religion in order to find Jesus again. He is as good as we ever hoped. Thank you, my dearest Sarah Bessey, for helping us find our way back home.

From Glennon Doyle Melton, NYT bestselling author of Carry On Warrior, founder of Momastery and Together Rising

Out of Sorts reads like a love letter to Jesus and to all those desperate to see His true face. Through her indomitable heart, brilliant mind and vivid writing, Bessey sets an extravagant, cozy table in the middle of the spiritual desert. She invites her Jesus and all restless wanderers to the table and through her- we fall in love again. Bessey hosts the most holy of reunions. She is the writer, the Christian, the woman we need at this very moment and her latest offering will comfort, awaken, challenge, and heal. Out of Sorts already lives on the shelf I reserve for my all time favorites.”

From Christine Caine, Founder The A21 Campaign & Propel Women

There are so many things that I love about this book and I know you will too. I love Sarah Bessey and true to form, in Out of Sorts she is transparent, vulnerable, thought provoking and gracious as she wrestles with things we have all wrestled with or one day will. Her message of hope, love and grace is stunning and my heart resonates deeply with the thought that “we need each other, and we need to learn from each stream, because our stories don’t happen alone; our roots are all tangled together.”

From Peter Enns, author of The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

Touching a raw nerve in contemporary evangelical experience, Sarah Bessey reflects on the inevitable reality of walking the path of faith without having it all worked out—and at times having none of it worked out. Thoughtful, compelling, moving and real, Bessey models a faith many are seeking but afraid to voice, a faith released of the obligation to be certain. This is the kind of book you’ll want to read and tell friends about.

Read more endorsements here.

Working on an article or post about the book?

Media resources are right here

Continue Reading · books, faith, journey, Out of Sorts · 18

Really, London, you’re so lovely (+ good news for UK readers!)

One of the neat tools available to bloggers these days is the ability to see from where in the world people are reading your blog. It doesn’t tell me where you personally live, obviously, just that someone from such-and-such town has been reading. And over the years, in addition to my usual Canadian and American readers, I consistently have a good showing of readers from the UK and Ireland and Australia – my Commonwealth friends. And yet I have never been to any of those countries for a speaking engagement or even a holiday in my life…until now, my friends.

At the invitation of Maria Rodrigues, the host of Premier Christian Radio’s Woman to Woman programme, I loaded up my seven-month-old baby, Maggie Love along with my husband, and hopped over the pond.

Me for the past few weeks to anyone who would listen:

I was so honoured to be asked to speak at their annual gathering in London called Woman 2 Woman along with a few others (all of whom were amazing, I might add). Maria is lovely. We’ve chatted a few times over the years and so it was fun to actually do an interview live and in person for a change! (You can listen to our chat here.)

Here’s the plain truth: I was intimidated. Sometimes I wonder what in the world God is thinking. How did someone like me end up on a stage at Central Hall Westminster in London to preach to all of these amazing women? Gah. Ridiculous. I was preaching at my home church just last Sunday in my jeans to my friends and now here I was at a historic church with total strangers and pants that didn’t fit quite as well as they did before that fourth baby.

But on top of that, Maggie didn’t exactly love the time change and I was DRAGGING. The tiredness probably made the nerves a bit worse, I imagine, but there I was on Saturday morning, exhausted and just a bit terrified and feeling inadequate to the task. I put out a call on Facebook and Instagram for prayer and you all SHOWED UP.

Oh, my goodness. I drew so much strength from your prayers and your encouragement. And the day was so powerful, so beautiful, so REAL. We were discussing the topic of rejoicing in the Lord always – but it wasn’t about pretending or faking it or minimizing suffering. Rather, every speaker delved right into what it means to rejoice and made space for those who are finding it difficult or impossible. It was a powerful time of worship.

At one point, I just sat down and soaked in the voices of all these women (and a few men!) as they sang together, right in the heart of London, and lifted up the name of Jesus. I won’t ever forget it.

The truth is that God uses the “wrong” people all of the time to do the weirdest stuff, so I keep showing up and praying that I make much of our Jesus. 

Plus it was so nice to realize that all those little stats of “UK Readers” are actual real people. We got to hug, shed a few tears, and say hello in real life which was tremendous. In so many ways, London felt like a homecoming. New friends felt like old friends very quickly.

And then we did a whirlwind day of sightseeing as a trio before hopping back on the plane to head home, hitting up the major sights.


Maggie was very impressed with St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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She was such a little charmer with everyone she met in London, we began calling her Princess Margaret. Here is having a swing beside the Houses of Parliament along the Thames.


Off to Hogwarts! I’m fairly certain I will sorted into Hufflepuff. No shame.


He’s my favourite Buckingham Pal.


I wonder how William and Kate feel about an arranged marriage between Maggie Love and Prince George?


Yes, she looks exactly like Brian and yes, she has him entirely around her pudgy baby finger.

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I found one of the few remaining Police Boxes in London (Earl's Court Station, eastern side, if you're wondering!) and of course fan-girled all over the place.

I found one of the few remaining Police Boxes in London (Earl’s Court Station, eastern side, if you’re wondering!) and of course fan-girled all over the place.

London was even better than I could have imagined and that is saying something. 

At the book signing, Brian stopped by the hall with Maggie. During the days, he puttered around London with her in the stroller, seeing a few spots. We would reconnect every 2-3 hours so that I could nurse her and then they’d be off again. Brian and I don’t travel much (read: at all) and so this was an enormous treat to be here together for once. Anyway, he stopped by the hall with Maggie during the book signing and his line was just as long as mine but then again he did have the baby so unfair advantage, right? Brian loves to get out and meet everyone as much as I do – it’s a wonderful reminder about how small the world is and how connected we are to one another.

We arrived back home today. Maggie is a bit sick, poor girl, after the plane ride so we are just having a laundry/tea/quiet day here.

My parents looked after the older three here at our place while we were gone. I came home to a house that has never been – and probably never will be again – so clean! (Even my toaster got a scrubbing and I am glad, it was practically a fire hazard.) I am so grateful for their help and for their constant support and prayers. Whenever I waver, they are behind us saying, get out there, go for it, we’ve got you covered here. And that is a gift beyond reckoning, I know. It was so good to see the tinies again – lots of hugs and stories and laughter.

And I’m so happy to be home, back where I belong.

Good news for you, UK readers!

But before I forget, I wanted to tell my UK readers that I have some great news: Out of Sorts was released early for you! 

As you know, typically a book releases in the UK a few months after the North American release. Well, when my lovely UK publisher, DLT, discovered that I was going to be in town, they put a rush on everything and got the book printed in time for the event. Three cheers for DLT!

So UK friends: Out of Sorts is ready for you now, you have first dibs. You can buy a copy anywhere you usually buy your books, of course, so ask your local bookshop to order it in if you don’t see it. Otherwise, you may purchase it on right now!


I’m home now until after Christmas but my 2016 travel schedule is coming together. Check it out here – maybe I’ll be in your neck of the woods.

Continue Reading · faith, Out of Sorts · 6

Sorting Out the Bible: How Jesus Changed the Way I Read Scripture

Sorting out the Bible :: Sarah Bessey

Years ago, when my own memorized answers about faith were crumbling, it was then that I discovered the truth: The Bible is both more wild and more wonderful than I could have dreamed. The turning point in how I read Scripture wasn’t a crisis though—not really. Rather, this change happened because Jesus became the center of everything for me.

As I share in my new book Out of Sorts, it was as my discipleship to the man from Nazareth unfolded over the years that I began to realize Jesus himself is the Word of God (John 1), and so I needed to learn to read my whole Bible through the lens of Jesus Christ. Oswald Chambers, writing about centering our lives on Jesus, said, “We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals.” Jesus himself put it this way as he responded to religious leaders who challenged him: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40, NIV).

A New Approach

When I was a child, I remember asking a Sunday school teacher if God had been “born again” between the Old and New Testament. I thought maybe that was why, to me, God seemed to change from the ancient stories of war and tribalism in the Old Testament to the Jesus I knew and loved—the God of lavish love spoken of so fervently by John, the bridegroom to a yearning bride, the one who had only to say “Follow me” for people to drop everything and run after him. In my childish reasoning, I thought that perhaps God had also experienced transformation like the rest of us.

I don’t remember my teacher’s response to my question, but I continued to carry that wondering with me: Why, in some parts of Scripture, did God sometimes seem so different from Jesus? It’s a complex question that isn’t easily resolved, but now I approach that question differently. It’s not that God was “born again” between Malachi and Matthew; rather, it’s that God became incarnate among us, and in Jesus the central truth that God is love was more fully revealed.

In Jesus, the veil between us and God was torn from top to bottom. God swept in among us here as Immanuel—God with us—and said, in essence, “Look here, if you want to see the Father, look to me—we are one.” (John 10:25–30; 14:9). Then that same Jesus laid down his life for us and rose again, curing the disease of sin that had separated us away from our true home.

Read the rest of this post over at Today’s Christian Woman by clicking here….


Continue Reading · faith, Guest Post, jesus, scripture · 1

I practice simple living but I still love my stuff

I still love my stuff :: Sarah Bessey

I know it’s not cool to admit that anymore, but here I am. My name is Sarah, and I love my stuff.

Loving our stuff has gone a bit off popularity these days. We’re supposed to be modern minimalists with clean lines. We’re supposed to try experiments, like only having 100 things in our homes. We’re supposed to be enchanted with tiny houses. The KonMari Method has us lugging trash bags of stuff from our homes with glee.

I find these movements inspiring: I see the benefits and the truth of the philosophy behind the purging. We all have too much stuff. We aren’t living simply. We over-spend until we are in debt and distracted.

Over the years, I’ve embraced a simpler way of life. We have done our share of purging, particularly a few years ago when we lived in a small urban space. I love a tidy and clean home, clutter drives me bonkers (with four tinies, this is a losing battle). I devoured The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up along with the rest of the world and I liked it (well, I didn’t quite get into thanking my t-shirts every time I hung them up, but you know what I mean).

As a Christian, I’ve been led to pursue a simpler life because I believe that consumerism is stealing our money, our time, our resources, and even our identities. I practice simple living, and I do my level best to be intentional and thoughtful about justice issues, even in everyday purchases like clothing and food and furniture. I believe in living within our means and in being unreasonably generous.

But I still love my stuff.

Read the rest of this post at The Art of Simple….



Continue Reading · faith, Out of Sorts, simple living · 3