What A Wrinkle in Time Taught Me About Women, Work, and Motherhood (2018 Review)

  Artwork created by Jena Holliday.

Artwork created by Jena Holliday.

This January, an influential pastor and theologian posted a nearly nine minute explanation on why women shouldn’t teach at seminaries. Such luminous opposites as Beth Moore and Rachel Held Evans pounded out pointed rebuttals, but there you have it--this is the world we’re going to church in, being women in, doing our work in, and raising our daughters in.


This is the world we’re raising our sons in: a world that believes women don’t belong.


Nevermind that the creator himself assigned work (the same work, mind you) to the newly-made couple in the garden of Eden. Nevermind that this blatant disregard for a woman's value--in the name of holiness--has created atmospheres where abuse reigns.

A Wrinkle in Time Review 2018

There's a Better Story For Us

Fifty-six years ago, a woman named Madeleine L'Engle crafted a story set half on earth, half on other worlds. It was not her first novel and it was rejected 26 times before finally accepted with much reservation. You might call it the ultimate comeback kid, as it’s gone on to win the Newbery Medal. More than ten million copies are now in print.

Can a science fiction story about a girl, written for young adults in the 1960’s, still inspire us?

Can it restore our hope?

Can it fan the flame of our faith, and remind us that women, mothering, and work are not separate, but vitally and importantly intertwined?

Can it give us fresh understanding about the importance of women, and the importance of our work?

I think it can.

What Questions Do We Ask Our Children?

Ava DuVernay’s film adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is set to release any day now and judging by the trailers, it will be a fantastic event. The novel is a brief, straightly told account of thirteen-year-old Meg’s adventure across time to save her father (and then brother).

Since good science fiction, in my mind, marks itself as being just a good adventure with science (and AWIT is good science fiction), I was shocked when I saw DuVernay’s translation of L’Engles' work, and realized the absurdity of what the author asks us to believe.


Stars turned into humans? A pulsing brain with tremendous control? Beauty beyond comprehension? It felt so natural, in the book. Of course there is life on other planets. Of course God is present here, too. Of course beauty and evil and art and hate are concepts that exist outside of earth’s atmosphere.


In Walking on Water, L’Engle writes, “Generally what is more important than getting watertight answers is learning to ask the right questions.”


Like Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (and many others), Meg’s story teaches us to suspend our need for answers: 

can I be happy in the space between knowing and not knowing? Can I make my home in the infinite stretch of the unknown? Can I be at home in God, who is beyond my knowing?

A Wrinkle in Time Review 2018

The Unlikely Hero

It’s not just faith in the infinite Good that is stretched; we’re also asked to believe in Meg. By all accounts, there’s not much to believe in--or look it. She’s “outrageously plain,” her “dreamboat eyes” hidden behind thick glasses, without which she’s blind as a bat.


She’s stubborn and intractable. Where everyone else in the story is secure in what they offer, Meg--like so many of us--doesn’t know if she has something to offer. She can count her faults but she can’t count her virtues; they come up short.


That’s what’s so compelling about Meg: we find ourselves in her naked vulnerability. When we count our virtues and come up short, also, it's freeing to find we're not alone. The same questions Meg grapples with, we spend lifetimes trying to answer: do we have something to offer this family--this world?

Do we have something in us that matters, inherently, no matter how indescribable?

In the end, it’s this Meg, this thirteen-year-old who has nothing to give, who saves her brother.

the girl is the hero quote

The Heart of the Thing

Maybe the whole arc of L’Engle’s story is about Meg finding the strength to be the hero. Isn’t that what we need, as women? To find the faith to believe in our inherent worth; to stop seeing the cross as simply a revelation of our depravity, but also a declaration about the value of our life


L’Engle's glorious hero isn’t the scientists with the education, it isn’t the all-seeing spiritual guides, it isn’t the brilliant boy, or the wise boy; it's the girl. It's the girl! The girl is the hero! I see my gangly, awkward self in Meg and I am convinced that I can be a glorious hero, too! 

We Matter

I see myself in Mrs. Murray, too--the beautiful scientist (not that part) who has a lab off her kitchen, and warms the family’s dinner stew on her equipment while she finishes her experiment. In later books, she goes on to win a Nobel Prize. She’s a little like L’Engle, herself, who banged out book drafts at her kitchen table while keeping an eye on dinner. She’s a little like me, typing away on a laptop at the kitchen counter while doling out snacks. Gosh, but we matter.


A Wrinkle in Time

There’s Aunt Beast to see myself in, too, and Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which. If we are to raise strong daughters, if we are to raise strong sons, if we are to be strong women and do good work, we need more Megs, who save their fathers and brothers because of their weaknesses (and not in spite of them).


We need more Mrs. Murrarys, more Aunt Beasts who display marvelous compassion to unknown visitors, more Mrs W’s who choose to be undeniably themselves and enter the fray unabashedly. We need more Madeleines, who undertake the hard work to tell the true story. These female characters, diverse and beautiful, were deeply integral to the story’s outcome. So are you--so am I. Deeply integral to this story’s outcome. We matter.

Jena Holliday, on the artwork she created for this article:  "I thought it would be powerful to show Meg looking up while all sorts of everyday women and girls from all different walks stand around her with a hand on each other and a hand on her. They're standing in a cosmic space, like Meg is forging ahead as a heroine and we all join in that in our own walks."

Grab your limited edition print of Jena's AWIT piece here


This piece was written by Sarah Guerrero, writer and mom of three (plus one). You can learn more about her here, and download her humorous & inspiring collection of essays on motherhood here

What A Wrinkle in Time Taught Me About Women, Work, and Motherhood

Artwork commissioned for this article was created by Jena Holliday. Jena is a mother of two and an artist. She celebrates the motherhood of women of color through her work. If you’d like to see more of her art, you can visit her Instagram account here. If you’d like to see her shop, you can find it here.


What a Wrinkle in Time Taught Me About Women, Work, and Motherhood (2018 Review)

31 Things I've Learned in 31 years (more or less)


I turned 31...recently. I'm not sure what's scarier about being in my thirties: the fact that it's really not that bad or the fact that I really don't care how bad it is. I suppose part of me is still loyal to twenty-one-year-old-Sarah, who would have been appalled at the state of my belly-hiding mumus-I-mean-swimsuits. But that baby Sarah hadn't pushed three children out of her vagina like a superhero SO WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?

What Was I Saying? 

Just like I remember the ten most important grocery items that I forgot to add to my cart as soon as I complete my online grocery shopping order, I will remember things I forgot on this list as soon as I hit publish. Also, there are probably a lot of things that I should've learned by now, like how to unclog a toilet (sorry, honey).

You have undoubtedly learned some great lessons, too, in however many years you've been on this planet, so share this post with YOUR top lessons--feel free to match your age, too, or just pick your favorites.

Women Are SMART

I am asking you to share unashamedly for two reasons: 1) more eyeballs on Stand for Mom (blogging ain't cheap, yo, click my affiliate links and buy some nail polish) and 2) women are really smart (see #22) and wouldn't it be cool if a bunch of us were sharing our collective wisdom all in one place? WOULDN'T THAT BE A LOT OF WISDOM? 

This Is the Best Stuff I Know: 

1. A late start is a perfect way to start.  

2. "Because it makes me happy" is a good reason for doing something. 

3. Getting stronger in one place makes me want to get stronger in another place.

4. A walk around the block is better than coffee (JUST KIDDING but it’s close).

5. God moves both more slowly and more quickly than I expect him to.

6. Using a bad word isn’t a sin. Not forgiving somebody is.

7. Umami is a thing and it’s wonderful.

8. Anybody who promises to make you rich in six months IS LYING TO YOUR FACE and however old you are you are TOO OLD FOR THAT.

9. If you don’t have a good mom, you can be a good mom. That’s what freedom means.

10. My marriage belongs to ME. My husband impacts its quality and has a say in whether or not it continues, but ultimately it’s my relationship and my own happiness that I’m nourishing or sabotaging.

11. Unexpressed anger kills me slowly from the inside. I have to choose to express it, feel it wholly, and then release it.

12. My vulnerability gives somebody else permission to be vulnerable.

13. I like my kids a lot more when I get regular breaks from them.

14. I will clear everything for a friend date.

15. It is both humbling and gratifying to meet somebody a world away who has the same dreams and hopes that you do.

16. Feminism is beautiful but I have to pair it with forgiveness or I just walk around angry all the time and then the patriarchy wins.

17. Take your own polish in the perfect shade of pink (or this delicious ultra violet) and the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat (the black bottle) to the nail salon. A polish only is about $7 and sit under the light for 10-15 minutes. Your manicure will last a week and it took you all of twenty minutes and about $7. You’re welcome. Tip your manicurist.

18. Don’t buy something if you can’t afford to replace it.

19. Shame is at the root of a lot of things.

20. My life’s calling is freedom, but the actual point of freedom isn’t to be able to do more stuff (though that happens and it’s awesome), it’s to feel God’s love more.

21. Success is being loved by God and loving him.

22. Women are f*cking incredible. (and here and here)

23. My job isn’t to be my kids’ everything; it’s to point them to the Everything.

24. You never regret taking the photos. You always regret not being in the photos.

25. Lube is clutch.

26. Man does not live by bread alone but she DOES live by bread.

27. If you pray for the same person every time you brush your teeth, in one year you’ll have prayed for that person over 300 times. You can also do this when you get into the car, take a shower, or any other thing you do regularly.

28. If you deliberately start taking your angry feelings when you’re doing the dishes and turn them into prayers thanking God for dishes to feed your children off of, one day you’ll find yourself randomly praising God while you do the dishes.

29. Doing less for my kids allows me to do more with them later.

30. The wonderful thing about privilege is that it’s a platform and you can pull other people up onto it so their voices can be heard, too.  

31.  Queso is cheaper than therapy.

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I So Chill (my feelings map on Valentine's Day)

valentine's day when you're a mom

OMG can Valentine's Day just be over already?

I used to be so chill. I used to pride myself on being so chill. All those other girls, with their crazy eyes and their crazy expectations and all their general cray--not me. I chill. People compliment me on my chill. Ex-boyfriends compared my chill to all their past girlfriends' lack of chill. My husband comes home from hunting weekends and is like, baby, you're so chill and I love you.

But Then...

I realized all my anger issues were because of repressed feelings, and Hallmark--that cat knows what he's doing--and IDK, maybe I just want people to buy me stuff. Or maybe it's that I'm a mom now and there's never a day that's just about me but IS BREAKFAST IN BED TOO MUCH TO ASK? I know nobody is old enough to turn on the stove but POUR ME A BOWL OF CEREAL OR SOMETHING.

These Are the Important Ones

Anyways, I'm still chill. Until I'm not. And then I'm really, really, really not chill. I'm chill till about 8pm on February 14th, or December 5 (my birthday), or February 26 (our anniversary--which I do honestly forget every year) AND THEN I'M REALLY, SUPER NOT CHILL.

This Is All Your Fault

I blame this on Netflix and its incessant parade of chick flicks this time of year. I blame this on that Olympics figure skating couple who is obvs madly in love with each other. I blame this on Jane Austen. I blame this on my kids for taking all money so I can't buy a bunch of stuff online to make me feel better. I do not blame this on my husband (see how chill I am?) because it's not fair to expect someone to know what to do with crazy when it only shows up three times a year from 8:02pm to 10:55pm. And every month when I get my period.

Here's my precise schedule for this week:

my feelings on valentine's day #momhumor #meme #lovehumor #galentinesday

February 12: Oh, I see another holiday is coming for those silly people who allow themselves to be duped by the obvious commercialism of fake holidays.

February 13: People are posting about their special days online, but I know that what really matters is what happens the other 364 days of the year.

February 14, 8am: I feel like maybe I would like a present today. I check our online bank account and feel sad. I decide not to buy myself a present.

10am: I fantasize about my husband stopping by the house with a limo and plane tickets to France. I throw a load of my underwear in the wash just so I have something clean to wear on the plane.

4pm: I realize we're eating Sonic for dinner.

5pm: I'm totally fine and busy celebrating all the women who are getting flowers right now and checking in with all the women who are NOT getting flowers right now. In addition to the combo with a Route 44 drink at Sonic, I order the mozzarella sticks.

6pm: Somebody else gets engaged on Instagram and it's precious. I'm so happy for them.

7pm: Husband calls to say he'll be working late. It's fine. I'm fine.

7:30pm: I remember our first Valentine's Day together and I mentally compare that day to today. Totes the same, even if nobody is wearing anything cute and one of us looks a lot frumpier and there are kids throwing fits about bath time. Still so chill.

7:45pm I take a misery scroll through Instagram, skipping the posts about how happy and rational people communicate expectations clearly prior to big holidays and the posts about how great relationships aren't about candlelit dinners and fancy evenings (obviously they are and these people are LYING, but I'm just mildly pointing this out to myself in a chill way).

8:00pm Change into the sweatpants with the snot stains and stare sadly at myself in the mirror. Start to sniff and suspect nobody is buying me flowers because I eat a lot of extra long chili cheese coneys from Sonic. WHY I EAT SO MANY EXTRA LONG CHILI CHEESE CONEYS FROM SONIC?

8:02pm It's gone. All chill is gone.

8:07pm So is my secret chocolate stash.

10pm: A lot of other things have been eaten now, but the sad place in my heart is still there. Now I'm shopping Instagram. I buy a magnetic face mask, Kylie's lip kit, and a unicorn mug.

11:55pm: I lay in bed, surrounded by the crumbs of my defeat (literally--cake is crumbly). I think about all the single people not having sex tonight and I feel like it's our duty to have sex tonight, but...I ate a lot of things.

6am: I wake up with a chocolate hangover and realize I'm going to have to return everything I bought last night. Wonder if I can cancel the orders before they're sent?

Valentine's Day, here's the door. Show yourself out.

Hey Christian Mom, I'm Sorry I Thought Working Would Hurt Your Kids (an apology)

Hey Christian Mom, I'm sorry I thought working would hurt your kids (an apology)

I was eight months pregnant with my first and waddling down to the front of the church for prayer. My husband was losing his job and all signs pointed to me doing the unthinkable: going back to work. The women I prayed with understood: “you want what’s best for her child, Father,” she prayed, “and what’s best is that this child has a mother at home.”


At my son’s eight week birthday, I went back to work.


It’s little wonder that year was so hard, why I struggled to pray and sleep and trust and pump and hope. If I believed that babies need their mothers at home and that the God who could fix any circumstance didn’t allow me to stay at home--something was going to break, and it was either going to be my faith or it was going to be my belief.

What Breaks First?

It took another six years for my belief to truly break. During that time I had two more children and, after my year as a full-time working mom, I became a stay at home mom, and then a work at home mom. I’ve had days where I knew they’d be better off at daycare, and I have days where I can’t imagine handing my precious gems off to somebody else again.


I used to wonder, when I left them, if they’d forget about me, if their sitter would have a deeper impact on them than I would, if working was really the right thing. Six years into motherhood, now I don’t they don’t forget you. They can’t forget, but I also understand the truth behind what a wise friend told me once: one of her children cried when she left her at daycare and one of her children couldn’t care less, but both hurt the same.

When It Goes Up In Flames...

What I have now? I have humility. That’s what you get when beliefs break and you start over again: you get humility. Despite promises from well-meaning friends that if we really wanted to, we could find a way to live on one income, despite so much self-doubt (have we really heard the Lord correctly? Did we mistake his voice?), what I have is a deep humility.


And sorrow. Now, I have sorrow. I look at a church stance I once believed in and I realize how incomplete it was. What children need isn’t a mom at home; what children need is a mother who loves them. What children need isn’t a one-size-fits-all version of “holy” motherhood; what children need is a mother who, like Mary, says, “Thy will be done.” However strange that will seems.


Now, we need a clearing of the air. We need to stop doubting each other’s motives. We need to stop suspecting each other of being selfish parents, of not sacrificing enough, of not being wired the right way, of being naive or enlightened. Kindness needs to enter this conversation. We need to stop shaking our heads at unbehaved children, saying, “well, he’s at daycare all day….”

I’ll Go First:

I am sorry I thought that if you didn’t stay home with your kids, you would harm them.

I was wrong.


I’m sorry other people have told you that working would hurt your kids. I’m sorry the church, without hearing your heart, told you working would hurt your kids. They were wrong.


I am sorry you’ve felt guilty about what the Lord’s led you to do. I’m sorry you felt judged and less-than for doing what you needed to do. I’m sorry for where your brothers and sisters in Christ have stolen your courage, instead of stirring it up. I’m sorry we’ve heaped extra burdens on you that you didn’t need to carry.


Even though staying at home is a privilege that most of this world cannot afford, I’m sorry you still hear comments from moms who choose to stay at home because they want to “be there” for their children. I’m sorry when you’ve heard a stay at home mom praised for her sacrifices--but nobody thought to praise you for yours. As if you don’t want to be there for the first steps and the after school talks, and as if your worth as a mother could be measured in simple time.

Praise Them All

I’m sorry you hear stay at home moms praised for “putting their children first” as if you’re not busy making sacrifice after sacrifice in your own career. As if you had a choice to work or not work and you didn’t care for your children like the other moms do.


I’m sorry we prioritized a “Christian” policy over your personal, mental wellbeing, as if your children were better off with a shell of a mom than with a healthy, cared for mom.


I’m sorry that we made you think that motherhood had to look like one specific thing even when you weren’t designed for that one specific thing. I’m sorry that we put you in a box.


If we can begin to recognize our egregious mistake, maybe we can begin to ease your burdens.


The truth is, we can’t afford to keep you in a box anymore; we need you to be the beautiful, magnificent story that God called you to be. In fact, even though it’s the church that’s made you feel wrong about how you mother, what it really needs in the biggest way is for you to do what God’s called you to do--nothing more and nothing less.

We Need You

We need your diverse talents and work callings and childhood plans. We need your blend of skin color and eye color and cultural background. Do you know each of us is called to the body of Christ for a purpose? You can’t be sold out for God if your church is telling you there’s only one way to be, and that how to be is more important than doing what God tells you to do. And when you’re doing what he’s called you to do, rivers of flowing water will pour right through you into us.  


We need you. I need you.


I need my church body to be full of women from every walk of life:


women who are working, women who are staying home with kids, and women who are doing both or none of it. We need single women, too, with children and without children. We need widowed women and divorced women, female bosses and mentors and mothers and teachers and preachers--with babies and without.

Where To Now?

And we both need, now more than ever, is a community of Christians who hear God’s voice with you and invest in you and believe you when you talk. What you need is a community that rallies around you and lends you their courage and their shoulders and their strength so you can go be what Christ’s called you to be.


I hope we find it.


"Sarah has a heart for the mom who just feels like she isn't quite cutting it (hi, thats me me right here!)....She speaks truth into my life exactly when I need it. This post was like a shot in the heart. So full of truth and exactly what I was needing to hear this morning!"
Brenna S.
strong women raise strong kids

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Hey Christian Mom, I'm sorry I thought working would hurt your kids (an apology)