Sarah is a frequently sought-after speaker, who has spoken at churches, women’s retreats, cancer support groups, non-profit fundraisers and galas and dozens of university campuses.
HERE’S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT SARAH’S SPEAKING
“The whole audience of over 2,000 freshmen sat spell-bound as they listened to Ms. Thebarge give advice from her unique perspective. Her talk, drawn from her book, was one of the most inspirational talks to college students I have ever heard.” – Jerome A. Gilbert, Provost and Executive Vice President, Mississippi State University
“A very inspirational evening!”
“I enjoyed having you in chapel… You did an absolutely wonderful job. Thank you!”
“A night my friend and I will not soon forget…”
“It was very moving and, quite frankly, the best talk that I have been to at [this university]. I am professor of physics and have been here since 1998.”
“Thanks for teaching the memoir-writing workshop… You have a lot to offer, and I have a lot to learn. Thanks for being transparent and accessible to those in the class.”
“We had a very strong response… Thanks for speaking into the lives of our campus community. Your messages were powerfully used.”
HERE ARE SARAH’S MOST COMMONLY-REQUESTED TALKS
FINDING GOD IN THE STORM: Based on her personal experience of nearly dying of breast cancer in her 20’s, Sarah talks about navigating the storms of life and how we can experience God’s goodness in spite of external circumstances. Sarah helps people honestly acknowledge and encounter their pain, and then leads them to understand how to experience God’s presence in the midst of pain because, as Charles Spurgeon said, in the storms of life, God comes closer to us than the storm could ever be.
EL ROI: THE GOD WHO SEES: Based on the story of Hagar in Genesis 16, Sarah talks about Hagar’s encounter with God and how, at the end of the encounter, Hagar becomes the only person in the Bible to name God. The name Hagar gives God is El Roi: The God Who Sees. Sarah goes on to describe how God used her to see a Somali woman and her daughters on a train in Portland, Oregon, one afternoon. Sarah struck up a conversation with the woman, and then went to check on her a few days later because the woman was crying and seemed overwhelmed. She found the woman and her five little girls living in a cold, empty apartment. They had no furniture, toiletries or towels. Each of them just had the clothes on their backs. They had one blanket for the six of them. And they were eating moldy bread dipped in ketchup because they’d run out of money and food, and the mom was Dumpster-diving to try to find food for her girls. Sarah describes the friendship that led her to write the memoir The Invisible Girls, which weaves her story together with theirs, and talks about what prompted her to give the book proceeds into a college fund for the girls, The Invisible Girls Trust Fund. She encourages each attendee to practice every day, ordinary kindnesses so marginalized and invisible people know they are loved and seen by Jesus and his followers.
SO YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD: Many high school and college students see that the world is broken, and have a desire to use their creativity, talent, skills, intellect and energy to change the world. But what exactly does that mean? In this talk, Sarah shares her own story of telling the admissions committee at Yale that they should admit her because, as she said, “I’m going to change the world some day, and I’m giving you the chance to say, ‘We knew her when!'” (true story!) Sarah helps students understand how to adjust their expectations, attitudes and posture so they can become effective in healing the cracks they see in our beautiful, broken world.
LOVE LOOKS AROUND: In 2015, Sarah spent three months working at a hospital in Togo, West Africa, which was ranked the Least Happy Country In The World by the United Nations in 2013. Sarah witnessed more people dying in one week in Togo than she’d seen in ten years of practicing medicine in the U.S. People died of diseases that were mostly preventible — or easily treatable — given adequate resources, including tetanus, malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, meningitis, childbirth complications and AIDS. After contracting malaria herself, the village she was working in ran out of water and, while temperatures soared over 100 degrees, the only option people had was to drink out of old cisterns. As Sarah struggles to stay in Togo in spite of these difficulties, she contemplates significant questions. Why does I Corinthians say that out of Faith, Hope and Love that Love is the greatest? What helps us persist in life’s difficult situations — whether at home or abroad — when we run out of motivation, energy and emotion to keep going? And, What does it mean for each of us to choose to become people of love?
THE HEALING POWER OF YOUR STORY: In addition to giving messages and retreat talks, Sarah also leads workshops that use creative prompts, dialogue and discussion to help people heal from their life experiences. As Sarah says, storytelling is a tool that has the power to transform our wounds into scars. This workshop can be tailored to a one-day event, or spread out over a weekend. Depending on your group’s interests and needs, Sarah is also available for one-on-one mentoring appointments to give attendees more specific feedback and advice on how to tell their story well.