When the Mask Comes Off

When I was a teenager, I would look at the other kids at church and think I had absolutely nothing in common with them. They must all love being there every Sunday and Wednesday and never fight their parents about going. They must never wish they could do all the things their friends at school were doing. They must never sit on the row and be insecure because they weren’t sure if their church friends were going to talk to them that day. They must have it all together.

There was even one day in Sunday school in 10th grade when we divided into stations to talk about issues teenagers faced. I went to the station on peer pressure and to my absolute shock, I was the only one! That further reinforced my belief that I alone was being pulled in by the undertow. Over time, with no one I felt I could relate to on the shore, I gave in to the strong current.

What grieves me now is that other kids were going through some of the same stuff I was, at least to an extent, but no one was talking about it. I didn’t know. Many of us felt isolated in our secret struggles, whatever they might have been. Late in my senior year (which was the low point for me), I was at a party with some friends and a girl from my church was there. I didn’t know her very well at the time. She told my boyfriend to spill some dirt on me because it was killing her to think I could be so perfect. Are you kidding me? Partly because of who my mom was, and partly because it’s in our nature to think everyone else has it altogether but us, she had this very, very false perception that I didn’t struggle.

Her words haunted me for the next year. I felt so bad that she had the wrong idea and that I had allowed the masquerade to persist. Eventually, the guilt got to me and I invited this friend to meet me for lunch. During our time together I was finally able to take off the mask. At that point I was a freshman in college and the Lord was delivering me out of the pit I had been in. Thankfully, I was also able to share the work He was currently doing in my life.

That friend was one of the first people I ever shared those struggles with. It was not easy for me, but it felt so good to be real with her. It marked a turning point in my life toward authenticity. I’ve found that it does me no good to surround myself with pretenders and it does others no good for me to be a pretender.

Two weeks ago Curtis and I were at a very low place in our parenting experience. Jackson’s behavior had brought us to our knees and we felt hopeless. Annabeth was at my parents’ house and we were driving in the car with him to Wednesday night church. Both of us were in tears because we were so frustrated. I asked Curt if this is how it was going to be for the next 15 years – us hating ourselves because we feel like failures and not even recognizing who we’d become. Neither one of us wakes up in the morning hoping we can spend the whole day disciplining our three-year-old, you know? We were seriously at our wits end.

Curt, trying to console me a bit, told me that his best friend had recently asked him how things were going with our two. Curt had told him that things were fine. His friend’s reply was, “Thank God. If you’d told me things were good, I don’t know what I would have done.” Our friends are also in the trenches with their newborn and their two-year-old son. What if Curt had told him everything was great even though it wasn’t? All four of us would have felt alone and like failures.

That night after Bible study, our Sunday school teacher and his wife summoned all the couples from our class over to a table. In tears, he shared a struggle they were having with their three-year-old daughter. They were at their wits end. They felt hopeless. Like failures. He literally said they wondered if this is how it was going to be for the next 15 years.

So we’re not the only ones? We’re not the only ones!

Curt raised his hand and said, “Us too!”

We were able to spend some time praying for one another. I can’t tell you how encouraged Curtis and I felt. We had walked into church that night in despair and we left with hope.

You know what’s crazy? That very night we saw a change in our son. And since then, his heart has been a little softer and a little quicker to respond to discipline. We saw the hand of God move in our situation – from our friends’ vulnerability that let us know we weren’t alone to our kid’s softened heart.

People need us to be real. Of course, I don’t mean “real” to the point that we’re trying to shock others with our sin nature. We don’t need to let it all hang out. I have struck out many times on this. We must be Spirit-filled to walk the fine line.

When we’re authentic, two things happen. One, we encourage others who are struggling in the same way. And two, we allow ourselves to be encouraged by others who have been there.

I was once an incredibly self-righteous person. I was proud of being good. Then God let me eat it and I saw what was really in my heart. There was nothing good there. I learned to surrender my weak self to Jesus every single day and let Him change my heart. If I stopped doing that, I’d turn right back into my old self. That is the scariest thought ever. The stakes are especially high now that I’m a wife and a mother. So I no longer care to portray a false sense of goodness or perfection. I want to show others that He is good and He has is all together. He can take a heart that craves sin and make it thirst for righteousness. He can take a Failure and make her a Victor. He can take our struggles and turn them into strengths. That’s what He’s done for me, what He’s doing for me, and what He’ll keep doing for me until He takes me home.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)


200 Responses to “When the Mask Comes Off”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 101
    Heiress of God says:


    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.. Even though my children are grown I remember thinking the two’s were a piece of cake compared to the trying threes… :\

    But even as they grow older it can be harder to relate to them as they sometimes just plain shut you out and then you can really feel alone. My 16 years old on most days if I don’t go before our Father makes me feel like I have no clue as a mother… she either land blasts me with everything I am not or she shuts me out… it can be very overwhelming and I tell you what this last week I just really turned inside and felt like I wanted to throw up my hands with her… But our Father is good and He gently reminded me I don’t have to do it alone…

    So thank you for your words of hope..


  2. 102
    tonya lawson says:

    Thank the Lord for christian friends. I have two boys, 9 and almost 5. I was very overwhelmed with two small kids that were 4 years apart. We would go off with other friends and it felt as if their kids were “perfect” and ours would be acting up. I realized that as a parent my job was to do what was best for my kids not judge them with other kids. I can say now that besides just a few things here and there both boys are growing into themselves. We still have our disciplining moments (just had one by the way as I typed this) but they are both learning that every action has a consequence. Each day is a new day and the best advice I have been given over the years is to be consistent. I am thankful for moments like this when we can share with each other and get things off our chest. Thanks for the post….I really needed to hear it.

  3. 103
    teagirl says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My husband and I are also have a toddler boy. There are days there have been tears and frustration. I’ve had to remind myself that I would miss him being this little one day. You truly encouraged my heart right where I was today. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. 104
    Julie says:

    Thanks for sharing this Amanda, sometimes it is so hard for us to take off our mask and just be real for real’s sake! I was confronted with this through the summer bible study (NOG) we did. Sometimes our obsession with how we appear to others can be an idol we do not even realize exist in our life. Thanks for the reminder to look inside and see how “real” my mask is…You are a blessing

  5. 105
    alysha says:

    What a inspiration you have been to me today!! I have always struggled with being authentic with others. I’m a serious pretender, I hate that about myself. It’s been a bunch of work to! I’ve come to realize that its ok to have struggles with my young kids and other things and admit it! Thats the way it suppose to be! Thankyou for sharing your experience!!

  6. 106
    JayCee says:

    Thanks for being real.

  7. 107
    Anonymous says:

    This really hit me hard – your words about being self-righteous and your pride about being good – that is EXACTLY what God is dealing with me about at this time – and I’m not in high school – I am 55!

    Thank you for your wisdom and ability to speak up! It has helped me so much! Just being able to sign my name here and admit this pride is major for me!


  8. 108
    The Walters' Family says:

    Thank you! I love your mom’s studies, but sometimes I feel like saying, “But Beth, I’ve got three little ones driving me crazy, and this study is the only time I have childcare.” LOL Excuses, I know. It is just refreshing to hear your words. I’m speaking in front of our MOPS group and going to give my testimony for the first time. Thank you sweet sister for the encouragment. Oh, to have the courage to shout from the roof tops, “I SURRENDER ALL!!”

  9. 109
    Deb says:

    I just want to say I so appreciated your post Amanda!!! Thank you for your transparency!!!
    And it was something we ALL needed to be reminded of.
    One other thing I wanted to tell you- I PROMISE it gets easier. I have found that nothing keeps you on your knees more than having kids and the Lord TOTALLY meets you where your at. But also, I have “polled” many families and found it true in our own that the hardest transition in a family is going form one child to two. We have four and it is DEFINATELY easier now AND the fact that they are older is a big factor too. So take heart… this too shall pass Dear Sister!!!
    You are such a BLESSING!! 🙂
    Deb Wordhouse- Grand Rapids, MI.

  10. 110
    Praying Paula says:

    Oh, having a 20 year old and a 4 year old sons… Between the two – the Lord sure has been hearing me groan, cry and even plead for help. Each so different in ages that when praying for the oldest son I ask the Lord to help me later and protect the youngest from the issue were in at that time. whewwww…

    God has answered in mightly ways..He doesn’t delay on the help we need at that time.

    I would say that my spiritual eyes are opening to the sin nature of little ones. They don’t have to be exposed to grasp it.

    In my class, School of Christian Studies the teacher/minister asked what wisdom literature if any was being taught to children and if it was still being taught in schools? A good point of interest..because the children aren’t getting it from home anymore. This is a question I’m going to keep asking..

    Thanks for posting.

    God Bless.

  11. 111
    Sheri says:

    Amanda-I love telling this story b/cuz it totally illustrates what is “really” real….when our second child came home from the hospital-my eldest child (daughter) was 23 months. She was none too thrilled with brother making his grand appearance…so much so that when she after went to bed that night-she sprung awake (we were in the kitchen, next to the family room), came running to the front door area, grabbed the car seat and dragged it to the front door-all the while yelling-“Baby go bye-bye, baby go bye-bye!” Now-It broke my heart (hormones didn’t help) and I thought we were the cruelest people alive-imagine bringing another kid into the house to upsurp her! I got over it quickly, she on the other hand played “Cool man Luke” for some time. She got over it eventually and today at 21 and 19 they are besst of friends! We call them the “ole married couple” as they banter back and forth in such a manner….and when brother met sister #2, 4 years later-he wasn’t so thrilled either! #3 child was soooo not happy with #4 making his grand entrance into the family when she was 6 (as she had the privilage of being the baby of the fam for so many years) that I thought I would pack a bag, head out the door and never come back (as the 2 others also were demanding as well)….I mean golly geez-

    And 3 year olds-oh me oh my…not a fan of em. As they are learning that they have “power” and if you do not come down on that test of wills, you will reap a difficult child for years to come. I found with my youngest (strong-willed) that if I took his face in my hands, and made him look me in the eye (so ya gotta get to his level) and look (really look) me in the eye-the disobedience was trumped. That and a few good spankings here and there, but mostly time outs. I also use the “1, 2, 3” thang-holding my hand up-when I say one (in a firm tone) he knows he has been warned, 2 means you better stop immediately cuz swift action is acoming, and 3 with no change-gets an instant spank or time out and a firm talking to (never in anger)…he is 7 1/2 and all I have to do is hit 1 and he straightens up. Give it time, be consistant, cry in your bathroom or somewhere far away afterward, do not let him see it kills ya cuz he will use that for his benefit…..and know, darling-you are experiencing what every parent who has gone before you has-it is universal and will pass with prayer, consistancy and love (firm that is).

    Mom to 4
    Mom for 21 years
    Mom who has dealt with her own and other’s children for one year shy of 30 years
    Mom who has contemplated running away and never returning
    Mom who has found strength in the Lord
    Mom who has been blessed with 4 very strong-willed children and has survived (up to now anyhoo)

    Lifting you and hubby up in prayer.

  12. 112
    Nichole's Mom says:

    I’m reading the book “Have a new Kid by Friday” by Dr. Kevin Leaman. So far it looks very good so far except that most of the problem is my fault! I don’t follow through. Rats! Love and prayers to you all.


  13. 113
    Anonymous says:

    The irony is that I keep the mask on, and then am hurt because no one knows the real me. Isn’t that the silliest thing?

  14. 114
    Anonymous says:

    it must be about whether we forgive or if we are forgiven. What I notice is everywhere I see forgiveness or un-forgiveness on the faces of people. Mostly un-forgiveness of a Mom or a Dad, brother, sister, husband, friend or ourselves that keep the masks on. It must be that simple. When I hear and read stories of people who have forgiven those who don’t deserve it that is only God. The cross, it must all start there. The end of the law complete of right do’s and the wrong don’t’s. Every one is sad or glad about something or they must be holding up through the grace of God. Do I deserve His grace? When I put Him there on the cross. Do I?

    But, I know some families who don’t even know God at all and yet they have applied the principles of loyalty, showing difference, helping, loving each other, caring and they are not Christians. So, it must be that the principles of God work no matter who you are, believer or not. They are not fighting, arguing over things or their positions.

    It must be about forgiveness in all whether there is a mask or not. I’ve failed, forgive me.

  15. 115
    Julianna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I went to lunch today with my sister in law and her daughter that is only 6 months older than my 2 year old daughter. We had this very same conversation. I have had days recently where it seems like all we ever do is discipline our daughter. This was encouraging to read and you are certainly never alone. God is so great to give us the encouragement we need right when we need it.

  16. 116
    Mindy says:


    Got this from Lifeway today. Maybe it would be a good resource for your group! I think all honest parents have been in your place! We have 5 – ages 12, 10, 8, 5 and 1. It is the way God gets our focus on Him, by recognizing that we CAN NOT do this parenting-thing by our own human efforts. I remember many times with my own that I would get frustrated with my children because they didn’t remember what I told them from the day before. God had to show me that I didn’t remember everything He had told me in the past, even when it was a double-underline-highlighted-incredible-life-changing-thing I thought I’d never forget. Start each day new. Give the instruction once and then begin to train to first-time obedience for that day. There were so many times we made ourselves crazy because of our own inconsistency with first-time obedience. You’ll will make it, but not because of your own efforts, but because of the God we serve who works all for our good! Stick in there!

  17. 117
    Beth says:

    So TRUE! I love the quote by C.S. Lewis, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You, too? I thought I was the only one!”

  18. 118
    Anonymous says:

    I wish I could say yeah for parenting. My daughter is now 16 years old and I am such at wits in. Not because she is 16 but because she has high functioning autism and has no friends. She is in special education and it is a struggle. There are many nights I cry myself to sleep because of things she is going through and I can’t change her disability. She will say I hate having autism. She will say why am I so different then others. She will say that no one likes me. etc. And when you tell people your daughter has autism they go really that is such a shame and to be embraced likes just say, not happening. Amanda and others embrace the children you have. Cry when you need to and yes I agree with you all to go to Jesus our Savior. Thanks for listening.

    Darcie a mom of a special child with autism
    April is Autism Awareness Month

  19. 119
    Heather C says:

    Excellent post, Amanda! You are certainly not alone. None of us are. They cry of my heart is to be authentic in this walk with the Lord. I want to be REAL so that I can identify with others as the Word says I’m supposed to. It saddens me that in our churches, we often don’t feel free to be vulnerable… we fear being judged… yet that’s the one place we should be able to get down and dirty… and honest. Thanks for such a refreshing post!

  20. 120
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Amanda. I so needed this post. I am a grandmother raising two precious step-grandchildren a girl, 7 and a boy just turned 4. Today I took them to the dentist. The little precious boy decided he was not going to let the dentist look at his teeth. I talked, coaxed, and used all my disciplining techniques. None worked. I am having so much trouble knowing what to do. I think I forgot to do the most important, PRAY. They need prayer. Thanks again for your post.

  21. 121
    Melissa May says:

    Aw, sweetie… you are so right that you’re not the only ones! A few years ago I ended up in quite a pit the months after our 2nd child was born (I also had an almost/barely 3 yr old at the time!) I had heard that the transition from 2 to 3 was bad, but nobody warned me that the transition from 1 to 2 was worse!!! But I survived, even have a 3rd now and am still surviving by God’s grace. As my mama always said, “This too shall pass!” and I think that every single one of us parents feels like a failure at times (or often!) but I always take heart when I think of how God’s children treated Him in the garden and wandering in the desert and it makes me feel better. : ) Hang in there!!!!! It does get much easier!!!!! : )

  22. 122
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing all that. Our dear daughter is 24 years old now. When she was little we experianced these same struggles and we were unfortunately in an enviroment where our church family was not sharing struggles. “good Christians” do not have these problems was the impression we were getting. I prayed, prayed, prayed and cried and prayed. God’s grace we discovered some food allergies that were aggrevating some behaviors. In later years God moved us to some different enviroments and more open church situations that were open and healing. I also was led to become a prayer partner with the Mom’s In Touch ministry where your pray scripture over your children. At the time that was the first I had ever heard of doing that. Your Mom and others confirm this way of praying for people and situations. God has done ALOT of heart changes on all of us. I am still apart of a Mom’ group as we are praying for our adult children and we have a Grandma in the group, too! Praise God for the way He ministered to you and Curtis in the situation. He Himself knows what it is to parent children that you love passionately and that can make you crazy at the same time. I will be paying as well specifically for your family. In Jesus’ Love Kathy Knoblock

  23. 123
    Heather says:

    So good to know that we are not alone in our parenting issues! We have a three and half year old and a 9 month old. It has been so hard. I breathed a sigh of relief to know that we are not the only ones out there struggling with being parents of young kids! I always feel like I am the only one! Thanks for sharing.

  24. 124
    Jennifer says:

    Jennifer, I noticed your question about Beth’s references to “GP” in one of the Esther videos. Unless I’m mistaken, it stands for “God’s Property.” I like to think of it as “God’s People”, (and Beth might have meant it as “God’s People”), but I think it actually comes from Kirk Franklin… “GP are you with me? Oh yeah! We’re having church, we ain’t goin nowhere! STOMP!” 🙂 Somebody correct me if I’m wrong…

  25. 125
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Amen, Amanda:)

    Love in HIM, blessings, ((HUGS))

    Col. 3:12-17, love-the perfect bond of unity!

  26. 126
    Melissa Milbourn says:

    I love this…

  27. 127
    Natasha says:

    Oh Amanda, thank you so much for that!!! You have no idea how those words just touched my soul. I strive to surround myself with real, genuine people, but I find that sometimes perceptions do get in the way. My perception of them, their perception of me. I have struggled with being a pretender sometimes – comes from my past, where I always ‘pretended that nothing was wrong’. Thank you for letting God use you to remind me about being genuine, real, open and honest. Sharing our real struggles with people only opens the door for God to reveal himself. Oh and by the way – when our daughter was 2 and 3, we thought we were going to lose it, Lol. She was so very dramatic, spirited and emotional, we struggled with our parenting too. It’s the age…and the personality…It makes even the best of us doubt ourSELVES and our ‘skillz’. She’s almost 6 now, and trust me, it gets better, sooooo much better. The Lord has been so good! Thanks again for sharing and opening up with some of the same struggles we share with you! Your babies are beautiful!!!

  28. 128
    Deanna says:

    Wow Amanda, that’s really putting it out there girl. I remember that mouth full of self-righteousness in my own life, it was the worse thing I’ve ever had to eat! AND the other extreme of letting my gums flap in the wind like there’s no tomorrow – whoa, that was a tough meal to digest too. There really is no balance without going to Jesus and fully surrendering to Him everyday! I love what you said, “He can take a heart that craves sin and make it thirst for righteousness”. Oh, how good He is! Maybe that’s why the word tells us to “taste and see”….
    Also, I heard a wise “younger” woman say that when she sees parents struggling, and having deep concerns and praying about their parenting skills, then usually that’s the parents that will be okay. I know you have heard your Mom and probably many others say this, but this precious season in your life will pass so quickly. Don’t be so hard on yourself, you will be okay.

  29. 129
    Jackie Sue says:

    Great post, Amanda. I used to think God was lucky to have me on His side…oh my how I shudder to remember that, but it was true. God in His gracious gentleness began to reveal my heart and like you, He continues to…I need Him so much…so grateful for His sweet grace and transforming power.

  30. 130
    Melissa Lynn says:

    Thank you, thank you for that post. My kids are almost 6 yrs and 10.5 yrs and we struggle with parenting them every day…from the guilt of “not doing it perfectly”, the guilt of losing my temper way more than I probably should, of selfishness, etc. Thank you for being vulnerable w/us…it’s so good to know I am not alone in my quest to be the best mom I can be, but knowing that w/o Jesus I can’t even come close. I remember from a study I did several years ago, that taught that Jesus KNOWS I cannot be a good mom, I just can’t. He knows that and does not expect me to know it all, have it all together…the Holy Spirit has quickened in my heart to remember to ask Him each day to parent thru me, so I’m not doing alone and that has given me more freedom from guilt than I have felt in a while…wow, Him parenting thru me…cool! What better parent could my kids possibly have then the King of Kings!
    Melissa in Concord, CA

  31. 131
    Brandy says:

    Thanks Amanda- its good to hear that someone else struggles!!!
    It seems here lately that I let down my guard way too easy- and let the devil in- but I will not let him have the victory in my life. I know that Jesus is my savior, He is my source of strength, and my shield… Thats what I have to keep telling myself. And I have to stay in the word. Boy, does that make all the difference. Lord, give me strength to live for you even when the devil is breathing down my neck. But dont they say, we must be doing something right if the devil is bothering us?????

  32. 132
    stkarenofarc says:

    I have been there too! Now that my son is almost 8 and my daughter is 4, things are much easier. Thank you Lord! One particular evening, while my husband was traveling, my son (5 at the time) became extremely defiant and disobedient. I was at my wit’s end. I rebuked satan in Jesus’ name and I was yelling at him to get out of our house, and that our home belonged to the Lord etc… Well, no surprise, my 5 year old son came upstairs right afterwards and said “mom, I feel much better!!!” and I said to him “I bet you do!” I know that you know what you are doing spiritually. You just got to pray, pray, pray for those precious kiddos and continue to ask the Lord to cover them with His Precious Blood!

  33. 133
    Anonymous says:

    On Saturday, I was at an airport restaurant and couldn’t help overhearing two tattoo-sporting couples at the bar compare notes about their exasperating teenagers.

    Just when I was wishing I didn’t have to listen, one said, “But for all the trouble, they’re the best part of our lives” (or something similar).

    I almost cried right in the guacamole.

  34. 134
    purefire says:


    Our church just started a Parents Ministry and our first class was last night. The information that was presented was from a book by Youth Specialities, and they have a website with lots of good helps, info and conferences. It’s for parents of all ages of children. It’s http://realworldparents.com/

    I thought it so timely that your post coincided with our new ministry starting this week. Isn’t our God simply amazing? I’m prayin’ for ya’ll.

  35. 135
    Candy says:

    This is perfect. Such truth. I spoke at our church these same words a week ago during communion thoughts in the context of Jesus telling Lazarus’ friends to take his grave clothes off. First Lazarus had to walk out of the grave when Jesus called him and then everyone else was called to help him remove the junk – I likened it to acceptance and loving each other. But first, Lazarus had to walk out into the light. That’s the hard part. This is a great post, Amanda. We all need to get real and church should be a safe place to do so.

  36. 136
    Rachel in Louisiana says:

    When our son was about 12 years old he started struggling in school. Within the next two years he went from struggling to failing with no good reason. It was HARD. He was a great kid, but was deliberately doing badly in school. My husband and I felt like all we ever did was yelled at him and in reality that probably is all we ever did. We were alone. Or at least it seemed that way. And what’s worse was everywhere we looked there were families with great kids who already had their college major determined by the end of middle school.

    We found that even though we were embarrassed by the situation we started to talk to people about it (neighbors, friends, other parents) and we found not only were we not alone, we got encouraged. I spent many days crying out to God to restore our relationship and to break my spirit for my son so that I could see him the way God sees him. Our son made it through middle school and is a junior now…..not doing great in school, but making it. God really brought us through that time.

    Sometimes parenting can seem like a very dark, lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Find strength in those God places in your path.

  37. 137
    Christal says:

    Thanks Amanda, I really needed to hear these words. Growing up as a PK “preacher’s kid” I learned very quickly to put on the mask of perfection, mainly for protection and as a coping mechanism. It is a hard habit to break, but little by little God is showing me that I can trust him to lead me to people who I can be real with and put down the mask.

  38. 138
    Amaris in Wonderland says:

    ** You don't need to post this, if you do not want to… only if it can be used to build others up, in Christ**


    Thank you for your post. "Be real" has been my plea since i was a preteen… It's something that my family was not raised to be. Fortunately, i have one sister who is – she is the light of my life.

    However, "T.M.I." (too much information) is something that i struggle with. I want to be transparent and real – be true to my 70, and not act like 100%… as Beth has said.

    I finally realized that until i have true prayer partners or REALLY close sisters in Christ, that i cannot share areas of my life where i have been battling certain strongholds. Some only rear their ugly heads, every 5 years or so – issues that God settled a decade ago… Still, The Enemy has a limited number of tricks in his bag, so he's bound to try again (always repackaged in shinier, more surprising presentations.)

    I have found that prayer partners, via the internet have really filled that gap. The Living Proof Prayer Team has been a life preserver, in deep waters. 🙂

    I just wanted to say that your noting that being Spirit-filled is the key to walking that fine line, encouraged me. I know that i can call on the Lord, at any time. I just have to give it all i've got, because He's all i've got, right now.

    I am in a foreign country, with no Christian brothers & sisters or home church for fellowship or encouragement. I'm basically in a spiritual Iraq:

    I married my husband hastily, and on bad intel. (He said he had gone to seminary in Brazil, but was not "walking with God the way he should be" – and i later discovered it was a local Catholic College. – He blamed it on the language barrier.) Like a weak woman (2 Tim 3:6) I married him. Years later, i got right with the Lord, and have followed Him in every way that I can be obedient – to show myself approved. That has included honoring my unsaved husband.

    Now i'm here: isolated in a country that i'm sure, replicates Babylon – in every way. I have felt the hold of The Enemy over this culture, and fought for my marriage, like never before… I have a past that includes a decade of Spiritual warfare, and only now i think that it prepared me for life, here.

    The Lord has affirmed to me, several times that it was His plan and will for me to move here. I just am at a point where i don't know how "real" to be, because the people here have only ever seen "wolves in sheep's clothing." I have yet to meet someone who believes that sheep even exist.

    My most important goal is to not ever misrepresent Christ. To never be the "weirdo that calls herself a Christian"… i am a weirdo, but that goes hand in hand with being an Austinite. 🙂

    The quote that says, "that a Christian should never bring shame to, or be ashamed of Christ," sums up what i want for my walk, my witness. Transparency is a requirement, but i want to learn how to wield it properly. Also, there comes in to question my testimony.

    I have way too much in my past, to ever fully tell it to someone. I don't like to tell it, because it is a shocker. I'm afraid my testimony will freak people out, and drive them away from Christ – not to Him. Again, this is where being Spirit-filled comes in to play.

    Thank you for reaffirming this. Thank you for your encouragement.

    A Sister in Christ

  39. 139
    Anonymous says:

    That was such a great story to tell. Not only do we need to be reminded of being authentic for ourselves, but also giving our fellow Christians the freedom to share that authenticity.

    When my son was 6 days old my husband told me he was in love with someone else. As I struggled with my grief and my anger, the much repeated comments of “He just wasn’t the one God chose for you” and “God has a plan and it’s going to be even better!” smothered me to the point I quit going to church for over a year. I was MAD at my husband and I was mad at God and no one could deal with my “authentic” feelings.

    On top of everything else I felt guilty for not being “Christian” enough to put on my happy face and be thankful in all things.

    We all struggle and things are not “good” all the time. People shouldn’t have to read between the lines of what “fine” means versus good.

    Somethimes being thankful for all things is being thankful that you haven’t taken a baseball bat to your husband yet one more day.

    We have to be open to hearing about others struggles as well as being able to voice them.

  40. 140
    Meagan says:

    Thank you Amanda, for sharing this. My best friend was telling me about this post last night because it reminded her of me. I still struggle with people thinking I’ve got it all together and even avoiding relationship with me because they are intimidated. I want so badly to be real and for them to see I don’t have it together, but also want to walk the fine line of not spilling unnecessary guts all over the floor. Add to this the fact that I’m a minister’s wife 🙂 Unfortunately, I really can’t spill everything and be totally real with just anyone, not everyone’s spiritual maturity can handle it…

  41. 141
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    I nearly cried when I read this and I never cry! Well, hardly ever. Josh and I pretty much gave up on our girls a long time ago. Or at least I have. Well, mostly our middle child. She is sooo stubborn and so determined to be her own boss. She won’t even let me and Josh boss her, let alone God. I have to say we’ve given in to her way to often. At this point my attitude toward her is, “I don’t negotiate with terrorists.” I’m sorry. I know it sounds terrible.

  42. 142
    Regina says:

    That is just what I needed to hear today.

  43. 143
    The B Family says:

    I needed to read this today. Thank you. Sometimes we need to humble ourselves before others in order to take the next step in our faith-walk. I’ll say it again: I needed to read this today!

  44. 144
    Momtotyandow says:

    I am where you are and I totally agree with you. Someone recently thought I had it all together and I was a little proud at first and then thought, “who am I kidding, I have nothing together.” We do need to let others know the struggles that we have. I fear they will think less of me, but they may just be relieved and blessed.

  45. 145
    cindaking says:

    Amanda, I was touched, amused, and even a bit nostalgic as you shared of your frustration with little Jackson’s behavior. Now, 17 years down the road, I still remember the day I sat down with my almost 3 year old daughter for a serious talk about what I had learned from James Dobson’s “Strong-Willed Child”. With book in hand I explained how this very wise man, who knew sooo much about little children, agreed that Mommies and Daddies make the rules, not little girls. Although I had never spanked my daughter, I went on to explain how Dr. Dobson suggested I should never use my hand but instead have a paddle for swats of discipline when absolutely necessary. I showed her the little wooden spatula I had chosen as our “paddle” and together we placed it on top of the refrigerator. From then on, when her behavior became challenging or defiant, all I had to do was cock my eyes in the direction of the fridge and she would bellow “No, Mommie, don’t get Dr. Dobson.” That little paddle, known to this day as “Dr. Dobson” is lovingly packed away in her memory box; and my daughter is a happy, well-adjusted, and successful sophomore in college.

  46. 146
    The Portens says:

    Amanda, I can totally relate, and my little boy is 8 today (it’s his birthday)! You HAVE to read this book: “Wild Things, the art of nurturing boys” by (last names) James and Thomas. I picked it up at our local Family Christian Store, and it has really changed the way I look at my son and discipline him. It has really helped me to understand him more. I only wish I had had it when Samuel was Jackson’s age, I feel it would have helped me be a better mother then. Get it — TODAY, and READ IT!!! ~Lori

  47. 147
    Pam B from SC says:

    This honest and open blog makes me think of the song “Stained-Glass Masqerade” by Casting Crowns.

  48. 148
    Anonymous says:

    I wish we could be totally honest with each other ALL the time. I don’t think some people really want to hear about the struggles that other believers are going through. I think most people are caught up in their own world and don’t really care or can handle their fellow believers short comings. The result is that secret struggles stay secret struggles. We become adept at covering up. We live secret lives sometimes even hoping that we’ll get caught so that we are forced to deal with our stuff. My prayer is that we will be the church that we were meant to be – that we will lift each other up, speak the truth in love and put others needs before our own.

  49. 149
    Stephanie says:

    Ahhh…thank you. I am come a little farther than a newborn and a 2 year old. But I remember those days. Clearly. ANd I did try for a looong time to be the perfect mother with the sweetest,cutest, nicest dressed kids on the block. (boys no less) Then finally got to end of me…finally. Let me tell you, it is a whole lot easier being real…less exhausting for sure. And yes, that is what others (Christ followers included) need to see.
    Praying for you,

  50. 150
    Anonymous says:

    Amanda: I grew up as a pastor’s kid, so I have a sense of what you felt (though my family is not “famous”)

    I also have 3 children (all IN PROCESS just like their parents) . . . the oldest was 3 years 10 days when # 3 was born.

    My wise grandmother (who had 8 children) once told me when talking to her about raising children “the days are long but the years are short” – my oldest turns 11 soon and she is SO right. It is hard, but the time really does FLY!

    Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in DOING WELL for in due season we shall reap if we faint not” has spent much time on my fridge door.

    Motherhood is a wearying job, but may we be found FAITHFUL! You have already learned a precious secret – PRAYER! I often say about my children God gave me one who keeps me in the WORD (b/c of the questions he asks), one who keeps me on my knees, and one who requires me to BE STILL and KNOW that I AM GOD!

    Keep talking to your hubby and praying to your Heavenly Father!

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: