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”

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  1. 151
    Amy says:


    I am well acquainted with masks. I find I can breathe freely when I remove mine. It has taken me 31 years to realize that! Kudos to you and your man for learning it earlier! : )

  2. 152
    crockerdile says:

    As a mother of 3, a 14 yr old boy, 12 yr old girl, and a 9 year old boy, I empathize with your struggle. Some years are better than others…It will get easier…then it will be harder but He is faithful. Even when my parenting stinks!! Thank you fo rbeing real and sharing you r struggle Christians “should” themselves to death and we need to remember to be in the trenches with each other and share our burdens!! We have been comforted so we can comfort others.

  3. 153
    Anonymous says:

    Reading John Rosemond really gave me a freeing view of discipline for our children.

    Jenny in Bama

  4. 154
    Anonymous says:

    I am a houseparent of a cottage full of girls. This blog hit me between the eyes especially today! After doing this for 5 years, I am getting a little burned out. Sometimes it helps to be reminded that everyone feels overwhelmed at times. Thank you,
    Sandi in New Mexico

  5. 155
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you thank you. That really blessed me-every word of it. We have a 1-year-old son and are planning on trying to conceive in the next few months and it helps so much to know upfront that it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. I just talked to a friend today about this very topic. You go girl with your authentic self!

  6. 156
    JULIE says:

    In middle school, I was painfully shy. I would not speak at church, in Sunday School, at school.. I went on a chorus trip with my school to Washington D.C. (a long bus trip from my small town home in Mississippi) 🙂 I was talking to a girl from my church on the bus, and she said, “Well, you’re really sweet. I always thought you were obnoxious, thinking you were better than everyone by not talking.” I gave off the complete wrong impression. I was far from thinking I was better than everyone. I was afraid of everyone.

  7. 157
    Go-Between says:

    We (myslef and two of my grown daughters)recently were redoing my bookshleves and my girls came across a shelf of how-to books on rearing kids; starting with the strong-willed child and running the gamut. By the time we were at the end we were all in stitches as we read each title. Why laughing? Cause the child that caused me to buy all those books, is a stubborn-for-God now, young woman who is a joy to be around and brings such warmth and insight to our family. I don’t remember her ‘coming down the stairs asking if we were gonna boss her around again today’, only because she probably went to bed threatening us not to plan on bossing her around the next day! 🙂

    Thanks for being honest and authentic. Hang in there! It does get better. 🙂

  8. 158
    The Jones' says:

    Amanda-thanks for sharing this…I know where you are coming from and there are many, many days that I go to bed in tears. My son who is 3 has such a sweet heart but just does not listen and can be agressive and there are days that I feel that I am getting on to him all day long…I wonder at times what am I doing wrong…but I also have a little girl who is 1 and is too sweet for words and follows directions very well which makes me think I must be doing something right. I just want you to know you are not alone…I know it can feel as though you are when you around other mothers and there sweet, perfect (or so they may appear) little children. Thanks for being so honest and it really is encouraging to know that other people are also where you. I know God will use these struggles somehow to shape who we as parents are and who they as children will grow up to be.

  9. 159
    kdear says:

    Amanda and all mothers of little ones,

    I am a mother of a 20 year old and a 25 year old. When they were little my husband worked out of town and was only home on weekends so I was pretty much solo with them all week. There were times when I thought I’d pull my hair out.

    I know that you are tired. Annabeth probably isn’t sleeping much and Jackson is probably a little more challenging than usual because he’s a little upset that you had the audacity to bring this new little person home, who gets a lot of attention, and maybe he thinks she must be a lot cuter than he is, otherwise why would everybody make such a fuss over her?

    I realize this stage is hard. I’d like to say everything will be just peachy tomorrow, but it probably won’t. When he outgrows this stage, there will be another equally challenging stage. Maybe even more challenging, because sooner or later Annabeth is going to get in on the action too.

    But guess what? They really will grow up and when they do, you will look back fondly on all this aggravation you are putting up with now. Some of you will do what I am doing now which is scrapbook your children’s baby and toddler days and feel rather sad that they are over. There is a song that is pretty popular right now by Darius Rucker called It Won’t Be Like This For Long. Its about the same issues that you are struggling with. Its true. It won’t be like this for long.

    I know it’s really crummy when you are in the middle of it, but it truly will end, and when you look back, you may long for these days again, and the things that embarrass you now, will be the most amusing stories later.

  10. 160
    hisfivefooter says:

    Thanks for the post. I too have a little (more like a lot) of mud on me from being real. However, the more I have accepted that this is exactly who I am, and that Christ loves me mud and all, the more apt I am to look for other people with mud on them. There is freedom in having no pretense or dare I say, “Posing”. I love the you that you are and I love that fact that you are willing to be vulnerable. It makes you so much more you and less someone else. Love your dear little family to pieces, this too shall pass. You are doing a good job, just leave it with Him.
    Lisa in Kirkland, WA

  11. 161
    Maria Cristina says:

    Amanda! this brought me to TEARS!! Your story tugged sooo many strings in my soul, I can’t even begin to count them! and suffice to say that I likely come from a completely opposite spectrum of Godly upbringing than you, and the choices I made in my life brought my physical and mental debacle , the ultimate truth consideration that brings JOY and HOPE AND RELEASE from the mire of guilt and despair truly IS the same: GOD is good! GOD is good! HE HAS IT ALL TOGETHER! he truly does!! THANK YOU, AMANDA!!!

  12. 162
    B His Girl says:

    The Lord sent you a word through your teacher and encouraged many. Keeping leaning on the Lord. When you are weak, He is strong. B

  13. 163
    Anonymous says:

    We have to share. I spent to many years trying to make God look good.

    Can you say, ‘not my job’?

    I find when I am open and real with people, it allows them the chance to be open and real. –Just the chance. Some people are still living behind that mask and are too scared to let anyone see their real self.

    Thanks for sharing,

  14. 164
    Billie Stephenson says:

    This posting has blessed my heart!! I am the mother of 6yo triplets and a 4yo. I was raised with loving parents, but very unhealthy. My mother has passed away and i am struggling to raise my children in God’s ways feeling like i am standing on shaky foundation! Funny thing is, others look at me and think i am soo together- not even close!

  15. 165
    Anonymous says:

    Parenting keeps you humbled.

  16. 166
    Allie says:

    Hope this story makes you smile, it’s only funny to me now that it’s a few years later.:) When my daughter was almost one, my almost 4-year old son had been a terror lately. One day he pooped his pants, saw that I was close to loosing it with him, and decided to “clean himself up.” I walked into the bathroom to find him dipping his poop-filled pants in the toilet and shaking toilet water and poop all over the bathroom! I called a friend who had slightly older children and who understood completely and asked her if I could bring my children over for a little bit before I hurt one of them! She wisely said, Bring them both over now!

  17. 167
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks Amanda,
    That was very refreshing.
    I get so tired of the mask, but I have taken it off a few times and lived to regret it…
    Sometimes I feel everyone has it all together but me.
    Even the siestas, who can comment anonymously, don’t share much about secret struggles.
    Thank you for your honesty!

  18. 168
    Anonymous says:


    Your post is so profound, these words need to be heard by every believer in this country.

    This is a discussion that we have a lot in our home. It is very dangerous to not be authentic. I told my husband that sometimes when people say things, their “opinions,” in front of the S.S. class, etc. it can be a very dangerous thing.

    In the majority of cases, we (as the body of Christ), never know if people are on the verge of divorce, if they are struggling with addictions, depression, thinking of suicide, running away or whatever. How do we think they feel when they come into church, especially a smaller group and EVERYONE is smiley and fluffy and just acting like life is great? Probably this is not the place for me and I don’t belong here or my case is different and I can’t be helped. Do you know how many times the church has been shocked when one of the most “spiritual” couples just up and announce they are divorcing. No counseling, no confiding, no help and all too often, the divorce goes through b/c both people feel there is no hope left. Now, I’m by no means saying this is always the case in divorce, obviously it is not, it just happens too much.

    Now I am a very optimistic person with a huge load of baggage from my past. I have been delivered from things. I do agree with you about that balance. I don’t go around blurting out all my drama. I will give my testimony if asked or if I know or suspect (prompting by the Holy Spirit) that someone else is dealing with the same issue. Sometimes in small groups, my husband or me will share something just with sharing time or whatever and it does encourage everyone. It encourages us when other people share.

    When I was very new to this area and new to the church, my daughter and I started to have serious problems. She seemed to change over night and I felt very alone and scared. We were still visiting S.S. school classes and I did not have a close friend here to even confide in. One Wed. I just “randomly” picked a class at church to attend. I walked in having no clue what the class was about, just knew it couldn’t hurt. It “happened” to be a parenting class using Dr. Young’s book The Ten Commandments of Parenting and God used it to literally change my relationship with my daughter. Mending began almost immediately and she was not in the class but after class, after I shared and we prayed, she would come out of youth and apologize. One night as we were walking in the church, she looked at me and said “I hate you.” I was ready to jump off the nearest cliff. I went into the class so beaten up with my mouth zipped, but just listening to everyone made me leave in a completely different mind set. She was also in a different mind set when she came out of her class. In the process, God found me a group of such authentic people and our permanent S.S. school class!

    Not long ago, my dad called with the news of a friend’s suicide. We were all shocked. This was a lifelong church person, someone that always acted happy and I mean NO ONE knew he was in that state. Left two children close to college age and a beautiful wife. I mean an absolutely beautiful, young family. It is for no one to make assumptions, many suicidal people go to great lengths to hide their pain. However, authenticity is so important.

    One more thing…I read a lot of books on parenting because I feel like the world’s biggest failure in that area. By far, my biggest problems have been with my daughter. I love James Dobson’s books on boys and I always thought “why are there not more books on girls?” I was a very new Christian and now I know there are many books on girls, but I wanted one by him. I always wondered why, since he has a son and daughter, he never wrote a book on girls. I got on his website and he suggested Gentle Passages by Robin Jones Gunn, so I went right out and got it. It is such a good book and my daughter even loves to read it. But some of the things in there, the ways of the mothers, I am not. I actually felt worse after reading it, guilty b/c that is just not my personality and even though the china plate moms are awesome and I wish I had that, I just don’t. I tried to be after I read all that and it just made me feel worse. Then I realized that I don’t have to be exactly that for my daughter to know that I fiercely love her and God does too. I tell her constantly and show her her value and the love I have for her. She knows it.

    When she started her m. cycle, instead of having a “welcome to womanhood, congratulations party,” like I had planned (after reading that book), I just prepared her by talking about it way ahead of time. So, when the day came, I had long decided I wasn’t going there with any celebration (except maybe a run to the Kroger for some serious chocolate), I just went out and bought everything a young lady could need and want for such an occasion.

    She is so funny, we are so opposite. She will be the china plate mom. I have no doubt about it. She is going to be such a good mom, I look forward with great joy to the day that my children are parents. I can’t wait to watch my bubbly daughter mother her chidren. We have an ongoing joke. Every time I’m plainspoken (most of the time), she just laughs and says “You are soooo not the china plate mom.” She is okay with it now and I think it’s awesome that she will be that kind of mom. She always says she is so going to be the china plate mom. She teases me and calls me a drug pusher b/c I’m like “Do you need a Pamprin/Midol or what?” I still hug on her and love on her and give her a heating pad.

    I really was just going to get on here and say a big AMEN, but I wanted to read all the comments and I have not had time all week to be on here.

    I’m sorry for the very long post and I don’t care if anyone but you reads it. It is too long and late for that matter. I just wanted you to know that I could not agree with you more on every point. I commend you to the highest point that you shared so openly. I am very passionate about the issue of authenticity b/c I think that it is one, if not the biggest problems in the church today. That is my opinion, I’m not saying it is yours or that it is right. It is just what I think.

    Don’t let Satan tell you your a bad mom or a failure at being a parent. That is something I’ve had to overcome and still have to speak over myself. He is a liar and long into your years of motherhood, he will make you feel like you’ve messed up too bad and it is too late. Just think about how we feel about our own parents. My parents were not really even parents to me, I was reared by grandparents, but they did the best they could. There has been complete restoration and I never did not love them, never.I don’t even feel like I missed out b/c I choose to think of the good times and the love they did share when they could. With any mistakes you make, I really believe your children will never have a problem with you.

    Oh and with that book I mentioned, it is awesome…the poem by Ruth Bell Graham is worth the whole book. I think it is the best poem about a future spouse in the whole world. My daughter loves it and we pray it. It is called “Dear God” and she wrote it at 19 and we all know that she got that man.

    I know I’ve written a dang book, but like I said, I really just wanted to share with you b/c this post is too long. I couldn’t help it though. Both your children are gorgeous, by the way, they both have those huge, sparkling eyes and Annabeth’s hair bows kill me. I’ve never seen any so big and beautiful. She already looks like she has life figured out, and Jackson is one handsome little dude. From everything you’ve said about him, he seems to be a sensitive and very loving, engaging child.

    Again, Amanda, thank you for sharing. You just helped a ton of people. I bet you helped a lot of “lurkers” too…I love that word.

  19. 169
    Anonymous says:

    BTW, I just wrote the huge post and I want to say that your mom’s book “Feathers From My Nest” (I know that is not how you cite a book, but I don’t know how to do anything on here except use the keyboard) is the BEST, MOST HELPFUL book I’ve read on parenting. It really is.

    I also love “It’s My Turn” by Ruth Bell Graham b/c she writes about yelling and putting kids in the trunk and everything that we all have to deal with. It made me feel much better. I love her entry about it not being too late with Franklin. That boy smoked at five and now look at him. He can’t get on TV for a second without spreading the gospel, I love it!

    Your mom’s book has helped me on a much deeper level. I have read it many times.


  20. 170
    EstherRD says:

    Thanks for the awesome encouragement! I have been feeling this way for a while. God is wooing my heart towards authenticity with him and with others.
    God bless us and draw us all closer to Him!
    Living in the light,

  21. 171
    Anonymous says:


    I don’t know if you’ve heard the song “In My Daughter’s Eyes” by Martina McBride, but it is beautiful and encouraging. I dedicated it to my daughter in her third grade yearbook.

    I love all the Mom songs (just wish there were some about boys). I also love “You Can’t Lose Me” by Faith Hill and “This One’s For the Girls” by Martina McBride. My newest favorite: “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift. It is genius when she says “don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away, but I know I had the best day with you today.”

    P.S. I’m off to my 2nd parent-teacher conference this week right now. I’ve already taken my Equate excedrin, a deep breath, said a prayer and it’s going to be okay (maybe those were not stated in the right order, should have prayed first)!

    Much love to you girl,


  22. 172
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you I am 65 and still needed to hear what you had to say. Thank you!

  23. 173
    Anonymous says:

    The words that are copied below are from one of the siestas in the blog. To me these words say it all. I believe that as woman, society has “told” us that we must have it all together, we must be this, we must be that – when what we really are is just the clay in the Potter’s Hand. Think about it the next time you just casually ask – “How are you doing today.”

    Why is it as believers we think we have to put on the mask of all togetherness, when in all actuality we should be willing to show the brokeness and the true joy that can only come from a relationship with Christ.

  24. 174
    Tracy says:

    Keep the faith and fight the fight! As a mother to three teens, I can promise you that the work you put into the preschool years will pay off BIG. Keep your eye on the mark and stay on your knees! Ask God to help you see your children as he does.

    I also commend you for being transparent with your peers. Find a few couples with the same goals and stick together like glue.

  25. 175
    Joni says:

    I wore a mask most of my life–trapped by insecurities galore. Until by God’s grace, He allowed me to go through panic disorder and depression, and that mask came off–for good I hope. As the mother of a son who drove me to read every Dr. Dobson book out at that time–love, love, love on your son when his behavior is good; and love, love, love on your son before, during, and after disciplining him for bad behavior. Oh, yeah, and keep your sense of humor!!!

  26. 176
    Anonymous says:

    Amanda: This is a great post. I wish that it had been posted last weekend. We had a young womens retreat and it would have been perfect to have them read.

    Kim B. in AZ

  27. 177
    Anonymous says:

    Amanda, I’m in similar shoes, I have a four year old and a one year old. When she was three and we had a newborn she was being disciplined sometimes 10-12 times before lunch. Some days it was 5-6 times before breakfast! Keep it up woman! It will get through, it seems like the discipline does nothing at times, but God is working mightily. Thank-you for being real, it it so much appreciated and a cornerstone of your ministry!

  28. 178
    Marystwinsnkids says:

    Amen Sister! Parenting is hard! I spend many times in tears out of exhaustion and frustration. God is teaching me that my kids cannot be perfect because they are human and so am I! My husband just became a minister and I fear elevated expectations of the church members would come. Thankfully they have not! I had four children in the space of 3 years, they are now 8,7, and 5 yr old twins. It is still hard but at least I get some sleep!

  29. 179
    Nancy says:

    WOW!! I so appreciate your authenticity and willingness to share your heart. Where were you when I was a teenager? I could have used a friend like you!! I think I’m often still hiding behind a mask even as an adult…afraid of what people will really think of me, giving them a false picture of who I am (which only gives me higher standards to live up to!) I’m going to take everything you said (preached?) to heart and try to make a change in my life. To finally let others see behind the mask. Thanks for sharing your story. You have a real gift for expressing yourself.

  30. 180
    Anonymous says:


    Thank you so much for your post on authenticity. I shared it with my Bible study group of over 30 women who had just finished “Esther” and were beginning Jennifer Rothschild’s “Me, Myself and Lies”.God’s timing was perfect and it touched a chord with all of us. As Christians we so often have on masks and someone may really be struggling and need encouragement but feel isolated and weird and not express what’s going on in their life. Thanks for the reminder. I love this blog but have never shared before. Thanks for all that LPL does to enrich our lives and help us grow in our walk with our Savior.

  31. 181
    Colleen says:

    Amanda…thank you for sharing this post! Thank you for being REAL…I feel like I’m a “wear my heart on my sleeve” person…being that vulnerable all the time, I get stomped on. It’s so encouraging to find people who aren’t afraid to be real, even if the looks of it “ain’t that pretty”!

  32. 182
    Rachel says:

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comments. Every time I hear Beth talk about Jackson, I think to myself, ‘I bet he is the sweetest, most disciplined, 2/3 year old ever b/c his grandmommy is Bethie and his mommy is Ms. Amanda!! Btw I am a friend of Cimbrey’s and if she is anything like you then you must be the sweetest human ever!!:)) Love her!! Anyway, thanks so much for sharing b/c I have a 17 month old and 3 1/2 year old and my, my, my do I ever feel like mine is ‘the worst’ kid ever at times. I am widowed and doing this alone is unbelievable but like you said, ‘If we aren’t filled up with the Spirit, we have nothing left to give them.’ God bless your sweet children and get the book, “Teach them Diligently’ by Lou Priolo —you will love it andit will help!!!

  33. 183
    Anonymous says:

    Oh dear. That hit home. I’m not raising a 3 year old anymore, but at times I still deal with a cloud of “being perfect”, which I know is just focusing on myself. Just last week I was being transparent with a friend and then called her later to apologize! She said, “I hope you never stop being transparent”. Yes, we need to be real. You never know who needs you. Two nights after my “transparency” a relative needed me and I was prepared.

  34. 184
    Kristi says:

    Oh, thank you for that message. We have just had our fifth and we still do not have it all together. Parenting is hard!! I am so glad we have God to guide us.

  35. 185
    Anonymous says:

    Oh Sister, I know how you feel! We just came out of that terrible transition from one to two. We have a two and a half year and six month old. Both boys. Month one..besides the normal transition, not too shabby. Months two and three…beyond words! It was almost like my eldest was screaming for attention and was trying every way possible to figure out where he fit into this new family structure. He was so over the ever-present baby and was ready for life as he knew it. He acted out in such frustrating ways…using ALL my makeup to paint himself and the bathroom (of course while I was trying to console a screaming baby, and I had thought he was already asleep), dumped an entire container of baby detergent on the floor…while daddy was preoccupied not three feet away. (yeah, don’t ask!) Applied vaseline all over his face and hands and whatever else he could touch, just because….and on and on. Mind you, I am fairly astute, a hoverer in Love and Logic language, so this all happened in those two to five minutes breaks of mommy-watch. I share all this to say…there is light at the end of the tunnel. The baby is now six months, as I mentioned, and life is much more normal. Well, we just moved yesterday, so the crazy is back out again, but, only temporarily. Both kids have settled in and the eldest is such a sweetheart to his baby brother. Life will settle into a new normal, trust Him to see you through. 🙂 Thank you for your post. I know my comment doesn’t touch on the theme of your post, but, I can’t help but hear your pain. 🙂 Thanks, Sister, for your honesty!

  36. 186
    Anonymous says:

    This posting was a God thing. I just arrived home from taking my oldest to school and cried because of his "lovely attitude". His will be 11 in a couple of weeks and what a challenge. We adopted our three boys 5, 6, & 10. Sometimes I need to hear it isn't easy for everybody else too.

  37. 187
    Dawn says:

    I can completely relate, my friend! My son is now 11 years old (today) and I can tell you that IT DOES get better! You keep pressing – you will see the dividends. While you are pressing, don’t forget to find those little moments of joy that God drops your way – believe me, you’ll wonder where those precious years went!

  38. 188
    Joan says:

    Great post! It is good to know we are not alone in our struggles – especially in our parenting struggles. I remember the “fun” times when my kids (now grown) were two and three…and then teenagers!! I used to think I had done ok. But, one of my kids, my 21 year old daughter, doesn’t want a relationship with me and it’s breaking my heart. I keep telling myself that I did the best I could when raising her, but I can’t help but feel like I totally failed. I pray for her daily, and as I just learned in the Esther study, God can, does, and will do complete turn arounds in people. My thought is that even if I never see it here on earth, all will be made right someday in heaven. One thing I also know is that if asked if I would do it again knowing that someday my daughter would not want to see me. I would say YES! Children are a blessing from God and I wouldn’t trade the time God gave me with her for anything.

    In His grip, Joan

  39. 189
    mom2oem says:

    Your honestly is beautiful.

  40. 190
    Anonymous says:

    When our oldest son was 2, I had been lulled into believing that people who warned me of the “terrible two’s” must have been clueless – then my son turned three! Before that year was over, I found myself seated across the desk from a Christian counselor, at my wits end. Turns out, I was the one who was clueless.
    Two words that will be very important to you and Curt in the next several years, (18 to be exact) consistentcy and authenticity. My sons are grown now and I can tell you that I don’t remember it being as hard as I know it was when I was going through it. Know that you have many who love you and are praying for you and praying for Jackson and Annabeth to be mighty warriors.
    Much Love,
    Patti Hayes

  41. 191
    lovinglife says:

    Oh Amanda. I have a little boy who just turned 4. He is my middle one with a six year old sister and 8 month old baby brother. I decided that I can’t STAND the threes. Terrible twos is nothin. It was so so hard. I’m not sure why, but I felt most like a failure during this last year and I vaguely went through it with my daughter, but not to the extent of my son. Having a baby and a 3 year old is the hardest thing I’ve done so far. Keep looking up girl. You are going to make it!! And so will he. Love Sarah in Missouri

  42. 192
    bigdogmom says:

    The words circulating in my brain as i read your post were vulnerablitiy and courageous. It takes a lot to be those. We tend to harbor fear of being vulnerable because we don’t like to get hurt. When we make ourselves vulnerable we give others permission to be vulnerable as well. It takes some raw courage to be vulnerable as you were with your study group.
    We NEED each other. I’ll prove it.
    You know that one spot right in the middle of your back that you can’t reach? Well, we have to call on someone else to scratch it for us. What about your ear? Ever tried to see what’s going on inside it? Kind of tough, huh? Yep, we need each other and we need to hold each other accountable and in prayer before the Throne of God. That’s the way He wants it.And I think I have learned that He knows what He’s doing…at least for this moment. LOL!

  43. 193
    Anonymous says:

    With our daughter who is now 13 yr. old I read every book about the strong willed child. (The best is how to have a differt child in 5 days by Leman) Here is what I learned at a silent retreat when God spoke to my heart about Sydney.
    “Don’t take her behavior so personal you are a good mom” There are things that they have to sort out for reasons we don’t always understand and my role was to help her find a positive way to goal. The illusion of a choice is a great tool. “Syd in 5 min. we are going to be done playing, do you want to start putting things away now, or wait until the 5 mins. is up.” She also needed a warning when thing were going to shift. gears. She did eventually earn elf control and we learned patients. She has taught me much about myself by being difficult.
    Now fast forward 10years to my current 2 1/2yr. old Tate. Same personality and I am in my 40’s. What I know now is that this too shall past and if he lays down and screams and everyone is looking at me, I just smile and say “Who is that little boys mom with a wink.”
    You have your hands full thank God for that, he is going to act out and defy you. That is how he learns boundries. Just be consistant and don’t take it personal. Thanks for sharing your struggles we all have them if we actively care about their well being.

  44. 194
    Anonymous says:

    Precious Amanda! I know it will feel like you are having to dicipline your 3-6 year old all day some days( most days the closer he is to 4.5!!)but its a short season really!! Don’t weary in well doing! Get this training done now and enjoy the fruit of your labor for all the years to follow!!

  45. 195
    Anonymous says:

    It almost brings tears to my eyes remembering those days – now that my six children are older – 4 adults and 2 middle schoolaged – I sometimes grieve for the days of little children and noise and nothing to hurry to – but we forget – and you will too – the disciplining and the fear for their safety and the sleepless nights. Parenting isn’t for cowards. My Mom use to always say, “This too shall pass” (and that never helped!), but it’s just replaced with other issues as they grow. Love what there is to love about this time, try not to dwell on the struggles, pray without ceasing, and know you’re not alone. The struggles will change as they grow, but they never go away this side of eternity, but as you see fruits of your labor, the joy will be unbelieveable!

  46. 196
    IndyLindy says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Amanda. I think you’d be excited to hear that our women’s group at church is doing a semester RIGHT NOW on Radical AUTHENTICITY!!! In fact, on May 11th, I am scheduled to speak to 100 women (or more??) about Overcoming Guilt and Shame – and believe me, I’ve had plenty of practice. So much so, that when I felt God leading me to share my story with the women of Ignite (that’s our group name), I said, “Lord, they will have to ask me because I’m not offering. I want to KNOW that this is from you and not AT ALL of me.” When I met with Paulette, one of the leaders of Ignite and now a dear friend, for a chat about the upcoming semester, she told me what the theme was and who was scheduled to speak and then said, “But we still need someone to speak about overcoming guilt and shame. Do you wanna do it?” I immediately started crying. God really WAS calling me.. and this sweet friend of mine had NO IDEA about my past. NO IDEA that the subject she was asking me to speak about was so much a part of my life, my story, and something I long to share with others – freedom in Christ. She only knew that God was calling HER to ask me!

    God has given me such a passion about being authentic.. it’s essential for us to be free of the bondage of guilt and shame.. and a great way to silence our enemy!

    Blessings to you for BEING REAL ~

  47. 197
    Anonymous says:

    Amanda, your post brought me to tears today and has made a huge impact on me! I want to share a little bit about my situation. I identify with you so much and I even second guessed posting in fear that someone would know my struggles.

    This is Cara, Carole’s grand-daughter. I don’t think that I have talked to you since we took our Children’s Literature class together at A&M nearly 7 years ago. My husband and I have a two and a half year old little boy and I am nearly 3 months pregnant with our second.

    One day last week all three of us went to the doctor to see our new little baby on the ultrasound screen. That night my husband had a study group to attend and my in-laws had our little boy. As I was sitting on the couch looking at the ultrasound pictures alone, I began to cry out of fear of failing.

    Our little boy is a burst of energy! I love him beyond words! But sometimes it is so hard for me to know what to do with so much determination in such a little body.

    I have personally been struggling because I am the only mother of an only child (toddler child) at our church. Most of the families with toddlers at our church have three or four children and from my point-of-view, everyone seems to skip along without missing a beat. I, on the other hand, have showed up to church with only one small child wearing rubber boots nicely decorated with the characters from the movie “Cars” because he told me that he wouldn’t go to church if he couldn’t wear them. Not that the rubber boots are such a big deal I guess, but I feel that the instance demonstrates a typical day quite nicely. Let’s put it this way, I have many times wondered why I am the only one having to get onto my child at a playgroup or at church. I feel that I have a great big sign plastered across my head that says, “I’m not very good at this!” because I always seem to feel like I’m the only one struggling.

    To be completely honest, I am a work in progress as far as losing the self-righteous part of me goes. Thank you so much for your post! You have really made a difference in my life today!!

  48. 198
    Kim Safina says:

    The Journey Continues ~

    Amanda & Curtis,

    Dave and I just returned from England and France with our 2 sons. I wanted to update myself on the LPM blog and found what you had shared!
    Great SHARING & WORD!!!

    Tears and Honesty are always a healing because EVERYONE has walked the similar path that you are walking!!!!

    Sharing our struggles and pains in life brings a calming understanding when we listen and obey.

    We just spent 8 days with our college sons and until we were able to LET GO AND LET GOD, our trip became enjoyable. Our children want to RULE and be Treasurers in Jars of Clay at any age.

    I share with women and even men that are constantly telling my husband and I that our boys are so remarkable and kind… LOL
    the following


    Our sons are NOT always remarkable nor kind. Infact, they can be down right mean and rude sometimes!!!!

    Stand firm on your discipline in LOVE. Your precious children will look to your teachings with trust and knowledge if you are diligent and follow through.

    I learned to use the word "IF " way back when they were toddlers and when that came from my mouth, I followed through with the IF.

    If you do that again, I will …

    If you choose to be naughty, then I will have to …

    If you scream like that again, I will have to …

    AND I DID THE IF!!!!!

    With "Heaven bound" blessings,
    Kim Safina

  49. 199
    Amy says:

    Girl, I hear you, loud and clear…mama of 4 girls, 12, 10, 8 and 13 months! Cue the violin for daddy, give us grace, Lord! In each and every phase, I have to jolt myself out of my tunnel vision by remembering that it will all too soon pass, they grow up so (too) fast…one day at a time, manna for each one. “Settle Down” and “Simplify” are the mottos of the Smith home!

  50. 200
    Lori Andrews says:

    I couldn't help but feel your pain when you were sharing about your struggles with your two year old.

    When I gave birth to our little princess, big brother was 29 months old. He was the only child, grand child, and great-grandchild on my mother's side of the family. As a result, the world revolved around this perfect (?) little boy!!! He was our joy!

    When we had our little girl, he was still so awesome until about two weeks after coming home from the hospital. Suddenly, his behavior made him appear to be somebody else's kid! That can't be our son!!! I realized right away what was going on . . . he adored his baby sister, but he didn't want ME constantly holding and/or nursing his baby sister. Someone else had stolen some of his lime light and took time away from Mommy & him!

    As a result, I announced that night to be "date night!" I called my husband at work and let him know that he and baby girl would have a special night together at home that night while me and my big boy were going out on a date! I then shared with my date what we were doing and that baby sister could NOT come with us – she was way too little! – this was our time and she was staying home with Daddy. He was so excited! We even had Daddy take our picture by the front door before we left to commemorate our special date.

    Now between you and me, the "date" consisted of several errands that I needed to run but I always made sure that each errand was something about HIM. (i.e. when I had to pick up some items at the store for church, we went by the bakery department and got him a cookie; we went by the shoe store to buy HIS new pair of shoes; Etc etc.)

    To this day (he is now 10), he still talks about our "date night." Probably because I scrapbooked that special night in his album to keep the memory alive . . . but the bottom line was that my little man learned that night that although we have a princess in the house, he is STILL the Queen's favorite little man!

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