Apparently God’s got a theme for the season and it isn’t raking leaves and turkeys.
It’s fake vs real.
Masking vs transparency.
Prison vs freedom.
Not long ago I posted about My Fake Family.
After that went live people started to comment about my necklace. I’d clutch it and blurt, “It’s fake. It’s a knock-off of Origami Owl. I paid $20 and that includes the chain and four charms.”
And no one could tell the difference.
Including one woman who bought the original at three figures and wasn’t happy with her deficit.
I’ve done the same with the ring I wear on my wedding finger. My original wedding rings are packed somewhere because they don’t fit and I really struggled with them. At the time I was so low in self worth I didn’t want a ring. I didn’t feel that I should have one. As we married and grew in size and faith, the rings didn’t fit and I still didn’t feel right about them. It was the old me that had those rings.
The ring I wear now is from our anniversary cruise to Mexico. To me it represents the real me, a daughter of the Lord who has fought hard for everything we have. I don’t mean things, I mean prayers. Life’s battles. And to be at fifteen years (at the time) and not only still married but growing closer, that was cause for victory.
Hello, cruise jewelry sale.
My husband is mortified at what he paid for that ring. I mean it was under
$100 $50 $45. It’s Mexican gold, I think, and I don’t care. It’s a sparkly thing with as much sass as I have. Surrounding it are 14 small diamonds. Add them up and you get 15 for our anniversary.
When I take care of it and remember to wear it, it looks like the real deal and again, I can’t help but blurt it out. “It’s fake.”
Something changed a couple weeks ago. I blurted, “It’s fake. But I’m real.”
And then the Holy Spirit download began.
That answer wasn’t always the case. I lied through my teeth, in church, especially in church, telling everyone I was fine. I wasn’t. I was wounded, lost and in desperate need of a spiritual and emotional healing. It didn’t come until I surrendered the fake and got real.
I can’t speak for the guys but us women, it’s a temptation. The name brand purse. Top of the line shoes. Fancy jewelry.
The lies we tell when asked how we are. The mail we hide because it exposes the sham of a perfect home. How? It probably contains bills we can’t pay. Legal documents ending what we pretend is the best thing in our circle. School letters spelling out what we don’t want to face.
It made me think of reality celebrities. Everything Kim Kardashian wears to an event is probably top notch, name brand, real stuff. But let’s be honest–she’s a reality star on a show. Sorry, but the show is scripted. Sorry again, her life is scripted. Not much about her is real. And I don’t envy her.
For this topic to come up again gives me the inkling someone out there read the first post about the fake family and shoved their issues further away praying that nudge was anything but the Godly hey, let’s work on this they deep down know was happening. Well, this post is for you.
Not to condemn you.
But to encourage you.
I was the queen of masking. I know all the pat answers, sincere expressions and token cliches. I also know how hollow I felt living that way.
Surrendering the fake answers, phony lifestyle and pretend happiness was one of the best things I’ve ever chosen for my life and the people who love me. There is a freedom I promise you money can’t buy or people can’t get for you. It’s for you to decide.
Don’t let my shiny fake jewelry be what gets you to confront whatever it is God’s trying to help and heal you with.
Let my real love for you and the prayer I lifted up writing this be that instead.
Years ago my mom bought me a bag similar to this. At the time I had a school-age child and a baby with chronic illness and special needs. I’d look at the bag and kick myself for not putting in the real pictures of my family but it wasn’t on the top of my priorities was.
Surviving the season was.
But the bag itself was great. It was big enough to serve as a purse and diaper bag.
So, I brought it to church.
We were fairly new to the area so when I brought the bag out in public, people would look at the pictures and comment. Questions like how old was my dog? When did we take the kids to a lake? Is that my college graduation picture? Who’s the baby, the youngest, or the oldest?
Without thinking I’d blurt, “Neither. These pictures are of my fake family.” Then I’d explain I’d yet to replace the pictures that came with the bag. These are models, right down to the dog.
This happened week after week. I realized also week-to-week came another discussion at church.
Ladies, trying to get to know me better and generally be nice would ask how I was doing.
And I’d reply with a smile that I was good. “I”m good, how are you?” It was my auto reply, and a straight out lie.
And then I’d look at my bag and my fake family. The bag became a reminder. Just because I carried around my fake family didn’t mean I needed a fake answer, especially at church.
Because the truth was I was falling apart. Had there been real pictures in that bag, I would have been spiritually, mentally and emotionally drowning. The photos would have been full of tears, sickness, death and transition that turned each one of us upside down.
But few people want to hear about that.
So we say we’re fine.
And it’s fake.
This is an old confession and thankfully one I surrendered long ago. I don’t share every stubbed toe or split end but if you ask how I’m doing and the reality is I’m stressed, I’ll share that. Most of the time I’m able to say how I’m growing through it or a blessing that’s in it. I never did put real pictures in that bag. I loved the message my fake family reminded me to be.
If you’re a Sunday tote bag person smiling and saying all is well when it’s not, now is a great time to turn it around. Be transparent. Because fake doesn’t work on a totebag, and it sure doesn’t work in church and life.
I decided to share this because earlier this week I read a tremendous article by Holly Hrywnak regarding why teens leave the church. Part of how we can stop the bleed? Ditch the fake totebag called masking.
It’s worth being transparent.
Even on a day when you limp into church and admit it’s a crappy morning.
And wonder if it’s okay to say crap in church.
Then realize it’s too late.
And know no matter how bad you’ve messed it up, Jesus is carrying around a real picture of you in His totebag.
And loves it.
I owe Anne Graham Lotz an apology. Everytime I mention why I enjoy speaking and writing to encourage women to find freedom through surrender in Christ, I let them know I’m not Anne. I’m not a forever Christian with an evangelist background. I’m not classy, eloquent, or refined. And more than anything, I’m not perfect.
And I learned by reading Anne’s latest, Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts, neither is she. In fact, Anne is candid sharing that not only has she been deeply wounded by other Christians, she’s also been a wounder.
If Christ is your Savior, or if you’re holding back on seeking a relationship with Jesus because of the hypocrisy you see, Wounded by God’s People is for you. Simply, everyone should have this book.
Like I said, Anne is transparent, raw, and open sharing her heart and the very real and not even close to perfect things that happened to her. How she reacted to them. Why she did what she did. And as you read the very end, you learn she held back. There were even deeper wounds she couldn’t even write about.
But this isn’t a let’s read about Anne’s life, it’s about how you can see that she’s been wounded, probably is still walking forgiveness out, and she’s still living for Jesus. Her book includes great Scriptures and advice. I could have underlined at least one thing each paragraph. It’s rich with quotes that are deep, challenging, inspiring, and yes, infuriating. Because doing nothing would be easier. But it’s not Christ’s way.
I’ve been a wounder and I’ve been wounded, and the latter was fairly recent. I know people who have been so wounded they’d rather call themselves atheists. I also know people who are walking around imprisoned with woundedness with a key in their hands. Healing is their’s for the asking, but it’s not there. Anne’s a straight shooter and said something to the effect that if you aren’t choosing to walk out in forgiveness, hell is applauding. So true, but I know I didn’t always consider that when allowing my hurts to fester.
Simply put, this book is a must have, and a must read. As many times as it takes.
You’re worth it.
I reviewed this because I wanted to. I was not offered anything.
It was two years ago July when I wrote a guest post for the site, Adding Zest to your Nest. This is a Christian site that encourages women in married se*uality. The contents might be uncomfortable for some and I absolutely understand that. What I won’t do is say it is wrong. I grew up with a generation that didn’t talk about anything. The good, the bad, the temptations, problems, nothing. And I refuse to live that way.
I’ve had infertility, a miscarriage, baby blues, hormonal issues, hysterectomy at 38, near loss of child, special need situations with that child, and so on. I don’t air dirt to air dirt, but I share my experiences in hopes one person, if even one person could be encouraged, it’s worth my “going there.”
That said, my guest post is up for repost today at Adding Zest. People still give me odd looks and many online still leave comments asking if the man in the picture is my husband. The answer is a big no! I would never, ever put my husband on a post like that. I did have his permission to write that post, though.
So if you are a married person wishing to receive Biblical encouragement in the physical intimacy department, visit Adding Zest. My repost?
Told you I don’t hold back.