About the Author

Karin Madden is wife to a warrior and homeschooling mom to a crew of six. German blooded, southern raised, Christ redeemed... she loves the adventure.

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  1. Oh my! What a wonderful image. Praying that God would stretch the cup that is my heart, particularly at work. At work it’s a competitive environment and I thicken up as protection BUT God is my stronghold of whom should I be afraid? I want Christ’s gentleness to be evident to all. My cup needs to be thinned out and stretched and stretched thin. Vulnerability, authenticity, full of grace and longing for more, that’s my prayer. This post touches something very deep in me. Thank you x

    • Oh that was just beautifully said, Ruth. I pray the same prayer with you this morning. “God is my stronghold of whom should I be afraid?” – I will bury this inside my cup today. Thank you for your kind words. xx

  2. Oh yes Ruth, I am in the exact same place. Every morning I fill up with grace and gentleness. Some days it is easy to be vulnerable, authentic, gentle and full of grace but other days, I join in the unnecessary competition at work. Good thing His mercies are new every morning.

  3. Wow! Yes! I love this analogy. This is so on the mark of where God is taking me right now. With friendships and relationships, I am being asked to pour myself out, so I can be more transparent. Vulnerable is uncomfortable though, so it is challenging. Thank you for writing this. It confirms and gives a visual for me to remember when fear steps in.

    • Kim, I need this visual, too! Vulnerable *is* uncomfortable. It seems that it takes daily practice for me. I am always grateful to see it in others.

  4. Since my recent visit with my parents and being away from my husband for 11 days, I believe God is continuing to teach me about my words. He is “thinning my skin” to reveal me a little more to others. Hopefully, I let Him be successful!

    • Heather, it is not easy to be apart from our husbands and parents. I have found that God uses that time to work the most on me – maybe because that’s when I let Him do the most. Praying we both let Him do His work in us!

  5. I adore this analogy, friend. So often I see being thinned skin – which I tooootally am in all the conventional ways – as being a negative thing. But you’ve convinced me to see this in a whole new light. Thank you!

    I adore you, Karin, and it’s pure joy to see your face at the beach house today! Much love. xoxo

    • Oh, me tooo! I have always thought of being thin-skinned as a bad thing, and kicked myself often for being too vulnerable. This helps me to see things differently.

      I sure do love you, Kristen, and this beach house place is beautiful and welcoming! Very good for thin skin… xoxo

  6. My boyfriend is in the army reserves and also works for a large police department. It is natural to desire to stand strong and build a tough skin. A lot of the time I feel like I need to for myself and for him. But I loved this image of a thin skin and the grace that it provides for others! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Thank you, Kristen. You make a good point – we build a tough skin for us and for them. Yes! It’s not easy sometimes. Thank you for your kind words and for your boyfriend’s service!

  7. I grew up in a home where we were told to be tough and not depend on anyone. These past six months, my husband and I have been hurt beyond what I can express by some family members. In June, we were blessed with the beautiful, precious gift of our baby girl. So on one hand… I try to toughen up and pretend like I haven’t been hurt. I start to withdraw to avoid being hurt by anyone else. But then, I have this beautiful baby full of so much joy who softens me every day. Through all of this, I want to… And think I am somewhat learning… how to balance guarding my heart while also being soft.

  8. M – I am so sorry to hear that you have been hurt by family members. When the pain comes from family, it is so very hard. That is where we should feel safest. Congratulations on your new baby girl! There is no greater gift. For me, God has used motherhood to soften me, and in some ways toughen me. I am learning to toughen up to what people think; and I’m learning to soften in the ways of grace. The lessons don’t seem to end. Blessings to you and your family – God hand-picked you to be her mama. It is the greatest journey.

  9. Softening up…emptying ourselves…stretching our souls…

    DENYING SELF, as Jesus said we must. This is LOVE.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement and truth. And thank you for denying yourself as a military wife for the sake of our country. Please give your husband a big hug from me and tell him I said, “Thank you!” God’s many, many blessings to you and your family!

    • Thank you, Sabra! You made my morning. I’d be happy to give him a hug for you! And, yes, denying self. That’s *exactly* it. Blessings to you!

  10. Right at this moment I need to lose an argument because as you have said, “it is better to be friends then to be right.” If everyone was like me then God would not have beautiful pieces of a puzzle for the Lord to work with…He would only have one piece. … and that doesn’t make for a very pretty picture sometimes. We need each other and we can’t always be right.

    • Oh that’s a hard one, isn’t it? Losing for the sake of winning friendship. We do need each other – I learn this more and more every day. You are a beautiful piece of this puzzle. Thanks, Susan.

      • Thank you Karin, as I am fasting for this new year, I am learning much! You write beautifully. Keep your words of encouragement coming! God bless you.

  11. Loved the visual. One question though: what’s the difference between thin-skinned and hypersensitive? I tend to get my feelings hurt, therefore my guard Is up, especially at work.

    • Connie,
      I believe being “thin-skinned” is the middle ground between being tough-skinned ( or thick-skinned ) and hypersensitive ( no-skinned maybe? 🙂 ). I have struggled with both extremes in my life as I believe many people have. To me being hypersensitive is taking EVERYTHING personal and being upset about it instead of giving it to Christ. If my focus is constantly on my hurt feelings, my focus is NOT on Christ. Not to imply that we never get our feelings hurt, of COURSE we do, but we have to take them to God, not dwell on them. Take EVERY thought captive…. Being tough-skinned in EVERYTHING is the opposite extreme. If you are too tough-skinned you usually have a brick wall around your heart or are starting to building one. (As someone who has been abused I know ALL about the wall.) God doesn’t want us to build a hard, cold, lonely wall around our heart even if we are “just protecting ourselves” God is our protector! Even WHEN bad things happen He can/will use them for GOOD! Being thin-skinned could be likened to having a movable “police gate” around your heart at times. You know, the kind they put up at parades and such? They provide a little bit of protection or boundary while still letting people in and out. Does that make sense? It is wise to have your guard up (your police gate NOT a brick wall) in certain circumstances such as around un-safe people; whomever they may be to you. But if you have a brick wall up, no matter how threatened you may feel, NO ONE will be able to see the real you or more importantly see CHRIST through you 😉 It IS a struggle for sure, ( I know I certainly haven’t “arrived” yet! ) but one I feel we MUST wrestle with because it gives glory to GOD!

    • Connie – this is a great question. I have been thinking on this one all day. For me, when I say thin-skinned I mean being willing to be transparent and vulnerable so that Christ can better be seen through us. We are all ‘broken’ in one way or another. I can relate to feelings getting hurt. It’s easy for me to harden in order to protect myself. I think, though, that God is trying to soften the hard parts so that in our weakness His strength can be seen. And, that does come at a price to us. Hurt feelings, feeling unappreciated and misunderstood. It’s taken me a while to come to this revelation, but living it out is a whole other thing. The other part is, when I am *hyper* sensitive to something, I find I often misunderstand someone else’s motives. I can’t know another person’s heart like God does and I am trying to do better at giving them the benefit of the doubt – grace. Takes lots of practice for me. Does this answer your question? Thanks for asking this – it made me think…

      By the way – I added this scripture to my blog today at the end of this post…

      Philippians 1:9-11 ~
      And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

      That love may abound… more knowledge and depth of insight… be able to discern what is best…
      Less me. More Him.
      Thanks, Connie.

  12. Karin,

    Loved this post. And the beauty you brought to the whole idea of being transparent. I think God does want us to be thin-skinned, though the world encourages us to be tough. When we respond to what God wants we are more easily noticed in a hurting world. Great post.

    I think the area I am most stretching in is the area of admitting weakness and even failures. Most of my life I tried avoiding failures and of late God has been showing me how valuable they are. Like Paul I am seeing when I am weak, He is strong. And isn’t that what we truly want? To reflect His strength. Maybe that’s why we need to be thin-skinned. So they can see Christ in us.

    • Anne, it is hard to fight against what the world teaches us. The more I release to God the easier the battle becomes in some ways. And it’s a daily lesson. That whole “fear of man” thing. I want to please God.

      You are an incredible example of transparency! I love how you share your vulnerabilities and especially your wisdom. I agree with you – my failures are proving to be the best teaching ground! I’m with you, sister, let HIS strength show. Thank you for your words, Anne. You are such an encourager.

  13. Beautiful Karin! Soo humble and wise!
    Oh and: Mothers of Six With Allergies/Eczema Unite! 😉
    xxx

    • Thank you, Melissa! I loved reading your comments above. So much wisdom and kindness in your words.
      NO – not allergies and eczema, too?! And six kids?? Kindred spirits 🙂 xxx

      • Thank YOU for the post 😉 It’s been soo refreshing this past year that I have subscribed to incourage to hear women be real, honest, raw and encouraging. You know, “thin-skinned” I think that is my new favorite word!
        Oh yes, allergies, eczema and a little asthma and psoriasis thrown in for good measure! Your oldest sounds like my second child (also born in 2001!). Those poor babies! Definitely kindred spirits 🙂

        • Oh, we must have mirror image medical records! These kiddos have been through it. We have seen some mighty God movements in all of it, though.
          Yes, incourage is a very real place to prop up your feet. What a relief! Here’s to being thin-skinned together, friend. 🙂

  14. Oh Karin,

    I came home from my 24h employement this morning. Tired and feeling empty. My coworker wasn’t this easy and likeable character I love to work with and the whole time I struggeled with his special sites. And on my way home I had to sing loud praise to my God. My weak heart felt more free and somehow it was really easy to worship my Lord. My Lord said to me that I have to change my bad feelings into joy and thankfulness because this will make me happier at all!
    And after my heart was joyful again I read your words and my morning was truly blessed! I’m so thankful for your encouraging.
    Feel hugged and be blessed!
    Rosie

    • Dear Rosie,
      You praised God when you felt weak! *That* is the amazing blessing. You went straight to Him. Thank you for sharing your heart for worship here. You have just encouraged me. Thank you for your kind words – hugs and blessings to you!

  15. Karin,

    Wow! You are one tough cookie. A great writer also! Loved this post!

    It can be tough at work for me. When I feel thick-skinned, “useless/unimportant” I turn on some Christian music and start praising God at work. It helps. I also stop and pray for friends, co-workers, family and even myself. You’d be surprised how mcuh that turns the attitude around.

    Thank you for being so open and honest! Have blessed 2014! 🙂

    • Thank you Beth!
      I am a wimp in so many ways 😉 – it was all God during those deployments.

      You bring up a great point – taking the focus off ourselves and focusing on worshipping Him, and praying for others… that is the way to fill our cups.

      Blessings to you this year!

  16. Hi Karin,
    I’m so far behind on my reading but was SOOOO excited to see you here at inCourage! Beautiful post. I can’t imagine the emotions you must wrestle as a military spouse. I’m so glad God has thinned your skin because the Christ in you is gorgeous.
    Love, Susan

  17. Hi Susan,
    You are just one of my favorite people. I am so happy to see you here. Thank you for your encouraging words – you are a gift. I hope your recovery is going well, my friend. Hugs to you!
    Love, Karin