About the Author

Marlene Molewyk is a homeschooling mom and Fuller Theological Seminary graduate who speaks and writes about faith colliding with the messiness of everyday life. She previously worked as a broadcast journalist for an NBC affiliate, a production assistant for The Oprah Winfrey Show, and a corporate communications manager for AT&T.

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          • Hi Lynn, I couldn’t agree more! It took me many years to be comfortable with my imperfections as an individual and as a parent. And interestingly, I find that if I don’t stay on top of my thought life, the desire for parenting perfection can still rear its ugly head today! Then it needs to be wrestled down yet again, and I find that reflecting on Julie’s and others’ encouraging words helps me do this. Thanks for the encouraging words, and I hope you have a lovely day! : )

  1. Yes! Let us be honest and transparent with each other. Thank you for this.

  2. Thank you so much for this! I feel sooo inadequate as a parent sometimes, and I pray daily for Him to fill in where I lack.

    • You’re welcome, Courtney! You’re definitely not alone in experiencing inadequacy as a parent, but as you pointed out, it drives us to our knees in prayer, and that’s always a good thing, right? I hope you have a wonderful day, full of extra hugs and kisses from your little ones! : )

  3. What a great encouragement to us! A reminder to encourage when we see someone broken, and to accept encouragement when it is offered. May we be encouraged to be real and offer grace to each other.

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for your kind words, I’m so glad you found this encouraging! And thank you for all of the encouragement you have spoken into my life as well. Have a wonderful day! : )

  4. Your story is a breath of fresh air. Thanks for your transparency, Marlene. I do think you are a super hero and should wear a cape.

    • Thank you for your encouraging feedback, Pat! As much as I’d love to be a super hero (with the super power having crazy energy and a blazing fast brain with just 3 hours of sleep a night!), all you need to do is spend a few days at my place to see that I’m not really one at all! That being said, thanks for the compliment, it really made my day! I hope you have a wonderful day as well! : )

  5. We all need to be affirmed and to know that we are making a difference! Thanks for this good reminder of how we are called to encourage one another!

    • Hi Teresa, yes we all do, don’t we? You’re welcome, and thank you for your affirming words! I hope you have a lovely rest of the day, and I hope your coming week is packed with unexpected encouragement that comes from unexpected places! : )

  6. Thank you for this! What wonderful encouragement. May we all be a Julie to someone!

    • You’re welcome Val! Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad this encouraged you! Yes, I hope there is an outbreak of Julie-like behavior among everyone who reads this post! Blessings to you, and I hope you have a wonderful evening! : )

  7. Marlene, I just love this! I love your transparency in how hard motherhood can be (you could have been telling my story!), and I love how you’re striving to be a voice of grace letting other haggard mamas know they’re normal, and this too shall pass.

    • Thanks Pearl! Yes, that’s exactly what I’m striving to do with my words–essentially pay what Julie did for me forward. Because most, if not all, parents go through seasons of feeling overwhelmed and the last thing any of us needs is to feel pressured to attain an impossible level of perfection. Blessings to you, Pearl! : )

  8. I had a similar experience with a friend when my son was small, but she sensed postnatal depression with my second child and then third who were both so close together. 13 months apart to be exact and it was hard. I believe God put her in my path as she had had anxiety /depression in her life when her mother died. She was a support and was there for me to talk things through with and go on medication at the time with the support of my doctor and midwife. She also reminded me that every mother finds it hard at some point and everyone doesn’t have it all together even if it appears so. It is so very important to tell younger mums our story and reassure them mothering is hard and it does get easier if we are presented with an opportunity to do so.
    Jas

    • Hi Jas, thanks so much for sharing your experience! Having kids 13 months apart is definitely very hard (I’m feeling exhausted just thinking about it!), and I’m so glad that your friend was there to help you through it. And I agree 1000 percent with you about the vital importance of encouraging and reassuring younger mothers through such a tough season of life! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and blessings to you, Jas! : )

  9. Marlene! I just want to reach through this screen and hug you — and then help you put out a mass search for Julie so we can all tell her thank you for her beautiful example of transparent encouragement. The ministry of Are You Okay? — no matter our life season or stage, we all can be willing to push past awkward to be a lifeline of hope in another weary woman’s day. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. It’s an honor to host your words at (in)courage.

    • Hi Becky, thanks for the kind words, and I feel very honored to have my words published here! I’ve also actually been searching for Julie in the hopes that I can share this article with her, along with a great big thank you! Blessings to you! : )

  10. Marlene! You are one of my “Julies”! There have been several times I have asked, “How do you do it?” You have always provided encouragement and inspiration….helping me to let go of the high expectations I place on myself ….based on the perceived perfection I find in others. Thank you, friend!

    • Awww Katie, you’re getting me all choked up! Thanks so much for your kind words, and I’m so thankful and glad that I’ve been able to pass along Julie’s comfort and encouragement to you! Also–I’m glad that we’re getting a chance to walk along this challenging road called parenting together! (Or perhaps the better metaphor would be riding the challenging roller coaster ride called parenting together?). Regardless, I hope you’re having a good summer and getting some R&R in! Blessings to you, Katie! : )

  11. So true Marlene! And in our insecurity we ignorantly believe everyone else “has it all together”. Where do we get this idea? No one has it all…yet we perpetuate that myth in our own minds and project it on others around us. They would likely be horrified to think that’s how we think of them!

    This is a great reminder to have eyes to see others and encouraging words on our tongues. Thank you so much for encouraging me, Marlene!

    • Thanks so much for your feedback, and I’m glad you found this encouraging! You know what, I never thought about that–where DO we get this idea that everyone else has it together? Is it a natural human tendency, is it something we learn, or is it something that we are conditioned to believe? Regardless, I think you are correct that it is an unhealthy myth to believe! Thanks again for your feedback, and blessings to you! : )

  12. Oh, how I remember walking that road with you! Our play group was my saving grace, and you especially. Miss you so much!

    • Hello Sheri, I miss you too!! Yes, our playgroup was definitely my lifeline during those super tough years, specifically because we got so real as a group about our mothering struggles and insecurities. That was such a gift to have as a young mother! Blessings to you and your beautiful family, and thanks so much for your encouraging feedback! : )

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I think we compare ourselves to others so much – I know I do! If I could just remember that the person God made me to be pleases Him, and my gifts and walk with Him are like no other. The story encouraged me.

    • Hi Kim, I’m glad you found this encouraging! I agree that comparison is such a difficult habit to break, but as you point out, remembering that we are each God’s uniquely created masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) is an excellent antidote! Thanks for your comment, and I hope you have a wonderful day! : )

  14. Marlene, thanks for opening yourself up to minister to young moms. Your article was beautiful!

  15. Marlene,

    This reminds me the book “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily P. Freeman. She talks about taking off the masks that we all wear. Be real with each other. Don’t come to church with a pretend smile & say everything is fine. Let others know how you are doing really. Life is hard. Everyone is going through, has been through or will go through some trials. We all need to know that not being ok is alright. Go ahead & cry. Tell us your hard story. We will be there-(at least I will) to encourage you through this journey called life. I will be someone’s Julie. You can cry on my shoulders & I will have empathy. Mothering is a super hard job. I had the reverse roll of being “parent” to my parents in their old age. It was hard & many days I cried. One thing I did was ask for tons of prayers. That got me through those dark night.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Hi Beth, I love that list! Thanks for providing the title, I just placed a hold on that book at my library! I agree that parenting while caregiving for elderly parents can definitely be tough… I’ve done it myself and it occurs to me that I probably could have used Julie-level encouragement during that time! Thanks for your feedback, and I hope you have a wonderful day! : )

  16. This is a great reminder to how powerful our words are and how they can affect others. I also love the scripture you referenced! I need to think of my words like a “fountain of life” more often! I think it would make me much more careful with them.

  17. Marlene, you have written well of a mother’s struggles and the encouragement we all need! Your transparency and honesty are refreshing and help me connect with you as a person and fellow earth-traveler. Thank you for the reminder that even short conversations can have an eternal impact for good when they are used to speak life into another person’s soul. An impact beyond what we could ever imagine.