“I’m sick of always feeling like my kids don’t cut it. We need to create a ‘Let’s Face It Book’ app where we forget all the special moments and celebrations and only post the hard truths of parenting that are happening behind the scenes. We need to ‘Face It’ head on,” one of my besties declared.
Our friend group chuckled at this ingenious idea because, unfortunately, misery loves company. Brainstorm funny marketing strategies, drop a few bombshells, allow for anonymous posting, and it would be an instant hit. Yet behind our combined nervous laughter, we all felt the painful sucker punch as our precious sister friend shared deep heartache behind her son’s recent choices. For months, she held those decisions in secret as Satan attempted to crush her with false judgement and shame. He was having a heyday assuring her she was the only one in the struggle. He’s the master at that.
Let’s face it: factually, we know that often social media only shows what the person posts — the highlight reels, the carefully curated moments. Here at (in)courage, with our mission to remind each other that in our un-fine moments and ordinary days we can become women of courage, we still constantly struggle to solidify that truth in our minds and hearts. Couple that with friends or influencers who attempt to draw us into their authentic self by showing us a filtered “messy moment,” and often it’s still an edited reality that doesn’t help chip away at the relentless rhetoric the enemy slings.
(Here’s where we pretend you’re sitting around the table with my discipleship group and I’m going to shoot straight. I’m a hand talker, so imagine that too.)
I’m sick and tired of falling into his cyclical trap, aren’t you? There’s no glossing this over. I’m frustrated at myself when I give Satan a tiny corner of my consciousness and he bulldozes in like he has some say in my life. He absolutely does not, my friends. I’ve heard it called “stinking thinking.” How dare we give the enemy an inch when we have the indwelling, life-giving, enemy-crushing, abundant freedom that comes the moment we name Jesus as Lord. Yes, the Savior of the world, who kicks Satan to the curb when we shout the name of Jesus, desires to gift us with that same power. Yes, the same Spirit, the same power, that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in us (Romans 8:11). Why aren’t we shouting this truth from the rooftops?
I know, I know. It’s much easier to read (or type) this than actually put it into practice.
As I’ve camped in 1 Peter, a tiny phrase stopped me in my tracks. 1 Peter 1:13a says, “Therefore, with your minds ready for action . . . ” Diving into the original Greek root here tells us that the phrase is a continuous active verb. This is not a one-and-done obligation but a commitment to stay alert while consistently preparing our minds for a challenging journey or warfare. Are we rooted in the truth of Scripture? Are we battle ready?
Since many of us are still experiencing a painful season of isolation and loneliness, it’s more critical now than ever to grab at least one other person to help us fight for truth and ready our minds in the coming days.
Some have gone nearly a year without any significant gatherings, so our perception of everyone’s journey through the pandemic season has been shaped by social media, not Scripture. It appears we’ve all thrived with long nature walks by quiet streams, picnics on our family room floors, and seamless home renovations.
Yet mix in the reality that we can’t see online — crying children eaten by mosquitos, selfish big brother hitting siblings because he demands the picnic blanket closest to the TV, and finally, the exhausted partners losing all patience because this isn’t the Fixer Upper episode we assumed when we started — and we chuckle at these hidden truths.
But for many of us, like my “Let’s Face It Book” friend, the reality is much more challenging. When she shared her news, our hearts broke with her. We couldn’t tie things up in a neat little bow with trite retorts and quick-witted wisdom. So, we listened. We lamented. And we brought light to the dark by naming the truth of God’s Word.
In those tense times that will never make social media, we need accountability partners that will link arms with us and point us to the cross; faithful friends who will remind us of Spurgeon’s words, “There are many sorts of broken hearts, and Christ is good at healing them all”; and mentors further along in their spiritual journey to guide us and humbly provide tough love if needed.
Do you have someone like that in your life to provide encouragement, accountability, and a listening ear? To remind you that you’re not alone? To push back when you might be in error? Can you be that person for someone else?
Prioritize that and join me as I’ve committed my 2021 to deepening relationships, establishing necessary accountability in my marriage, parenting, and spiritual walk, and pursuing continued connection through biblical community.
This is a time commitment, but it’s so worth the investment. Let’s ready our minds for action and let’s face it together.Leave a Comment
Thank you for your words. I needed this. I so needed this. I don’t realize how exhausted I get looking at everyone else’s posts. My least favorite posts are the ones about “your pandemic to do list”, how much did you get done, and all the supposed free time to become a world class baker or write the next great American novel. Sure, maybe, if you don’t have a toddler and a job? I felt guilty more than a handful of times for taking advantage of quiet moments for rest, when my son was in bed and my work was done, and inevitably I would wake the next day to the same filtered snapshots of life. But this. So much truth.
Bonnie – yes, we all know this feeling too well. Rest, steal away those quiet moments because when your tank is full you can pour out that much more that to that precious blessing.
I need prayer. I went through a divorce well over a year ago, right at the beginning of the pandemic and lost all but one friend. I lost my community it’s been a difficult recovery. Please pray for new friends. Thank you.
praying for you right now, Rebecca. God will see you through, just keep praying and keep trusting.
I understand what it is like to go through a divorce and lose a lot of your community. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. It has to be even harder with the circumstances surrounding the pandemic. Praying for you to meet some new people and make some new friends. I know it’s hard. I have been in Tennessee for eight years now and still have a hard time finding community at times. Sometimes that is my own fault because trust does not come easily for me.
Renee Swope says
Praying for you right now Rebecca. I can’t imagine how hard and lonely that has been. Praying this promise over you.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Oh Rebecca – do you feel this group of women coming around you, praying for you and desiring to be in your corner. I’m so sorry for the loneliness and we are rallying on your behalf. Please know that if you’re ever in NC, there’s a safe space on my big front porch for us to catch up.
Beth Williams says
Please send some friends & community to Rebecca. You alone know her heart & soul. You made us to need each other & right now Rebecca needs people in her life. She needs to know that people care for her & still love her. Guide her through the next steps on her journey. Heal that broken heart. Help her to feel you near her always. In Jesus Name AMEN!
I loved this, Jennifer. Thank you.
You’re so welcome, Courtney. Have a terrific Tuesday.
Andree Hidalgo says
Dear Heavenly Father,
PLEASE allow Rebecca the joyful comfort in a TRUE friend and give her the gift of one who doesn’t judge but holds kindness, gentleness and accountability as lasting virtues in her heart of friendship. Father, give Rebecca the confidence and capability to get out of the pit and find friends, now that we are out and about more and ready to be around others who enjoy camaraderie.
We love you and trust you in this time, Father!
Thank you, Andree, for standing in the gap on her behalf.
This really spoke to me, Jen! I’ve been very isolated from friends during the pandemic. I will strive to reach out more. And I’ve also felt convicted about mentoring in some way. Thank you for your encouragement.
I’m so glad to hear that it struck a chord in your heart about mentoring, Irene. So many are lonely and isolated and even reaching out to one other person can make such a difference.
Cheryl Lentner says
I love the idea of a “Let’s Face it Book”, it is tiring always trying to post on social media things to pick others up. I need to be picked up. Thank you for sharing this. It’s difficult to remember that Satan just wants us to grow in our misery, not our faith.
It is SO tiring, isn’t it Cheryl? We need to kick him to the curb. 🙂
Teresa Christie says
IMO..Sharing ones heart wrenching parenting issues shouldn’t be a venue for a social media community. This is best done in a small group of trusted friends, even then it’s risky. Ask God to give you wisdom regarding when/what/with whom you share. In my personal experience I have found opening that door has given others the freedom to be real also. It’s a sacred trust to be permitted into someone’s pain. Social media is not a friend to the less than perfect among us.
I whole heartedly agree. Sharing parenting struggles is best done with trusted friends and I think that’s why so many feel “less than” in that realm because they think they’re the only ones going through those struggles since all they see online are high light reels. Finding that safe community in person support is so critical, isn’t it?
thanks for sharing.
Becky Keife says
Jen, I’m picturing the waving hands and I love it. Preach!
Oh, I’m sure you can visualize it. My hands were swaying. 🙂
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Jen thanks you so beautifully written. It speaks volumes. I don’t have kids. I love them. Not brave enough to give birth. We have to be careful what we share on internet. Would it be what God would what you share. Always go to God in prayer before you put it out there. As once it sent it can’t be take back. People might like what you said they might not. Words can do good or they can hurt. So we have to be careful what we say. If about something in our lives. Be careful what we share as if gets in the wrong hands how dangerous it can be. It can get you into trouble. Plus your family. You into trouble with them. Yes it nice to share things if going to help people and it not going to hurt. It is not gossip about anyone or anything. Even if it just about you. Make your words matter. That they know you love the Lord in a nice way in what you say that you hurt no one. But show God love. Then people will say did you read that lovely post so and so posted. It shows they have lovely love for the Lord in what they wrote about what they wrote. To do with whatever it is. That is the nice message you want to get out and pleasing to the Lord as well. For Satan would try and have you share something that would cause trouble and with no love in it at all. You don’t want to do that. Do all you send in love and on to the Lord. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Yes, Dawn. Echoing your wise words right here.
Joanne Peterson says
While in theory, this is a fabulous idea, but even then, those who don’t live the life I have with children from hard beginnings, and the in-utero experience my children have had, judge my kids, judge me, and offer advice where they have no experience. Way too often I’ve experienced people making things seem so simplistic, and if I just followed their advice, things would be better for them and for me. Just recently, I had a family member who I trusted, and she directed me to something because I cried when I became vulnerable. It wasn’t the point. This happens quite often to those of us who have children with hard beginnings and the life we lead, and everyone has an opinion that isn’t realistic, or will work. So, when this has happened often enough, we quit talking because we’re tired of getting judged. I speak for many. This is my second time around raising children from hard beginnings, first time around, with grown children, and now with young children. I belong to very private Facebook groups, and even then I test the waters. I really wish this could be possible with your suggestion because the Body of Christ should really be as supportive as your friend experienced. My experience is if there are problems with behavior long term from the beginnings my kids have had, then it’s the parent’s fault, and what bad kids I have. People are willing to help with quick solutions, but to help walk through long-term, it hasn’t happened….I wish it would.
Oh Joanne – I feel your heart on this deep in my bones. First, I am so sorry for any judgement you have felt when you are doing such hard and holy work. Thank you for continuing to press into advocating for children. You’re right. Often people don’t know what to say and think they can fix things with a few trite phrases when we know that’s not the case.
I don’t know the road you’re walking but I’ve sat with another in a similar situation to you so I know through her eyes the very real pain of people not just listening and always trying to fix or tell what to do. I will pray that you find that safe place to share and not feel as if you have to be quiet.
Prayers for peace, wisdom and energy as you continue to walk this mothering road.
Nancy Ruegg says
Wise goals you’ve set, Jen, and you’ll impact many others as you seek to achieve them. I’m particularly drawn to “pursuing continued connection through biblical community.” It’s easy for me to hang back and wait for others to approach me; I need to pursue others with friendliness, kindness, and a listening ear. Thank you, Jen!
Especially with Covid, I think most of us are drawn to hanging back and waiting, so let’s pursue together. 🙂
Renee Swope says
This is SO good friend!! The isolation and disconnection of the past year have been brutal, and Satan knows how vulnerable it leaves us all. Early on I realized I was slipping into depression and needed some kind of face-to-face connection so one local friend and I made it a point to get together every week or two, since the beginning. We started 6 feet apart, sometimes with a mask too, until we knew it was safe. But we’re still careful since I have asthma. I’m praying we can soon find our way back to safe and healthy community in every way! But no matter what, this important TRUTH you shared applies at all times, in all ways. #preachitsister
Oh friend – How I wish I was that very local friend able to have that face to face every week with you. I know that had to be a balm for the soul in a super challenging year. Love you!! Miss you more.
Beth Williams says
I, too, am a hand talker & I can just see those hands waving. The pandemic has made it hard to stay connected to friends & family. But connection is what we were made for. Sometimes though-we have to step out of our comfort zone & seek connection ourselves. I do it by emailing, texting or mailing cards, notes to friends checking up on them. Just letting them know they aren’t forgotten. I am the encourager of my groups. Always trying to make people smile & giving fist bumps or hugs. Social media makes it way to easy for one to get depressed seeing the “perfect” pictures everyone posts. Love the idea of a “Face Book” Let’s face it head on group. One where people share their struggles & trials. No perfect pictures please. Just post everyday life. Great post.