Ending the “I’m Fine” Masquerade

This week, I think we’ve all come to realize we’re not the only ones who find it hard to let people know how we’re really doing. As I shared this week in Chapter 2, sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to be. Or we hope that by saying we are fine, eventually we will be. Other times we act like we’re fine because others expect us to be.  And I love how so many of you admitted you also have days when hormones  or grumpy-ness trump all good manners and anyone within ten feet knows you are not fine. In fact, what you really meant in code is that you are Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted! Today, I want to introduce you to my friend, Melanie from Only a Breath. She’s the one who created our really cute Online Study blog button (see my sidebar if you want one)! And, she’s also leading A Confident Heart online study. Today she shares soemthing she wrote on her blog. I love how she challenges us to take off the “I’m Fine” mask and be real with God, each other and especially ourselves about how we’re really doing.

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… She walks the hallway, fighting back tears that threaten to well up again. It’s been a long night, filled with betrayal and disappointment. Her  future is uncertain. Back at the office, she tries to maintain normalcy. When eyes met, she is faced with another routine, “How are you?” “I’m fine”, she answers, with a plastic smile that hides her pain. … Across town, a young father shakes hands with the fourth interviewer that month. “Thank you for your time.”he says. On the way home, his wife calls to see if there’ s any hope for the job they’ve been praying for…for so long. They have mouths to feed, children to raise, a car on its last miles… “It will be fine”, he assures her. As he hangs up, he hangs his head in despair. … A young, single mom cuddles her baby on the park bench. She holds her boy close, surrounded by happy couples with smiling children. She never expected to raise her child alone. The pain is sometimes too much to bear. Will she ever feel that she belongs? That she is wanted? Loved? Beautiful? “We will be fine she whispers into his soft ear, surrounded by whisps of fine, brown hair. “I’m fine…” “We’re fine…” “Doing great…” In Chapter 2, Renee invites us to take off the “I’m fine” mask. But she also acknowledges just how scary it is to expose the pain that keeps us up, haunts us like nightmares, and threatens each breath of hope. … but we’re fine. Or are we? Could we take off the mask that we, especially as Christians, live the “fairy tale”? We are certainly blessed, in every circumstance guarded by the Father, but honestly, in the deepest parts, we aren’t fine. I’m not fine. If I took off the “I’m fine” mask, would you think less of me, or would you think I’m … human? We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him. We’ve got this. By pretending we’re “fine” we tell others something must be wrong with them if they are hurting… because we certainly are not hurting. We’re fine. What if we let someone else in? What if we said, “I’m hurting, and the details aren’t important, but would you please pray for me? I would really appreciate that.” Could that help them, in return, reach out to someone else when they are hurting? Do we need to grant one another permission to not be fine? Could we come broken before the Father, and cry out for His mercy and strength? He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. Even when we don’t feel it, could we still cling to His promise and claim it? He knows we’re not fine. Could the trials be the very thing that break the strings holding on our mask, allowing it to fall to the ground so we cling to Him a little tighter? The truth is… We aren’t fine… We are forgiven. We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat. We aren’t invincible… We are made to look to the only One who can heal the broken. As a sisterhood of hearts seeking our confidence in HIM, let’s take off our masks today. At least here with each other. And maybe with just one other person we meet this week. I have a feeling someone needs to see the battle wounds and scars we  carry in order for them to stop pretending and seek His help too.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Thank you so much Melanie, for reminding me again today that God’s grace is sufficient. Today I need HIS strength to be made perfect in my weakness. For the truth is… I am not fine. Well, yes I am….Frazzled, Irritated, feeling a little Neurotic and totally Exhausted. I’ll share more in the comments. But I don’t want you all worrying about me. Life is just hard sometimes at our house, just like it is at yours. I think it’s important that you know that.  Just because I’m in ministry and have written a book doesn’t insulate me from trials. In fact, it almost guarantees them.  BUT God’s grace can be my sufficient… if I let it be. Today’s Assignment: 

  • Finish reading chapter 2 and answer end your of chapter questions.

Connect in Community:

  • Please share answers to a few questions of your choice from the end of Chapter 2 in our comments today. Just click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post, and do just that.  (Remember if you are reading this in an email, click on the title at the top of the post to go back to my website to connect and communicate with our group. This is such a valuable part of this study. My favorite part!!)

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    Winners of Last Week’s Give-aways

  • Song of Prayer CDs: Deena, Wendy Thrasher, Celia B (Please send your mailing address to Leah.proverbs31@gmail.com)
  • Listening to God gift-pack: peggybythesea (Please send your mailing address to Leah.proverbs31@gmail.com)
About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Thank you for such encouraging words. I know in the back of my mind that I am not the only person ever to wear the “im fine mask”, but there are so many times in my life that I feel that if I dont have this mask on people will look down on me….or worse. Chapter 2 has been such a eye opening chapter I can only imagine what the rest of the book has in store.
    Thank you Renee for the book and this online study.

    • You are SO right! It IS scary to take off the “I’m Fine” mask! In fact, when I first wrote this post, I almost deleted it right after I published it because I was scared of what people might think… God can use us in our weakness though, and I can’t help but think He wants us to come to the place where we fully admit our need of Him. Praying for you, sweet friend. Hang in there!

      • Thank you for your encouraging, liberating words. As I read this and Chapter 2 I have gradually been delivered from pretending, perfection and performance . You cant be healed and freed if you cant/dont admit that its there. Thank you and Renee for being part of another level of freedom and healong

      • Kathy Sturgis says:

        Yes it is but it is being real!!!

  2. I read Chapter 2 and spent time with God – with great reward. God has made it very clear that I need to abide like never before to be able to accomplish what He calls me to do. It was amazing to see how He responds to my “being still and knowing…”

    Then I read Renee’s post. Immediately after a heavy conversation with my child who is hurting. The blog post nails it. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

    I need this grace. My child needs this grace. In the midst of our tears-God is good.

    • He is good ALL the time! You (and your child) are in my prayers.

    • I’m praying for you and your child. Being a mom can be so hard, especially when our children are hurting. God is good. You are not alone. He is with you!!! And we are here for you!!

    • I’m praying for you and your child, Karen. Being a Mom is a hard job, but it’s also the best job I’ve ever had. I don’t know how people without faith can make it through the rough times. It must be awful!! Prayer is such a necessary part of a Mom’s life, both in times of trouble and in times of joy! My children are now adults and when they are hurting it’s still hard. I thank God for his encouragement and his reminders of how important it is to share my hurts and hard times with him. I don’t wear a mask with God, but have done so with others. I ‘ve tried being honest at times, but not everyone wants to hear that you aren’t fine. I’ve found that when you take off your mask and share with others that you aren’t fine, you have to do so without expectations of the other person’s response. If they’re not supportive or encouraging for whatever the reason, you may walk away with hurt feelings or embarrassment and feel even worse. For me, I find that I can’t tell every person that asks me how I am, that I’m not fine, so I’m selective about who I share with and keep my expectations in check.
      What a blessing his promises are and his grace is indeed sufficient!

    • Sweet friend, I am praying for you today. As a mom, I know how our hearts can hurt for our children. A mother’s love has an impact on a child like no one else, and I am praying for your child.

      Thank you so much for your comment — a beautiful reminder to my heart to *abide* in His Word.

      Many hugs,
      Melanie

    • I have very young children who haven’t experienced true hurt yet. Yes they have scraped their knees and feel that they are truly hurting :), but I can’t imagine the feeling that you must be feeling, while trying to hold it all together to everyone else (even though we shouldn’t have to). I will be praying for you and your child. When you are feeling really down in the dumps, pray. I find that when I am feeling down, when I pray to God my feelings, I feel so much better afterwards. <3

    • Abbie Wells says:

      Karen,
      I like your last sentence. It is so true….even through our tears, God is good. I am currently in an adventure, where I find myself constantly in tears praising our Father who loves us and wants more than anything for us to bring it ALL to Him!

    • Thanks, Mom…..I couldn’t have the perspective I have without you. Thanks, everyone else, for praying. The last day has been filled with profound peace and a new perspective. I couldn’t explain or define it….until now. I was living in God’s sufficient grace and floating on the prayers of all of you. Thanks, again, for being faithful to him always. 🙂

    • Dear Friend, as I read your post my heart is breaking. Though I may not know the situation, God does and He is in control with a plan. Know that He alone is your strength. His grace IS Sufficient and it is enough even though in our minds we do not always see this when our feelings are in the way of that view. Trust Him and not your feelings. He never changes but they do. Guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life. Place on your armor each morning and know that God is protecting you. You only need be open to Him and His amazing love that meets us right where we are.

    • Karen and Karie, I am praying for you both.

  3. Please pray for me! I am having such a hard time at work! My boss harasses me and my co-workers make fun of me! Torment, laugh, and then look for mistakes so they can tell him what I do wrong! EVERY day for 3 years now! Please ask God to give me strength and help me! So tired of this and the crying at night! I cry out but he does not answer my cries for help! I got called in his office again today! I need encouragement and his grace! Thanks for your kindness! I am hoping 2 or more will lift this request in prayer for me!

    • Leslie, I pray that you feel peace at this job and the courage to find another one. No one has to suffer abuse like that for a paycheck!! Be strong, but get the heck out of there!

      • Amen, I was thinking the same thing Janet but I wasn’t sure if I should say it.

        Leslie, I am praying God will give you wisdom, an open door and the courage to walk through it. You are a child of HIS and He would not want you to continue to be treated this way. If you in an abusive relationship those people are not surrendered to Him and He only works in the lives of those who are surrendered to Him. They are probably not going to change but you can – by getting out of the situation.

        YOU were made for more than this!!! Praying praying praying!!

      • Hi Leslie. I have been in the same situation that you are now experiencing it is not nice at all. Sleepless nights, tears etc. I prayed and asked God for deliverance from it. God did deliver me and he will deliver you. Ask him for strength to look for another job. Staying in a working environment like that is not good for you I am praying for you. When I read this my heart cried out as I remembered a couple of years of ago this was me. I am praying for you my sister be encouraged, God is able.

    • Leslie, I’m praying for you to have strength through this time and that another door opens with the perfect job opportunity. And that you have the courage to take that opportunity..

    • Leslie…Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “pans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”…You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart…”and will bring you back from captivity”. My prayer is to support you asking of the LORD for direction, steps towards his plans for you. Focus on listening for his word, for you are his blessed daughter, the Holy Spirit will guide you. In Jesus name. Amen

    • Praying for you right now, Leslie. Praying that God lets you know that He is indeed hearing your cries and loves you.

    • Leslie, I am so sorry you are going through this for the sake of your job. Boy, those people hurting you must really be hurting themselves to be so careless with their words and actions. Stay strong, realize your worth and stand up for yourself with God’s graces supporting you. You must be a very strong person. Pray for them, they need it, but shame on them also for acting so poorly.

    • Stay strong let it go turn it over to the lord and he wil take the burden away and make you whole again trust me i know

    • There are laws against harrassment in the workplace and the bullying that you receive from your co-workers is completely unacceptable! This situation is affecting you emotionally and physically. For your health & well being, I too believe that you need to take care of yourself and move on. I am praying for strength, courage and hope for you. Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing. Cyber-hugs are coming your way!

    • Christina R says:

      Keeping you in prayer as God directs your steps. Praying that He keeps you safe and comforted during this difficult time.

    • my prayers to you Leslie. No one should have to work under those circumstances. What is happening to you is bullying in the workplace and it is not right. I pray that you can let it go to the Lord for he is the only one to bring justice to this. Stay Strong my E-friend. Christ will comfort and carry you!

    • I am praying for you, Leslie. I am praying that you have the confidence to step out and follow God’s leading. No one should stay in an abusive relationship. God will show you a better way. (((Hugs to you!)))

    • Leslie, I have lifted you up in prayer. I pray that God will show you favor in your place of work. may you find strength and encouragement the sisterhood of these posts. Please remain steadfast in the Lord for in due time HE will deliver you from this environment.

    • I’m praying too, Leslie…I have worked in a Christian environment for so long I have forgotten how difficult it is in the “worldly” workplace. I am so sorry and I pray God will give you the strength to do what you need to do. God is not the author of this kind of treatment…It sounds like a tough decision but for your physical well-being and mental health, you many need to find another job. Your co-workers are probably picking on you to avoid any harrassment coming their way…self-preservation, so to speak. Please keep us posted on your decisions…blessings to you today!

    • Leslie, my heart just breaks for you. It is a shame that adults can be as cruel as junior high-aged kids! I just want you to know that we are praying earnestly for you. God hears your prayers, sweet friend. Praying that He will make His path for your life very clear so you will not have to be subject to this abuse. Please keep us posted!

      Love and prayers,
      Melanie

      • Leslie, keep your faith strong, keep up your prayers as we will for you. Make sure you are still and listening to what God is saying to you. Some times I am no still enough so I don’t think God is speaking to me. I had God really speak to me the other day and it was awesome to know it was Him speaking:) During your time of trouble with these co-workers continue to look for something else that will satisfy your money need to have to work in this world. Keep praying, Leslie and listen.

    • Leslie,

      My prayers are with you during this difficult time. I cannot believe that people can be so hurtful and insensitive towards others. I pray that God will surround you and embrace you in His Arms and that you will find rest and peace. Continue to look up and believe that God will meet you where you are and will guide and direct you to a better work environment. God is in control and will see you through this.

    • Leslie,

      I pray for you this morning to be strong and remember that God does not give you more than you can handle at one time. This trial you are going through is making you a stronger woman. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13 Trust in the Lord, he will never leave you or forsake you!

    • Leslie, I am praying for you this morning. My heart aches for you. You are going through a lot, but you have come to the best place! God will make a way of escape. Trust Him who is able to do the impossible. May your day today be filled with His confidence and May you know that He loved you and knew you before you were born. Praying for a special job for you too. Love and Prayers,

    • I would suggest you go to a temporary employment agency and as soon as they find you some temp jobs (which can be very quick), you quit your current job. I don’t know your financial situation and if you are able to do that but at least you can do some temp jobs and have some income and leave that horrible place. That way you can also look for another permanent job while you do some temp jobs. Plus sometimes temp jobs turn into permanent jobs. That’s happened for me. Have courage Leslie! God is w/ you, he goes before you showing you the way and he protects your whole being w/ his sacred blood. “If God is with me, then who can be against me.”! I don’t remember where that is in the bible, sorry.

      • I stayed in a job like that despite having to drive to work with a bucket on the seat next to me in case I got sick… and ended up with a lifelong health issue. Get OUT, and do it now! The Lord will open doors for you. Trust Him… He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider and He WILL meet your needs!

    • Leslie, I have lifted you up in pray and will continue to. I pray that you will find a new job, and I also prayed for your co-workers. Praying that God will sustain you and give you the strength you need each day.

    • I recently felt this way by my boss, although he always said “i consider you a friend, and I’m just joking when I say these things.” I never took it as just joking, and my other co-workers had their clicks and if you weren’t in them, well watch out. I was there for over a year and was NOT happy. After having my 3rd and last baby, I had a few meltdowns and I cried to God. I was taking out my stress from work on my family, which I didn’t want to do. After praying about the situation for a while, I got done my job. Things kept getting worse there, and I think that was God telling me that it was never going to get better for me there, and that I belong at home with my babies. I know exactly how you feel, and you do NOT have to put up with that. I will be praying for you! Keep strong.

    • Leslie….I am praying for you. I too have been in your situation at work. Things have gotten better for me. I go in, do my job, and do it well and leave. I tried to ignore those that were harrassing me but it is hard. God has blessed me by allowing me to move departments. It has helped. I will pray for you daily. Stay strong and keep looking for other doors to open. Love you.

    • Leslie I pray God will strengthen you and will guide your steps into a new place of employment. In all circumstances He is with us. Keep your focus on Him and know He worketh all things out for good for those who love Him. Bless you

    • Leslie I am praying for you. You have many sisters that are lifting you up in prayer also. Maybe this study will give you the confidence to move out of that situation and trust God to work out everything for you based on His word. (The Lord is my strength and my shield my heart trusted in Him and I am Helped. Psalms 28:7) Be encouraged Leslie.

    • Leslie:

      I just paused and prayed specially for you that Gods’s power may be demonstrated through your weakness.. Hold on !He hears your prayers and will provide the strength that you need as He is bringing you through,
      God bless you!

    • My daughter, Karie, lives over 2 hours away and we are doing this together. Thank you to those who prayed for her this week!!! Sincerely, thank you.

      Leslie,
      I once was in a great job that had some very difficult interpersonal issues with co-workers and boss. God spoke clearly to me that He was my Deliverer……..to the point that I felt He said, “You don’t have to do anything, just stand there and see what I will do.” Wow, over time I was AMAZED at His deliverence! It was not quick but when it came I was overwhelmingly amazed. It is much later now and I am still amazed. I still have the scripture verse in my purse that really spoke to me when God placed a new opportunity in my path. Roman 8:12-14 in The Message version, “So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent . There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s spirit becons. There are things to do and places to go.” I applied for the job and they told me they wanted someone with more experience. Then someone said they wanted me to come in and talk to them. They said, “Let me take your resume to the person who would be your boss, she’s the best boss I’ve ever had. Immediately I was called in for a few interviews. The opportunities I have had here have been amazing. The professional people I get to work with are amazing. The way God uses me and gives me opportunities in the areas He has gifted me in is amazing! I am praying for you, Leslie, as I hit “post.” May you experience God as your DELIVERER!

    • Leslie, i hae been where you are. I was talked about …called goody twoshoes…all sorts of childish things. But u know…i would sing to Him softly…lifting praises to Him all day. It got to where i didn’t care about the ones causing this pain. All i knew was that God loved me for putting Him above the problems.
      I know you will stand firm and not waver. I am prayin for you sweetie. I know God has a plan for you and you will endure!!!!!!!!! God bless you <3

    • I spent many years as a director for a major company; the grief I experienced with the pressures of many changes with senior management and supposedly colleagues left me a mess. I held on because of the money and title. I learned however my integrity and standards were being jeopardized. i was afraid to show my faith, afraid to stand up with my faith, and afraid to stand up for myself. I also was made fun of for being too soft, too sensitive, too everything. Once the company went down I found so much peace even though I have all the illnesses that come with poison companies. Please look elsewhere so that you can find peace in another environment.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I pray that you will find another job. You do not need that harassment! You need a job that values you as you are.

  4. I haven’t been “Fine” in so long, I can’t remember what it’s like to be that way. What an encouraging post from Melanie. I never thought to offer out that I wasn’t fine, that the details weren’t important, and ask for prayer. What a gift I have been missing out on.

    • I can relate to the comment about it has been so long since I have been fine I forgot what it felt like. Also that its ok to say the details aren’t important just please pray for me. Our family has been under siege for 4years. Tumultuous difficultys just keep rearing their ugly head. I feel like people are tired of my problems and must think there is something wrong with me for having so many disasters. Thanks for being there ladies. 🙂

    • It truly IS a gift! (And I’ve been missing out on it for far too long too!) Praying we will be okay with not being okay sometimes 🙂

      Blessings,
      Melanie

    • Kathy Sturgis says:

      this has been a chapter of relief for me also. Knowing I do not have to be perfect because HIS LOVE is perfect is a freeing idea.!!! I am known completely and HE still comes to talk to me. He is NOT pushing me away when my emotions are upside down or I am trying to make everyone happy> HALLELUJAH! I can sit right there and know HE is going to help me transform my thinking with the truth. Great week!!

    • I totally feel the same way as you. I am so young, yet I have not felt fine in years. I hope this chapter will help me get the nerve to tell people that “no, in fact I need help and prayer.” That short sentence may be my life saver.

  5. Shannon L says:

    I was in tears reading this chapter. I imagined Sam at the well, startled to hear someone talking, then to look up to see He was speaking to her! I can just imagine her shock that a Jewish man was was speaking to her, asking for some of her water and wanting to talk. I’ve been under the invisibility shield myself. When my husband and I got married, we moved away from my family. He had family and friends, but I didn’t know anyone. I felt as though I didn’t matter. Unfortunately, well meaning family confirmed it. I was alone in a strange town with no friends or family. Hubs worked all day then refused to go out when he came home. I was isolated. Worst of all, its a small town with no activities or clubs to join. 10 years later, I’m a member of a wonderful church who is as close as family. We have 2 beautiful daughters and I’m regularly involved in something. But those dark days still hang over my head. I pray that God shines His light to get rid of the darkness.

    As a child, I saw God as an invisible person who was always with me but giving me a “You-better-behave” look.

    I’m estactic about reading how God sees me now, but find it hard to believe that he thinks so much of me. I’ve failed Him so many times. How could He possibly love me as much as the Bible says He does?

    • Shannon, I hope you relieve yourself of some of your burden, you do deserve that you know. This world does not promise us ideal circumstances but we do have an ideal God who delivers us from darkness all the time. It’s a gift that we need to accept, because he gives it freely and lovingly. Be happy with where you are now, I hope you find peace.

    • I just love your comment! God DOES shine His light to get rid of the darkness, doesn’t He? Love this! Praying you will always know His strength, peace, and unfailing love He has for you! 🙂

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  6. Can’t begin to tell you how hard it is to be part of this study right now, as “Fine” is a huge mask for me. I’m anything but fine right now as my father’s health is in jeopardy and they don’t know how to help him right now and he’s a long way away. I haven’t seen him in over 3 years and the thought that he might be fighting for his life hurts. We’ve reconciled our relationship but I long to see him again. I’m not “fine” and when I read the challenge today the tears just started to flow.

    Over the years, I’ve lost a lot of “friends” when I’m no longer fine. Life has been a string of growth challenges that never seem to come to an end. Thanks for sharing so openly. I knew when I first picked up the book as that voice tried to tell me “you’re not good enough for this” that this study was something I needed to push through to become more of what God has intended for me. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Prov 3:5-6

    • penny S.
      I am praying for your father that God would be by his side as he struggles with his health and that you experience the comfort of the Father today. may God give you the grace for this moment in time, Blessings Kelley

    • Being fine can be extremely difficult at time, especially when loved ones are very sick. Always remember He is there to see you thru the bad time, and will walk with you thru the good times too. I am praying for you and your father. Just remember….God is good….all the time.

    • Cindy Hunt says:

      Penny, That scripture has been one I constantly repeat over and over. The KEY word for me TRUST, Something I so hard try to believe. Especially since my whole childhood was shattered by people I should have been able to trust. Hang onto that scripture He will lead us on this journey as we LEAN on HIM we don’t always understand the why but we do understand the WHO we are to lean on and He will not fail us.

    • Penny the Proverbs verse you have has become one of my anchor verses, in all times on this journey thanks for sharing. I too am picking this book up without being “told to or assigned from church or a organized Bible Study(yet) at our church. It is amazing though as fine turns into “well thank-you” you can choose how deep you want to go into the well with that person or to even draw from it.

    • Penny, I just can’t tell you how much your comment spoke to my heart. I wish we could just talk over coffee and hug and pray and believe Him together. You are not alone, sweet friend. God has you here, with this wonderful, supportive group of women at this specific time for a specific reason. We are lifting you up in prayer and believing God for the work He has already started in your life. Please don’t listen to the lies of discouragement, because we know those aren’t from God. He has only wonderful things to say about YOU — how much He loves you, how valuable you are, the beautiful plans He has for you… Let’s cling to those together!

      Blessings!
      Melanie

  7. I certainly wear the “I’m fine” mask and I know that its got more to do with my Pride – I don’t want anyone to think I need help or am weak, needy, I need to get rid of my pride and bow down to the Lord.

    • Janet,

      I can really relate to how Pride gets in the way and how this can make others think you can handle anything and don’t need support. I DO Need Support, but I’m learning that I need to lean on God, not others!
      Growing up I knew about God (Was raised Catholic, but we only went to church on Easter and sometimes Christmas), but did know Know Him and didn’t even know that I could or needed to have a relationship with Him. As of 2004, I’ve slowly started letting God into my life and within the past year have started working on my relationship with him by first purchasing a Bible and now really reading it often.

      No more of the Why Me…..but really diving into his Word when in pain. God Bless!!

    • Oh, girl… you are preaching to the choir! I am right there with you! When I wrote this, I had the same panic “What if people know I’m not okay?!?!?!” thoughts…. Pride can get in the way of our healing as well as others we could help! I have to keep reminding myself of this too! 🙂

      Hugs,
      Melanie

      • Caroline McGinnis says:

        A big AMEN to Shannon and Melanie pride can be full of destruction and we need to be aware of it at all time and lean on GOD, not our selves and others.

    • I am wearing out my “I’m fine!” mask. I don’t like to let people know about my struggles; I don’t want to share the pain. I do talk to God in prayer and ask for guidance. I’m not sure that I am hearing any response.

      • When you say you pray, but are not sure you hear a response, I think you should know this: Sometimes, he uses others to bring you His response. He speaks through others, but it is a risk to open up. I know, because I have been hurt when I have opened up in the past. It is only through God’s grace that I am beginning to open up again. He has sent people into my life that are worthy of that trust.

        • Thank you R.J. for the reminder to listen for God in other people. I intend to share with someone this week who has shared a lot with me but has not seen much beyond my mask. I appreciate your encouragement.

      • I have struggled the last few months waiting on God’s answer to my prayers but worried that I won’t hear his message. A few mornings ago, I picked up my bible and asked that I’d open it to the message I most needed to hear that day. I opened my bible to Psalm 27 and verse 14 caught my attention…’Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord’. Sometimes our answers don’t come as quickly as we’d like but that doesn’t mean he’s not listening!

  8. I can defintely relate to the “I’m fine. My husband’s teases me because no matter what situation came up I always answered with I’m fine, or everything is fine. Thanks for chapter 2 – it is a real eye opener. I was answering question one and when I think back to my childhood about God, I think that he was unapproachable. I grew up in a Christian home, but the gift of salvation was never shared at the church. It was only when I went to a Young Life retreat when I was 17 that I was really introduced to Jesus and I asked him into my heart. I knew then that he loved me. It has been a long road since I was 17 and I turned by back on God for many,many years. I know now that God has always been approachable and he never left me and he welcomed me back with open arms.

    • What a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing this! I can definitely relate to the “unapproachable” God… for many years, I felt the same way. I had a “don’t make Him angry” type attitude without ever realizing His love for me. You make some great points — thank you! 🙂

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  9. It’s so easy to say “I’m fine” to others question of “How are you?” I just laughed thinking about how “fine” has a new meaning to us women in this study…frazzled (or I like to say frustrated), irritated, neurotic, exhausted. I’ll be honest, I do have that handful that I truly trust and don’t have to “hold back” when discussing how I am, what’s going on in my world, etc. But…is it bad that I don’t feel comfortable to share everything with just anybody? (I definitely liked how Melanie said something about showing our wounds and scars so others know they don’t have to hide and will seek Him, too.) How do I get over the “trust issue” I have here? Or what about “it’s none of their business how I am really doing” attitude? Anybody else every feel this way? My husband and I have a rule that you can’t answer any questions with “I’m fine” or “Good” or “I’m okay”…because what do those responses really mean? I was just thinking to myself, what if that was a rule I had with others too. Hmmm… Feel like I’m just rambling on.

    I LOVE YOU, LADIES! I’M THOROUGHLY ENJOYING THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER! I’M PRAYING FOR US!!!!

    • Kristin,

      Your post gave me a good chuckle…….because you are not alone. I say to myself all the time, do people REALLY want to hear how I’m doing?????? I always tell myself ‘No.’ Once I can build that trust, then MAYBE I’ll let them in, but usually I’m the last person to open up because I don’t want them to think ‘bad’ of me.

      • I can relate to that Shannon. Everyone wants to tell me their problems, which i don’t mind listening to, but they don’t ever ask me how I am doing. I guess everyone just assumes I AM FINE….and sometimes I am not fine at all. But God is always there when I need to cry and let out my problems….and He gives me peace…He is our always friend and wonderful Father.

      • I often tell people that “I’m upright and able to take nourishment”……

        • That cracked me up Beth! I might try that one next time someone asks. I wonder what kind of looks I’ll get. Smiles.

    • Kristin,

      I feel exactly this way and would also like to hear how others move past the trust issue of really opening up. I have a hard time with this b/c I fall into the attitude that its none of their business. Mostly b/c I hear them talking about other people and their lives and pass their opinions on it. I have had to deal with a lot of hurt in my life, the loss of a love, the loss of my father..and I have been really hurt with being talked about. So when you are hurting and then get hurt on top of that, you just don’t want to talk or open up anymore. How do you move into trusting and sharing?

    • GREAT POINT! I love this! I can SO relate to the trust issue. I think, first, we have to be honest with God. He knows we’re not “fine” so we need to just come out and say it. 🙂 It won’t make Him love us less… after all, He already knows we’re not fine. With others, I think God leads us to know whether to open up and trust… and perhaps there is a certain circle of friends that we can open up to. For example, I wouldn’t necessarily just pour my heart out to the cashier at the grocery store 😉 but I would call my sister and admit to being just crummy. I’m praying you have that circle of friends, and if you don’t — please email me! I am more than happy to pray with you and be okay when you’re not okay. 🙂

      Love and hugs,
      Melanie

      • I agree Melanie!! Our first “always safe to not be fine” place is with Jesus. I’ve found that He sometimes allows me to be in a place where there is no one else to listen or lean on because He wants me to come to Him. And He knows if I have enough humans I can go to, I might resort to what is most comfortable. It takes more faith and trust and listening to His heart when I go to Him but He’s just what I need. And even when it’s not fine, and I just pour it out on Him, things seem to look differently. And although my circumstances don’t change – in His presence I am changed.

        Then when I do or don’t have someone else to talk to, it’s not as big a deal either way, because I’ve gone to Him first for what I need most – whether it’s comfort, strength, calm for my concerns, assurance in my fears or just someone to let me vent.

        So thankful we have a place to share and just be real with one another – what a gift this is!

        • Kimberly Stiver says:

          This is a gift that I need!

          • This a gift we all need. I have a TRUST issue. I had to learn like Renee said that Jesus had to be enough for me. I had to go to Him first and He never let me down. I overheard my Christian Sisters talking about my circumstances that I had shared with one person and I almost let it destroy me. I haven’t been able to take off my masks with them yet but I loved how Melanie wrote “I’m hurting, the details aren’t important but woud you pray for me?” God is showing me the people in my life that I can trust, I’m depending on Him. I love how He is placing new people in my life everyday. I’m so thankful for this study.

  10. I think we not only use pride to hide behind the mask but I often feel the person asking “How are you doing” doesn’t really want to know. It has become a passing nicety. What if we did actual answer “No, and since you asked….” how would they respond? Whether we give specifics or just asked for prayer. I’m with the rest of you. I definitely wear my mask, especially when around the ‘church’ crowd, when that’s the crowd that I should be opening up to and asking for prayers.

    • Twila I so understand about the mask around the “church” crowd. I wonder like you would they really care? This study has helped me tremendously. I’m learning more each day to depend on Him first because His grace is enough for me.

    • i can so relate to so many of the comments
      I have tried at times to tell others about my struggles when im not fine. I thought it was a safe place to share. Boy can i clear a room in nothing flat. I am surrounded by so many people that don’t want to know if you are not fine. Guess i just need one confident but ive spent my life searching for that person with no success yet I keep praying
      God bless you all

    • Yes ladies. So many times I’ve come in to the exact situation. Some women just don’t know what to do with the truthfulness of “I’m feeling really down because…….” or they just give the regular answer “Just pray about it.” Of course I’m praying about it all ready. I think there may be an issue of their own sufferings and their pride doesn’t allow them to share and realize that we should both be praising God for our challenges because of what they produce. Hard enough to do as we go through our valleys and say “but you don’t realize the pain I suffer.” There could be many things we do different to climb out of our rut. I think Dalene has it right, the person needs to be someone you know and have developed a relationship with. It’s hard to fined but there are some church people who will be sensitive but they are rare, yes even in a church community.

    • This is a terrific point!!!! In fact, at church is where I am most likely to wear the “Everything is just perfect in my life” mask! 🙂 Wow, this is an eye-opener. Thank you for your comments. This is a reminder to me to be open to share my struggles with someone else BUT ALSO have an open attitude when I ask how another person’s day is going. If they share their struggles, I pray that I will have an open, loving heart and encourage them any time they take off the “I’m Fine” mask.

      Thank you so much for this.

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  11. My “I’m fine” mask is in the process of crumbling. Brand new job for the first time and panicking about being perfect enough. Some days I can’t even hold it together in front of my class of third graders. I definitely know what that blog post meant when it talked of walking down the hallway fighting back tears and feelings of terror and sadness. I just got married and graduated college, and I’m dealing with more changes in my life than my heart can handle. I’d appreciate prayers if anyone thinks about it, because I’m definitely NOT fine right now.

    • Brrttney just wanted to give you some words of encouragement. I have taught for 4 years and it feels like I’m just getting the hang of it. Breath…relax…the first year is always the hardest. You’ll see year after year it starts to feel a little bit easier. Always use your resources. If you have a mentor teacher dont be afraid to ask for her help. If you dont have one ask a teacher you feel comfortable with if they can help you out…give you advice. Perfect…we will never get there…do what you know…your best…and youll see that your best is going to get better every year. And remember His promise We can do ALL things through Him who gives us strenght. You are in my prayers.

    • Brittany, I hope you find some peace for yourself and God’s confidence in what you are doing. Not being a teacher but having children in school, it just seems like caring about the kids is the most important thing. You obviously care about what you are doing or you wouldn’t be so upset about it. Sounds like you want to do the best in your teaching job, your new marriage, etc. Take a breath and definitely relax. Keep it simple, simple lesson plans, simple marriage time for you and your husband, just simple…the rest will fall into place.

    • Prayed for you.

    • Brittany,

      During these many changes in your life I pray that you find peace, comfort, and rest in God’s arms. Remember because God is perfect, we don’t have to be. Take each day one day at a time and know that God is walking with you and directing your paths.

    • I’m praying for you, Brittany! Third graders? Wow! What an opportunity you have to shine the light of God’s love to them!!! 🙂 That’s fantastic. I’m praying for His strength for you. Just remember that you don’t have to be perfect! In fact, knowing how this apprehension/nervous/new feeling feels…. will probably make you even better with these kids! You will be able to identify with these precious little ones who come in scared, new, and nervous. Praying God will wrap His arms of love and strength around you to shine for Him!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  12. I’ve always thought of God as a Fatherly, authoritative but loving figure. He has always been beside me even though I may ignore him sometimes. I grew up in the day of the Majestic Bible Movies “Ten Commandments” etc. In one of them God is shown with long flowing white hair and is angry. I never want to displease God–As I never wanted to displease my earthly dad. I’ve always felt comfortable and yet know I could incur his wrath if I disobeyed–I also know he will forgive me if I ask.

    In question # 4, Yes, Jesus has created a safe place for me to be completely open and honest about my feelings, etc. It is very comforting to me to know that He knows me entirely and still loves me. A hard concept for us to fully understand sometimes, but I know that he cares for me and strengthens me when I am ready and ask to be able to change, to be fulfilled, etc. It is what gave me strength to follow through with this Bible study. Thank you Renee for being their to lead us.

  13. I loved this chapter. It helped me to see God in a different way. I now see him as my faithful friend that I can talk to and not feel ashamed about feelings I might be having. Work has been difficult for me for quite some time now, not quite sure why but i just don`t seem to fit in anymore. I pray that God will show me what`s in my heart and heal me so I can once again feel passionate about what I do. Thank-you for showing me how to truthful when I really just want to say I am fine.

    • Kathy,
      I will be praying for you! I am in the same situation as you are, at work. I have been trying to find my “true” purpose in my life in order to serve God to the best of my abilities. I feel that I have had many failures and keep trying to figure it out and I still feel lost!

    • Praying for you, Kathy! God has plans for you, sweet friend, and I pray He will reveal them in a clear way to you soon! Hang in there!

      with love,
      Melanie

  14. I always just say “fine” because I feel that people get tired of hearing that I am not fine. I struggle so much with liking myself. I never have and I feel like a failure 90% of the time. I compare myself to others all of the time and feel that I never measure up. I have been this way most of my life and want so much to break these chains. I have a wonderful “fine” mask. The only person that knows that mask is my husband and he just doesn’t get the struggles a woman goes through. It is good to hear that so many other people struggle as well. I keep thinking that maybe when I figure out what God’s purpose is for me I might for actually be “fine” God Bless all of you.

    • Shannon L says:

      I struggle in the area of comparing myself to others as well. Then I try to remind myself that everyone is different and we all have strengths in different places. Sometimes it helps, most of the time it doesn’t. Today I came across a magazine of Famous people red carpet mistakes. Although I really didn’t have the money, I bought it to remind me that everyone makes mistakes. Including movie stars who have a team of people to get them ready. Just remember God made you exactly the way you are. He loves you exactly the way you are.

    • Therese, I SO appreciate your honesty! I am the QUEEN of comparing myself to others!! 🙂 Please stay with the book because Renee actually addresses this very issue, and the encouragement in this book has been a HUGE help with freeing myself from the “comparison trap”. You are not alone, sweet friend!!!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

      • I love all the honesty coming in the posts. I have actually recently been asking God to heal and release me from a critical spirit. I realized that I was critical of others, myself and many situations. I judged others and myself against them. It was a huge mess. As I have been forgiving myself and others and when I have a negative thought or impulse, I give it to God and ask Him to help clean up my thoughts, I am finding much peace. Criticalness can come on us without our knowing and make a mess out of our thoughts and lives. It really becomes part of us and we judge ourselves and criticize ourselves making us not fine at all. It is very freeing to give the criticalness away. Love you all!! Cheryl

  15. I’m FINE…I am grateful to know that I’m not the only one with a mask on. I sometimes feel guilty if I am talking to a friend to let her know otherwise because she is going through also. I don’t want to dump on her so I take it God. But It’s nice sometimes to have a human being to vent to. I am grateful for my prayer partner who intercedes on my behalf. I pray that I can stop looking for someone to feel sorry for me and come to my rescue. But I will lean on my Daddy first instead of last.

  16. Chapter 2 really hit home for me. I hide inside myself, put a smile on the outside. God kows my inside. In fact, my body rebels the tension and stress I hide. God finally convinced me to take a rest and admit my inadequacies – ‘My favorite saying is ‘he put me on the couch’. That rest opened my eyes to the lies I was convincing myself. God revealed himself to me that I must face the facts to get better.

    The mask is a great symbol. we all tend to wear them. I have sincce responded to some that ask how I am, ‘I’m not fine’. Some stop and ask why, others ignore.

  17. Debbie Gage says:

    So many times have people asked, how are you, some just in casual passing… and I say I’m fine, very seldom do I say I’m not fine. It is like a habit, they ask and automatically the answer is I’m fine, how are you? This was a great chapter. It is so nice to know that with God, well we know he knows exactly how we are doing and he is always there to listen and encourage us through his word. He loves us even when we are not fine that is where I am learning to turn. I do also have to learn it is ok to tell people not doing so good today or it’s been a rough day… I am going through a divorce, my husband moves out this Saturday, it makes me sad but I know that I have tried to make this work for years and I truly believe that God does forgive and I do believe that he has a plan for me I just have to keep looking forward and not back. And keep him and his word front and center.

    • Debbie, I am praying earnestly for you tonight. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I pray God will wrap His arms of love around you in a very real way. Lots of love to you!

    • I am praying for you sweetie. I to went through a divorce, not one but two! Keep your faith, stay away from those that will try to sway you from your faith. Trust and pray for His help. Wait and listen for He will make you lie beside still waters. It’s a restful place to be if you will allow yourself to heal during this time.

  18. I am really getting a lot from reading this book and all the encouragement Renee has to offer us! When it comes to taking off my mask, it is wonderful to know that God loves us and excepts us for who we are! After all,, He created each and every one of us, in His image, to live and to love, and to care about others and when we encourage each other, we in fact are truly blessed from it! Renee, you are truly a blessing and an inspiration to us all!

    • So true! Sometimes I just don’t understand why I try to hide my true feelings from God — He alreadys KNOWS them! 🙂 I’m so thankful for His patience with me!

  19. I try to hide behind “Fine” when the truth is that at times my life seems to be full of mountains to scale. Thankfully our heavenly Father either moves our mountains or helps us over them. Each time I go to see my orthopedic surgeon they give a card with a scripture on it or a thought about God. The ones I have gotten the last several appointments have been the same the quote — “I believe that what God has placed in me is superior to the mountains that stand in my way” Author unknown. God cares so much about us regardless of the size of our mountains or the size of our trials and he already knows we are Frazzeled, weary, sad, defeated, or any other word. But even when we are all of those things we are also known and loved very much by him. Praise God that he takes us as we are.

    • Beautiful!!! YES! … and what a wonderful surgeon you have that shares such encouragement with his/her patients! Thank you so much for your comment!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  20. I have always been one to say “I’m fine” because I didn’t think other women were dealing with the same feelings I’ve had. After reading the posts I realize that there are alot of us out here that are Not Fine and have hidden it from our families, our friends, and especially our God. This chapter has taught me that God wants me to share my feelings with Him. He wants to meet me where I am Right Now! What a wonderful concept to grasp…just like the woman at the well he will meet me too! I pray for all the women that are studying this wonderful book together.

    • ME TOO!!! In fact, when I heard Renee was writing a book about struggles with insecurity, I thought I heard it incorrectly! That is part of the lie I think so many of us (ME) buy into — we think we are the only ones who feel this way… but you’re NOT alone, sweet friend. So thankful for this wonderful group of ladies!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  21. Yes…Gods grace is sufficient and as Renee states…if I let it be! Why do we struggle with this? I am a leader and a “fixer” by nature, while this can be a good quality it can also be a hinderance in my walk with God. Instead of turning things over to him and allowing him to handle or even asking for others to help I tend to play “the I am fine game” all the while living in turmoil! We play that game much like Sam did…avoiding others because we are afraid they will notice a weakness in us or avoiding the real answer to others questions about us. Why…insecuirty and and a lack of confidence. Praise God for this study as we learn our confidence will never be in ourselves but in the perfect love of Jesus Christ. A love that cast out all fears! I pray that each of us will respond to his perfect love and in this game of life be able to honestly and comfortably be ourselves….opening the door not just to be ministered to but realizing an open door is welcoming others to come in……others that may feel as if they have no where else to go! Yes, his grace is sufficient and all we have to do is accept it! May we continue to come to the true realization of this as we study together! Amen and blessings to all!

    • This is a great point! I tend to be a “type A” first-born, “leader” type too and so many times, I pride myself on having things “all together”. God can only use our lives, though, if we surrender control to Him alone…. and I am praying that He will help me to do this. Thank you for your comment!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  22. I have to say that I signed up for this study but I was not able to get the book.
    I’m still getting the emails, and so needed to hear this blog post today. I am living under the mask of “I’m fine” almost constantly right now. I’ve really been struggling emotionally, dealing with feelings of being unwanted and fear of being who God has made me and called me to be. This is something I’ve struggled off and on with for awhile. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for being open and encouraging us to drop our masks and be real with each other. This is truly a blessing and I’m so thankful God led me to your blog tonight.

    • Thank you for your comment! I just can’t tell you how much it means to me. I’m praying for you, Brooke, and please continue to trust Him! God’s got great plans for you, sweet friend!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  23. The quote that really pierced me is on page 41. ” Jesus is the only One who can meet our deepest needs to be accepted and delighted in simply because of who we are. We can offer nothing but our presence, and He will desire us just the same.” It goes along with my answer to Q4. I am comforted by the fact that God is a loving God who cares about the real me, even if I am Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted. Can I add at least one word to the FINE. EMOTIONAL = hormone issues!!

  24. This chapter, heck this whole study, is so what I need right now in my life. My life is so far from fine right now. Issues with my children, my husband, our marriage – everything seems so completely skewed right now. I do have friends that I tell the actual story to. Thank GOD for my friends that really hear me when I say fine and they say “yeah right, let’s try that again… And this time leave out the fine” God has so blessed me and my life but I need to work on accepting it. Accepting his love, accepting his grace and mercy instead of punishing myself and tormenting myself with my expectations of everyone else BUT God. He is the one that matters. His love and his grace and his mercy – which are everlasting. That is where my focus should be. Thank you everyone for writing and sharing this study and your feelings. It is so unbelievably calming and comforting to know I’m not alone in my feelings.

    • Exactly!!! Yes, I could not have said it better! I also want to encourage you, Michelle, to not give up. NEVER give up hope. My marriage at one point hit the lowest low I could imagine, but God picked up the pieces and to my amazement, mended it to be stronger than before! He has worked in the most obvious and amazing ways in my life when I was at “rock bottom”. I’m praying for you!!!

      Love and prayers,
      Melanie

  25. I’ve worn the “I’m fine” mask for years now. I went through a divorce a couple of years ago and I would just sit in my office with tears in my eyes, wondering how I was going to raise a teenager and toddler alone. I somehow always managed to put on a smile and seem strong to those around me, the entire time feeling like I was being torn apart. I would even tell myself and God I was fine, I was strong and I could do this. Now when I feel weak I cry out to God and tell Him I’m not strong, I’m broken and battered by the storms and I need Him. I’ve finally realized that God knows my weaknesses, pain, sorrows and desires. I’m not alone, I can take my mask off and reach out to God, he’s always there with open arms and assures me of His love and promises for me.

    • Oh, sweet friend, He is doing a good work in you right now! I am so excited to see how He moves in your life! My experiences in the pit of despair actually brought me closer to God than I could ever imagine. I encourage you to call out to Him and trust Him. I’m praying earnestly for you! If there is anything I can do, please feel free to email me!

      Love to you,
      Melanie

  26. Cindy Hunt says:

    “THE MASK”, Over several years I have tried to be open and be real with people. Sometimes it’s hard when you have some type of leadership role in a bible study setting or the other one that I really struggle with is my own family who are not christians and they ask how are you and you really can’t be real with them because they can’t handle it. You see, I have a mental illness and my family (blood) can’t handle it, understand it or wants to. So, they really don’t want to hear how I am doing. My close christian friends I can share with and for the most part I can be honest-they don’t always understand my inner war but they listen. Then there are those who don’t know what to do when you are honest and share how you are feeling. This has caused me great disstress. I try to take the mask off but sometimes I feel I have to keep it on for my own protection. I want to be real and authentic as a christian but at what cost. This has caused great insecurity for me especailly right now having gone through a rough year of my mom passing and my sister causing much drama that has seperate us for now.

    In chapter 2 the thing that has stood out for me right now comes out of the prayer of -Praying God’s Promises. This is my cry right now and I know God hears me. “When I feel insecure, insignificant, or unloved, remind me of Your perfect love that has the power to cast out fear.” People might not beable to handle me taking my mask off but I know my Heavenly Father does and that is something I need to hang onto and trust and believe. I want to be real, authentic and most of all I want to KNOW my Heavenly Father so that I don’t have to worry what other people think or say about me. This is so hard for me because I am a people pleaser. I hope this all makes since. This book is hitting the core of my insecurities and that is a good thing though it is very painful right now. I just want to belong.

    • Your comment is an important reminder to me that I not only need to take of MY “I’m Fine” mask, but also respond with love and encouragement when someone else shares their struggles with me. I’m so sorry to hear of the problems you are facing with your family. Praying for you! He loves you with an unfailing love.

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  27. Dawn Tuller says:

    question 4 asked about our comfort level with a relationship so deep with God. Honestly I really really want to be comfortable with it, but I think it scares me a bit because I might hear things I don’t really think I want to hear at that moment. But maybe I’m wrong? Who knows?

    • I can definitely understand that. I don’t think you’re wrong at all. God longs to make our hearts more like His, so even if it’s scary, let’s go for it! You aren’t alone, and all of these wonderful ladies are praying right along with you! I can’t wait to read the comments at the end of this study!!! 🙂 I’m trusting Him for many miracles!

  28. I am in the middle of a difficult situation in my marriage. I find myself wearing the I’m fine mask and wondering why! I have used this opportunity to open up to a few close girlfriends and let them know that I’m not fine right now. It just brings tears to my eyes to listen to them pray over me and what a relief to be able to be real about what is going on in my life right now. I’m on a very hard journey, but one that I know I’m on for a reason. God will provide wisdom and peace as I search for the next step to take. This study is helping me to place my trust in God and let Him build confidence in me that when He is enough, the rest will follow whatever that may be for His glory. Thank you for this forum to begin to be real and get rid of the I’m fine mask. I hope to continue to be able to do this more. Especially right now when things are NOT fine.

    • Michelle, my heart breaks for you. Please remember that God specializes in miracles when there seems to be no hope! Never lose hope, sweet friend! I admire your faith, and sometimes it’s okay to just not be okay.

      Love & prayers,
      Melanie

  29. Sam’s story inspired me also. I always grew up feeling like God was there pointing his finger at me whenever I failed like my dad did. That he was keeping score and I was on the failing side, but after reading Sam’s story I was so encouraged and saw Jesus in a different light. He loves me no matter what I have done, he is waiting there to comfort me, guide me and offer me hope for better if I will let him and trust in his words, his promises.

    Like many others, I play the fine game too. I don’t really think that people really want to know how I am doing, they are just asking because that is the nicety that we are suppose to do. I don’t know how to tell others how I am doing because I don’t want them to think that I am a failure or that they won’t want to know me if they knew that I was insecure and not in control as much as I let them think I am in.

    • You are certainly not alone, MIssy. I think so many of us feel this same way. I’m praying that God will use this wonderful book to encourage your heart and bring you closer to Him.

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  30. I can relate to the “I’m fine” mask. One Sunday in church one of my dear friends came up to me and asked how I was doing. As usual I said “I’m fine”. She then looked me straight in the eye and said, “Are you sure?” To be honest I was not fine, but I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear all the troubles I have been having. As I have grown in my faith I have come to find that if I don’t tell them how I really feel, I take that person’s opportunity to say, “No, I don’t want to hear it” away. Besides shouldn’t we be able to be honest with each other? I would also agree with another post that talked about pride. Am I being prideful by not telling someone the truth regarding my circumstances? After thinking about this I would say yes. I don’t want anyone to fix my curcumstances, I just want someone to listen and stand beside me in prayer. So, here it goes. This is as good a time as any to be honest. Maybe it will be freeing.
    My husband and I have not been able to meet our morgage payment for 2 months. I have a feeling that things are beginning to turn around for us as he has been getting more work recently in his Construction business, but it may be too late. I would ask for prayer that God continue to bless his business and that our mortgage lender would be understanding in these circumstances.
    I have seen so many miracles within the past two months. I just never thought a miracle could happen to me. I know this is not God’s truth. I ask for prayer regarding this as well. Blessings to all!
    Thanks Renee for the enlightenment. God has truely blessed you!

    • Wendy, I think by you sharing your troubles is a very brave thing to do. Kudos to you. Not many people can a. come to terms with a struggle and b. tell anyone. I am praying for your husbands business as well as continued strength for you and your husband as you step into uncertainty.
      Shelley

    • Hi Wendy — I appreciate your honesty SO much and can relate to what you are saying. I am praying with the other ladies that God will provide for your family financially and work out all of the details with your mortgage. You are loved and valuable to Him, and He cares about every detail of your life. Trusting Him with you for a miracle!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  31. Carol Blair says:

    It was so nice to open my e-mail today and read what Melanie wrote about saying “I’m Fine”. I definitely was not “fine” today and I really needed it. I need to finish reading chapter two and go through the questions. I really appreciate Renee’s ministry to women. I really need prayer to get through the next month. Life has brought challenges I didn’t think I would encounter so I am struggling to get through each and every day. I don’t feel comfortable sharing my “challenges” at this point but I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster. Right now I’m just trying to soak in Renee’s message through her book.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I just can’t tell you how much that means to me! Praying for you tonight and trusting God to provide strength and peace in your heart.

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  32. Renee,
    We may never meet but you wrote this book for me, for where I am at in my life and where I want to be. I am not fine and I don’t have it together. More times than not, I feel like a failure. I prayed for so long tonight and realized that I feel this way because I am believing the lies of the devil and not the promises of God. I am thanking God for you tonight. This is exactly what I needed. God bless.
    -Laura

    • I feel 100% the same Laura! Thank you so much Renee. As I said in a past post, God had you write this book so that I would hear him speaking to me. God bless you! 🙂

    • YES! In fact, I told Renee it was like she read my private journals!!! 🙂 God certainly has a message to send to “His girls” and I’m praying for many receptive heart (including mine) to hear it. Praying for you!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  33. I’m going to confess that I have to get caught up this weekend. We had a power outage for several days, and things got really crazy. So I have a lot to catch up on. I finally got a chance to connect here!

    • Hi Ruth, we’re glad you are here! No pressure. Just read, highlight the points that resonate with you and take your time to answer the questions. Each chapter is a layer so please take time for chpt 1 and 2. Hugs and blessings!!

    • Praying everything calms down for you, Ruth! I know you’ll be so blessed by this book! Praying for you!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  34. I am slow! I just now realized that Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, Exhausted = FINE!
    LOL.

  35. Thanks so much for sharing these words about “I’m fine.” They’ve been my words most of my life, even when I’ve been too sick to get out of bed and too anxious to know what to do with myself. A good friend even gave me a bookmark with a cat lying on its back, all four legs splayed, bearing the caption, “I’m fine. Really.” In the last couple of years I’ve started becoming more honest. But it’s a hard battle! I publish the blog posts which are daringly honest about my struggles and how God speaks into them, and then all too often I wrestle with having been so honest. Thanks for the reminder that our honesty opens us up to God, and also creates space for others to know it’s okay for them to be honest about their struggles too. May I share these thoughts from my “past life” (before chronic illness) when I was a doctor delivering babies? I’ve found it so helpful to be reminded that God is not afraid of my mess. . . it’s only me that prefers to hide behind “I’m fine.” http://hearingtheheartbeat.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/when-you’re-ashamed-of-the-mess/

  36. Thank you so much for today’s post… and for your book. I have struggled with “being fine” for a long time. It is really kind-of odd that it is something of a pet peeve of mine when someone tells me that they’re fine and I know that they can’t possibly be. All of a sudden I am seeing that I have been doing that exact same thing for probably all of my life!! I feel like I have been trying to rid my friends of their splinter with a plank in my own eye. Thank you for helping me see more clearly.

    I have always been the strong one, the one with her head on straight, the one with the perfect life, the one everyone else turns to for help and counseling. I guess I have never felt like I have been permitted to not be fine. I have thought for a long time that this is not a big deal… I can be fine to everyone and not fine at night when I am alone and everyone else is in bed. My walls are starting to crack and I am scared and , quite honestly, somewhat relieved. Thank you for helping me to see that being human and imperfect is not only acceptable but a place that we are called to by our loving heavenly Father.

    • I can SO relate to your comment. I also like to pride myself on having things “all together” for everyone else, but there comes a time that we all have to strip off the mask…. especially in front of God. Beautiful comment — thank you!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  37. No, I am not fine. I am raising my teen girls alone. I never expected to be doing this alone. Their father is by no means a “daddy”. His contribution is only the small child support we receive. I just now realized that I am still angry that after 22 yrs together he could desert us. Or maybe it’s anger at him not helping with the current situatuion. Our 13 yr old is refusing to go to school. I pulled her out of public and put her in a private school before thanksgiving. Now she is literally making herself sick over going to school. I wish I could retire from teaching and just be a mom and homeschool her the rest of the year, but I can’t afford to financially.. I wish I could retire even if her schooling wasn’t an issue. We consolidated schools this year, and it is just more than I can deal with. i am not used to students who are such behavior problems…and so advanced in age for 5th grade. This is all just more than I handle.

    • I have been through the same situation. I am a single mom and a teacher. I did not get support, just a lot of heartache from my ex. I raised/am raising 3 children alone. They are now 25, 24, and 15. It was and is tough, but I have put my trust in God. At one time, I was having a difficult time because I had to travel about 45 minutes to my work which made it difficult when I needed to be home quickly for my children and I prayed God would help me. After 6 years, He opened a door for me to transfer to a school 7 miles from my home. This was awesome. What I am saying is trust God, reach out to Him and hold His Hand, He will walk you through this “valley”. I will be praying for you Jody. You can email me with prayer requests and I will pray for you. voelkernm@yahoo.com

    • Jody, my heart just breaks for you. I am so so sorry to hear of all you’re facing. I’m joining our sister Nina in praying earnestly for you. Please don’t lose hope. If I can do ANYthing, please feel free to email me ANY time. I’m praying for your children and trusting God to work a miracle. Love to you!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  38. I am SO guilty of saying “fine and whatever” to mask my emotions and how I am truly feeling so that people don’t pity me or make me feel worse. I need to stop caring what other people think and I need to let my emotions out. I am NOT fine- I am up to my eyeballs with depression and stress, I am not fine! It feels good to get that out and I am going to be making it a habit to let it all out at the proper time and stop saying “whatever and fine”.

    • Jeana — I’m praying for you, sweet friend! It’s okay to just not be okay. 🙂 In fact, in my darkest moments is when God has shined His love in the strongest way! Praying for you and trust God for a miracle!

      love and prayers,
      Melanie

  39. It is kind of funny to me reading chapter two and discussing the I’M Fine phrase…I want to share what God prompted me to write November 12, 2011 on my blog Grace and Love;

    A RAY of HOPE!

    Holding onto the HOPE from God, sometimes is the only thing that can get us through the day, the moment, the minute, or the hour! I share this picture with you as it was shared with me on face book to give you a reminder to “put your HOPE in GOD”.~Psalm 42:5 NIV

    We all have bad days if we are honest with ourselves, we are not always the upbeat people that we portray ourselves to be at church “HEllO how are you” oh we are “FINE” how are you…why do we do this to ourselves…when there are times we are crying inside for some relief, we are having a massive anxiety attack because we are waiting on test results, we hide behind the word FINE or OK…Let me encourage you to start hiding behind HOPE…HOPE in the one true friend that will never judge you no matter what you say, the one constant that is waiting to hear your most desperate plea, the FATHER that will never leave you nor forsake you…Next time you are ready to say FINE (and you are really NOT) try saying HOPEFUL…
    HOPE~ a four letter word that can bring peace to the heart…..The FATHER is there for YOU all you have to do is pray….HE will never have a busy signal, HE will never have customer service answer the phone for HIM…HE is always WANTING to HEAR from HIS CHILDREN…

    HOPE~ my HOPE for you is that you have been encouraged, comforted, or your day is a little brighter because you stopped by LOVE & GRACE today!

    I am waiting, I am expecting LORD open the FLOODGATES of HEAVEN you know my most inward wants, desires and needs and I am waiting in the HOPE of YOU LORD!

    SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT~
    ~The next time you ask someone “How are you?” Do you have the time to listen they just might need someone to talk to? We are so busy in our lives and take for granted the moments of LIFE that often get missed that we could have been a blessing to someone. ~

    Just wanted to share!! God is doing amazing things in me, with this study, with learning how to love myself correctly, not expecting myself to be perfect (all of time) Learning that some hurst still need to heal and that is ok because it is a process.
    Thank you, Renee!!

    • I want to try that! “I am hopeful!” Great idea!
      Thanks!

    • Christina R says:

      Thank you for sharing! Great idea!

    • Wow what an amazing response. Thank you for sharing. HOPE is alive with Jesus and we just have to stay focused on HIm and Trust in HIm no matter what circumstances we may be dealing with.

    • What great truths. Thanks for sharing.

    • Love this…..How are you? I am hopeful!! Awesome. Thanks for sharing this.

    • I LOVE THIS!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I am going to do that too. Thanks for the idea to sit down and really listen to someone. I know someone in particular at dialysis I need to share with that God is there for him.

      • Kimberly Stiver says:

        It felt really good to talk with this man today. We talked about our feelings, and shared with each other how God was healing us from being on dialysis. All I can say WOW he has a testimony and I loved to hear it. He has come a long way and he praises God every step of the way!
        Funny how I used to just make small talk with him and not really tell him what God has done in my life, and now I am inspired and realize I need to do more for God while I am there.
        When he left he told me that he was glad that I talked to him today about God. It helped him to tell me his story.

    • Caroline McGinnis says:

      I love your post MarisZ and I will have to try what you suggest—“HOPE” thank you for sharing it with all of us GOD BLESS

    • This is great! “I’m hopeful.” It is sure to elicit more than just the standard moving on in the conversation.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I like that! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  40. I am grateful that Christ died on the cross for everyone of us, but I love how Renee stated it on page 43.
    “He (Jesus) won’t leave a notice on our front door, but He did leave Himself as a love letter nailed to the cross of Calvary, declaring the depth of His perfect love.” I love the image that language leaves me! Thank you!

  41. Christina R says:

    I loved this chapter! I struggle with hiding behind the “fine” mask. Thankfully, I have some really good friends who walked with me through some very difficult times. During those days of bitter grief and sorrow, they would sometimes stop me and say, “No, really how are you?”. I have learned to do the same with people whom I know are struggling in trials. It is easy to just throw out the “fine”.

    #3 I often feel I am alone in my doubt and insecurity. I see others who seem so self-assured and together; bold, confident. People who have done no wrong.

    One of my favorite parts of scripture in this chapter “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6)

    • I need to remember to be the kind of friend that says “No, really how are you?” You are blessed with some wonderful friends! 🙂

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  42. Question 6 touched me most. Retreading John 4 showed me the part where Sam began to ask questions. Where should we worship? It made me think of all the questions I had as a new Christian and still have today. And Jesus answers her. Just as He will me as long as I ask. He will answer perfectly and in a way that will help me to fully understand Him more. How awesome is it to know that we serve a king that we can approach with any question? With anything at all really? How humbling and reassuring and just plain AWESOME. Too often I feel that my questions are insignificant or silly, but He is always there, listening, even hoping that we’ll come to Him and ask. He wants us to come to Him, boldly, with confidence in Him. All confidence in Him.

  43. The lesson I will walk away with so I will love in the security of God’s approval and acceptance is “to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known.” Not fearing the outcome of letting down my walls of insecurities and being who I truly am all of the time, will only improve my relationship with God. I need to remember to do this daily and pray for His guidance.

  44. I feel like there is really no one I can share my real feelings with. If I share them with my mom, she always has reasons why these problems are a result of the choices my husband and I make about our lives…things like we have too many kids (we are soon expecting out 6th), my kids would behave differently if they were in school and exposed to peer pressure (we homeschool our kids), and just about everything else. Since this has been the way she has chosen to react, I stopped talking to my mom about anything other than surface issues for the past couple of years. I don’t really have anyone to go to about those things that get us down and frustrate us anymore. I have friends, but not really any close friends, and they are all busy, homeschooling moms like me. In terms of my husband, I don’t feel able to be honest with him because I feel like I have to keep it all together for him since he is dealing with his own issues with work and other things.

    I am encouraged though to find someone I can share my feelings with and find a sense of relief in being given permission to really be honest about my feelings with God first. I think because of the way I feel I have to keep it inside and from those around me, I have felt as though I needed to keep it from Him, too. Perhaps also because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the many great things in my life.

    Thanks Renee for the encouragement to be honest before God, and even here, too.

    • Jennifer, Yes you do have a full plate but that is how God has your life for you. If He did not want you to have the life you have, you wouldn’t!! When each of us has a right relationship with God, He will bless us with His will. We must abide in Him all the time. He is our refuge, our hope. If we take care of our own relationship with Him, He will take care of the other relationships we have with our families. Follow His will for you and He tend to everyone else. I love how you are homeschooling your children. It sounds to me like your life is very exciting. Just looking for God’s miracles each day is exciting. Love you and keep up the good work!!

    • No matter what anyone else thinks, it is most important that we take off the mask before God. He knows what we are feeling anyway 🙂 Another comment said “God is not afraid of my mess”, and I LOVE that! If we can be honest before Him and strip off the mask, that’s really the most important thing… Praying for you, sweet friend!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  45. Chapter 2 really spoke to me especially the part about being FINE. My kids can tell when I am not being sincere when I say I am fine, they can read the sarcasm in it. I just need to work on not being afraid to let others in and let them know I am not fine. I need to let go of the fear of not being accepted for who I am dispite who I am (sinful, unable to keep it all together, having imperfect children, etc).
    Renee, that you for writing this book. It is making a difference in my life!

    • Yikes… this is a good reminder to my heart. Our children KNOW the ‘real’ person behind the mask… I pray that person is transparent and an example of trust in God. Thank you for your comment!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  46. God is amazing! Really, He has brought all these woman together to look to each other on the journey to fully trusting Him. We are not alone! Everyone wears the “I’m fine” mask at one time. Having someone to hold us accountable keeps us in His grip. Life can get lonely and I thank Renee for giving so many woman a chance to realize that it’s okay. In chapter two, I highlighted “wherever you are, He wants to meet you there. He is waiting for you to stop, come up close, and turn your heart to His”. Walking away with knowing this keeps me confident. Ephesians 4:15 ‘Instead speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ’. That is my confidence verse, my sword. I pray for all you ladies and for Renee for bringing us together. Have a most blessed day.

    • Yes!!! I have been thinking the same thing! I am so thankful for all of these wonderful ladies, brought together by Renee’s powerful book. God is at work here!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  47. When our son told us that he was an atheist it caused me to distance myself from God, and to a degree from other people as well. In fact, I told God then how angry I was at Him for allowing it to happen. In just this short while of doing this study and committing to praying for our son’s soul every day I am realizing that what God really desires from me is for me to take this burden to Him…to tell Him how I feel and let Him know I am depending on Him. I need His assurance and presence most when I give in or am tempted to dwell on the negative outcome of the situation…our son going to hell.

    The part about the Samaritan woman’s story in John 4 that speaks to me most is how Jesus looked at her…I can only imagine, full in the face, and that what she saw was not condemnation but PURE love! I grew up in a somewhat critical home and just to know that when He looks at me without condemning me just comforts me so much.

    • Dianna….I will pray pray pray for your son. We can pray him into the arms of Jesus. There is time! Jesus will always continue to draw those who have fallen away!!Love you.

      • Cheryl,
        Thank you for praying with me about our son’s soul. Your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for caring.

    • Dianna, your comment is SO beautiful, and I am so thankful for you sharing your story. I am praying for your family, and especially for your son, that he will come to know Christ. Please don’t give up! Love and prayers to you, sweet friend!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

      • Thank you, Melanie, for the encouragement. Our son and his family are to be here with us the middle of next month…they live in Maine and we live in WV…for a week. I am so excited to have time to love on all of them, but especially our son that he might know that he is treasured by God…It is kind of ironical really…we had two children…both raised in the same Christian home with the same Christian values. One ended up on the mission field and the other an atheist. Grateful for God’s promises and that one day our son’s dark heart will be filled with the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I am praying for your son and you and your family. In Proverbs (I am not sure where) Teach a child the way he shall go and when he is old he will not part from it. Know that he will come back to God, just trust in God that he will. I pray this for my almost 20 year old son who has backed away from God. Please know that we are here for you and praying for you.

      • Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing the Scripture and the fact that you are also praying for your son the same verse. I will be praying in earnest for your son as well. Your encouragement means a great deal to me.

        • Kimberly Stiver says:

          Thank you for praying for my son.
          I just think back one of the truths God shows us, we are to help one another. After all we are our brothers (and sisters) keepers.

  48. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments here, I will this weekend for sure, but I can’t be the only one who has found over years that people don’t really want to know how I am. I don’t know if over the years I’ve shared too much info, or if my pain has been too raw for people to want to see. I’ve learned to be an “I’m fine” girl to all but a very few who really want to know. The best One to share the truth of my pain at being “still single” at 56, the hurt and disappointment of a fractured extended family that is scattered and not close, and all the many trials of a life lived alone has been Jesus. Learning that He wants to hear and heal all my pain at being different from the world has been the best medicine this side of heaven. I know for sure that this world is not my home and long with a deep and true longing for heaven. Come LORD Jesus!

    • Unfortunately, I think it is very common to be ‘real’ with people and feel rejected. It’s a good reminder to my heart to be the type of friend who *really* wants to know how things are…. No matter what anyone else says, it’s most important to remove the mask with God because he knows our mess anyway! 🙂 That’s one of my biggest struggles… I’m praying for you and was so touched by your honesty. Thank you for your comment!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  49. Rene are you a quilter?? I have been noticing the quilt blocks next to all the comments – what a nice touch!

    • Hi Sue, 🙂 No Im not a quilter. I wish I had that kind of patience!! But my mom is and it’s an amazing art isn’t it. The quilt blocks are part of WordPress, my website hosting program. There is also a way for us to get our photos there so we can see each other. I’ll look that up and share it next week.

  50. I remember reading this, seems like forever ago. I loved it then and I love it even more now! Thank you Melanie for your beautiful words and heart for God and thank you Renee for sharing her post here! I know it will bless so many women!

    <3 Heather

  51. I am not fine. My husband is a teacher and will probably get RIFed for next school year. Our son has special needs, so working outside of the home is not an option for me. I am currently entrenched in a battle with the school to provide services to help my son with his disabilities. I could really use some prayers.

    • Pam, my prayers are with you and your family. It is hard going through battles all around you. I hope you do not feel isolted, but surrounded with love and hope. I wish I had the nack for giving friends just the right verse for the moment, but I will give it a try “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. Love, Valerie (valerie_c63@yahoo.com)

    • Praying for you and your family and the battles surrounding you. Love you.

    • I’m earnestly praying for your family, Pam. I pray God will provide a way, make it very clear and surround you with His unfailing love. Love to you, sweet friend.

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  52. It is always so amazing how God works. God had been dealing with me about this very subject after reading a book on Authentic Christianity. So I wrote a devotional to some ladies about putting off our masks and being authentic and real in our Christian lives. Here is an excerpt from that devotional:

    ” We, as women, wear many different “hats”…wife, mother, grandmother, daughter as well as pastor’s wives, missionaries, choir member, Sunday school teacher, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes we wear a “mask” along with the “hat”. The “hats” we wear define our many roles as women but it should never define who we are on the inside. Have you ever sang a solo, taught a class or spoke to a ladies’ group and knew that your heart wasn’t right with God at that moment? But many times, we go ahead and put on our “I’m ok” mask and complete the task. (I have to say I am sure I at some point have done that every thing.) Wearing our “masks” allows us to hide the hurt, anxiety, fear, etc so no one will know…we think…but God does. He sees inside…(I Sam. 16:7) Being authentic and real in our daily lives…starts in our homes. Our families should be the first to see us living real and authentic lives…without a mask!”

    My desire is to live a true and authentic life and testimony before others. I want this…I really want my children and grandchildren to view me as real and not fake!!! The old adage “your life may be the only Bible that someone will ever read is so true!”

  53. “I’m fine” is my automatic answer when somebody asks how I am. Nine months ago my brother who has been my rock all my life passed away. He suffered terribly the last year of his life and I was his caretaker. I feel the loss today just as much as the day he died. My 39 year old son is in a downward spiral and all I can do is pray for him. My brother was the one I talked to because he had always been there for me. People don’t want to keep hearing about all of your troubles, so it’s easier to just say “I’m fine”. I don’t know how to open up to others without feeling like I’m whining. I pray that all of us who are hurting learn new tools from Renee’s study. Thank you, Renee, for this online study and thank all of you for your posts. We really are not alone and that’s a comfort in itself.

    • Hi Debbie….My heart hurts for you as you grieve the loss of your brother. Please try to find a good grief support group in your area. A really good one is the bible-based GriefShare program. Take a look at their website at http://www.griefshare.org. Hopefully you’ll find one in your area. May God bless you as you continue to seek Him.

      • Thank you, Greta, for the website. I have found some helpful things on there. I’m in a rural area, so there are no meetings close by.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I am praying for you too. I hope you will find a support group also that will help you. I know one that is called For the Love of Christi. However, I am not sure if it just for the Austin, TX area or not. Maybe if you contact them, they can give you some location near you. Hope this helps you. Blessings, Kimberly Stiver

  54. I just want to thank God so much for directing me to Renee’s website. I’m not sure how I even got there but when I saw the book I knew I had to have it and do this study. It had me written all over it. What I didn’t know was how many women stuggle with the same issues. I thought I was the only one who put on the mask. It feels so good knowing I’m not alone. These women who have posted so many stories have uplifted me, encouraged me, and given me hope. My head seemed to know what to do, but I had troubles letting go for far too long. I think I am finally on a path of healing. It’s time to surrender ALL! Renee I will definitely be lifting you up to the Lord this weekend while you are away. You have been such a blessing to me and so many others. Also praying for your family, and the women you will be ministering to. God Bless You for all you do!

  55. Your’e perfect love has the power to cast out my fear…I didn’t realize just how much fear has held me
    back. The Lord keeps showing me daily little fears i have and the grip they have on me.
    I am going forward in his love and with him to overcome these. Thank you Jesus!

  56. I am not fine and hurting and breaking inside . I always say am fine and smile and try to get through the day. All I really want to do it cry but I wont. I just want to be loved and not feel alone anymore. I want a family for my boys again. Am the mom at the park holding her youngest son seeing all the happy couples and wanting that so bad. But am saying to him we will be fine I have you two and we will be fine. I want to take off my fine mask but am scared to will I be hurt again. Fear that I will be left alone again once the mask is gone. I have always felt that am not worth staying around for everyone always leaves. I dont know if I can take the fine mask off. I know I need to but am scared to..

  57. I have not been fine for four and a half years. My husband and mother both died on the same day. My mother in the morning and my husband in the afternoon. My husband was only 70 but I take comfort in the fact that both Mom and Bob had very strong faith and they knew when there work was done they would go home. After their death my oldest daughter’s drinking has gotten worse and she has tried to commit suicide twice I have no known where she is living or what she is doing for the last two months but yesterday I got a call from her that she was checking herself into an in patient therapy treatment center for 30 days and I pray this will be the beginning of her receovery.

    I too feel that people really don’t want to hear you are not fine so I too pick one or two friends to share with that I know will understand. Many times I have cried out “Where are you God!” but I know deep down he is there and I just have to be still and listen because I know he is in control!

  58. When I see someone and ask How are you? And they reply “very well thank you” I know they are.
    But when they reply ” i’m fine” I ask ” talk to me, and if they want to I listen, if they choose not to
    I pray for them. Most of the time I feel like we are so wrapped up in self that I have to remind myself
    to stop and really listen and pray and with this hurting person.
    Thank you Renee for this study and all of you who are willing to share and listen. I’m praying for all.

  59. Leslie, I just want you to know that I have just lifted you up to our Father. He will hold you and give you peace. You have come to the right place to ask for prayer! Can you even imagine the sound of 8500+ daughters of the King lifting their voices and hearts for one of our sisters? It must be one of the most beautiful sounds!

  60. On Nov. 10th, 2009, I became a widow at the age of 57. It wasn’t until the last 2 months of my husband’s life that my mask began to come away from my face. On the morning he went to heaven, it was totally ripped off for the first time in my life. Four months later I had lost not only my husband but both parents. By this time not only was my mask off, but I was “flat on the floor on my face”.

    That’s when I knew that I couldn’t do this grief journey alone and got help from a Christian psychologist who helped me take the lid off my Pandora’s box and begin to take out all of those things that I had hidden inside under the guise of “I’m fine”. I have found that it’s very freeing now to pretend anymore nor try to be perfect. It’s tremendously healing to let all of my pretensions go as I am trying to find a new identity.

  61. I took off my mask…Tuesday night… I was suppose to be speaking at our Ladies meeting at church…the Lord kept speaking to my heart to give my testimony. “But I don’t have a testimony Lord…not a ‘good’ one like everyone else…what in the world am I suppose to say?” BUT my dear friend, I DO have a testimony! A 6 page testimony to be exact! 🙂 I do have a testimony but I was too afraid to take off my mask and admit it to anyone…that changed Tuesday night…and let me tell you…God has used my testimony time and time again already and it has only been 3 days since I was obedient… I have had several women come to me with a similar story…all it took was my act of obedience! So please…my sweet sisters in Christ, lets take off our masks and let God heal our hearts!

    • Oh Tasha!!!!!! I am so glad you shared this. What a powerful testimony to our obedience and our willingness to be real. All of God’s girls need to know we are not alone and that others have been through what we’ve been through so we can encourage on another. I’m so glad you shared your God-story – all 6 pages of it!! Praise HIM – He is so worthy!!

    • Carrie swearingen says:

      Tasha,
      So glad to hear you took off your mask to share your personal testimony with others. That took courage and I know brought change to your life and others.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      Amen!

  62. I just wanted to say it is well with my soul, because of the love of the Lord, calling those things as thou they were!.

  63. I say “I’m fine” too while in reality I cope with an alcoholic ex-husband (ex for 18+ years but still effects my children), the loss of a son 8 years ago, and my bi-lateral lung transplant now 3 years, 4 months. I can’t change those things that happened but because of them, I am closer to God. My hope, trust and faith in Him give me strength to cope and live with a positive attitude. So, I may hide or mask the details from others since most do not understand until they experience these difficulties themselves; however, I don’t think I’m hiding God’s grace. I do believe others can see how He shines through me and works in my life because of my “I’m fine” attitude and also the fact that the new lungs, by God’s grace, are agreeing with me. When I’m not so fine, God hears it all and sometimes my sister. Then, “I’m fine” again!

  64. The timing of this study…and this blog post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I signed up for this study before I found myself in the midst of “a storm”, but God knew this was right where I needed to be at this time. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I am such a perfectionist and have gotten so good at the “I’m fine” routine. It’s amazing how it is effecting not only me, but those around me. God is showing me that it’s time, big time, to let go! Everywhere it’s hitting me in the face, “I don’t have to be perfect because HE is!” I will try to post my answers to the study questions later. Just had to share this now after reading Melanie’s words. Beautiful and much needed!

  65. This book study has been an encouragement to me. Life sometimes gets overwhelming and fine isn’t in the vocabulary to describe it. I shared recently in a blog post of mine of how my days had turned into a dry creekbed with no moisture filled with the debris of problems and situations that were out of my control. It is when we lean on Jesus through the problems, that He can wash away the debris that has piled up in our lives–the discouragement, despair and distress it all brings. He can wash away those things, just as a torrential downpour will remove the debris that has overtaken a small creek in the woods. He gives us grace to continue on.
    It is in the storm and trials of life that we can learn the most.

    The verse mentioned in Chapter 2, struck me as never before. John 17:3. “This is eternal life, that ye might know…” This relationship with God is of great value. How awesome that He has provided the way for us to have a personal relationship with Him. He knows us and wants us to know Him more.

  66. My “I’m Fine” mask gets RIPPED OFF my face when my youngest daughter who has some severe behavior disorders (ADHD, anxiety, and Oppositional Definance Disorder) misbehaves at school or in public. It is so hard to endure “the looks” from other parents who think that you just have a spoiled child and that you are a terrible parent. Sometimes I just wish I could hide behind the “I’m fine” mask.

  67. Hi and I loved your post …I am not fine and I just for ur book and signed up for this online study…
    I am so excited to see how God uses this study in my lifew
    Two years ago my oldest daughter who is 24 moved out with her 2 year old
    Who is now 4 after we found out she is in a relationship
    With another female…it has been a rough 2 years to say
    The least and this last Sunday she told me via text to prentend she doesn’t
    Exist because we don’t treat the lady she is with like she wants us too…of course there are so
    Many details to the situation…like u said they aren’t important…but please pray for me and her. Thank you

  68. So, so much in this chapter that I’m still chewing on. But I really am clinging to this thought this week: “Because God’s love is perfect, I don’t have to be.” I’m praying I will be so confident in HIM that I will not fear taking off the mask of “I’m fine.” Thank you, Renee, for this book and this study here together : )

  69. The thought I’ve been working on all week comes from this paragraph, “Jesus wants to help you see what is going on in your heart and what you are struggling with that is eroding your security and confidence. The only way we’ll have a confident heart is if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on Him, to depending on His word with our whole heart, mind, and soul.”
    Wow.
    I’ve been looking into my heart to see what is really going on there, to identify my struggles. My husband had an affair. Maybe that sentence is enough to identify some of my struggles. I’ve had to learn to trust him again, and even God again. I was not a confident woman before, but the affair pretty much decimated any sense of confidence I had.
    I’m learning that God, alone, can be my confidence. Some times I feel like it would be easier to just disappear. Being confident is hard work.

    • Penny,
      I feel your pain. I was so devasted, so ashamed, embarrassed, that I pulled away from all emotional attachements. I’ve become a superficial shell of the person I used to be and I miss me. I quit going to church because I didn’t want to hear people talking about my marraige and I didn’t trust other women. I didn’t feel that I could be honest with anyone.
      I’m lost as to how to become open emotionally and really have deeper friendships. I’m struggling to get my relationship back with God as well. I know He has never left me, but I have trouble trusting. My daughter has encouraged me to attend her church and I am, but I haven’t managed to be open with anyone.
      I pray together we can find the acceptance we crave from our heavenly father and maybe a few christian sisters

      • Tresa: God is patient. He is waiting patiently for you. Waiting for you to feel his acceptance and forgiveness. May you recognize the gentle nudges as you return to full confidence in him.

    • Penny: Yes, it is hard work! I am with you in looking deeper to figure out what is really behind my struggle. Blessings on your self-searching.

  70. I am listening to Air1 on my earbuds as I catch up on my Prov 31 emails, blog and letters from you ladies that I feel I have the heart of…The mask….yes I wear it all the time. This week I had a teenager tell me “you don’t get anymore meltdowns, you have had your quota of meltdowns, you just need to drink another cup of coffee and put on the Face.” I taught her this from my actions. I keep trying to tell them that it isn’t the way to do things, but our Christian community is always putting on the mask.
    Tears are streaming down my face as the sun in shining down on me. i will never answer “I am fine’ to another believer when I am asked how are you…I will answer, “I am forgiven”.
    Rachel’s blog today and this is almost more than my healing heart can handle. “My life is not what I have been, but what I’ve overcome” is the song that put me over the edge.
    Thanks you Lord.

    • Deena,

      Great response. We are forgiven, redeemed, restored, loved and comforted by God. We need to lean on Him and HIs promises through every obstacle we face.

    • I just found that song on YouTube by Fireflight. Thank you for sharing!

      • Crystal, I am glad you found it. Fireflight is my favorite group. I feel like they just sing the cry of my heart.
        Thanks for all of your support.

  71. I was raised that you don’t ask for help and you definately don’t let people know about any problems or issues in your life. I wonder sometimes if that came from my mother’s parents, as they were ministers and I think that generation of preachers felt they had live by higher standards. Have been blessed for several years with ministers who confess they have problems. A lot of times in the sermon he will mention that he usually preaches to us what God has been working on him. Anyway, I digress – It is hard to open up and allow others into my messes. And the last couple of years with the economy, (I own a real estate company), it has been a struggle to keep my doors open, even working part time in the mornings at a big box store. I don’t want anyone to know how lonely I feel or how I long for acceptance and love. Part of my issues are pride, but also I don’t want to bring people down with my issues. I want to try to be positive – if not all I would do is complain about my problems. I am praying God will give me a friend with whom I can be totally honest with and have them pray with me and for me and I her.

    • Wow, Kim I was raised the same way. My family was very poor when I was a child. I remember over and over hearing “do not tell anyone about our/your problems. It is none of their business. We will not owe anyone for anything. We will make do and be fine.” Then as an adult when my husband left friends at church avoided me and did not ask how I was doing I guess because they knew I was noy ok. So I put on my mask and learned to be fine. It was so difficult, but after doing that for so long I find it hard to take off the mask even thouh I now have a loving husband and true friends. Sometimes I feel like not that everything is really wonderful I should not have any problems or should not complain. Everyone else is more important.The mask has been on so long that I do not know how to face people without it.

      • Yeah it is hard – and I know it is going to take an act of God to work in me and believe this study is a step in the right direction. I will pray for you! And to be honest with you, I don’t even know who is under my mask. I’ve been pretending so long, I just don’t know.

  72. I like the thought of just answering,” I am not fine and can’t or don’t want to go into the details but can you please pray for me!!

  73. Christina S. says:

    I’m taking the time out to express my sincere gratitude for The Confident Woman bible study and group. It’s really
    a good feeling to know you are not alone. I’ve stuggled and denied for so many years about who I am, my identity,
    if God loves me, if I’m good enough, people pleasing…and so on and so forth. I look forward to learning, growing,
    and transforming as well as fellowshipping with other women in this study group. Even though I may never meet each person
    or even one, just to know there are women out there that are striving for the same thing, means alot to me. Thank you and
    May God Bless each and every one to be restored and truly Confident Women in Christ.

  74. I am not fine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although I wear the mask. My daughter is 30 years old and has a mental illness, I am raising her 6 year old son and she is “MIA” again. Everyone says I need to move on and get over it. It’s the same old story the only thing that ever changes are the dates and charcters in her life. I confess I always believed in God, but I don’t think I believe Him other wise I could handle the pain more easily.

  75. Would you all mind praying for me? I have made some terrible mistakes in my life that are haunting me, and if anyone found out would turn my life upside down. I am ashamed and am trying to do God’s will, but feel so alone & miserable..

    • Shirley,

      I will pray for you. There is no mistake too big for God to forgive. God loves you and values you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He doesn’t want you to live in despair or discouragement. He wants you to live in hope and to trust in Him. I pray for encouragment, peace, and rest to fill your life right now.

    • There is nothing we have done or can do which will stop God from loving us or caring about us. Once our sin has been confessed- God remembers it no more. God has forgotten. I pray your strength and peace in the Lord and you will remember your are nver alone for Jesus promised never to leave us or forsake us. Father God I ask you to strengthen Shirley, You know Lord everything she is going through, You know her every thought, You know everything she stands in need of at this moment and in this season of her life, supply her need Lord. Pour our your loving Spirit upon her right now Lord, take her in Your arms and hold her close until your peace reign in her heart and she understands You can handle every mistake. In Jesus Name Amen! Be blessed Shirley

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I am praying for you. You do not need to feel alone. God is with you right now. We are here for you.

  76. Susan Ramirez says:

    I love being released and being real from that Mask of everything is fine. When most days my life seems like a tornado or pure chaos. Especially when the storms of life shake my foundation and I I loose my focus. Praise God we have a God who does know and loves us right where we are!!!

    I think at our next women’s outlet I am going to ask ladies not how you are doing but if they are having a bad day and encourage them to share so as one body we can lift one another up and face reality together.

  77. I struggle with opening up to others because my mom would share “everything,” and I’ve also felt judged when I was completely open and honest. I feel thankful that I have my husband to share with because he isn’t judgmental. I loved the story of Sam and the video that said “to be known is to be loved.” What a powerful statement that is that because God knows us He loves us, period. But my favorite part of this chapter is the title “Because God’s love is perfect, I don’t have to be.” I struggle with striving for perfect and always falling short. Now, I just need to fully get that, but I’m on the right path 🙂 Thank you!

  78. This blog and chapter also hit me smack on the nose! I am ALWAYS saying “i’m fine”..when really I am so stressed to the max. I am 24 years old and my husband and I have 3 children. I’ve gone to church off and on all through school (with him) but I never had my heart in it until now. I am saved and am so excited to learn more about my God and His Word. I am still very new at this, but it feels so nice to know that even as a Christian, it’s ok to admit that you are NOT ok. My mother was a drug addict and an alcoholic when I was a kid..I lived with my grandmother most of my life, who I’m so thankful to have! I have forgiven my mother for her ways, as she has been clean for about 5 years now, but deep down it still truly bothers me. Especially the fact that she now has seizures due to the drugs and traumatizing things that have happened to her. I have a hard time dealing with the fact that I only talk to her 1 time every 2 weeks (if that) and that she doesn’t come see her grand kids. I sometimes feel like they are losing out on her, as I did. My father’s wife left him last winter, and they adopted a child together. So now I am always worried about that whole situation. He has no steady work, so he calls worrying about his finances, which makes me worry. He has some health problems which I worry about. My other grandmother and I aren’t that close, and neither are my sister and I, which really gets to me. My uncle (who was drunk) fell down and became paralyzed. My other uncle was killed on his motorcycle. I just feel like I have SO much that is bothering me from when I was a child up until the present time. I pray about it, but I feel like I’m asking too much of God. I feel like I should be thanking him more for what I am blessed with, rather than complaining about my life. Another thing is my mother-in-law and I don’t see eye to eye most of the time, and I’m having a hard time dealing with that. I feel that where she lives the closest to my children, that she should be a grandparent who is always there..(instead of like my mother who physically can’t be, but who I also feel isn’t trying) but she’s not. I’m sorry to have wrote so much, but I guess I felt like I could write this all here and feel comfortable. I hope that at least half of you ladies will pray for me, because to this day, I don’t know how to deal with all of this. It’s hard to make myself feel better and stress-free with all of this when I also have the stresses of everyday life, such as finances, household work, children and all of that. Thank you so much Renee for this study and these blogs. They are such a help.

    • Amanda, I am praying earnestly for you right now and will continue to do so, sweet friend. I am so touched by your honesty, and sharing of your heart. Just remember that it really is okay to not be okay. You are loved with an “everlasting love” and God sees and hears your needs… if we simply trust Him. I’m trusting Him to work all of these things for His good and to use your life in a mighty way for Him!

      love and prayers,
      Melanie

      • Thank you so much Melanie. It only got worse this morning as I got a disturbing phone call from my mother. She is in deep depression and she is almost to the point where she doesn’t care if she’s here or not, which is hurting me because I don’t understand. She has grandbabies to be here for. I am having a very hard time dealing with this and I’m still crying out to the Lord to help me and my mother through this. Thank you so much for your response. I got back on here today hoping to see that someone had written back to me. It helps to hear your encouraging words! Thank you again!

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      You are not asking God for too much. He wants you to ask Him, This is the same concept I have had to deal with. God welcomes all of us with open arms. Praying for you to have the peace of God.

  79. So, I came here to the blog post during my lunch hour today and I was reading through some of the comments after………then I scrolled on down to the bottom so I could leave a comment…….and I noticed the time and thought “I really don’t have time for this. I only have 30 minutes left. I will just pray for the others that I read about and I won’t worry about leaving a comment this time.” And I left the blog site, got my notebook to check out our “assignment” for the day and realized I didn’t have anything to do but read here and comment! Boy! I really think that stinkin’ enemy just didn’t want me to leave my comment! So, I’m back and I am going to share my answer to Question #6.

    I used to never want to go to any kind of parties or gatherings – church-related or not – because I never felt I was wanted and surely didn’t think anyone would care if I were there or not. God is showing me how special I am to Him and also showing me that a NUMBER of others deal with the same feelings on one level or another. I still struggle sometimes, but I have been making myself attend more and more functions and really “putting myself out there”. I began by volunteering at EWomen Conferences and then, just last July, He REALLY moved me out of my comfort zone and sent me to the She Speaks Conference! I drove all the way from LOWER Alabama to North Carolina right by myself (well, the Lord was with me but no other humans – lol). All I had was a borrowed GPS and the Lord guiding me and I made it! That was a HUGE step for me on SO many levels! I knew absolutely no one that was attending and I have a HORRIBLE sense of direction! Anyone that wants to read my Life Story can find it by clicking on my name. That will take you to my blog and there you can click on the tab that says GOD NEVER WASTES A HURT – MY STORY. He is still working on me and I still struggle but I know He is with me and He will help me get the GODFIDENCE that HE wants me to have. I love Him SO much!

    • I’m so glad you left your comment and blog! I’m going to head over after reading through the comments here! I am just impressed and amazed that you are following Him in all things! Way to go, sweet friend! I would have been terrified to go by myself, so you are a wonderful example to me!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

    • Your comment about avoiding social functions because you felt you were not wanted and no one would care if you were there or not really hit home for me. I feel the same way. I am a major extrovert trapped in a the world alone due to my lack of belief that I have anything to offer to someone else.
      I am impressed that you pushed through and volunteer for these events and things. I lack the ? to do that.
      I jumped over and read some of your blog and parts of it resonated so much in me. Thank you for your transparency.

  80. I am an officer in the military and will be retiring this year. With over 30 years of military service transitioning from military to civilian life has shaken my confidence to the core. So much so, that I could feel the darkness of depression creeping up on me, I’m a visual thinker, so I could see the darkness too. The words of doubt, negative self-talk and fear were starting to pop up in my thoughts. Military officers are expected to be “fine” the minute boots hit the ground–my confidence has been in my leadership; boss, commander up to the president. Last Sunday I sought out a few women, I could trust, to tell them “I’m not fine”. They wrapped their arms around me and prayed, one dear friend, a military wife, knew exactly what I was going through and knew just how to pray for me (thank you Holy Spirit). God even put General Colin Powell directly into my path for me to hear his testimony on the difficulty of transitioning from military to civilian life (thank you God, I’m not the only one who feels like this). I knew the “Confident Heart” study was for me. Thank you, Renee and your team of many! The darkness is receding–as I cling to our Lord, he saves me every day from heading down a slippery slope. God is working in me to replace, repair, and restore, my misguided confidence from man to Him! I am blessed because I am known by Him….

    • I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this because it certainly is encouraging! May God continue to bless and love on you as He does all of His precious children.

    • Wow, I never thought about this! THANK you for opening my eyes! Praying for you, and so thankful for your wonderful friends who are faithfully praying for you.
      Also, THANK YOU for your many years of service. Our country, my family, and I appreciate you so very much!!!

      Blessings!
      Melanie

      • This gave me the chills–thank you for sharing! And thank you for your service. I’m the wife of a service member and we’re new to this. I’m only starting to see the special needs in the military, and I thank you for testifying to them! I am praying for confidence for you and that you will continue to have confidence in God! God Bless!

  81. Tonya Ellison says:

    I used to always think that not being “fine” was a sign of weakness. If I were to truly say how I was feeling I would be looked down upon because I wasn’t able to handle the pressures of being a wife, mom, employee, friend, daughter, sister and all of the other hats that we as women are expected to wear. We are expected to be fine. But reading this chapter and spending quiet time in prayer and in the Word I realize that the one person who matters, God doesn’t expect us to be fine; He expects us to believe and live the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9 . It is so refreshing and creates such a sense of safety to know that I don’t have to be “fine”, I am blessed and highly favored just being me and not trying to be the superwoman who can handle it all, because that woman does not exist. Thank god for his strength, it allows me to be the woman he created, just Tonya I’m not able to do it on my own and that’s great because I don’t want to. I’m not just “fine” I am a woman who is growing closer to God to become the wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, employee and confident hearted woman that I was designed to be. 🙂 God Bless!

    2 Corinthians 12:9
    9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

  82. I’m fine are words I use ALL the time. I’m not though. For the first time I can’t hide behind the I’m fine line. My step-son’s world is a mess at his Mom’s house. She is getting a divorce because her husband is doing drugs again and has a girlfriend. My middle son wants to quit school because he was suspended for 10 for a mistake he made when he accepted medicine from another student for a headache right at the end of the semester and missed a ton of important things for exams. My oldest son has to make a choice by the 31st regarding where he is going to live because he has chosen…. pot ….to deal with his dad walking away from him 5 years ago and stress and we won’t allow this is our home. My brother is being admitted to a mental hospital for depression, anxiety and a possible schizophrenia diagnosis, within a month of each other we have had to replace/fix two expensive appliances and my husbands business he owns is slow and income is not happening. I want to say I’m fine. I want to cry….which I never do…or sleep and I can’t do those things because I still have two other young children to take care of and keep healthy and happy. Life is rough right now and it makes me so sad.My children are hurting and my husband is hurting and I want to be strong for all of them but it’s getting very hard. I pray and ask God for strength and to take care of these hard times for me. I pray that He knows I trust Him but I’m hurting and feeling completely overwhelmed.

    • Paige.. My heart aches for you. I pray that God’s presence will come in to each and every aspect of your life that you have mentioned above. That He will bring healing, peace, comfort, solace, strength, shelter, and joy to each and every situation and member of your family. I pray that He will bless you with an overwhelming sense of comfort and that you will KNOW in all that you know that HE IS THERE, right next to you – right next to each and EVERY one of you holding your hands. I ask that any time these moments get difficult and any one of you begin to crumble that God will be more apparent than ever. I pray that you may rest in His strength, peace, and love today and always. In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s name. Amen!

    • Carrie swearingen says:

      Paige,
      Praying for you. May you be surrounded with peace, strength, and comfort.

    • Paige,
      So sorry to read all the struggles you & your family are having. Will keep you all in my prayers God Bless!!

    • Oh sweet Paige, my heart just breaks for you. I’m praying God will work a miracle in your life and your children’s. He loves you with an everlasting, unfailing love. Please cling to Him! We love you and are lifting you up in prayers!

      love and prayers,
      Melanie

  83. Question #5:

    It was when I fell pregnant with my second son. I was 24 and, again, I wasn’t married. This had happened to me as a 17 year old girl who wasn’t a Christian. But this time I was a Christian. I knew that God did not want me engaging in pre-marital relationships. I knew that He wanted me to separate myself from the relationship that I was in – living with my now husband – and I knew that He would repair the relationship if I would just listen to Him and follow what His word said. I knew all of these things… I tried to act on them… I tried to do what was right… I moved out… I tried to force God on my, at the time ex-boyfriend (but now husband). We fought even more. One day I remember talking to a friend before I went back to get my stuff from his house. I asked her, “What if I slip and we end up pregnant, then what?” And I promised myself I wouldn’t do that. It was exactly what happened. I slipped… and I got pregnant.

    I felt ashamed. I wondered how I could have let this happen. My husband and I started on planning to get married and making preparations for our child. When we stepped foot through the doors of Church – the people who knew I wasn’t married – the people who knew me as someone involved in the Church and devoted to God – I was embarrassed. I started thinking I should change Churches because, in this one, I was now a hypocrite. I didn’t tell anyone that this was what was going on inside of me. Instead, I just chose to tell them that it just didn’t feel right anymore. Finally, I repented. I whole heartedly repented to Christ for my mistakes. I asked His forgiveness. I prayed that I would be changed. I was fooled and blinded into thinking that no one else makes mistakes but, really, they do.. even the ones whose mistakes are not apparent. I realized that my mistakes don’t matter to anyone else. Anyone that was going to judge me was going to be held accountable to God and I didn’t need to worry about who said what.

    I try to remember each and every day that my worth comes from Christ. Who I am, what I do, where I end up should never be because of something that I do but of something that God has called me to do – or addressing situations the way that God has called me to address them. I feel so blessed, loved, and amazed by what I encounter each and every day. I’d be lying if I said that I was no longer insecure about things – or that I don’t fear the health and well-being of my second child conceived from pre-marital relations – but anytime that these things creep up, I TRY to remember to turn back to God and trust Him again.

    I need His presence and assurance.. daily. Moment by moment, really.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      Wow! What a testimony you have! Thank you for showing that you try to remember every day your worth comes Christ. Keep trusting in Him!

    • I agree with Kimberly! What a wonderful testimony of God’s grace, forgiveness, and strength! He has special plans for you, sweet friend. Please keep your eyes focused on Him and I am excited to see where He leads you!

      Hugs!
      Melanie

  84. Here over the past two Sundays that I have gone to church I have been telling everyone that I am fine and wearing that mask., when in fact I am not fine I am scared to death of what lays ahead of me at a treatment center I will be going to very soon. I am scared of what is going to happen and praying that God will give me the confidence to stand up to Satan and fight the batttle that I am facing. I feel like I will be facing the battle alone however, I know that God will be there with me. I know that my Sunday school class and the church will be praying for me as they have over the past several weeks. I am not holding a lot of confidence in myself that I am worthy of God’s love. I too like Sam went to church because my friends were there and even though we heard God’s words it seems like I never really did hear them. I am trying to remember what it was like growing up going to church but being sent so many mixed messages at home about God and church. You see I was brought up with ritual abuse in my background so what is good in God’s eyes was not good in my parents eyes. One never knows what goes on behind closed doors at home and if it is spoken about then you were really in trouble. When the minister came to visit it was for the wrong reasons and I like Sam didn’t really hear God’s words.
    Now that I am grown I have to take off the mask and put on a different mask of sorts.. A mask with the question of am I worthy of his word and his love am I worthy of my friends love . What type of mask do I wear from here on out I dont’ even know. Well, I guess this is where I end my story .
    Thanks Renee for all that you do for all of us.

    • Robin, I am so so so heart broken and so very sorry for all that you have been through. I am praying for you and know that God has opened this door for you to go into the treatment center and HE WILL BE WITH YOU. I just want you to know that you are loved, you are cherished, you are precious and valuable to HIM. What was done to you was wrong and it never should have happened. What you experienced was not any part of God’s desire for you. HE loves you and He has brought you to this new place in your life where you can get help and start over again. You are surrounded by the Body of Christ in your church and here in this study. Even though you may not be able to join us online for a little while, you are still part of us. We love you and we’ll be praying for you. Thank you for sharing your story here today. You are going to be okay and you won’t need a new mask – you just get to be you – the you you are about to get to know as you heal and find hope again. Love, your sister in Christ!!1

      • I want to say thank you for the encouragement I still have one more week here at home until I leave for treatment. Thank you for your prayers.
        Love your sister in Christ
        Robin

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      Robin,

      I understand perfectly. I too struggled with what I am going through. Through this class and another one I am in at church, I finally realized that God wants us to meet Him where we are. He is always there for us.
      He loves you and knows and understands what you are going through. We are also here for you and praying for you.
      At the end of your post you said: A mask with the question of am I worthy of his word and his love am I worthy of my friends love . What type of mask do I wear from here on out I dont’ even know. Well, I guess this is where I end my story .
      The answer is YES You are worthy of His word and His love. Also, you do not need to wear any mask from here on out. Just know that God wants us to come as we are and be real to Him. He is there with you at this time and always. Know that we are praying for you. Love and blessings to you.

      • Kimberly thank you for you encouraging words and also the reminder that God just wants us to be who we are without any masks put on. I surely will miss the bible study while I am gone , I still have this week to get through before i leave for my treatment. So, I will probably be posting at least one more time. I plan on taking the book along and reading it and studying it while I am there..
        Love to you
        Robin

    • Denise Goodrich says:

      I am so sorry for what you had to go through Robin, I will pray for healing for you during your treatment. Just remember what Romans 8:35-39 says, nothing can ever seperate us from God’s love. God gave up his only Son to die on a cross for you, because he values you.

      • Thanks Denisethe for the words of encouragement and the scripture to read I think i will write it down and take it with me.
        love your sister in christ
        Robin

    • Robin, I am praying earnestly for you! You are surrounded here by women who — across the miles, and maybe “strangers” 🙂 — LOVE and pray for you because we are sisters. Even in the middle of a church, we can miss out on His love.. I know I did. It’s never too late to look to Him and to cling to His promises. He loves you with an everlasting, unfailing love!

      love and prayers,
      Melanie

      • Melanie, thank you for you words of kindness. I am starting to realize how lucky I am to have sisters in christ both here and in church. Thank you for all your prayers as well.
        Love,your sister in christ
        Robin

  85. Carrie swearingen says:

    I learned a lot from this chapter. Question number 4. I find it comforting that god wants to really know me and wants me to come to him with my desires, doubts, disappointments, and dreams because when I am able to surrender my heart and all I am to him he surrounds me with peace that surpasses all understanding and comfort.

    Question number five. Back in 2004 i got fired from a job and was living on my own in the woodlands I was away from my family and my boyfriend was getting his master’s degree at shsu in huntsville. I felt so isolated, depressed, in despair, and uncertain. I pushed myself away from others trying to handle things on my own.I surrendered my heart to god and felt peace surrounded me and I heard god say I am here with you.. A third cousin of mine left me some inheritance money to where I was able to pay all my utilities and rent. After some time I wnt to a bible study with a friend and it changed my lwhole outlook on situations I was facing. I really felt god’s presence surround me. I was invited to a church service where the sermon was directly related to things I was facing. God knew what I needed to hear and he led me there for a reason. After that service I started attending the church regularly with my family, joined a youth group and a women’s bible study. It was through this experience that I really began my personal relationship with Christ.

    I feel comforted and reassured that Christ is with me in every situation and every moment of the day. I need his assurance and presence most when I am in despair and uncertain of situations in my life.

    Question 7. The truths I take away from this chapter are wherever you are, he wants to meet you. He is waiting for you to stop, come up close, and turn your heart to listen to his. He can meet our deepest needs to be accepted and delighted in simply because of who we are. We can offer nothing but our presence, and he will desire us just the same. We are worth his love because he chose to give it to us. We are his.

    • I loved reading your story tonight, thank you for sharing it Carrie!! Jesus is crazy about you and He has so much for you in the days ahead!! So glad you are in this study with us.

    • Amazing!!! God is doing a great work in your life, and your story has been such an encouragement to me tonight! I’m so happy you shared it!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  86. Pamela Ackerman says:

    It’s so funny, I had been trying to read this post before work this morning and my computer kept having issues. Finally, I gave up because I had to leave. Now I know it is because I was supposed to read it tonight instead. I had a really rough day, after a really rough week, at work and I am definitely not fine. Sharing that with others is not my strength. I encourage others and try to give them hope. But tonight, I had no defenses and just couldn’t do it anymore. God has been waiting for me to get real with Him, to talk with Him about what is really going on and to lay it before Him. Knowing He is going to love and cherish me deeply through it helps me to want to be that vulnerable with Him. He wants to go deep and I am now realizing how much I want that too.

    • Thank you for sharing this Pamela!! Oh what an encouragement to hear how you are going to God and laying it all out before HIm…. and how you feel His love when you are real with Him. I love how you said, “it helps me to want to be that vulnerable with Him. He wants to go deep and I am now realizing how much I want that too.” That just made my heart well up with joy. There is nothing more that our Father wants than for you to know His love and long for Him more and more. He loves you beyond description and HE loves being with you! I’m pretty sure He wanted me to tell you that tonight.

    • God’s timing is amazing!! THANK YOU for your comment! I can’t tell you how much this mean to me! He loves you and will be faithful to complete this wonderful work He has started in your heart! Praying for you, sweet friend.

      Blessings!
      Melanie

  87. Oh boy, It’s almost 9:30pm and I need to get to bed soon so I can be rested and ready to bring God’s message to the beautiful women of Athens, GA tomorrow! I wish I could sit here for hours and comment on all of your posts. I would and I would love every minute of it. Maybe I’ll get to do that some more tomorrow. Love ya’ll!!

  88. I just love that verse…2 Cor. 12:9…His power is PERFECTED in our weakness! How encouraging that is..when i am weak HE is strong! I don’t have to worry about being imperfect, because I serve a PERFECT God! Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

  89. It has been a busy week for me. I have off and on gotten short periods of time to go through this chapter throughout the week. Each few minutes I spent in it felt like I could barely even scratch the surface. I knew I wasn’t getting as much out of it as God had for me….finally today….of all times, I had a few minutes to spare after pumping at work (I have a baby 🙂 TMI??? Oh well God meets you right where you are right??!! I started writing on a piece of paper and by the time I was done I had arrows pointing all over branching out from different ideas all starting from the first question listed on my page….Why do I have these doubts and insecurities? Under that I listed where some of them stemmed from, pieces of my life that caused the foundations for walls to be started, barriers to be put up. After this I listed..What do I do to get over them? I listed all the things I try to fill my life with to meet the need of my insecurities. All things which of course fall short, and then in their place wrote what I could do to fill myself with God and the good things He has for me which would really fill me up. At the end I felt the most profound sense of peace. Joy. Calm. Reassurance and love for my Savior as I found myself writing the following:

    “….just be who he created me to be, and who is that? A woman. A wife. A mother. An employee. A friend. A manager of my home, and above all…his servant, his child with whom he loves and with whom he is well pleased.”

    That last part just washed over me as God spoke it to my depths. Tears come to my eyes even know ladies. How hard it is to swallow that truth and actually believe it. He loves me. He is pleased with me. No matter how high of expectations I place on myself. No matter what amount of people pleasing I try to do….He’s loved me the whole time and not just that…he is WELL PLEASED WITH ME!

    What an amazing God we serve. What a wonderful chapter! I am so blessed to be sharing in this with each of you!

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      and above all…his servant, his child with whom he loves and with whom he is well pleased.” I like that!

    • Beautiful – simply beautiful!! HE IS WELL PLEASED WITH YOU PRECIOUS BRIDGET — oh yes HE is!! You are HIS child whom HE loves and cherishes!

      • Thank you Renee and thank you for being so faithful in responding to so many comments….that is a lot of work on your part and you have a family and a life too! I have to admit part of me wanted to badly to see that you saw me….that you cared about me too even though there are 8500 others….even now my people pleasing and desire to be known cries out. Thank you for speaking his heart through yours. It’s already been such a blessing and we aren’t even close to being done yet!

    • I am CRYING, Bridget!!! 🙂 I LOVE your honesty and your comment. You spoke directly to my heart tonight! Thank you so much.

      … and I was a “office pumper” too!!! HAHAHAHAHA! So don’t feel bad 😉

      Hugs sweet friend! Happy to meet you today!
      Melanie

      • Thanks for the encouragement friend! Glad that it wasn’t seen as TMI 🙂 I clicked on your name and it sent me to your blog. So cute…and I think I need to follow you now 🙂 I just really started utilizing my own blog recently….I have had one for awhile but hadn’t used it a whole lot. So I am trying to more now. Good to meet you as well! Praying that each of us is grown beyond belief through this study!

  90. Just want to be honest and say “I am not fine tonight.” I got stopped on the way home from work. It was my fault, I lose track of my speed on a certain road that I travel…. Hubby upset with me. I am hurt cause he is upset.

  91. I have tried several times with several different people to say “I’m not fine” but cannot bring myself to do it. The only person I would feel comfortable revealing this to is my sister (and I wouldn’t want to burden her with it). The words just won’t come out. I am not even sure why. Unless the person is close and knows me (which amounts to very few), I would not reveal that much about myself. So… I am telling you, my sisters in this study, “I’m not fine.” I am sad and lonely and tired. The words in the readings and the comments in this blog are like a soothing balm to me, knowing that it is okay not to be fine, knowing that there are other women out there who feel the same, knowing God’s love is perfect so that I don’t have to be… Whew… So there… I said it and nothing bad happened (at least not yet).

    • Yay Coy!! you did it. And maybe all that lonely and sad just might start to fade cause you are not alone anymore. And that tired, well it might get better too cause now you’re not carrying that heavy weight of not being fine with no one knowing about it. I’m proud of you friend. So glad you are my sister in Christ. He’s doing a new thing and you just took the first step of believing and living in the freedom of authentic community.

    • Denise Goodrich says:

      I unerstand how you feel Coy. I isolated myself and did not feel comfortable talking about how I felt with anyone. Including my mom and sisters. It took my oldest sister who shared her brokeness with me to realize that it was ok to be real. It is a risk you take. My best friend in the whole world did not understand and that hurt more than anything. You are safe here sharing your feelings! Just would encourage you to find a home church with other real women of faith. It is the way that God created us – to relate to others and feel connected within the body of other believers.

    • Coy, I just love your sweet heart. Love love. When I wrote this post, I almost deleted it for the same reason!!! 🙂 So, don’t feel bad at all! God puts special people in our life, and He has brought you to this group for a special reason. So glad that you trusted Him to open up tonight!

      Love and prayers,
      Melanie

    • So proud of you! This study has already been so freeing to me. I pray that God digs down deep in you in this study. That his truth washes over you. That we each would be able to replace the insecurities that satan tries to implant in our hearts with God’s truth and wisdom. He loves you dear friend so much and He has so much more for you. At times it makes me mad that satan steals our joy the way he does. He wants to keep our very best from God by distracting us with things like we are all dealing with right now. Praying for freedom that we would be unstoppable in pursuing God and all he has for us!

  92. I am not fine, and thank you for allowing me to say that. I am a hurting unit, trying to find my way with the lord and a church family where I am not having to pretend to be fine. I am very tired of trying to live up to the religious expectations of other people. I am in this study to find the Lords wishes not the expectations of what or who other christians expect me to be. Thank you all, for your allowing a place to be honest and not to feel so alone and outcast.

    • I”m praying for you tonight Michele as I go to bed. I came back after reading over my notes and praying for tomorrow – just felt the Lord nudging me to check in and pray for the late night friends that drop by and you are one of them. You are not alone. I am so sorry you are hurting. Just keep reaching for His hand and seeking His heart and He will set you free from the feelings of obligations and expectations. You were created to live for an audience of One – I can see He is shaping your heart to dance to the rhythm of a new song He has for you — one of grace where the pressure to perform is gone and you can just be who HE created you to be!

  93. This online bible study and book has truly been a blessing to me. I want to first say thank you to all of you for your time and your stories. This is my first post and I must admit I still find myself wondering will others judge me. I have been in a serious relationship with whom I know is my soul mate and unfortunately because of my lack of confidence within myself I have been pushing him away. I ask myself as well as him why does he love me. I cry at night because I feel unworthy of his love. This is crazy and difficult to admit to but I know I have come across this bible study at this time for a reason. I am asking if time permits for prayers. I don’t want to hinder God’s blessing because he is a great man. Thank you all.

    • Natalie:
      God knows that you are so worthy of love – both from him and from others. Take baby steps towards trusting God. He is patient.

    • Your comments spoke directly to my heart. I always thought my husband didn’t *really* love me, but the more I continued through the book/Bible study, I realize that it’s my heart that feels insecure. God has freed me from these lies and will do the same for you! Praying for you!

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      God loves you very much! I posted this earlier last week, but I feel I need to just in case you didn’t see it. Go to YouTube http://youtu.be/eKyY8zfjBMQ
      This is Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray.
      Hope this helps you.

      In Christ Love,
      Kimberly Stiver

  94. I am not fine and I would appreciate anyone’s prayers for my family and especially my adult daughter. There is not much harder than having to apply tough love for a child who is having trouble really growing up, being self sufficient & not dependant on alcohol etc… What a conflicting position this puts a mother in! It’s nearly causing me my own breakdown because of the stress it causes all around. This also kept me from attending a new small group I joined because I didn’t want to pretend life is good when I felt like things just couldn’t go more wrong. The worry I have about whether I’m doing the right thing is non stop. Some days I just want off this roller coaster called life. I am leaning into God more now & so glad I found both Renee & Melissa’s online studies to give encouragement & strength. I am hopeful that one day I can relax and know my daughter will be fine.

    • Elaine: As my children have left the “nest” I have been struggling with what was left undone and would they be okay. Then I learned that my prayers to God for my children needed to change. Now I need to pray prayers of surrender, surrendering my children (God’s children) to him and thanking him for doing his work in their lives.

    • I’m praying for you and your family, Elaine! As a mom, my heart just breaks for you. We know, though, that nothing is impossible for God! Praying with you for a miracle.

      Hugs,
      Melanie

    • Elaine, one of Satan’s tactics is isolation. He did it with me and I fell for it. Try your small group girlfriend and see what happens. Small groups of ladies normally are more transparent than larger groups. I pray the Lord will send us all Christ following girflriends who will love us just the way we are and as LT said in one of her books and I believe it was BMTJAGBSG, the Lord put Holly in her life. We all need us some Hollys! Lord, bring us some Hollys!! In Jesus Name! And I’m not fine either. I’m sick of this season of singleness! One thing that I am writing in my journal is from now on when I ask people how are you doing? I’m going to really listen to what they say and not ask just out of a nicety!

    • Elaine I pray my words are encouraging to you. Though my husband and I only have one child who is 10 months old I relate to this story because my husband was where your adult daughter was. I never knew him at this stage of his life. I met him a few weeks after he became a Christian but what I do know is the agony his parents went through their entire lives watching their child make poor decisions, doing drugs, putting him into rehab, finally having to draw the line and put him out on his own because what they were doing was enabling him in some ways by providing for him when he wasn’t following the rules God put on their hearts to parent him by. They prayed. They prayed more. Friends of their family prayed for years…..my husbands old friends kept praying. Christian friends he had before he walked away to other friends….they kept praying and in March of 2004 God brought him to his knees and he has never looked back since. There is hope dear friend! Never stop praying for her!
      I worry all the time about whether or not I am doing the right thing with marriage, our finances, our parenting, working vs not working, etc…the list is endless. I am realizing more and more especially as God breaks my heart in certain areas of this study that my worry is in fear of what other people think of the choices we made and you know what? It doesn’t matter. People have made hurtful comments to me because our current financial situation means I need to work part time outside of the home. We are working towards me being at home, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing what God has asked us to do. I believe with my whole heart that we are. God loves working moms. God loves stay at home moms. God loves moms who breastfeed and also those who feed formula. God loves different parenting styles…..the biggest thing is are we doing what God has asked of us? (Sorry for my soapbox…those are just some of my own battles I am dealing with in our current stage of life)……either way though you don’t need to fear Elaine! Do what God calls you to do and do so confidently! There is no need to fear the disapproval of people. If they are judging you then they are wrong. You need to do what is best for you and your family and ultimately…..God will lead your heart in what to do. Just seek him with all your being!

  95. Thanks so much for giving us a place and the freedom to say what and how we feel. I just told a friend yesterday that the days are so tough lately that the only thing I can hang onto sometimes is the image of Jesus standing beside me with his arm around me. There are some days when our struggles seem to overwhelm us, if we let them. And,it’s so hard not to let them. We worry about our children, our families, our jobs, our friends. Sometimes I wonder if he really thinks I can handle all of it, but he does know better than I do so I have to trust and hang on and remember he is there. Thanks, Renee, for sharing with us and letting us share with you. My thoughts and prayers are with you on this journey as well.

    • Beautiful! I love your image of Jesus standing beside us with His arm around us. I need to remember He is always with us! THank you for your comment!

  96. I am not fine. I have health issues that someone my age probably shouldnt, and it’s really difficult to understand for people in my peer group…even my family.
    I say I’m fine almost always, because if I even attempt to say Im not doing ok it is met with – well just imagine how much worse it could be, well I expect other people to have these issues – NOT you – youre too “strong” to have to hassle with it or just pray, youll be fine – I actually told someone once that I was not ok and was met with aww ok – and off he hurried to have his lunch (did I mention it was a person from the church I grew up in?). I dont even bother trying to say that Im not fine because no one wants to hear it. They dont know how to deal with it, and theyd rather not be forced to. So my Im fine is a very safe place, at least I dont feel like something from the bottom of somones shoe in attempting to “be real” with people who couldnt care any less if you paid them.
    I thank God for the few people, who ask how I am doing and really care to know the answer. I thank God for these people because I know how rare they are, but even with them, I find myself trying count some of my words, because my life is intense and can be emotionally draining. I know this because I have to go through it everyday – if someone else doesnt why should they have to? (this is what I think sometimes). At times, I feel God is the only one who truly understands and who I can tell anything to. Im so thankful that I know who He is. I can not fathom, what I would do without Him.
    Here in this comments section is the exception to the life I live. So many people willing to listen, willing to pray. It heartens me that people like you sisters exist. I pray that your willingness to listen without judgement or exasperation reaches into life outside this box. There are so many who would be happy for it. Please continue to bless others.

    • Lilly, You have a beautiful name and I am praying for you. I believe that God allows things into our lives to prepare us sometimes for someone else — so we will understand where they are at.

      Linda

    • Lilly, your comment reminds me to not only be ‘real’ in what I say, BUT even more importantly, to be the kind of person who really cares how other people are *really* doing. Thank you for this reminder! I love what you said: “I pray that your willingness to listen without judgement or exasperation reaches into life outside this box” I pray my heart will be reminded of this truth… thank you.

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  97. Just wanted to let you know that I have been following the emails for this study, and it sounds very good. I won’t be able to get the book, however, because I am single and have been unemployed for the past 13 months. If any other members would like to reply to this post & fill me in on the chapters, I would appreciate it.

    • It’s a great book, Rene has really shared her heart in a special way that is really speaking to me and my situation. You may be able to find it at your local library and if they don’t have it, you may be able to suggest they purchase it. I thought I saw a post at one time that Rene would donate copies of her book to libraries that requested it, but that may have been another Proverbs 31 author. The library is a great resource for those of us on tight budgets. I’m praying for you.
      Sue

    • Amy, if I could, I’d give thousands of copies away!! God laid it on my heart that I was to believe Him for a way to give 1000 copies, but that it wouldn’t just be me giving them. And guess what? HE’s moving. We just got an email from two women who want to donate money to give 3 copies away. So we have one for you! Please email your mailing address to leah.proverbs31@gmail.com

  98. I appreciate everyone’s honesty about not being ‘fine’. Often times as I go through life with those around me, everyone always seems to have it together. When I have opened up to people, it was looked at like I was complaining. So, I just don’t say anything anymore and keep to myself. Hard to know who to trust and who cares.

    • You’re right! It IS hard! I think that’s why this group of wonderful, supportive women is such an answer to prayer for so many! Praying for you! … and even if the whole world turns their backs, God ALWAYS cares! 🙂

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  99. This has been a tough week for me. I have spent a lot of time looking not only at my mask but why I put it on in the first place. I have found taking it off is actually quiet painful when I take a good hard look at myself. Now that it is off, I will tell you a little bit of myself and just maybe it will help someone else along the way.

    A while ago I went through a terrible painful time in my marriage. In my mind, I could not understand why in the first place but I wondered what kind of man would leave his wife in another state, all alone, and far from home. You see, part of why this is all so painful is not because of what happened but the way I handled it. This is the time I should have turned to God and trusted Him completely for everything but instead I became angry because of my circumstances. Yes, I had a nice comfortable life and now it was uncomfortable so I became angry, bitter, and resentful but in front of everyone — I wore the “I’m fine Mask.” And there I was wandering in desert going around and around the mountain and not going into the promised land because I was whining about my circumstances. It took a long time for God to break that wall down piece by piece and brick by brick but I still wore the “Mask.”

    This Bible study has been such a blessing and sometimes so difficult for me. I have spent some very tearful time with God about the error of my way and the hardness of my heart. The “Mask” is off. I know there will still be struggles with it and times I will want to put it back on but I must remember that His Grace is Sufficient for me and He knows all about my weakness but He is also there to fill that weakness with His strength and that I am to come humbly before my God.

    • Thank you for sharing this!!! What a beautiful testimony of God’s grace and power of forgiveness! I’m praying for you and hope that you will be able to share your story with many others because it WILL encourage many hearts!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

  100. The questions at the end of each chapter are so thought-provoking, yet able be be answered when you search deep down. There are some bible studies I have done where I am not sure what the answers should be or what the author is getting at.

    #7 – the answer that just flowed out of my heart was that God’s love for me and acceptance of me is not skin-deep but soul-deep. There is nothing I can hide from Him and nothing I have done that prevents me from receiving His total love and acceptance. It is time for surface issues to fade, since they are a smoke-screen anyway for getting down to life-changing, cleansing business with God.

  101. I always thought it was wrong to not appear like a pillar of faith and that no matter how bad things were to say “I’m fine” was somehow proclaiming faith. But I am beginning to understand how that attitude is wrong because if things are “fine” then do I really need the Lord? Of course I do so by acknowledging things are not fine, I acknowledge I need the only one Who is Perfect. My confidence should be in Christ, not me; to acknowledge my problems, is to acknowledge I NEED the one and only true God.

    • Exactly!!! It’s almost like we tell God, we’re in control, and will let Him know if/when we need Him…. I LOVE what you said. Beautiful.

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  102. My favorite thing from Chapter 2 is “God’s love is perfect so I don’t have to be. That is so freeing to me. I am not fine, I know God is doing a new thing and I’m afraid, will I have to leave what I know is comfortable. I am learning everyday to Trust Him more and that His grace is sufficient. I just wish there was someone I could trust to help process all the new I am learning. I have tried to share with some of my church and they just stare at me because they are off in a different direction???? I hate to admit it but this is the second time I am doing Confident Heart, there was just so much He was showing me that I wanted to do it again. I truly desire to be all that He wants me to be. Thanks Renee for this wonderful study and all my Confident Heart Sisters that shows we are all in this together.

    • I love that quote too! And I’m also going through the study for the second time — I think there is SO much wisdom to gleam from it, I’m so excited to study it again!

  103. Every day I try to convince myself that I am fine. I’m currently getting divorced from my husband that is currently incarcerated and has been there for 4 years. I got married to him on October of 2007 and he got incarcerated in February of 2008. I was 22 years old when I got married and I did it for all the wrong reasons. I got pregnant at 20 and had my daughter at 21. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up without a family so I thought getting married would be the best thing to do. It’s been hard being a single mom and I have been trying to fill that emptiness with other men. I want to start a new life with God in my life. I pray to him to forgive me of all my sins and to take me back as his daughter. I ask that you pray for me to continue believing in him and to guide me in the right direction.

    • Ana, I am so sorry. I am praying for you for wisdom, peace, and strength for all that you face. Just remember that God loves you like crazy! No matter what has happened in the past, He loves you with an everlasting, unfailing love!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  104. wow! Such real answers and what freedom to say, no I am not fine.
    Thanks for being honest and giving me the freedom to say I am not fine. I need God. I need to know that He is aware of my pain and its ok. The burden is way to heavy for me!

  105. I am willing to finally take off my mask of presenting myself as being “all together”. I tried to read this book when it first came out and ended up tossing it across the room. I felt that Renee had take my life and written it for all the world to see. I never realized how ashamed I was of my past. I have lead several support groups at church, but would never own up to my past. I am so thankful that Renee is leading this study and for all of the women who are learning to become transparent. Love and prayers are going your way.

    • I KNOW!!! I felt the SAME way! In fact, I told Renee, I felt like she had been reading my private journals!! 🙂 God knows our hearts, and He has a special message of love, acceptance, and strength for us all. Please stay with the book — God wants you to hear His message! Love to you!

      • Thanks Melanie. I am in a different place now in my thinking and am really embracing the truths this time around. I love how Renee is making “Sam” become a real woman and not just a “Bible Character”.

  106. on page 40, Renee says that Jesus wants to help us to see whats going on in our hearts. That He wants to show me what is eroding my confidence. WOW! I love that I am going through a season of healing and this is so encouraging to hear that He cares that much that He wants me to know what is hindering me! He cares deeply about all that concerns me. I need to go deeper and not just deal with the surface. Knowing that Jesus WANTS to sit and talk about the deep things helps me to face the fear of opening the wounds!

    • I love this!!! It’s something that honestly took me a very long time to grasp! I just couldn’t imagine that He really wanted me to “bother” Him with my problems, but He longs for us to pour out our hearts to Him! 🙂

      Love and prayers,
      Melanie

  107. Knowing that God wants a transparent relationship with His children, one that allows us the opportunity to share or desires, disappointments, and dreams is very comforting. Being bold and sharing with God allows us the opportunity to grow. It allows God to shine a light on those dark places in our hearts that we try to ignore because we are “fine” and we really do want to be fine but until we face the not so fine moments and get real with God, He cannot begin to do the true work that he desires for us…our God is comforting because he will continue to do His work in us because he has begun a good work and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus Philippians 1:6

  108. All week I have paid attention to how many times, I ask “How are you?” and how many times it is asked of me. Wow! It is amazing how this little phrase has become such a part of our culture, but do we really want an honest answer? I had to ask myself, “Are you looking that person in the eye and gauging if they are really hurting or are you rushing by to get to your next thing”? I have committed to look past the social graces and try to see into the other person’s heart.

    • SUCH a great point. I need to keep this in mind. I can’t imagine Jesus walking by and not making eye contact when He asked “How are you?”…. to love them like Jesus is my prayer…

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  109. Denise Goodrich says:

    I too have worn the “mask” saying I am fine when my life was anything but fine. But I have learned to be real to God. I have felt able to really let him know how I really feel. I have cried out with confessions and heartache and felt his awesome love and assurance at some really low points of my life. I identify with “Sam” because I have gone through a difficult marriage which ended in a difficult divorce and still face trials linked to my marriage. However, I am also blessed with two little girls who I have to take care of to bring them up in God’s love and I have to grow in my relationship so I can help them deal with the trials they are already facing. The Word is all I need and will be and is sufficient for whatever I face (page 43).

  110. I just finished the questions, got behind, The answer I put to number 7 was to embrace my imperfections in the light of His perfect love “being confident that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6
    Because His love is perfect, I don’t have to be. Praying for all my cyber sisters here! Blessings to Renee and everyone!

  111. When I looked at my answers to Chapter 2 I was shocked. Never before had I realized those would be my thoughts. This is an eye opener for me. I am “Sam” in so many ways.

  112. Question 6 – reread Sam’s story in John 4… I was struck by how the woman left behind her water jar when she went into town to tell others about Jesus.

  113. I do believe when we let our guards down and allow ourselves to be vulnerable for one other that is where growth and healing take place. I struggle here and my prayer is that I can be the lady God created me, flaws and all be used for His glory. KNOWN…wow, God’s promise this week “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…I can’t begin to wrap my tiny mind around that understanding the depth of my Lord’s love for (me) us!

  114. Gabrielle Darville says:

    I just got through reading the chapter and answering the questions. From the taking off the mask piece that was published above to the self reflection of this chapter, I came to realize that I don’t always have to hold it all together at all times and give off the impression of I’m fine. I’m so used to always being in control that when I get tired of holding it in, i just explode. I think God is trying to teach me in this season, that I don’t have to try to pretend like I have it all together at all times. Its okay to have a crappy day and want to just run away and hide and be by yourself. But he just wants you to run to him completely. I think God has taken away some people in my life, like Renee mentioned above because I was using them as a crutch instead of running to him first. I was getting too comfortable with them to supply my needs. God wants me to run to him instead to supply my needs, be there for me, and simply listen. He wants me to rely on him more than ever before and be real with him in our one on one time. In reflecting on this chapter and these questions, I also realized that growing up in a Christian home and always going to church (as I was a deacon’s daughter) my image of God was one of power, wrath and correction whenever I messed up, as he was to be feared always. Now as I grow in my connection with him, and from reading John 4, I realize that the image I had was not the true image of my God as he is loving and shows me unconditional love and grace even when I am not deserving. All he truly wants is for us to lean and depend on him more than ever before for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we should be feeling and even express our thoughts to him when it may not be in agreement and understanding of what he is doing in our lives.

    • Gabrielle, you just described my entire childhood outlook on God — even including the deacon’s daughter part!! -“I also realized that growing up in a Christian home and always going to church (as I was a deacon’s daughter) my image of God was one of power, wrath and correction whenever I messed up, as he was to be feared always” I am SO thankful of this time of realizing His great love for me! Praise the Lord!

  115. judy hoff says:

    i just got the book today; A CONFIDENT HEART, was so glad to get it. my sister got it for me and it is such a good book,its one you cant put down, i read chapter 1 already and am on chapter 2 and almost done there. have a little more reading to do yet. will do that later on tonight.
    judy hoff.

  116. Caroline McGinnis says:

    IN RESPONSE TO A FEW QUESTONS:

    #3 the Bible says that we are not alone: “Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering” ( 1 Peter 5:9b NLT).
    #5 Jesus does understand: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do,…(Hebrews 4:15 NLT). Also read Romans 8:31-39.
    #6 Perfect love: “….perfect love expels all fear….” (1 John 4:18a NLT).
    “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you away from your sin?” (Romans 2:4 NLT).
    “……keeps no recard of being wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NLT).

    These are just a few scriptures that the holy Spirit fed to me as I was responding to these questions.

    1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is also one of my favorites, so I am going to share this in its entiety
    “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud. 5or rude. It does nor demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6It does nor rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8….love will last forever!” (1 Corinthiands 4:4-8b).

    If you notice that the first two are patient and kind that is because they are God’s greatest attributes and He holds them above thr rest. If youe were to change the word love to God you will learn who God is and His character.

    God’s love be on all of you and may He be with you through out this book and open up the eyes of your hearts (Eph 1:18) so that you all may see and understand what He wishes for you to see and understand. For only He knows your heart (Psalm 139). And the plans He has for you (Je 29:11-12). May GOD bless each one of you. AMEN

    • Thank you for your comment!!! You make such great point and I LOVE how you tie His promises from scripture together! If you don’t already lead a Bible study, you should!!! 🙂

      • Caroline McGinnis says:

        Thank you so much for your encouraging thought and words Melanie. I love your heart. Reading your reply made my night thanks again. God Bless

  117. “I’m fine” were my most used words for so long. Your words rang so true as you talked about thinking you could have value if you did all the right things. I felt I was of no worth unless I acted with a smile in all I gave or did for others even when it cost me so much of the real person I was on the inside behind my mask. By some people I was told I was too quiet or too serious so I wore one mask with them and with others I may have worn another. I tended to hide any signs of the way I really felt. I felt if the real me was really seen then someone would surely leave me or even worse not like me and let me know that every time I saw them. I felt God was a judge and hated me because how could He love me if He really did know me like people said He did. I had done so many things and had so many things done to me. How could God love something so ugly and so disgusting? No one else could possibly know how I was feeling so I surely couldn’t let them know. When I began to learn who God really was and how He had not just loved me but that He had pursued me even in those darkest moments, it was hard for me to grasp at first. It was VERY uncomfortable and had to be a lie to me. When I read the story of the samaritan woman, I cried to think that He knew what she had done and was doing and He was still wiling to love her. The more I read His word, the more I learned He was with me the whole time anyway. To know He knew my deepest feelings and fears was amazing to me. To know I could stop trying to be someone I wasn’t and still be loved was so freeing! Here’s a little poem showing how I dealt with that pain in the past:

    “Jack in the Box”
     
    Glimmering smile, love, arms outstretched
    They wind the crank always expecting the same to be produced
    What they do not know as they pass the box around, picking it up when they need some unforeseen happiness, is that inside the box is a simple little toy, bent and crushed by pain given by others and taken in only to never show again.
    But as the box is thrown from here to there never knowing who may use it next, it begins to get older and less likely to come out.
    For the outside world will never see the inside pain.
    They cannot feel it. They will not know it.

    I am SO HAPPY to no longer have to hide and live with that pain and fear alone.

    • Oh, sweet friend. I just wish I could hug you. You have described exactly how I have felt for SO long. I am praying that God will work in our hearts and help us to know how wide, hide, rich, vast His LOVE is for us.

      love and prayers,
      Melanie

  118. Dawn Shpudejko says:

    I just loved chapter 2. Had to re-read it again and am so glad I did. I struggle so much with perfectionism and always feel like I fall short of God’s mark and blow it. I have to rest in His perfect love and just enjoy knowing my God in a deep personal way.

    • Me too!! I never realized how much my perfectionism was preventing me from fully appreciating His love for me!

      Hugs,
      Melanie

    • Dawn, I didn’t realize how many women struggle with perfection. I wonder why we do? I’ve linked mine back to my childhood – didnt matter how many A’s there were, the B’s were questioned & the A’s werent praised…sports – I remember my brothers having to practice for hours with my dad, and he would get so angry! Then, years of mind games, manipulation, verbal and physcial abuse…no wonder my image of God was skewed. Every day I mess up, I used to feel like He was mad at me for not getting it right, and I still struggle with this some days, even this week!! I am learning to realize that He isn’t like them! The more time I spend with Him, the more He shows me about myself that I didnt even know. And, when there is something I am struggling with, He points me sometimes ahead of time, and sometimes after to just what I need to read or hear to encourage me.

  119. Melanie,
    I am glad you said that you almost deleted the post because of what people might think! That is why I rarely write on these posts or even post things on FB…what if people don’t respond, what if they think my response is dumb, etc. etc. I need this study so bad! A need for validation and a fear of rejection can be paralyzing (at least to me)…
    You are all amazing women who have so willingly allowed people into your lives through these comments! Thanks for being so transparent! It inspires me!

    • I’m with you, sweet friend! It gets us all 😉 so don’t feel bad! I’m amazed though that when we say YES to God’s prompting how much He can use our feeble attempts! 🙂

  120. I wanted to share my answer to the last question at the end of chapter 2–The lesson that I walked away with from this chapter was that God doesn’t want me to hide behind my past failures, He wants me to break free and blossom! I have been working on that for awhile now and I am so excited about this study and how much it is going to help me. Thanks Renee!

  121. I read this chapter shortly after I had a terrible morning at church. It was one of those mornings. I had volunteered for the kitchen service and things kept going wrong and I felt stupid. And I was missing my husband (who is deployed) and was angry at him, terribly angry at him. I was tired of being alone and lonely, especially at church, where all of the families sit together and are close and I am usually by myself. I was *this close* to tears. The pastor felt called to ask people in need of prayer to go to the front, and I did. There were several of us up there, and while the pastor was praying I started to cry. It continued after I returned to my seat–my nose was running and I did not have kleenex–and then I was sobbing shoulder-shaking sobs. It was obvious that I was NOT fine.

    And nobody handed me a kleenex. No one asked if I was okay. No one patted my back. I felt so unloved that my church family would be so callous. And I felt selfish for wanting someone to notice and care.

    So what I have been thinking about is how we don’t want to “burden” people when we are not fine, but how people often don’t seem to want to be burdened by us. It probably wasn’t heartlessness that kept people from caring, but from a sense of interference. It’s a hard line to walk, but that day I really needed someone to recognize that I was not fine and to really care about it.

    Like many people who have posted, I am not usually fine. I have struggled with depression for years and I am diabetic, and the two of those have come to a head during this deployment. I went through a really dark season in October where the pain was so raw that suicide was on my mind even though I did not want it to be. That is not fine. But people can’t know if I don’t say–or if they don’t care. That’s why reading these posts has been so reassuring, and why “Sam’s story” came as a blessing as I read it on the treadmill with tears streaming down my cheek. So in response to question 7, I know that God knows I am not fine and that I am not a burden to him when I talk/yell/cry to and at him. And I know that He has me where he wants me and will work all things to my good…even though I wish the good could come without the bad!

    • I am so sorry Nicole. I am so very sorry you stood there alone crying. That is not how it’s supposed to be, especially in the Body of Christ. I am so glad you share with us and were real here and if we could, we’d hand you a whole box of kleenex and we’d stand there with you while you cried. I am so sorry you are alone and feeling lonely and tired of being without your husband. I can’t imagine how hard that its. Please know we value you and we’re glad you are here as part of our Confident heart sisterhood. You matter to us!!

  122. Hi Ladies,

    This is the first time I have ever posted on one of these comments sections (other than a reply comment a few min ago). Anyway I am hoping that out of the 8500+ women doing this study someone can relate to what I am going to share…

    I rec’d a call last night to let me low my father had passed away. We have had no relationship except a hostile one for the last 24 or so years ( since I was 16 at least ). So I have 2 y/o twin girls that I did take to meet him when they were about 7 months old. Since they were born I have been really struggling with this thing called forgiveness and trying to figure out how to model it for them yet maintain a safe distance in this non-relationship. The last couple of weeks I have been hearing sermons on forgiveness or just people talking about it. This past Sunday at church we were supposed to pick someone to write on a card to give forgiveness to and for what…as I thought about my father I realized that yes while I still remembered the hurts and knew he’d never see them or apologize (or even admit it) that I had released the anger and bitterness I have carried for so long. Fast forward to Friday… it hit me during my shower that for my girls and for myself I needed to get in contact with him and let him know this. Skip ahead approx 4-6 hours and I get the news that he passed away suddenly. Now I am left with this unresolved issue and to wander if I had offered forgiveness sooner would it have impacted his eternity. I doubt it but now I’ll never know.

    So all of his to say I’M FINE….or so everyone who knows me thinks. Even my mom and husband think I am pretty unaffected by this. The I’m fine mask is one I know I have worn since I was five years old. I think it will have to be surgically removed…I just hope the Lord has strong anesthesia for the surgery required here.

    Thank you for letting me share here as I have no one else to share my real self with.

  123. Janelle Zehr says:

    So I had my remove the mask experience today…
    My 5 year old is struggling with honesty, I am sure this is common at this age, however; it burdens me deeply! We had our discipline, she came to me said she was sorry, all I could do was tear up! She looked at me in wonder, obviously not understaning. I thought to myself, how do I explain to her my inner most struggles? As I tried to help her understand that her Mommy suffers from a constant battle to always be honest, as my first instinct is to deny or hide. I don’t think she understood my explaination that the sins of the parents are visited on the children. She does’nt understand at all that I am burdened she get control of this as a child, to not struggle with this in as an adult. I do think she understood the tears, the close hug, and the tender, sad explaniation of pure honesty; Mommy has a hard time telling the truth and facing the consequences at time.
    This my moment of removing the mask in front of the one I want so much to be perfect for, while my son and my husband observe from the other side of the couch; though painful, and very difficult, I do believe God can use it for him. I am willing to remove this fake perfect mask, and be who I am it will make the difference for my beatiful little girl!

  124. I’m NOT fine! I am so thankful to have a place where I can say this. I haven’t been fine for more than 10 years. This was when I was first diagnosed with depression. Since then it has been a battle. A battle to get the proper help I need. A battle to help my family understand this illness. A battle to obtain and maintain gainful employment. A battle to develop healthy relationships and avoid isolating myself. A battle to get out of bed some mornings or even care if I do. A battle to feel worthy of anything. A battle to take care of myself let alone anyone else. A battle to understand why God has allowed this to go on for so long. I’m so tired…I’m not fine.
    I’ve become someone I don’t recognize, someone I don’t know anymore. And I want to blame someone. My controlling, hard-to-please mother, my self-involved, distant father, my emotionally abusive ex-husband, the boy from the 7th grade, anyone. How can this be my fault? Didn’t God forgive me of my sins when I became a Christian? What does He want from me? When will I get better? Will I ever get better? How can I encourage others to follow Jesus when they see what my life is like? So many questions…I’m not fine.
    At least here I don’t have to paste on a smile and pretend that I am.

  125. I have been struggling with a decision for over a year to leave one of my two part-time jobs. I had felt the pull strongly a few times, but I maintained that I needed to “press on”. My husband has been through two lay-offs in the past three years. I finally made the decision this week to resign as I felt God say not to “lean on my own understanding”. Needless to say, I am not “fine” in the sense that I am at his mercy for my family’s future! I am completely dependent on him to provide for our needs especially since my husband is not back to work yet. Whatever happens, I am willing to face it knowing that God will carry us through. I am slowly realizing that I am never trapped in any situation, God is faithful as I seek to make good decisions and be obedient to Him. Even if I make a mistake, he will still turn it around for good. It is still scary facing this, I am battling fear that I am being foolish, even as I seek to walk in faith. I am so thankful for this study as it is helping me to focus on God’s truth.

  126. I would also like to share some thoughts about question # 4 from chapter 2.

    Page 28 spoke to me because it emphasizes how important it is to be in relationship with God over trying to do more to find our confidence or solve our problems. God also invites us to ask him why we want what we need. He wants us to go further by asking if what we want is really what we need. It is so easy to focus on what we see in front of us, but God longs for us to see things from his perspective.

    Page 30 talks about how we go through the motions, doing the same things over and over again, hoping something will change. I liked the statement that “this repetition is the definition of insanity.” How true! I do not want to look back on my life and wish I had done things differently. I want to continue growing in my relationship with Jesus, and experience his healing, so that I can embrace all that He has planned for me!

  127. I have been–not as normal as most. I have been quite open with my feelings for years. For some it has been a put-off and they don’t know what to do about it. I have been told to, “Get over it.” (by a pastor’s wife), To “suck it up” by a Christian sister, I have been at the receiving end of “being fixed,” and that I needed to repent…among other things. I have found that many people are uncomfortable with openness. They don’t want to hear that someone else is hurting…perhaps that is because they don’t want to deal with their own hurt? (And all this was with my Christian brothers and sisters.) I continue to share, but look for people that I know are not so “religious” but truly care. I have found that when I shared my struggles with the hurting, they truly see that our Christian walk is a journey with ups and downs but God can get us through. You are right, people who are in pain (and not religious/mask wearers) are drawn to those of us who are solid enough to be real. What’s the mask for anyway…1)We’re all sinful. 2)God knows everything. 3)*We are saved by His grace and mercy…4)We are called to be a bridge not a wall…

  128. Am I fine;well in truth no I am not.I am transgendered with a female personality.I do not fit into the macho male role where one has to mask their feelings.I have been molested and abused and the pain is deep.Today;I am dealing with suicidal-depression and on medication.I enjoy being apart of Confident Heart it provides a safe place for me.

    • Ron, I’m so sorry. I will be praying for you.

      • Ron, i am so sorry for what you have been through. I know it breaks God’s heart that you were abused and molested and treated so badly. I wish I had words to say to bring hope and lead you to the healing your heart needs. I know there is much to work through and Jesus wants to meet you right where you are and walk you out of the darkness and into a place of hope and wholeness again in His love. I’m praying for you tonight.

  129. Question #6 from Chapter 2, What part of my strory or Sam’s story can you relate to? I can relate to both. Sams rejection and relationship issues. I feel broken and refected since two husbands have choosen their addictions over saving a marriage. Page 33 Renee talks about feeling that “she wasn’t worth staying for”. I see my daughter falling into this pattern since her father left and does activities with our son but not with her. Her self-worth is headed downhill. She is 14 and I have gotten her interested in the church youth group but is there a book similar to this for teens?

    I am loving this study and thankful for this time with the Lord!!

  130. Elizabeth Scruggs says:

    I am just now finishing up reading chapter 2 and doing the questions!! There is no reason why I am just finishing I made plenty of time this week!! It was just been one of those weeks I guess!! But I was doing question one and upon answering the quesion I was moved to tears, so I had to stop and blog. I never really realized how my past in affecting my view of God until recently. I am just so overwhelemed that just brings me to tears!!

  131. Elizabeth Scruggs says:

    Upon answering the quesion I was moved to tears, so I had to stop and blog. I never really realized how my past in affecting my view of God until recently. I am just so overwhelemed that just brings me to tears!!

  132. I’m fine, that is a difficult one to get over. I say it too and many times I am not. I wonder do others look at the future and ask what will become of me? My kids? I’ve seen people live with unanswered prayers so what if it happens to me? Will I be able to walk this road knowing there are still things God is working out? Does any one else think that? On occasion I have asked the question out loud to other women or I’ve heard other share. The response has been, “That’s just not me. I just don’t think that way. There is nothing wrong with you thinking that, it’s just not me.” there is usually a nice crooked smile and the pat of the hand to go with the gesture. I want to say really? Praise God I’ve learned somethings over the past year. That may not be them however it is me? I do ask, seek and wonder. I say to God you know my heart and what I am about to say is not surprise to you Jesus. i want to be honest with you, open to trust you will not discard me because I have questions? Lord what is up with the unanswered prayers? What is up with feeling out of place, unsatisfied, distracted even in the midst of earnestly seeking you? I’m overwhelmed LORD, somedays. How much longer LORD until you make it all ok? I read something this week that said that our continual search for “ok” leads to frustration. Jesus told us we would have troubles and He has over one the world and given us peace. So should that not be enough? If God is my God, should that not be enough? That’s what is behind my mask. Now I will think long and hard about pressing the post comment button!!!!!!

  133. A lot of times people are completely taken aback if you actually start telling them how you really feel, rather than just, “I’m fine.” I have friends that I can speak honestly with and that really saves me, because my husband is from the school that believes you keep your problems to yourself, and he sees it as complaining if I tell anyone anything other than, “We’re fine.” He was raised that way and I feel for him because he has no friends due to his complete inability to share with anyone. His parents are that way too and it sure has taken its toll on their entire family. Some see them as snooty, others as insecure . . . I just wish they could just be honest and open, at least with each other! I love my husband so much but without God and friends he is so darn lonely. I try to be a friend to him, and he says I am his best friend, but he just won’t open up about anything. He gets depressed and denies that, too. I’m just gonna keep praying circles over him!

  134. Abbie Wells says:

    few…these questions really took me to some deep parts within my heart. One question that I feel like I wrote a book on was #5 because I really grew away from God in my teenage years. I had a baby at 15 and became focused on my own life at that time….never once looking towards God for guidance. My parents were always rocky since my childhood, so I never really grew out of my childhood view of God and sought after him. When I think about how Jesus understands, its comforting and yet brings me to tears every time because He just waits with open arms for us to come running back, and yet we tend to sometimes run the other way but He still loves us no matter what choices we make. I need Jesus’ reassurance and presence daily in my life right now…almost hourly.
    #7…The lesson that i am going to take away from this chapter and hold onto is, allow the peeling to be, well, just that, peeling paint in the world’s eyes. Because Jesus’ love is so perfect, I don’t have to be! I don’t have to wonder if I said the right thing or not. I don’t have to listen to the doubts that the enemy places on my heart….God’s grace is enough! As hard as it is to write it out, its even harder to place those words on my heart, but I am sure going to look in that direction this week!

  135. Question 3
    I have felt like this many times, that I was the only one of my friends who struggled with insecurity. I had gone through something, that thankfully for them, that only I had experienced. Which began a downward spiral of self worth throughout my teen years and into my mid twenties. I didn’t realize how much I had in common with one friend until my mothed died. Her mother had passed 2 years earlier, and we reconnected over the losses. Shortly after, we lost touch again as she lived in Louisiana, but to have that relatedness (though devastating for us both) for even a short while helped me to begin to see that I was not alone in everything. Notice I did not end with “I was not alone”, adding the “in everything” is significant. However, after that I did start to find that I was not alone in many things. Loved ones had experienced what I had and I didn’t even know until they were ready to talk about it. My best friend and I found that we both struggled with GAD, and currently she and I are both in therapy and on the same medication to help us cope with it all. God does put people in your life for a reason, and though I never doubted why she and I were friends-He has just shown me lately the real reason. She is a Christian too; as a matter of fact, she saw the light start to show through me, and she went to my adult Baptism and started to get a longing for what she saw in me. Now she is active in her church, on the worship team and does as many outreach efforts that her schedule allows. God is so good.
    Question # 5
    It seems that the times that I was most distant from God is when the hardest things happened to me. I say that beause had I not walked away from Him (I never stopped believing, I just didn’t follow), either those things would not have happened for He would have been there to guide me on the right path, or if they had still happened, I would have been able to deal with them better. I know that now, and I am blessed to know that, as I believe we all are. There were also times that I did not follow and yet He still answered my prayers. So, this just confirms that He does understand when we turn or when we walk away, and He is still right where we left Him when we realize the right place to turn was the one place we had turned away from.

  136. I’m reading this book for the second time and I am still gaining so much from it. As far as the “I’m fine” idea….I wanted to share something I experienced awhile ago. I have been in a bible study/book club with 5 girls for many years. We started reading a book about how God doesn’t always show up the way you thought he would and how to deal with disappointments in life. One of the first questions we had was asking what part of our life was a “Plan B”…..something that hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would. And all of the girls just sat there and couldn’t think of anything that didn’t turn out right for their lives. I was kind of in shock and thought “Gosh, am I the only one who has had problems in life?” After reading all of your posts, it is so refreshing to hear that not everyone is “fine”! Thank you so much ladies for being so real and honest.
    One more thing….could you pray for my daughter? She is 25 and struggling right now with having no one to share her life with. All of her friends are either married, having babies, or in serious relationships and I know it’s very hard on her. And help me to know how to help her….sometimes I get too overly involved in her life and worrying about her and trying to help and our relationship has been affected by this. Thanks so much!!!!
    God’s blessings to all of you!
    Elley

    • Elley, so many people are afraid to take off their masks for many different fears. I’m still struggling with that, but each time I reveal something it seems to open up their chance to reveal. Sometimes it works but other times not.
      I will pray for your daughter. She is in a rough place in her life. Thank God she is still in yours.

  137. I am trying to rely upon the Lord, through scripture and prayer. One thing that I have learned is that life is difficult for all of us. It often does not turn out as we expect. I have learned that I cannot rescue others, they must find God on their own and make life choices on their own. Every life choice has a consequence. This past year I tried to help rescue someone, and I soon realized that I could not cure them, I was not the cause of their life choices and that all of their life choices belonged to them. ( this person was 40 + years old and not a Christian). Sometimes we try to over – help or rescue our adult children, our relatives or our friends. We cannot do that. I can encourage them, speak to them , and sometimes confront them ( this can be very painful) but unless they try to establish their own relationship with God and develop their own faith – walk, they cannot rely upon me to resuce them, nor can they piggy-back upon my faith and try to gather energy from me. Only God and faith in Jesus can help them in their faith walk. If they are not willing or unable to reach out to God, then that is their life choice. I must respect their choices, and they must choose what they must choose. Their life choices belong to them. I cannot rescue them. I can pray for them, and talk to them, but often they will not listen anyway. So this frees me as a Christian, I am responsible for my own faith walk, and all other adults over the age of 18 years are responsible for their own faith walk. This does not mean that I need to be cold or distant to them, nor does it mean that I am not their to encourage them. It just means that the ultimate life choices that they make belong completely to them and not to me. This frees me to be responsible for my own faith walk and try to get close to God on a day by day basis. It also frees me to allow other adults to make their own choices and to realize that if their heart is hard or distant from God, or if they are making wrong choices, it is ultimately up to them to decide what they are going to do with their own life. Co-dependency ( relying upon others to meet all of our needs ) or having others be co-dependent upon us ( having them rely upon me to meet all of their needs ) just will not work. Instead, encourage others to seek God, and also encourage myself to pray and seek God. That way, it takes the weight off of my shoulders to expect that I have to rescue and meet all the needs of others. That is not my job.

  138. Kimberly Stiver says:

    I realize that I posted this to Facebook, but not here. This past week was just amazing!
    What lesson from this chapter will you walk away with and hold on to so that you can live in the security of God’s approval and acceptance? My answer is that God wants to meet me where I am at and that He loves me for who I am not for who I want to be! At the beginning of the chapter, Renee, you wrote “It is a rare soul indeed who has been sought after for who she is-not because of what she can do, or what others can gain from her, but simply for herself…” I want to just be myself to God, so I can have the most awesome, loving relationship with Him! I am loved by God for who I am now and He loves me UNCONDITIONALLY! THANK YOU GOD FOR SHOWING ME THIS THIS WEEK. I DO NOT NEED TO FEEL I NEED TO MEASURE UP ANYMORE! I WANT THE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE CALLED FOR ALL OF US AND THAT IS TO LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF OUR HEARTS NOT JUST PART OF OUR HEARTS. PLEASE HELP ME TO CONTINUE TO LOVE YOU WITH MY WHOLE HEART. I PRAY IN JESUS PRECIOUS NAME LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER KIMBERLY

  139. Kimberly Stiver says:

    Taken from book Stepping Out of Denial into God’s Grace Participant’s Guide 1 Celebrate Recovery

    HOPE:
    H–HIGHER POWER- Our Higher Power has a name: JESUS CHRIST! Jesus desires a hands-on, day-to-day, moment-to-moment relationship with us. “Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power.” (Romans 11:36)
    Our Higher Power tells us, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” (2 Corinthians 12:9.)

    O–OPENNESS TO CHANGE–Throughout our lives we will continue to encounter hurts and trials that we are powerless to change. With God’s help, we need to be open to allow those trials to change us. To make us better, not bitter.
    “Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. Yes, you must be a new and different person.” (Ephesians 4:23.)

    P–POWER TO CHANGE– In the past, we have wanted to change and were unable to do so. We could not free ourselves from our hurts, hang-ups, or habits. We come to understand that God’s power can change us and our situation.
    “For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and the power.” (Philippians 4:13.)
    “Lead me; teach me; for you are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in you.” (Psalm 25:5.)

    E–EXPECT TO CHANGE– Remember you are only at the second principle. (This class is a year long class and the past three weeks we have gone through two principles). Don’t quit before the miracle happens! With God’s help, the changes that you have longed for a just steps away. “I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. (Philippians 1:6.)

    How do we find hope? by faith in our Higher Power, Jesus Christ. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1.) (pages 32-34 and page 17)

    Principle 1: Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable..
    “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” (Matthew 5:3.)

    Principle 2: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.
    “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4.)

    Several of these verses I came across not only on our online class, but also the class I take at church. Obviously God wanted me to hear these this past week. I felt that I needed to share these with you. My hope is you find comfort in these.

  140. Elizabeth Henderson says:

    I think that I have gotten trapped in the I’m fine” answer b/c I compare my difficulties with those of others and always come up short. My problems seem sooo small compared to others. Sometimes I can’t figure out why I am not fine! I mean I am blessed. God has given me a beautiful family, a hard working husband, a roof, food, clothing…..And if I were grateful then I should be “fine”, right? Also, I figure when people ask “how are you?” they really just want the short answer: I’m fine. Thank you so much for sharing your insecurities and doubts with us. I have been so encouraged by knowing exactly how you feel because I have been there too and knowing that I am not the only one.

  141. I am a little behind on the study but catching up. I guess I was meant to be because I read the verse in Hebrews 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” at just the right moment. Last night my husband who grew up Mormon but who has since started abandoning most of those beliefs, was in a deep conversation with me about the trinity and Jesus’ role in heaven, etc. It wasn’t going that great because he can’t distinguish what came from the bible and what came from Mormon gospel. I looked up this verse in detail this morning and went further all into things that we had been discussing. I read him the verses and we had a much better conversation and it seemed to satisfy him. It amazes me over and over how the bible truly is the Living Word and it will give you the right words at the right moment as long as you are dwelling in it.

  142. I’ve been wearing the “I’m fine” mask for weeks now. I’ve been to 4 funerals in 3 months. And still one more memorial service in the works…and that one was a suicide. I’ve been hearing of so much death lately and it hurts so much. I don’t want to be the “downer”, so I’ve been playing the “I’m fine” card over and over. The good news is that God has been helping me heal by doing this study and by comforting me in my sorrow.

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