I’m fine…really.

How hard is it for you to let people know how you’re doing? I mean how you’re really doing.

I think most of us tend to keep our guard up and shy away from lettings others in. But, we long to be able to let our guards down and depend on other, especially when we’re in need of help, prayers or encouragement.

As I shared in Chapter 2, “Sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to beOr 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 you to meet and hear from 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)! Today 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 and all of us again today that God’s grace is sufficient.  God and His grace can be my sufficiency… if I let HIM be.

Today’s Assignment:

  • Continue or finish reading chapter 2 and answer end of chapter questions. Then come back and share with us what God is showing you about how His perfect love changes everything – especially the pressure to be it all, do it all and know it all – all at the same time.

Connect in Community:

  • Please “Share Your Thoughts” below this post. (Remember if you are reading this in an email, click here to visit my website and connect with our ACH community! 
  • If you are on my site, click “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that. (This is such a valuable part of this study. My favorite part!!)

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Comments

  1. Jane Hogan says:

    Thus really hits home with me since I am struggling with the pain of divorce. This was my secdond marriage, the one that I thought would last a lifetime. I had been hurt so mant times before & this was the man that I thought would not do that. Now I struggle with hurt, loss, loneliness, and fear of what lies ahead. When others ask how are you I give. Standard I am haning in answer. I hide behind that when I want to scream I just need a hug or a place to just cry. This journey we are taking is beginning to help me at least be open with my heavenly Father. Thanks so much.

    • I read some ot these stories and I know why this study is so important to have. The false mask of ” I’m fine” must come off and we all need to be in the word of God, there the answers lay. This is a wonderful study, thank you…Dawn

      • so true. i will generally spare strangers, lol, but if friends ask, i’m honest, now. unfortunately, many ask but few really want to allow you to feel what you feel without becoming all “Job’s Friends” about it and rebuking even your Godly sorrow, but i refuse to be inauthentic anymore.

        • You are so right about everyone going all “Job’s friends” on you! lol. A lot of times they are just trying to help, but then you immediately regret ever opening up…and then up come those walls. I was thinking about the wall of Jericho the other day, and how they all screamed at once and the walls came down. I was thinking of a different application with that…sometimes, I believe that when life, the world, and the enemy are so loud and it feels like the walls are caving in, that God allows it to scream all at once in order for our walls that we built can come crashing down so that we can regain that territory!

          • I can so relate. I am very open and honest… I have been blessed with very open and honest friends. But there are times I don’t share, because I just don’t need one more person telling me that what I said was wrong or I shouldn’t have done that, or….lol I know Iron Sharpens Iron…and I’m grateful for women who speak truth to me and are strong in the Lord…but sometimes…just sometimes, I want to tell you what happened without you telling me all the things I should or could have done instead. I AM working on me. But sometimes just let me be me. Sometimes I’ll start the conversation with..”Well, you probably won’t like this, but”…because I said something in anger to the husband I have who left us for his affair… I just cannot be perfect all the time and I am human and sometimes my emotions get the better of me and I say snarky things. Okay… I don’t ALWAYS have to hear about it from you. I already know. Kind of off the subject, but I needed to vent a bit. I wish someone was in HIS ear telling him how wrong he is!

          • The point of that was, that sometimes I now just say, “I’m Fine”.

          • Yes! Sometimes we do have to preface what we are about to say with a request to not rebuke…lol. Ugh. On the other end of that, I am really working personally on only giving advice and gently rebuking when the person ASKS me for it…or at least asking them if they want advice or are just needing someone to listen. I am going to school to become a Christian counselor, so finding a balance has been a challenge for me!

          • I can absolutely relate to this. I remember one Sunday as I was driving to church, I began to cry as I became overwhelmed with what I’d been dealing with. I was supposed to teach my new members class. The class I’d been teaching for the past ten years. As we approached the church I could not get myself together. I could not put the mask on. I remember thinking “get it together, put the mask on, & teach”. But I absolutely couldn’t. I sat in my car & cried the entire Sunday School hour. I cried the tears that I had held back for weeks & months. I cried the tears that the mask wouldn’t allow to flow.

        • Valerie says:

          I am so glad you said that. I have found that most don’t really want to know. It is hard to open up because of that. Not everyone has normal problems with normal answers. I have found that many are intolerant with what is beyond their own experience or don’t want to hear a repeat. It leaves a whole group of people in the dark, questioning their walk with God and these followers that teach but don’t do. It is a struggle for some to overcome. It is encouraging to hear you say you aren’t going to let others stop you though. Something I need to hear right now!

      • in fact, yesterday, a friend asked me how i was doing and i told her, not very well, but my Father knows and i’m choosing to worship Him. i’m hurting. and that’s fine. i’m hurting in the Master’s hands, suffering according to God’s will, as the Word says. So, i guess i AM fine, actually (lol).

        • I love your analogy! Thank you for sharing these words. This can be a new way to say “I’m fine!”

        • Thanks for your analogy, I love it . This is a great study and it always seems to fit perfectly with life.

        • I live your courage to stand up for what you believe. And knowing that Christ is the center of your life with this. He will never let you be “just fine”. Thanks for sharing with me. I am encouraged by your strength.

        • I can so relate to you dKnigh. I’m at a place right now where I’m totally relying on God for my healing. For me after a while I get tired of singing the same old song about feeling hurt & sometimes feelings of despair. Especially when I get that “Oh you’re still struggling with this huh?” Now it’s btwn me & God only He can heal me & He always listen’s. As a result I’m making strides & digging more into the Word to find my comfort & I never get the “Oh it’s you again feeling” Well maybe sometimes lol. I have to say that it’s also teaching me to be more sensitive to other peoples pain & struggle. I’m realizing that all people need is for someone to listen to them & encourage them. I mean let’s be realistic God is not gonna just zap the issue I’m going thru away. But in Him He’s carrying me thru.

          • Valerie says:

            Deborah, I am so thankful to have read this. I am currently struggling with this, except that I am not doing so well with it. I am basically isolated to God. I don’t want the judgement that you eventually get from others, so I have just shut down. I am not doing as well in the going to God department because honestly, I am just plain angry with Him in the moment. It feels as though he will never move. I feel as though I will be stuck here forever, being made to perfect my walk without any support. I feel drained and used and tired. I don’t feel like God has my back even though I know better. I am in this study with whatever little bit of faith I have at the moment, praying for some relief because I just don’t have anything left to give.
            Didn’t realize I would go that far with my post. I think that some are just left behind in their “drama” when what they really need is an answer and some compassion. People think just because the problem is “STILL” around its because you are doing something wrong in your walk. This devastatingly LONG journey God has me on is not my choice. It is in His hands. I try to forgive those who see it any other way.

        • Thank you for your words. I want so much to be fine, but I am not fine. Your words helped because my Father knows too, and I am waiting patiently, praising him until I am really fine.

        • I love this Bonnie, thank you so much for sharing.

      • I find that sometimes the reason I don’t open up to friends or others is because I am so afraid that they will think I’m crazy or will think less of me because of my doubts and fears…I wish I had a strong godly woman in my life that I could turn to, but do realize that God’s Word is a place of refuge for me. This study is bringing me to a place where I want to be real with God and others! The enemy is still on my shoulders but I know that God is going to bring me through and give me the assurance that I need that can only be found in Him!

        • Barbara says:

          Laura, I will pray for you and pray that our Father will send someone to be that friend you need but you are right, God and His Word are all you really need. He knows you like no one else does and loves you so very much. Rest in His love, dear lady. God bless you.

        • Laura, Am with u and greatful that we are on this journey together. If u need to talk am here for u. Take care and Godbless

        • Hi Laura- I also struggle every day with what other people will think of me. Although it takes a lot of practice to overcome this fear, I try to think, “If the one and only God loves and cherishes me, why does it really matter what other people think? They are fallible humans, just as I am.”

          • Mary Ann says:

            Girls,

            I have struggled with being a “people pleaser” since i was a child. Afraid that if I did something wrong or said something wrong people wouldn’t like me or love me. My mother told me when i was little that if I wasn’t a good girl, she would leave me and at the tender age of 8 years old, she left me and my younger brothers. Two were under the age of three. After that I tried to be the perfect daughter and in my mother’s eyes, I failed at that. I tried to be the perfect little mother to my brothers. After all, ours walked out on us. I tried to be the perfect sister, aunt, mother to my own children, wife to my ex-husband who left me for another woman, etc. The list goes on. Self esteem was nonexistance in my life. It has taken me a long time to get over that. No my mother did not leave because I was a “bad girl.” I know now that she and my dad were having problems. I was loved. I was loved by our heavenly Father all this time. This fact sustains me when I find myself searching for love or approval. I already have that. I only have to look deep within my soul/heart. I pray that we will all over come our fears, whatever they may be. I pray this study will make each one of us stronger and more confident within ourselves. I pray that each one of us will realize we have been loved all this time and we can stop searching and begin living our lives to the fullest.

    • Hi Jane,

      I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I too am dealing with a situation very similar to yours. This is my 4th marriage and I too thought this was the one that would last a lifetime. We have been in a terrible fight for several days (very little talking, no physical contact, etc.). Last night divorce came up. I have been through this before several times and my husband has been divorced once before. He is not a Christian and that makes this struggle even harder. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go through the pain, loneliness, and fear of the unknown all over again. I’ve been telling everyone that I’m hanging in there too, but it just hurts so much. I will pray for you- just remember you are not alone.

      • Anna Martin says:

        Hi everyone,
        I just wanted to take a moment to share the miracles that God has done in my family’s lives in the last year. About a year ago my husband fell off the wagon . It was a really hard time for my family and I didn’t think we were going to make it. We have seven kids between the two of us, so I started praying and praying, tithing, and reached out to everyone in my church letting them know we were not fine and needed help. Up until that point, he had never attended church with me that often, and he was also hiding a relationship with another woman behind my back. We were in shambles. I don’t even know how it happened, but I believe that God saved our family because I was not afraid to reach out for help and say that we were not fine, and we also started tithing 10% regardless of how poor we were.

        My husband accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and we had child dedications, baptisms, and got married all at the beginning of this year. We had been engaged for almost 8 years, but I did not want to marry an unbeliever who struggled with addiction. Since then, God has blessed our family tremendously. I cannot even think of an area of our lives that hasn’t been changed. Praise The Lord for taking over when we admitted we were not fine and handed the reins over to him!!

        • Thanks for sharing your testimony of how being real and letting others know the truth helped your situation. As the word says, the truth will set your free. Keep being real and giving your testimonies. Thanks.

        • Praise God! This post is so inspirational~thank you for sharing!

        • Shannon C says:

          Thank you for sharing your story. I am going through something very similar to your story. I am only being half honest to my family I answer with thte typical I am fine. Thankfully God has put the most amazing friend and neighbor into my life, and I can be perfectly transparent and honest with her. However, I still feel the pain, as I have not turned it over to God and I fear my families reactions to my still wanting to love and support a man that has addiction issues.

      • Hi everyone,
        The topic of divorce is a sensitive topic. Those of you who have been married more than once and divorce twice need to examine yourselves. There is a pattern that is being repeated and needs to be corrected. It must start within our selves. If we dont look, we will be like the isrealite in the wilderness. I speak from experience. I have been married and divorce twice. I finally realized that i was the common denominator in these relationship. I choose men beneath me and who made me feel that i had no worth. If the lord has my next mate, i will wait until he presents him to me. I first had to admit that my choices were poor ones. As a christian, i will not be unequally yoke. I do trust the lord with this area of my life. For those that are married and are having difficulty in there marriage, ask God to change you first and he will take of your spouse in due time. I tell this to my daughter. I encourage my son inlaw as well.

      • Mary Ann says:

        Hang in there Julie and Jane. God has a plan for each of you and we have to be patient and wait. Pray to him over your relationships. I am in the same position you are. I am on my second marriage, one that I thought would last forever. I thought this was THE one, my soul mate, etc./ But did I really know what love is? Did I really know who I was? I was lost for so long and like the line from Amazing Grace….”but now I am found…”

        Don’t despair. I am sure things will become clearer as we dive into our readings a little bit more. My husband says I have changed. I think I have grown as a person. I am beginning to know my authentic self and I am beginning to like what I see. It feels like I am peeling back the layers of an onion. Layers of rejection, fear, abuse, etc to get to the REAL me. I think that is the reason I decided to do this study. I struggle daily but I know that is the devil trying to reach my heart and soul and I am fighting back. So you, too must fight back and not let fear, or whatever may be taking it’s hold on your hearts and minds. We are no longer VICTIMS, we are VICTORS. I like the sound of that. I am praying.

    • Rachael says:

      Jane – I’m so, so sorry because I am in EXACTLY the same spot: 2nd marriage, the one that was meant to be, the one that has brought me so much joy through our little girl and so much pain through his decision to leave, and to literally tell me that “You aren’t good enough. I deserve HER.”

      I am NOT fine. I am so grateful. I have health and a supportive family and friends but its hard and I’m scared and I want to rest in faith but tere is so much stacked against me…

      Anyway – you are not alone. I’m right there with you. And we can jut be not fine together!!

      • Hi Jane, Julie, Rachael and any other ladies…I was going through this myself six month ago…I am on my fourth marriage and really wanted it to work, I have felt like such a failure because my marriage was on the brink of divorce again. But wisdom through my pastors wife and staying so deeply into God’s Word on marriage, wives, my role, the fruit of the spirit. God spoke to my heart…PRAY FOR CHANGE IN YOU…to be who God wants YOU to be for Him!!! My marriage has done a 360 degree turnaround. All the Glory to God!…You can’t change him but you can change YOU.

        • Priscilla says:

          So sorry for all that you precious ladies are going through. As I read your comments I thought of Waiting for His Heart (lessons from a wife who chose to stay) by Joy McClain. Maybe it would be another resource for you.

        • That is one of the things God has showed me in dealing with my separation from my husband, is that I can not change him. Only God can change him, but I stopped praying for a change in him and begin praying that God would change me. Even though we are not currently talking to one another and yes it does bother me, but I trust and believe that God has all things under control. Yes, I still do pray for my husband but my prayers for him are different now. I hear the hearts of each one of the ladies that has shared their hurts on divorce and martial issues. Even though it hurts and we fear the unknown, God knows and He wants to give you hope and a future. He is a loving God that is not trying to hurt or harm any of us. He just wants us to come to Him, believe Him, trust Him, give Him control. God wants to give us more then we can ever imagine for ourselves, but we must trust Him. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. I will continue to pray for all of you…to God be the glory!

          • Thank you for sharing this Twana:

            Even though it hurts and we fear the unknown, God knows and He wants to give you hope and a future. He is a loving God that is not trying to hurt or harm any of us. He just wants us to come to Him, believe Him, trust Him, give Him control. God wants to give us more then we can ever imagine for ourselves, but we must trust Him. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

            So, so, so true. I know because I’ve been in both places. Thank you for your encouragement to us all.

        • oh amen- prayer always changes things!! From the inside out. :) So excited for you Girl!

      • Im praying for you, too, Rachel and as I do, Isa 54:5-6 comes to mind for those who are hurting from the pain of broken marriages, relationship rejections, and deep disappointment in people’s conditional love:

        For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit– a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

    • Yes divorce is really a painful thing and a bad experience to go through especially when you are a believe. I went through this experience and thought I could never get over it and always keep telling friends I’m fine. But as I kept trusting in God and believinag in His words of encouragement promises, my life is now at ease and at peace. Christ was bruised, broken and shame for us, He took our hurt and dispair away so that we might have HOPE, ENCOURAGEMENT AND PEACE. Keep marching on like an army and never loose hope.

      • Thank you May for sharing the reality of your walk through the valley and also the hope of the green pastures and still waters Jesus can bring us too. Im praying for Him to shepherd each of us to those places today as we soak in His love and promises for us.

    • Jane, I understand. I am on my third marriage and so relate to the woman at the well. I was raised in a family that not only doesn’t divorce but are all happily married for 30, 40 and 65 years. My dearest and closest friends are all married for 35-45 years. I, like Sam, feel their disapproval of me. It is hard to love yourself when you struggle with the rejection of husbands and even some rejection of well meaning friends. I want so, to grasp Christ’s love for me, but it doesn’t happen, I feel so damaged.

      • I feel the ache in your words and Im praying for you too Lynn. Oh how I pray you would know today that you are not defined by your divorces, you are not defined by people’s labels, but you are defined by God’s unfailing love and grace and purpose for you. Im so grateful that following Jesus isn’t about being perfect or having a perfect story, but it’s about surrendering to His perfect love for us. :)

        • thank you Renee for those words – how we are not defined by our divorces, labels, etc. but by God’s unfailing love….they really hit me – I too am suffering 1 week after my 50th birthday, last november, my divorce was final….this was so not where I wanted to be at 50 – divorce mother of two (one with cerebral palsy) – but the devil got a hold of my husband and he is now suffering from mental illness, probably bipolar w/ psychosis and belives he is fine, therefore not treating – not working, speaking and acting crazy – I felt i had no choice for my boys sake and future but to divorce my husband, but as logical and sane that sounds, I am still riddled with guilt for “not being there” for him during “sickness and health”. I can’t even imagine setting myself and my boys up for another devastating relationship. I am SO glad you are doing this study and that I am blessed to be doing it with you and all these lovely women. Back to the subject – I too say “i’m fine” at work, but its because I feel like a broken record – nothing has really changed from day to day – I can’t really move forward because my ex is always at my house seeing the boys (I won’t let him have them due to his mental instability and living in a 20×20 foot room). I see that I need to get into the Word more and let God take care of me and my boys and not try to do it all myself. sorry so wordy…:)

          • Cass James says:

            Janet,

            Thank you for sharing a piece of your story. I have been divorced three years now, and divorced my husband for very similar reasons. He had a breakdown, was put in an institution but refused to continue treatment, to admit what was really wrong. I didn’t let him come back home afterwards, his presence had been so dark for so long, and I couldn’t let that continue in our home. My daughter and I were shrinking, drying up without any l light. I so wish we had put Jesus at the center of our home back then, then maybe we would have found our way out of the darkness by a different path than divorce. But what you said about the gulit resonated with me. I still remember vividly how his hands shook from the medication when I told him he couldn’t stay with us, how I hated that I had not seen his psychosis, the ledge he was broaching sooner. I was a liscensed mental health therapist and I had no idea he was suffering from paranoid delusions, contemplating suicide, that he had kept a loaded gun downstairs to do the deed. I have battled with the choice I made so I understand that ache of wondering if there was something else you could have done, should have done. This study has been so good for me already, and I too am so thankful to be sharing it with other women who are imperfectly beautiful.

          • I “know” that I am not alone in being divorced and being a single mom, but the enemy holds that lie against me all the time. I do use the “I’m fine” to many, but I’ve found a core group of women that I am transparent with, but there are still times where I spiral out of control in sadness and loneliness in my fleshly weakness. I’m sad that there are others in this study that are dealing with this as well, but I am glad that so many of us sisters are going to be blessed that we can truly know the Lord’s promises are for each of us as well and that we can wk in them with His peace and joy in our hearts!!!

        • cammie joon says:

          Goes back to the last chapter of our study…we move from believing in God to BELIEVING God – believing His Word – believing He means what He says about His love for us, our worth and having a new life, provided by, cherished by Him. I get very excited, thrillled when I think about trusting God’s word and it being my reality!!

        • Thank you for those words, Renee. It’s a beautiful prayer. Praying that for all of us!

    • Jane, Im so sorry for your pain and loss and the valley you are walking through. Jesus wants to be a safe place for you to run too. Im praying Psalm 23 for you right now.

    • Marilou Malay says:

      I’m in pain & asking God to help heal me & my whole family. We lost my sister at the age of 53 for breast cancer that left her 2 children. Few months before that her husband died as well of liver cancer. A lot of questions played on my mind. Hearing Christian songs & receiving inspiring words from proverbs helped. We really asking everyone we met to help us pray. The trials did not last there my brother lost his 1st full term baby 2 months after we lost our sister. My sister in laws had 4 miscarriage at that supposed to be their first baby but baby did not survive. Who does not help after these trials. God works in mysterious ways thru people around us. Hoping for complete healing of our family. Please Lord help us.

      • christyThere is so much on my mind as I read. I was saved after I was married and struggle with sharing and wanting to help others see God as Love and yet I still struggle as I am learning of His unconditional love. I get exhausted with my fears of my hus says:

        There is so much on my mind as I read. I was saved after I was married and struggle with sharing and wanting to help others see God as Love and yet I still struggle as I am learning of His unconditional love. I get exhausted with my fears of my husband and family not being saved and the pressure of knowing others watching me yet I’m not whole and healed. Praying for families that are dealing with death and health issues as well as my family yet mad that I cannot give the answers or understand myself at times of what people need to hear when they see all the death and assaults towards children, etc while I’m struggling off and on as judgement, anger bitterness and jealousy continue to arise in me justwhen I think I’ve made progress and all the while not truly knowing how to hear from God or the worries I have for the husband I love that I want to believe yet my emotions are like a roller coaster and then after my roller coaster I think I’m supposed to be the example…and the root is always fear..fear of what next rather than being able to really see God and His great promises as some many go through life and wanting to be truly free in Christ and have peace and look and have victory and look at the blessings. I guess I get tired of the war yet I want to live a long happy life with my husband and loved ones. Wow, that was a lot of scattered venting.

    • I know exactly how you feel. I am on my third marriage and was sure I couldn’t possibly make the same mistakes for a third time~how stupid would I have to be? But I am once again finding myself in a relationship that continually pushes me to depend more on God for my emotional existence and not any man or other human being….not even my husband. God is teaching me through each relationship that he is the only one who can give me what I need. So, I guess, that makes each failed relationship worth it in the end!

      • Thank you for your honesty. I know where you are coming from as I am learning some of those same lessons myself. He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be. God is so good and to Him be the glory!

    • Cass James says:

      Jane, I have been where you are. Second marriage, second divorce. I also thought this one would be the one to last and it broke my heart resoundingly when it didn’t. It has been three years now and the pain has lessened, but still present. I can tell you one thing that helped so much was going through the Divorce Care program at my church, letting my child go through the children’s version also. I shared a room each week with other broken women and men, each letting those masks slip, none of us pretending we were okay. We also shared that room with someone else who made the world of difference. Jesus. If you can find one of these programs in your area, go. It will help, God will help. I will be praying for you.

      Cass

    • Jane, praying for you today. I, too, have experienced divorce and it is incredibly painful. If someone hasn’t gone through it, they really can’t relate. I went attended a ministry called DivorceCare that was very helpful. You can “google” it to find groups in your area. Still seeking healing, myself. But, it is better than it was. Hang in there!

    • Bernadette Burgess says:

      Jane, I too am going through the pain of ending a 31 year marriage. I am trying to be patient and wait for God’s healing for me to recover fully from this season in my life. My prays go out to you

    • Hi Jane,

      I feel your hurt and understand your longings for what is to come because your story is quite similar to mine having been married twice and both marriages failing. I think Renee hits the nail right on the head when she speaks of “looking to others to fill us up”, I know that has been my longing since a young girl and I’m so grateful for your post! It certainly spoke to my heart and all that you have been going through because it makes me feel like I’m not the only one who is heart broken over the loss and failures of my our marriages. I’m also so grateful that through “A Confident Heart” I can find that longing only through Christ and He is the love who will fill me and provide for my every need. May I encourage you as you walk your journey to find that peace within and dependance for Him to touch and heal your heart and soul.

      God Bless and thank you for your post!

      In Him,

      Clarissa

  2. I am definitely not fine and I so desperately want to be, or at least feel ok. Sometimes the struggle gets too much and I really don’t want to do life anymore but I just get up and keep moving. What choice do I have? I do not understand this at all. Thre are so many great things happening in my life and I know God is working through it all. I should feel joy, hope, excitement except it is not that way at all. I’m so sorry that I am not more positive but the truth is this is where I am and I hate it. Who wants to be around someone who feels so bad all the time? It also saddens me because I could be doing so much more if I felt better. Once again I fight the tears. I am so tired of the tears.

    • Thank you for sharing. We’ve all shed tears and God sees every one of them. He can turn your heart, He can bring you joy. I pray that you’ll find rest in Him today. Don’t give up!

    • Me, too. Only I don’t let the tears out. They are stuck inside.

    • I understand completely where you are coming from, and the most comfort I find is in God’s promise to be close to the broken hearted. We have to keep in mine that our future is just a memory to God, and one day we also will understand why we with through these low times. As tired of the tears you are and I am too, God is healing you every time you open up to Him and cry out to Him in those tears. I am praying for you and know how difficult that place is to be. Remember that you pain is understood and felt by God. This world is broken and that sin is what causes us so much pain because we long for that perfect world that we were made for. Jesus will heal you and strengthen you, and He promises that in comparison to your whole life this pain will only last a little while. Take hope in the promise that this is only to make you stronger and in your weakness God is made strong. Our hope is in the Lord, and don’t let satan take that hope from you.

    • I feel the same way today, having a harder time dealing with life, i know it’s just my feelings & emotions & He hasn’t changed, never will, that gives me hope once again. I suffer from S.A.D. & so my energy is very low. I’m praying for all you ladies in this study, but why do i always feel like i’m having the worst problems, i suffer so bad with low self esteem, social anxiety, depression, which i continue to ask prayer for, thanks in advance. For me to take off my mask is going to be the hardest thing, & i will consider that a miracle in itself if i ever do, I am soooooooooo thankful i can at least tell Him all.

      • Jesus- I pray for this sister today. Oh I pray you would make yourself known to her in a special, close-knit way. That she would sense your presence so fully and her spirit would be filled with nothing but your joy. I pray that she would continue to read in this study and Your Word so that her life and mind is saturated in the truth of it. Amen.

    • Hi Norma.
      Your honesty is beautiful.
      I wanted to say I have felt what you are going through.
      I have told my myself, why keep living I cannot do anything right, I am such a failure, I was angry at myself for crying all the time. tired of being tired. I want to encourage you and let you know it does get better. keep trusting God, He does know what He is doing, although you may question that, I know I did. Continue to persevere. =)
      Lord I pray your blessings over Norma today, as she continues to take off her mask before You, that You would fill her soul with an overflowing joy and surpassing peace and that she would sense your ever present presence embracing her. Amen.
      God bless and keep you sister. =)

    • Norma…those very words are in my heart. How can I not be fine? I have 3 children (one with congenital heart disease), a husband, (a struggling marriage), my elderly grandmother who suffers from diabetes and dementia, my mom (mentally ill), and a full time job to do. If I’m not fine, what are they? Truth is, I’m not good and I desire to be. I long for things to be fine, or for myself to be fine. I know God loves me and that brings me joy but I don’t deserve his love and that saddens me. I’m so thankful to have joined this journey to know that other Christian women feel my pain. It helps to get these things out.

      • Sabrina,
        Of course you aren’t fine! As I read through your post, I was confused until I got to the end. I was confused, because you said, “How can I not be fine?” but as you listed off the things that you are having to deal with right now, I thought, “Of course she’s not fine!! Anyone would be a hot mess with so much going on around them!” As the “healthy” one in the situation, you are probably trying to carry all of those burdens yourself and so that would naturally bring you to the brink of despair. I pray that you will be gracious towards yourself for responding the way that anyone would to a lot of overwhelming and painful situations in your life :( I pray that you would be able to fully hand all of this over to Him and allow Him to carry these burdens and yours as well. I am praying for peace that surpasses all understanding to guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

      • Linda please go to your therapist. I have learned not to isolate. I have also learned that it is a chemical imbalance and that it is not my fault. My responsibility it to take care of me by asking God to lead me to where I can get help. I do take medication and it has helped tremendously in the past. Right now I am just going through another episode which was triggered by major stress. Please please see a psychiatrist for meds. I know that no matter how many times i would see a counselor nothing helped until the stability of inner being was stabilized with the proper medication. However on that same note do continue to reach out and share. There is hope, really. i know I don’t feel like it sometimes but I have also learned that feelings are not facts, they come and go so I have to remind myself of the facts. God does have a plan. I sometimes don’t like it.

    • Norma, I think you hit the nail on the head so to speak. I find it very hard to be truthful about my feelings of not being ok, because i tend to think no one wants to be around a negative person. Therefore, not being positive and being honest when asked only pushes people away and alliennats me even more and as a result brings more feelings of lonliness and dispair. I do think that God puts people in our lives to help us. I know this in my head, but it’s my heart I have a hard time controling.

      • Being someone with depression–or “anger turned inwards”–I have often been very hard on myself, expecting myself to be completely perfect and self-sufficient. (Side note: I have had a severe physical disability since birth.) When I eventually fail–which I will, when my standards are set too impossibly high– this feelings lead me to think…how could ANYONE love me? Loving myself first, though, has been the key to turning this thinking around. It has NOT come automatically, but one thing my therapist said really helped: “Would you blame your friend with cancer for not being able to do all these things by herself?” “No, of course not! She can’t help it if she has cancer.” “Neither can you with your disability. Why won’t you let YOURSELF off the hook as you would anyone else you love?” That was a big “Ah ha” moment for me, and it also has made me realize that I was trying to be on the same level as God…perfect. But there’s no way any of us can do that, so why try to fight a battle that you just can’t win? Since starting to “let go,” I have started to love myself more and don’t get as lonely now, since I’ve found I can have a lot of fun by myself when I’m not “bullying” or putting myself down. It’s just like if you had another person there…would you want to hang around with someone that always made you feel bad about yourself? NO! So you can’t be that person to yourself, because you can never get away from…yourself! So love yourself and realize God’s non-judgmental love for you, and that will spill over into love for others, and they will be graced with your light!

    • You are so not alone. And you put my feelings in words much better than me. I have made so many appointments with therapist and cancel them at the 11th hour because if I go there then I am even more of a failure cause I cannot just pull myself up by myself. There is so much to be grateful for in my life yet I feel sadness and cry all the time. I am ashamed to show my face anywhere now because everyone is always asking what is wrong with you and I have to lie and say oh I am FINE. It was just this movie I watched, or I am just thinking of my brother who passed away, or yah it is my friend she has cancer. Although those things are true that is NOT the reason for my tears and no I am NOT FINE, and I don’t know how to get FINE before I lose more loved ones who just cannot take it anymore. I have another appointment coming up that I think I will cancel.

      • Linda, I know how you feel because I was the same way. I have suffered from episodes of depression for most of my life. A couple of years ago, I had to quit my job because of back pain and the financial strain has been horrible. I sank into a depression that I just could not seem to recover from, no matter what I did. I even lost my faith in God for a while, which made the situation even worse. I finally made an appointment with a therapist who could also prescribe medication and it was one of the best things that I could have done. I had some of the same feelings about it that you do, but please keep your appointment with the therapist. You wouldn’t feel this way about going to a doctor with a broken arm or to a dentist with a sore tooth. I know that there are many people who have an opinion about depression, but I firmly believe that it is a true illness and that is what you have to look at it as. Do not beat yourself up because you need help, we all do and some more than others. I’ve been taking an anti-depressive medication for about a year now and it has been life-changing. I feel normal again and not like I can’t stop dwelling on all of the negative things in my life. The situation in my life have not changed but the way that I think about them has changed. God will help us but he also calls us to help ourselves. Please don’t give up. God bless you

      • Linda,
        Please don’t cancel your next appointment. Actually, I think you might benefit from some medication. God provided doctors and medication for chemical imbalances. My thought would be to go to a psychiatrist who is able to diagnose and treat the problem rather than go to a therapist who isn’t a medical doctor. God bless.

      • Rose Wade says:

        Linda,

        Carol is right! I was where you are now, thirty years ago. I was diagnosed with a mental illness. I thought I would never be able to do anything. But there in the hospital God spoke to my heart, and told me to be a Special Education teacher. There were so many reasons why I couldn’t – But I DID. With God’s help and medication, I finished college and taught for 15 years.

        I am looking at Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart (for a special work).” God may have “set me apart” to encourage you as you struggle as I once did.

        Rose Ann

        • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ,so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5

          :) !!!

      • Linda please go to your therapist. I have learned not to isolate. I have also learned that it is a chemical imbalance and that it is not my fault. My responsibility it to take care of me by asking God to lead me to where I can get help. I do take medication and it has helped tremendously in the past. Right now I am just going through another episode which was triggered by major stress. Please please see a psychiatrist for meds. I know that no matter how many times i would see a counselor nothing helped until the stability of inner being was stabilized with the proper medication. However on that same note do continue to reach out and share. There is hope, really. i know I don’t feel like it sometimes but I have also learned that feelings are not facts, they come and go so I have to remind myself of the facts. God does have a plan. I sometimes don’t like it.

    • Norma Too says:

      I saw your name and thought “I did not remember posting”…..
      Then I read your post…It could have been my post numerous times in the past. Thankfully, God has brought me thru those dark times. I will be praying for you.

      God recently showed me that my sorrows have a lot to do with relationships I have allowed to clutter my heart and mind. Though sometimes it does mean I need to end a relationship, most of the time, I need to re-examine and change the role I am allowing that person to play in my life.

  3. I am not sure I am doing this right..but the moment I picked up this book and started reading I cried. Talk about hitting home. I love when everything happens for a reason. Thank you to my friend Michelle for the nudge to read this book. Excited to continue this amazing Journey!

    • Christina says:

      Brandi I am there with you! Chapter 2 really hit home and I have been crying also! I love when God gives us healing tears!! They may not seem that way at the moment – to me they seem like tears of shame – but I know by the end of this study they WILL be tears of healing! I am thanking God that I found Renee’s bible study on Pinterest!

      • I’ve cried while reading today, also.
        Renee writing style that really speaks to my heart in such a sweet and fresh way
        So glad we can all come together and study and walk through life together!

    • cammie joon says:

      I cried, too!! I cry a lot anyway but that first chapter so spoke to me about a personal relationship with Jesus and with my Heavenly Father – how I believed in Him but now I must move forward to believing His word. I can no longer blame myself – beat myself up – because I believe He is leading and guiding and changing me. And, loving me! Hallelujah!! I have never been freer!!

  4. I am not fine either. I’ve been hurt and marked by events that shaped my image of God. His love is showing me how much I need Him and that He wants to be there for me. He reassures me He doesn’t want to change the course of my day, but my life. He wants to get into me. Be the cornerstone I build my life upon.

    • Julie R. says:

      Grace, I love your verbage in your post “He doesn’t want to change the course of my day, but my life” How awesome is that!! That really sums it up. Sometimes we pray for our “day” not our journey as a whole. This truly ministered to me, thank you for sharing it. What God truly wants to do is transform us change our life so we can live abundantly. I’m going to post this somewhere in my home so I can ready it daily. It is so true!!! I will be praying for you today.

      • angela 2 says:

        Hi Juile
        I too like that part. I feel if we keep this in our minds it will help us change and remember God dose want to be with us in every part of our life.
        in Christ Love Amen

      • Amen that is a great way to look at it and not get bogged down with the day to day stuff. its great reading all your comments and not only good to hear how we all are going through similar feelings. Since my husband left me I keep finding more and more people who are or have gone through similar experiences and it is hard. It is hard to be in the valley and I still feel sadened for all those who have to go through it. I hope to come out of it and be a stronger person, stronger in my faith and most of all able to help others struggling.
        God has a purpose for each of us and he turns our trials around for good things. We have to keep trusting in him.
        Also the tears are flowing again as I too am not ok, and I too feel the pain and I just want to focus on God and let him heal my emotions, my pain.
        My prayer is that everone will know God closer and more intermitely, like they have never known him before. That “God is doing a good work in you”.

    • Wow what a great statement. It seems like it should be a “duh!” But too often I feel like we live as if statements like this are “What? Really?” Statements. Thanks for sharing! I know our God is great but I fall into thinking that the little things in life aren’t important enough to bother Him with, that so many people have it so much worse than I do so I have no right to have a “bad” day! But He cares about are lives, our whole lives, it says in Luke 12:7 “…the very hairs of your head are numbered…” Lord, I ask for your great will in all of our lives, our whole lives. In Jesus name.

  5. Today, I picked up my book and read through chapter 2 for the second time. Today, the Lord really spoke to me about why I say “I’m fine”. I have spent a lot of years in a church, where, the leadership was so busy, that when I had a problem or a need, it didn’t seem that they had time to really sit and listen to what I was struggling with. I kind of learned to just keep it to myself, because there were people who were turning to me for help. Yet, I didn’t feel that I had the right to speak to others about their problems. I would pray for them, and wonder if there was truly any power in my prayer. If I was struggling, and noone had time for me, maybe Jesus didn’t have time for me either. So I began avoiding people, not answering my phone, not speaking too much. I have felt so dragged down for so long, maybe a little resentful, after all, people were coming to me to listen and pray for them, yet it seemed noone had time for me. As I write this I feel so selfish, that doubt and guilt coming right back on me. I am trapped in a terrible cycle. I am now at a new church, and I am afraid to try and talk to the Pastor, I am worried that it will sound like I am complaining about my former Pastor. I don’t want to do that…even though it seems like that is what I am doing here. Augh! I feel that I am stuck…please pray for me…please give me words of wisdom….Jesus please help me to forgive….and to know, that I can know you better. I know you love me….but, I want a deeper relationship with You. Thank you everyone that is a part of this Bible study. I truly need your prayers.

    • I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I was stuck in a similar cycle a few years ago and it is very lonely and draining. But God showed me that I had worked so hard to convince everyone that I was fine, and then I resented them for believing me! Looking back, I get it now. Because why would they reach out to someone who appeared to always have it together? So….God convicted me and gave me the strength to take off my “fine” mask to one person. And that began a journey of removing the mask with more people. I was terrified at first of what they would think of me. But I was blown away when they said that it actually made me more human, and it helped them appreciate me even more. It’s still a struggle even today and there’s a few folks with whom I simply don’t feel like I can live without my “fine” mask. But God’s work is not done and each day is a new battle. May He give you the strength and wisdom to live authentically in His freedom. God bless!

    • angela 2 says:

      Wendy I can feel your pain and I’m praying for you. When people ask me how I’m doing I have started to reply by saying I”M BLESSED and it really gets people to really look at me and ask how i’m b;lessed. This in turn gives me the chance to tell them what God is doing in my life. I heard this saying from a tv talk show one morning and they ask all who has seen this to try it for a week to see what happens, so I did it is amazeing what will happen. I may not be fine but I’m blessed with Gods Love for me Just as I’m. Praise God.I’m still not fine but I hope to learn how to open up and ask for help. I have all ways been the one to help others and keep my pain in side. I want to change that with this study. Please pray for me too I’m praying for you and everyone in this study with us and Renee too. I thank God He spoke to her and now is giving the class to us. In christ love

      • Angela, thank you for your comments. I really like what you said about answering people with “I’m Blessed” instead of the usual “I’m fine.” I’m going to commit to doing this as well. I have wondered how I could share God’s Love with other people and I think this is the perfect opportunity. I have also been studying the Bible about the power of our words and I think that by answering people in this way and by verbally confessing that We Are Blessed, we will bring honor and glory to God by speaking that into our lives. Thank you.

        • angela 2 says:

          Hi Monica please let me know how it goes after a week of telling people you are Blessed. it has changed thing for. hope it does for you to. We are Blessed in so many ways that we over look. I’m trying to find at lest 5 ways i’m Blessed each day and write them down and then thank God for them. In my prayers and in God Love

      • That is so true. I AM BLESSED! After doing a study on ephesians at church I started to say every morning “I Am Blessed.” Then I started to say it to each of my children. Then when i forgot to say one morning my 4 year old son said,”Mummy you’re blessed!” I really need to re impliment that gain! It was a very positive way to start my day.

    • Madeline says:

      As I was reading the excerpt from Melanie, I was thinking that I saw no reason to share my struggles and true feelings with a co-worker or acquaintance when asked a polite question “How are you?” But then something she said toward the end struck a nerve (“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”). What if instead of answering the polite “how are you” question with the stock “I’m fine” answer, I said something to the effect of “It’s a rough day, but I’m hanging on to Jesus”. Perhaps this could be an opening for helping and witnessing to another person. Maybe by being real with others, they too will turn and seek Him. I am sure some people will just go about their day and never think about my answer, but someone else may just stop and ask questions.

      I am praying for all you ladies in this study. As I read your posts, it really is helpful to see that I am not alone in my feelings. Thank you all for being real and open.

      • Thank you for sharing because as I was reading I was thinking the same thing. I was famous for “I’m fine” I use to say it so much that people who knew me would say how are you? Oh, yeah your fine before I could even answer. I got to a point to where I realized I wasn’t fine. I was angry, bitter, hurt, disappointed, done with everything and everyone. I was even done with believing God because I was so angry. But God begin to use other women in my life to speak His truth to me and I begin to pray to Him and ask Him to free me from all those things. I begin to be honest with Him about my feelings. Why I was hurting and upset. God begin to heal me in ways that I can’t even explain. I begin to speak His truth, His word out of my mouth and I begin to continue to feel freedom, but the one thing I didn’t realize in all of that was if I couldn’t be honest with God or with others I was giving the enemy a place in my life. The enemy wants all of us to stay right where we are because if he continues to keep us down then God will not get the glory in our lives and he will continue to pick at us and pick at us until we are no more good. So I got to a place to where I started telling the enemy that he has no power over my life the more I rebuke him the freer I become. We all have the power to defeat the enemy and we must do that on a daily basis sometimes minute by minute, but I said all that to say that when we are honest with those around us and begin to point them to Christ by saying things like “it’s a rough day, but I’m hanging on to Jesus” then the enemy can not win and we begin to minister to others without really realizing it because we took off the mask and allowed someone else to see the wounds and the scares, but even though we have the wounds and the scares we know that by His stripes we are healed, and Jesus wants to heal them too.

        • Madeline says:

          I am so glad that you are going go forward with the Lord. I have also been convicted about the words coming out of my mouth and am trying to change the way I speak. What you said is true. When we sit in the “I’m fine” lie with ourselves, God and others its just another way we are kept imprisoned and isolated by the enemy. And in turn, we cannot minister to others. I now we are not to share our inner most troubles and struggles with everyone, but being real with whoever God shows me too is where I want to be. There are things in my life that I have not opened up about to anyone but God Himself…I am still not sure I can because they make me feel like I am such a terrible person, let alone Christian. But perhaps when I am able to speak of these things, then my healing and change will begin. It feels so isolating when you are alone in your grief and guilt. It definitely gives the enemy a power he should not have over us.

      • God is so big he uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. I believe Madeline that as you share your life just as you are people will see Jesus in you. I have so often thought wether i am a very good example of a christian yet have had some great conversations with my neighbour as she has got to know me and all that i am going through. I’m sure they see the diference.

        • Madeline says:

          Perhaps it is being real with people and letting them know that as a Christian we still struggle, but in handling our issues God’s way, that is the best witness we can be. Like with your neighbor. I want to start putting this into practice. I think that one day your neighbor will come to Christ and it will be because of your witness. And that is awesome. It is such a great reason to be transparent and open. I know I can’t share everything with everyone, nor should I, but I can (as God leads) be more open about our struggles and who gets us thru them.

          • Yes thanks for the encouragement. I don’t have many friends i can chat so openly with, but i do have one or two and maybe its because we just naturally click, as it were, that i can be so open about life as it is yet still be completely open about what I believe in.
            I just know those times are special. Especially when they start being so open themselves. : )

    • Christina says:

      Wendy – I too need help forgiving a pastoral staff. My son has ADD and got into trouble because he has a hard time sitting still (he has to be doing something to listen and hear). The Pastor and teacher for the class both felt that Stephen was being disruptive in class. Then another little boy (same age) started coming to the class with the same ADD. They got into an argument and the other little boy was forgiven for his disrupting the class and his part in the argument while I was told that Stephen would end up in jail (by the pastor). If you have never had to deal with an ADD/ADHD child you don’t know how hard it is to teach them right from wrong. Everything has to be fair! If one child gets away with something then Stpehen feels that he should get away with the same thing! When I talked to my pastor I felt like he already had has mind set and would not listen to what I had to say. I kept going to the church for 2 more years but did not take my son. I quit going right after my back surgery. With 5 pastors at our church not a one could be there for my surgery. This all just added up to me having some very hurt feelings and feeling like a failure as a mother and a Christian! I haven’t told anyone I feel until today. I really need prayers right now please! Thank you!

      • angela 2 says:

        With prayers for you Christian abd for all of us. Amen

      • Christina says:

        Ladies I am sorry for my rant! I just guess I needed to “get it off my chest”. Thank you Angela 2 for the prayers!

        • Christina, I can definitely understand how frustrating this must have been for you and I think you definitely did the right thing by switching churches. I used to work with elementary kids who had some type of disorder or learning disability and it is definitely very challenging and I was only with them for 8 hours a day, not 24/7. I pray that God will bless you and give you the grace to go through this. I also pray that the church you go to now is understanding and supportive of not only you but your son and family as well. I will pray for you and all of the other ladies in this study. God Bless!

          • Christina says:

            Ladies – Thank-you so much! I am crying as I read these sweet and uplifting words! Laura you are so right about people thinking its a discipline problem. Believe me until Stephen was diagnosed I thought I was just not discipling him enough but now I know that I have to explain to him (several times) what he did that was wrong, then discipline and then work on correcting the behavior.

            Renee – I am so glad that your sweet little one is being checked now instead of after several years of school! If she is ADHD or ADD please be very careful what medicine she takes – if you go that route. So many of the meds can cause serious damage to the body. I will be praying for your sweet little one, your family and you! Mine my sometimes be difficult but he is MY blessing for God and I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

        • Oh please don’t apologize! I think this is exactly in line with the kind of homework this study has in mind. I am so glad that you switched churches. You most definitely want to make sure that you are in a church where your child can be nourished and fed the Word in a compassionate, patient, and understanding environment. When I taught Sunday school there was this little boy who had extreme ADHD and was always getting into trouble. His mama was just the sweetest lady, and every class she would walk up with this look of dread on her face as she asked how he did. I always focused on telling her everything good that he did, but there were others who could not wait to tell her all of the mistakes that he made. It made my skin crawl :( These were not cruel people; they were people who thought that the issue was discipline. So many people (myself included) don’t know how to handle a child struggling so hard with understanding what is expected of them and following through with those expectations like children with ADHD do, but I know that the answer is NOT to shame them or their parents! Praying for you, sweet mama!

          • I agree with Laura. What a sweet mama you are and Im so sorry for what you’ve been through. I have an adopted 4yr old who was just recently assessed for ADHD and other developmental delays and it’s hard. It’s so important for us to have support and kindness from others like Laura who want to encourage and help – not shame and demean.

            So, no need to apologize. Im glad you talked about. Healing comes when we are brave enough to be honest about our hurts and disappointments with ourselves, each other and esp God. This is a safe place to share and it helps us all to learn from one another’s stories and pray for each other’s struggles. :)

      • I am praying for you Christina! And thank you all for letting me share my feelings as well. It is really great to be able to get these things out of my heart, so that I can take off the mask. I really like the suggestion of answering with I am blessed. And to begin my day with telling myself that I am blessed, what a great way to renew my mind. Instead of focusing on things that have gone wrong, or will go wrong, I will remind myself of all the blessings God has given me. Thank you everyone! And thank you Renee for giving us a safe place, to learn more about the Lord. :)

    • Julia S. says:

      Wendy, I feel the exact same way. The biggest difference is that I moved two years ago to where I am currently living and have not found a new church, have not found anyone that I feel comfortable talking to, and only have my two kids, who have no idea the struggle that I am having. Everything that I do is for others…making others happy. Dealing with health issues, and at this point, I’m not sure if I can take the mask off, because I don’t want my kids to worry about me and how I’m feeling. I’m happiest when I am with my kids, but wish I had someone that I could lean on or get that needed hug. Reading about all these ladies that are in multiple marriages, I’m sorry for what they are going through, but enjoy what God gave you…someone to love and be a loving wife. I am 43 years old and never been married, and have given up all hope on ever finding that one special man that God has in mind for me, but I’m letting Him write my love story. Lord, please give us all the strength to be able to deal with this mask removing study and bring us closer to you….

      • Don’t give up hope! God will provide abundantly for you. As for taking your mask off with the kids, depending on their age, most kids can sense when their parents are stressed out or struggling. I know I sensed incredible tension from my parents when we first emigrated to the US and struggled financially. It’s fine to not want them to worry, but if they’re old enough, you could ask them to pray with you. God bless!

        • To piggy back on what Julie said, I wanted to share with you a little bit of my own testimony as someone who grew up in an extremely chaotic situation. My mama was DESPERATE to keep it together for us and it ended up tearing her apart wearing that mask. She worked so hard to keep us from knowing how much pain she was in, but we KNEW and she indirectly sent us the message that it was a bad thing to show the proper emotion for pain. I have an aunt, however, who was going through something EXTREMELY painful and she would cry for days at a time and share her struggle. She would be strong when able and break down as it came. Both of them handled it the way that they thought best for those around them and were (are) trusting in the Lord, and I am not trying to throw my mom under the bus by any means because she is a wonderful mother. I just want you to know though, that my aunt’s example was (and still is) CRUCIAL to me when I go through dark valleys…because I am now a mother of 3 and don’t want them to believe that it is wrong to suffer or express pain in the face of suffering; that it actually takes a great deal of strength to admit to our weaknesses. We can REALLY minister to our children by allowing ourselves to feel our feelings and express them properly.

      • Big hug from me.

      • (((Hugs))) Julia!

    • I can definitely relate, know that I am praying for you and that Jesus is right there with you

  6. Julie R. says:

    I have always been a very outgoing person. Love to be around people and connect to people and seem to draw people to me. I am a Marketing Director, so connecting and networking is what I do best!!! I have become the pro at answering the question of “How are You” with Great, everything’s going good.” I am now in a great deal of pain and insecurity dealing with my husband dating, etc. when we were separated for 5 mos. She was in my home and now that we are reconciled, I live with that thought in this home every day. I wonder if he is comparing me to her during intimate times. I wonder if he is comparing me to her in all things. This is strictly my journey, God is working in our lives and I have no doubt my husband loves me and wants to rebuild our marriage. He has assured me that none of my concerns are valid. I have withdrawn from friends that knew he was dating due to pride and embarassment. I am so weary of this inner turmoil. Just wanted to share those pains with someone. Thank you for letting me. I am loving this study and have no doubt God has led me here. He is doing a great work in our lives and in mine. He is opening some amazing doors for me and I am beginning to pray about my ministry again.

    • Christina says:

      Julie – I will be praying for you!

    • Julie….when those thoughts come, remember now that your husband has chosen you twice, over and above anyone else! He has pursued you once again as his love and the affection of his heart. He is willing to put forth the effort again to make it work and seems he doesn’t want your marriage to be a failure either……Maybe your “new beginning” can be celebrated by moving to a new home?….

    • Julie I your testimony has touched my heart because I was in the same boat. My husband left me and during that time of our separation which lasted 6 months he committed adultery. We decided that we would work things out and he came back home, however not realizing that I really had a lot of pinned up anger and bitterness towards him. I begin to compare myself to the other woman. I would even ask questions because I became insecure, and even though he would tell me it had nothing to do with you. I wasn’t in a good place. I became so anger I just didn’t care so one thing lead to another. I still was not satisfied it didn’t matter to be. All that anger and lack of trust and me comparing myself to the other woman lead my husband to leave again and we have been separated now for a year and a half this time. I continue to play in my head what went wrong, and then I begin to say things like he never wanted to be with me anyway. I knew I couldn’t trust him, He was still in love with her. All these thoughts place more filled my head, but I came to realize that I never really forgave him. Yes I know that we can forgive but never forget, but in true forgiveness I should have never held it over his head. If I was willing to take him back then I had to be willing to forgive. It is not an easy process because the enemy wants to destroy what you have, but we must not let him. Trust me it is easier said then done, but the best advice I can give is to trust God with your whole heart and allow him to change you. Allow Him to do a work in your heart because He can give a new found love for your husband that is indescribable, and He can also give you beauty for those ashes because you are His daughter and He loves you! I will be praying for your marriage and I will be praying for you.

    • oh Julie! I can’t imagine that heartache. Living spaces are so very personal; I can imagine the stigma that must be associated with what you’re going through! But there is a living space that is even more personal- the Holy Spirit living inside of YOU! He knows your pain and constantly intercedes to the heavenly Father on your behalf. The Lord just impressed on my heart to tell you this; I hope it brings you comfort and joy! Blessings to you.

    • Barbara says:

      Julie, I am so sorry this has happened to you. I have seen my dearly loved daughter go through this kind of heartache. I can only imagine how hard this has been for you. I said a prayer for you just now and will continue to pray that our Father will continue to bless you and your husband and your marriage. God bless you, dear lady.

    • Praying for you, Julie, that you will experience true healing.

  7. Patricia says:

    For years I put on mask so I could fit in with whatever someone wanted me to be, because I wanted to be loved, accepted, my breaking point was having depression, then I came to realization that I couldn’t put on a mask any more, I became more real with Jesus, and he started peeling the layers, like an onion it was, raw and hard to deal with, he showed me all my coping mechanism wasn’t working, that I could unload on him and i could be so real before him. Open honest, and he just loves me, and keeps loving me, so now I describe myself as Mary sitting at Jesus feet, and just listening to him and what he has to say to me, no better place, but to worship him. Thank you Renee for this wonderful book.

  8. Janet F says:

    I am not fine either, I struggle with eating disorder issues, I am divorced, my one son has divorced my other son’s wife is leaving when she finds a place to live and they have 2 precious girls 10 & 5, Everyone I work with talks negative and gossips and slanders, the atmosphere is terrible and it rubs off on me and I join in. I cry out to God nightly for forgiveness and pray the new day will be one of victory and then I stubble again. I live and take care of my 90 year old mother and I let her make me feel like a 12 year old again. I get frustrated and short with her and then feel remorse. I just pray that I can just go home to be with the Lord and be free of all the craziness in my life. I know I am being selfish by thinking that. I mean why should I be free of struggles in this life, we all have them, and it is in those struggle we become more like Christ and He can mold us into being what He wants us to be. Thank you for this study, I am going to be a different person when we are done. Praise God!!

  9. For a long time, I really just wanted to be fine and left alone. Beneath the surface, I worked hard at keeping things looking “fine.” Like Renee wrote in chapter 2, “With each attempt to keep others impressed and distant, I stepped further into the shadows of doubt.” There is great pressure to keep up appearances, especially when everyone around me seemed to be doing just that. But daring to be different, to not be so fixated on others’ opinions, or in keeping score, helps me find freedom. It’s a daily struggle and somedays, I’m lost and confused and shaken to the core. But God is there to pick me up. Today, I’m so thankful to say that while my husband and are in the midst of a few major decisions (and major uncertainty), I’m resting in the Lord and I actually feel FINE! Faithful, Inspired, New, Encouraged. A hard-won “FINE” from the Lord is so much better than the one we try to maintain on our own.

  10. Thank you Renee for your obedience in writing this book. Today, I admit that I’m not fine, but I do fit Chapter 2′s FINE. God bless you my sisters taking this journey.
    Will you pray for me?
    I’m praying for you.

    • angela 2 says:

      I ‘m praying fore you now Vickie and will keep praying for all the ladys in this study. God Bless you in your journey everyday. Amen and Christ Love

  11. I’m not fine either…thank you for this book and this forum so much. I’ve struggled with depression for 40 years and it feels like its getting the best of me as i get older..I’m 61. I just feel lost but the words of encouragement here help. Living alone the last 11 yrs has taken a toll..i know everyone has their own special set of circumstances..so grateful for this study.

    • Priscilla says:

      I too am in my 60′s and have struggled with anxiety (I have OCD) for a number of years. But as I study God’s Word and am in several on line Bible studies I do really feel blessed. It’s so good to know we are not alone. Turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace! I love this little song and hope you know it and can sing it for the encouragement it may give you.

  12. God wanting me to know Him has been prominent in my thoughts and prayers this week. Not know about Him but know Him. This is exciting for me because it’s the desire of my heart to come closer to Him and experience the sweetness of His person. Another devotional I read this morning asked me am I more interested in the blessings or in God himself? Powerful question!
    Today I am going to quiet my mind and listen to His voice through my activities and just be blessed by intentionally living this day with Him.
    Praying for all my sisters in the Lord who are doing this study. Those who are hurting so much right now; may God reveal His love for you in a powerful and new way this day.

    ” Persevere, so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised” Hebrews 10:36
    This was given to me many years ago and it was so powerful back then and still is today!

  13. Every time I tell someone I hurt they decide to give me advice. Try this ,exercise more get some fresh air,etc. it gets frustrating,to where you just tell everyone your fine. People forget about Jesus and prayer. Broken backs don’t heal with more exercise by the way! It is wonderful to be reminded that Jesus knows and cares and accepts right where we are!

    • I agree for years that’s why I would never tell people how I really felt because I didn’t want their advice or opinions so I would say I’m fine. It seemed like most people wanted to give me there opinion, what they thought I should do. Now I can freely talk to God and a lot of times I would pray for the right person to share my struggles with.

  14. I am loving this study. I am the very best at saying “I’m fine.” Truth is, I’m scared to death. My family’s business supports the home building industry. As everyone knows, the last 6 years have been brutal. My husband has worked without a salary for 3 of those years trying to keep the business afloat. I work at the same business, but so far have not had my salary affected, so we are able to survive. I struggle with exposing my fears publicly because I see so many who via social media and the like, constantly make comments about how bad their life is, or how they would love to see something positive happen. I just don’t want to appear as a victim. My God is bigger than that. I don’t want the exposure of my situation to become a distraction to what I know God will do in my life. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. So I know regardless of my circumstances–whether the failure of my business allows me to lose my home, or if He allows us to crawl out of the financial mess this craziness called economy has created, He will be with me. I can’t honestly tell you I don’t worry. I do—greatly (and I know that is a sign that my faith is not where it needs to be). There are days I want to go running for the hills and never look back. But there is always that still small voice within me, telling me to keep going, don’t give up. I can bear witness to so many things that have been worked in our behalf, that only God could do, that just keep me moving forward although sometimes very slowly. I wish I could just say whatever happens will be okay. Truth is, I do want my circumstances to improve. It’s draining every morning to know you face with struggling just to take care of what needs to be done for that day. However, at the end of every day anything that is important always manages to get completed….and for that I am extremely thankful. The personal and spiritual growth for myself and my family may never have happened without these struggles. God knows what he is doing. I’m just working on trusting Him fully. I have to admit, I’m still a work in process. We are definitely at a crossroads….we need and covet your prayers.

    • Jen,

      I, too, am going thru some of the same struggles you are with a family business. The thoughts you posted resonate in my heart. I struggle, mightily, but am learning to keep at leaning on God. I don’t always know what that looks like in practice, and I don’t know what tomorrow holds… But, in the midst of it all, the desire to be truly known by and truly know my God overshadows it all. I will be praying for you and your family, knowing the battles of the position you are in. At that crossroads with you… Sharing in your prayers.

      • Thank you Sherry! I know I am not alone in this struggle and my heart is full knowing that there are others there who are willing to pray for our situation even though you don’t know me personally. I can assure you I will do the same. It’s easy to talk a brave talk…not so easy to walk it.:) Deliverance is coming…of that I am sure.

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Jen I too struggle with a family business and I work for free 40+ hours a week my boyfriend of 20 years owns the business with his father and the work is just slack now so much is hard to pay my boyfriend named Doug his salary every week. His father just put another 10,000 in the business bank account because it got so low we could even pay the monthly bills. There are two am at the crossroads with you and Sherry my prayers for all of us who were struggling with businesses and all the other struggle that come along with that. In Christ love Amen.

      • Praying for you too, Angela, and so many others who are struggling to stay afloat. Our worship pastor leads the lyrics to a wonderful promise….”….just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision, and the adversary says give in…just hold on…MY GOD will show up and take you through the fire again.” He has….and he will again and again.

  15. Sonya Sampson says:

    What a great word! The ” I’m fine” mask seems to be the great equalizer. We are all just fine….However, as the body of Christ we are called to be authentic with each other, otherwise, how can the body function? We have all been given gifts to use within the body yet because we are failing to be honest with ourselves and each other those gifts of encouragement, et al, are often left on the shelf, unused. Let us determine to be the body of Christ! If one part is hurting, we must feel their hurt…if one is celebrating we must dance in delight.

  16. I want to be fine but really fear rejection chaos is consuming Lord help me to rest in Your arms as I do not know how Amen

  17. Chapter 2 reading and today message touched my heart. I’m not fine but I believing with God grace and mercy it will help me over come life obstacles. I really enjoyed this week reading. It allowing me to look in the mirror and helping me see me. It exposed the truth I’m am not fine and the details are not important but,please prayer for me and my family. God Bless Everyone of us for Seeking HIM.

  18. I have had this book a long time and always promised myself that I would read it because it was exactly what I needed. I am finally realizing that it is what I need to hear. I have gone through life not sure of myself and then being married I never felt I had a voice and was not confident in what I wanted to do. After going through a rough patch in my marriage with a spouse that strayed, I had to pick myself up and realize that what I had to say was important no matter what happened. God has been with me through the process and he continues to be with me. I pray that as I read this study that I will realize that no matter what others thinkg God loves me for who I am inside and out. I am also encouraged by the posts that other women write as it remindes me that other are also struggling.

    • Dawn, I can so relate to your comment. I grew up with a shy, unsure of myself personality, and it always puzzled me as to why I was the way I was. For a long time I thought it was just “my demeanor”. One of the questions at the end of the first chapter asks about my first memory of doubting myself or feeling insecure. I had a great childhood and don’t remember any incidents that related to me directly that would fill me with self doubt or insecurity, but then God revealed to me why I feel like I do. You see, I grew up with a dad that had a very critical spirit. His critism was not directed at me, but at my mom. After years and years of witnessing his degrading tone toward my mom I began to believe him. My view of women in general sort of deteriorated, and I began to view women as weak, unintelligent, and incapable. Oh, but wait a minute….I’m a woman…I guess that would apply to me as well. I wish I had read this book years ago. I’m married to a man with a similar personality, and I’m praying now that God will heal my heart and mind and help me remember who I am in Him, not who I am in my own mind or the mind of others. Also praying that my kids would come to know the same thing, and not have a distorted view of women and relationships in general, and that God intended men and women to be partners with mutual respect and love. Thanks for your post. Praying for you as well. :)

  19. The timing of this topic is incredible. I believe it is God pursuing me thru this exact topic! I’m not sure if my shyness w/ this many women is keeping me from being too ‘open’ on here, or if I’m still holding onto my mask…I want to appear fine. To appear anything but that, is ‘weak’, I’ve told myself, is not attractive. God is working in my life and my boyfriend’s and it is so encouraging to have this topic/Bible Study ‘coach’ me along as we desire to work thru issues & be freed of struggles that are holding us back, b4 walking down the isle. Thank You Renee & Melanie!

  20. Fine, such a tiny word but such a potentially powerful word. In whose power are we going to rely. If I wear the “I’m fine” mask for the world to see, I being disobedient to my PaPa who so wants to shelter me and hold me when my world crumbles around me. I’m certainly not fine but I’m learning that when I rely on Him who gives me life I can live through and even grow on this journey we share. Do I ask for prayer from others? Yes I do. Have I always done this? NO, but when I started doing this, friendships grew stronger with my prayer warriors and I have been so blessed by a PaPa who just is, no exceptions. Trusting PaPa isn’t easy but oh so important to taking off the masks we think we need to use to navigate this temporary place in which we reside. Blessings dear sisters

    • Christina says:

      I love how you refer to God as PaPa! It makes Him seem so much closer and more personal! Thank-you I needed to relize that God is my PaPa!

  21. Nancy Williams says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much this post spoke to me. I have spent my whole life trying to be perfect because afterall that is what was expected of me…you must be the perfect daughter, the perfect wife and the perfect mother. Always smile and remember you are fine, Do Not air your dirty laundry in public. You must always dress just right, act just right and be just right so when you hurt you push that into the dark creavesses of yourself because out of sight, out of mind. That’s like telling someone don’t cry and don’t feel, don’t love. Life is full of hurts along the way so allow yourself the right to feel and trust God that there’s nothing he can’t or won’t bring you thru. My one regret is that I didn’t get to know him until I was over 50 years old, I always believed but I was brought up with the idea that if I made a mistake or failed God would punish me…so totally Untrue! when you admit you screwed up, he loves you even more. Life would been have so much more rewarding if I had know this so many years ago because I punished my self for the mistakes I had made worse than God or anyone else could have. I’m still a work in progress as we all are and I’m still working to get to know God better and I’m so thankful that he Loves Me!

  22. Thanks a lot Renee. I just completed chapter 2. Your words “Today can be the day the gospel of Grace moves from your head to your heart” really got to me. I have been a Christian for so long and I pray that indeed today my heart not my head will receive Jesus. I believe that sometimes i struggle because what i have is a head knowledge of Christ.
    Please pray for me as we journey together in what I believe will be a phenomenal life transformation for us all.

  23. I am a so grateful for this study and Melanie’s post today. I needed this for today. I so often tell others I am fine but know how I really feel inside. Others sometimes expect me to be fine and to have gotten over the hurt inside me. God has been working in this study at this time in my life. I know I need not fear taking off the mask. Today I will trust God in my journey.

  24. Since December of 2010 my father died suddenly I lost my job, my baby sister became extermly ill, we are still battling that annd my natural mother and step-father where killed in a car accident it’ll in a span of 5 months. Just as I was regaining my bearings my husbands brother was electricuted, and nine days prior to the 1 yr anniversary of his death, my step-son, 6 weeks after his high school graduation, 3 weeks before his 19th birthday, died in a single car accident. As if that is not enough, for the past 2 yrs I have endured about 30 injections in my eyes, having my drivers license revoke because of my eye sight, and having my independence removed. I am a diabetic. I am sick as unto death of hiding behind a mask, of making sure “you” (meaning causal friends, people at church, etc.) do not have to extend yourself beyond your casual greeting, so, saying I am FINE, allows them to walk away with that self satisfied feeling that they have shown forth that hand of fellowship and all is well. Don’t ask me if you aren’t prepared to hear me. I am raw with pain, I sit alone at home waiting for my husband to get off work, or for day off so that I can do what has to be done out side the home. Sometimes my step mom comes. Once in awhile a friend calls- but I have learned that if you open up they quickly run away. My church family, my Christian employe rand best friend, gone- I sometimes feel like Job-
    Removing the mask will expose not only the truth to others, but to ourselves as well. Healing, progress, new friends and relationships can not come until the ability to open ourselves honestly to each other- to trust the Fathers heart. If I can’t look at myself honestly how can I be honest with God.
    So this is me: I am angry, confused, in shock, lost, no direction, feel hopeless, I want to scream, to hurt someone, to understand, I want to be happy again, to be spiritually grounded like I was, to see the light at the tunnels end, to sleep through the night, to not fear the unknown- but for now I am fine……..

    • Madeline says:

      I can only imagine the pain and hurt you are feeling. I may not be able to do anything to physically help, and I won’t preach the usual hang in there, God knows stuff. I know when we are hurting we don’t want to hear platitudes. I will say that I am praying for you. And that my heart is breaking for you. And as best we can here in cyberspace, I am standing with you.

    • Christina says:

      Dianne – I am praying for healing and peace for you my sister!

    • Sister, will be your prayer warrior!! You have dealt with more than most will ever in one lifetime. Your post has touched my heart deeply. My prayer is you will held ever so tightly in the arms of our Jesus as he carries you through this journey of pain. I care about you! If a stranger that doesn’t have it all together,has many bumps in life that has caused scars,someone that also wants to be more than “fine”, can care about you then can you start to know how much our Jesus is crazy in love with you and wants to hold you and catch every tear you cry? Sister, you are a brave woman to have posted your journey for us. Today is a new beginning for us all. That my friend, includes you! HUGS!

    • angela 2 says:

      Diane my heart breaks for you as I was reading your post you are a brave woman and a strong woman for sharing your true feelings with strangers in cyberspace. I’ve only shared a little about my story but I can relate to some of the pain you are going through with the loss of family members and things. Why allows my oldest son at age 32 unexpectedly to a heart attack October 11, 2012 and it just so happened to be my 20 Th anniversary with my boyfriend the same day. But remember as Madeline Christina Pam and all the others that will answer disposed We As Sisters in Christ or Standing with You and Praying for Your Healing and Peace As We Traveled This Journey Together. With Christ love Amen

    • Dianne……sending blessings and hugs and hope to you today….ALL because of Jesus! Your life and its trials have the makings of a beautiful masterpiece!….hold His hand and trust Him to weave everything into that beautiful tapestry that will radiantly reflect His love and beauty and mercy! This is bigger than you!…… It is easy for someone to say who is just looking in, but……..as an observer to all that you have written……just REST!….. and let God turn EVERYTHING out for good! He promised He would do that for all who love and trust in Him!!!!

      • To Madeline, Christina, Pam, Angela 2 and Laurie

        How can I thank you for the encouragement, compassion and love sent my way today. I have and will continue to hold tight, because I do believe that there is a greater purpose, that what we walk through is never just for us, it will be used to minister to others. If nothing else, I removed my mask today, I want to walk in honesty, to let others know that trials, tribulation and trouble comes to everyone, I want to be a safe place for someone else to remove their mask. Thank you for standing with me today, thank you for being my sisters!!!!!!!! Sending much love and prayers to you all.
        Love
        Dianne

  25. Penny M. says:

    I have started chapter 2, but I felt the need to go back to chapter 1 and think it through a little more. I must tell you, the part on pg. 21 about wondering if you were in the wrong calling has really hit home with me. I cannot tell you how many times I have questioned if I am supposed to be doing something or not doing something. I wonder if it is God’s way of telling me that it is not the right thing for me. Now, I am so unsure. Is it just my own doubts? Is it even real?

    I just wanted to say thank you for doing this study. I am looking forward to progressing.

  26. Leslie B says:

    I’m not sure how to answer other than fine? To my parents not answering fine would make my mentally unstable mom more unstable. To my friends I would have to be vulnerable not some thing I’m comfortable with. I could go threw the list of who and why not to let someone know I’m not fine. Lord I pray you send me someone I can be vulnerable with, to honestly answer “I’m not always fine to”

  27. Marcella R says:

    Boy is this scary removing your mask. Fear of letting others in and know the true me. Whoever tat is. Will they walk out of my life like so many. Was brought up not to air your problems, keep them to yourself or your weak. I have let a friend in September of 2011 that I opened up to. I go to a support group with her. But I’m still guarded and say I’m fine. I’ve tried talking to the ministers wife but don’t feel it goes anywhere. Dealing with betrayal and a struggling marriage. How do I do this and still honor and respect my husband. I can’t share these issues. Going to re-read chapter 2 again. Thanks for sharing your story Melanie.

    • Praying for you!

    • Yes! It is scary. I completely agree… and sweet friend, I am praying for your marriage. I completely understand what you are saying. Sometimes our stories are not completely ours to tell… God knows and He sees. He loves you, and I do too.

  28. Renee thanks so much for your suggestion to take God’s word and create a prayer!
    Here is my prayer from the scripture for today 2 Cor 12:9: “Lord give me your grace and lead me to be confident in sharing my weaknesses. Fulfill your promise that your grace is sufficient for me. Show me how to let the power of Christ dwell in me; so that I can be perfected in weakness.”
    I am so glad to be doing this study online and grateful to share with everyone. Looking forward to the great blessings we will receive from God!

    • Kim: that prayer is perfect- I will be praying it today:-)

    • angela 2 says:

      Thanks Kim I wrote this down and I’m going to put it on my bathroom wall so I can read it every day. I write down a lot of verses that people qoute becouse I ‘m just learning the bible I can’t even tell you all the book of the bible yet. I act like I do sometimes in church but i’m just reading alot and writing a lot so I can put it in my heart for life. Amen
      I found this little card I want to share here it is
      Faith Step:
      As you pour yourslef a cup of coffee or tea this morning, use it as a visual reminder to ask Jesus to fill you up with His strenght, courage, and love.
      Nice quote I think.I give credit to who ever wrote it has no name on it.
      Prayers and love in Christ

  29. Carla R says:

    So I think in my life I have finally understood that I am not fine. I think I am trying to accept that Im not fine… I do that best when I look to the One that can hold all my broken pieces together. I have always wanted to just be fine until recently I have decided that maybe I should embrace the fact that I am not and filter it through Him and see what happens. I love the Hebrew word for “know”. The Lord already knows Im not fine and thats okay with Him that Im not fine. Page 41 said we can offer nothing but our presence and He will desire us just the same. What a restful thought to me . I also appreciated the sentence that said He notices and cares enough to tell us our hearts need repair. Maybe when I embrace that I am not fine instead of trying to be fine then I can give attention to the places that need repair. Maybe not being fine is more of a gift if I choose to filter the not fine through Him.

  30. I think we can agree that it is much easier to say “I’m fine” than to share our troubles, concerns, and issues especially with church members. I feel we are expected to be fine, and the one place we need to be honest or should be able to be honest…..we may not feel safe to do so. People are too busy to listen, to offer comfort, to love on the unlovely. Many of us have been hurt by the world and many of us have been hurt in churches and by pastoral staff…so it is difficult to take off that mask. I for one am not good at pretending so even if my voice says “I’m fine”…you will see it in my eyes. I encourage those who need that safe person to talk too…..to talk to Jesus…ask Him for help and guidance….and ask Him to bring those safe people in your lives that you can share and be yourself around….some people have the gift of encouragement….and those are the people we can share with….but ultimately…Jesus is our healer, our confidant, our comforter….let Him guide you into HIs truth in your situation. Pray and read His word and He will guide you. He will speak to you and guide you in the direction you should go. Start in His Word and then listen for His voice. He longs to be your everything! He loves you with an everlasting love! Be blessed sweet sisters and listen to what He says about you and not what you or the world says about you. Let him renew your mind and heal your heart.

    • Jeanette says:

      Sonia, you’ve taking the words out of my mouth. I agree its easier to say we are fine than explain our complicated issues. I also agree that people are “too busy” to listen. We are human and flawed. This is where I feel as women we have failed each other. We need to make growing in Christ together a priority. We need to make time for our sisters in Christ. And as you pointed out, we need to stay in His truth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. I was just thinking before I read your about how even if I wanted to share with someone how not fine I am, I have no one. I try with my husband but he just gets frustrated with my negative emotions and typically it ends up making the situation worse. I know I can talk to Jesus, and He wants me to….I just feel like He isn’t there anymore, like He says “Oh boy here she comes again complaining about how she isn’t good enough or she isn’t important”. I know it’s probably not how He is, I just am not sure how to get out of this way of thinking.

  31. Well, this is very interesting…I am a open book and not much do I hide from anyone…But have been told that I have deeper issues when I feel the way I do…Hope I can make sense with this:)
    I have been told I need deliverence, because i desire friendships and committed to ones God places in my path…If one leaves, I am broken for awhile and it takes me time to let go….so does anyone feel this is an issue…?

    I feel it is just loving somone thats in my life and thankful for the friendships God allows me to have and share him and have the same understandings as daughters of GOD, and apprecaites relationships..
    Like to hear your thoughts..

    • Patty: From what you have written here, it surely doesn’t seem like you need deliverance. I agree with what you have written in the second paragraph. It sounds like you have a heart like God. He is very committed to us and calls us friends. :) Surely you are discerning in what you share with others – seeking God’s direction. God bless you, sweet sister in Christ.

  32. I too am going through my 2nd divorce, I also thought I’d be married until I died. Things have been terrible and the feelings of dispair and hopeliness have abided in me. I have met someone also going through what i’m going through and what I thought was going to turn into another relationship, i now have my doubts. Everytime I voice my concerns I am fighting and arguing and he leaves. He says he’s not going to fight and argue, I have found myself once again alone. I know God is with me through all of this, but sometimes I still feel very alone. I am going through this session in hopes that it helps pull me out of the pit I’m in. Please pray for me!

  33. Sometimes it is easier to be transparent when someone, who you know cares about you, asks “How are you, really?” When someone is just asking in order to make polite conversation, they probably expect an “I’m fine.”

    It’s harder to say you are fine, though, when things definitely are not My family and I went through a time of being criticized, judged, attacked. That was a very difficult time, thankfully things are quiet now,since the people who started the drama stopped.

    I’m enjoying this book and Bible study!

  34. Sometimes are past has a way of catching up with our future. When you’ve looked for love and acceptance all your life–the “I’m Fine Mask” seems to be just a part of the norm. Because you REALLY aren’t fine, you often wonder when you ever will be. Had I known about God’s unconditional love all along, maybe the mask would of have lost some of it’s value a long time ago. Instead, I spent most of my life in church, but never relationally attached to God. There is a difference, I’ve now learned. So I tell Him my problems–because I know He’ll listen, He’s always available, and He truly loves and cares about me.

    I just want to thank you, Renee, for sharing your heart and for allowing us to share ours.

  35. Thank you so much for this post. I am forever saying I am fine when in reality I am so not ok sometimes. I am blessed with 2 beautiful children after fertility issues and miscarriages so I feel like I should say I’m fine. Well the past few years have been rough. My husband finished law school 3 years ago and just took the bar exam for the fourth time. Yes fourth. I love him and am prou of his accomplishments but sometimes would love to scream when there are 2 mouths to feed and we still struggle because of this costly endeavor. The loan payments are now due and we are overwhelmed with this added large expense. This year we had a house fire that added to the bills and aggravation. Are we healthy, have The Lord and happy. Overall yes, but there are times I am just not fine. It’s so hard as Christians to say we are not ok because I feel people judge us and say well you should trust in The Lord. Well I do trust him fully but he also understands our pain and no matter how big or small out issue it’s ok to cry and scream sometimes. I think if that song by Amy grant “better than a hallelujah”. God wants to hear our cries. He loves us and what better a shoulder to cry on. Thank you to all you ladies who understand our struggles as moms, wives and sometimes the rocks we are suppose to be when all we need is that outlet.

  36. Wow!…my emotions are very *raw* at this moment. The “I am fine” syndrome has been my lifelong, constant companion. Along with this companion, she brought a friend….her name is pain. Presently, I am struggling with being open with others. I don’t know how…I don’t know if anyone cares…and I am not comfortable in being this way. Prayers are greatly appreciated for I know I want to be free from the grasps of my two companions named, “I am Fine” and “Pain.” :(

    Renee, THANK YOU for this study!

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Donna I also had the two sisters in my life is a lie they come hand-in-hand but my prayers are with you and I’m not fine either I just need to learn to let people know that and take off my mask. So we will altogether in this journey to find our confidence in our walk with Jesus our Lord. In Christ love and prayers Amen

    • Barbara says:

      Donna, I too struggled with “Pain” and saying “I am fine” for many years. I want to assure you that someone does care and His name is Jesus. He loves you and understands your heart. Our Father has brought me through those two unwanted companions and He was with me all the way. He will do the same for you. I will pray for you my sister. May our Lord bless you.

  37. I want to say fine too, but, people really don’t want to hear it. People do shy away from it….Everyone is too busy and have their own issues and don’t want to hear anyone elses. Or they feel theirs is worse and have no empathy for yours. Also I find that people are looking for others who are in a better position than themselves……people that can help them……once they find out you are human too, they DO lose or change the way they think of you etc.

    Said, and lonely place to be. I want to be fine in the Lord! Joy in the Lord and not depend on others!

    • Barbara R. says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ang. Even my loving husband of 20+ yrs. really doesn’t want to hear that things in my life aren’t fine, and that really hurts. I’ve come to realize today that I need to go to the Lord FIRST and tell Him that I’m not fine and pour my heart out to Him. I cannot expect people to meet my needs, only the Lord can do that AND change the situation. God bless you!

    • Barbara R. says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ang. Even my loving husband of 20+ yrs. really doesn’t want to hear that things in my life aren’t fine, and that really hurts. I’ve come to realize today that I need to go to the Lord FIRST and tell Him that I’m not fine and pour my heart out to Him. I cannot expect people to meet my needs, only the Lord can do that AND change the situation.

  38. Thank you for the reminder that if I say “I’m fine” I am taking control of my life and not letting God do all that He can in my life and for me. I feel a relief just knowing I don’t have to be alone and try to always have the smile on my face.

    • angela 2 says:

      Amen to that Peg. it dose feel good to know we are not alone. but painful too to know so many women feel like we do. in Christ love Amen

  39. Today’s information was selected just for me… I have long been the person that holds our family together. I am the one everyone calls to tell about their problems and search for the positive spin I always try to find for them. This position of gluing the family together can be so exhausting!! Four Years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember rarely showing any struggle I was feeling as to not upset my husband, parents and children who were already struggling with my diagnosis. I never want to be a burden to anyone. I find it so difficult to rest and allow others to help me and even as detrimental to me as it is- I always push forward. From a self esteem position, the ability to trudge forward is some convoluted way makes me feel stronger. I really need to find ways to open up easier without feeling that loss of ability to support others.

    • Nikki…..I can relate to EVERYTHING you posted!! I feel very much the same way! It’s almost like I have to say ” im fine” because everyone needs and expects me to be! This is going to be a learning process for me! Im praying for you today Nikki that you can break free as well! God bless you!

    • I relate to this too, Nikki. I want to be honest with people, but I know people are busy, I don’t want to take up their time! So Here is 2 things we can do:

      When someone asks “How are you?” Give a short honest answer.
      That way, if they want to know more they’ll ask. But you’re not intruding on their schedule – after all they asked!

      When someone asks you to pray for them, do so and THEN say, could you pray for me as well?
      Give them one brief thing to pray for. Usually people would be flattered and honored to return the favor.

      As you do these 2 things, you will find the people in your life who really want to help, and those are the people who you could go into more details with.

  40. I am incredibly guilty of using the “i’m fine” mask. I’m a stay at home mom of 7 beautiful and healthy children. I’m happily married to a man who is my best friend and I’m blessed beyond measure! With all that being said you may ask “what could she possibly need to hide behind”? I’ve asked myself this many times and there are a couple things that stick out. 1.. I struggle with lonliness and isloation. My husband works long hours to provide for us and I’m so thankful for that but it leaves me feeling lonely, incredibly lonely! 2…I have always struggled with being a people pleaser and I obsess over things being “just right”. I often feel like the “i’m fine” mask is worn because others will look at me and say im so ungrateful if I appear otherwise! I have what many moms wish they could have. To appear anything less than “FINE” would be wrong right? That is exactly what I struggle with……..I long for good godly companionship, I feel isolated with the duties and chores of a busy mom and wife! I know this is where I am meant to be and I’m tremendously blessed to be able to be home. This is precisely what most people would say…….So, therefore I should be nothingless than ” just fine”. I have been praying lately for God to bring some good Christian ladies into my life. Im realizing that I can come to God about anything and He wants to meet me where I am. Im excited to see what will come from this study. Thank you Renee!! God bless!

    • Kristy,

      I’m so thankful to be a stay at home mom too. I only have 2 little ones so far.
      Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a time that we can connect with other women, without having to pack up all the kids and go somewhere? I’m thinking of even 50 years ago when a women with sick kids would be issolated for months in the cold dark winter with only a few neighbors for support.

      Thank God for the internet, and Thank God for Renee for starting this blog.

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Kristy
      I was a single mom and could never stay at home but I have the upmost respect for the women than can. I’m a stay at home (or in the shop ) all the time now and we are raising my boyfriends sisters grandbaby girl. His sister is passed a way. the mommy is on drugs and we have her. She is almost 5 years now we have had her sence she was 3 months. I go crazy with her all the time so God has Blessed you with 7 children and you still have hair lol My hat is off to all stay at home moms not becouse you get to stay at home but for doing it and loving your childern enough to do it. I know you need breaks and if I was around I would thake them for a whole day for you. I may be crazy staying home with Mary but I would not change it for the world. With love in Christ.

  41. I am soooooo ready to fling the mask as far as i can. I have always been the type to tell my feelings but here recently i have said “I’m Fine” till i am blue in the face, I am not but when I try to share my i am not fine those around me snarl and i guess even gloat in my sufferings so its like how can i share if jealousy rears it ugly head over pain you’d think one would be quick to embrace but i have found just the opposite. I still express myself as i can to my coworkers as humbly as i can and keep my mind focused on Him, cause I know if one would only put aside self for a moment they could relate. Only the LORD can help me.

    • I read my post and wow it was a vent and i dont mean for it to be that way but this study couldnt have come at a more perfect time. All of it resonates so deeply and this is how i have felt for a while now. All i want to do is to love my neighbor as myself and its difficult but i know this is what is expected of me and i trust this study will help me get back my confidence in Him and be that willing vessel.

      • angela 2 says:

        Hello Amanda don’t worry about your post is just fine that’s what all those women are here for to pray and help each other and to change our own lives to. So keep sharing and will keep praying and in Christ we love you Amen

  42. PARDON ME FOR ASKING A SILLY QUESTION, but, What happened to April 3rd?
    I see April 1 {week 1} A Confident Heart Online Study (April 2013)
    I see April 2 {Week 1} To Be Known Is to Be Loved – chapter 2
    but I do not see an April 3. AM I IN A TIME WARP?
    I already feel time is slipping away – children grow so fast, I don’t need to be losing track of days now.

    ALSO, for those of you going through FINANCIAL TROUBLE,
    I am taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
    I am only 2 weeks into this 9 week course and already I see hope.
    I highly recommend his “baby steps.”

    GOD BLESS ALL YOU WOMEN – I AM PRAYING FOR YOU.

    • Hey Dawn! For this particular study, there isn’t a post for every single day. Have you signed up for the emails? It’s nice to receive those automatically because they will be a little more informative than coming to the site each day on your own. :) I love getting them because I need all the help I can get! :) If you scroll up to the top of the sidebar, you’ll see a place to sign up for them. Hope this helps! :) Bless you!

      • Okay, I did sign up, and have received the emails, but wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something.
        Thanks!

  43. I know this is supposed to be for our Bible study but I have an urgent prayer request. We were notified that our landlords and suppose to be friends want to sell the house. Where we live the rent has gone up and no one is willing to let you have pets. we have one small dog that we’ve had for years and is housebroke. We haven’t tried to buy because our credit is bad from when my husband was laid off and we lost our home where we used to live. We have no idea what we’re going to do! We also have our daughter and grand baby staying with us until her husband comes home from deployment. Every time I try to move closer to God and try to learn to trust Him and his promises something happens to make me wonder if He is hearing me at all. I know I shouldn’t be but I’m scared and angry. All we got was an email telling us about the house, not a call. We could really use all the prayer we can get. Thank you all.

    • Praying for your situation. God Bless You!! Nothing is too small for Our God!

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Pam I’m praying for you to. Our father we know you are the only one that can fill everything in our life and I lift Pam and her family up to you that you may help her out in the situation she’s in now and find a better place for her and her family to live at a reasonable charge and that she comes close to you and finds peace in her heart. We pray that Pam will keep trusting in you and believing in you through all life struggles that have and will come up in life in your name Christ Jesus we lay this in your hands we love you Amen

    • Christina says:

      Praying for you!

    • I pray that God will show up and show out in your situation and that you will never lose focus because that’s what the enemy wants. I pray that He will do the impossible because greater is He that is in you then he that is in the world. And if God is for you then who can be against you. I pray that His will be done in you and your family and that you will continue to trust Him no matter what you see, for we walk by faith not by sight. Lord, be with my dear sister in Jesus powerful name, Amen!

      • Thank you all for your prayers for me and my family, it means alot. I have been so distracted by all of this I have not had time to read the book or participate. Maybe it’s what the enemy intended. We have found a couple options and waiting today to make a final decision on what to do. Please pray that God directs us and those involved and for favor. Would you also pray that God heals our hearts and helps us to be Christ like during this situation? Thank you so much and I pray you all are having a good week.

  44. This post really hit home with me. I have recently re-entered the “dating game” after a 12 year marriage filled with severe emotional and mental abuse and rejection. I have dated several wonderful, Christian men, however, once we reach a point of defining our relationship, they leave without a trace. I’m left wondering what is wrong with me… with no chance of receiving the answers. The pain is something that my friends and family cannot understand. I try to be open and share my thoughts and feelings, but after hearing the standard “it happened for a reason” from them all, I finally just turn on the “I’m Fine” face and move on. My heart longs to love someone and to be loved deeply in return. This is my second time to go through “A Confident Heart”, I pray that the message of allowing God to pursue and fill the empty spaces in my heart takes root and grows into a lifelong relationship of seeking only Him to meet my needs.

  45. I was brought up to mask my feelings. My mother would be yelling and screaming and as soon as phone rang and she picked it up she sounded like a completely different person. I learned to cover up my feelings through my laugh and I thought I was really good at it…no one could ever tell what I was truly feeling. When I finally decided to let my guard down and allow others and God to help and pray me through…the weight I had been carrying around for years finally melted away. It is such a freeing feeling to allow others to see the real me, know that I am not perfect and to love me through everything.

  46. I think sometimes too, it’s hard to let down the “i’m fine” mask when others around you are not at that place to be real themselves yet. There have been times I have gotten real with people who were very uncomfortable with all the struggle and, well, the gunk. Then come the placid cliches that do nothing but make me sorry I ever revealed myself. I feel awkward and vulnerable and unsure where I stand with that relationship later on. I am also healing from revealing the bare bones of my heart to a relationship that ended toxic. It is hard to explain, but I will say there was a mix of co-dependency that I didn’t see until it was too late and everything went “kaboom”! It has been two years since then and I am still healing, and still terrified that if I reveal myself again, get real again, will it happen all over? Maybe I’m not the best judge of character. Maybe the one I think I can trust will really, in anger, lash out in slander and criticism. Maybe my heart will be missjudged again and I’ll not only lose the close friend I had, but others too. It happened before. How do you take that leap of faith and willingness to be vulnerable, when it’s been shown before that not everyone around you is going to know what to do with that, or be able to treat it with honor and tenderness and without judgement? I despretely want to again. I so long real closeness. I hate fake pretenses. it drives me crazy, God I can trust. It’s scary being real sometimes because I feel He will be disappointed in me, but I have to remind myself He’s already seen it, even before I ever realized what that sin was hiding in my heart He’d already been aware of it. Infact, it’s only Him showing me it’s there right now and it’s only okay because He died for that and He’s taking care of it, therefore I don’t have to be afraid of Him, and I don’t have to be afraid of what sin I might find that needs covering by Him. I need Him for that purpose! Him I can trust, but I am frankly… TERRIFIED to be real in front of people again.

    • I get that, being scared to be real in front of others. There are times I long for real closeness with someone where I can be me and let it all out. However sometimes I’m scared I don’t know who the real me is sometimes. I’m not so much scared that God will be disappointed in me cause I know He loves me unconditionally but I am afraid of the kind of ambassador if you will that I would be for Him if people knew what I was feeling and thinking sometimes. My sister is always quick to say “You call yourself a Christian and you…… fill in the blank” I usually hit back with I’m a Christian but not a push over and although I say the words the doubt will creep in about the kind of “face” the outside world is seeing.

    • I hear you and know the feeling. I think we will accomplish a lot in this group by learning to be real and by praying for each other. Praying for you. :)

  47. Truly appreciate the post, but most importantly the line: “I’m hurting, and the details aren’t important, but would you please pray for me? I would really appreciate that.” We often don’t want to say more than I’m fine for fear of sounding as if we are complaining, or that we’re dumping our issues on another, but this statement allows us to be real and transparent and get out the most important information while also allowing another to be transparent and experience the vulnerability of true relationship.

    Thank you.

  48. I find that everyone is too busy to listen. Our world is running so fast, and no one wants to hear it. Everyone expects you to say “i’m fine”, even if you aren’t. And when you answer it with the real answer, “no I’m not fine” people don’t want to stop and hear it.
    When I read chapter 2 I was struck with the part in the passage that says “When He spoke she heard gentleness in His voice. There was kindness and humility in His simple request. When she looked into His eyes she saw acceptance, not judgment:;love, not hate. She felt valueable in His presence. I want to be like that. I am hard and judgemental, unkind and boysterous, busy and focused. Lord, I want to be changed so that people see Your love in my eyes when the look at me. make me brave in you to be loving, and kind and humble.

  49. “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.” That part of Melanie’s post really resonated with me. My husband is a big worrier and so many times I tell him that I have everything under control because I want to relieve his anxiety and fears. But I don’t have everything under control. And by saying that I do, I’m snubbing God and doing my husband a disservice. I need to drop my mask and let my husband see the true, real me.

    I’m also following Tracie Miles blog (http://traciemiles.com/) and doing her marriage challenge. In the challenge, I’m on day 10 which talks about persevering and looking to God as our Strong One. It’s beautiful how things worked that I read that post and this one on the same morning. The connection between letting the mask fall and looking to God as our Strong One is simply perfect! God never ceases to amaze me!

  50. I am not FINE either. For many years I pretended to be fine for the fear of rejection and embarrassment. When I looked around it looked like the people around me were all fine and everything was going well for them. It worked for few years of my life until some unfortunate events happen and my health started to deteriorate and I didn’t know where to turn for help. My own husband and family watched me suffer through 1000 sleepless nights, panic attacks and anxiety. They didn’t understand, and were too busy with their own lives and work yet they expected me to act and live life like it was before, like nothing ever happened. I tried to share my struggles with my friends but quickly I realized that I was losing them because they didn’t want to be involved. And so I started to keep to myself. I don’t want to be hurt anymore by people, I don’t want to bear my soul to feel the hurt of rejection. I felt that if I can control my life I can keep my self from getting hurt again. But I don’t have any joy in life. I am doing better now than several years ago. I found that I can bear my soul to God and He will never reject me or leave me. Today as I was reading the post I realized that I am NOT in control of my life that I am held by the hands that control my own heartbeat. I can let go and let God be in control and He can heal the brokenhearted. Oh… but it is so hard!

    • I can so relate to your quote that “for many years I pretended to be fine for the fear of rejsection and embarassment.” About ten years ago, I had some issues come up with my health and we had no idea what was cuasing these isssues. So I pretended everything was “fine”. Even my husband, went along with the mentality that things were “fine”. So that brought on hiding and isolation in my life. Since then God has brought about some healing in my body but breaking through the act of being fine has become a way of life for me. But I hang onto God’s promise that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

  51. This post spoke to my heart in such a real way. So often I’ve sat on that park bench or in the church pew and have had every one of those thoughts and feelings. So many days I have been completely overwhelmed and have to remind myself that His grace is sufficient for me. But, amen, His grace IS sufficient for me! What a promise from the One who does meet my every need…oftentimes not in the way I would like or expect…but He does meet my every need, no matter how great or small.

  52. I am so grateful to have friends who can see right through my “I’m fine” mask! But not all of us have those people in our lives. I pray that God will bring just the right person into each of our lives who can lovingly ask us to take off the mask and be real with them…people who won’t accept the standard “I’m fine” response…who really want to hear what’s going on with us and will walk that journey with us.

    My experience has also been that even if we have people who really want to know how we are doing, trusting enough to tell them the truth can be so difficult. So I also pray that God will allow us to trust him with our hearts, and in turn trust the people He brings into our lives.

    Thanks for these wonderful words from Melanie today and for a great study, Renee!

  53. My husband left me for another woman and I wanted to save our marriage. He filed, & we have been divorced over a year now. The pain is still there and I don’t understand why this had to happen. I am 53 and never thought I would be living in an apartment and trying to find myself. I am not fine and days that I am hopeless. The rejection hurts and trust is an issue too. Please pray for me.

    • angela 2 says:

      praying now

    • God is a healer. I pray that He will heal you and show that you can trust Him.

    • I’m also going through divorce… There’s been so many hurts and pains because of his infidelity. I have three children that are hurting as well right now and that’s the worse part. To see your children suffer for their dad’s wrong choices. With so many other things financial,emotional and phychological issues, it’s just too much! The feeling of loneliness and pain and hurts and rejection..who can save us? Thank’s be to Jesus who is our healer! Our redeemer, friend,savior,teacher. He is our refuge, rock and deliverer. He is our provider, protector. Our God who is faithful and true to his promises to us. The one who will never leave us nor forasake.I pray that you will choose to believe God’s promises to you. I pray that you will allow your self to trust Him and you will see that He alone is our hope. The only true source of real joy. You will know how to be whole again in Jesus! Ask, seek and knock He’s ben waiting for you!

  54. It saddens me reading all the hurt we hide from others… how we feel that we have to be our families’ rock. I’m going to be honest here because this study is about being honest… I’m not honest with God, my family, friends or myself, so here I go. March was a very hard month for me. I am in a depressed state of mind. I am a mother of 4 and how could I not be fine for them? I would get home from work do the basics and lay in bed… allowing their father to take care of their need, which in turn makes me feel worse because they’re my babies I’m suppose to hug them and take care of them when they’re crying out for me. I hide what I am feeling from the world and you look at me and everything’s ok. My son, who passed away when he was 6 months old, was born in March and although I think/act like I have gotten over that lose… the truth is I have not… that hurt I still carry on me and I feel like it has affected me from being the GREAT mother he made me to be. I’m so BLESSED to have signed up for this study and I pray this will give us ALL the healing we so desire. I pray we tear down our walls and be honest so He can sustain us and heal our hearts so when we’re asked “How are you?” we can say with all Honesty as daughters of the King “We’re not only fine, we’re HEALED!!” Ladies I pray for the enemy to let go of this stronghold he has on us and our hearts so that we may live in the PEACE He left us. In Jesus’ Name I pray… AMEN!!

  55. After reading some of the posts, here, I’m feeling a lot better; like, I’m not the only one.

    I’m struggling with a “dream” (a calling), and I feel like I have no support. Many feel like I’m too old to pursue it, others think I’m in some “phase” of life that will eventually pass, and some have outright told me that I’ll never see this dream realized. Even some of my closest friends made light of it and offered negative comments, so I slowly distanced myself from them. I struggled with doubt, and low confidence in pursuing this dream in early adulthood, especially after my own mother ridiculed me for having it. I admit that God has allowed me to cross paths with experts in the field of my “dream” who have encouraged me to pursue it, but my confidence level is so low that I’m beginning to think that those experts are kooks!

    While I’m not at the point of being honest with others about how I’m doing, I am now able to be honest with God about that. (I even told Him, this morning, that I think those experts are kooks!) How do I believe, I mean really believe, God’s promises it seems like doors of opportunity to realize my “dream” are continuously being slammed in my face, or not even opened at all? I told God, this morning, that I’m having a hard time believing His promises. I wouldn’t dare tell that to any Christians that I know, because I’m afraid they’ll view me as a child of the devil, himself. I feel comfortable sharing my feelings with this on-line group. Thanks, Renee, for heeding God’s call to create this outlet for me and so many others.

  56. Thanks Melanie and Renee. I always said that Fine means Feelings Inside Never Expressed… but I liked yours as well. Sometimes i hesistate because are people asking because they really want to know or are they just saying it as in a brief conversation? I am learning to discern who really cares about me, little old me. I love he paragraph on page 43.. Jesus cares and He wants to heal our hearts. the Bible has one occuring theme… where is your heart? Is it full of love as Jesus wants it to be or is it full of sin? Is going to follow God or do your own thing? Thanks again for the blog.

  57. Anytime someone asks how I am doing, I always say I am doing fine or well or great no matter what is going on in my life. There are many things going on that I won’t get into right now, and my life is not fine right now. I think people expect that response because they don’t want to take the time to really listen to what you are going through. Sure, you can talk to your closest friends about how you are doing, but you should be able to talk to anyone. We should all share our pains and joys in life with each other. I think we should start telling the truth when someone asks how we are and see just how many people really care.

  58. I’m also broken. So broken in fact that I’m forcing myself to read this book and believe that HE is still with me. I have prayed for healing for a long time but haven’t received it. I have so much ugliness inside that I want to let go but I cant. I also tell people that “I’m fine”, why? Because I have found that the very people that I should trust and have trusted are the ones that betray me. How can I be authentic and tell people the truth when I do not trust them in the first place?

    • Roxanne says:

      I am in the same exact place you are in. In fact I have been skimming through all the posts just to find one that was similar to the way I feel and happened to stop at yours. I pray that you will find your healing through this study.

  59. Katherine says:

    I too try to hide and say everything is fine. I am a single mom of two girls, one with a genetic disorder causing constant pain in her life. It is so hard knowing her father is just 1.5 hrs away but does nothing to help. Then God brings this man into my life, wonderful but with baggage nobody would want. I fought God, let this man in and thought he was the one. Five months later I receive a totally unexpected break-up. There are days I just want to hide at home and not let anyone see the pain I am going through watching my daughter suffer and while my heart tries to heal. My friends seem like they want to be there with me, but there are days I think it’s easier to say I am fine and walk away. I just have to remember to trust in God.

  60. I’ve been broken and shaken by many people close to my heart – through blood and circumstantial acquaintance. I’ve literally and figuratively declared God as my HIDING PLACE….where I am safe….safe from other’s opinions, safe from other’s comparisons, safe from rumors and gossip….protected.

    I am discovering the importance of the “body of Christ” in the process of this, because it feels that I can’t be all God has created me to be without becoming the matching “PUZZLE PIECE” in another’s life…who may need to know about my brokenness in order to mend their own. And I just may need them to mend mine.
    Everything that I’ve gone through may be for “JUST A TIME AS THIS”. Praying for courage to conquer the fear of “BEING EXPOSED” for the sake of God’s ministry through me.

  61. angela 2 says:

    HI everyone one question how do we get our picture in the little square in the conner?

  62. I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, ADD, and bipolar disorder. I was on leave from my job for 6 weeks and for the past 2 weeks have been on half days. I have told my doctor I should win an Emmy for my acting. Daily I tell people, when I get out of the house and see other people, that I am fine. I act as if everything is fine in my life and I have no troubles or worries. Even at work, where I have been absent for a month and a half, I put on a smile and act as if I feel fine, although my insides are in tremendous turmoil. But it is amazing to me how few people at work have even spoke to me since I have been back. The stigma of mental health disorders is everywhere. I would have never thought I would be treated as I am by my co-workers. But even more amazing is my own brother who lives less than a half of a mile away from me has not spoken to me since my doctor put me on medical leave. He is embarrassed that his little sister has a mental disorder… Because of the way I have been treated is a large part of the reason I respond to “How are you?” With a smile and ” I am fine.”

    • Hi April, sorry for the pain of others’ awkwardness. It’s got to be like salt in a wound. You’ve got a lot on your plate, I’m glad you can talk with your doctor. Two things that really help me fight depression and anxiety are keeping a gratitude journal (writing down things I am thankful for) and memorizing scripture (praying it too) in large chunks. God be with you!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi April,
      Thank you so much for sharing! The stigma that mental illness brings with it is especially close to my heart. My daughter who is 14 was also diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder this year. I have another daughter who also has ADHD and I have suffered with Depression on and off for most of my life. I know exactly what you mean when you say your acting could win you an Emmy. I remember at one point this year standing in church just days after I had to check my daughter into a psychiatric hospital for suicidal issues and smiling and telling people “I’m fine” and “she’s fine”. The possibility of increased rejection just wasn’t worth the risk of being honest. I don’t have many people in my life who I can open up to without being “punished” in one way or another. I have found journaling to be helpful. I usually end up writing to God, like prayer on paper. I think writing it out slows me down long enough to hear Him speak to my heart and it feels like a real conversation. There I can be open and honest with God and myself about my struggles. I have since made one other friend who I can share openly with as well. I am asking God to bring enough healing and confidence so that I can “drop the mask” with more people. I am praying the same for you today :)

      • I’m sorry to hear that you are constantly rejected for you and your daughter’s struggles. I think that for most people, myself included, we don’t know how to respond to something so heavy, so it’s easier to “reject” the person or family rather than try to help. But I’m realizing that God doesn’t expect us to completely take on or take away the trials of others. Rather, a willingness to listen, and cultivating a heart of prayer and compassion can go pretty far. Life may be a lot more bearable if we learn to take our cues from God instead of what we feel like doing. Thanks so much for sharing, you are in my prayers!

    • April, I wasn’t going to post anything today until I read your post. I have spent the last 12 years dealing with mental health issues and totally understand the stigma that comes with them. It is awful. I was diagnosed bipolar but recently they have decided it is chronic depression. I have just come out of another major clinical depression. I have been hospitalized a few times because of suicidal ideations. I also have severe anxiety. My life can be a mess at times. But if you ask, I am always “fine”! There are very few people I talk to about this because I have suffered so much rejection by people after they find out about me. I am a new Christian and I have been fortunate that I can talk to the pastor at my church. I haven’t told people there yet about my problems but I am hoping to be able to make some new friends and someday find some real Christian people who won’t reject me. It’s still hard for me to understand why god gave me this burden to carry but I am doing my best to turn to Him now rather than being angry with him. I hope this new way of thinking will help bring me some peace. I will be praying for you and the hope that someday people will change their attitudes about mental illness.

      • I will be praying for you! I too suffer from depression, and I can tell you, people don’t understand it as much as you explain it to them! It’s not a easy thing to carry around and have. It’s like a big elephant on your back at times!
        My friend,You are never rejected by God, and you aren’t rejected here!
        Keep posting! This is a safe place. ♥
        Peace to you!

    • April, I read your words and you would think I wrote them myself. April I am so sorry that you have had to deal with all of that but please know you are definitely not alone. I have come to understand that either people turn away because they are scared and/or are ignorant and do not understand. Briefly tell you about me. A teacher for 15 years with a passion but due to circumstances that brought on tremendous stress, even though I would put on the mask at work the physical symptoms got me and I had to take a leave of absence. My principal even told me she would have never believed it had she not seen the physical symptoms herself. I told her when you suffer with this type of illness you learn to hide it well. When I went back coworkers acted much as they did with you, one even went to blatantly ignore me (and she used to talk to me all the time). his only added to my feelings of not being good enough and being defective. Needless to say it got worse and had to take another leave. This time I lost my job and was devastated. I have three brothers and never heard from any of them when I went in for treatment and was away for 5 weeks. I didn’t want to live anymore. I have been diagnosed with TRD (treatment resistant depression and anxiety. Since I don’t have a choice in the matter on whether I should be alive or not I just keep doing the next right thing. I am still dealing with symptoms but as a result of taking action even if I was just going through the motions, I just was offered a job in a place where what I do, my passion, my gifts, and my desire to be an example of who God is in my life is going to be of use. I was even offered more than I was making before. Now that is totally God. Whenever I feel down, or less than, or incapable I just tell myself that these are feelings and they are not facts, that feelings come and go and ask God for the strength to keep moving forward and doing whatever I can to make a difference in the lives of the people He puts in front of me. It stinks majorly and sometimes I just cry on my way home but I keep remembering the scripture that says that joy comes in the morning. You have found women who understand and even though they are not right by your side they are there, we are there for you. The one friend who truly understand me and whom I call in my deepest darkest hours lives 1500 miles from me but she is my life line. Thank you for sharing.

      • christine says:

        Norma, Emily, April and others – thank you for sharing. I too have been a teacher for 17 years and for the past three years have had to take medicaal leaves of absence due to severe depression and anxiety and panic attacks – so debilitating and destroying my family. Have been out pretty much this whole school year due to another hospitalization and so suicidal. It’s hard. When the lies have been there for 40 years they are so ingrained. I am starting to believe Jesus loves ME and is for Me but a moment by moment struggle. I, we, need a support group around us. I isolate so badly. I have barely been living. I know that there is no drug, no doctor, no counselor, that can cure me, but I now believe JESUS can! My days are hard still, but I want HIs truth; not to live in the darkeness and despair anymore. The pain is debilitating I know. I am also “medicaation resistant”; done electric shock therapy and all the drugs and combinations to no avail. It can seem hopeless but I choose to believe God has me alive for a reason. I need to say it aloud and verbally rebuke the enemy who wants us in depression and isolaation. I will be praying for those of us that struggle with mental illness….. may God show us how to live in His light and victory, and give us His daily strength to make the hard choices of getting up, showering, getting out, making a phone call. He knows. He loves us so much. Thank you Jesus.

    • Stephanie says:

      I was so hesitant to post my response yesterday and was amazed at God’s goodness when I got on here this morning and saw all of the replies! I’m so grateful for your kind words and being a safe place to “drop the mask”. God is so good to remind me that I am not alone. Praying for all of you ladies this morning!

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi April And Christina and everyone
      you are not alone I have lived with all this and some more things going on 20 years and have used not telling how many different meds. I use to be ashamed of it but now I try to just let what people say and the way they treat me slide off me. its not always easy but its not my problem people are stupid about some things. I have bee treated like I had some kind of contagions disease and everything. it hurts to the core of your being. But if people want to act like that you don’t need them in your life anyway. It does get better when you finial get on the right meds but You will still have good days and bad days. I have days where I can’t even go out of the house because I’m so scared on shaking so bad. Just try and find people who even through the don’t fully understand they still want to help. My phone # is 919-452-1078 and my email is griffin_75@att.net I also have a facebook page under angela taylor so anytime you are anyone else need a friend to vent to or just cry I will always be here, I know where you are coming from. If I can’t do anything else I can listen for hours if need be.
      Remember you are not alone in this God loves you and in Christ Jesus love we do too.

      • Angela, are you from Goldsboro, North Carolina? My husband is in the Air Force and we were stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro a few years back. I recognized that “919″ because I have the same cell phone from when we lived there and it’s also a 919 number :)

        • angela 2 says:

          Hi Lauea
          No I’m from Chapel Hill / Hillsborough N.C. it is about 2 hours from Goldsboro. I went through Goldboro on Wednesday when I went to see my grandson, he lives in Newbern N.C. about 3 hours from me. Wher do you live now?

          • We are stationed in Minot, North Dakota currently lol. I grew up in Dallas, Texas but God’s had us all over the place

  63. It’s not that I can’t open up and spill my guts, it’s just that sometimes there is not enough time or the circumstances are inappropriate like at a party. So having a variety of responses is good, like I’m struggling or it’s hard but God is good. Life is so full of ups and downs, too, sometimes it’s hard to pick what to say; dinner flopped but school went okay, grading is harder than taking tests, cleaning never gets all done but I’m learning to appreciate each piece, emotions are hard, relationships are a joy when I don’t mess up, I’m weak but God is strong, see what I mean? Too much to speak about in less than an hour and who but a counselor wants to listen that long? Ouch, I just uncovered a sore spot to pray about. Thanks for a safe place, I’m going to sign off now and work this one through with Jesus.

  64. I’ve been learning, through the years, who I can be honest with (a few). Don’t use “I’m fine” much unless it”s true, but have learned not everyone is willing to go to the heart level & step into the pain & offer hope. Thankfully, I’ve learned God ALWAYS is with me & is waiting for me to run to Him & pour my heart out to Him. As I answered the ? number 6, rereading Sam’s story, Jesus had to go through Samaria – He could have avoided it but He chose to minister the gift of salvation. That speaks to my heart, saying that He always wants to be with us – not matter how bad the hurt, He IS there, longing to offer hope & healing. My heart’s desire is that His springs of living water flow through my life and compel others to “come see a Man”. My heart goes out to previous commentors and your deep, deep pain; praying for Jesus comfort & healing for you. Have been in some of the same situations and experienced His healing balm.

  65. nancy kimball says:

    We have all been through our ups and downs. I have been through 2 divorces and I death of my husband 3 yrs ago. The Lord never gives us any more to carry than what he knows we can carry. I have a deep feeling of understanding for all the comments and I know the mask is a wall that we have all put up to protect ourselves. We need to shout and let the wall fall down and let God into our lives so he can help carry us and protect us as we journey down the path. I have nursed for over 38 yrs and watched all my family die. I understand what grief is and I have done my share of crying as well. Jane I know words can not take the pain away but stop and be still and close your eyes and let your mind go. The Lord will come to you and I will say my pray to you that you will be made stronger and able to deal with the hurt and pain. I am very sensitive to others feelings and I know what you are going through. I have been through it as well. I will ask the Lord to come in to your life and be with you now and heal you from the scars of the hurt the situation is causing you.
    I can pray for you over the phone as well — I can help all of us become closer to God — I meditate and pray every day and I ask the Lord to come to into my life to help me as I journey — If any one wants further assistance I am able to be reached. I have been reborn and have the gift of healing in my hands to help people. I have been able to help people as I go out into the world and they are amazed at how much better they feel after I have prayed for them. You may contact me if you so desire. nancykimballrn@gmail.com I am glad I am in the class and If I can do anything to help anyone let me know. I have lost all my family and the Lord has helped me overcome the obstacles that I have had to endure.
    You will rise above Jane as well as any one else who is going through a tough time. I will pray for all of you and thanks Renee for the wonderful class.

  66. Sunday the pastor talked about healing. He talked about physical healing. This week God has spoken to me about inner healing. He has shown me it is safe to take off the mask and allow Him to heal old hurts, remove resentments, show me how HE has been at work all along. Thank you for a safe place to share. Even my best sister in Christ friend is not one with whom I can share everything without condemnation and judgementalness. Things that are a part of my past with so many christian sisters. Thank you all for your honesty and the unconditional love of Christ you show. God is at work, offering me hope, healing, dreams, blessings. I need to face my fears, to trust Him who already knows it all, has forgiven me and forgotten it, while I hold on to the shame of poor choices and sin and wonder what if. I know the Bible verses. My mom taught me them as a child, and I have read and reread many of them, depending on them and God to see me through so much, and He has never failed me, even when I failed Him. My paraphrase of Romans 8:28 is from Clint Eastwood’s movie. God takes the good, the bad and the ugly of our lives and continually is working it together for our good and HIS glory. I know it for a fact in my head, now if I can just get it all the way into those dark recesses of my heart. It will happen. I believe.

  67. Wow,

    This Chapter 2 really touches home as well. I know this is helping me to see how my life is changing and how I am evolving & maturing in my walk with God..So many things are simliar to my situation in my past and Present. Thank you and God Bless

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Angela I know when I read this it is like the are talking right to me. I ‘m blessed to have found this study and I thank God everyday. God Bless you all Amen

  68. Part of my problem with not opening up to people is because I’m not fine, but it’s my own fault. Because of decisions I’ve made, my world is upside down. After two years of my friends trying to tell me what I need to hear, they’re fed up. I’m trying. I really am. But because my problems are because of choices I’ve made, I feel like it’s up to me to fix it.

  69. Adrienne says:

    I am so thankful that I started this study. Reading everyone’s comments has helped me.
    I always tell people that the smile you see on my face or when i’m walking like everything is “just fine”, it’s not me, it is God in me. We carry so many weights on our shoulders…guilt, shame, loneliness, bitterness, insecurity, hatred, pride, and the list goes. We go to God and ask Him to help us with these weights everyday. What if we actually put these words around our neck and carry them so when people see us they will know we are not fine. Let’s choose to put weights around our necks like love, joy, peace, forgiveness, fulfillment…
    This too shall pass
    John 16:33…..In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
    Be a Blessing

  70. My comment is a prayer; That God through His Holy Spirit will fill me to over flowing with the living water He offered Sam and all of us .That I’ll know Him and His love for me, .In reading chpts !-2 I can relate to
    all the fears, doubts and feelings of being less than all He’s created me to be .never felt loved as a child.
    even as a wife and mother. Now I’m a senior, still seeking, longing, wanting. As I continue to study His word which I do, and as I join with others, I pray He’ll open the eyes of my ….our heart to accept the love He offers so freely God Bless

  71. I really think we say we’re fine because we know that’s what other people expect. Anyone who asks how you are, as they are walking away from you, isn’t looking for a real response – they expect to hear “fine” or “okay”. The person at the drive through window who asks how you are when they hand you your food – they only expect to hear “fine” before you pull away. The people at church who ask how you are, but keep walking and don’t even listen when you respond – you know they clearly didn’t care. Sometimes even family members do the same thing, when they call and ask how you are, but then go right into their story about their day. Too often, people aren’t really looking for a real response, they’re only asking people because they have been taught that they should – no one ever teaches them to stop and listen for the response (or for that matter, to care about the response!). I would be much more willing to share (in general) if people would just listen to me when they ask that question – but the vast majority of people don’t want to listen, they don’t really even want a response, they just want to tell you what they want to say. May that not be how I turn out, or what I teach my kids to do!

  72. Adrienne says:

    It reminds me that if I wear a mask I am not being open to not only others but to God. To expose the deepest part of my fears, disappointments, hurts, failures is to be completely surrendered to Him and His will for me. Then His wonderful love and grace can cover me completely and comfort and heal my deepest need and produces change in me. Maybe no one else changes but I do and it draws me closer to Him.

  73. Roxanne says:

    I just got done reading chapter 2. I would love to say how much God has spoken to me in it and all of that. But unfortunately I still have a really hard time believing that I am worth anything, that I am worth the effort on His part. Today has been an extrememly down day for me. These days used to only be once in a while, but they are more and more often now. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed but I feel like He isn’t hearing me. Like God isn’t there anymore. There was a sermon at church yesterday about using your talents for God, during the alter time I couldn’t help but think the whole time “I have no talents” “I have nothing to give”. I guess that’s what got me down the path I am at today. I’m just at the point where I feel like I am helpless, like there is no more hope. I was once this peppy, bubbly outgoing girl and now I just feel like I am this rain cloud who doesn’t even want to get out of bed most mornings. The only person I have ever opened up to about this stuff is my husband, which tends to make things worse because he just gets frustrated with me. And I don’t really trust anyone else because anyone who I have confided in tends to be untrustworthy. My husband says give it all to God, but the thing with that is….I don’t know how to let go. I feel like I let it go, then I have a day like today and I take everything back. I just feel so broken beyond repair.

    • You are not beyond repair. God wants to heal your broken heart. As long as there is a God there is always hope. I pray that you will find hope in Christ and that the next time you go to the alter you will leave all those burdens, fears, worries, doubts and defeats at His feet and leave them there. I pray that you will not go back to pick them up, but you will continue to trust God and allow Him to do a mighty work in your life. You are loved with an everlasting love.

      • Priscilla says:

        So neat that you said you are loved with an Everlasting Love. I had begun my post and said the same to Roxanne but had to do something else and then I came back to complete the post. After I posted, I saw your post. God really does want each of us to know we are loved with an Everlasting Love! Blessings!

    • Priscilla says:

      Roxanne, my heart aches for you. You are so precious to Jesus. You are loved with an Everlating Love! As Renee says in chapter 2 “we are worth His love because He chose to give it to us”. I have experienced that feeling of “not good enough” also. But as I was rereading a sentence I highlighted “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” p. 40, The Lord brought to my mind the words of a hymn “Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth Thou has for me”. I always thought about Jesus being the Truth I would see, but I now see this truth is also the truth about me that I don’t even know (Like I am valuable). And as Jesus reveals the truth to me about myself He will set me free because He is The Truth! Ask Him to reveal the truth about You that you do not now see. Praying for you.

  74. Oh, this is such TRUTH. I sometimes feel I am the walking poster child of having portrayed a life of success and happiness when really the behind the mask, was a very hurt, scared little girl who needed to build up a superhuman “exterior” to show the world how “fine” I was despite my inner turmoil. This study is helping me so much….to finally take off the mask of implied perfection and show who I really am– a woman with a wounded heart, carrying around burdens of shame, blame and extreme insecurities despite my “mask of fitness” I tried to cling to in order to hide my pain. I am evolving so much and these words are just leaping into my heart and giving me the courage I need to be fully reconciled to Christ! Thank you so much, Renee…and all of you ladies willing to share and bear your souls!

  75. This post really hit home with me on today. As I drove into work this morning, I told God that I can’t continue on this way. I feel like the weight of the world is sitting on my shoulders and I have no where to turn. I know that all things are possible with Him, but when everything around you is spinning out of control and you have no one to turn to this is SO HARD! I pray that from chapter 2 I take away how to take the mask off and find someone to talk to.

  76. I can relate to many of your posts and your hurts, and I wish there was a way to give you each an encouraging word and a big sister hug!! We are all family here, aren’t we girls! It’s good to have some incredible sweet sisters here. Why do we go around hurting? And why don’t people realize we are hurting? I am in family crises right now and honestly very few people have turned to help me.
    Right now in my family, my parents are divorcing after 38 years of marriage, and my husband is physically ill. I’ve taken a week off take care of him. He just returned to work today. He is not 100% yet. I am isolated right now from my parents, because of their betrayal from one another, and the choice they are making. my heart hurts so much lately. I have a hard time believing this is God’s will. I’m having a difficult time trusting him. Thank you for your study Renee! And for your book and for bringing all of us here together. God bless each of you this beautiful day!

  77. Maria G. says:

    WOW! All of you ladies are amazing and brave. And I’m so grateful to be a part of this study.
    I’m going to add a slightly different twist…I’ve been forgiven for 40 years now but have consistently struggled with condemnation, doubt and insecurity. Just in the last couple of days God is showing me where the condemnation is originating from…from the sexual sin, the choices I have made in my life. I have no doubt that God has forgiven each and every sin, but I have not been set free from the condemnation of these choices! Now Jesus is doing a new thing in me that only He can do. I don’t understand it all, but I’m trusting Jesus and following. It’s a process. I’m taking off my mask and telling all of you in the hope that it will help you do the same.
    @Kristy. When I was a baby Christian, just 6 months along, I did not know any other Christians or have a church to go to. I prayed all that time for Christian friends and God miraculously brought 3 Christian ladies to my front door one day. I also started going to the church they went to. God is faithful. I pray for deliverance and freedom for all of us.

  78. “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 wonder if by entertaining the lie that we are fine and running around trying to convince everyone else that we are as well, if this is a doorway for other lies to come to the party as well? If we are essentially living a lie called “fine”, then what’s to stop the enemy from convincing us of other lies as well in order to confuse us as to what is true and what is false? We are running from the truth because we believe a lie is prettier.
    My biggest hindrance to telling people that I am a hot mess, is that part of my testimony is deliverance from severe depression and bitterness. When it snuck back into my life, I felt like if I admitted to my seeking friends that I was struggling again, that it would ruin my witness; that it would make them question God even more. In essence though, it’s me that questioned Him :( The main thing that people have told me was my biggest witness to them has always been my authenticity…and yet I put that mask on in order to “apologize” for God really. Beth Moore said at a conference I went to that some of us are exhausted because we’ve been running around apologizing for God and that He just will not behave. lol. That resonated with me so much.
    Also, nobody wants to be a “debbie downer” right? I want to be joyful and to bring joy to others…but when I am struggling, I have to be gracious towards myself the way that I am towards others, lay down that pride, and accept the current situation so that God can deal with me properly and with the Truth in His time. You know, I have robbed so many friends the opportunity of blessing me. I am so blessed when I am able to be an encouragement to others, but then I don’t allow them the opportunity to receive that same blessing through me.

  79. Melissa says:

    I’m really bad at saying “I’m fine” when I really am not. It’s just that sometimes people will ask, but they really don’t care or they won’t let you get your entire thought and feelings out before they jump in with a solution. Sometimes, I just want you to listen to me, cry with me and/or pray with me. I don’t want your solution necessarily, just some compassion. God has given me a couple close sisters in Christ that will listen to me. It’s been hard to tear the walls down after living so long in the habit of answering “I’m fine”. God is faithful. He is giving me the grace to reach out to them. This book is speaking directly to me and my life. I can see parts of it interwoven in my childhood. Thank you Renee for writing it. I know I will come out of this journey with a confident heart in God. :)

  80. I hide behind this mask at times too. If I was to let loose I don’t think others could handle it and I also don’t want to weigh people down. I know that God knows and I can honestly talk with Him about it. His word is so comforting. His word also gives good healthy boundaries for me and in my relationships. No, I’m not there and won’t be there until I’m with Him. I love this journey of life, learning to walk closer with Him. I love the book and bible study as it helps me draw closer to God.
    Thanks, Becky

  81. I have finally gotten a chance to watch the video from a few days back and between that and today’s post, I feel like my heart has a lot to process. I want to be known and loved, but I am so scarred to let people in. I am very guilty of the “I’m fine” line. I am so afraid that if people knew I didn’t have it all together they wouldn’t want anything to do with me. I have a very type a, perfectionist personality. In my heart I equate love with having to have it all together. But 99% of the time I feel like I don’t, and the more I try the more I feel defeated. These chapters are definitely causing me to step back and reevaluate how I handle things. My prayer, and has been for along time, is that God could bring into my life an amazing godly women to share with. I have had friends come, but they always so; which makes it that much harder to open up. I also pray that I can turn to the Father for my hope and love. It hit hard to read that when we say we are fine, we are also saying we don’t need Him. But we really truly do.

  82. Kimberly Richardson says:

    As women, most of us put on the front that all is well – with our family, on our jobs, in church, etc. As for me, I do it because I want people to think that I’ve got it together. But the message really hit home when it shared that if we always have it together then do we really need God? I think you should have at least one friend whom you can go to to be totally honest with and share all of your concerns, troubles. This will help in the natural. But Jesus should be the one whom we totally give our worries too and trust that He will work it all out. For when it’s all said and done He is the only One who can and will work it out.

  83. Oh how many times have I said those words – “I’m fine” – too many to count. I am finding now that I am more open about what I am going through others are more open with me. Why is it so hard to take the mask off and just be ourselves. God created us to help each other.
    Renee and Melanie – you both mean the world to me. I read this book last year and it changed my life. I was making some very hard decisions and that is hard when you don’t have a lot of confidence in yourself. I gave it all to God and he has helped me grow and change so much over the past year. Thank you for this wonderful book Renee!
    Melanie, I found you when you were making the one word buttons last year. What a blessing you are! I love your blog and you feel like a friend even though we have never met face to face.
    I love how God puts the right people in your life at the right time. :-)

    • oh sweet friend! You have made my whole day. I’m happy to see your sweet “face” over here!!! God does have an amazing way of crossing paths! I pray He will encourage you as you go through the book again — He encourages me every time I read it!! :)

  84. I type this as tears fall down my face. I know God knows why and I know he has a plan bigger and better than anything I could ever imagine on my own. I also know that my suffering will not go unnoticed by him and he is working in me. I just can’t keep from crying today because I long for the human interaction of a friend who is there for me and can listen and give advice. Afterall God created me that way didn’t he surly he doesn’t want me to live this side of Heaven feeling alone and like nobody but him cares. I’m so confused and am feeling attacked by satan who is relentless in his presute of me. I know that God is the answer but I’m also wondering exactly what is it he wants me to learn in this time of struggle. When does it end? Where is the joy that God promises? He’s blessed me with so much. Yet I still feel alone. Why?

    • God sees you, sweet friend. I know it seems like He doesn’t sometimes, but He sees and cares. I pray God would cover you with His love and assurance of His presence today. May you feel an overwhelming sense of His love for you, and in turn, be able to use this time of suffering one day to reach others who are suffering. He loves you so much, and I do too. If you ever need a friend or someone to just talk to, please feel free to contact me any time.

      love to you,
      Melanie

  85. Claudette says:

    When I tell people that I am not fine, when I tell them I have problems, they always answer, “oh everything will be fine” So I usually don’t share how I am. I am the go to person, the person with the answers, the person with the “experiance”. I can help everybody, but not myself.I don’t want to be the go to person anymore, the one with the answers. I want to be fine, for real. I think it is time to really read this chapter, and really pray. thanks for helping me to see this.

  86. I grew up not knowing that my father and mother loved me or even really cared for me. They never hugged me or kissed me or even told me that they loved me. My dad was a work-a-holic. He was a farmer/factory worker and my mom was a school bus driver. We lived a we’re just here life. We went to church only on Easter and Christmas and I didn’t know what it meant to have a Father who loved me and wanted to hold me.

    In my early high school years is when I really started to doubt myself as a person.

    My school mates run me down a lot and teased me all the time. I felt like a no-body. I was never smart enough and good enough to be on any ones team.

    My family didn’t care if I was there or not. So I searched for love in other ways. I found a boyfriend and he told me that he loved me and wanted to have sex. I got pregnant and my parents made me get an abortion to hind it from everyone. I didn’t know at that time that it was wrong (but I do now). I have struggled with not forgiving myself and my parents for years.

    I asked Jesus into my heart/life when I was 18 when I met a wonderful Christian man. We have been married for 28 years and I still sometime struggle with that memory even though he reminds me all the time that God has forgiven me and to let it go. I know that God has forgiven me, but every time I hear about abortion, Satan brings it to my mind again and again. I am trying to work through this.

    • Victoria says:

      Cindy,
      I can relate to you on some many levels. I didn’t grow up with my parents and I have always felt a void. I later moved with my mom but I was not bonded and still felt and do feel a void. I’ve never known my father and my mother is not forth coming with any information about him. I was raised by my grandparents who did the best they could for me and my siblings. We weren’t shown love or affection so that is a problem for me today. I do hug my grandchildren and tell them I love them so that they will know it but I didn’t do it that much with my own children. I’ve never felt smart or like I was adequate. Even after finding the Lord at an early age, I still didn’t know how to follow Him like I do today. I too had an abortion so when I would hear that word, I would feel the same as you. I have learned to forgive myself but it still creeps up sometimes.
      I will pray for you and hope we both learn how to “let go and let God” use us and help us.

      • Thank you Victoria for sharing with me. It helps to know that I am not the only person that has went through this. Love you my sister.

    • I can relate to you in so many ways, Victoria. Thank you for your honestly and transparency today. I pray God will take what Satan meant for evil and use it for HIS good! I pray God will cross your path with young girls who may feel the same way now that you did growing up, and that you will be able to encourage them and point them to the love of Christ. You are forgiven by Him, and if God sets you free, you are FREE indeed! :) Love you!

      • Melanie. thank you for your prayers. I do appreciate it and I know that Victoria would too. Love you my sister.

  87. Barbara R. says:

    After finishing Chapter 2 today, I’ve realized that I need to go to the Lord FIRST and tell Him that I’m not fine and pour my heart out to Him. Most people, even my loving husband of 20+ yrs., really don’t want to hear “I’m NOT fine”. I cannot expect people to meet my needs, only the Lord can do that AND change the situation. I do like the suggestions to reply with “I’m blessed” or “I’m hanging onto the Lord” when asked “How are you?”. I’m going to practice replying with either and see what happens…He just may make it a great opening to share my faith and Him with another :) And actually, I AM blessed through Renee’s online bible study and community with all of you godly women, and so much more!

  88. Marjorie says:

    Years ago one of our Pastor’s wives asked has I was and I respond “I’m fine” to which she responded “No, how are you really” It communicated to me that she really cared as she sat and listened to me giving me her full attention. I like to call that discernment, but really it is just simply giving your attention to someone really.
    Sometimes women say “I’m fine” because they don’t want to be seen as whiners, others don’t want judgment. That Pastor’s wife is long gone but she left that with me and I try not to over use it.
    I myself these days have become secretive when others have asked , mostly hoping they would say “No, How are you really?” So far no one seems to care. So I don’t answer or delay returning calls. This is where I am today. Hopefully things will get better, gotta stay hopeful.

  89. Sometimes we say we are fine because it is easier to respond that way, no one is committed to explaining or listening. But what I found when my husband was going through a terminal disease I wanted to keep my guard up and say fine to my friends and family. I needed to have fun positive conversation with them. And I found it much easier to visit a physchologist, a complete stranger to pour out my hurt and express myself to them. I needed my friends for some normalcy in my life in order to help my husband and keep me from melt downs. My husband thanked them for that to. :)

    • That’s a great perspective that seems like it was also a wise decision. You are right – we need both kinds of people in our lives :)

  90. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give each of us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know Him better. Lord, we want to know and rely on the love You have for us, and live in that love. You say that whoever lives in love lives in You, and You in him. In this way, love is made complete in us, so that we can have confidence today and forever.

    Jesus we are taking off our masks and seeking You with all our hearts. WWe want an up close and personal relationship with You, one where I don’t have to pretend or hide. Thank you that we can have that because of your up close and personally pursuit of each of us!! In Your Name we pray, amen!!

    • Thank you for praying this for us Renee. I am agreeing with this prayer right now. I need it.

    • Rose Wade says:

      Our verse for this week reveals that God knows the “real me” – each lustful thought, each evil thought, each sinful desire of my heart. “Before he formed me in my mother’s womb He knew me”. It is the wretched thoughts/sins hidden in my heart that reveal the “real me”. God’s Word says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7). What people around me see are my “good works” – not the “real me” that God sees. If I were to show others the “real me”, they would see a person who lusts after other men. Would they think the same way about me after they knew this? Probably not. Only Jesus’ perfect love accepts me “just as I am”. When someone asks, “Did you have a good day?” I would feel comfortable to share with that person about a spiritual or physical need I have, but I believe letting people see the “real me” would destroy my testimony.

  91. I have to agree it is very scary to remove your masks. I spent most of my life hiding behind my masks. The ending of my marriage, the divorce, the loss of friends, family, church, my parents, etc. has seemed like a continual war.Most days it feels like my heart has been shattered into a thousand pieces and trying to put the pieces back together slowly and purposefully. Few understand that kind of repeated loss or really want to hear about it. My pride keeps it in too. That is something the Lord is slowly revealing to me. Yet, finding safe people to share the pain, the journey, the ups and down has been rare. The people I thought would be there for me, are not.
    However, I am learning to let my mask down with God. As I learn to trust him more, than hopefully, he will provide other people I can share with. The Lord is showing me his grace is sufficient like it was mentioned on this post.
    Thank you for the reminder to not always advise, but to acknowledge someone is hurt and needs prayer and loving empathy.
    It is a good point that was made that we can say ” I am not fine today, but pray for me.” That is honest. Thank all you ladies for your comments and sharing your lives. It does help to know you are not the only one struggling.

  92. Kristie says:

    This is absolutely perfect timing….I am so good playing the part of being “fine” – when as most people have said earlier clearly I’m not fine. The bad part is that I feel like I should be fine. I work, I have good health, 4 beautiful kids, a wonderful husband(we had to do some serious soul searching when talking about marriage) so naturally from the outside looking in I should be more than fine. But I’m not….and I’m honestly tired of pretending to be fine. I think I mostly worry about what people may think if I say something other than I’m fine……I know it shouldn’t matter but it is definitely a reality! I’m so thankful to read other posts of other Christian ladies who aren’t fine. My prayer is that I will truly truly began to seek God and cry out to Him(i think sometimes that because of my past I don’t deserve His love but none of us do right?) Please pray with me and for me!
    Thanks

  93. There is a “cultural voice” in our society that tells us we must “be fine” “look fine” “act fine” lest we be considered less than , not good enough, politically incorrect, weak. This is true of both men and women. Even as Christians, we often tend to turn our ears toward this this voice and the poisonous UNTRUTHS it whispers.(voice of a fallen world?) The truth is …this is not our Father God’s voice. HE speaks love and acceptance,grace and mercy. The truth is… our friends,coworkers,bosses,neighbors,church family,et al are ALL going through the same trial, it just takes on many different shapes and forms; divorce,illness,death,financial crisis,lonliness,etc. They aren’t fine,either. They need our love as we need theirs. They are aching for someone to care, also.

    Sisters, it is time we arise and take a stand for the AUTHENTIC LIFE we were created to live. Did the Lord not permit our trials in order to strengthen us that we may in turn be strength and comfort to others? Many unbelievers have been led to the Lord this way. In my own life I have experienced rejection, the unexpected death of a spouse and other loved ones (by both accidents and suicide),lonliness,loss of employment and financial insecurity. I pray that by others knowing my situation, it has and will continue to encourage them in some way. We may not always be FINE, but that’s one reason why we HAVE EACH OTHER! Blessings to you all!!

  94. I know that I am not fine even though I act like I am. I am one that tends to “stuff” everything inside until I explode at those closest to me. I am slowly working on this and hope that this Bible study will help.

  95. I really appreciate Melanie’s thoughts. I am not finding in your side bar, Renee, the Online Study blog button Please help. :) Thank you. God bless you and everyone involved with this study.

  96. Victoria Maddox says:

    I can truly sympathize with what was said. I’m always telling people “I’m fine” when in reality I’m not. I could sometimes cry so hard and loud just wanting to feel better but I don’t for fear people will think I’m crazy. I have this fear that has crippled me from driving and going where I want that I don’t understand and don’t know how to work through it. I can’t get a job so I can live on my one but I don’t really stress over that because I’m doing what I think I should be anyway in that regard. I just don’t like being broke and having to depend on others for money. I’ve always worked. I need to pull the mask off and let go.

  97. I can’t take the study right now because I am the caretaker of my dad, who is on hospice in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. There’s just no room for it with my dad, husband, and teenager. But I have been so blessed by each day’s email. Today was awesome. People ask me all the time how I’m doing. I always say I’m fine, yet I have never been so far away from fine. Thanks for letting people know we just have to be, we don’t have to try so hard. Keep ‘em coming!!

  98. Barbara A says:

    I am not fine, but Melanie is right. I tell others that I am all the time. Always trying to be strong for everyone else, or just not wanting others to know I don’t have it all together. Well, I’m actually hurting right now. I cry out to God at night, sometimes. But mostly, I keep it to myself. And I miss out on the comfort that I could receive from those who care about me. Thank you for reminding me that it is okay if I don’t have it all together.

  99. Michelle in Columbia says:

    What do you do when you take off your mask and find that you are hurt by the one or ones closest to you…who are supposed to truly love and support you? I believe with all of my heart that God and Jesus know and love me…I continue to struggle with falling short every day. Sometimes it is so overwhelming that hiding is almost easier…a relief, even!

  100. I think, in some ways, we live in a society where people ask how we are, not really wanting an answer. It’s a courtesy. The truth is not what they want to hear. Speak the truth too many times and you find yourself alone. I have lupus. I have had it since I was 18 and now I am 54. I have learned to be fine. In the last five years I have suffered more loss than you can fathom. I left my husband of 27 years because of a prescription drug addiction, alcohol addiction and neglect. Our marriage had been dead for many years. When I walked away, I lost my step kids, whom I had raised from the time they were little, my 11 grands, and most of what I owned. I had no babies of my own. I felt empty and rejected. I met someone and remarried. My new husband had problems as well and he disappeared and went into recovery. Again I was flattened. My sister took me in. We are now back together but that cost me my siblings. Going back to him was a big mistake in their eyes. Then my first husband died and I was devastated. He died three months after I moved in with my sister. No one seemed to understand why I felt pain. I lived with my sister for about 8 months and I learned that no one wanted to know how I really was. They all discussed me privately and I would hear it later. I felt talked about and I was. My mental state affected my lupus and honestly, I just would have rather died than listen to all the lectures, criticisms, and advice. Finally, I stopped sharing, nearly stopped eating and dropped down to 100 pounds. I was not fine. Grief was a constant. I missed my husband. I was severely depressed but couldn’t take anti-depressants because when I took them previously, I lost about 20 lbs. The doctor didn’t want to risk it. The day my sister sat me down at the kitchen table and told me she couldn’t live with someone who had no ambition, was the day I decided that I would always say, ‘Just fine!’ I had lots of ambition, just no strength, no energy, no motivation, no will. I felt like I was dying. I felt like I wanted to die. I tried to explain but was met with what I call the cancer argument. “I know people with cancer who… ” who apparently could manage to do all the things I could not. When my husband moved here so we could work on our life together, part of his recovery, I was then accused of using my sister because she had taken me in. I hadn’t used her. I was sick, wounded and grieving. I needed a safe place and couldn’t find one in my family. I am safe sitting on the Father’s lap, telling him all of the things that people can’t seem to deal with or don’t really want to hear. What I have to deal with is not what a person shares with normal, healthy people. They don’t want to hear about pain, sickness and loss. They want to hear, ‘I am fine!’ I am sharing here hoping others will learn how deep despair can become when you haven’t got someone who will listen without judgement. Praise God that he loves me just the way I am. He knows me intimately. I have a long road ahead of me, but in his grace, I will be safe. I will never be who I was before this happened, but hopefully God will use these trials to grow me into someone stronger and more confident. (Hope this made sense. I tend to ramble when I am upset. I’ve come a long way since then but this is what came out of Chapter 2.)

    • Oh, sweet friend. My heart goes out to you. I just can’t imagine…. However, the part where you said people don’t want to hear about pain, sickness, and loss — so sad to hear this but I think you are absolutely right! This challenges my heart to be completely open and genuine when I ask how others are, and not to just use it as a greeting. Please know I am praying earnestly for you, and pray God will cover you with His peace and joy. I praise God for the good work He has already started in you, and know you will be encouraged by this book. He will be faithful to complete His work in you!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

    • Madeline says:

      Ev,

      Thank you for having the courage to share. Thank you for reminding me to be compassionate. We tend to forget that people who are struggling ( and most are) sometimes do not have the strength that we think they should and we need to help be that strength, not judge and condemn. Thank you for reminding me to be and encourager. I will keep you in my prayers. What you have gone thru has already been a help to someone else…me. God is already using you for good. Thank you for sharing and teaching today. Praying for God to bless, comfort, and continue to use you.

  101. Tiffany says:

    Wow! Chapters 1 and 2 are incredible. They have allowed me to work through self doubts and insecurities. They helped me realize who God is and how He forgives us and helps us. I have struggled with failures, loss, low self worth, etc. I thought by filling up my schedule it would help ease the pain but it didn’t. I usher, volunteer at an inner city youth program, the team mom for my son’s baseball team, work full time, etc. All it did was make me overwhelmed and exhausted. I love volunteering because it helps me feel valued and like I am making a difference. I have struggled with failures becase I have always wanted to be a nurse but I failed out of two programs. I don’t know what to do with my life. I struggle with “what is my calling.” This book is helping me so much. I really appreciate this study.

  102. Having been someone in the past who would not allow people to know I was NOT ok I struggled through the last year as I completely fell apart. I started attending a new church with people who didn’t know anything about me. I cried a lot, every sunday service for a whole year. After my pastor referred me to counselling things started improving and I am feeling less controlled by my emotions. Unfortunatley things are still not OK. I’ve found that once again I have put the mask on because people seem to not want to know. I need to talk and in talking to others I generally hear myself give myself the answers.
    Having had the mask on for so many years, letting it drop for a year and now putting it back on…. I find it easier in my relationships with others with the mask on rather than off.
    Unfortunately it is not good for me and my spirit to have it on :-(
    I’s finding a balance I think

    • Praying for you, sweet friend. Have you considered blogging or journaling? When I wrote this post, I was overwhelmed with discouragement. I only felt better after I wrote it out … very much therapeutic for me. Praying for you today. Unfortunately, you are right about some people just don’t want to know. I’m praying God will use you in a mighty way for Him — to reach others who may be going through discouragement as well.

      with love,
      Melanie

      • Thanks Melanie, I really appreciate your prayers. Yes I do journal and it does help with those overwhelmed emotions. I prefer to talk with friends and I do have a couple who are great. Most people do not understand my circumstances.
        My husband has Aspergers/OCD/Depression. He doesn’t socialize well and often offends people. We have three children who were all born prematurely by emergancy casear and all have medical/learning issues.
        My eldest son also has aspergers. My 2nd son is due to have his 10th surgery later this year and the 2nd on his spine.
        My personal story cut short is my family believing I am the reincarnation of my mothers twin sister who died a few months before I was born. I was named after her and through out life was expected to live the life she was unable to live.
        Because I didn’t measure up to what was expected of me I became the unwanted, unloved child.
        Much of that I am at peace with now as I begin finding who I am in Christ.
        I am very grateful for the Pastors and friends I have who have helped me through the last year when my husband turned away from God and cheated on me (We are still together trying to sort things out)
        He will no longer attend church or even speak to our church family :-( Which I find extremely hard as the vision we had together is now dead and buried.
        But back to my lovely friends, I see in their eyes that they really do not understand what it is I am saying or going through. Although I am grateful they listen I feel because they don’t understand I am being a burden on them. Trying to find a balance of when to put the mask on and when to take it off.
        Trusting God will show me and help me to overcome the emotional turmoil.
        Many thanks to all the team and participants of this study. I love reading the comments, it helps me feel that I am not alone after all. God’s timing is perfect and this format for this study is a blessing. :-)

  103. I am so tired of wearing this mask of everything is OK. It’s NOT OK!

    Living with the constant rejection from my husband, then he informs me it’s me fault that he cheated on me via the internet, because I rejected him when I was caring for my dying mother, three children – youngest with special needs, and his diabetes. He’s the one that refused to be with me, because his priority was/is the virtual world.

    I have been praying for God to change me. To help me be a better mother to our youngest son, help/show me how to give our daughter the middle child what she needs of me since so much attention goes to her little brother, and to “Let Go and Let God” with my 20 year old son who seems to have fallen off his path. I am also praying for the direction I am supposed to take with my almost 15 yr marriage. I know God doesn’t want any of us living in abusive situations weather it’s physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, economically, spiritually. It was shocking when God opened my eyes to the fact that I am abused on several of these levels, and I thank HIM everyday that it isn’t physical.

    • Oh, sweet friend. My heart is absolutely breaking for you. I am praying for your marriage and for the pain of betrayal you are experiencing. I pray that God would transform your husband’s heart and restore your marriage. My love to you today….

  104. Chapter 2, questions…1. My first memory of God was sitting on a step at my friends house reading Genesis 1 so I must have been second grade. God was good he had made the animals. Growing up He was good but I wanted my mom’s pray answered, that my dad would quit drinking and return to being the man God had called him to be. That took fifteen years of my mom and grandma’s faithful praying and yes I prayed but because my dad was so far removed from me and it took so many years, God seemed distant. 2. My childhood perception of God was one of remoteness but Jesus sought the woman at the well, he waited for the woman at the well, he answered her questions, he looked at her, she was not invisible. 3. Often I feel I am the only one who struggles with insecurity and doubt. Some areas of my life I am not filled with doubt but I still fear rejection in regards to writing. 4. Jesus is a safe place and so is God, it is comforting that he cares about my hopes, dreams, desires, disappointments. My current situation is trusting that God knows where I am at, we gave up our home to take care of my mother in law and I lack any control of where I am at. The other problem is my husband has a need and God has not answered that need probably because my husband doesn’t see his problems as a need and that makes it my problem and I continue to live with his problem. I do go to Jesus in order to make it through the day. He is my safe place. 5. Much has happened in my life, currently physical pain causes me to distance my self from others. Sometimes I distance my self from God but I do know that Jesus is with me every day. 6. God knows my secrets just as Jesus knew hers, God knows my shame of past choices, just as Jesus knew her choices. The lesson I walk away with is that I am loved. Despite the pain I have in my life, I am loved. His eye is on the sparrow. The good work he started in me, He will complete. Phil 1: 6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in me and in my husband will carry it on to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus. Blessings Diana

  105. Whew! My sisters are going so many things. I would like to share a short testimony regarding being honest with one another. On Resurrection Sunday, following a breakfast at our church, I asked a gal how she was doing. She responded honestly – not to well, and I could see tears in her eyes. She explained a little of what she was experiencing. I asked her if I could hug her. She put down what she was holding and we hugged. As I hugged her, I whispered a prayer in her ear, all the while rubbing her back and holding her tightly. She was crying some. It was such a blessing to just pray “spontaneously” as God gave the opportunity. I just had to slow down and listen to her answer. I try to do that when I ask people how they are in passing – when we’re both walking in opposite directions. :) What happened with this sister doesn’t happen often, but I do want to be open to others’ needs. God bless you all.

  106. I was into the second day before I joined this online study. I am so glad that I did. I find that no matter how hard we try to be the Christian that God wants us to be we all have our struggles to deal with. This one is probably what we all deal with at some given time of answering “I’m fine” when really you are not. We may not always feel that we can be open with those around us, but, we are so blessed that we have a God that wants us to be honest with Him and let him know that we are not always fine. If we can just remember to leave our “I’m fine” or “Worries” at the foot of the cross, we will see a brighter side.
    God bless each of us in this wonderful study.
    We are so fortunate to have this freedom to study God’s word and to share what we feel.

  107. Jennifer says:

    WOW. Is all I can say. I am about to take off my mask and let u all know me.

    I was born January 31, 1984, weighed 2lbs 2ozs. Adopted the day I was born, I am biracial and my adopted parents are white. When I was adopted, they had two boys that were nine and eleven @ the time. My biological mother and my adopted mother are sisters. My adopted dad didn’t want me at first because I was biracial. He told my adopted mom that if she went and that black/N***** of baby that he would take the boys and leave. My adopted mom is a Christian, so I always went to Church. Later that day she went up and saw me for the first time, they called her on the way to the hospital in the ambulance and told her that if she wanted to see me, she needed to come soon, because I may not live. So, again, she went up and seen me later that day, and to this day, she tells me, she did nothing but pray for me, She had her Church pray for me.
    When she got to the hospital, she said they kept measuring my head and it just kept getting bigger, so a month later, I had to have a shunt put in for hydrocephalus, Once they got the shunt put in, I stayed in the hospital for 3 months, then I got to come home and they did, nothing but, love on me. I had to keep going back to the doctor for certain things, once was when I was really sick, because they had me on the wrong milk. I kept thriving though, I give the credit to GOD, he wasn’t done with me. I had my adopted dad wrapped around my finger when I was little, and my adoptive brothers are still close today. My adopted mom still goes to Church, and her faith is still like it was 29yrs ago when I was born. In the mean time I have had other health issues come up because of my biological mother, she took drugs while she was pregnant with me and I ended up having Hepatitis C because of her drug abuse. I have had several surgeries because of my prematurity, I’ve had 4 eye surgeries, one shunt revision, gallbladder surgery, jaw surgery, colon surgery, etc. Some of that wasn’t because of my biological mother, but a lot of it is, I have a hard time with forgiveness, will u all pray for me? I am now going to a loving Church, I just don’t accept love very well. I am doing good though, I was told I would never amount to anything by some teachers I had. I am living on my own, working at a grocery store, been there for almost 10yrs, went to college for a little while, etc. Thanks for reading my story, feel free to e mail me

  108. Dee Dee says:

    Hiding behind “I’m fine ” led to overwhelming anxiety,and depression with a subsequent inability to focus on anything other than despair and deep emotional pain. I had to let my guard down and turn to God, His Word, and the people he put in my life to teach me what I need to learn and to give me hope. This study came at a good time. Acquaintances still get “I’m fine ” but friends, new and old, get the honest answer. I like the suggestion to ask for prayer from those who ask how I’m doing, and will try to do better at asking for this.

    • I, too, like the suggestion to ask for prayer when people say “How are you?” Thanks for pointing out that simple suggestion that I skimmed right over! I’ll be giving that a try. I am also good a beating them to the punch by asking them first, “How are you?” because then I don’t have to answer to them. How sad is that? DeeDee, I am going to stop and pray for you right this moment!

  109. The problem with opening up is that when most people say, “How are you?” it is just an obligation, and you are expected to answer “I’m fine”. How utterly shocked would folks be if they had to engage in a deeper exchange? I am guilty of surface relationships, because sometimes I am afraid if I open up a crack, I will fall apart. It’s time to get together as women and understand that none of us are “fine” and that’s why we need God and each other.

  110. Cheryle says:

    Through the years in the church, I have been taught to think “positive.” Don’t let others know you are hurting because we, as Christians, are supposed to be positive. I’m often told to stop complaining so I hide my hurts deep inside. Very difficult to find someone that you can trust unconditionally and just say, Please pray for me. I’m so hurt.

    • Cheryle – You have hit the nail on the head! We are afraid to share our hurt, because it makes us vulnerable. We try to live up to, or down to the expectations of those around us. You know, every day, I look in the mirror and say, “I am good enough. I am beautiful just the way I am. God loves me.” After awhile, I started to believe it. Give it a try. Once you start to feel worthy, you will realize that your feelings are valid and need to be shared. I would listen if you want o share what is hurting you so. I’m so sorry for your pain. I’ll be praying for you tonight!

  111. I have a question, if you don’t love yourself, ARE you capably of showing love to others, I was told now by 2 people that you can’t, you can’t share something you don’t have, I don’t love myself:-(( Will this study help me to love myself?

  112. Tammy Haymon says:

    I don’t mind sharing my real self. I just don’t any more because I haven’t met anybody in a really long time that I think cares whether I’m hurting or not. I feel isolated and friendless. Not real sure why I should share when it seems nobody cares.

    • Tammy – my heart is breaking after reading your comment. Please don’t shut others out. My prayers are with you.

      Peace & blessings,
      Tammy T

  113. Sometimes I think it was easier putting on a fake face, then now admitting all the problems I have, I sure hope this study will help that, I think I feel even worse now then when I was faking how I felt, at least I felt like I might at least be alittle happy at times, please give me hope, I know God loves me to pieces, but as a human being I don’t see much of that towards me from anyone else, and I don’t want to tell a bunch of people how I really feel, then them not be able to figure out why I don’t GET IT!

  114. Like a lot of you I am currently seperated from my husband (14.5 yrs married…16.5 together). I tried fixing our marriage my self from last July until January. But I decided I can’t fix it….I still pray every day and most days LOTS during the day…I’ve really delved into reading, studying, and applying the Holy Bible to my life since the split. Sometimes are still rough…but I’ve decided all I can do is be the preson God wants me to be and quit worrying about trying to change him..bc until God works on his heart…noone can change him. It just sadden me we now have a 4 yr old little boy going through the middle of this too….he took us over ten years to have…we even actually tried fertility pills..THAT DIDNT WORK..I lost abunch of weight and bam it happened when we least expected it. I have in the last few months….read and committed to the RESOLUTION for WOMEN and now I am participating in this study. Of course now my estranged Husband says I am “ms religious” and I think everything I do is “Godly”….I try to let what he says go in one ear and out the other. I am not striving to please him..I striving to please my LORD!

    • Donna – my wannabe ex said the same thing to me when I finally caught the clue that the way to change what i had become was to go through God! I once tearfully said I wished I had been more the person I am now when he met me, and he said, “Nah – I never would have gone for a girl with her nose stuck in a bible.”

      They say these things because they won’t take off their own masks. They can’t admit truth to themselves.

      I have learned a lot about myself and who I am in The Lord through the last two+ years of separation from my husband. But he hasn’t learned anything, because he just ran off with another woman and is treating her as his new ingenue.

      And despite it all – his affair, his mistress’ entitlement to him, his accusations for this that and the other – I have kept myself pure and open because i have to be able to face our 4-year-old knowing I’ve done everything to save her family. That I turned to God and followed his directions. Because if she can’t get her family back together after all this heartache, at least she can get a clear picture of Hod and who he is.

      And maybe she will grow up knowing she is free to say when she is not FINE!

      Your heart is in the right place, and I pray God blesses you richly for your obedience to him.

  115. I could so relate to Sam’s story. I’ve been alone most of my life. I was married for a very short time, long enough to give birth to 2 beautiful girls, and then we divorced. I raised my girls on my own. I remember at one point in my marriage…..my ex-husband told me “I should feel lucky he married me because no one else would have.” Those words resonated with me as I have felt most of my life that I wasn’t good enough for anything. I was involved with 5or6 relationships since my divorce and none of them stuck around and showed me true love. I know that God loves me…..but I don’t understand why I’ve had to be alone and go through some very difficult times without someone in the physical to be by my side. This makes me feel like I’m not worthy to have what seems everyone else has….a relationship….and because of this, it’s difficult for me to comprehend that God would want anything to do with me. I know He loves me…..but it’s hard to accept that he wants me for who I am.

    • Mary, although my story is very different I feel like some of the emotions that you have expressed are also the same as mine. I have never been married, and in fact have never even dated. I truly believe that if that type of relationship is something I am meant to experience than God will provide the right person at the right time, and yet it is not something that God has ever brought into my life. It is very hard sometimes as I don’t understand why? Marriage is biblical…why would God not want me to experience that kind of love? It can feel very lonely to watch others around you experience that kind of love, and many are quick to say things like “marriage isn’t everything”, “marriage doesn’t guarantee you will be happy”, or even question “why aren’t you married” as if it is a choice I have made to not experience that type of love. In my head I know that all of those things are true…that marriage doesn’t equate to happiness, etc. but in my heart it hard not to feel insecure or question why I’m not good enough to be a wife. I know God should be enough, that His love for me is greater than any other love could ever be, but that doesn’t seem to fill the physical void. I can’t offer anything more than my prayer and I will surely pray for us both. I appreciate you sharing your story. You are not alone, and while it is a lesson I am still learning myself, I hope you will never doubt your worthiness.

  116. DebbieN says:

    I remember back when I was a baby Christian and a single parent. Something bad had happened before I was a Christian and I shared it. I was told by the women I shared this with “Don’t Tell anyone else what happened no one will understand!” So much for being open –

    I learned over time that even with Christians you just don’t ever tell the whole truth because it’s not safe.

    Luckily I have one close Christian friend and we are honest with each other.
    Not sure if I can be transparent or not.

  117. Cynthia says:

    I use the “I’m fine” statement alot because I don’t want to admit something is wrong out if fear that people won’t understand. Im being to understand that is on yo not be fine and admit that, especially to those closet to me. I’m leaning on god when I need him not trying to do everything on my own. I’m so great full for this study, thank you.

    • I think I have a continuous play button that i hit that says I’m fine. It is my standard default.
      i have had people in my life who have asked how i am doing and when i start to tell them they change the subject to what it was going on with them and i feel like what about me so i just give up a lot of the time.
      this study has help me see that there is someone who truly wants to know how i am doing in and wants to hear all about it and that I can trust HIm to listen.

  118. WOW, I read the questions at the end of chapter one, right before I started chapter 2….I was amazed at things that I felt, that I quess where “put” away. I started to write in my journal and couldnt stop, I have gone over alot of what I wrote and I’m so gratful that I have a loving Savior, Redeemer and Friend. Chapter 2 was awesome I love Sam’s story….The pages in my book, are turning color, to bright YELLOW hi-liter. As I was growing up I knew about God, I knew in my heart He existed, but I DID NOT KNOW HIM!!! As ive been reading and going over my notes, I see even more prayers God answered. I surrendered my life to the Lord in 1998, while my walk has not been an easy one, I am blessed beyond measure. I have not been able to read all the posts but ones that I have read have touched my heart and thank you Renee….for sharing this book with all of us, also thank you for reminding us that He loves us and meets us where ever we are. Praying for everyone….

  119. I haven’t been fine for a while. I keep it to myself though because I know there are other people who have a lot worse problems than I do.Besides the issues I’m going thru with my parents, I’m 42 and single, do not have much experience in dating and worrry that I’m always going to be alone. I’m very shy and introverted and have a really hard time getting out there. I keep thinking of Jeremiah 29:11 and know God has a plan for me and there may be a reason I’m alone but then I wonder if God has already tried to send me someone but because I was so scare to put myself out there I lost out. I know i need to remember that God is with me and work on keeping negative thoughts out of my mind.

  120. I use I’m fine all the time….especially lately….and part of it is I don’t know what’s wrong….been trying to just saturate myself in God’s Word and this study….thank you for the opportunity to just write this…

  121. This was stated in a similar way with someone’s earlier post, but a part of me questions that I have a right to ever say that I am not “fine”. What I mean, is that even as I read so many of your posts, the challenges that I face seem to pale in comparison to the journeys that many of you are on. My heart and prayers go out to each of you, and I appreciate your willingness to be so open with your struggles. How can I be anything but grateful for the life that I am leading, when there are so many in this world that would gladly take on my “worst” day as their “best” and yet there are times when my insecurities are so real and feel so insurmountable. It is in those moments, of course that I recognize that I have distanced myself from God and am looking for comfort outside of him. I truly pray that I learn through this study how to have a relationship with Him that fills those insecurities.

    • Lisa, I feel the same as you do reading some of the other posts. I don’t feel like my life is really that “bad” I have a lot to be thankful for. I feel like I started this study to gain the confidence to do so much more…to do what God really created me to do. I don’t know what that is yet, but I do know I haven’t been living my life confidently and I doubt myself a lot. I know that Jesus promises to meet me wherever I am…I don’t have to have big problems to have him help me through it.

      • Thanks, Sara. You are right. My challenges may be different than others, but it doesn’t make me any less in need of God’s support or love. I as well have not been living my life confidently, and I pray through this study I am able to discover how I should be walking differently in the plan that God has for me. Thanks again!

  122. Chapter 2 was painful to read – for so long I felt that I had to be strong – single mom on active duty, no family network to count on. It was so hard for me to be open with anyone. A few years ago, I found a book, How to Study the Bible, that I picked up about 25 years ago (at my first duty station!) and started on a journey of getting to know God’s within the stories/gospels/letters. I’m no longer on active duty, my son is grown, but I still say “I’m fine” even when I’m not, but I’m thankful that I can talk to God, who knows when I’m not fine and that’s okay, because He loves me anyway.

  123. Renee Matson says:

    Renee,

    I just want to thank you for writing your book. It’s been years since I felt like I could relate to a book, in a way I do with Confident Heart, and the pain I’ve held on to for too many years, God is already speaking so clearly to me, and I’m excited for the work he is doing in my heart. I didn’t realize how I felt about myself, and longing to be loved so desperately. It began as a young girl when my brother died of Cancer at age 14 yo, and I 13 yo. I’ve always felt so abandoned as a young child, married young and was yet abandoned by my husband. For the last five years I’ve truly been in survival mode raising my two boys, with no family support, doing the best I can with what I’m given, but desperately longing to be loved and accepted. God truly put this book in my lap, and I really feel his presence with me. I’ve been longing to have Godly mentors in my life, but have not truly opened my heart to others, in fear of being left. God is giving me the strength and courage to press thru my fears, and trusting him and what he’s planning to do thru this study.
    Thank you, for what you are doing!
    Renee Matson

  124. I can relate with this so much! This is a topic that I’ve thought a lot about over the years.

    Fine…generally I take it as not doing well when people respond that way. I know for me with all the physical battles I was facing when people would ask, I’d respond “fine”, because I knew my limits and I knew my strength and I didn’t want to be discounted because I wasn’t “well”.

  125. It’s real hard for me to open up and tell people my problems. I want everybody to think I’m this perfect strong Christian woman.I lost six of my family members last year but the one that hurts the most is losing my 37 year old brother to cancer. But when people ask you how you are doing and you say not good they look at you at tell you to get over it that your grieving should be done. So you start telling everybody your fine while your heart is in pieces.

  126. I think sometimes we fake it because we are expected to be happy. How can we show Christ’ love to others if we are a mess? It is hard for me to open up all the way. Once I shared my insecurities with someone and then later they betrayed me in a professional situation. It is hard sometimes to let your guard down. It is hard to trust others.

  127. Jennyp1973 says:

    I was just speaking about authenticity & brokenness w/ a girlfriend yesterday and why women are so afraid to share how they are really feeling! Why does our society mask the hurt? Why do we have the fear of being perceived weak? Why did it take 38 years for me to have true authentic safe relationships? Why didn’t I free my heart earlier in my life? Why do we feel the need to ‘be fine’ when we are not?

    well…I matured through therapy…I matured as a woman…I matured as a friend…I matured as a wife…I matured with Christ. I would like to declare the words ‘I am fine’ not part of my vocabulary. Lord let my tongue speak the truth through You…I am happy…I am scared…I am tired…I am anxious…I am overwhelmed…I am sad…I am excited…I am content…I am lonely…I am loved by Him.

    today’s blog really spoke to my heart and my struggles…and I love how God repeats Himself in my life!

  128. Thank you. I needed this today. Its been a long week and a very long day. I’m empty and right now I’m not fine. I’ve been known to be too emotional so I’ve learned to not show how I feel anymore. To just smile and be happy even though inside I’m hurting and I’m weak. I can’t fight the fight of being the strong one anymore. I’m empty and I can’t give to everyone anymore. I’ve been single for over 15 years now. I’ve survived many things including a divorce that ended because he raped me. I just last year was able to open up about what really happened in my marriage for the very first time to a christian counselor. After I told him, I felt free. They say the truth will set you free and it did. I’m working on falling in love with me again because for so long I shamed myself because of the rape. I felt I deserved it. Too ashamed even to tell anyone, until now. I know God has a plan for me, plans for good and not for harm. I know He loves me and doesn’t want me to carry this load anymore. Its not a husband or a marriage or kids that I’m ultimately seeking, but to know that I am in the perfect will of God doing what He has called me to do, whatever that may be. But some days, its hard. Today it was hard. I’m not fine. But tomorrow will be better. Weeping may endure for the night but JOY comes in the morning!! Awesome article!! Thank you for posting it. Be blessed!!

  129. I feel if I let people know I’m not fine they will think less of me. People see me as strong and confident, but I am far from. I don’t know how to humble myself before God, and with a sincere heart ask for his help to change me, to be ok with not being fine, and live w/o a mask. I don’t feel God’s love or presence, but I would be lying if I said he wasn’t real and could not hear me because he brought me here, to this bible study. I doubt I will ever change and grow, bc the lies I believed are now my truths. Idk how to not pretend, to take off the mask, and just be me. I’ve been wearing it for so long I don’t know how to be real, what that looks like, or who I am.

    • I do have difficulty asking for help. Usually I am the one doing the helping. I felt alone when I lost my job. I couldn’t express how I felt in the beginning. I finally figured it out. I was mourning a death of a love one. Losing my job hurt more than my two divorces. Believe me divorce is not an ego booster.. People were shocked when I lost my job. They didn’t know what to say to me. I still can not work because my daughter and grandson need me.

    • Wow! You ARE being real and honest ! This is a big step! Though I don’t know you personally you are going to make it to the finish line. This study will be your coach and all of us together will be each other’s cheerleaders. I too have walk that walk of acting like I am “OK” and not expressing my abandonment issues and fear of rejection. I have even lost a great man, because I feel I was not as vulnerable as I needed to be with him; he thought I was “PERFECT”, but I was not at all! So our connection did not pass our initial attraction and chemistry; we never connected emotionally because of wearing my mask! This is so painful to even express to a stranger, but I want you to know you are not alone. Keep in your prayers and I will do the same. Giselle from Miami

  130. I think saying im fine for me was a way to not make something into a big deal. Also, i felt like i didnt want to burden other people with my problems. As i’ve gotten older, i’ve realized the importance of having people around you that can be encouraging and you can be transparent with.

  131. I was dealing with this the day before we read this….my husband just left me.My family and friends keep asking me how I am and I keep saying I’m fine because I don’t want to be a burden on them. I know my kids are hurting too and I don’t want them to see my mask down. I have put my mask down for God and a few of my close friends. I just feel that I am a failure and I don’t want everyone to see that or that I am struggling everyday sometimes minute by minute. This study is going to be awesome for me and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.

  132. The women who have been married more than 2 times need to examine there choices in men. We women want to be loved that we are like the isrealite in the wilderness searching the same mountain in men and landing the same type of men. The one that mistreat us and do not encourage us nor value us. Let God choose your spouse, That is what I’m doing. If one never comes, i’m ok with that also.

    • I’m offended by your assumption that I didn’t go into marriage believing that it was a gift from God. I’ll admit freely my first marriage was a mistake of poor self-esteem, but I felt very strongly that god had lined up my life in a very odd and sometimes painful way so that I could meet my current husband. He was the total opposite of my first husband, and he was an amazing man when we met, and he stayed that way until he met HER. He had spent a lot of our marriage telling me he was “Fine” when he needed to address some things that were critical to our success.

      I was a Christian both times I married. I had also gotten too big for my britches and thought I could be as smart as God.

      I have, blessedly, learned this is not true. Sadly, my current husband still wants/needs/takes all glory for himself.

      But until the day he got so mad he cheated on me , he was the biggest cheerleader is ever had. My friends were envious of our marriage. They all wanted a husband like mine. And I was so broken I didn’t feel I deserved him.

      If I met the man today, I wouldn’t give him the time of day were he to talk to me the way he now does. So please don’t tell me I let someone mistreat me. I watched the man I love turn into a different person – and not for the better.

      And knowing that all that love and support is poured into his mistress and her children instead of our family? Yeah, that’s what kills me. That’s what makes me doubt that even God could love me. Even though I know better.

      So thank you for your prayers and support, but do not assume you know everything about us because we have had more than one husband.

  133. I am afraid to take off my mask. I have built walls so high that I rarely ever let anyone in to see ‘the real me’. I have learned through a lifetime of being hurt that it is not worth it to let my walls down. I am lonely and afraid and tired of hiding from love. I don’t know any other way to behave I have been hiding for so long I fear I have lost touch with the ‘real me’. I often think that all of God’s promises are for all of you but not for me. It’s not that I don’t believe Him I just think he forgot me. I am not afraid to be transparent to God but I am to all of His people.

    • Jennyp1973 says:

      Lord I ask you to send the Holy Spirit to Phyllis to remind her of the hope of Your promise. Speak to her heart Lord and remind her she needs faith as small as a mustard seed. You can move mountains Lord…move in Phyllis’ heart to have courage through you to slowly unmask her heart and reveal the ‘real’ Phyllis…Lord you already know her heart…You are already behind her mask with her. Help her heart believe.

      I have been in a place of no hope Phyllis…they were big ‘soul holes’ that only He filled for me. I too felt He forgot about me…then I chose to surrender and lean in hard on Him.

  134. Jennyp1973 says:

    Re-reading some of the comments from today…reminds me of a quote from our pastor…that happened to be repeated by my therapist ‘do not compare your inside stuff to somebody’s outside stuff’…I love that and it resonated w/ me. My brokenness is no different than your brokenness…it hurts!

    Another quote I came across that I latched on to is…
    ‘Through our wounds, others may be invited to make an appointment with the Great Physician’…not sure who author was.

    Why are we afraid to be authentic? Why are we doing the enemies work?…on ourselves and each other?

    I am broken ladies…my whole life I have felt abandoned, rejected, alone, unworthy, unloved, afraid, unwilling to trust…I am not perfect and I have good days and bad days…I have a lot of baggage from my youth that I carried w/ me…carried is key because thru intensive therapy w/ a loving God and my loving husband & safe friends have I been able to say ‘I am the one Jesus loves’…and remind my self when I doubt.

  135. This was really good! It’s been a difficult 6 months for me: first I lost my mom then my dad decided less than a month after losing Mom that he needed to find a new wife since he was lonely. I’ve been in therapy for the last four or five months because I’ve been so depressed over losing Mom and my dad has turned into someone that I don’t even know anymore. I told him three months ago that I really don’t want to hear about his lady friend, then a few weeks ago there was a terrible phone call where he told me that he can’t understand why I’m still upset over losing my mom. He said that I’ll see her again so why should I be sad and depressed. Then he called last week–just 6 months after my mom passed away–to tell me that he and his lady friend are getting married. Now, I feel like I’ve lost my dad. I am so depressed but I can’t tell my family about the depression because they believe that a Christian can’t be depressed so if I say I’m depressed, then that obviously means I ‘m not a Christian. And, according to my dad, if I’m still upset about losing my mom, then that means I can’t be a Christian because a Christian knows they will see their loved one again in heaven one day. So I go to work every day and say I’m fine…and I tell my kids and husband I’m fine…and I go to church every week and pretend that I’m fine…….

    • Jennyp1973 says:

      Elaine…you owe yourself time to grieve your mother. Let your father carry his own ‘backpack’ of how he will move on…you carry your own too. God’s heart breaks when your heart breaks…you can be an example of His love to your father…and that is an example of a Christian women…also a women who shows her children the love thru the tears from losing their grandma. You are also allowed to set healthy boundaries on your father’s new relationship…for you and your family.

      You are strong thru Him…He will lead you.

    • Elaine-
      I believe there is a time to mourn, and everyone mourns differently. Jesus even wept when his dear friend died.. JESUS mourned! And Jesus knew where he was going and what would happen to him, but we still mourn. The absence we experience from losing a loved one forms a huge hole. As brothers and sisters in Christ we are also asked to mourn and grieve beside you. Remain faithful in God’s promises, you and him will decide when to begin healing. Really glad you shared this. Think about deciding to break free and start getting real with how you feel. This journey is yours… whether your family understands or not.

  136. I am seeing things that are hindering my walk with God. I am trying to deal with my anger and stress. I feel as if God is showing me that if I want to be a better witness to my daughters and my husband that I need to deal with my issues. I am not fine! I often feel alone, scared, and left to deal with life without the presence of my husband. My husband is a truck driver and is gone Monday through Friday. I am not angry at him because he is gone, he does a great job of providing for our family. I get angry at the situation, you see I have been praying for a job that gets him home every night for the past 8 years and God has not seen fit to provide that yet. I will continue to pray for that job. I do feel the stress of being a single parent Monday through Friday plays a huge role in my anger and loneliness. There are so many things that God is bringing to the front for me to deal with, only with His guiding hand.

  137. Ferehiwot aka 'Tati' Michael says:

    Hello, I really enjoyed this chapter-chap-2. It real spoke to me and really LOUDLY. WOW!!!!

    I understand, It is normal for any of us to live behind the mask especially in the current society we live in. However, I find in the family of God, we have to be transparent in order to get help and be of help.

    Renee the part about how you were offended you were at the onset…. when folks saw the hidden part of your house, and but later appreciated the very reason that folks cared enough to correct or have you make the repair that needs to be done in your house–yes that message–REALLY blessed me. Because I was raised abused as a child, when I became of an adult I told myself, “now that I am an adult, I will run away from abuse (or anything that smells like it or looked like it). I will NEVER allow anyone to talk to me any kind of way’ because of that I had a hard time taking criticism, even if it is from someone who deeply cares. Recently though as I continue to grow in close fellowship with my Lord, I don’t take it as hard, (the onset feelings is still there) because of my own insecurities or doubt– if folks even cared) BUT it is not in the degree it was, and I am learning to thank the Lord, and move on implementing the changes that I have to make within myself.

    My criticism/correction also got me even closer to my LORD for I often cry out to him (yes tears and all) and ask why I am going thru this once again, (why I am not normal-like everyone else, and perfect) and MY LORD the LOVER OF MY SOUL, reaches deep within my heart and lets me see it and his spirit comforts me and gives me the PEACE that surpasses all understanding as it says in Philippians 4:7 ‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’

    Now, in this season of my life, though I still do NOT like it, (till I get my CONFIDENT HEART) I am ok with correction, and— to come across those who find what is deep in me and care enough to share their godly advice.

    **May God continue to touch the hearts of US all, and grant us the healing that we so desire. God bless you all. Today, I will commit to pray for each of you, as well as Renee-her team….as we continue to journey along the path that God is leading us to take**

  138. You for the first time I related to the Samaritian woman on such a different level reading the story thru the context of this book. I have sooo many thoughts in my heading rolling around from all the positive words of truth that I read and are highlighted. My biggest hurdle will be getting all this from my head to my heart. Like Renee I always thought God was made in my DAD’S image and not the other way around. Rowing up I was out on a pedalstool by my dad, when I did good he was happy and doted on me. When I failed or did wrong or did not agree with hm then he was angry and disappointed. I think for the fist time I am realizing where my twisted view of God came from and I need to turn it around. I can honestly highlight and re write every quote and scripture in thes 2 chapters as every word relates and speaks to me right now and I feel sooo broken and unloved by others that I feel sooo alone (other then my kids and husband) I have no one. Man my journal is gonna be long tonight!!!!

  139. I’m not “fine” today. We think, or I think I’m supposed to have it all together. Then I can help other people, I mean would people really come to me, not that lots do, but would they if they knew I was such a mess.

    Todays been a hard day. Im 35 and I have struggled with guilt trips and hurt from the same source for a long time. I try to move past it, lay it at the alter, pray for the source, forgive not for them but for me, yet the words and hurt, nothing physical or dangerous (just in case someone reads this) but emotional hurt. And I continue to let myself continue in this same cycle over and over again thinking the next phone call will be different, yet it remains the same. The rejection is so deep and bleeds out into all my relationships including into my marriage to a wonderful Godly man who is patient and kind. I say this time will be different and that I’ll be “stronger” I wont seek the approval or want it anymore, but then I am and I feel rejected and hurt, all over again. I know this is not necessarily on topic of chapter two, but I feel this is a safe place. The situation happened this morning, at lunch I told my husband about it and cried, then I was exhausted. You know I have been in school until recently for six years to help others, and as I cried to my husband I said, “I went to school saying I wanted to help people, but I think I was just trying to “fix” me.” When my husband left after lunch to head back to work I felt the Lord prompting me to read the rest of chapter 2 that I began last night. I identified in ch. 1 looking for love in the wrong places, in ch. 2 I identified with Sam. I was her, have been her many times I think. Running or avoiding the eyes, the judgements, the belittleing. And the last 2 questions in chapter 2 made me realize something.

    I prayed asking the Lord to speak to me thorugh His Word as I read through the Scripture of Sam’s story again. I felt through the words Christ spoke to Sam He was tellling me, “If you truly knew Me, truly realize who I really am, that I can fill you. Fill those hurts, fill those places left empty from rejection. That you continue to try fill them on your own, through anything, whether from the past of love from places you knew in your heart wouldnt fullfill, or even now, whether through ministry, your son, your husband, but I will truly fill, and you will no longer be “thirsty” again.”

    In question 7 in what lesson I would take away from this chapter is Christ really KNOWS me, and even though He know, He LOVES me. He really and truly “WANTS” me, even though He knows all I’ve done in my past, my current failures, what’s been done to me, yet He still WANTS me. And He wants me to open up to Him and be transparrent, no pretending. I dont have to seek His approval or acceptance He gives it to my unjudgementally. HE LOVES ME.

  140. This chapter really hit home for me. I loved the part that reminded me to slow down and talk to God about my day and the desires of my heart. Ask Him to show you the reasons for your doubts and insecurities. I love the great reminder that He knows us

  141. Susan G says:

    I’m doing much better today than a few years ago, since I have learned to share the ‘real’ me with a couple of trusted girlfriends. There’s nothing like loving, Godly, encouragment from friends who know you, and love you anyway . :) In turn, I can be their trusted, encouraging friend when they need a ‘listening ear’. I pray for all the ladies above who haven’t found that one or two trusted friends that they can share their heart with, and that soon, that will be a reality.
    Bless you all – right where you are!
    Susan G.

    • Your post gives me great encouragement Susan! I praise God that he is giving you sweet Christian sisters in the Lord that can walk life with you. Thankful you are doing much better!
      I am still searching for that trusted friend that will just sit and listen
      There are so many things people don’t know about me
      I have worn the mask for a long time. I try to express, but just don’t feel like people understand me.
      Blessings, my friend
      Emily

  142. This is so incredibly hard to face. For the past 5 years, I have been Sam at the well every time I entered church. I may as well have had a heavy, large, iron “D” branded on my forehead. It has been so conspicuous that everytime I’ve looked up to see my Saviour, all I can see is the “D”…cold, ugly, heavy, shameful…weighing me down, holding me back, making me unlovable. I was the one to file for divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. The church was involved. It was done with much prayer and countless interventions for a man who rejected me for airbrushed models from our honeymoon on. I never stood a chance. I could never compete. He was an addict who couldn’t get enough but wanted nothing of me. It was a twisted, painful repeat of my childhood. I was the little girl who longed to see her daddy look down on her with love and affection. I spent about 40 years doing all that I knew how to earn my daddy’s. Love. At that point, my Saviour gave me a glimpse into my daddy’s heart that has changed how I relate to him. I nolonger seek to be loved by him. Instead, I seek to pour out the Saviours love to him. The ex is a different. Story. My heart. Breaks for him. But, I can’t. Safely love him. He has stalked me and harrassed me to the point where I have feared for my safety. I. long to be Sam in church…a woman who can look up into my Saviours face and ratherthan

    • Sorry, it cut off on me. My prayer is that when I face my Saviour in worship that I will see His loving, forgiving eyes and not the ugly “D”. I want to experience “that look” that every little girl should get from her loving daddy. I’ve. Seen it…the precious litter blonde-headed girl runs into the room and seeks out her daddy from the crowd. He turns and stretches out his arms, looks down with adoring eyes and scoops her up in a loving embrace. Every little girl should experience that. I carried that desire into my marriage. Now I was the bride who longed to see her bridegroom look at her with love, desire and passion. I longed for him to reach out his loving arms to hold and embrace me. Instead, I slept alone on my side of the bed. These experiences have made me feel ugly, unlovable and worthless. I’ve. Allowed my divorce to pile more shame upon me. I feel as if I can barely lift my head up in church. I NEED to experience Christ like Sam has. I want to see Jesus look at me…like a loving daddy looks at his little girl…like a loving bridegroom gazes

      • Shouldn’t try this on a kindle..like a loving bridegroom gazes at his bride on her wedding day…like Jesus at the well…He went out of His way, went to a place where no Jewish man would go to seek out a woman that had been used and abused and tossed aside by man after man…to Jesus, she was worth the effort…she was loved and cherished despite all she’d done. I long for that kind of love. As a bridegroom rejoices over His bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Is 62:5b. Praying this verse for all of us!

        • Jennyp1973 says:

          Kimby…I pray that you will see God’s beloved child and not the ‘D’ You see. I pray you will find the courage to be confident in His love. I pray for you to be overwhelmed by His grace.

          I have lived feeling shame for someone else’s behavior…it’s a lonely place. I once read ‘the same women who judged the divorcee at church very well one day may be that who she judged’…so why not just love on each other? Let Jesus heal your broken heart…it’s a daily or minute by minute struggle…He will sustain you.

          Love to you…change your ‘D’ to a ‘G’ for grace…Jesus already did He’s waiting for you to do the same.

          • Jennyp1973, Thank you so much! I love the visual of the “G” replacing the “D”. I LOVE this! The visuals can be so powerful, in either a positive or negative way. I KNOW that it was me that put the “D” on my forehead. Jesus didn’t. But, in my mind right now, I’m picturing him reaching out and gently taking the “D” away and replacing it with the “G”. Thank you again, Jenny!

        • angela 2 says:

          Kimby, I too have been divorced 4 times and I know God did not want me to stay in any abusive and dangerous marriage. you have nothing to be ashamed of, you ex should be very ashamed. Hold your head high you did nothing wrong. God wants you to be happy and not to be used by any man or anyone. Just let go and let God He will heal you. Read these from Proverbs 24:19-20. I hope it helps.
          God will make you rich enough so that you can always be generous. 2 Cor. 9:11 I think this means more than just giving. it means He will give you what you need to feel safe and loved.

          19 Do not be troubled because of evil- doers, or have envy of sinners:20 For there will be no future for the evil man; the light of sinners will be put out.
          In Christ love. Amen I will be praying for you.

          • Angela 2, Thank you for your words of encouragement. Praying that both of us and every other precious lady in this group experiences the unconditional love that I am finding here.

  143. Gertrude says:

    Thanks for the message of today. Its true I always say to people Im fine, wen I know Im not just because people expect me to be fine. Today Ive learnt that saying that Im fine whilst Im not fine is deceiving myself. Thanks and God Bless.

  144. Thank you, ladies, for everything you’ve shared. I had maybe my first honest prayer yesterday – not saying what I thought I *should* but crying out to God about a very painful set of situations in my husband’s family that have been going on for years. The Samaritan woman story, I think, helped me to do that – she hinted to Jesus just how bad it was, and he told her that 1) he already knew and 2) it didn’t matter, he cared about her anyway.

    As far as being real with friends – please pray for me. My last good friend dropped me without a word almost 20 years ago – last time I saw her was the day I was her Maid of Honor – and she’s my sister-in-law, has been for almost 14 years. Part of all the family stuff that breaks my heart. I keep myself to myself now, but maybe I shouldn’t.

  145. Jeannine says:

    This “I am fine” stuff seems to be Satan’s curse reserved specifically for us women, huh! It’s an easy out not to deal with what’s really going on, for me to convince myself that if I’m feeling bad I’m really just having a pity party and should be able to deal with it on my own. I don’t want to “burden” others with my issues, so I keep them inside, feeling like I should keep it all under control (control is a whole other issue, right)? Renee, thank you so much for opening up this study and inviting this world of ladies in! Thank you God for the reminder that when we share our real hearts and hurts we do have the opportunity to help others by showing we aren’t perfect and don’t expect others to be perfect or “all fine”. Father, I pray we look to You for our confidence and strength in stepping out of our silos and finding other ladies with whom we can share AND support, for Your glory.

  146. Lillian says:

    I was thinking about this chapter all day yesterday and found myself wondering how many of us ask the question “How are you doing?” just as a simple formality and deep down in our heart we don’t really want to know, because we are consumed by our own burdens and/or struggles. I have to admit that I am one of those people and throughout this study I realized that it is selfish on my behalf to ask this question fleetingly. I realized that “I am always fine” because I don’t believe people want to hear how I’m really doing. One of the things that has made me so aloof to this is that very presceptive that I mentioned above. OMG, I realized I am one of those people! Many times I share my pain and just got the typical “I’ll pray about it” only to realize that the person was not interested in what was truly going on in my life. I have to say this has made my heart somewhat hard! I am grateful that this study has given me the sensativity that I need to really care how others are doing! I feel that God has softened up my heart and has given me the grace to repent of my owned selfishness, but also to allow others into my heart.

  147. Maureen Chiasson says:

    His perfect love changes everything because it means I am lovable regardless of my choices. I tried for Yeats to appear good enough to be loved. I never measured up. It left me feeling depressed and worthless much of through time. I was always looking for the next best thing to show that I had it all together when my external and internal life was crumbling, quickly. When my Mind grasped the concept that I was lovable just because my heart did not believe. Coming into a group of people who were supportive and transparent and safe helpedme to begin letting go of the image I thought I had to project. It took years and I still have bad days. However when I stay in God’s word and associate with loving people who will admit to having the same struggles and accept and encourage you through them God’s love becomes more real and my willingness to be vulnerable and reach out becomes possible. I am not scared most of the time to say I do not have this, but God does and he has sent others in my life who are Also pursuing that path of authenticity. So grateful for thisgroup of women. You are a part of the connections I need to get through the journey.

  148. I’m struggling with confusion, loss, hurt and anger. My husband whom I truly love has betrayed me and I thought he would never do something like that. I want to let go of the pain and hurt.

    • I understand your pain/hurt, even though my situation is different
      Please know I am praying for you today Dana

    • Dana,

      I see your pain and can remember my own. I hope you can read my post further down the page. Before posting it today, there were only four people that even knew about the stuggle my husband and I went through. I pray that you and your husband’s hearts will be open to God’s redemptive work in the marriage that is above all His. He created marriage, He is apart of that covenant promise between husbands and wives, three are stronger than two.

  149. Stephanie says:

    This blog really hits home for me, as I’m sure it has many others. As a cancer patient, I am often faced with obstacles that seem insurmountable. When this happens I respond with a tough attitude and push forward. When people ask me how I am, I say, “okay” or “pretty good” because that’s the way I approach the obstacles.

    Well, through the last few days, with the video, the book, and now the blog, I finally broke down while praying and cried out to God about how I really feel about my current obstacle I’m facing. I realized at that point, I had never prayed specifically about it – I had prayed during rehab for God to get me through, but I had never prayed about the issue I’m facing.

    I finally told God that I want to feel that he knows me the way I read that he knows me in the Bible.

    Thank you, Renee, for this study. I believe it is already making a huge difference in my life.

  150. stephanie says:

    My dad has been struggling with depression. He was hospitalized for a while with it. Our family feels that it is best to get all of this into the open and share with those who are concerned how they can best help at this time. This book has shown me at this time that if we believe God will give us the confidence we need in this life, no matter what we feel. This study is timely for me. Thank you Renee Swope for sharing your story.

  151. Why is it never enough? Why are the people that love me never enough? That is a question that I have asked myself. That is what makes me feel “not fine”.

    When I was a child, I wanted to keep people happy, or at least not mad at me. When I would get into trouble, I took that to mean that I had to fix it so they would love me again. I had to do something to earn back their love. Even though they never took it away, I thought they did. During adolescence, I got tired of trying to make people happy, I began to rebel from “being good”, at least privately. I rebelled, and then the shame of it told me that if my parents knew they wouldn’t love me anymore. That thought coupled by the frequency of my rebellion caused me to withdraw from my family. I confined myself to my room when I was at home and rarely spoke kindly to anyone in my family. I began to dislike them, see their flaws, be annoyed by them. I think now that this was to make me feel better about my idea of them not loving me.

    I continued down this path of private rebellion, but all things will not remain unknown. That is when lying entered in, I denied or made excuses for my sins that I could not deny due to proof. I had sympathy on my side. I could say, “You don’t understand my pain. You have never had to deal with the death of a friend. You don’t know how I feel. Just leave me alone.” And it worked. I was left alone and that was my proof that they didn’t love me. Sure I had told them to leave me alone, but what I really wanted was to tell them everything that I had done wrong and for them to tell me that they loved me anyway.

    Following graduation, I went into the military hoping that I could make up for who I had become. While serving, I was sexually harassed and later abused. I stuffed it down, and tried to keep my head up. I fell into a deep depression and tried to kill myself. Even though I studied how to do it, was careful not to send any red flags, and even barricaded myself from rescue, I survived. I was rescued. By only God’s strength and leading, I was able to make it to the door and unlock it when people were sent to find me. But I came home with all that shame that was no longer private. As soon as I could I moved out on my own away from my family again. I could not take their questions or their acting like nothing happened.

    When I met my now husband, I decided to tell him everything about me. To dare him to stay after knowing how bad I was. I tried to push him away. Surprisingly, he stayed. All I had told him made him see that I was a person who had bad things happen to me, yes some of them I had made bad choices and there had been consequences, but I was not bad. And definitely worth loving. I did not understand. I could not understand. Why would this man who had everything going for him throw it away for me. I wasn’t worth it. At least that is what I thought. But he said I was. We have been married for 13 years now, and I am a completely different person than the one he met and married. Not because of his love only, but because of God’s love for me shown through Jesus. It took awhile for me to change my behavior. I tried many times to push my husband away, and I almost did. Our marriage almost fell apart a few years ago. You see he had messed up. And our counselor told me one day, as I was saying, “He wants to leave fine, he can leave.” She said he doesn’t want to leave, he needs grace.” I thought, “Oh, no I can’t do that.” But you know what, I did because God gives us grace everyday. I thought it would be hard, that I wouldn’t be able to forgive, and never forget. But it was so freeing. Freeing in not having to remember, not having to remind him or myself of his error. It opened up a whole new level for us. A marriage that I am amazed at what God has done. No, my husband can’t fulfill or fill me. But God has shown Himself through my husband’s love and then I got to show God’s grace to my husband. Due to that, my husband has changed and now follows God. He always believed there was a God, but we saw and experienced Him and His power of redemption. God can love us through people, but we can’t make people God.

    • Thank you so much for sharing! It’s awesome how God was able to transform you through His blessings as well as your husband’s love. It’s heartbreaking to read that you did not feel like you had unconditional love as a young child. Because you were afraid of being rejected by your family, you rejected them first and distanced yourself as a means of protection. It’s a tactic I’m far too familiar with. And constantly feeling like you have earn everyone’s approval? I can relate all too well. But I’m so grateful that God was able to protect you and rescue so miraculously! Your story is inspiring and God is glorified in your life. And the best part is that you don’t need to earn or work for His love. You can live in freedom today!

      • I can’t agree with you more! I am so surprised when I think of all the things that God has done in my life. I hope that by sharing my journey it would help others somehow. After I posted it, I really wanted to take it down, but I couldn’t find a way. It is hard to be honest about the hurtful and embarrasing stuff, but God never wastes our pain.

    • Valerie says:

      Thank you…I just realized that I just want someone to love me anyway.

  152. I thought I was an open person with the people that are close to me, but I have realized with reading chapter 2 and this blog post that there is a lot of fear and insecurity that I am dealing with. I think when I share I try to put a Pollyanna spin on it so it isn’t too bad. Also, I try to monitor how much sharing of my struggles that I am doing because I don’t want my friends to look at me and say, “You struggle to much, I don’t want to be your friend.” It may sound silly, but I feel like I struggle with something all the time and I grow weary of myself, so I would completely understand if those around me would feel the same. I wish that I could have more “good days” free of panic and anxiety and more of peace and the ability to rest in God…to get my head and my emotions lined up.

    • Latisha, it does not sound silly to me. I can relate to what you are saying. God gave me a “Pollyanna” temperament, not a bad thing at all. But I can allow it to work with my insecurities against me. It is difficult for me, but I am learning that to walk like I believe, even when I don’t “feel” like I believe is not hypocritical, but faithful. I don’t do it as well today as I will in a year, but I do it better than I did a year ago, or 5 years ago. And I count that as success. I believe that our fears and insecurities today will be His strength in our weakness as we lean on and trust in Him more fully. Praying for more “good days” and His peace.

  153. Carolyn Cheer says:

    Hi Ladies,

    This is the first online anything I have ever done, and I sometimes wonder if I am missing information because I am not familiar with navigating the web. I have hesitated sharing my thoughts, but I hope they help someone out there. I realized after reading the first chapter, that I have done a lot of growing in my self worth. I used to believe that I was nobody of any importance. I wondered why my husband would ever have wanted me in the first place. I came to see my value and worth and the LOVE the Lord has for me, when I actually digested the true meaning of the sacrifice Jesus gave FOR ME to be with him in Heaven. There is no way I will ever question that I am special again, after completely comprehending the price it cost him to save me. I must be priceless to the LORD, for Jesus to have paid that price for me and asked only for me to love and trust him in return. (I hope I gotten that right!)

    I thought I was actually ok, and that perhaps I was a “confident woman” and this online study wasn’t really for me anymore. I started to rejoice in my growth, until I attended a meeting with our financial advisor two nights ago and he gently mentioned, that financially, our struggles could only be lessoned, if I went back to work. WHAT??? I have been home for 13 years with my four children and have always thought about going back to work, but realized this morning after re-reading chapter 2 that I am not finished repairing my hurts yet. I attended a Mental Health Awareness meeting last night for our youth, and I knew that this was one more step down the path the LORD is taking me in helping me get back to the work force, but this morning I also realized, that I have been at home hiding from the truth. The truth is that I do not want to go back to work because I do not feel like I am capable of doing any job. At least at home, I can make mistakes and they remain hidden from the outside world. I do not want to feel the sting of rejection from co-workers, or feel the loneliness of not being able to fit in with the people I work with. I don’t want to feel like the people who hire me, regret their decision because I am just such a screw up. I don’t want to feel the sting of accusations ever again.

    I also realize, that most of what I see, is the way I choose to interpret things and not the way it really is. I give the mask of “I’m fine” often, because I think I will lose my friends by telling them of my self doubt and appear like I am whining. The first thing we were told last night at the seminar was to let your children know that we are there to listen to them without judgment and with unconditional love for them. After reading chapter 2, I realized, I also have that unconditional love and can confess my weakness to God without judgment. I can turn to him and share my doubts and then open my heart to allow him to finish the good works he began in me until they are completed at the time of Christ’s coming. I continue to pray that the LORD strengthen my heart and fill it with the love he has for me, so that I may turn and love others in the same way. I pray for strength to listen and follow his path, for his will make my way straight when I follow his will for me.

    • I can relate to wanting to keep the status quo instead of making a change due to fear. And sometimes, God does keep us at one stage of life because we’re not quite ready to move on to the next one yet. But while we’re here, He is preparing us. I think that for most Christians, even those in the Bible, they spend more time preparing to serve God than actually serving God. So don’t think of your time as “hiding”, rather God is grooming for you something new. And when the time comes, whatever it may be, you will experience His glory and strength. God bless!

    • Valerie says:

      I never thought I would see those words written by someone else about working. So many things just flooded my mind. I also have four children and have stayed home for the last 12. I quit my job to “stay home with the kids”, but deep down inside, I quit because I felt I was incapable and eventually someone, everyone, was going to notice. I have every excuse in the book to not go back to work. Again for about the fourth time in just this day’s posting, I have been able to relate. I have so many different, strong and painful struggles going on in my life, so much drama. It is a constant struggle to just hang on for dear life!

  154. Kathleen says:

    I am not fine today… there I said it . For most of my life, I always said “I;m fine” when I really wasn’t. Most people don’t want to hear anything else. I have learned that over the years. I don’t think people really want to hear anything else from you because they are so wrapped up in their own issues. I am trying very hard to look beyond the normal, quick response of “I;m fine,” that most people give to see if they really are fine. It is hard to take the mask off.

    Today, I need prayer. I lost my mother just two weeks ago unexpectedly and I have been in shock since leaving the ER that early morning hour. My family and I have been so busy the past weeks with funeral arrangements, closing out her house, writing thank you notes and trying to find normal again. I catch myself calling her on the phone as I did this several times a day when I would get home from teaching school only to remember that she isn’t there to answer. She was a Christian and I know that one day we will be reunited but in the meantime, I am really missing her.

    Thank you for praying for me. I really appreciate it.
    Kathleen

    • I am praying for you Kathleen. I lost my Mom unexpectedly also and it will throw you off kilter for a while to say the least. God got me through that time and it is my prayer that you will will know He has you in His hands and loves you and will get you through this. I found Psalm 42 to be helpful during that time and hope you might find encouragement in it too.

    • stephanie says:

      Kathleen, I’m praying that God will help you through this time. I pray that this study will help to boost your confidence and able to be open without having to hide your true feelings. I have learned from experience in my own life that healing can only truly take place when we open up to others. I know that it must have been hard to share your story, but think about the wonderful power of prayer. Take comfort in God’s peace and comfort. Blessings!

  155. I was reading through chapter 1, this morning, and I began peeling away a lot of emotional layers. I participated in this on-line study the previous time around, but not until this morning was I able to really face my lifetime of doubts. Now, I’m praying for the abilities to “hope”, and “believe” in God’s promises.

  156. Julie X says:

    I’m not fine. I don’t know if I’ve ever been fine but I really started not being fine last summer when I discovered my husband was having an affair. He was my high school sweetheart. We broke up after high school and then he called me one day out of the blue to tell me he was sorry and wanted to be friends. Our friendship grew and love sparked anew and we eventually married. Things weren’t perfect but I never thought in a million years that he would do this to me, to us, to our kids. Devastated, crushed, destroyed just touches the tip of the iceberg in describing how I felt and still feel.

    One night in October as I was laying in bed praying and crying God spoke to me. I was asking how I was going to get through this, how I was going to survive, why was it happening, etc. And in between sobs I heard Him say “Trust Me.”

    Another day I was driving home from work, after a particularly rough day, and I was praying and crying. I asked Him to tell me if I was doing the right thing wanting to work things out, wanting to be with this man who has thrown my everything (feelings, heart, kids, etc.) to the wayside. Was it time to give up? Was it time to move on? When I got home I was looking at FB and found a post from my daughter with the comment ‘I totally needed to hear this.’ Talked to her later and she said that she really felt like she needed to post it, that someone else needed it as well. It was Chris August singing his song ‘Restore.’ For those not familiar with that song, it’s about God restoring marriage.

    Little did I know how many of you have stories similar to my own. I pray for each of you. Pray that God would restore what has been broken in all of you. Pray that you would find hope, peace and strength in the shadow of God’s mighty wings. Thank you for your prayers for my husband, my kids, my marriage and me.

    I subscribe to Proverbs 31 Ministries “Encouragement for Today” emails and read something Renee wrote several months ago. It referenced ACW so I bought it and read it. The book really spoke to me. There were many times when I wondered if Renee had a camera in my house and/or in my heart because I felt she was describing me exactly. I signed up immediately when I saw the opportunity to participate in this study. I knew that reading the book again would unlock new kernels of God’s wisdom that I missed the first time through. Pray that each of you is touched, moved, and awakened by knowing what a wonderful Daddy in Heaven that we have who loves us UNCONDITIONALLY all day, every day, no matter what we do!

  157. I have had a lifetime of doubts piled upon me. When you hear something over and over you tend to believe those things whether they are true or not. I know & believe that I am a child of God and that he has great things for me and for that I am thankful. But after being thrown back into the workforce after a divorce I struggle with who I am. Am I working in the place God want’s me to be or am I working there because I have to pay the bills. Do I go back to school at 41 and if I do what is the plan God has prepared for me there. I struggle with idea of going back to school for the mere fact that I didn’t do well in high school and I have this fear of failing again. Living in the land of unknown stinks.

  158. Kristin says:

    I think people are hesitant to open up, because a fair number of the people asking don’t really want to know how you are doing. It has become a colloquial greeting – “Hi, how are you?” “Fine and you?” “Good”. End of greeting. If someone actually opened up to them, they would probably get the deer in the headlights look, and want to get away as soon as possible. When I REALLY want to know how people are doing, I will ask “How are you doing? I mean really how are you doing?”

  159. Hi all,

    This week the verse has really stuck with me is Jer 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mothers’ womb. Before you were born I set you apart” I keep coming back to it as a reminder that God has it all set out and way better than I could even imagine.
    Being a Pastor’s wife comes with a stigma of perfection and always having it together, but I can testify that is not the case. I am thankful that I do have some close friends that want to know the truth to the “How are you doing” question.
    In reading some of the above posts I can’t begin to imagine what some of you are going through and so my heart and prayers goes out to you. Personally I have not had many heartaches but when I have I’ve tried to remember to lean on God.

  160. Shannon says:

    You know it’s funny I had a hard life during my jr high and high school My mom was in and out of the hospital and I was left to take care of my brothers and dad. Not fun for a 13 yr old. I wear my emotions on my sleeves until one day a lady at my church asked me how I was and I knew I could “trust ” her so I started telling her how sad, frustrated yada yada to which she responded, ” you know Shannon, you should really stop telling people your problems, act positive and be fine!!” I was soooo devastated so from then on I hid in my stuff and acted “fine” when inside I was completely dying inside. It sux when someone abandons you because of “your drama”. Almost 20 years later its still happening. My best friend recently didn’t want anything to do with me because of “my drama”. I was devastated. I can’t help that I have borderline personality disorder and anxiety! All I want is a real friend who knows me and loves me for me and will listen to me.

  161. Tammy Schulz says:

    after reading chapter2 and yesterdays guest post i feel that i have been directed to the right place. i am so afraid to hope. jam SO AFRAID and SO TIRED! i wish i could be in a room to see other participants. i am so tired and so sad and so do not wish to be so unaware of what i have and not to be thankful. we have lost so much during these past 7 years and i ache to go home back to minnesota. i feel so alone and helpless. WHOA! that ugliness tumbled out. i did not even have to pay for a counseling session or go buy something!i do so want to be confident that i will not be defeated by my life circumstances but feel that there is so little hope.depression,depression. i have moved on i know from a great deal of anger and felt moving into acceptance was what God wanted from me, BUT I AM NOT FINE thank you to anyone listening,i am not a complainer but am so sad.hskpr57@cox.net

  162. Rose Wade says:

    Our verse for this week confirms that God will always known the “real me” – each lustful thought, each evil thought, each sinful desire of my heart. Before he formed me in my mother’s womb He knew me, but He loved me anyway. If I took off my mask and let others see the “real me”, what they would see is that I have a wonderful husband, yet I can’t stop thinking about this other man. Would they think the same way about me after they knew this? Probably not. Only Jesus can love me “just as I am”.

    If someone asked, “Did you have a good day”?, I would say “not really” and share with that person about a spiritual or physical need I had. Taking off the mask and letting people see the “real you” also involves revealing the ugly thoughts and desires hidden in the recesses of your heart. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” I am not ready to this!

  163. I have struggled this week with loneliness and depression but I have answered “I’m fine”. when others ask how I’m doing. My husband died 4 years ago and most days I really am “fine” but some days are overwhelming. I feel like people really don’t want to know when they ask anyway so it’s an answer that lets them feel comfortable. Being reminded that God cares and is always there, makes it seem a little brighter and easier to manage.

  164. I love this study. I’m not fine and I’m putting my trust in God.

  165. Valerie says:

    As I read through a lot of these posts about opening up, I feel so desolate inside. When I open up to my husband with honesty, he absolutely freaks. He screams and yells and throws and breaks things. I am not allowed to communicate to any degree unless by chance, he is in the right mood, which is rare. This is a huge struggle for me, as I am an extremely honest, up front person. I don’t hide my feelings and honestly have trouble keeping them in. God tells us to be honest, with grace of course, but I am not allowed to be. He was all about it when we were dating, but as soon as we got married, no exaggeration, within one week, my honesty was taboo. It has been 12 years. I am dead inside, with only a little warmth left from my Heavenly Father. I feel like one of those animals with their little leg caught in a bear trap, just waiting to perish. Dramatic, I know, but accurate. It seems this valley goes on forever.

  166. It’s okay to say you’re not okay. My husband and I have been separated for a year and in the beginning I was a complete mess! Over time, I’ve learned that God is my all in all. I tell people “I’m not fine” and I simply ask for prayer! It’s hard, it’s rough – but I’ve seen the work that God has done in me and my two girls and I know that God is utterly faithful and he truly does turn our ashes into beauty and if you let Him, He will heal your heart, hurts, and restore you!

  167. Crystal Rowin says:

    This post really hit home for me. I am a single mom of a wonderful 6-year-old boy and his father is no where to be found. He does not want anything to do with him. When Braxton, my son, was younger Matthew, my ex, was very close to Braxton and now he does not even call him on his birthday. As a mother it is hard to look your baby in the eyes and answer his questions when you do not have answers. You have to but on that mask and show him strength when you really want to break down and cry.
    Also, when I take Braxton to soccer practice it is so hard to put on a smile as you watch the other dad’s coach and help their son. after reading this post I never really knew how often I put on that mask with a smile and pretended everything is ok. I am so thankful that I have my Heavenly Father to come to and take off that mask and show Him how I truly feel. I pray that God will help me to take that mask off more often throughout the day and help to be honest with the people that care.

  168. cherielynne says:

    What. S significant statement : BUT IF WE ONLY LIVE ON THE SURFACE WITH GOD WE WILL NEVER ECPERIENCE THE INTIMACY WE LONG FOR OR THE ACCEPTANCE AND SECURITY HE OFFERS. I love that statement and it can be applied to so many aspects of life.

  169. Had to share this tonight. I spent the week with a friend of ours who came for a visit. His wife recently left him and he is struggling with his own self doubt right now. As I entered this study I thought this was for me and only me. I realized that God did bring this study for me but also to help a friend in need. I was able to talk to him about not being fine and it is ok. Thank you to Renee and The Lord for being able to minister and use what I’ve already learned. I ask that all you ladies would keep him in your prayers. He wants nothing more than to repair his marriage for his two beautiful daughters but is coming to realize his wife is not in the same place. This has also given me a bit more confidence that I can witness and minister gods word. Praise be to God! I can do all through Christ who strengthens me:)

    • DAna hi, im not sure if you are aware of who Benny Hinn is, Im not sure how long ago it was i think a year or two that hes wife filed for divorce from him. He kept praying and believing and would not accept the fact that she was gone from His life, So He belived it and would not talk about any other options. And sure enough about 2 months ago him and hes wife got remarried on television God restored what was broken. Maybe he could email Benny Hinn and ask his advice on this after prayerfully talking to the Father God on it.
      I have also been through a situation where God told me this man was for me and he walked away from us, but God told me to keep beliveing and praying like this relationship is already done, i did as he said it was not easy and i had alot of doubts and not much support but sure enough the Lord God did bring my man back and He is grown in the Lord all that time and He has more of a Love for me cause he knows that i never gave up on him, and that Love i was told to give him, God told me when he comes back you cannot bring up his past mistakes you have to totally forgive him as if He didnt do anything i obeyed though it was hard and God did it, Hes Amazing he knows what is best for us and i would never tell anyone to give up on their marriage they should pray ask God what He wants them to do, and do it all the way with His help all things are possible. I never bring up his mistake but He brings it up, he knows he did wrong and he apoligizes to me all the time and He realizes he did wrong. Its a Miracle.

      • Julia Ybarra says:

        What a blessing, reading your post gives sooo much encouragement and hope to believe what God presses on us, how we should, think, pray & feel. I am encouraged by your sharing and still believe that our God who performed miracles long ago is still performing miracles today!! I love hearing these accounts of God performing miraculous things in peoples lives….it’s definitly a “God thing”.

  170. I have not recieved my book yet so i have not read chapter 2, and i feel like im missing out because there seems to be so many questions that might be good for me to share. Does anyone have any suggestions on how i can still participate on chapter 2 when all have moved along:(

  171. Julia Ybarra says:

    Thank you Renee, you are such a blessing pouring out your heart and being real. I thank God for your honesty & openess in sharing with us. Chpt 2 really hit home with me where lots of times I will say “I’m fine”to others & would be falling apart on the inside, dealing with struggles on my own. I am learning to lean more & more on the Lord in all my circumstances.

  172. I’m not fine. I’ve been trying to be a good wife and mother, but end up feeling judged by what I do or don’t do. I take things my husband says so personally even when he doesn’t mean it to be because I think I’m so ready to receive confirmation that I am failing. I’m a people-pleaser which a recent incident made me remember that doesn’t work. I’m tired of trying to be fine.

  173. I moved halfway across the country 6 months ago and have a 5 year old. I am in the most difficult season I can imagine in my marriage. It is really challenging to NOT “be fine” when you are trying to make new connections and make friends. But, I am exhausted and have chosen not to be afraid of the fact that I am not fine! I am a really joyful person by nature and that is God’s blessing to balance out this trying time. I don’t wallow and I won’t hide. I think (read, hope) people have appreciated my openness. I really am struggling but am grateful for these new people that have chosen to see ME, even when I am not fine.

  174. Cynthia says:

    Last year, my husband had a sudden health episode that left him in bed for almost six months. I am also the primary caregiver and helper with three elderly parents. This left me as a constant caregiver 24 hours a day and I was exhausted for most of that time and am still recovering my energy level. I did find it hard to share the load with anyone who could understand what I was going through. Many of my friends listened but gave me little encouragement. I realized this was because they hadn’t been in this situation yet, and they couldn’t feel the scope of how tired I was, and I tried to “strengthen myself in the Lord” as David said. I do find sometimes that my christian community has ready scriptures and answers but less hugs and understanding. I am thankful God always sees me and hears me – His love never fails.

  175. I read this via email the other day at work – I had to stop because I was crying. Reading it I put myself in each of the hurts – I then sent the email to my husband for him to read. I hide a lot behind the “i’m fine” and after reading this I’m making an effort to not hide behind “i’m fine”. My hubby was asking if I was ok last night and my automatic response was “i’m fine”. He emailed me back after he read this saying it was touching; my response to him “I’m glad you read it. Maybe after doing this bible study I will eliminate my “fine” answers. Although, I believe I said I was fine tonight. But if I had to use something else I would say slightly empty. I miss you.” . I’m also hiding behind “i’m fine” when people are asking how I’m doing after my miscarriage on Feb 10th. I know God had a reason and that the baby wasn’t developing normally because they couldnt see the baby on the sonogram at 7 weeks, I know others who are struggling with getting and staying pregnant and i know i’m truely blessed to have 2 beautiful children already. My thoughts are that i really am fine because God is there protecting me and looking out for my best interest, no matter how badly I wanted the 3rd child. it is on the days where i’m hurting more that the “i’m fine” response does really hurt while saying it. this phrase “I’m hurting, and the details aren’t important, but would you please pray for me? I would really appreciate that.” will become my replacement to “i’m fine”. I’m sorry I haven’t read all of the comments on this post (or any other post) and I know a lot of others are suffering with hurt as well as I and I will pray for all of us hurting. I’m really enjoying reading the book and learning more about Gods love for me.

  176. Janis, I completely understand. My husband and I had a miscarriage on January 1, 2013. I was not fine. But I had to return to work, and he to school. Life had to go on, and I found myself saying I was “ok” as a default. After a few days we opened up to close friends, being able to ask for prayer, to ask others to walk along side you in your pain, is comforting and allows the healing process to take place.

    I like how Melanie said we, as Christians, try to show that we are living the fairy-tale and we are all fine. It is so true, but why is it we do this to ourselves and to one another. Being a Christ follower is about admitting we are a mess and we can not do it on our own and therefore, we need a Savior, Christ. Yet, the temptation to put on that mask is strong, I find myself doing it. I have multiple masks to suite different occasions. One for work (ie, the Powerful Business Women, Confident and Unafraid). One for home (Beautiful Wife, keeping her home together and everything in line). You get the point, some masks have been retired, others are getting uncomfortable. But what if I take them off and everyone finds that I am a mess, I am insecure and I doubt. I doubt my abilities at work, I am insecure about how well I perform as wife and house keeper, how well I perform as in-law, cook, sister, daughter, niece, friend, decorator, planner, ect.

    I am praying that God meet me here, in this need to be perfect in all I do. I am praying that I would “thirst no more” for approval and validation from others, that my joy, peace, and identity would radiate from within and point others to Christ. I pray that my confidence will come from Christ.

  177. On page 36 Renee writes, “When she looked into His eyes she saw acceptance, not judgment; love, not hate. She felt valuable in His presence, as though she had something to offer. There was something different about Him.” This made me realize that I often look toward God but I haven’t looked into His eyes to see the reflection of myself as He sees me. My doubts grow like bacteria in a Petri dish because in that glance I’ve missed the unconditional acceptance and love He has for me. When my own thoughts and experience are the barometer against which I measure my worth, I have always fallen short and my doubts multiply. I thank God (and Renee and all the wonderful women walking this path together) for this opportunity to look into God’s eyes, to know Him more intimately, and to trust Him fully.

  178. Stephanie says:

    I really am enjoying the first two chapters of this book. Even though I am one to usually admit when I am not fine, can see that Jesus wants to share those not fine times with me. He wants to restore my innocence lost many years ago and make me clean in him. Now I have to not just believe in Him but believe Him that His promises are true for me.

  179. Anna Bermea says:

    Just finished reading Chapter 2 and can definitely relate to everything in the book. Thank you Renee! My struggle is to really take off that mask of fine and allowing people to see that I am sometimes not fine. I have always had the front that I am strong so i have had some stinging things that have happened. I am praying to take off the mask that I am fine and truly revealing that I am always not strong. Thank you for always leading us back to the one that can truly change us – Jesus!

  180. Debbie Jo says:

    I am a food addict. I am NOT fine, but I put on my mask each day and act like I am okay…..Part of the time, I actually am, but not always. I am afraid that if I let go of my mask completely, my whole world will come crashing down around me…so, I try to give it to God each day….His Grace is the best…knowing that I am new each day….a clean slate each day……That gives me hope!

  181. This has been a great study thus far. I talk with so many woman that feel that they are a nobody and that they do not matter in the scheme of things. The ministry God has called me to stems from mental, physical, and verbal abuse I encountered from my mother. I travel with two other woman who have been through abuse, different forms of abuse, we talk of the abuse, where it has led each one of us (different places) but have found such peace and freedom from the bondage of abuse through Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart when I hear such stories as I have read here. I am reading this study from a kindle so I can not give a page number but one thing that stood out to me was, “He cares about every detail in our lives. But if we only live on the surface with God, we will never experience the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offers.” He longs for that intimacy with us and He is just waiting for us to realize just that. Know ladies that you are not alone in your pain and suffering, there are so many that have been or are going through much of the same things you are. Know that God loves you with such an unconditional love no matter where you are at, He will meet you there. Cling to His promises for they are true. I have felt much the same way, I never felt that I measured up, I was a nothing to just kick around and abuse. God brought me through and in Him I stand and you can to. Know that you are prayed for, I may not know all of your names but God does. Bless you all and thank you Renee for this study, woman need to know that they are not alone and they can make it through.

  182. Tammy Braun says:

    What really made me feel not a part of this chapter was the fact that I do not hide anything, if anything, I tell all to anyone who will listen about my faults, I lay them bare for all to see. “Why do I do this?” Is it so that when they find out, they will not be disappointed, I am unsure. I always pray or talk to God, much more now than I have in the past couple of years. I thank God for all of you women and this study.

    Heavenly Father, I pray that you bless me each and every woman who is a part of this study… I pray that your Holy Spirit speak to each of us as needed and help us see what we need to see. Give every us the strength and wisdom, to read each chapter and participate in the on line blogs, as it will make us grow in you… Things will always get in our way, so help us God to be here every week and help us to draw closer to you. Thank you for everything. P.S. God, to all the women in this world I pray that you give them what they need at this moment. In the name Of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  183. TJ Ellis says:

    Can I be honest here? I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of comments already here. Though I think it is wonderful. ‘Jesus is the only one who can meet our deepest need for acceptance and being delighted in simply for who we are.” Renee Swope. Grace moving from my head to my heart has become my prayer. It is great see such beautiful results already here.

  184. i am not fine. I am officially jobless. I am completely depressed. I hate my life. I am single and as far as men are concerned the ugliest thing to walk the face of the earth. My grandmother is very sick and I cannot fix that either. I just want to sleep all day. I cannot figure out what to do next. I know I will owe taxes and I have yet to file them yet and the time is coming up fast to file them. I truly just want to lay down and never wake up.

    • Michelle Johnson says:

      Kelly,
      While it may not feel like it, you already are taking the steps to being ok, we all are. I often am at a point where I just want to lay down a give up but He doesn’t let me and He is not letting you because He brought us here. We can’t fix things but we can learn to live in Him and through Him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Don’t lay down…stand up…and rejoice in what we have been given…we are here with you, even through the web, feel the love coming your way!

  185. Just what you said here, cry it to God, He’s listening, WE just have to fully give Him control, it took me a very long time to realize how much He truly loves me, but when that happens & you GET IT, your life will turn around, keep on with this study, it WILL help you, will be praying for you, I hope there is a friend or relative you can confide in also, that has really helped me too. Hope this helps you in some small way, GOD LOVES YOU LIKE CRAZY, JUST LET HIM IN!!

    • Amen!

      • I too am still learning this :)
        thank you Zoyie

        • Thank Him, He’s the One that does it all, it’s a day to day process I have found out, but I do REALLY know now that He only wants what’s best for me, & I have to keep firmly believing that and not Satan’s lies, One day at a time Sweet Jesus, now I know what that song really means. I just hope I can remain faithful on a more continual basis. We all need prayer, never will anything ever be perfect, till we get to Heaven, yeah!

  186. Juanita says:

    So, being a Christian woman, I thought we are all on the understanding that everything will be fine because we trust God entirely. Even through our troubles and our pain, we can praise God for the blessings we have today and the plans He has for us: plans to prosper us, right?

    Right now I am struggling with my relationship with my husband/ex-husband (Nate). I feel as though God asked me to reconcile with him (January 2012) and this past January, he still had not said he loves me. So many details but short and (somewhat) sweet, we went to counseling offered at church. In our second session, the counselor thought it was better to see Nate alone. They are going to work on repairing Nate’s relationship with our Lord God and being a Godly parent. So where does that leave me? I asked God what He wants me to do and all I hear is Wait and Trust in me.

    I have learned during this time that God is polishing me. I am breaking bad habits that I didn’t even think were bad. I am committing to the actions or inactions God has placed on my heart. I am battling the enemy who seeks to destroy my confidence. I stand by faith knowing that God is good and God is working. And I must remain obedient.

    So here I am hurt by our day to day living…still no romance and love from Nate…but God telling me to trust Him and wait…so how do I do this joyfully and full of love when there is a pity party happening in my heart? I KNOW GOD LOVES ME AND THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH. I know that I should turn to scripture and find peace in His word. I know His plans are better than I can imagine. I know that there are blessings all around me and to praise Him. I know all this and yet my joy tank is low. I know everything is going to be fine but since we are to rejoice in TODAY, but how I do genuinely turn this frown upside down?

  187. The ever present answer of being “fine” – It’s hard for me not to want to answer “fine” because that is how I wish things were and have thought they should be if I love the Lord and have accepted him as my Savior. But, it seems my idea of what that looks like is different than what the Lord’s idea may be for my life.

    There has been a downturn in our family business and I am returning to work in it full time with my husband. We had to let our last employee go this week. It is not an easy decision for me as through our 27 years of marriage we have often struggled as we’ve tried to work together in the business and our marriage. I struggle knowing that I will need to do things with our clients and market a business that I have lost confidence in over the years. My faith in God seems so small right now , our soul income is dependent on this business which I know means on the Lord and so there is little peace in my life. Oh, how I want to have big faith in our one true God!

    I am tired of the battle and want to release things to the Lord but don’t know how anymore. I repeat scripture, try to read inspiring books and pray for God’s peace to fill my very being yet still I have trouble catching my breath and seeing this business grow once again. I’ve always wanted to encourage and support my husband in what he loves to do yet it has taken its toll on me and I can’t seem to get out of the pattern of fear, doubt and worry that hover over me.

    I ask as the prayer from Chapter One asks of God- “Take me beyond believing in You to truly believing You and your promises, hold me together along the way so that I would not fall apart but become a witness of your mighty presence in our lives.”

  188. Michelle Johnson says:

    A mask being placed, or saying “I’m fine” always seemed to be the easy way out…the way to avoid conflict, to be accepted in the eyes of those around me. But in reality was I being accepted? And who was accepting me? I was raised to bottled up my feelings, to just accept things as they are, I can’t do anything, can’t change the “way things are”. What I am realizing is it wasn’t the easy way out and what if Jesus took that route? He walked the unbeaten path, He talked to “Sam” when no one else would, He didn’t pretend, He was who He was and didn’t cow down to anyone to be accepted. When He hurt, He said He hurt, when he was happy He said He was happy, He was who He was and what He wants from me is to be who I am in Him. He stood up for me and laid down His life for me (for us), He is the one I have to be accepted by (and already am) and He tells me I can throw away the masks, stop pretending, start living for Him, for us. God, give me the strength to continue on this path and truly start living!

  189. I have worn the “I’m fine” mask since I was in middle school. My mother married a man who did drugs, then was diagnosed with brain tumors which led to violence. I moved to my father’s hoping to escape and found that the stress became shame. My father and step-mother drank, my step-mother was verbally abusive and became violent when drunk. I was told many hurtful things and learned that my feelings were unimportant but my actions required apologies if other feelings were hurt (my step-mother’s). I went to school through all of this with a smile on my face and the ever present “I’m fine” mask on. Without understanding fully the problems I still struggle with this study is already in this first week showing me that my self-doubt from my childhood has led me to an adulthood full of doubt, stress and depression. I am so glad I am on this journey now. I am praying and believing that the book study and adjoining bible study in the coming weeks are going to show me the path and help me find my way out of this vicious inner battle.

    Lord I pray that you will guide myself and all the other ladies through your truths and help us to remove our masks of lies and be vulnerable to you and the loving friends You have brought into our lives to help us. Thank you Lord for giving Renee the ability and confidence to share with us how to depend on You and KNOW that you are God!

  190. Oh how Chapter 2 hit home… When I was growing up it was not OK to show emotion…you hide so much…I am 56 years old and it is hard to break a lifetime of pretending everything is ok when on the inside you know it isn’t. GOD brought me to my knees on Christmas Eve 2011… It was at this point in my life when I realized the decisions I – ME – only ME had made were not working…I thought I was much smarter and stronger than I really am. Although it is still a WORD IN PROGRESS – I am laying my life and everything in it at the cross and trusting in GOD and his divine will. PRAYING daily – and emersing myself in the word…..This is a wonderful study..

  191. I’m not fine and I have been giving the I’m Blessed reply for years now. I’m tired. It’s amazing how much I’ve read about marriage thus far so now I can breathe and remove my mask. There’s so much but I’ll try to be brief:
    This is my only marriage and it’s been fourteen years. We have three children, and we’re both supposed to be Christians. I stated it that way because I don’t know how Christians can’t seem to work things out! He says he doesn’t want to be married and never did, nor did he want children. I had a child already and with pre-marital sex, pregnancy happened with him. (We weren’t saved then.) Although I wasn’t thrilled about having two children without being married, I had no idea marriage wasn’t what he really wanted. (Thought it was mutual, we’d both been through enough.) I guess I was supposed to read his heart and mind then instead of finding out a few years ago he wanted to do what was morally right. Even then it was stated in such a way that although it wasn’t his original desire, he’d grown to love that which he thought he never wanted. Hence, we moved forward because things were good. Yes things that didn’t make sense to me happened as I’m sure he said the same. Little did I know, certain female relationships were occuring that I had no idea about and when faced with them, I wasn’t happy. That though wasn’t supposed to be a big and lingering issue because according to him because he loved me and was still taking care of home. I just knew there was more so I kept going back to, “What am I missing, why am I not feeling secure, why do these “things” keeping happening?” There was silence and withdrawl too! A lot of off and on. Last year I learned he was trying to deal with this part of himself that he never wanted me to know by suppressing, but now it’s out.
    I don’t want my husband to now have a separate checking acct., an apt., but he’s still living with us, an I don’t care attitude sometimes concerning me and the children, wanting me physically others, not supporting financially the same as before, spending/wasting money here, there and wherever else, and not coming home some nights because he really doesn’t want to be here since there’s the possibility of talking, just to name a few things. He says he does love me though because of our years and many good times. (No major fights or anything. Always tried the understanding/communicating approach.)
    A part of me wants to say go although I don’t really want him to because I’m afraid he’ll enjoy it, but the other doesn’t feel that’s the will of God. He did leave for a short period of time but asked my permission to come home out of fear of being out of the will of God yet he still feels he’s out because he doesnt want to be married. Now maybe time will bring about a change, according to him.
    I’m trying to do right by God, wait on Him, let Him have His way, because I don’t have a point of reference in the Bible for this! I know He doesn’t want me to be used and abused either (a door mat).

    Sorry for the long post. I really appreciate the space to breath though! I have to figure out what’s going on with me. Still praying and waiting.

    • Praying for you! I was where you are a few years ago in your marriage. My husband too told me he never wanted to be married and he felt pressured. At the time we did have a daughter and he has never said he didn’t want children but he did say if he could do it all over he wouldn’t have married me. I was torn, crushed and quite broken. I know how you feel. Please know though that god is in complete control and he can repair what seems to be so broken. My husband and I have worked through our issues and he is not even a Christian so you do have a heads up there. We are happier now than we ever have been and just had our second child. I will pray for peace in your marriage and also peace inside your heart. I know the pain and I know you feel all is lost. Remember that when we lean on Jesus he can heal all broken wounds and make us even better than before. If you haven’t done or thought of this seek guidance from your pastor. I know that may seem embarrassing but he understands and would love nothin more I’m sure than to help you and your husband mend the broken pieces. In Christ!!

  192. God’s perfect love is amazing! It’s always there, no judgements, no questions asked, but a much needed relief from pain, suffering and doubt. I can’t put into words how it makes me feel now that I’ve truly opened my ears and my heart to God and his calling for me at this exact stage of my life. I am just so excited and thankful for how everything is falling into place.

    The more open you take off the mask and be true to yourself and Him, the easier it becomes and the more you see yourself as beautiful, just the way you are, just the way He created you to be! Thank you Renee for this study.

  193. Brittany B. says:

    I have recently seen a doctor about anxiety and depression. I thought having these things was a sign of weakness, or that my faith was not strong enough so i tried to hide it. I prayed about it and i reached out to a couple of women in my church. They gathered some others to pray over me. Of course when asked what they could pray about i started crying right away, but all i could answer was sometimes i get really sad and i dont know why but i dont like the feeling! I try to remind myself of God’s promises but it feels like there is a wall and they dont sink into my heart.” That was my first step towards healing and a better relationship with God. I realized that i may need help to get back on track, although after being prayed over i have no depressing days i still suffered from anxiety. I am currently on some medication but will stop taking them this summer. I used to feel ashamed that i had to go this route but i no longer do bc I know everything happens for a reason and I know God is taking care of me. He is showing me (and i am learning slowly) that i dont need to please everyone. That those feelings of wanting to be loved and pursued CAN be filled, but for them to be filled entirely i need to grow closer to Him.

    • I know how you feel. All my life I was treated as if nothing I did was good enough and then my first husband had a long standing affair with one of my friends and is now married to her. My second husband was supposed to be different but about 6 months after we were married he had a relationship with an old friend of his and since then it has been one affair after another. I don’t want my marriage to fail and I’m praying hard for him and that his heart and desire will return to me. I have become totally overwhelmed by his actions, to the point that I too began to have anxiety attacks and had to go on medications in order to be able to work on a daily basis. I was so ashamed, I wouldn’t tell anyone that I was on them. I struggle daily with wanting to be loved and I pray daily that those feelings will be met by God and not a person. I will pray for you as well Brittany.

  194. My mask is my life without kids. Have I wanted them? No is not entirely the correct answer. It is one used to cover up the fact that the batchelor husband that I adore does not want them. For years we have gone back and forth on that important decision, never on the same page. In truth, I’m not sure that our marriage could survive raising them up so close to the inlaws. We have had severe difficulties with wedges in our marriage due to their opinionated involvement. Guilt trips sent to the baby boy to do whatever is asked. They need him (prematurely) for everything. He is oblivious to most of it as they are Christians and are good covering things up. Because I’ve been seen as a threat to their connection, I’m not too popular there but this is only obvious when he’s not around. I dont want to “push” to do something that could ruin our marriage. I sooooo love my hubby and he sooo loves me and is more than content to have it just be us forever…However, I have always been “a natural” when working with kids. I avoid working with them now. It’s too painful to be asked why we don’t have them or that it “seems like a waste”. Though in my lower 40′s women especially treat me as less of a woman or much younger than I am as though I don’t know anything or have any experience at all. It is assumed that I am selfish for deciding not to have them. There is the battle to want to please others that I have always have and I feel as though I have let everyone down. My pride has been completely squashed as I am the oldest child and all my younger sibs have had children. I’ve completely lost my oldest child bearings. I have become very insecure and lost all my confidence. The wind has been taken from beneath my wings. I feel like there is a huge hole in my heart as I imagine what life would have been like with a child or two. I have not found anyone in the “same boat” and though I know God is with me, I often feel very alone.

  195. For the last cople of months I’ve been answeing the question “How Are you?” with I’m fine… and turned the conversation around as quick as possible, because everything is not fine… I started a relationship just 4 months ago and he is like a dream man but my insecurities, past, doupts and onconfidence is soon ruing the relationship… not to talk about the relkationship mistakes we have made as Christians all ready! that adds to guilt trip the things that should not be there….
    For the last month or so i’ve been wanting to quit saiing I’m fine but that is the automatic answer. I don’t wnat others to be burdend by my hurts or insecurities… That thought pattern comes from 6 years ago when at 18 years old I lost my mother to cancer finished high school and went to university thinking that I don’t have premission to griev… i have to be strong… that affects my closest relatinship now. Thats why I want to fingt with doubt and ding security in God!

    Only God is abel to repair my broken heart and thats what I’m finding out from this book as well.

  196. “We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat.” ~ Renee Swope

    Tears came to my eyes IMMEDIATELY with that simple statement. I’m a type A personality, one that wants to control everything and have everything happen in my time frame and that’s been a portion of my personality that has become really frustrating as of late. I’ve been trying to have a baby for a few years, I’ve been trying to change my profession, but I’ve experienced no change it has been tough. It’s been hard to celebrate others who are advancing and receiving what I want. But, I have to remember that I have no control, if I truly want to live a surrendered life, one dedicated to genuinely becoming a disciple of Christ I have to leave all things in the hand of the Father.

  197. Being transparent … Even though I know God “knows” me .. I mean He made me.. knew me before I was in my mothers womb.. So how can i not be transparent before him.. Easy.. I fool myself. I fall into that trap that Adam and Eve fell into. Hiding from God, afraid, worried.. unsure of the God that knows and loves me.. Fear.
    always fear.. But I will try to remember that He loves me and already knows all that I think, desire, dream, feel etc…

  198. Jacinta Claypool says:

    I am a little behind in the assignments but I had started this book last month. The day I read part of this chapter I was in church. It was before bible study, I had already prayed, so I sat quietly and was reading on my Kindle. I got halfway through the chapter and just broke down. I had gotten to the part where Renee speaks about meeting us where we are How He is waiting for us to stop running to and turn to him. Well at that point it was time to pray and start worship. The first song they sing is “Oh How He Loves Us” I knelt down at my seat and just cried. I couldn’t stop. My heart cried out to God because I was so tired of pretending. I am in a relationship that has started too soon and because I am afraid to lose him, I won’t break up with him so we can grow. It doesn’t make sense but its a fear. But because he is a leader in the church, I don’t want to tell anyone details because he could get into trouble with the pastor and it would be a mess. So at that moment, I knew God was there. I knew He was waiting for me and had wrapped his arms around me and wasn’t going to let go.

  199. I read recently (again but with new understanding) “Adam and Eve were naked before God and unashamed”. That is because they knew they were loved regardless. I am finally learning that too. People who make us feel ashamed if I show myself “naked” to God are the ones that make us put on the mask. But Praise Be To God for the Freedom I have finally found!! I come to Him, naked. He sees all the “roots of bitterness” that were growing and so loving performs His operation on them all. Put in His healing oil and gives me refreshing wine to drink and clothes me in His royal robes. And I dance before Him with all that’s within me!!! He smiles. I am known but I am loved and I am NOT ashamed.

  200. Amy White says:

    It’s so hard to get past the “I’m fine” answer even in church when the reality is church is where we should be most free to be open with each other. I have a close group of women who I share with and try to be more open and vulnerable, but just imagine what would happen if we all bought our brokenness and insecurity before the Lord and the church how he could heal us, and help us reach others who are struggling.

  201. Angelina says:

    Pretty much all the subtopics, the I’m fines, the pretending, the walls, the running away, I have been guilty of. I grew up where emotion was a sign of weakness, the abuse, anger, hate, shame, and disdain for everything ruled my life and it was almost self abusive on how bad I felt about myself. I just want to break free of all that negativity and realize that I am a child of God, I am beautiful, that I can be loved and love back. I am just so tired of hurting, I want for once in my life to feel like my past is my past, that I can have a bright, beautiful future and beyond.

  202. I say that i’m fine all the time but the truth is most times i’m not fine. Renee you talked about how empty you felt alot of the time but tried to make yourself busy to fill that emptiness, I do that exact same thing. The weekends are so hard for, especially sundays. I feel like sunday’s are family days and since I live alone and I don’t have a family sunday afternoons/nights are so hard for me. I become so sad and depressed and just angry. The guy I was dating still lived at home and he is really close to his family. They also spent sunday’s together and it was so difficult for me. I was invited over sometimes but I still felt like there was something missing in my life, like I was always missing out on something.

    When I start to feel like this I just shutdown instantly. I just shutdown, negative thoughts take over and the empty feeling gets bigger and bigger. I am learning that all I need is God. When I remember that and pray I feel better. It’s hard though to remember that and change my ways.

  203. Trine Feuerborn says:

    I often say I am fine when I am not. The truth is that with certain aspects of my life right now, particularly my career, I just don’t know what to do and so in order to now sound ungrateful I say that I am fine. I have a good job and make decent money, but I feel like I am withering inside. almost 3 years ago, I agreed to take on a new responsibility in the office, and it turned out far different than I thought. I also have a business at the side that I would like to improve on and be able to run fulltime, but it isn’t always going as I want it too. I love my business and would not give that up. I feel caught. I can’t afford to loose my job until the business turns a profit that we can live on and my job has gotten frustrating to a point where I can hardly take it sometimes. I want to learn to open up and talk to God about this, but how?

  204. Elizabeth says:

    This chapter resonated with me. I am married to a physician and so I cannot share anything with any woman because either she or their husband or their kid is a patient of his. I have tons of surface friends but no REAL friends and I hate it. It would be so nice to be able to be a real person instead of on display all the time…

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