Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Being Real

When I was a teenager, I would look at the other kids at church and think I had absolutely nothing in common with them. They must all love being there every Sunday and Wednesday and never fight their parents about going. They must never wish they could do all the things their friends at school were doing. They must never sit on the row and be insecure because they weren't sure if their church friends were going to talk to them that day. They must have it all together.

There was even one day in Sunday school in 10th grade when we divided into stations to talk about issues teenagers faced. I went to the station on peer pressure and to my absolute shock, I was the only one! That further reinforced my belief that I alone was being pulled in by the undertow. Over time, with no one I felt I could relate to on the shore, I gave in to the strong current.

What grieves me now is that other kids were going through some of the same stuff I was, at least to an extent, but no one was talking about it. I didn't know. Many of us felt isolated in our secret struggles, whatever they might have been. Late in my senior year (which was the low point for me), I was at a party with some friends and a girl from my church was there. I didn't know her very well at the time. She told my boyfriend to spill some dirt on me because it was killing her to think I could be so perfect. Are you kidding me? Partly because of who my mom was, and partly because it's in our nature to think everyone else has it altogether but us, she had this very, very false perception that I didn't struggle.

Some comments on my blog have mentioned something about me being "real." Perhaps this explains why I value authenticity. It does me no good to surround myself with pretenders and it does others no good for me to be a pretender.

Two weeks ago Curtis and I were at a very low place in our parenting experience. Jackson's behavior had brought us to our knees and we felt hopeless. Annabeth was at my parents' house and we were driving in the car with him to Wednesday night church. Both of us were in tears because we were so frustrated. I asked Curt if this is how it was going to be for the next 15 years - us hating ourselves because we feel like failures and not even recognizing who we'd become. Neither one of us wakes up in the morning hoping we can spend the whole day disciplining our three-year-old, you know? We were seriously at our wits end.

Curt, trying to console me a bit, told me that his best friend had recently asked him how things were going with our two. Curt had told him that things were fine. His friend's reply was, "Thank God. If you'd told me things were good, I don't know what I would have done." Our friends are also in the trenches with their newborn and their two-year-old son. What if Curt had told him everything was great even though it wasn't? All four of us would have felt alone and like failures.

That night after Bible study, our Sunday school teacher and his wife summoned all the couples from our class over to a table. In tears, he shared a struggle they were having with their three-year-old daughter. They were at their wits end. They felt hopeless. Like failures. He literally said they wondered if this is how it was going to be for the next 15 years.

So we're not the only ones? We're not the only ones!

Curt raised his hand and said, "Us too!"

We were able to spend some time praying for one another. I can't tell you how encouraged Curtis and I felt. We had walked into church that night in despair and we left with hope.

You know what's crazy? That very night we saw a change in our son. And since then, his heart has been a little softer and a little quicker to respond to discipline. We saw the hand of God move in our situation - from our friends' vulnerability that let us know we weren't alone to our kid's softened heart.

People need us to be real. Of course, I don't mean "real" to the point that we're trying to shock others with our sin nature. We don't need to let it all hang out. I have struck out many times on this. We must be Spirit-filled to walk the fine line.

When we're authentic, two things happen. One, we encourage others who are struggling in the same way. And two, we allow ourselves to be encouraged by others who have been there.

So if I can encourage you by not pretending that life with my dearly loved three-year-old strong willed child is a bowl full of cherries, so be it. If I can encourage you by saying that my clothes still don't fit right and I desperately need to work out, awesome. If I can encourage you that I was addicted to celebrity news/gossip, which was embarrassing for me to admit, then I'm glad to do it.

I was once an incredibly self-righteous person. I was proud of being good. Then God let me eat it and I saw what was really in my heart. There was nothing good there. I learned to surrender my weak self to Jesus every single day and let Him change my heart. If I stopped doing that, I'd turn right back into my old self. That is the scariest thought ever. The stakes are especially high now that I'm a wife and a mother. So I no longer care to portray a false sense of goodness or perfection. I want to show you that He is good and He has is all together. He can take a heart that craves sin and make it thirst for righteousness. He can take a Failure and make her a Victor. He can take our struggles and turn them into strengths. That's what He's done for me, what He's doing for me, and what He'll keep doing for me until He takes me home.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)

163 comments:

Dana said...

Amanda,

I have never left a comment for you before but I wanted to say that today, right now, you encouraged me...I too am at a low point in my parenting and the Lord really blessed me with your words. Thank you for being "real" and for sharing your life in the blog world. I look forward to reading your blog all the time.

Blessings,

Dana

Andrea Frederick said...

Amanda~I hear you and am in the same position. I have a 6 and 5 year old and I teach 1st grade. I can make 18 students behave, but am struggling with my own 6 year old. He is now on "lock down" which means not going anywhere, and it's tougher on us than him. I think it is so hard to be humbled, but a very important learning experience. Hang in there and thanks for writing what I was thinking!

Nana said...

I can encourage you also that it does get better (before you get to the next thing) When they are 4 it is better. My 2nd grandaughter who is the most strong willed is just now getting better at almost 5. But you know what, God has used her so much in our lives to make us more like Him. She forces us to be patient, and kind and long suffering and to persevere. Sounds like virtues God intended us to learn all along. I am glad you had this experience and thanks for sharing. I am sure it will offer hope to many young moms. It is so worth the investment, can you just imagine how proud your Mom is of you? You will be that way one day when your kids are grown. And that day will be here all too soon.
Vicki from FL

Joyce said...

Isn't God great to know just what we need when we need it!

I'm not at the same place in the parenting cycle as you are...mine are young adults. But no matter the age parenting is filled with joys and challenges. You'll probably find with two now that you'll 'solve' an issue one child has and feel like things are smooth sailing only for something else to become an issue for child number 2. And back and forth it goes. So glad you have people to share with you all the trials and rewards of this amazing calling that is motherhood.

I enjoy your blog-thanks for being real : )

Marc and Charity said...

Great post. I am at my wit's end with our 2 girls and I'm exhausted. And feeling rather isolated over here. It's nice to know that people are going through the same things. It's hard doing what we "do" because we are not surrounded by people who I can vent to. I could have written your paragraph about not fitting into your clothes and the need for excercise and the celebrity gossip stuff.

Holly said...

Me, too, Amanda. Me, too. " was once an incredibly self-righteous person. I was proud of being good. Then God let me eat it and I saw what was really in my heart. There was nothing good there."

On my knees for my children, too. On my knees for us, as we walk this very difficult, but not impossible path of parenting.

LOVE YOU!!

Off we go to Focus on the Family with our four...we'll see if we stay sane. With prayer!

Fran said...

Amanda...
I'm crying because I completely, and I mean COMPLETELY, get this one too sister. I was a fake, phony, manipulator, could wear multiple hats while killing myself kind of girl. I do not and will not EVER pretend to have it all together. It almost killed me to be all those people.

Like you, Jesus exposed some very ugly stuff in me, once I found Him. He continues to do His beautiful work within my heart and it will always a struggle to just be me. Simple ole real me. I'm still tempted in so many ways, but its definitely easier.

Life is hard. Life is short. I need all the real people I can get in my life.

I gave up ET and People/Us weekly and I'm as happy as I can be. It doesn't even interest me any more.

And, for the record...parenting will be the HARDEST thing we ever do. And, transitioning from 1 to 2kids was so so so difficult. Doesn't it make us love our parents even more for putting up with us and dealing with us?

love you much...
Fran

Jennifer said...

Girl, I get this more than you know. In fact, I have could have written much of what you said. I, too, am "in the trenches" with my 2 and 5 year old daughters, and there are nights I come down after putting them to bed feeling like a complete failure. A lot of nights, to tell you the truth! I am also a pastor's wife, and beginning this summer, I will be the coordinator for my MOPS group. Talk about places where you feel like you have to have it all together!
I am so over superficiality in the Christian walk. It isn't worth it.
Thanks for being real. Hang in there!! You're not alone! Love reading your blog!
Jennifer in TN

Deanna said...

Dear one, thank you so much for this post and for your vulnerability. I have often thought that if I can't be real with others, than who am I supposed to be?!! BUT.... as a pastor's wife, that is certainly a struggle. I am "supposed" to have it all together, right?!! Amazing how the most passionate, strong-willed little boy has helped ETCH humility AND vulnerability into my heart. It's awfully hard to appear all put together when I have a little man throwing an all-out fit in the foyer of the church in front of hundreds of people. "God's grace is sufficient.... God's grace is sufficient...." Sister, hang in there.... we're in it together! And glad to hear that you've had some better days, too! :) Blessings to you today!

Patty said...

Amanda,
I appreciate this post. I understand and have been where you are with Jackson. I did my share of beating myself up over parental mistakes. My first born was a sweet and tender child but my second child was another story. I can honestly say that prayer was the only thing that kept me sane. It has been a struggle at various stages in their lives and again prayer and God held me together. Especially being a single mom. I am encouraged by your class and the unity there!

Secondly, your post encouraged me by my family's situation. I have shared as much as I have felt God lead me to but over the last two days I have thought that maybe I shouldn't say anything. I had thoughts of who in the world wants to read that. God gently spoke to my heart to keep sharing as He leads because there are going to be people reading who may not be where we are yet but who will be in a similiar situation. It is hard to lay your heart and life out there but we are here to encourage each other on to the finish line and to bring God all the glory! Thank you for your honesty!
There are so many things God has taught me about myself through parenting and one thing I know, God has his hands on our children and us!!
Love you,
Patty

Valerie said...

Oh man, this was just what I needed to read. Our almost four-year-old is at this same stage of crazy amounts of discipline needed all day long -- and it is draining us emotionally as his parents. We've several times asked ourselves if this is what life will be like for the next 15 years, haha, so I totally know what you are feeling. And I am a disciplinarian, not one to let my kid misbehave, etc., and yet, it is still a huge struggle. So thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your very real post. We are all in this together! :)

Lauren said...

Amanda, thank you for this.

Ang baylis said...

Being real is contagious. Thank you so much and don't you ever change. You are making a huge investment in Jackson's life right now. There is nothing more important than what you are doing. Your kids' spouses will thank you one day! And trust me, it will be here before you know it! Thank you for encouraging all of us out here... old and young!
Love and Blessings,
Angie in Michigan xoxo

duchess said...

I so loved this post. My kids are 11 & 8 and I have been in tears all week. I just so want to get it RIGHT with them and since we've started homeschooling in Jan., I'm constantly on them about their behavior, or schoolwork, or chores. I really hate being the "bad guy" all the time, but I take a timeout, pray about it & discuss things with the hubby and realize that even though they don't do the right things all the time, we are in a marathon race and may not see the results until a while down the road.

Just hang in there - three was a horrible age for our son and it just so happened to be the time our daughter was born. I feel your pain and things run in stages. There is always something to be concerned about or working on but they just change. One day it's potty training and obedience (blink) then it's homework & friends & before you know it they're off to college. Stay stong, comfort & support each other and stay on your knees - that's all I've learned so far.
(Sorry I'm so long-winded);)

lori said...

Thanks Amanda

Heather Kay said...

My daughter is very strong willed. Between 3 and 5 were the hardest years. Once, I called my dad sobbing, feeling like the worst mom. He encouraged me by telling me that God gave me the ultimate example of parenting a strong willed child with Israel. His love for them was so great that he continued to forgive them, show love, and then of course discipline them when they went their own way again.
On an encouraging note, this same daughter is now 11 and she is my easier child. She has a good sense of right and wrong. She is stubborn enough to stand for right with her peers for the most part. There is light at the end of the tunnel! I think consistency is key with these bright (usually to smart for their own good!)children.

Angela said...

Amanda, Thank you for the encouragement. My 2 1/2 year old is starting to miss behave more and more. I get so frustrated with him and have no idea how to handle. I often handle it in a way I am not proud of. My husband and I are at a loss with this and his eating. Eating has become a HUGE battle. I know this too shall pass, but when???
Love the recent pictures you have posted too.

jennyhope said...

Amen Amanda! I have to go back to the verse all of the time in psalm 103:14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

Thanks so much!! I have been right there with you!!!

HisTreasuredPossession said...

amen and amen.

Moose Mama said...

I am not struggling in this parenting area right now. One child married and my 11 year old....well, they just don't come better than her!!! But there were days with the oler one, trust me, there were days.

BUT, what you said is so important to hear. We finished Esther this week and your mom said the same thing...We need some "along withs". We are made for God, that's for sure. But we are also made to travel "along with" others...supporting, loving, encouraging, agreeing, challenging. What if your friend hadn't been willing to be that vulnerable? You'd still be depressed because you were "alone".

God help us from thinking we have to have it all together for appearances sake. That was a heavy burden you carried as a child, but look who you are today, Amanda. A woman who knows this stuff and can, with all assurance, share it with others, and believe that God will use it, to HIS Glory!

Didn't mean to sermonize...this one hit a nerve in me.

Melana

Sharon said...

Dearest Amanda and Holly,

Me,too, Me, too," was once an incredibly self-righteous person. I was proud of being good. Then God let me eat it and I saw what was really in my heart. There was nothing good there."

Thank you, Amanda.

Love,
Sharon

JottinMama said...

Amanda,

Thank you for this. THANK YOU.

Yearning to go from being a Failure to a Victor,
Kate

Jill said...

thanks for that. i've got a 2y/o, who somehow is very intelligent - ha - and, while the 2's aren't so bad right NOW, i often wonder if i'm being too hard on him. i fear that i expect too much from him. i guess we all have our fears and mistakes, regardless of the ages and stages. i also fear the 3's since the 2's aren't so bad :) thanks for your honesty.

Haley said...

Thank you SO much for posting this. My 3 year old daughter has us at our wits end, as well. It seems like I have the worst child in the whole world sometimes and that I've completely lost control. I also feel like everyone wants to talk about how perfect their kids are and not what they are struggling with with them. Again, thank you, Amanda, and please pray for us too, will you? Hop on over to my blog sometime and go a few posts back. It was called "Oh where oh where has my Emmy's nap gone?" Now that was keepin' it "real". haha

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Amen, Amanda. The thing about being real is that someone always has to go first.

If the first person to answer a question gives it a shallow, everything's peachy when it's really not kind of an answer, chances are the rest of the people will do the same.

It takes very courageous-ness to go first! "Be strong and VERY courageous!"

Much love from sunny and warm and spring-like Denver (until Monday anyway when it's supposed to be cold and snowy),

Joanne

Wencked said...

As I'm reading this post my 3 year old is in his room SCREAMING. NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! because it is nap time. We just got home from Family Christian book store where he ran around the store, hit his Daddy's legs and touched everything in site the moment his Daddy said, "Let's look not touch".

Parenting is hard, no doubt about it. thanks for keeping it real. I appreciate it when you do.

Landon Andrew said...

Right on girlfriend! Thank you for sharing your heart. It is so neat to see God place those other couples in your lives at the most perfect time. WOW, that gives me chills.

Heather said...

Thank you, Amanda. Like everyone else, I struggle with all kinds of things, and parenthood sometimes brings it all to a head. It is HARD. I love to read your blog for many reasons...but most of all because you ARE real and authentic and I relate so much to the things you say....with my own 3-year-old son and baby girl on the way! Thanks for the ministry and blessing your blog is!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Awesome Amanda. The only way we encourage others is by being real. The body of Christ has no room for deception.

Every time I have had a baby my other kids have been hard for about 2 months - defiant and whiny and having meltdowns over every. little. thing. Of course that is no fun to deal with when you feel like having meltdowns over every little thing yourself. But then it gets better. Then it gets great.

I really need to write my strong willed child post.

Katie said...

I want to thank you for sharing your struggles that you are having with your 3 year old. We are also having a similar time with our 3 year old. The problem is my husband started his own little business on the side along with his regular full time job. So last week he saw our boys for a total of 6 hours the entire week including weekends. So I am not only frustrated I also don't get many breaks! I live for Mother's Day Out days. My friends see how my son is and have no idea what to tell me cuz there children were never this hyper. Which is not helpful to me. It makes me feel like a failure and some days I just want to cry and run away. By God's grace I haven't.
So again I thank you for being "real" with us.

boomama said...

Oh, sister. This is so dead-on. Yesterday afternoon I walked into a friend's house so discouraged about a certain situation that I didn't even know how to articulate what I was feeling. Turns out she was struggling with something similar - and today, when I think about how gracious the Lord was during our time together, it sends me straight into the ugly cry. I am so thankful.

I spent my late teens and early 20s thinking that I was immune to certain struggles. I was totally deluded by my own self-righteousness. So you know what happened: God let me see exactly what this heart of mine was capable of doing. As you said, God let me eat it. I don't EVER want to go down that road again.

Love this post. Love your heart.

Tara said...

amen amen! I love the transparency you share! I think you are right on sister! I feel like a failure everyday as a mother and the way I lose my patience too easily. Sometimes and hate that I seem more aggitated with the life of a stay at home mom, but when we can be real with each other, somehow it always comes full circle and you end knowing that you are not alone and that you also have the biggest blessing with your little ones.

Blessings!

Those Crazy Clarks!!! said...

Amanda,
Amen to that! My husband and I are having some serious financial issues right now. The other night my husband talked to his non-believing sister that lives out of state. She told him all about her financial issues. My husband was able to comfort her, relate to her and even witness to her. I told him that all we are going through is worth it for the opportunity to witness to his sister.
Psalms 50: 14-15 & vs. 23

sally said...

Amanda, my oldest son too is like you and has fought me about "going to church" and "reading His Word". I let go of the discipline when he turned 18 to allow him to make his own choice. He has fallen some into sin for craving the world. I see glimpses of change, please pray for him (Timothy) and pray for me as a mom that I can know my role and turn away from the frustration and love him unconditionally and anything else that you probably know from an offspring's point of view to a mom whose heart is probably blind too. Any suggestions I will heed. Thanks

Big Mama said...

Love this and love your heart.

Can't tell you how many times I've thought "if this is what 5 looks like, what is 13 going to be?"

Karen L. said...

When my oldest went to kindergarten I thought he was a pretty good kid (he had his share of spankings no doubt, but usually that brought him around). However, we had the MOST precious K teacher ever, except my son got in trouble ALL the time. I could not figure it out. He was even sent to the principal's office on several occasions and was paddled once. That's when my eyes opened and I just had to accept the fact that children are not perfect, not even mine! After I realized that truth, then parenting became so much easier. I was never surprised by bad behavior again, yes, it still IRRITATES me to death but at least I'm not caught off gaurd when my son (now 14) screams that he hates me and slams his bedroom door. I can just smile and say, "good, then I'm doing my job!" The next day...all is well. I think God gives us children so we can see how we relate to God as His child. It is quite the eye-opener!. God bless your family...and hang in there...you'll be rewarded someday...just ask your mom!

Rhonda said...

I could not agree more, with all of it. I remember sitting in a doctor's office being offered medical advice, and thinking in my head I was not going to do that because I was better than that. God help me- and He quickly humbled me - to the floor, face down, flat as a pancake. Now with kids, some days it's as if I can do nothing right.
One thing I learned is that if I pretend to "have it all together" what an injustice I do to Christ Jesus. How I rob Him of the glory He deserves and I rob of others of seeing His love and healing grace. Real is hard sometimes, pride swallowing, leaps fo trust, but SUCH a blessing when you do:)May we never pretend to be mpr than we are. People need to see Christ in real lives because that is what they are living.

Lizzie Fish said...

Ooooh thanks. I needed this today.

The Barfuss Family said...

Thanks for the encouragement, sweet friend! Thank you also for being real and allowing me to be real with you. Such a blessing!!

Profbaugh said...

Amanda,

I could respond to this on so many different levels, but let me put on my Communication Professor hat here for just a moment.

What you've done with your blog is open up the "real" conversation. It's not an easy thing to do--to expose ourselves, warts and all for all to see. It does, however as you've seen through the comments here encourage others.

So, my Siesta in Christ, keep it real and you'll continue to build bridges not walls among the body of Christ.

Much love,
~Cheryl

Keri said...

Amen, Amen, and Amen!!!

Being involved in our women's ministry, I chant this same thing all the time. If you pretend everything is ok and it's not, there is no room for someone to come alongside you and mentor you, cheer you on, pray for you, etc. It is hard to be vulnerable enough to say, "I am struggling." Very hard!!

And yes, there is definitely a difference between being transparent and TMI.

We went through the same kind of struggle with our 10 year old last fall (ok, well not the SAME struggle....he has managed to get the obedience thing down). We were both struggling with how to handle parenting him and it was VERY hard to admit it. You want your 10 year old to be the cool, good-grade getting, well behaving child.

We were honestly frustrated by what we were going through and chose to be honest with friends. We did get some unsolicited advice, some I-don't-know-what-to-say stares, but we also had some much needed support from our friends.

Bottom line?? Noone will ever be able to accuse us of being a Perfect Family......thank God! That's a title I have no use for!

jenmom said...

Amanda,
I've never left a comment before, but have been following your blog for some time now. You have no idea how I needed to read this post, on this particular day!!!!!
My husband is associate pastor and I am a stay at home mom. We have an 11 year old daughter, a three and a half year old son, and a month old baby girl. We too have been struggling to "get it together" since the baby was born. Our three year old is just now beginning to really act out and I struggle with loving and meeting the needs of three very different children.
Thank you for your encouragement and praise God I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!!

Sitesx6 said...

I just want you to know-as a mother of now 10 year old twins, that age 3 kicked my buns! I thought I was going to die. I was exhausted from the constant discipline and feeling like all I ever did was say "no" "don't touch that" "put that down" etc etc etc.....BUT.....it does get so much better. I just want to give you hope and tell you to press on, pray through it, and laugh at the days to come. They really really do get better.

Just when you think you can't take it one more minute, your child will do something really sweet that gives you hope and the energy to do it ONE MORE DAY. :)

Hang in there-
Parents need to stick together!
Kelly in Michigan

sej said...

Thanks for posting this Amanda--it is a well-timed word for my weary soul.

Vicki said...

God is good, all the time. Thank you for sharing!

Tara said...

Amanda,

Thank you for your openness, transparency, and honesty. You are right: As Christians, we must be real with each other. We all have hearts that are filled with pride and it is often so much easier to "pretend to have it all-together" than to let the weaknesses show through. But only in those moments of transparency do others see that they can relate to us, walls are broken down, and God's strength is made visible. So thank you for sharing your heart and for encouraging all of us to be real in whatever we are facing.

Much love,
Tara

Marla Taviano said...

Love you, girl! Thanks for sharing from the depths of your heart!

xoxoxo!!

Rachel said...

Girlfriend Nathan (hubby ) and I are so right there in the trenches with you. AJ is 6, JM is 4, Peanut is almost 3, and Grasshopper is 19 months. We feel like we're failing too. Much much prayer is the only thing that gets us through the day. The other night while I was reading through some blogs I came across a link to a book about parenting. I started reading it and it was so right on. My husband and I were so excited. It's a book by a Christian couple about Godly parenting, starting really early. It's called Raising Godly Tomatoes. The full text of the book is online in the left hand side bar of the site. It might give you some helpful ideas. We've just started implementing some of them with ours. http://www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com/
Hope it helps.

Shauna Okongo said...

Oh, Amanda. Thank you for such a timely post. I am now struggling with being real, and feeling judged for being such. Maybe I am too real. Maybe I am too honest, which makes me want to swing to the other side and simply painting on a smile and retreating. Thank you for your honesty.

WendyB said...

Oh, darling girl; parenting never ends. Just what you needed to hear, right? I promise you, the joy will outweigh the pain and exhaustion as you watch them grow. And thank you for sharing, as you gave me great hope - my daughter is 19 and a college sophomore, and she's right in that place you described...self-righteous. Tickled with how "good" she is. And honey, having to pray that God takes her down (gently, please, Lord!!) so she can become real is a scary thing. But what a blessing it will be if she becomes as genuinely hungry for the Lord as you are.
You will be fine, and so will the Mister. That strong will, properly channeled, will enable him to stand strong in high school.

tiggerdaisy said...

Oh Amanda. How I needed this post RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!! I have my fair share of struggles with my 18 month old--and I have one due in May. Sometimes my husband and I wonder what has happened? Why is our 18 month old so strong-willed. I mean we love her independence to an extent, but once it crosses a certain line, it becomes and all out battle of parents versus daughter--and vice versa!

And just before I read your blog, I called our daughter's doctor because our daughter has been running a 101 fever pretty much all day. I've given her Tylenol 4 or 5 times and the fever will drop only to come right back. The doctor asked me how much she weighed and I told him. Then he told me I was "under medicating" her. I felt horrible. I was giving her 1/2 the dose she needed because I was going by the age guidelines, not the weight. Talk about feeling like the Bad Mother of the Year winner!

Then I read your blog and you encouraged me. You have encouraged me for a while now with your random life posts that speak volumes. I appreciate your "realness" and your "honesty." Keep it up sister! Keep it up!

Rebecca

Stephanie said...

Love this post Amanda. It's so freeing to be "real." I have appreciated that about you and that's something my husband and I strive to be in ministry. There is something sweet about authenticity, even when it's messy, even when it's flawed. We haven't always been so open and honest about who we are and what we struggle with, but we've found our ministry so much more effective when there are no masks to hide behind.

So glad you have seen some breakthroughs in parenting. I know we have fun days ahead, but hard ones too. Thanks for sharing from your heart and being you :) Blessings to you!!

Rikki said...

I can not even say how much I "Amen!" this post. Not being real has been my struggle and the source of pain--especially as a new mom. I continue to learn how to be authentic when I really want to hide. Thanks for reminding me I am not the only one!

Sarah said...

Thank you, Amanda, for this post! It will speak to so many women--my lowest point parenting was when my first (Caiden) was Jackson's age, and now that I'm working on my third round of the terrible twos, it gives me hope that Addison will turn out as well as Caiden has. Overall, failure has a way of making us a lot nicer to be with! Nobody wants a perfect friend; it just makes us feel worse about ourselves! So I love that you're always transparent and honest.

Your posts are always so fun to read, and so relatable, and I appreciate you :)

Deidre said...

Just today my good friend called me in tears. She confessed she couldn't get a devotion routine together for her family - she has a 4 year old and an 11 month old. When I told her not to be so hard on herself - that just this week, we started AGAIN to try a devotion time with our 7 and 3 year old (and would probably have to 'restart' many times) she broke down even more but with relief.

We look at others and think they have it all together when we all have the same stress and struggles. What a relief to know others are in the same boat! It's so important to take off our 'supermom' masks and lift each other up. Being real is a relief!

Amanda said...

Amanda,
I have been reading your blog for a while and have been touched by your willingness to be open and real. This blog spoke to me, although I have no children, I used to be the person who acted like they had it all together. Just recently, within the past year, the Lord has been really changing my heart. It has been a hard and painful year, but I am a different person than I was even a year ago. I used to hate the idea of being vulnerable for fear of being hurt. And now I am realizing that the Lord has placed people in my life to speak into my life and for me to speak into theirs and if I am continuing to be a fake, then how can I show them how much the Lord is doing? I have come a far far way and know I have much farther to go. But thank God I have people to go with me and be real with. Again, thanks for your willingness to be open.
Amanda

The Five Mungers said...

Thank you so much for posting this! We are currently going through a hard time with our 6 year old being made fun of at school, and to be perfectly honest, I feel alone. I would love to have another parent to relate to on this!
We'll be praying for ya'll:)

Cindy- My Life HIS Story said...

Dearest Amanda ~ I must admit this is so encouraging to me but maybe not for the same reasons that have already been mentioned.

First, let me encourage you...keep being real and know that EVERY parent goes through what you are experiencing...at least parents who are really wanting to do the deal right. I remember so often in the "Thunderin' Three" stage with my strong-willed child, going to bed at night thinking, "I think I lost the battle today. I think she won." Then feeling HORRIBLE because I viewed the whole day as a war rather than a parent/child relationship. Just remember that the ones with strong will also tend to have some strong love, darlin'.

As for the encouragement you gave me...as the mom of two girls that I often thought your mother was describing when she would describe you and Melissa, I want so desperately for them to have what I thought I saw/heard in your family...perfect relationships, a mom laying the perfect foundation, girls with unwavering faith, etc... I KNEW that my perception of perfect was not reality, but sometimes I think Satan used what I perceived to accuse me, and worse, my girls, especially the oldest who is going through some stuff and wayward choices right now. So, thank you, my dear, for being real to those of us who never expected you to be perfect, or even your mom and dad to be. While I hate that you experienced those things as a teen, God is using it even today to encourage those of us who are fighting those battles still. Sorry if this rambles, but I still don't know if this adequately describes my gratitude.

Rachel said...

I'm just gonna copy and paste most of your last paragraph here as my comment. :)

I learned to surrender my weak self to Jesus every single day and let Him change my heart. If I stopped doing that, I'd turn right back into my old self. That is the scariest thought ever. The stakes are especially high now that I'm a wife and a mother. So I no longer care to portray a false sense of goodness or perfection. I want to show you that He is good and He has is all together. He can take a heart that craves sin and make it thirst for righteousness. He can take a Failure and make her a Victor. He can take our struggles and turn them into strengths. That's what He's done for me, what He's doing for me, and what He'll keep doing for me until He takes me home.


Amen! Thank you for sharing!

Emmy said...

Thank you for your authenticity! : )

When my kids were that age... I remember many times crying and thinking how can I do it! It is what brought me to my knees and to really know the Lord! They were 3,2 and 10 months so about the same age... I remember thinking I can't do this... that thought scared me to death because my whole life all I wanted to be was a Mom!

I promise it will get better! I ended up wanting another! : ) You will have the golden years!

Now I am back where you are but it is the teenage years... I am struggling and scared... but it again brings me to my knees!

Parenting is tough! I promise it will get easier in the next couple of years! He just turned three I think each month it will get a little easier! Four to fourteen are awesome ages!

Mitzi said...

I think one of the reasons I am so drawn to you and your mom and women like you is because you are so real. I live in a circle of fakes--- not everyone, but enough. As the mom of a special needs child, I have had to stop asking for prayer and admitting I don't have it all together and don't know what I am doing, because that's just not what people at my church and in my neighborhood do. Everyone around me would rather pretend they do have it together and that I should too. It is exhausting and defeating. It has made me long for some real girlfriends that I can be vulnerable and real with, but it has also made me cling more wholeheartedly than ever to my God. He knows I don't have it all together and I truly believe that if it doesn't kill me (and I know it won't---though I don't feel that way) He will use it for his glory somehow, someday. Thanks for being real and for letting those that aren't know how truly valuable it is to the body of Christ.

katiegfromtennessee said...

Little Momma, I was already emotional tonight, now I'm not sure if I'm going to cry and try to explain it to my husband or not! I want to be authentic too. I've had a bunch of tests lately where the Lord has shown me what's in my heart, and I don't like it at all. I am scared sometimes about what is going to happen in the future, oh, but I want to be courageous!! I don't want to miss what He has for me. I want to be able to share with others what is going on in my life in the hope that only He can give. Your honesty is encouraging to me. Praise the Lord for you:)

Blessings, much Love in HIM, ((HUGS)),

katiegfromtennessee

The B's said...

Okay, I haven't even read all of this but can I just say "thank you" for being "real" and communitcating the frustrations with your three year old and parenting. I have felt like a total failure lately. In my moms group I have shared our struggles with our daughter and they kind of just look at me...almost like I was being too honest. So THANK YOU, Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in my parenting struggles! :)

April said...

I don't think I have ever commented on your blog before but I wanted to say thanks for being so transparent. It's so nice to know that we aren't alone in our struggles. I always say, "this is what it's like to depend on Jesus". At the end of the day, that's the only thing that keeps me sane.

Kendra Lee said...

Authenticity - if we'd be authentic and "real" - we (the church) would know we're not alone... then we can bear one another's burdens... I'm so thankful for a handful of people that no matter how ugly "real" gets - they love me and will pray for me... and I for them.
God bless you dear one! IT WILL GET BETTER! I had a strong willed 9month old-7 year old... who is now almost 11 and a JOY who LOVES JESUS. Stay consistent in discipline, be persistent in prayer and leave the results up to Him.

shalana said...

I also have a strong-willed 3 yo. boy and feel like such a failure with him sometimes and wonder what in the world are we doing wrong...thanks for being so open. It was encouraging. Thanks again!

Toknowhim said...

By all the comments you can see you are not alone... I could have written this post myself. We share many things in common...

I felt this week that the Lord reminded me that through my role as a wife and parent (the two hardest things I will ever do) I have an opportunity to become more like Christ. I have been running away to "idols" so I don't have to do the hard work, but now am encouraged to get in the game again and through Christ's power I can do what He has called me to do as a wife and mom.

Blessings and thank you for opening up your heart to all of us.

Kim

TXSkipper said...

Thank you, Amanda, for your authenticity. It challenges me. I have a similar background where I felt I couldn't show my true self, but everyone else seemed to think I had it all together. Little did they know what a game I was playing. I paid for it then, and battle those well-ingrained habits to this day. I'm thankful God opened my eyes to the truth allowing me a chance to heal and stop from passing these things on to my kids. I am better for it, my marriage is better for it, and my kids will be too. It is a slow process (being authentic and healing), but I am thankful He will complete the work He began in me.

selah said...

Amanda,

I'm not a frequent commenter, but like many others, I had to say that yes, I struggle too and yes, your authenticity is a huge encouragement to me. In fact, both you and your mom have encouraged me greatly in that regard. My current struggle is with my upcoming class reunion and what-all that entails. I love my classmates (all 24 of them) but it is hard to overcome that feeling of "I have to look perfect." Anyway, thank you (and your mom too) for being honest and encouraging others.

Carlos and Jamie said...

Amanda,

Thanks so much for this post. I have those same thoughts about our son being like this for the next 15 years. We are struggling to have a 2nd child and sometimes when he is out of control, I hate to admit this but I sometimes ask myself why on earth I want a second. Then he does something sweet and I remember. Thanks again for the post.

Jamie

Jess said...

Thank You

kr said...

And sometimes I imagine that all the blogging moms have it all together and keep up with making photo albums, cooking great healthy food and having bunco nights in between romantic date nights and bible study.
Your honesty (and that of Angie Smith, Boomama and some other saints) has been my only church for the past several months. If y'all weren't telling the truth about the struggles, I might have ditched all hope in Christians. Thanks for keeping it real in a way that glorifies God in the midst of the struggles. In revealing your humanity, you've encouraged this momma in her Christianity. Thanks.

annalee said...

i read your blog many hours earlier today but it has made me stop and think many times about my words and actions today. thank you!

Cathy Davis said...

Much love going out to you. If I had a little sister, I would sure want her to be you (or like you...you know).

Kadi Goines said...

Amanda
Be encouraged and know that you are doing the best you can. My two are 19 and 15. There have been times I fell on my face and sobbed to the Lord. With Him you can do it! It WILL get better

Kelly @ Love Well said...

This is your gift, Amanda -- to be startlingly authentic and beautifully real.

I'm so glad you blog.

Jana said...

Thanks for spilling your guts. Sometimes it is hard to understand that others are at the same point in life, but I am glad that you shared. We too, are dealing witht he changes that come from bringing a little sister into the family. Our three year old daughter has tested my patience more than enough lately, but I am completely encouraged by tour post today. Thanks for being honest. I appreciate it.

Misty M. said...

Amanda,

I recently began reading your blog and haven't commented before. I too have a 3 year old boy and a baby daughter. I want to encourage you to hang in there! Also, thanks for being real. It is amazing to me how we all feel we are the only ones struggling with things and actually we pass each other every day and if we could read each others minds we would be so relieved at the common struggles. I was struggling until recently with keeping my house clean and I truly felt that every other woman I knew was keeping theirs spotless while I was overwhelmed. I admitted this to a new friend and we had a great laugh sharing about our messy houses together. I actually have been doing really great since then and attribute a little of it to that conversation. It helps so much to know that others are defeating their bad habits too and that gives us hope. Thanks for the great words of wisdom!

Dana said...

Hi Amanda,

I've never left a message on your blog before (I think) but I have to thank you for your honesty here. I am not a parent but I was driving home tonight thinking about what it would be like to be perfectly open and honest. What would that look like and how would it be received? Then, I find your encouraging words right there, so timely! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself in such honesty!

Michelle said...

I agree. I think not enough people are real and honest. If you ever read my blog, you will see...it has been my intention all along to be real, and yes, it is painful because you feel exposed...but it encouages others, as you said, that they are not alone, and to also be real. Truth can hurt, but it also sets us free. Our ultimate truth is Jesus, and Knowing Him is the only thing that can set us free.
Praying for you in the parenting. I am also going nuts with my 4 kids.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

PS - on my post on maggots, when you commented "I'll be chewing on that all day" - were you trying to be ironic or were you just accidentally hilarious?

Tara D. said...

Three is the new "two." You WILL make it through this. Hang in there, friend!

Ang said...

Amanda,
It's a blessing that the Lord works on all of us. Praise Him for giving you and Curt peers who are facing common struggles with their kiddos. From someone who looks up to both of you and loves you dearly, thank you for this.

Amanda said...

God is sooo funny weaving a theme into my week...authentic prayer...not the typical requests.
Our sermon this weekend was on prayer - not just the typical prayers, but the serious, heartfelt, weeping, intense prayers that get God's attention. Well, my mom and I were talking about how much praying with hands on her 3 year old her strong-willed children helped. She specifically mentioned that it was important for the child to hear the words spoken over/for them to love the Lord, listen and obey mom and dad and grandma (Etc) and to be kind and loving towards others...you get the idea. Just like it is powerful for us to hear others pray for us - in front of us/over us - it is a powerful thing for our children.

May you walk in peace and grace today!
~Amanda M

barbara head said...

Amanda, you are so wise beyond your years. If more people would realize their limitations at an earlier age, they would not go on a "guilt-ridden roller coaster ride". I sometimes think I learned some lessons way too late in life. I must say, though, God has brought me through to a beautiful time in my "sunset" years.

Kylie said...

Ah bless you, girl. This post is music to my ears.

Mary said...

Amen Amanda. I'm at a low point too and expecting a new baby in a matter of weeks...feeling overwhelmed and fearful. Thanks for the verse!

Lauren Kelly said...

Thank you Amanda!!! I needed to hear this!! :O)

Kelly said...

I loved this post!
Nothing has ever meant more to me than all my friends saying "yep - my baby screamed all the time and I nearly went nuts" or "my child wouldn't sleep either"......knowing I'm not alone and there are other moms who aren't on perfect schedules. I NEED that!!!! We all do. Thanks for sharing!

Teri said...

Wow... Thank you Amanda for posting this entry as the Lord led you. So MUCH of what you said spoke directly to my heart. I have been following your blog for a handful of weeks, and have been blessed by your authenticity. Thank you.

One day you'll look back and have a good laugh on this time in your life regarding your challenges with Jackson; probably right about the time Jackson is a father and comes to you in frustration because his three year old child is challenging every last fiber of his being... he'll ask, "was I like this?". You'll get to share all the fun stories; and he'll "get it"!

As a mother of 4 children~ I can encourage you that this season of life will get easier. Stay strong and be don't sweat the small stuff!May God continue to bless you and Curtis with a support system of friends and family as you endure and are strengthened through this season of your life!

Boothbloggers said...

Thank you for your post. I've never commented before but i love reading your blog and probably b/c it is so real. You are a geniune person that totally has a heart for God and it comes through on the web! I am 6 months pregnant right now and I am totally thinking that everyone else has it more "together" than me. It is so reassuring to be reminded that none of us really have it together, but God holds each one of us dear anyway!! Thanks for the encouragement!

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Thank you Amanda for sharing with us you and your family are totally so real and i appreciate it like one seista said we all need real people in our lives and believe me I do. I work in a warehouse for a plumbing and heating company in Albuq. N.M. and to make a long story short on Friday I thought who am I trying to please here God or man and I feel like I have to please people and be who I am not to keep them happy, I am doing the Esther Bible study online by myself and like your mom said to be woman of valour be brave and then I read your blog this AM and thought boy I needed that encouragement, You don't know how much you encourage us seista's you are an awesome person and like your mom you rock.THANKS SO MUCH AMANDA THANK GOD THAT HE USES YOUR BLOG IN SO MANY WAYS AS WELL AS YOUR MOM'S BIG HUGS FROM ALBUQ NM TO THE JONES AND THE MOORES
LOVE TO ALL OF YOU CAROL
PS I WANT TO PLEASE GOD NOT MAN
so i need lots of prayer for my work place that i would be who God has called me to be in a dark and depraved world.

Carrie said...

Thanks for this beautiful and encouraging post. My son is almost 5 and makes us feel the same way, although I must say the back half of 4 is much more enjoyable than the front half! Your authenticity will help your children fall in love with and want to serve the Jesus in you. Keep up the great work in Him.

Kari said...

Amanda, hang in there - although they call it the terrible twos I really think three is the hardest age.. at least for awhile. My oldest is 10 and we are entering a whole hew era and that might top 3!!

I also want to say AMEN to the real thing. I have been part of a women's Bible study for years but the group I am in right now is the most real group ever and I cannot tell you what an encouragement that has been. I have a hard time being that real though because of my insecurities but God is working on me.

rachelpage said...

Thank you, Amanda.

Mommy Dot Com said...

God can do in an instant what a thousand words from mom or dad can't accomplish. We sow the good seeds but God causes them to grow.

God will reward you for your honesty. When we confess, He heals. What freedom!!!

We love you and your precious Jackson!

Mindy said...

Hi Amanda
I find that I am comment #87 or so and I'm sure I've got nothing new to say about this but I just want you to know that I am right there with you.
To be quite honest I've felt lost for a long long time and have in the past year felt God calling me to step up my game in the parenting arena. To become more of who he is calling me to be. I'm going to be real and say that it has made things even harder in some ways. I have 4 children....ages 7,5,4 and 6 months. To be quite honest I feel like my older three are running a muck some days.....I am doing a study at church on the book called "Don't Make Me Count To Three" by Ginger Plowman. It is a great book....if you can find time in you incredly busy day of toddler's to read it. I'm also researching and finding new parenting books (CHRISTIAN parenting books) all the time and if I find anymore....I will let you know.
Just wanted to tell you I get it! I really do!
Prayers for you and your family

Theresa said...

Amanda:
Thank you so much for your authentic blog. I am a much older mother of two, 18 and 21 year old boys. Crazy seems like they were 1 and 4 just yesterday. Anyway, what a blessing you are to young mom's and older ones. The truth of being real will set you free. Free to be who God created you to be and free to let God transform you to who He desires you to be. I recently linked your blog to a young mother of an 18 mo. old and newborn in the hopes of encouraging her. I told her that she would find a young Mom grounded in the Word of God who can encourage her through this blog. I pray that she clicks that link and connects to you and your ministry. God Bless you and all the other young Mom's out there. It is a battle worth fighting for those babies, and they will still be your babies even at 18 and 21.
P.S. I can't read your blog on my Blackberry because of the adorable red and white polka dot background that shows up overpowering the black letters. If there is anyway you could adjust that it would be great....sorry just gave you one more thing to do :)
Keep it real,
Theresa

The Conservative Mommy said...

Thank you so much for sharing! Being real is painful sometimes. You are real and we can tell. Thank you! Thank you!

ThirtysomethingMom said...

I read your post yesterday. I also read many of the comments. It was a blessing to read those that are "in the fire" with you and those that had words of wisdom since they are "through the fire". Our daughter is ten and a joy. However, we've had a few times where my husband and I cried on the way to church, too. Also cried in the bed before going to sleep feeling defeated. There is nothing like being a parent to humble you. I can say AMEN and AMEN!

Blessings to all you moms out there!! Thanks for sharing.

Super Momma said...

Amanda, I have 4 boys and I want to say that any age divided by 3 is tough stuff. I almost loose my mind and I had 3 of them at the age of 3, 6 and 9. It is terrible, tough and rough, but push through with what you know what God wants to teach you and teach your son. Stand firm in the fact that God loves your son more than you or Curt and will provide the wisdom and compassion when needed. Thanks for being real. It is an encouragment to us all. No one really has it all together. BTW-I am pregnant with our first girl and I love seeing the pink on Annabeth.

Momma 2...5 said...

Thanks so much Amanda for being transparent. We all have struggles and those of us in ministry are so good at hiding our struggles. It has encouraged me to not pretend and be real with people more.

You are such an inspiration!
Amanda in SC

Michele said...

I sat in Cracker Barrel today fighting back the tears over our 3 year old across the table from me. I was looking forward to fried okra all weekend, only to find myself wanting to cry! I was and still am, so tired of having to be "that" mother. My husband just shook his head and said "don't worry. he is going to get this!" I wasn't as hopeful today.

su said...

"He can take a heart that craves sin and make it thirst for righteousness."

Amanda, if that was a verse from Scripture I would be deciding to memorize it!

I feel for you in your struggles. And I am so glad for you that Wed night took the turn that it did.

Hang in there. And thank you.

Shelly said...

Bless you woman, and your heart that fights for authenticity.

~ from a former inauthentic, manipulating, fear-filled pit dweller

Lindsee said...

This is truly my heartbeat.

The reason I do what I do is because of this post. I just want to be as real and authentic with the girls I serve as I can be. I so want to tell them what I wish someone would have told me in High School or Jr. High. They're not alone! No matter what they're going through. And you are so right, it does me or them no good to be a fake or really to be anything but authentic. They can smell a fake from a mile away, which keeps me on my toes and in the Word.

However, at the same time, this has been one of the hardest things, because I don't know too many girls that are in my same position. Single and in ministry. I've really had to rely on the Lord and trust that He knows what I'm doing, and that He will lead me. Ministry is just hard, as if you don't know that!

I love your heart. Thanks so much for sharing! You encourage me, even though I'm not a mom with tiny children!

Tonya Gray said...

OK, well...here's another parent of a 3 year old boy...I was in tears this morning trying to get my 3 year old and 1 year old (both boys) to church. My husband is at church early because he's part of the music team, so it's just me. Levi, my 3 year old, locked himself and Mason (16 months) in the master bedroom and wouldn't open the door. I LOST it! I was standing on the other side of the door screaming at him...oh, it was ugly. The Grace of God moved mightily in the moment and spared myself and my child, I've never been so afraid of my anger toward him before. It was a moment that I've been prepared to hide, and after reading this I know I have a friend (or 2) in my boat who I can lean on for encouragement, and who need me to be real with them as well. This is a longer comment than I intended...but thanks for listening and sharing today!

MamaHen Em said...

What an honest, heartfelt post. I want to encourage you to hang in there - I will never, ever forget how hard three was for both of my children. It seemed like every single day the only thing I did was discipline. As all things do, it does get better. Around four both of my children returned to normal. Well, as normal as small children can be :)

Inksstillwet said...

Amen so many times over you will just never know! Praising God for giving you these words of encouragement. My favorite thing you said was this: "When we're authentic, two things happen. One, we encourage others who are struggling in the same way. And two, we allow ourselves to be encouraged by others who have been there."
That is a great word, indeed! People need so much to know that they are not alone in their struggles and challenges and that God wants us to have victory.
Blessings, Amy in OK

Cinde said...

Hi Amanda -
Your post reminded me of my life about 9 years ago with a VERY strong-willed little girl who brought me to my knees, who brought me to deliverance from rage, who brought me to my wits end because I couldn't figure out how to parent her. My mind simply didn't work like hers. I was compliant - she was defiant! Today, she is 11 years old and people constantly come up to me and tell me what a beautiful heart and spirit she has! She is no longer defiant but she knows who she is and what she stands for. The little girl who used to sit in her high chair and scream because she wanted whipped cream for breakfast is now a lovely, kind-hearted young girl! Keep prayin' Amanda - don't beat yourself up on hard days - I had so many of those! But every morning God gives us a glorious do-over even with our kids. Hang in there and you will soon pass through this season.

Rena said...

Amanda,

I'm tearing up after reading this.

Thank you for sharing your struggles. And for reminding us that He is STILL faithful.

Oh, how I feel you, my Sister! I have three daughters (I've menioned this before here, because, well, I'm a Mom! ;) But it's necessary to make my point here.).

They are 18 (19 in July), 16 and 2. Currently, I am overwhelmed. The recent cirucmstances with my oldest came as a shock this week. Nothing He can't handle, but as a mother, not what you'd want for your daughter.

They all have their own struggles and needs, naturally.

But my toddler is strong-willed. Oh, I've been knocked right off my pedestal! Of course, I'm not a pefect mother.

But you know, I honestly thought I had this "bagged". Starting over? No problem! God gave us this tubal-reversal baby! Piece of cake, right?

WRONG!

Even after many years of keeping children in my home and dealing with all manner of children, I am at a loss.

I truly feel your pain. I've cried myself. My husband and I have looked at each other shaking our heads.

I've struggled with the idea that my husband probably "expected" me to parent this child with ease. After all, I already had two (previous marriage). And I watched children for years.

Of course, those thoughts are NOT truth! And I MUST remember that she is fearfully and wonderfully made, strong-willed though she may be. He is able to guide us. And He will.

But at times, it can be very overwhelming. Thanks for sharing!

Many blessings!
Rena Gunther
insertgracehere.com

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

I think I could've written the same words and most of us have had the same thoughts. I think the thing about the blog world that makes it easier to share is that we are dumping out our feelings to a blank space- a page where we hope people come to support us- and they DO! Sometimes it's harder to do that in real life, but we all need to be better at it.
Thanks for God's perspective and for being an encourager!

Jenny said...

My husband and I went on a dinner date the other night for the specific purpose of talking about how to deal with some current parenting lows. It's hard to be in the parenting trenches, but it's good to know that we're not alone.

Thank you for this wonderful post, and for being REAL.

Tara G. said...

Your sincerity of heart speaks volumes. Blessings, Amanda!

Amber Pierce (soon to be Cessac) said...

Hey Amanda,

My name is Amber Pierce, I work at the front desk in the Preschool Suite at HFBC on Sunday nights. I had just read this post from you a couple hours earlier when you came in last night with Jackson asking what room to bring him to. It broke my heart to see the frustration in your face and I want you to know I said a prayer for you right there and many, many more throughout the evening. I hope you had a good evening after that, Curtis gave a great message (My listening guide was FULL of scribbled lines and quotes and verses!), and you have a precious little boy that will one day grow into an incredible, godly man. People you don't even know love you and care about you and are praying for you!

<3 Amber

The Brooks Family said...

Amanda,

Thank you for this post. I felt like you were writing my own experiences down to the last detail. It took me going away to college (TX A&M!!!) to humble my attitude about myself and meet some AMAZING and godly people.

Anyway, now my 3 year old daughter seems to be the instrument God is using to keep me humble these days. Yesterday I heard her screaming down the children's hall at church. When I went to peak my head in I saw her sitting in time out and a teacher quietly talking to her. This is my life right now.

Your post was so encouraging! Thanks again for being "real"!

ncmama said...

Amen, amen and amen!!! Thank you for that reminder and encouragement to be real. There's no value in being a pretender.

connorcolesmom said...

Wow I have out of town but clearly your post hit a nerve!
I too relate to your situation
from HS issues to current day parenting - God has shown me that I need to relax when it comes to parenting -
What I have learned is that the "rebellion and strong will" stuff comes in waves
2 weeks of really good and 2 weeks of yuck
2 months of bliss 2 months of really yuck - it is how they learn and grow it is not who they will be forever
A book that I truly love (beside any and all James Dobson and/or the Bible) is The Good Son by Micheal Gurian
It is a Christian author who tells you some of the attitudes and things to expect at certain ages as well as some great ideas on how to disipline - here is a link http://www.alibris.com/booksearch.detail?S=R&bid=9796116704&cm_mmc=shopcompare-_-base-_-aisbn-_-na
Have a great day - praying for you guys!
Kim

Lis said...

Amanda, You have no idea how ON POINT you are today. I have two daughters, ages 16 and 22. When you say is it going to be like this for the next 15 years, I pray for that it is not. We have many many more good days than bad, but this past week has been one trial after another. As I walked the dog yesterday, in constant prayer about my 16 year old, he gently (NOT) said, "Give her to me". I was like, well duh, I can't fix these issues, why did I think I could? So walking up my street I gave her to him, I still pray, I still am concerned, but I know he is walking beside me, holding her when she doesn't know how to hold herself up. WE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS WITH GOD'S HELP AND GUIDANCE! Pray, Pray, Pray without ceasing. Lisa

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

You are Real Awesome. I echo all 100 plus comments already made.

Much love to you!

KristenRea said...

I had not been to your blog in a while, but a friend directed me to this post, and I am so thankful she did. What an encouragement!

Beki said...

Amanda,
WOW!!! Thanks so much for the encouragement. My husband & I have been struggling w/ some behavioral issues w/ our 3 y/o as well, and we are expecting another little one in July. Kinda of anxious about how this will all work out w/ 2 kiddos. Thanks again for being real. God is using you to encourage so many!!!

Steve and Cristie said...

Hey girl, give me a call on my cell. I tried calling you but the number I guess has changed. I wanted to get that dish back from ya and see how you were doing! My cell is 281-757-3490.

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

We've been experiencing some low points in parenting too (I'm sure the first of many.) You're not alone, and thanks for being real b/c I don't feel alone either. Love you.

Ruth Lee said...

That was awesome!! The Lord has been pruning me in the area of pride and especially seeing myself as better than I really am - it is painful but beneficial to be pruned! I have learned that being real is so much better than making people think that you are doing okay. It is a blessing and encouragement to know that others are in the same boat that you are.

I am right there with you on being at your wits ends with your kids. I have a 4 year old and 18 month old both boys. :) The 4 year old has me on my knees daily. :)

Catrina said...

Word.

missleeannskidz said...

Looked at your page for the first time and this was just the message I needed to hear today!

Brittany Burchfield said...

Amanda,
Thank you for being you. I am so thankful for what you had to say. This is amazing! I feel so encouraged. Thank you for listening to the Lord and sharing what you are learning.
Much love friend!

WendiNC said...

I cannot even believe how your words were as if I was writing my own journal entry. I even read it to my husband as he was in the other room watching the race (nascar, redneck indeed.. don't judge me!!) I so often wonder what on earth and how on earth will my kids ever rise up and call me blessed when I have fussed and sassed and attacked them with the Sad Faced Wooden spoon all their lives! I have a 2-1/2 year old and a 16 wk old and have just been so broken lately. The look on my little boys face as I've had to scold him and in the very next breath I am so lovey with the baby. My only saving grace at this very point is that I don't remember a thing about my life at 2-1/2 years old..Do you?? So, although I hope the discipline moments will soon begin to sink in for him I don't think he'll remember me as being Ogar Mommy but instead, the mommy that laughs and loves and sometimes has to be in control of him for his own good. Good luck to you and thanks for letting us all know that we're all in this together and can relish in each others happy and miserable moments!

Tales From the Eurovan said...

Good stuff, no, great stuff that every mom, wife, friend or sister needs to hear, especially me.
Take care,
Julie

greta said...

www.irrtiablemother.com Karen Hossink is an author and speaker and she has become a dear friend of mine. You have GOT to read her books and/or her blog. She is awesome. I actually have her coming to speak in April for Moms here in Ocala, FL. You are not alone.

Carlos and Jamie said...

Amanda,

I have already left a post but after yesterday with my son throwing a huge fit at the park,(you can read about it on my blog) I feel I can't thank you enough for this post. My son was so out of control and I felt helpless. It helped remembering this post and knowing others go through the same thing.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,
Jamie

tanya said...

Amanda,
Thanks for sharing. I have been reading for awhile and this is my first time to post. I have been so hard on myself for not having it all together and this really helps. I started a blog about it yesterday and haven't finished. I may just leave a link to your post because that is basically what I was trying to say. Take care and I hope you are encouraged. The fact that you have regular postings has impressed me big time. And from a few posts back about taking J to school - the thought of getting dressed and taking two children out before 10 a.m. qualifies as Super Mom in my book.

balmingilead said...

Amanda -
I am right there in the trenches with you with my 2 1/2 year old daughter and 16 month old son. I needed to hear this today as this discipline thing has been kicking me in the rear lately.
Excellent and REAL post. Thank you.
Amy

Miranda said...

Amen.

Rachel McPhillips said...

WOW. I mean, I couldn't have written it better myself. I am just hanging onto the end of the parenting rope with my 2 year old. Last week we went on a trip, and I literally ran away from the Grandparents house because I have been mentally and physically exhausted with disciplining her. She is a daddy's girl and he is a complete push-over when it comes to her, so I feel like I am the only one who disciplines. I also have a hard time with discipline vs. just being a toddler and trying to be independent.

I am finding myself looking at other families and mommy's and thinking, "They re struggling too. It's not just me", because EVERYONE struggles with parenting. I'm just glad you opened the flood gates for people to be honest about it!

Megan said...

Found your blog through BooMama.

Love the whole idea of "Baby Bangs." I've never heard it called that before, nor did I realize it was a widespread phenomenon, but I'm rockin' 'em right now with dear daughter's birth just two months ago.

I too am struggling with parenting my Jackson. He just turned four last week, and I am holding on for dear life to the statement that "it does get better." He is, what I often call, "a challenge."

When we pray together at night, I ask God for wisdom and that Jackson's heart would be obedient and compliant.

In our small group last year, my husband and I read "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp. We weren't having the behavioral issues then that we have now (and therefore am considering reading it again), but I remember just how high the calling of parenting is--that we are no less than God's agents in our children's lives. I am glad to know that I can't do this on my own power, and I must instead rely completely on God IN me.

Thanks for giving your readers something "real" and a place to share ours as well.

planetnomad said...

Hi. New to your blog. I want to encourage you to hang in there with your 3-year-old. Don't give up. It will really pay off, and very soon too. There are months of testing, but they come and go and it won't be like this for the next 15 months if you persevere. My oldest is 13 now and an absolute delight--most of the time ;)

I read a book once called "Diving off the Pedestal;" it was about people in ministry refusing to let others put them up on a pedestal. It was really good. I don't remember the author, but the concept has really stuck with me.

Thanks for such a good post. Here from BooMama.

Ashleigh (Heart and Home) said...

I could have written this. The high school, the perception of others, their perception of me... all of it. And, too, I often receive comments on the fact that I'm "real" on my blog. There's no question why it's so important to me, and yet, it can still be a struggle to remain "real." Transparency is so rare that to find it is often as sweet and refreshing as a cold drink after one of those good workouts. :) Yours is a blessing!

Sara@www.tablegrace.net said...

Amanda,
I want to encourage you and Curtis to stay the path. Your head work will pay off in spades. I remember thinking that the terrible twos were a myth. The terrible threes were so bad that at times I was quite sure my girls would not live to see four.
These days will pass. There will be struggles, but they will be different. And by holding firm and showing them that respect for your authority is not an option, you will make your life and theirs a better one.
Thank you for sharing your life.

Dionna said...

I can relate to your post more than you know. I value authentic and genuine people and strive to be that kind of person as well. But it can be lonely. I know Christian women who are either so authentic that I see that they don't really care or try to be Godly in the least, or they act perfect and I'm left to sit and wonder where I fit in. Through it all, I continue to just be myself and take my inner thoughts to God.

Now I see my oldest daughter (age 12) going "there" as well. It's so tough. I only pray that God will be her solace and sure foundation as she navigates her way.

The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

Preach it sister! Keep doing a great job with your precious little ones! And I am laughing and laughing about the let it all hang out paragraph. I have struck out myself and have learned to keep prayer requests and sharing of past sins to a minimal amount of information. Oh I learned the hard way!
~Love ya!

Kristen said...

I love this post Amanda! I never want to pretend I have it all-together either, because Lord knows I am far from it. Thank you for your realness.
I just caught up on your blog. I love the new pictures and hope to see y'all soon!

Gretchen said...

Like you need a 124th comment. But I"ll add mine to the mix. :)

Thank you for this, Amanda.

I'm sorry for your parenting woes.

I think i told a friend just today that I had been a mother for 13 years, and that was just about enough, thank you. Thank goodness for His new mercies and for the body of friends with which He surrounds us. Even bloggy friends. Blessings.

Kathleen Cantwell said...

Amanda,

"As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever..." I Kings 9:4

I have 2 boys, 15 and 12 years old. My oldest was tough. Just now, in his 15th year, we are experiencing such joy in seeing character traits come to fruition from years of steadfast prayer, discipline, and much much grace. God is faithful. I have often said, "life is different that I imagined." Having been in ministry since I was 18, and much of that with youth, I thought my kids would follow suit. God had them both find their own way with Him, and much of that has been born out of teaching through real, authentic, raw, not very pretty life circumstances. My boys love God, and they know how to be real. No stones left unturned as we walk with them in living a life as a real follower of Christ. My sense is that Jackson will be an amazing teacher for you and Curtis. Give yourself much grace, dear one.

mommyoflove2 said...

A friend recommended your blog to me a few months ago and I have enjoyed it for the very reason you stated in this post: you are real. I really appreciated this post with your admission about feeling like a failure with parenting. I also have a three year old (and two year old) and we have been having a REALLY tough time with some issues lately. We pray all the time for wisdom and patience but are sometimes afraid to talk about it to other parents because it seems like they have it all together. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. It helped renew my determination to pray our way through these 3 year old phases and to ask for prayer, too.

Kathy said...

Spot on. My 1st born was (is..will always be) a strong willed child. My husband and I felt so alone. Everyone we talked to said their child was perfect, "good," "fine."

I felt isolated.

Through many prayers (on our knees together), tears, and long days on end, my child made it the age of 4. :-) And we are seeing fruit...

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being real and sharing. I wish someone would have been real with me. I find that this time in our lives is marked by insecurity (kind of reminiscent of jr. high)and rightfully so, we cannot do this with out Him. But it's important to recognize none of us can.

Sorry to drone on.

Bless you my friend for being transparent. Praying for you in the trenches.
Gal. 6:9

Jackie said...

thank you for this post. what a great reminder to us all, especially to those of us in ministry. it can be hard being real when people have already made assumptions about your life. in fact, it's easier to let them just think what they want. thanks for reminding me that i am more effective as a wife, a mother, a friend, and a minister's wife when i am real.

Angie said...

Great post, Amanda. I've led that double life where I wanted everyone to think I had it all together. I'll tell ya, it's just way too much work. As soon as I came to grips with my imperfections and allowed the Perfect One to do His job, I felt so much more at peace. And also, I suddenly became much more approachable to people. Ministry cannot be done without authenticity. And yet, I feel like there's got to be a balance because sometimes I need a filter. I think I'm a little too honest and real sometimes. Hmm. Thinking out loud today.

Parenting is HARD. I wrote about a few of my struggles just a couple of days ago. It takes a lot of strength to get through some awful long days, but we need His joy to do it. And it's that joy I often trade in for grouchiness and a bad attitude.

Angie said...

I just went back and read through a few random comments... how sweet is that note from Amber who checked Jackson in the other night? (Do you know which one I'm talking about?) You are loved, girl.

Michelle said...

I have never met you. I have never even read your blog until today! (boomama sent me over) And you know what? I am soooo where you are! My girls (8,6,3) are about to drive me crazy like a loon. I am so glad to see that others suffer from the same problems and that better yet, they will admit it! Thank you for being honest...you made my day!

chesley said...

Great post! Mine are almost 4 and 1, and it's still a real struggle. I feel like I'm pretty open with my struggles, but feel like everyone else has it together. I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong that they're all doing right. Love your blog!

Christine said...

Amanda-

This post spoke to my heart. I recently started following your blog and this is my first time commenting. I am the mommy of 2 boys... 3 1/2 and 17 mos and there are many days especially at the beginning that I thought "what have I done? I can't live like this." I would be in tears thinking I had to be the worst mom in the world. I had friends who acted as though they had never had any troubles in the parenting world and I felt lost and alone. I tried reading books about parenting and tried different techniques and things would get better but something would always disrupt the progress we had made. Many times I am a single parent because my husband is a pilot for the AF and is often on a trip or deployed. I would go to bed exhausted and not want to get up the next day to parent my children who I adore. This post had me in tears because it is so true. Thank you so much for writing it.

Christine

Amy T said...

Great post! Thanks for the encouraging words. I may not need it today, but I have before and I will again!

kg said...

Amanda, I am going to out myself as a reader of your blog today. I have wanted to make a comment on some previous posts but have held back. Today I will finally comment.

You have just portrayed how tons of parents feel the world over, myself included. As the parent of a strong-willed two year old and a seven month old, I sometimes have those moments and even those entire days. But they do get better and there is something to be said for knowing others struggle as well.
Anyways, I appreciate your honesty and hope you will remember next time you are discouraged to talk to other parents and let them encourage you.

Katy

It Feels Like Chaos said...

What a wonderful post! I, too, agree that we are not doing a service to our friends by pretending that we have this whole parenting thing together. My oldest child, also a boy, is now 6 and was 2.5 when his baby sister was born. Those months after her birth were some of the most challenging for us as far as disciplining our son. He is still far from easy, but we have figured out along the way some great ways to influence his behavior for the better and knowing how to deal with him has given me much peace. I pray for you to reach the same place with your beloved strong willed son!

melanie said...

this reminds me of some of the things we talked about the other night, which by the way, was so much fun for me. hope you're having a good week. i'm praying for you, my friend!

Kristi said...

Amanda,
I've never commented before but love reading your posts. I especially loved this one-I have a 28 month old and 4 month old and can related. This is hard, huh? I appreciate your faith and am encouraged by it.
Kristi

willblogforshoes said...

Thank you so much! Very encouraging! Although I've kind of recently adopted a fake-it-til-you-make it sort of mentality. I think my realness was starting to scare folks! :-) I pretty much stay at my wit's end these days!

Audrey and Company said...

Wow! Thanks for the encouragment. I love that you are real.

Sam and Brian said...

I'm in tears reading this, thank you! I'm having SUCH a tough time with my 3 year old and go to bed each day feeling exactly as you said, I'M A FAILURE!! WHY CAN'T I GET THIS RIGHT? Thank you, I really needed to read this and redirect my heart.

The Ingolds said...

Amanda,
You don't know me...I found your blog through Amber Burger's blog. I went to school with her and your husband and I've been priviledged enough to take a few of your mom's bible studies - most recently, the Esther study which I just loved!!

Your blog is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing, this post really struck a chord with me today.
In Him,
Rachael Ingold

Kirsten said...

Hi Amanda,

I love this post. I don't have kids, but so appreciate your authenticity. Isn't it crazy how we all think the girl sitting across from us has it altogether? And isn't it crazy how we need to fall flat in our self-righteousness for the Lord to show us how not-good we are? And how badly we need his grace?!

Thanks for sharing, I love your blog!
Kirsten