Thursday, February 24, 2011

Looking for Thicker Skin

Have you ever wanted to change something about yourself? I know that I'm "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that God hand-picked my personality traits and spiritual gifts to His good pleasure and glory. But sometimes I'd really like to trade my sensitivity for some thicker skin. Curtis and I have some exciting things going on but last week all of it had come to a head and I felt like I wasn't wearing any skin. Every little thing penetrated and burned. Oh, what I would give to let things just fall off of me instead of bruising my heart.

My sister and I were standing behind the resource table at Bible study when two ladies approached to ask if our mom had any more homework to give them. She is currently writing on the life and book of James and teaching the sessions on Tuesday nights. Our Houston ladies were given 3 weeks of written homework, but that was all we could promise them. Writing Bible studies takes quite a while. I believe my mom told me that it took her a month to write one week of homework. Anyway, we explained why there was no more homework for them and before they walked away, one of them said, "Well you girls need to stay away from your mom and keep her grandkids from her so she can finish it."

Words are a very powerful thing, containing the power of life and death. This woman's words did not bring life. In fact, they took me to the depths of my flesh. I stewed over them all night long and for days they haunted me every time I spoke to my mother on the phone or was with her. Is it wrong for me to want fellowship with my own mother? It is wrong for ministry families to expect to be family? (Uh, no.)

When Jackson was born, my mom said her biggest nightmare was that one day someone would say, "Jackson, did you know that your grandmother spoke in arenas to teach women about Jesus?" And he would respond, "Yeah, that's great, but I never even knew her." My mom is very close to my kids, just as her mother was to me. When she's in the room, I'm chopped liver. And that's the way it should be.

Even though I know truth, the words stung me. I felt raw and vulnerable to every little thing. I wrote a blog post in my head called "The Top 10 Dumbest Things People Have Ever Said to Me." God said "Love keeps no record of wrongs."

I begged Him for thicker skin so I could leave this kind of thing behind. God did not tell me yes. He said my problem was not that my skin was too thin, but that I needed to forgive.

Oh wow. I have a forgiveness problem? It's not just that I'm overly sensitive? I'm unforgiving?

That was hard to hear, but I think it has set me free.

Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

168 comments:

JustJess said...

Fantastic post, Amanda. The Lord is teaching me, too, that a lot of things that bother me are problems in my own sin. I really appreciate the honesty.

amy (metz) walker said...

A-mazing post! I have that same "fire" in me that makes me react but I feel like God is teaching me a TON thru it! Im working on the thicker skin myself...not letting the opinions of others throw me into a tailspin! Thanks for sharing!!

Deirdre said...

Amanda,
You and your sister give so much...would it be wrong to tell you how proud I am of you right now? the maturity it takes to have seen the flip side of your sensitivity issues just staggers me. And the willingness to discuss it in this forum.
You astound me.

love you,
Deirdre

Bethany said...

That is plain awful. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that lady's unkind, un-thinking remarks! Blessings on your family time - I know you don't take it for granted!

thegypsymama said...

I don't know whether to climb through this post and hug you and defend you or just stand with my mouth open gaping at you and your deep heart and ears that are so sensitive to the Spirit.

Amanda, you are a remarkable woman, mother, daughter. And I dare say if your mom hadn't been available to ditch studies and focus on raising you right, you might not have turned out quite the same.

I could ramble on and on about how much this post touched me, but let me just say that who you are - it's a beautiful Jesus reflection.

Thank you for sharing it with us and kudos to your mama for the role she played in it.

Much love,
Lisa-Jo

Love Being A Nonny said...

Would you mind if I link to this post? I need it. We all need it. Thank You.

Laura said...

I love that your mom loves her family well. Careless words....I pray I don't use them and I pray I forgive them.

Amber C. said...

I'm sure your sensitivity to those things also manifests itself as empathy with others as well. I have a thick skin due to a lot of things in my past (parents, divorce, father issues) and I notice that that translates a lot into a lack of empathy for others. If you block out the pain, you also block out the joy. You can't compartmentalize your issues and decide that one thing won't affect everything else in your life. I've learned that the hard way and am working through those things and probably always will be! So be grateful for your sensitivity. I would give a LOT to be more sensitive and not so "thick skinned", I can block out the pain but I end up missing out on a lot of joy too.

kaseye said...

Girl, I feel your pain! It is easier for me to forgive those who hurt me over those who say things about my dad, husband or kids - Mama Bear comes out roaring and God has really been dealing with me on that and many other things! Thanks for sharing that great reminder!

Amber Smitherman said...

I try to look at everything from a positive perspective - these ladies were actually LOOKING for homework to do.....God is faithful in changing the attitudes of ungrateful servants everyday and it just may be through this study for them. Wouldn't it be awesome if in 5 years one of these ladies would come back in repentance from these words as a result of the study your mom wrote? God is always working in unexpected ways. Being in the ministry is difficult but the eternal rewards are unimaginable!

StacieHope365 said...

Yes Amanda, you may need to learn the lesson of forgiveness but those ladies definitely need to learn their own lesson!!. I think it is amusing that they wanted more homework on James. Would it be on the chapter of learning to tame the tongue?!?!?!

Your Siesta Friend,
Stacie

Marc and Charity said...

Good word Amanda. I'm excited to hear what God's up to in your life!

Wonder said...

i know. it's hard. my husband is a pastor and people EXPECT much, often without love. and i find myself angry at them (w/out love). i realize that people and circumstances reveal what is already in my heart...sometimes i just want to "feel".

Skubaliscious said...

I imagine it can be very frustrating sometimes having a famous parent. My mom's not famous - but for awhile we lived in the same small town. I got very tired of all my conversations with other people revolving around what my mom was doing, or where she was, etc.

I definitely have the same problem - thought I was super sensitive - maybe you're right...maybe it is a forgiveness thing...

Myriam said...

Wow Amanda....I gasped reading the comment made by one of the ladies. To think that they would even think such is beyond belief.

The relationship you have with your mom and with the grand-children are something to be desired. Not everyone will be supportive of it. You are doing the right thing and forgive and forget the comments. I know it is easier said than done but we know that God wouldn't ask any less for a grandma to love her grandkids.

Remember they said all kind of evil stuff about our Lord when all He wanted was to save them (and us) from our sins.

God bless!!!

Myriam

Tara G. said...

Bless your heart. Praying you'll keep on forgiving and that God will help this individual grow, too.

Cassandra said...

as a ministry family, I feel terrible that someone would say something so unwise and hurtful. If it were a matter of just needing thicker skin, it would infer that such a thoughless comment was okay to say...and it's not. But the Holy Spirit suggesting you must forgive implies He does not condone her statement but also expects you to handle it properly (forgiveness). Thank you for sharing your mom with us all and may we remember to be prayerful for our teachers in Christ and their dear families.

The Shinnicks said...

I've been praying (okay, venting/arguing/complaining) about my lack of thick skin and other lovely personality quirks I would like God to change, but this post made me realize maybe I'm looking at it wrong, too. Thanks for sharing. Good exhortation about watching my tongue, too.

Lindsey Nobles said...

People (myself included) say the DUMBEST things. I am sorry. I need thicker skin too. And I hope I've never said anything that has made it on your mental top 10 list. :)

Ashley said...

Oh Amanda,
I'm so sorry that you had to experience that kind of hurt. I know that is an absolute blessing to have such wonderful fellowship with your mother and your family, and for your mother to be able to have such incredible relationships with your children.

As far as having thicker skin - I wish I had it right now too. Its seems like pregnancy hormones are raging right now. But I know that there is sooo much to look forward to!

Miss you!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for this post. I definitely needed this today, as I'm struggling with this issue a lot lately. However, I'm sorry those ladies said that to you! That was unkind!

Kelly said...

Whoo boy - God has been teaching me that in the last year or two. I've had a lot of harsh words sent my way and it's hard for me not to let them sting - but you are right - and what I'm learning - is to forgive and try to understand the place that person is coming from.
P.S. When our parents are around - Harper wants NOTHING to do with me. ha! And I'm so glad!

Dave Steinbeck said...

Amanda-I wish I didn't know what you meant with things being able to get to you, but alas, my hub is a pastor and sometimes people say things that don't edify...I have pretty thick skin except when it comes to going to bat for him or my kiddos. I'm working on tough skin but maintaining a tender heart through it all-some days better than others. :)Just last week, Dave FINALLY took a "Sabbath" on a Friday--this is hard for him most weeks with our growing church plant...someone quipped, after he said how refreshing it was that he's getting paid for a Sabbath?! (followed by a JK and an LOL which makes it pure awesomesauce). So, all that to say, I'm a work in progress and still working on being tough and tender, and forgiving quickly, remembering that I have been forgiven for so much!

Chris said...

Oh sweet Amanda, God uses all of our strengths and our weaknesses. I am very sure He uses your sensitive side to touch people's lives every day. Your mom teaches like she does 1) Because God makes her wise in His word and able to communicate His words to so many 2) Because she is a very loving mother and a grandmother and He uses those real life relationships to reach all of us who can relate to those stories. I assure you that we love her because she has those real life stories. God would not be able to use her stories if she didn't truly live that love out in her family. So know that all of those love stories as well as her heart breaking ones are used by God to reach all of those wonderful ladies from every stage and walk of life.
You know sometimes we say things in the moment that we really don't mean and probaly that lady has chided herself numerous times for saying that to you.
You are a very good wife, mother, daughter, and sister. So live out the blessing that God has given you.

tacykay said...

Thanks for this post. The part that stood out for me was the "forgiveness from your heart" thing. That's the tricky part for me & i struggle with it daily. It's all especially more difficult because the person that I'm angry at is no longer with us. I can go through the motions of outward forgiveness, but I can't shake the anger and hurt inside for very long. Thanks for reminding me what Jesus has to say about forgiveness. I'll keep praying and searching. Thanks again!

Go-Between said...

Oh Amanda, I prayed the other day when you tweeted needing thicker skin. I am so sorry that sheep bite and yet so proud of you and your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit to forgive their wounds.
The thing that I love most about your mama and you all, (other than seeing Jesus in you)is your relationship with each other. It has always been a source of encouragement to this mamabear. Our family so mirrors yours and I am always encouraged by it, as we encounter alot of teasing for the closeness we share. But I wouldn't trade it for all the ministry opportunities because ministry to my family always comes first.
Praise God for your mama's commitment to her family. Thank you for sharing her with us!
loving you,
mk

Kayla said...

I am so sorry that happened to you! Sometimes people do not think-please do not avoid your mom due to words. Your family is such a blessing!

Priscilla said...

Wow, Amanda!! I'm sooo sorry you've gone thru that. People say some pretty hurtful things. I know, I've been the brunt of it many a time. I appreciate what God has taught you, especially since I am in a battle of the words myself. Forgiveness is obviously something I need to learn by living these lessons and being hit broadside. Thank you for sharing your lesson; I needed it.

And God bless you and your family as you spend time together. As a girl who does your mom's Bible Studies, I, personally, am glad for the time spent on them. I don't worship Beth Moore, I worship Jesus Christ.

I really enjoy your blog, I'm not married, nor do I have kids, but I'm hopeful on both. Your blogs make me see things more realistically than my little romantic mind does from time to time, lol. :0)

Cheryl said...

Oh Amanda! As a pastor wife, I realize the strain ministry puts on the family.
My husband has asked churches, "Would you want me to be your Pastor if I lost my marriage/family?" I would love to ask those women, would you study under Beth if she lost her family because of ministry? I'm pretty sure they wouldn't.
Thank you for being honest with us about how God is growing you. It would be so easy to lash out but you took a hurt and are using it to become more like Christ.
~Which is the ultimate goal!
Love you dearly!!!

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Your post reminds me of whent he disciples wanted Jesus to be done with the little children and move on to 'more important things or people'. I think that the time you and Melissa spend with your mom is precious. I love it that your children are so crazy about her. It is soooo important.

Forgiveness is so hard. That is one of the topics that I am speaking on at a retreat this weekend and let me tell you, I learned about it the hard way.

Bless you Amanda as you serve and sacrifice for Jesus!!

Teri~Facedown said...

Awwwww. It makes my heart sad to hear this! First of all, yes, forgiveness is paramount! Also, what helps me to get to a place of forgiveness in situations when my sensitivity is getting the best of me is to ask, "What is the truth here?" (What those women were saying is NOT what the majority of people think or feel.) They were speaking from a very selfish place, and whether it was said in sarcasm, or not, it was hurtful. You absolutely KNOW the truth, that your family comes first, and that's how GOD would have it! Let that set you free. And then just chalk it up to selfishness, and forgive. (Which I'm sure you probably already have.) It does get easier to do this when you know the truth about a situation. I know in my own life it really upsets me when people talk badly about my kids...my middle child (incidentally, named Jackson) has always been loud and spirited. He has such awesome qualities, and I get to see all of him, so I know how loving, and sensitive he really is, but others don't always take the time to see beyond his absolute joy for all things, and just call him wild. It used to just make me sick, but now, I just have to let the truth about my son, set me free from what others say and think. It's made my heart so much happier, because I love my child, and I absolutely know he will be an awesome adult someday, and as much as I know that, I also know that God's not done with him yet! (He's only 11!)
Sorry this is so long! I'll be praying for you! God has given you everything you need for life and Godliness, you will learn how to combat this. And, for the record, what you show of yourself here on the blog is beautiful to me, and I know that God fully loves you, thin skin and all!

Warmly,
Teri

Chris said...

Sweet Amanda, God uses all of our strengths and weaknesses. I am sure that He uses your sensitive side to minister to many people every day. Your mom is a good teacher because 1) God gives her wisdom in His word and she is willing to share that word with so many 2)because she is a loving mother and grandmother and He uses those real life relationships to relate to all of us. He uses her love stories and her heart breaking ones to reach women from all stages and walks of life. He could not if she didn't have those real life family love stories.
Sometimes we say things in the moment that we regret and I will bet that lady has chided herself several times for saying that to you.
You are a good wife, mother, daughter and sister. Live out the blessing God has given you. I can remember those times in my life when my children were little were the absolute most precious. (now they are 20 and 24 and still teaching their mother life lessons);)

Casey said...

I can imagine how those words may have stung. But you have inspired that it needs to lead to forgiveness. That is soooo hard. I have prayed for thicker skin too and am always struggling with forgivness. Why is it so hard for us??

Katie said...

This is a great post! Your response to stinging (& untrue)words is both humbling & inspiring. Isn't God good to take the bad and still use it for our refinement? So often, I find myself replaying conversations in my mind and coming up with what I really should have said WHEN the truth is: rather than replay conversations....I need to give grace, offer forgiveness, (and as my mom so beautifully puts it) "Draw a circle around it and move on!". Thanks so much for the post - you are dear!

Leslie and James said...

Wow, I want to cry right now and I wasn't the one talked to like that!:) thank you for sharing your situation and what the Lord spoke to you! I needed to read it today!

Ali said...

Oh no then I guess I have a forgiveness problem too! As some one with a tender thin skinned heart...I too am so wounded by words. I feel your pain because I walk that road too. Couple my thin skin with "my desire to please people" attitude rather than be a pleaser of God...I struggle with pain, rejection and not measuring up to others expectations!

As some one who loves the studies of God's word that your Mom puts together after so much time and study I want you to know that it makes me respect your Mom and your entire family to know that it is important to you all to maintain your family closeness! That is honoring to God and is a blessing to those of us who do not have that heritage so see and hear of this example!

Please do not feel guilt for having a wonderful relationship with your Mom and family!

I want to grow with God so I can change my family legacy and also so I don't become a women who steals other peoples joy and life by my thoughtless and selfish agenda words.

Words do hurt I know because I have used words to hurt and also been hurt by others words. We are all so broken and in need of God's grace.

I'm really challenged by your thoughts about being thin skinned is also a "forgiveness" issue. I must pray about this because I know it applies to my heart.

May we all examine our hearts and use words to give life and bless and not to discourage and harm.

~ Ali

Angela said...

I am so glad that you posted this. I think it is so true of us all. It isn't a skin-issue it is a heart issue. Are you willing to forgive.

Thank you this blessed me.

JayCee said...

This is the same area I struggle with! I just had some of those hurtful words spoken to me (by a family member) this week and I let them get to me. I also have used hurtful words, as well. It's something I am constantly working on. This weekend a new Christian movie comes out: "The Grace Card." If I understand it right, it's about forgiveness. There is a line in the movie that says: "I promise to pray for you, ask your forgiveness, grant you the same, and be your friend always" (or something like that.) I plan on going to see it this Friday night. Maybe it will have some insights that will help. Thanks for reminding us of this very important subject of grace and forgiveness!

Ali said...

This is such an incredible post!

Thank you from one thin skinned Mom!

I love that your Mom makes time with your kids!

My parents are in ministry and they do not make time for their grandkids. They are too important and their schedule way to hectic for simple time with their grand babies. It hurts me as their daughter and it hurts my kids and husband.

I respect your Mom so much more that she uses her time so wisely to invest in her daughters and grand babies!

This is such a good reminder to me to use my words to bless and give life and not as release for my selfish agendas.

We are all so broken and in need of a savior.

I will start to investigate my own issues with unforgiveness. Thanks for being vulnerable and so wise.

~ Ali

Amanda said...

Teri~Facedown - thank you for sharing that.

His Jules said...

Wow,Amanda, this really stepped on my toes. Your honesty is so disarming - Thank You. I am so sorry that someone was so careless with their words with you(or with anyone in the body of Christ for that matter)because you & Melissa have always done a beautiful job of sharing your family with us and especially your Mom but since your Mom's public ministry began I have carefully watched her balance family with her ministry and do such a good job that I try to mimic her in my own ministry. I am so sure that God is smiling at you and pleased with your attitude. I hope this doesnt sound condescending but I am very proud of you sweet girl - Good Job!

Laura said...

Amanda..What a wonderful post...I'm a sensitive person(i've been told this)...for me its been so many times that I just need to forgive someone for things that they say..they may not mean for it to be hurtful but words can hurt..thank you for your honesty and a reminder to be open before the LORD and those that I love..Much blessings..

Lisa said...

Wow. This one hits home. I, too, have "jellyfish skin" (that's what I call it) because I am so utterly transparent and thin-skinned. Because I am, I am usually overly vigilant about not saying potentially insensitive, hurtful things to others. Lately, though, I've been sticking my foot in my mouth so often that I'm starting to get used to the taste of faux suede from Old Navy. (We're still in boot weather here!) I don't know what my problem is, but this past month, I've been more those ladies and less you behind the table, and I so do not like that about myself!

For what it's worth, it's always been God, family, then everyone else for me, and that just seems normal. It will make (and has made) plenty of people mad, but you know what? The truth will always set you free. You know where your priorities are, and that is ALL that matters. Thanks for helping me to take a few steps back and see how my thoughtless words can cut others!

Emily :) said...

Thank you so much for this. I really needed it. I've been struggling this week with wishing I had a different personality. The Father has been teaching me some tough lessons too. I really appreciate your honesty and as a ministry wife, your willingness to be open to God and share your family with others.

albritton5 said...

I appreciate this so much. I'm a minister's kid, and a minister's wife as well. Just last night, right before my dad taught an incredible lesson on Hebrews, I had 5 people tell me what they thought about my hair. I straightened it on Sunday and sang in church, and apparently, that's what people remembered...my hair. It's hard.

Thank you for sharing what you've learned about forgiveness. I am convicted about unforgiveness in my life about things that happened years ago that I've held onto, out of self-rightousness and a sheer lack of grace on my part. And I'm smack in the middle of your mom's Believing God study, and if I'm going to believe that God is who He says He is, and He is forgiving of all my yuck, then I must forgive as well. Thank you for your honesty.

Rose said...

Amanda, I pray those women really prayed attention to the subject about "taming the tongue" that night? I've always loved Bethie for saying "no amount of success in ministry will justify failure in the home" Good for you, for taking this to God, praying for you. .. and for them. :)

emily said...

Maybe those gals will use the first 3 weeks of homework as a starting point on how to develop their own :)..

I worked in women's ministry for a couple of years and struggled with the comments of women who just clearly didn't understand the time, efforts, and resources that went behind the things we planned.. This was right out of college and so I was honestly surprised & burned by the constant remarks.. At first, I struggled with bitterness towards the entitlement I felt some of them had...God taught me a lot about grace & humility through that season of serving.. He also gave me a different view point, and allowed me to see the root of some of the words spoken..We so don't realize how satan can use our words, or "opinions" to wreck havoc on someone..
My "opinion" on this is that your mom isn't a nun, and thicker skin a lot of times leads to a hardened heart..
I believe that God loves your vulnerability and sensitivity. I also believe He refines things in us through out our life, but it's always about Him changing us from the inside - and not us doing it out of a reaction.. This will probably sound lame, but one thing that has helped me is to pray for Him to be my "filter" {like literally an air filter sitting in front of me}.. Meaning, that words spoken to me have to go through Him, and my words spoken to others have to go through Him..

I guess. all of this is to say that I hope you remain who you are and find it refreshing you are so open..

Marla Taviano said...

Okay, maybe I should take a few minutes to breathe and pray before I comment. Hold on.

Even if you and your family meant absolutely nothing to me (oh my word, I can't even imagine), I'm having a reeeeeally hard time fathoming how someone like your mom who has given up millions of hours of her life so that other women can grow closer to Christ is in ANY WAY indebted to those who have benefited from her ministry OR expected to keep producing on demand like she's a chicken on a farm or something.

For real??? I just don't understand. Maybe a review of one of her earlier Bible studies is in order for these women while they wait.

I don't even know if my comment made sense. I typed it about as fast as my heart is racing.

I love you. Off to pray for a more forgiving spirit! ;)

Alison said...

WOW! Love this, Amanda. I need to work on having thicker skin. I have let myself dwell on a few negative comments someone has made about us adopting from Ethiopia. Thanks for the reminder...Love keeps no record of wrongs!

AMW said...

profound. I too, suffer from thin-skin syndrome. :) I've NEVER ONCE thought maybe I had a forgiveness problem. Thank you for such an eye-opening post.

Kelly said...

I love this post. So real and so true.

Melanie said...

Oh Amanda, thank you for sharing this experience! So many of us can relate! Enjoy every second with your mom and sweet children, family is a blessing and you will always, always, always be grateful that you were all so close to one another.

That lady may have thought she was joking, but that is an excellent reminder that we all need to be careful with what we say, even when we're "joking" because as you said, words are powerful and can wound deeply.

Thank you again!

Kristin said...

Thanks for sharing. The truths in this post really spoke to my heart about a situation I'm going through with my sister-in-law right now.

Heather said...

Ah, friend, I love this post. I love your transparency. I love the authenticity of it. You are not alone, I have thick skin on some things, but most of the time I am so thin skinned, that I dwell on things for days or weeks!! Which brings on all kinds of stress. I have felt the Holy Spirit in so many ways just telling me to forgive, to let it go, be the bigger person. From the smallest of things to the biggest of things!
Thank you for sharing your heart, I love it and you!!

Spicy Magnolia said...

I LOVE it that you're "chopped liver" when your momma is around your kids. :) I feel the same way, and it's a huge delight, isn't it?

I can very much relate to wanting thicker skin, and as I read your post, there were several things that came to mind that the Lord wants to remind me of to forgive as opposed to thinking that I need thicker skin. You are loved, Amanda.

JottinMama said...

Bless your heart.

Thicker skin...yes....I've longed for it many times. MANY times.

Thanks for being so real. You rock.

Blessings,
Kate :)

Amanda Carter said...

I have never posted on here before. Been kind of a lurker =). But I am truly sorry for what was said to you, but also amazed at your ability to tame your tongue. Had I been in that situation, I am not sure my mouth would of stayed shut! I also think it's a real testament to your life and the life of your mom's by how family-oriented you all are. I don't think I would hold the same respect for your family if you all were not, well, a family. It's amazing how God can always use things for our benefit. Thank you for your honest and willingness to share your heart.

Mrs Lemon said...

Thank you. I needed this reminder today. Well, actually I needed it about 8:30 last night and then I would have slept soundly instead of worrying about my smart aleck reply to someone's false accusation towards my daughter. FOR ONCE she wasn't even doing what she was accused of, and I just had to stand up for her. But I could have done it in a kinder way.

Amy Storms said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. As a pastor's wife and pastor's daughter, I get this. Comments hurt so much. My "record of wrongs" is quite lengthy, itemized, and up-to-date, and I rehearse it often. :) I feel exactly what you're talking about. Forgiveness is so tough.

pinkdaisyjane said...

Never thought of the connection between my {over} sensitivity and my unforgiving spirit. Thank you. I needed that.

Tess said...

Amanda, I'm so sorry that this happened. I too am a girl who has often asked the Lord for "thicker skin". Ironically, God has me in a place where I'm also dealing with unforgiveness so this ministered to me greatly. Thank you!

I know I don't have my wording exactly right, but something I heard your mom say a year or so ago on "life today" with James Robinson SO ministered to me as a woman who feels called into ministry yet the duties, and privileges I might add of having small children does not allow a ton of time for right now... She said, "any success in ministry is not worth a failure at home". I can't help but think of this now. Our homes, our families are important!!! I would not want to learn under a woman who didn't value her family. I'm thankful your mom does! Praying many blessings down on you and your family sister!!!

Love, Tess

Cindy said...

Wonderful post. I need major lessons in forgiveness in my own life right now. Thank you for your honesty and candid look at your own struggles. It is a wonderful ministry to many I am sure. My own skin is thin and I have come to believe if it were thicker I would miss out on many lessons and blessings from God.

Cheryl said...

THANK YOU FOR SHARING! The Lord is teaching me the same thing. We do need to forgive people who hurt us. I think we should also CHOOSE to not let people's words offend us. Instead, only care about what our King thinks of us. Hard to do? Yes. Possible to do. I believe so. People are just people. But our God...He is the I AM, our Creator, our Father. HE is everything to us. God has brought to my attention that when I focus so much on what others say or think about me, really I am being selfish. My thoughts are consumed with how I have been hurt. Instead I should let it slide and focus on the other person. Now that is Christ centered love, don't you think?
Thank you for posting your life! It's so encouraging! To God be the Glory!
Cheryl

Michelle Thomas said...

Amanda this is my first time leaving a comment i just recently found your blog - but i am so VERY blessed with this entry. I have been talking with God for a long while now about wanting to have a thicker skin so as not to take so much to heart and get hurt so often and perhaps I, like you said need to take a look at my ability to forgive. Maybe if I didn’t hold on to the hurt so much it wouldn’t be holding on to me. -never even saw this connection before. Thank you for your honesty and Jesus for leading me to this little revelation! God Bless and enjoy EVERY moment with you family guilt free!!! <3 Michelle from NH

KaiandAceMommy said...

I LOVED your post! I remember hearing "hurting people hurt people" and that has really given me comfort that they are hurting and I need to love them even more. It is so painful, b/c the enemy tries any way he can put a wedge in the family. Thank you for posting. I continually need to check myself for pride and unforgiveness. You are wonderful now go give your sweet mama some lovin'! xo Jac~

Carol said...

Amanda, I appreciate not just how well you write, but that you are also so transparent. It's difficult to do both. Good writers can package events in a distorted way, you capture life's story with authenticity.

As to the ladies...I am a fan of SCL/Jon Acuff and I am sorely tempted to commit a Jesus Juke on them. I shall refrain, and work for the good taste that your blog radiates.

It's a sad, true irony that Bible study can bring out the ugly in us. Why? God showing us how much we need it? More irony--study of James/power of the tongue...ok too close to Jesus Juke.

Your whole family has served and ministered faithfully and generously and openly, thanks for sharing your gifts so openly.

Beth said...

I just have to comment on this. Because I have seen folks just like this at women's events. You walk around for days trying to find a seat and because they have 20 friends who aren't even in town yet, they are saving them a seat and you end up in the nosebleed section. It never amazes me how insensitive some folks can be and how it's all all about them.

We all go through seasons of this but I have to say, you can go through Bible study for years but if it never goes past head knowledge and somehow penetrates how we treat people, what has it really accomplished.

At the Deeper Still event in Birmingham I had a lady in the bathroom tell me I shouldn't be wearing the shirt I had on because she thought it represented the team her team was playing that day in the SEC championship game. It just shocked me that at a women's event where God is supposed to be the center of everything, that I would be criticized for a stupid shirt. (same mascot but different teams.)

I also have to say you and your sister have been so gracious to "share" your mom with the world. I wouldn't take anything for the time my mom got to spend with my son. Those times and those memories are precious.

As far as this woman who said this, my best friend calls these folks, "grace-builders." It's not easy but I have to agree.

Misty M. said...

It's hard not to let other people's comments drill us to the core. The sad thing is that they utter them so flippantly that they probably don't even remember saying it.

I hope your mom always puts her family first and that you and Curtis do too. God may have given some of us a specific ministry outside of the home, but when he gives us children and grandchildren our ministry is with them first.

I do want to take this post as a good reminder to watch our words, they really do contain life and death. (It really is funny that they wanted more of James and here we are discussing taming the tongue because of them)

Thanks for your very real post.

Dionna said...

Amanda -
I really understand what you're saying. In a different context, of course. But I, too, tend to take the things people say to me personally.

You love all over your mom and enjoy every second with her. You come first. As it should be.

Michelle Thomas said...

Amanda, this is my first time leaving a comment i just recently found your blog :) i am so VERY blessed with this entry. I have been trying to ‘find’ a thicker skin in hopes of not getting hurt so often. Perhaps I too, need to be more aware of my sub-conscience unforgiveness. Maybe if I didn’t hold on to the hurt so much it wouldn’t be holding on to me - never even saw this connection before. I had no idea how tight a grip i’ve kept on the hurts -i realize now there is no forgiveness to be found if that’s where i keep dwelling! Thank you for your honesty and Jesus for leading me to this little revelation! God Bless and enjoy EVERY moment with you family guilt free!!! <3

Shelli Littleton said...

Amanda, your momma has her priorities straight, and she knows it. I am in constant awe of her. I am super sensitive, too. A woman thing? And I overanalyze things I say because I'm afraid I will hurt someone unintentionally. Ugh. Karalee and I have been crying this week because she is missing her first Disciple Now. She has the flu. We were going to host the 7th grade girls in our home and have been planning for weeks. When we left the doctor's office, Karalee said, "Everything happens for a reason; God is in control." I'm not sure she would know that today if it weren't for your sweet momma's influence in my life (trickling down to her). Your momma can't please everyone; but I know she pleases God!

You are precious.

Jessica said...

Amanda -- I am a long time reader and this is my first comment. Your Mom is a wonderful example of balance in ministry. Her love for her family is the most important part of her ministry. When she stands before Jesus one day God will hold her responsible for her family first. I believe he will say "Well done good and faithful servant".

I am so sorry you had to hear those words from that Lady. Even though she was horribly mean and rude - it is obvious that she needs some love in her life. It is an amazing example to all of us for you to forgive.

Thank you for your vulnerability.

God will always provide and protect you.

Ashley said...

There are several things about myself that I wish I could change. Thin skin is but one. It's for that reason that it has become my prayer that the spirit of humility that was in Christ would rest on me. Great post!

Tabaitha Kaye said...

Great post! One thing I have always heard growing up is that a parents first ministry should be at home. I love that your mom feels the same way with her grandchildren. She is pouring into her legacy and that will definitely live on for generations.

Brittney said...

this week has been ONE kind of week :/ one thing after another for sure... I loved this post!

Alice said...

That comment would get me up on the mental gerbil wheel for days. At best, it was a thoughtless remark. Thankfully, He will help us to forgive unjust words.

Personally, my favorite posts over at the LPM blog are when your mom talks about her relationship with you girls. I hope mine with my little girls is as fun someday. I'm reminded of words from Wess Stafford's book "Too Small to Ignore," about how he never wanted his daughters to say, and praised God that they never had, "Daddy, you cared about all the children of the world, but you forgot about us."

Becky Kiser said...

girl, this might be my most favorite posts you have ever written. so real. so honest. and so what i needed to hear. thank you for a kind rebuke.

love your heart.

Jennifer Lyell said...

Amanda- This is an amazing post. So moving, evoking, and guiding. I am praying for you as I write this that He encourages you for your sensitivity and grants you deep and abiding forgiveness as well as joy.

AND, that your mom loves her family and strives for the right balance and priorities where you all are first is the thing about her I respect most.

Praying for you and grateful for your transparency here- So encouraging.

Rikki said...

my husband and i were just discussing this topic this week. someone was unfair and very unkind to him this week, and it really shook him. but i don't think we have to blame ourselves for not having "thick skin." i think thick skin is what we want others to have when WE say dumb things and don't want to face the hurt our words have caused. words are powerful! that's why James says the tongue can be a "world of evil among the parts of the body." may the Lord help each of us tame our tongues!

Nicole said...

So sorry that happened. That stung my heart a bit! I can only imagine the many other times hurtful things have been said along this journey.

Praying His grace and protection over you and all of your family. Praying for your heart.

Isa 54: 17
But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.

Bev Brandon @ The Fray said...

I had to run to the bathroom at lunch today looking for some thicker skin after two hurtful incidents in ten minutes. Ran straight into the stall into His Presence with white-hot tears to ask Him why the words delivered to me stung me so? So, your post touches me cause I too need to hear this message to forgive and wonder about what stirs in my own heart and what it would look like to love people back when they say wrong things like they did to you. You and your family pay a dear price to serve many and you honor Him well! Your cry for holiness more than just being right is heard. What I love about you is I Peter 2:19--you are so "mindful of God" in hard times. You have such a tenderness that is so from Him and reminds me of Joshua 3:15-16 "What message does my LORD have for His Servant?" You're absolutely precious, Amanda! Love you, Bev

Jen Bowers said...

To echo the other ladies,thank you for the post!

As a fellow Tuesday night-er, I can't help but mention the irony in what this woman said to you. It's so crazy that people can hear such a powerful lesson on the dangers of our tongues and step outside and forget everything that was said!

That being said, I struggle with wanting thicker skin too. But then God allows my thin-skin to have so much compassion for others, that even when it hurts, I thank Him for allowing me to love like that. I can't help but wonder if we would miss out on that if we had the thicker skin we desire??

JD said...

Beautiful and truthful perspective... I pray that their hearts grow softened to Jesus' heart for children and how valuable and precious they are.

To God Be the Glory said...

Amanda, you and your family are so dear! You all have given so much to share your mom with us and you deserve all the time with her in the world. it is so hard to stomach a snide remark like that. i had like 3 or 4 last week on the same day from the very people i love the most! ahh! something i am learning is to just audibly lay it at the cross. for ex. Lord what that lady said really hurt my feelings! she shouldn't have said that, and she really has no idea the sacrifices me and my family make to serve the body of Christ. I don't feel like forgiving her, but i'm making the decision to. I lay this at the cross and ask you to take it. I choose to forgive and ask that you help me do just that! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Amanda, you of course know all this, but sometimes it helps me to get a reminder! :) It also helps me to remember that satan wants me to stew over that for as long as possible. i don't want to do what he wants! In fact that little jab may have come straight from him without the lady even realizing it! maybe she went home kicking herself later! i know in my case from last week that those people that i love and that love me probably didn't mean to hurt me, but the bottom line is even if they did, i can't afford to let it control me. kwim?

having said all that, it makes me really mad that she said that to you and melissa. ya'll are just as dear to me as your mom and i don't like the idea of anyone hurting any of you.

God bless you!!!! Kimberly

myheartandhomebek said...

I can't tell you how I appreciate the sacrifices you and your family make for US! Thank you! We are definitely not more important than the relationship among you all, so you just keep doing what you're doing. Hang in there. =)

Brenda

Darla said...

Ouch. I know that was hurtful. I know your children are life-giving to your mom and that being with them (and you)renews her spirit and brings joy to her soul ... and that she sees them as a gift from the Lord. So all that said ... spending time with them gives her the energy she needs to finish her Bible Studies. Guess you couldn't really say all that to them though, huh? :)

Really, really good post for all of us to read.

{Thirty} Little Piggies said...

Here's hoping I come across a forgiving heart like yours the next time I say something without thinking better of it! God uses little tiny teachable moments like that in the middle of our lives to continue to teach us of Himself and to strengthen our relationships with the the rest of the folks we occupy this globe with.

From my perspective, your mom has become an even better teacher since gaining those precious grand babies! The time she spent {and still spends} in the company of her family is of utmost importance. Cherish every second you have with her and never feel guilty for hogging her--she's your mama!! How blessed you are to have a mom that people covet time with/of, that's not a given for everyone!

Siesta OC said...

Marla - well said!

Oh Amanda, I so get this. I loved how someone mentioned that its not a skin issue but a heart issue.

Hurtful and selfish as they are, it relly shows where they are, not you. It shows their lack of fruit. Just because 'we' say things, it doesn't make it right or good. Its sad that these women were so lonely and/or selfish that they needed a new study faster. Knowing stuff, even Bible stuff is not the goal, Jesus in US the hope of GLORY is where we live and thrive.

Angela Moore said...

Amanda...I love reading your blog. You have a gift in writing...something I really admire. I was at Tuesday night's study and actually saw you and your sister at behind the table as I was waiting in line. I said a prayer for you as I stood there because I can't imagine the pressure and vulnerability that your position as Beth's daughter has.

I also was appalled at the behavior of some of the women pushing and shoving their way into the sanctuary when the doors opened. God bless the lpm staff telling these selfish ladies to slow down!

Thank you for your honesty. I will continue to pray for the Moore family...for safety, honesty, and God's abundant blessings on all of your lives.

The Parker Family said...

You and your entire family are your mom's #1 ministry priority in my opinion! The rest of us can and will enjoy her and her wisdom from the Lord when her time and schedule allow. Satan will use anything he can to make us question our life and purpose. Praying for some tough skin for you and for some people to just keep their mouth shut.

Kathleen said...

Its always hard to see what spills out when our cups are bumped and offensive rude comments bring it to the surface faster than most things.

Your response modeled for all how to respond to being sinned against by not sinning back. Forgiveness and humility trump vengence every time . I appreciate your honesty.

Kathleen

Lauren said...

What a wise response to criticism. Thanks for the encouragement to forgive!

Looking UP Amid the Chaos said...

Excellent post...thank you for being real. Sometimes we can be so simple minded despite the powerful minds the Lord has given us! (speaking of the ladies who made the idiot comment)

Missy said...

You are not alone, friend. I often feel the same way!!! Stinking people pleaser in me.

This also made me so happy that this week's Key to Success at school is "Speaking With GOOD Purpose!" Obviously a skill not everyone has learned. :)

Lizzie Fish said...

That stinks. =(

I hope she doesn't read this though, how embarrassing for her, but how wonderful that you were open to the lesson.

I hope the rest of your crazy time gets a little easier.

Brandee Shafer said...

I like Amber C.'s comment. There's a flip side to everything. I mean, thin skin can be good. The funny thing is that I had no idea who your mom is. I'm not even sure how I got to you, but I liked you for you, and that's why I started following. It took me a hot minute to figure it all out, today.

The Sages said...

I needed to hear this..what perfect timing God has!

HappyascanB said...

I am so very sorry that those words were even uttered. Like you, I so desire thicker skin. I wrestle with being uber sensitive, knowing it's a pride thing with me. God teaches me over and over and over again to GET OVER MYSELF!

I appreciate your transparency.

Katy said...

Amanda! My jaw is on the floor. Wowzer! I have built thicker skin through the days of raising toddlers. The things that others say, even friends, who's words are so painful and we take to heart. I use to have a loose tongue, and maybe still do on somedays. But I am a lot more aware of how my words may hurt someone if taken the wrong way. Oh how I want my words to be sweet to the soul.

Now back to the thick skin. I thought I had thick skin but maybe over the years I have been working on forgiving instead. Interesting point! It's so hard to forgive isn't it.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Sharen said...

I find often that my sensitivity and then struggling with forgiveness goes hand in hand. Thanks for the beautiful reminder

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

great post Amanda - as the wife of a Pastor, i can sympathize with this. People tend to forget that my husband has a family of his own and sometimes we just have to come first!

i am so thankful that your mom is the kind of grandmother that i am. i am so crazy about my grandbabies (all 6) and i would do ANYTHING for them at ANY time! Don't let people get you down - people say things that they don't realize come out the way they do. We will gladly wait for more studies if it means Beth can spend more time with Jackson and Annabeth. They are the most important part of her ministry!

Karen said...

I am so there with you friend! You wrote some good tough stuff. Thanks for sharing your heart. I like how close your family is...its awesome! I thank God for the ministry your family is doing. Thank you!

Dori in Texas said...

Sometimes things roll off of tongues before any thought has been given as to how the words may make someone feel. Your family has a beautiful relationship with one another that I know y'all absolutely treasure, as you should! Enjoy every minute of it. I lost my only sister when she was 50 and miss her so. Your mom probably wouldn't be able to do what she does if she didn't get a good dose of you and your sweet family as often as she does.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

That was an awesome post Amanda, sometimes when people spout off at the mouth it is very hard for me to forgive. I have an issue right now that is going on that I have to let it go so I can be free so thanks for posting this
Carol

bethany said...

I am so sorry Amanda! I can't imagine what life is like for you, Melissa, Curt, Collin, your dad and the kiddos. I do pray for you guys and I am sorry that those ladies spoke without speaking. I too at times wish that I had thicker skin.
As you spoke of unforgiveness it made me think of that new song by Chris August called 7X70. There is a line that says "seven times seventy times. I'll do what it takes to make it right" Google it and you'll find videos on youtube. Great to see those words....
You are loved sweet one!

Joybird said...

Oh, Amanda, I'm so sorry. I think of all the stupid things I have said to people. God, as Amanda chooses to forgive and bless rather than curse, free her heart. In Jesus's Name, amen.

Faran said...

Here's what I love about this post - you share the pain of the careless comment and then don't let it be all about her stuff. You honestly share the hard truth that the Lord showed you about *your* issue with forgiveness. Even if it took you a few days to get there, girl you got there. As one who can let offenses and slights ruin steal my joy, I get that struggle.

Glory to Him at the beautiful heart He's creating in you. And thanks for the bold reminder that my heart is the only one I'm responsible for.

Mary R Snyder said...

beautiful post from a beautiful heart. And you keep spending time with your Mom....I'm certain she wouldn't have it any other way!

Gayle @ TrainingOlives said...

You shoulda just poked her in the eye.

Gayle @ TrainingOlives said...

;D... Sorry. Hahaha! Just kidding, of course. I just couldn't beat the wisdom of your post and the other comments...

Sullins' Spot said...

Amanda!
This was an amazing post! My husband is a worship pastor and people often don't understand that we give him up a lot so that he may serve others. So, when it is our time...it's our time! It's a difficult life to lead but God always provides the time, energy, and sustains our family and marriage through it! Thank you for sharing this post! It's amazing what some people say but a reminder to becareful of the words we speak over others! Love your heart and blog!!!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I feel like you're showing us both sides of your sensitive heart here, Amanda. Yes, because you feel deeply, the comment by those women hurt. But because Jesus is your passion, you were sensitive to His whispering that forgiveness might be the deepest response here.

It's beautiful, really. Satan would like to take your thin-skinned-ness (word?) and use it against you, making you angry and bitter and resentful. But when God is involved, what could be a weakness because a shining strength.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love your heart.

Mindi said...

Amanda - I have commented on here before about issues related to parents in ministry, but I think feel a true bond with you over the real and authentic way you share about the challenges you face. I too struggle with "thin skin" I think part of it comes from feeling like you've always kind of been scrutinized your whole life ( or least that's how I feel). I was actually talking to my husband about this very same issue tonight about why my heart is so sensitive to others words. I think one other challenge for me is that its almost like I care too much for others and have like over-empathy...I pray for balance to not over extend myself for people while maintaining a tender heart. Thanks for this thought on forgivness. I had never thought of that before. It stepped on my toes a little--in a good way!

Lindsee said...

Being in ministry, this was such a powerful post for me to read. How often do I call my mom to tell her something that was said or a conversation I had that was ridiculous? I'm quick to judge, and either take the blame or place the blame on someone else and slow to forgive. I don't even know if I'm making sense, but I appreciate your authenticity and truth in this post.

I will say this, it's often when pepole stop being grateful that I get frustrated. Has your mom not sacrificed enough, as well as the rest of you, to do what she does? My word. I can't even imagine. If she didn't love y'all as well as she does, I'm not sure where her ministry would be. That example alone speaks volumes.

Sorry for the book of a comment, just in awe of what some people feel freedom to say. And I'm sure you've not even scratched the surface.

I love and appreciate each of you!

spiritmom said...

What is wrong with people? Here's one for you...I was sad about my military husband leaving for an extended time and a non military friend said she didn't understand my sadness because "it's what you signed up for." Really?

Exum Family said...

Amanda, this just gave me a whole new way of looking at sensitivity. I am WAY TOO sensitive. I get my feelings hurt so easily and I allow the opinions of others to affect my entire thought process and mood. My husband always tells me that I need to focus on what is true and not worry about what someone else thinks. It really only matters what God thinks and He knows my heart in everything I think or do, so why do I care if someone has a problem with something I am doing? I really wish that would sink into my heart but it is taking forever for it to travel the 18 inches from my head!
Those women were wrong. They were selfish and only thinking of themselves. They have Bible that the Lord gave them to study. What will they do when your mom is no longer writing Bible studies? They should be thankful for her ministry and more importantly for the example she is setting to women - that family is important. How wrong would it be of your mom to spend all of her time pouring herself into those in the world but spending none of it having a relationship with her family. God could have called her to celibacy, but He didn't. He gave her two incredible women as daughters and now she has the joy of your precious children. We learn so much from her interactions with you all, so praise God that she does take so much time to make a huge fuss over you. She should!! And we are blessed because of it and He is glorified through it!!
Times like this one always make me think of this passage in Luke 6:32-36
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
Thank you for being so transparent on your blog. I am literally amazed when I see the wisdom that comes out through your words. It's beautiful to see how He has fashioned your heart and mind for Him.

Lindsay said...

Amanda, I'm a thin-skinned girl myself, but I like being sensitive. It allows us to be discerning of others' feelings, needs, desires, etc., so that we can better minister to them. Plus, it keeps us softened for the Lord's continual refining process. Yes, I get my feelings hurt more often than others (that's just the natural response!), but once I've calmed down from something hurtful, I pray and plead for God to take away the feelings and emotions that are not grounded in Truth. Press on, and don't give that lie a second more of your time or mental energy! Give it over to the Lord. He will keep you soft, while also protecting your heart.

Kimberly said...

This is where I find rest and peace EVERY time...
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds You were healed.

Kimberly said...

As God would have it...I was reading Psalm 9 after I just posted my previous comment 1 Peter 2:21-25...and this is what is true about our God...Psalm 9:4 For You have upheld my right and my cause; you have sat on your throne, judging righteously. NIV

Jennifer said...

Great Post Amanda!! I too need to forgive... UGH... Not so easy to do sometimes when the words have cut deep.

Kristi said...

Yes, in fact, I've been praying for thicker skin over a family event that is coming up! I know that I need to slap the devil in the eye and walk away from offense...it just isn't my first nature! I also am trying to give people more grace about the words they say while recognizing that I say things, sometimes meaning to and most often not meaning to, that cause these same types of offenses. Your Mom said just this week on life today...oh the power of the words we say! And I'm learning that with each passing day of my life! Great post! Really spoke to me from the Lord today!

ThirtysomethingMom said...

Needed to hear that loud and clear.

Amanda said...

Exum Family, if there is anything wise ever said on here, it is only the Lord. Thanks for your sweet comment. My mom would've grinned about "He could have called her to celibacy." You're so right though.

Amanda said...

Exum Family, if there is anything wise ever said on here, it is only the Lord. Thanks for your sweet comment. My mom would've grinned about "He could have called her to celibacy." You're so right though.

Barbara Head said...

Oh, Amanda, I will pray for you to receive, not thicker skin, but a forgiving heart for those who say heartless things. I am a grandmother and I know how much love can flow between grandmothers and grandkids. Without the close family ties your mom has, I don't believe she could write like she does. God has purpose in all He does and your mom is no exception. She cannot closet herself from the love of family!

Bobbie said...

You & Melissa SO DO NOT deserve the comment you received. I read this at 3 AM but couldn't reply. Instead I prayed for the Moore girls and the women that were so self-centered! I have no doubt in my mind that God comes first in your Mom's life, however, He made her a wife, Mom and Bibby first. I LOVE the way she loves her family and appreciate the fact that she does do all she does with y'all--that makes her human!

You & Melissa are AMAZING young women-always doing for others. You are gifts from above and your parents recognize this! Thank you for being who you are-who God created you to be.

Don't let this stay under your skin for long, lay it at God's feet and walk away...and have lunch with your Mom and those babies!! Melissa, too!!

tiggerdaisy said...

I'm sorry this ever happened, Amanda. I hated to read what was said to you; however, it only took a few seconds to be convicted by it. What was said was definitely wrong, but how many times have I found myself saying careless things (intentional or not) that hurt others and I didn't really know it? How many times have I wanted what I wanted and not considered how much someone is already giving? I wouldn't say I'm a selfish person (far from it since I'm a giver at heart), but I have my moments for sure.

I know you want thicker skin and that's good. But your sensitivity is beautiful. You have a compassion that most people, including myself, envy. That's a beautiful gifting to have--it's a hard gift to have--but truly it is a beautiful gift because you see people/situations in a way that is similar to the way Jesus sees them. And that is awesome!

Hang in there! You'll probably encounter more of these types of comments from those who who thrive on every word your Mama says. And if Mama Beth has anything to say about it, she would probably tell them to get into the Word themselves and not rely solely on someone else's teaching.

You have such an encouraging way about you, Amanda. That's why I love reading your blog posts. You are real from the bottom up and what you offer us on your blog is nothing short of real life Biblical lessons from the heart.

Keep doing what you are doing. Let God mold you as He needs to and always keep the tightness you have with family.

You are a blessing!

Rebecca

shaley said...

WOW I needed that today! forgive FROM THE HEART...from the heart only the Holy Spirit has the power to change my heart. Lord help me

Kathy W said...

I, too, have a forgiveness problem. Even worse this is with a family member who has wronged my parents. I'm learning, though slowly.
Have you heard/seen the video to Chris August song 7 X 70? Look it up on YouTube. It is amazing!
Still Learning,
Kathy W

Denice said...

Wow! I'm not sure I can add anything that hasn't already been said, but just wanted to comment to give my support. Some people just don't think before they talk. You just want to say, "Really? Is that really what you think I should do? Really???" I'm glad they are doing your mom's studies. Maybe they'll learn something.

And...that's the second time this week I've heard those verses about forgiveness. Wonder what He's trying to teach me? :)

Mike and Linda said...

Amanda, Your words cut me to the quick. I react that same way when someone says something rude to me. I'll hash it over in my head for a long time. It stays on the gerbil wheel until I am sick of myself or the topic. Wow, I hadn't thought of it as a forgiveness issue. Each morning, I read your Mom's Praying God's Word every day and this Matthew portion is today's scripture. Tell me that hearing this twice in 2 hours isn't a strong message from the Lord! Thank you. I needed to hear it.

God has also been telling me strongly every day this week, and sometimes twice daily, that I am critical and judgemental of others. This comes out in the things I think and say, which shouts that I have a pride issue. So, together with this lesson, I need to go and have a lengthy time with the Lord. Thank you again.

Linda (Sewfordough) said...

Oops, that last comment was from me, not me and my husband. I must have been signed into the wrong email.

Sister Lynn said...

Thank you for this beautiful post... and sharing your very humanness with us. I have long believed that when Jesus tells us we have to forgive 70 times 7 times... he might have meant for a single offense! When I replay hurtful words over and over in my head - I have to lay forgiveness on them every single. Eventually... it takes hold!

Praying for you. Don't let the Enemy give you even and OUNCE of guilt for your time with your mama.

Blessings - Sister Lynn

Sister Lynn said...

Amanda,

Thank you for sharing your very human reaction and your Godly insight. Praise Him!

I think when Jesus tells us we have to forgive 70 times 7 times - he meant for ONE offense! I, too, can replay hurtful words over and over in my head. But I learned I have to lay forgiveness on them EVERY time the tape starts going in my mind. Eventually, forgiveness wins - how can it not. Love always wins.

Don't let the enemy give even one iota of guilt about spending time with your mama. Praying for you, friend.

Blessings - Sister Lynn

Lauren & Eddie said...

Thank you so much for this reminder! I'm constantly wishing I had thicker skin...but I really hadn't thought about it in terms of forgiveness. I just want things to roll right off of me, but you're right! We just need to forgive and let go!

I'm actually reading your mom's "Praying God's Word Day by Day," right now and as I read today's prayer I had to stop and think about where I'd JUST read the same scripture. The top of the page says, "God wants to transform and renew our minds so we can think the thoughts of Christ about the person we are to forgive." The scripture? Matt. 18:21-22.

Thanks!

Holly said...

You are a beautiful servant, Amanda. Though I took a techno break last week, God held you and Curtis to my heart to pray. I have not stopped and anticipate His full work. Love you sister. And if I have ever said one of the top ten dumbest things (which I have undoubtedly done--fool that I have been), please forgive me. I, too, am growing and learning. You love your family WELL. And that is priority. Love you much, Holly

Alana said...

Love reading your posts Amanda. I have to say, I have the complete opposite issue. I have incredibly thick skin and sometimes it comes across as me being callous and uncaring. I speak without thinking and even find myself becoming frustrated with people who i unintentionally hurt. I actually pray for "thinner" skin! I know there is a happy medium in there somewhere. It helps me when I hear things like this though. It makes me really think about the things I say and how they might affect others.

Kelly said...

Could have been writeen just for me.

Thank you for sharing so honestly.

baseballmama said...

Thank you. I needed to hear this today. A dear friend whom I work very closely with is going through some very stressful times right now and she has been taking her frustrations out on me with sharp words. I have tried to be forgiving and turn the other cheek, but this morning pushed the boundaries too far and I have been biting back a string of stinging retorts ever since. But love is patient, and kind, and not rude, and keeps no record of wrongs. And God reminded me that he will deal with convicting her, which removes a great burden from me because I couldn't do it without sinning and He can.

And now I'm going to go spend some quiet time in bible study before my children get home so that I can be in a good mood and not take my frustrations out on them!

Kristi said...

Thank you for this post, Amanda! I needed this. I was at a meeting last night and a long-time Christian friend said something very hurtful to me regarding an education decision my husband & I have made about one of our children. A decision that we had prayed long and hard about, no less. It really hurt, and a few other comments that were made hurt. Thank you for the reminder that sometimes we just need to forgive. This really helped me. And, by the way, as much as I LOVE your mama and her Bible studies, I would never want her to choose the studies over your family :).

Gerry said...

I think that "forgiveness" thing is the absolute hardest. Just when I would prefer to keep a good mad going, that still small voice whispers,"Forgive." It really does set us free so why do we often wait? Thank you for the reminder.

Karen L. said...

if it weren't for the very public insight into how much your mother loves her family, then she wouldn't be making as huge of an impact (through Jesus) on women across the world. she is REAL and that's how God is using her.
maybe, just maybe, this woman was trying hard to make a joke. if not, she needs prayer.
thank you for sharing!!

Mommy Dot Com said...

You share your mom with so many people. I am sure you would like to think they'd be just as willing to share back. Your feet are blessed (b/c beautiful feet bring the gospel) but there is no doubt that your shoes would be tough to walk in.

I've had my share of troubles. Big ones. Dramatic and ugly ones but I still recognize the level your family pours out in service is no easy task. As the Lord says, to whom much is given, much is required.

I am confident that a stubborn love for those women will flood your heart and you'll be even more equipped to handle people.

Love you. Love that you share. It is an honor to peek into your heart and life. I hope your heart is encouraged by all of us as much as all of ours hearts are encouraged by you.

Kara

annette said...

I've often thought about what sacrifices you and your family have made because of the nature of your mom's ministry. And it is not wrong to be the focus/joy of your mother's eyes. She adores you and your beautiful children and I would feel terrible if you missed out on the blessing of having your mother when you would like and the blessing you are to her. The woman had no idea what she said--but it's definitely not your problem, sweet girl. And your mama would hate that you gave it any thought at all. I used to do that, too--everything anyone said I wore. If it helps you to know, I've gotten better with age to not take on that stuff so much. I pray for your skin not to be thicker because that is one of the wonderful things about you-your sensitivity and compassion--but I pray for you to be able to sort through what is yours and what is just somebody else's stuff. Okay, I'll hop off my "mom" soapbox now and send you a little virtual hug.

Katie said...

I live in thin skin too. Sometimes I ask God, why do I have to feel SO much?! Thanks for sharing

Allison said...

Goodness! Having twins has given me a small does of the completely strange, weird, uncalled for things complete strangers will say to a person. I can only imagine how much more crazy stuff you hear. You and the grandkids are allowed to be a (big)part of your mom's life...don't let their careless words make you feel guilty about it! Love you!

Kristy said...

Sweet Amanda, I'm a Pastor's wife and have had to learn to maintain what I call the "skin of an alligator and the heart of a lamb." People can say some of the most hurtful things simply because they do not think before they speak. I try to always remember that my priority is to always please God rather than men and if my decisions are pleasing to him then even the most well meaning person cannot distract me. I know my purpose. Sweet girl, you are in an even larger spotlight and so are your children. Above all, let them be children, just like anybody else. Let them make mistakes and teach them just what you've learned to forgive those who do not think before they speak. It will teach them to be sensitive to others and tenderhearted like our Jesus with words like apples of gold in settings of silver. Press on my sweet sister. You are dearly loved.
Kristy

Shellie Paparazzo said...

I know how you feel. I have a hard time letting things go as well. People can be selfish and cruel. But I'm glad you've realized that you need to forgive even if it's true that that was mean and untrue. It isn't about them. It's about God and what He's called your mom to do, and He's called her to be a MOM and a GRANDMA before she serves everyone else!

Nancy Mon said...

Amanda, I'm so glad you like the journal. I use travel journals all the time for everyday life because you're right it is a journey and it is so interesting to come back and read things years later. This week has been full of those kind of moments along with, what an idiot I was. More good than idiot moments though. I know how to save memories that I might like to review some day. :)

Georgia Jan said...

Amanda - this may well be one of my most favorite posts of yours. I truly believe your sensitive skin is why you heard so quickly from the Holy Spirit. As a pastor's wife of 33 years, I've had to learn the harder way that forgiving is so divine. The times that I have bitten back with sharp words have wounded ME more than the person. It is always so much better when I've quietly forgiven and left everything to God to take care of on my behalf.

I adore your Mom and sister and have always been so proud of the way she cherishes y'all. I know it's doggone hard to balance family and ministry - I've lived it for almost 34 years now.

I'm so sorry for that women's selfish words and for the pain it caused your heart. There are many lessons from the book of James on the tongue...those lessons will be good for ALL of us :)

Love you girl,
Mrs. Jan

Alex and Jill said...

Oh girl. This post is truth. I've learned that forgiveness is the #1 most important thing in every.single.one of my relationships/acquaintances. If I want them to be healthy relationships anyway. God has been very stern with me. Sometimes I try to hold onto something - expressing "I just need more time, Lord." But He won't have it. And He certainly won't let it go until I take care of it right then.

Thank you for sharing your heart. You're always an encouragement to this child of God, wife of a pastor, and new mother.

Good Stewarts said...

It's so hard not to focus on the negative comments. I'm with you. But, please know you are so loved and admired by so many. (Just read your blog comments!)

Mindy said...

Amanda,
I believe that when you first tweeted that you needed thicker skin-- that I responded and said that I could feel your pain.
Since there are 152 comments on this post, surely some other folks in ministry have commented. Being a PW - I know that struggle of family being family and the insensitive things people say and how I wish I could have my husbands thick skin (these things never seem to bother him)....


What an amazing post though. That's for the reminder to me and everyone else that forgivness is what we need!!! To forgive others and to be forgiven.
THANKS AGAIN!
Mindy

Kelli said...

Thanks, Amanda! As a family in ministry I so needed to hear this. My husband and I jealously guard the time we have with our precious girls and it's so frustrating when someone says something so heartless! When we first came back to the states for our 10 months here, I wrote several blog posts in my head about my reactions to the rude things people would say- it made me feel better but it's probably good those things never made it to my blog! Jason and I just went to a marriage conference and one of the things we did was compare two of the passages in Matthew where God tells us how to deal with conflicts with fellow believers. ONe thing we noticed from those passages (which I can't recall the referencees off the top of my head and it's Sunday morning and I'm already almost late to church and can't go look...)- anyway, we noticed that no matter who is "at fault"in a conflict, the ball is always in our personal court as far as going and addressing the hurt. This applies to so much more than marriage I think! Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and for letting me ramble. Praying for you and your entire family and the challenges you face in ministry!

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

I know I'm late to the party, but I just wanted to say that I think the thing I admire most about your mother is how much she loves her daughters. When I was in the Loving Well study, I sat on the back row and literally cried as she told about the experience of finding out that you were pregnant with Jackson.

You know how everyone plays that game of who would you most like to have dinner with? Anytime I pick your mom, it's because I'd like to be mothered by her for 30 minutes, not because I'd like to spend 30 minutes picking her brain on spiritual stuff. That's great, but no, I'd want a good dose of her mothering.

I think your mother will be remembered one day for many, many things but I think the most amazing one will be the way she loved her family.

Sandy said...

You are such a sweet sister in Christ and I can't wait to meet you, even if it is not on this side of heaven. I have always been a tad thin skinned, so to speak. When I read your post I had let the IT guy at work RUIN my day because he was very rude and I was sensitive, so I thought. Really I was unforgiving. Your post opened my eyes. I am incredibly thankful for this. Thank you for your honesty and your openess to share.

Lara G Williams said...

Bless her little heart for saying such a dumb thing.

Wonder Woman said...

Without you and your family, where would your mom get all of those great illustrations for the Bible studies?

Thanks for sharing. I have never thought of lack of forgiveness as the real issue for when we can't let go of a hurtful comment. Thank you for sharing. This one is going to take some soul searching!

Blessings!
Tracy

Kim Safina said...

Amanda,

Your words are a wake up call for women of the faith. I have had to work on thick skin myself. The tongue can either bring joy or pain ~ life or death.
Prayer is the first thing I do when a crisis arises. It is also the second,third, and fourth thing I do. :)
Learning to memorize scripture has helped me through my sensitive personality trait and difficult moments.
I lean on it daily!!!
ABOVE ALL, GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT AFFECTS EVERYTHING YOU DO.
PROVERBS 4:23
My brother shared this with me.
"Everything you let in through your heart's gate affects who you are and what you do. If you are a spiritually maturing person, you will post a guard that says, "Stop! Who goes there?" to the infotainment (information and entertainment) knocking relentlessly at your hearts door. Someone has to be the gatekeeper. Someone has to screen out the toxic waste and regulate the flow.
I learned that my "Denny's restaurant" heart was always open.
Amanda, I learned to be a gatekeeper to my heart. never let my guard down.
I have been hurt by words and comments more than I want to remember.
FAMILY IS NUMBER 1!!!!!!
NEVER EVER ALLOW ANYONE TO TELL YOU OTHERWISE.

You are loved!

Grumpy Pants said...

Girl, I completely relate. But thank you from taking me from my selfish (I'm too sensitive)thinking to realizing I may not be able to change the attitude of others but I can strive to forgiveness and letting go. Thanks.

Cassi said...

Wow, that was a great post! Thanks

katiegfromtennessee said...

This makes me think, and I have been really thinking about what ministries I'm in right now, and the fact that I have a little one, and how much time should I spend in ministry vs. taking care of little one, and I remember Priscilla Shirer saying something like all the success in the world in ministry pales in comparison to if you were a good parent or not. Yet, I hear from others that our highest devotions should be to the Lord, and what do we do with Matt. 10:37? Am I thinking about this verse correctly? I don't think those ladies should have said that and you are totally blessed to forgive freely from the heart. This post opens up ques to address for me, thankyou for sharing.
Blessings to you.

Cecilia said...

I have a thin skin too. On top of that, I'm a 'replayer' who chews on situations with others(good or bad) and analyzes them way too much. I hadn't thought it might be a heart issue, but you're right. Thank you for being so honest!

Monica said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Katie - a Blessed Mommy! said...

I too do not have thick skin and often stew for days/weeks over comments others make to my kids. Will & I try to pray together for kids who have been cruel. I hadn't thought about my anger and resentment towards them for their comments being a result of an inability (or unwillingness) to forgive.
This was a very convicting post!

Jennilenni said...

Ouch...thanks for sharing this. I'm the wife of a pastor & have often been in your shoes. I've never thought of it that way...going to struggle, wrestle & grapple with this Word!

The Homemade Renegade said...

From one thin-skinned blogger sister to another! My other theme verse for this is : "It is to a man's honor to overlook an offense." Prov.19:11 So sorry about your experience. I'm reminded that our first earthly ministry is to our families......

Laura SQ said...

Guuurrrrrrl! I love how you came fill circle and figured out was God wanted you to learn. That's good stuff right there. I don't know what is wrong with people or what they are thinking when they say things sometimes. I like to think they know not what they do, but eh, I really wonder. I specifically noticed in both of my pregnancies how opinionated people are about things that are quite personal and private to me but somehow they feel they have a RIGHT to not only form an opinion but to actually share that opinion OUTLOUD to ME. PLUS, although I must admit I'm pretty thick skinned...you can talk about me and say what you want, but talk about my KIDS and there'll me some serious wrath of the Mama Bear. :)