About the Author

Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul. She's the Digital Content Manager at (in)courage, and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their little kids. She loves a good book, a great latte, and walking her dog (not all at once.)

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  1. Anna,
    At a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) conference long ago, I heard the Coordinator say that when we dare to be vulnerable, that’s when we can build real community and relationships. That’s what I love so much about (in)courage…you dare to be vulnerable…to be real. This life, and particularly the season of being a young mother, is tough enough without throwing in the comparison game/trap. When you make a conscientious decision to not project perfect, that’s when real relationships and deep friendships can begin to grow. Amen to this post Anna and great questions at the end!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, you are such a consistent encouragement here. Thank you for your words this morning! I am a MOPS co-coordinator and let me tell you, that group has been a lifeline for me. I totally agree with the statement your coordinator made and will keep it in the back of my mind. Grateful for you today, Bev…

  2. Thank you so much for this devotion today. So many times I feel inadequate because my house is not clean enough to have people over, or I haven’t had the time to straighten up. I was thinking about this this morning as I was leaving for work………….I am having dear friends over this evening and was worrying about the dust on the furniture. This family loves us unconditionially and if they knew I was worrying about how clean my home was before they came over, they would say how completely silly I was. May I be focused on the cleansing of my heart before my Holy Father instead of cleaning of material things that don’t matter.

    • Totally! I’ve had the same internal dialogue – if my guests knew how crazy I was driving myself because they were coming, they’d be so bummed. It’s a great reminder – thank you for sharing it with me today!

  3. Yay sis! So happy that I have learned the beauty in being open, vulnerable and transparent. It is so freeing. It always creates room for us to minister. It is how we truly overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our {authentic} testimony.

  4. This is SO important! A friend of mine “lifted the veil” for me this week and it meant so so much to know I wasn’t alone or crazy! Thanks for sharing! I hope I can pay that gift forward one day… It really can be life changing!

  5. Thank you so much for being real. All the”perfection” that is thrown at us in the world is sometimes overwhelming. We can forget that Jesus is the Perfector. And in Him the battle is already won.

    • Yes, Nancy, totally agree with you – it can be so overwhelming that it makes my knees buckle. Grateful to have this oasis of real.

  6. This is awesome! I never was a perfectionist, but I did have an idea that I could at least LOOK like I had everything together. But then I gave birth to a precious son who had Down Syndrome, and there were therapies…and teachers, and schools, and meetings…and the burning desire to do the best by and for him. After that, I had a sweet, baby girl.. We somehow managed to form a routine and create a life for our family of 4…where most of us got to most of the places we wanted to go…mostly on time. I was still trying to play the part of not letting anyone see the mess behind the door of my home, or my life. But then I had another son. And then I had another son after that son. And suddenly, I was the minority in my home, and everything was out of control. There were army men hanging from the silk tree in our living room, and Star Wars characters posted up on the mantle with all of my pretties. One of my sons put sunglasses on the baby Jesus in my Nativity scene at Christmas, which was super fun the night the minister and his wife stopped by, and pointed it out to us. Eeek! One morning, I walked in to my kitchen, and there was a pair of boys underwear on my kitchen table. WHERE WE EAT. Whyyyyy? I decided to open the curtain on the imperfection in my life after a nice lady tapped me on the shoulder while I had my kids at the little “country club” pool in our small town. This was about 18 years ago, and I was busy just trying to keep all 4 of mine from drowning. She sniffed, “we DO have bathrooms here.” I followed her eyes to see my 3rd child, my little boy, swim-suit down to his ankles…proudly “shooting a stream” through the wrought-iron fence…onto the putting green. That was the day perfection died. And “good enough” and “barely hanging on” came and took its place. 🙂

    • MARTY. You made me laugh right out loud and nod in an ‘I’m totally with you, sister’ kind of way. The day your perfection died, the army men, I love it (and I’m living it). Thank you for this –> “”good enough” and “barely hanging on” came and took its place.” LOVE and amen.

  7. love love LOVE this! Thank you so much. And the love in the comments is so inspiring to me – it gives me hope. Do not have children, but have been weathering a season of loss & the march of Time that’s made me a bit … shy to reveal myself, even to trusted people. This post helped a great deal. Lifting the veil …

  8. I don’t know if this is the place for me to dump my stuff… and be completely unveiled… but I needed to share a burden today and your post encouraged me. I raised my three sons alone, with no child support — went to college for the first time at age 40… and live in a 1981 mobile (manufactured) home. My boys are now 27, 25 and 21. Recently the two oldest came home from a few years in California (I’m in Florida) so they could save up some money after college and get their own places, etc. I am really struggling with having my oldest son feeling so free to lift my veil and declare me unworthy! I had spent many years doubting that I had done well enough, provided enough, was there for them enough… and now he comes home and calls our home a ‘shack’, and because we have cats …that it is ‘filthy’. I am not the neat freak that I once was when they were little, although we’ve always had pets, and always been more on the ‘poor’ side than the well off side. But I was proud of my own accomplishments and I liked that our little house was a home… I am struggling to not let his materialistic attitude and judgmental, condescending comments really tear my veil to pieces! I have shed tears on and off the last two days because I just don’t know what to say to him… I am shocked to find out he felt that way and it hurts to feel so unappreciated, and ‘less’ in his eyes. He will be leaving soon, so I don’t want to kick him out, but could somebody help me find the words to declare that only God has brought all of us through the storm that is and has been our life… his respect for me has lessened because I have not made more of myself or done better for myself — but I am content, and not everyone is made to be an executive, right? Are there others out there that know how to ‘defend’ themselves about the position they’ve taken in life, even when it’s a struggle? Or am I in denial? God has been so faithful to me… I just feel like pulling that veil over my head and retreating into some dismal darkness right now that I had to ask for some friends I don’t even know to share a word with/for me…

    • Karen, that sounds so very difficult and hurtful. Praying comfort over your tender heart, and that your boys eyes may be opened to the gift you’re giving him in your home and love. So glad you shared your story here, in this safe place, and allowed us to pray over you.

      • Thank you so much Anna… I needed prayers… been an emotional couple of days for me… this was on top of the four year anniversary of my mom’s death and the boys were not here for it, so they did not remember or share in my grief… so this was an open wound that was being salted. I am recovering and am guarded for the weekend but certainly appreciated those prayers!

    • Karen,
      I was a divorced, single mom raising two children who are now 26 and 22. Motherhood is a tough, tough job and the fact that you raised 3 boys to adulthood without any support, well I can just hear God gently lifting your head and saying, “Well done good and faithful servant!!!” You deserve applause not tears.
      You also mentioned that that two oldest came back home to save up money for places of their own. Am I to assume they are living with you rent free and have food to eat? If that is the case, and even if it isn’t the case, that is very disrespectful. You are a daughter of the King and you do not have to listen to such belittling words. If it continues, with tough love, I would show your son to the door.
      I learned that what I permitted, I was in a sense giving my stamp of approval to. If you continue to permit him to speak to you in that way…it gives him the green light. I am certainly not a counselor, but I am a mom and have lived through some of those dynamics. Standing up for yourself and your worthiness to be treated with respect is hard, but I found that is what I had to do.
      You obviously have a tender heart toward your sons…that’s what we mothers do, but not to the point that we get destroyed in the process. I am lifting you up right now and will continue to do so. Hold your head up high and know that you have done great things with what God has given you. You are a conqueror and a treasure in God’s eyes. Do you have a pastor or Christian counselor you could talk to, because again, I am a sister-in-Christ and not a professional. You are loved and you are certainly worthy!!
      Love, hugs and prayers going out to you,
      Bev

      • I appreciate all your feedback Bev… you are spot on. I have had a counselor over many years of their youth, and was just surprised as grown men that some attitudes, upon returning ‘home’, also returned. I needed the reminders of my worth from you — I hold onto those thoughts and words dearly! I am easily weakened by button pushers, and thought I was stronger by their absence, but realize this is something I still have to work on as well. Thank you so much for sharing your experienced heart with me!

        • Karen,
          Believe me, my kids still know how to push my buttons, but what Tami said holds a lot of truth. I pray that when my children are parents the learning will come full circle…xx

    • I agree with much that Bev said! And she has the experience!! I just thought I’d write to give you hope that sometime he will understand how huge your job was, raising them, and how it is true that finding contentment in your home is more beautiful than having a splendid house! I know that I didn’t understand my parents until I became a parent. Maybe that will be the way for him? hugs from here!

      • Tami, thank you… I used to tell my boys when they were young, that when they turn 40 and need counseling they will know where to go (the one who went through our early years of struggle) but I didn’t think about them needing to go through parenting to understand all I’ve been through and done for them. They have some negative influence from their dad that seems to have resonated more than my devotion as a mom! Thanks for your hugs, much appreciated!

    • Dear Karen, I raised 2 boys on my own….no “extra money” ha, that is a laugh !!
      my oldest son, hung around with a boy whose parents could afford all the things I could not. clothes,shoes, all name brand ! I told him that I was sorry but that he would need to work for the things he wanted in life! and he did !! he was a A plus student, all his teachers loved him. as the years went by he listened more to his father and the closeness between my son and I became more and more distant. But I told him that there would come a time when he would come back to me and I would be waiting with open arms… and Praise God he did come home ! not to a beautiful house on the hill but to a trailer in a trailer park!! he was a young man when we rekindled our relationship,he worked and went to school,shared an apt. I knew that there were times he was ashamed

      • Thank you… I have always thought the best was yet to come…. was just a bit saddened that it didn’t feel like we were anywhere even close yet! My son and I had a verbal knock down drag out just yesterday, unfortunately, had hoped I could just talk to him and not let it escalate… but too many buttons pushed at once for us both. It’s such a strange dynamic as our children grow older — my youngest was the biggest handful, got in the most trouble, and we have the strongest bond in spite of it… the older two were never any trouble and the oldest seems to have the most resentment…. such a shame and waste of time for us not to have a grown up relationship now. I only pray that God can reveal to his eyes a different view on how life really was, because their dad sure did paint a different picture and poured many lies into their lives. Alot to over come and apparently it’s not our time yet… thank you all for your prayers and encouragement… I sure have needed it!

        • how strange, sounds like we lead the same life LOL. my youngest was also the “wild” one..were a lot of times I wasn’t sure one of us was going to make it thru ! and we have always had the strongest bond! God Bless You !!

    • Hi Karen,

      I am 61 years old. i have been married for 32 years. My marriage has not worked for most of those years. I was told a few years ago from my husband that he didn’t love and he never loved me. In 2014 he decided that he would go and teach English in Thailand. I felt that this would give me the time I needed alone to be able to figure out what I would do about my marriage. The summer and fall of 2014 was the hardest time of my life struggling to figure out if I should separate or divorce. I was so confused, anxious, nauseated, crying a lot, lost weight because I had stomach problems which woke me up really early in the morning. Thank goodness I had my daughter here with me. It is never easy when we have to make life changing decisions. I had felt controlled during those 31 years. I lost my identity. There was conjugal violence and anger management problems with my husband. I was seeing a counsellor, and now I am seeing a counsellor dealing with just the conjugal violence. I had never in 61 years ever lived by myself, and the idea of that scared me silly. For me it just meant taking one day at a time. That was all I could handle. Once when I finally made my decision, things got a bit easier. The one thing that I did everyday was pray. I told Heavenly Father how much I needed him. I pleaded with Him to help me get through all of this. I talked to my clergyman almost every Sunday at church. He encouraged me and helped me greatly. Life is not easy and it is not meant to be easy. We are here to learn and to grow from life’s experiences. It is easier said than done, at times. I rely on my Saviour and His atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane to get me through. I also keep a worry box, which come to think of it, I haven’t used in a while. I need to start using it again. I write my worries and put them in the box and give them to my Saviour. I know He will help me. Each of us faces our challenges and thank goodness we can share with each other our struggles and to know that we are not alone. I have also had to start creating boundaries in my life so that I don’t get walked on. Boundaries are so important.

      • Carmen,
        I understand where you are coming from… I was only married 13 years, but found out that half of those were a secret life from me… and my ex was very controlling and demeaning… I had so many years of counseling just to scrape myself up off the floor where he led me to believe I belonged… so hard to be a single mom when you can hardly care for yourself! But God was looking out for me too… and He has been there through the last 17 years taking care of me. Not the life I once had with him, full of luxury, trips and material things, but with what I needed to raise my kids. . . and what I needed to lean on Him for my strength. His plan was never for us to be married to men that would treat us badly… He wants so much more for us! {{hugs}}

  9. Anna,
    Thank you for sharing real everyday life. I don’t have children I am dealing with an aging dad in assisted living and his many health issues. Last year everyday life was messy and hard and tough. But Praise God I have a loving husband and a great church family to pray me through all this!
    I don’t look much at social media, but I want to be the first to uplift and encourage people. Like the song says “come just as your are to worship”. God doesn’t require perfection He wants our everyday messy lives surrendered to Him!
    I want covenant friendships that don’t depend on perfection and pretty because to often life gets messy and hard. People in this world have a tough enough time getting through the day to day without comparison trap. Great questions!
    Blessings 🙂

  10. I love this so much, and it’s one of the reasons why I love YOU so much. You rock, sister.

  11. Especially moms and dads of young children need to understand: It’s OK to let go of high expectations for house-cleanliness, gourmet meal prep, starched and pressed clothing, etc. Those of us past that stage need to encourage them to relax, enjoy their children, and make precious memories instead of worrying about the dust!

  12. Amen! I have been asking God to reveal “real” friendships to me for some time now and he has provided. I love what you have said and hope that others become encouraged by your Faith and Get Real Attitude!

  13. Thank you for this post. Truth. I have noticed with my family, when they start asking me for a ‘new’ something – that they don’t need – when I’ve shifted my words from ‘what you have is good enough’ to ‘what you have is PERFECTLY GOOD’, they feel better about what they have. I don’t think I need to be perfect or have the best of the best, I just need to be content that, in Christ, I am Perfectly Good! Thanks again!