If I Can’t Be Honest…

We’re four months into this year, and I’ve only posted to this blog three times.  Obviously, I’m busy taking care of four small children and working from home.   But, I’m also struggling with the line between writing honestly and “airing dirty laundry.”   How can a writer be “real” without sharing a bunch of details that loved ones may not want shared?

I’m itching to discuss real-world issues–openly–in hopes of encouraging readers who may be going through something similar…but how much am I responsible to keep quiet and respect those whose stories are entwined with mine?

Can husband-writers be honest about issues with their wives?  Can parent-writers be truthful when their children are difficult?

Should we name names?

Just how many details am I allowed to give here–before I get backlash for saying something a little too true?

Much of what I want to say involves deeply personal back-stories that would shed light on my weaknesses AND the weaknesses of others. But I don’t want to be accused of throwing anybody under the bus.

And yet…

I believe most of us are starving  (absolutely starving) to know we’re not the only ones whose family-and-friend-relationships are dysfunctional at times.  And we want to hear more than simply, “Yeah, my family-and-friend relationships are dysfunctional at times.”

We want to know HOW.

Just this week, as I caught up with a lifelong friend, both of us were very candid (naming names) about recent conflicts. But, just knowing we weren’t alone made the problems seem a bit smaller. As we realized that both of us are having trouble with people we ultimately love (even when things get heated), I finally shouted, “WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT THIS STUFF IN CHURCH!”

We need to stop offering vague prayer requests, and start getting specific with the details.

We need to stop allowing our most intimate problems to stay shrouded in darkness, just because we think that we (and our loved ones) are waaaaay more screwed up than everybody else’s.  

I believe that all of us have very specific stories that pop into our head when I mention “family struggles,” and I think there is healing when we talk through them.  Cards on the table. No censorship.

And yet…

When does “sharing” become “gossip?”


If anyone thinks I’m overly-critical of certain people in the culture, or that I ask too many questions, let me assure that person: I question MYSELF more than anybody else.  By the time I write about any topic, I’ve usually spent a looooooooong time arguing back and forth in my own mind, making sure I’m confident with any conclusions I may share publically.

That’s where I am right now.

Arguing back and forth–pros and cons–and looking for peace about my decision.  I don’t want to be fake.  I don’t want to feel like my hands are tied and my mouth is gagged.  But my story doesn’t belong only to me; it involves many, many others who are doing life with me.

And so 2018 continues to march on, and I’m continuing to think rather than speak (or type) too much.

I’m taking care of my small children.

I’m working from home.

And I’m processing the pros and cons–arguing back and forth–wondering if and when God will allow me to share what’s really happening in this beautiful mess we call life.

13 thoughts on “If I Can’t Be Honest…

  1. Jeff Lane

    We like to use the word transparency in the church until we are one the ones who need to be transparent. I would think there are a lot of factors that go into when to share. 1. Will I be helpful by sharing. 2. Will I be hurtful by sharing. 3. Do I name names. Does it fall into the area of restoration where going to the person, going with a witness and then before the church has been done. This is where an accountability partner comes in handy to bounce your thoughts off and get some wise counsel from someone you trust. I think your last sentence is supreme in that God is the one who says now is the time to share and it would be nice if He wrote it in large letters on a wall in our homes. I believe a lot of our experiences are to be used to help others going through the same struggles because it is comforting knowing you are not alone. So basically I am of no help.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Haha, I disagree about you being no help. All of these are good points.

      Someone close to me literally said to me two years ago, “If you have a problem with me, you will just have to take me before the elders.” (I was like, “Really? You’re basically ADMITTING you are an unrepentant sinner and that there’s no use in trying to talk to you without taking things to the next level??? Okay…” And we did meet with the pastor.)

      But… Should I talk about WHO and also WHY we were disagreeing in the first place? … I don’t know.

      I appreciate the advice. 🙂

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  2. Wally Fry

    Yeah…tough calls here Amanda for sure. I have shared some personal stuff before if it can be used as part of a lesson. Once when writing about church discipline I shared a pretty ugly episode in our blended family and how our church family reached out and reeled us back in. I was very supportive of the lesson. I also make no secrets about who I am, where I am or anything else. But I only tell things that involve my nuclear family, and they understand that I might at any time. On the other hand, soooooooooooo many people share the sordid details of their lives because they thrive on that internet drama….hey, hey look at me! It requires discernment and prayer for sure. Thanks for making me think, Amanda, and nice to see you around.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      I dread contributing to the drama… lol. I took a screenshot today of an acquaintance’s profanity-laced spat with her boyfriend’s ex. It doesn’t take long at all for public discussion to turn into TWO petty people taking shots at eachother.

      Don’t want that.

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      1. Wally Fry

        Eh…I understand. Just two weeks ago I had to have a very frank talk with a Mom and Dad who send their kid to our youth group. The adults got involved in kid drama and those two started naming other kid’s names on Facebook, which is extremely uncool and more than questionable. If they had done that to my kid, I would have come uncorked. I probably saved that dudes life LOL by making him and his wife shut up.

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  3. insanitybytes22

    Enjoy your time with the babies. 🙂

    I love this post. I think what you speak of is the balance between tact and showing some respect for human dignity, versus being honest about who we are and the struggles we face. People tend to wear a lot of masks and then we get all dressed up and go to church saying, “I’m fine, I’m blessed.” I’m laughing here, I really am fine and blessed, but when that’s all we let people see it can divide and separate us, it leaves others wondering if they’re crazy, it can smell a bit like hypocrisy, and it doesn’t testify to the goodness of the Lord. The only reason I can even look put together in a world gone mad, is because the Lord has duct taped me together. I like that saying, “a bible that is falling apart belongs to a woman who isn’t.” Well, most of us face some challenges and circumstances that would crush us without that spiritual duct tape, without a rock to hang onto.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks for reading, IB!

      If we lived in bubbles are “our stories” really were JUST OURS, it would be much easier for me. I have no problem sharing very specific details about everything from my quirks to terrible flaws. But, if I don’t have express permission from the other parties with whom I interact, it’s complicated.

      Example: My dad and my grandma and I have ALL had very interesting conversations about my grandfather’s mental illness and how it has impacted our theology. But I know we wrestled a long time before we talked about it openly in the podcast and/or shared the truth on social media. I was fairly certain that Grandpa himself wouldn’t care. But I was afraid other people in the family would come to his defense and accuse me of “using him.”

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      1. insanitybytes22

        I hear you. I had really difficult parents, both atheists, both radicals from the 60’s, but they actually helped to shape my faith and taught me to think critically, even if wasn’t intentional. They also taught me how not to be a parent.

        It can be very difficult to speak the truth about people in a way that honors them when they weren’t honorable at all. One think that really helped me, I have grown kids now and what I would hope for them is that they could speak the truth about me, without being afraid, without worrying about what others would say, without thinking I would somehow love them less. The truth can lead us to healing, restoration, wisdom, all the good things in life.

        I too wrestle with issues around understanding mental illness. There are people who suffer some debilitating physical brain issues and yet they aren’t immoral, they aren’t without faith. I wish our culture wasn’t so quick to blame everything bad on mental illness, because that is obviously not true at all. There are people who chose to be jerks and people who don’t.

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