Some of you may be surprised to know that much of my life I’ve felt like a faker. I am fairly skilled at being what the situation demands…and this is especially true in the spiritual department. Growing up it was never hard for me to make the “good” decisions. I’d of told you they were based on my Christian belief system but mostly I think I just wanted to be good. Because being good made life easy in every sense of the word. And good is what I needed to be in my family at the time. By the time high school arrived, there was enough “not good” going down in my family that I made being good my J-O-B. It was no skin off my back anyway. Want to be well liked by quality friends? Be good. What to go to college and get a job? Make good grades. Want to marry a nice boy and have a nice family? Be good, so you can land a good boy. I believed in God, sure, but I think if I’m really honest, being good was just a lot more practical. And for the most part, it wasn’t hard to do. I’m hardwired to not have to wrestle with the “Should I?” or “Shouldn’t I?” of most decisions. Making the right one was just frankly, not that hard.

I will admit this: I SO wanted the Christ thing to be real. I really did. I even convinced myself I was all in, time and time again. But I could never fully find common ground between what my heart wanted and the pestering questions of my head. There was still lot that didn’t add up for me and I couldn’t ever settle on the answers. So, I faked it. To others, but mostly to myself. Again, not that hard when you wish it was true in the first place.

When Erron and I moved to Dallas right after we got married, I was basically friendless. Literally, Kidd Kraddick and Kellie Rasberry from the morning radio show became my BFFS on the drive to work. How am I admitting to this? So sad. Anyway, thanks to one of Erron’s best friends, I met a girl, who invited me to a prayer group her girlfriends had. The girls were mostly praying for their future husbands. Well, I already had a husband, but I needed friends….so off I skipped to this ‘prayer’ thing.

Ya’ll.

I can say this, because these girls are now some of my dearest friends. They were the first ones I contacted about Shep drowning and they dropped everything and drove hours to get to me. They are amazing women. But let me tell you about that first prayer group meeting. These girls took their praying ser.i.ous.ly. I was waaaaaaay out of my depth here. There was no amount of “good” that could fake my way into this. I just watched in bewilderment as these girls poured their hearts out to their God in good faith for a long, loooooong time. I half expected amazing godly husbands to just fall out of the sky bearing engagement rings. “It’s raining men….hallelujah…”

Conversations would look like this when I got home from prayer group.

Erron: “Hey! You were gone for a while! How’d it go? What’d you do?”

Me: “Um. We prayed?”

Erron: “Really?! But you were gone for, like 2 hours!”

Me: “No…really. There was a lot of praying.”

Prayer was not my thing. I had prayed HARD in high school for change and hope in my sweet family’s difficult time. My prayers were always met with radio silence. So by college, I had quit. But now here I was returning to this ridiculous prayer marathon the next week. For whatever reason, I could not tell you. Maybe I was tired with my one-sided friendship with Kidd and Kellie. Week, after week, I watched these girls wrestle with the  bible, be broken, give praise, trust a God I had deemed untrustworthy, and encourage each other. And I learned a whole different side of Christianity. These girls were fun, smart, they went dancing (obviously this solidified our friendships) and they laughed all the time. But they prayed with a faith and intensity unlike anything I’d ever seen.  Slowly… I took the practice of prayer back up again… and year after year, my heart grew a little softer and my soul a little more vulnerable.

A party bus dancing photo, this may have been the night I decided we could be best friends forever.
A party bus dancing photo, this may have been the night I decided we could be best friends forever.
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You can tell we are really close because we all have the same lipstick on. The true mark of friendship.

Fast forward 3 years… Erron and I are parents, and I had an angry case of post- partum depression after going back to work with a 6 pound preemie. It was time I took a serious look and what I really believed and what legacy I was willing to pass on to my new family. It was grueling and humbling but I had finally come to a place of acceptance between my mind and my heart. Broken and bitter, I laid down my good and picked up His grace.

I finally began to understand that praying to God didn’t always mean you got what you wanted, even if you were good and what you wanted was good too. Many times the answer was in Him walking me through the valley to the other side. But there was still a lot of faking going on, again, mostly to myself. I am the most undisciplined person in the world…there will always be room for improvement for me on the spiritual front. On any front, really. I yell at my husband, I don’t eat vegetables, and I suck at memorizing scripture.  I struggle daily with feeling “less than” and this layer of insecurity clouds my vision  so I can’t fully embrace where I’m at, or recognize how far I’ve come

But I will tell you, when I was thrust into the terror of loosing Shep it was not a conscious choice to begin praying. It was instinct. “Jesus save my son!” were the first words out of my mouth as I hovered over his blue body. I alternated between screaming at 911 and uttering “Jesus save my son.” Over. And over. And in that hospital, when I wrestled with God about handing my boy over….I didn’t feel ‘less than.’  I felt known. I had a self confidence during those 16 days that I have not experienced in my entire life. It was hell. But it was holy. And I’m not a faker anymore.

I was at a prayer retreat this weekend with those crazy girls I met years ago. How I love them now. One of the girls asked me where I thought God was when Shep fell in the pool. I felt sucker punched because I had to admit I didn’t know where He was in that moment, and if He was there, I’m pointing my finger at him. My son is the most cautious kid on the planet. He’s almost 4 and won’t go down the slide at Chick-fil-a. He knew he couldn’t swim and that his life vest wasn’t on. Shep IS NOT A DAREDEVIL. He hardly jumped in the pool and ONLY if we were there to catch him. There were no toys in the water he could have been going after. It doesn’t make sense. And while I felt God’s presence every minute after I made it to Shepherd, my friend’s question made me confront the painful truth that there is a part of me that feels like God kind of pushed my son in the water to write this story. And I’m a little bit pissed about it.  While there is so much beauty and restoration in this journey, there is still a lot of pain. For me, for my husband, for my parents. Our whole family hurt. We are still healing.  Why did it have to be our Shepherd? Why did it have to involve my sweet parents?

But there is a difference now. I know my God is good. The REAL kind of good. And not just because I got to keep Shep. But because good is God’s nature and I believe he can redeem the worst of circumstances. So He and I will work out our differences and our relationship will move forward. I might be feeling mad, but my relationship with God is real enough to take it. Because I am not a faker.

Prayer retreat a few years ago...before all the babies. We don't run races now. We just drink wine and sit. Blame it on the kids.
Prayer retreat a few years ago…before all the babies. We don’t run races now. We just drink wine, eat good food and sit down alot. Blame it on the kids.
This weekend's retreat. Love this momma.
This weekend’s retreat. Love this momma.

7 thoughts on “Faking it

  1. My-your ability to put emotions into words is truly amazing! Love “putting down good and picking up His grace.” No matter where we are on our spiritual development path, we can ALL relate to faking it. Thanks so much for your honesty. He’s doing a mighty work in you!

  2. I have chills and tears and a warm fuzzy spot in my heart for you and your honesty. Thank you for telling your story. You guys are in my prayers!

  3. Wow. Thank you. Your words helped me reflect on my relationship with The Lord & desire to not fake it. Your honesty is so refreshing and I admire you for it!
    Also, I love how I can just hear exactly how you’d be saying this through your writing. 🙂
    Miss y’all

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