Sisterhood…Get Real

As I said last time, I made a pact with myself never to get real.

Fast forward to life overseas, where we serve with a team of people, 11 families, and we are it for English speakers in a city of 200,000. Even though we don’t live on a “mission base” we all live in close proximity within the city. And, just like that, there was nowhere to hide. When there is conflict, sickness, hurt feelings, or need we are all in it together. We have to be each other’s family, co-workers, and friends all wrapped into one. When I get offended, I can’t quietly slip away and move on, because I have to continue to rely on, work with, and spend time with these ladies.

One day, a few years ago, I was preparing for my daughter Hannah’s birthday party.  We were going to have a little tea part in the front yard, and Hannah really wanted lemonade for her special birthday drink. Since I struggle with Lupus and live in the tropics where the humidity makes it worse, there are times when it is really painful to complete everyday tasks like combing my hair, stirring pancake batter, and yes, squeezing lemons.

In a moment of desperation, as Hannah’s party loomed just a few hours ahead, I called my friend and next door neighbor to ask if she might be able to help me squeeze the lemons.  She immediately came over with tears streaming down her face.  She told me how much it meant to her to be allowed to see the real me, the messy me, the one that needs help and doesn’t get it right all of the time.  It was a turning point for me. I realized that by acting like I had it all together, by never asking for help, by wanting to appear perfect, I was actually isolating myself and robbing others of the joy of knowing me and being able to serve me. 

Since that time, the Lord has grown me SO much in this area, and allowed me to be able to reach out for His grace in my daily life and allow myself to be ministered to by others in my life.

Emily P. Freeman says in her book, Grace for the Good Girl,

When I am wearing a mask, not only can others not see me, but I can’t see them.  I see everything through a thin veil of perception…. What would it look like if I allowed Jesus Himself to determine my comfort zone? What if, instead of walking into a room with a wall around me, I was able to walk into a room and move toward others in freedom? Before I am able to do that, I have to be convinced that I am safe.  And that is exactly what Jesus came to do.”

So, I want to ask you….What is the greatest hindrance keeping you from getting real? Are you willing to be your real messy self? The one who doesn’t have it all together? Are you willing to ask for help when you need it and be honest about your struggles?

1 Timothy 4:15 says, “…let your progress be known to all people.” Your progress, not your perfection.

More to come….

I’d love to have you subscribe and join me here every day!

Here are the other posts in the Sisterhood series:

1.The Call

2 Embrace


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  • Anonymous

    Lovely Joy, you have written another sweet post, full of honesty and truth. We all have that desire to look “all put together” might be pride but how often we do it the hard way, when others are waiting for us to to humble ourself and ask for help!

    I read a book called “The Insider” I think it’s from NavPress… in the book it was talking about how to be “real” and life a “real life reflecting our faith” that being a great way to witness to one another. They talk about how we Christian often serve unbelievers but rarely let them serve us. And really serving is great, we all need to be servant and have a servant heart like Jesus, but we also need to learn to humble ourself. Humility is something that is hard to do, but has a great impact of our witnessing!

    Thank you again for taking time to write this series.

    Much love in Christ

  • Hope Ford

    Joy, I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now simply taking it in and getting to know who you are and what you have to say and today your post truly hit a spot in my heart. As I prepare to host a birthday party for my niece tomorrow I have been so overwhelmed by the cleaning and clutter I have yet to take care of. I have only one child – a not even two year old and I often am ashamed and embarrassed to have people over because I am afraid they will think me pathetic for not having a super clean, lemony fresh, clutter free home since I only have one child to keep up with as a stay at home mom. Thank you for this reminder that in order to minister and be ministered to I have to let go of this!

  • Jen

    I have a friend who always seems to have it altogether. I see this wall in her life. I’m not saying this to judge her, but to say I want to be her friend, but she’s so busy trying to show people her perfect home and recipes online that she is pushing people away, or at least me. When I am able to be with her she overwhelms me with my imperfections, not verbally, but I guess you know what I mean. It’s tough on both sides. Thanks for sharing.

  • KristiD

    Joy, I just blogged a little bit about a similar topic yesterday! This message spoke to my core. A momma to two beautiful little girls under two, I am also struggling with what the doctors think may be Lupus or Sjogren’s, and I have felt so depleted over the past few months. I can’t tell how much I appreciate your openness. Thank you.

  • heidi @ wonder woman wannabe

    LOVE this. It is so important to live authentically within our community of believers. you are so blessed to have that group! :)

  • Barby S

    This morning I had plans to meet with my neighbor at my house . ( we are planning our first neighborhood ladies Christmas Tea Party!) Before reading your blog I was determined to call her and say…..” I feel like coffee, let me pick you up and we’ll go meet at our local coffee house together”…….of course the main motive was to avoid letting her see my messy house. Now, I think I will just let the doorbell ring, and invite her in to the sometimes “real me” house!

  • Zanetta

    The older I get, the more I understand the importance of women friends. We know the joy we feel at walking alongside someone in need and yet it’s the hardest thing for us to allow another to help out. I attended Conference last year that changed me; I came away understanding the need to be more transparent. My life gets messy, I’m not always the greatest wife or mother and it’s those things that make me rely on Jesus and the friends He placed in my life. On my way to Israel tomorrow morning…praying to be flexible and delightful as I go to serve for three weeks.

  • Anonymous

    *Thank you* for getting real with us, friend. I’m still learning that while it’s scary, it is worth it. You BLESS. xoxo

  • Anonymous

    I feel you. I also don’t have a clue how to be real but I am trying. Taking up blogging has helped. Life is so much about being strong and big enough to handle it. People want to hang out with others who have it all together. I think that is where I struggle. I want to be the positive strong person for others.

  • Shellymig


    I have never met you although I attend Good Shepherd and have been attending there since 1994. Krista Starr had forwarded me a post about a month ago and I subscribed to your blog after reading the initial email. It is amazing how the Lord brings us just what we need, continually. I also have Lupus and was diagnosed as a young mother in 1989. It has been a long and sometimes very difficult road but He has been faithful and brought me through. Although I would never wish Lupus on you (or anyone else, for that matter), it is nice to see someone else who is in the same boat. I sometimes wonder if I would have the strength and/or stamina to venture out in the missions field but I didn’t think it was possible. Thanks for giving me a clean window to be able to see the possibilities. Maybe that is why the Lord drew me to your blog, to show me that.

  • Chelsey Hall

    Ugh. Yes! So convicting. I don’t want people to see the imperfect me. The one who right now is struggling with headaches that knock me down to the ground. The one that is a mess because she should still be carrying a life inside. No. I want them to see the all together me. The one who has so much faith and trust in the Lord that nothing can bring her down, when in reality while the faith and trust is there, I am still knocked down far.

    Thank you for the encouragement today! So needed it!!

  • Rhoda

    Thank you for your post. Our church’s motto is ‘keep it real’ because we want to show people the real us, rather than the fake one! I think it is really valuable to let people see that we have faults and failings, as well as keeping us humble and just stating the truth, as we do have so many :) I think we are often afraid of people looking down on us, but we are more able to help people when they realise that we have problems and issues just like they do.

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE this post. That is what living in community should be all about. Instead, we are so quick to judge the imperfections in others and hide ours from them (or imagine that we don’t have any). We served for a year at a boarding school for Navajo kids. Most lived on campus. Yes, there was no hiding from each other. It was a wonderful year of growing and learning and letting go of the facade and stretching, too. Thanks for sharing! P.S. I took my son to have a tour at the aviation mechanics school he will attend next fall. He was a bit nervous at the unknown, but now he is pretty excited! I’m excited for him.

  • Jenniferstraw

    I spent the last two years in Africa, also “getting real” with a fabulous team of people…God is incredible in how He grows us through such things!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this, it is a lesson I am learning too, and it is not always fun, sometimes it is painful, but sometimes it is knock your socks off fantastic!

  • Anonymous

    this post meant so much to me. thank you.

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  • Gina

    As one who has a website called “Keepin’ it Real”….I loved this post!! LOL Being “real” has been a process for me, and has come as I have gotten a bit older and realized the futility of trying to create the perfect little picture. To admit that we can’t do it all, our children aren’t perfect and our marriage isn’t perfect is not only hard to admit to others, but it is hard to admit to OURSELVES!

    This really does hinder our outside relationships, (especially with women!) It hurts your family. The same pressure you put on yourself you will impose on your children and husband in order for the appearance to continue. If don’t see this and change, you will hinder your relationship with kids and husband. It is a process though. I think the pride in all of us wants others to see us as having it all together. That pride will be in us forever. We just become more accustomed to making the choice to be real. It does get easier, but the temptation is always there. We must pray for God to change our hearts and to create within us a humility that is willing to allow others to see us as we really are.

    As a woman who is almost 50 years old, I am here to admit to you that, although “being real” isn’t mastered in my life…God has changed me and is continuing to do so. I am so grateful!

    GREAT post!! I think I must share it!! ( :

    Grace to you!