When I Feel Like a Fraud

When I Feel Like a Fraud

July 15, 2016

“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV)

KRISTI WOODS

Sometimes I feel like a fraud. It happened again the other day.

My child found trouble at school. His wrestle with a heart issue surfaced and accountability was deemed necessary.

In the midst of his struggle, I also struggled. I wrestled with feeling like a Christian fraud: I thought you were supposed to be a good Christian mom. If you raised him right, he wouldn’t have these problems. What will others think?

Thoughts roared. My worth quaked. I wanted to run and hide. I began to question how worthwhile my Christian mothering was, how sincere my own faith stood. The feelings pounded with force.

But then I remembered where true help is found, and the view changed. In the midst of an emotional whirlwind, the Lord set my eyes on Psalm 121.

Its message rang clear. True help comes from only one place: the Lord.

Its lesson rooted deep. Its impact proved life-changing. And it was in dire need of use against feelings of fraud. I needed help!

Portions of Psalm 121 rushed from my mouth: “I lift up my eyes. My help comes from You, LORD, Maker of heaven and earth.”

I sputtered the confession a second time, clawing to escape fraud’s lie: “I lift up my eyes. My help comes from You, LORD, Maker of heaven and earth.”

I assured myself with the confession three times. It was a coaxing of the necessary kind.

Clinging to this truth mirrored hanging on a cliff, clawing for dear life. It was hard! The weight of past habits pulled on me, but I was determined.

I did feel like a fraud, like a bad mom whose Christian flag apparently waved at half-staff or whose wilted flower lay lifeless on the dirt, kicked and trampled on by passersby.

But that wasn’t truth.

I did feel like a mom whose child might wrestle needlessly or walk away from their faith altogether.

But that wasn’t mine to control. It was mine to pray over.

I did question if there was something I didn’t handle or instill appropriately.

But then, I purposefully stopped believing the feelings and intentionally looked to the Lord. And I was helped.

As I climbed this mountain of despair, the Lord offered the only “arm-up” to true safety available. Grasping trust in His Word was thought-changing, like pulling up and over the cliff’s edge. Our God is a life-saving, thought-changing God.

Our children, spouses, or others don’t define us. Truth does, His help assures.

People are not our salvation. Jesus is.

Others’ works aren’t stars on our performance chart. His grace has approved us, simply by faith.

We aren’t what we feel and certainly aren’t a fraud when troubles rise. We are what God says we are — accepted, dearly loved and forgiven.

Thankfully, help isn’t found in fraudulent feelings. They’ll tout their story and we might be tempted to believe, but true help is found by looking to the Lord, the very One who made heaven and earth. True help is found in His truth. On that, we can assuredly stand firm.

Father, I desire to trust You in every area of my life. Forgive me for times when I’ve run to other counsel. Cause me to trust in and be changed by Your truth. Steep me in Your help for my worth, direction, wisdom and more. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (NKJV)

Psalm 124:8, “Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Kristi Woods is a member of COMPEL Training, an online writing membership community. We only open registration for COMPEL a few times a year, and we’ll open it for a few days next week. Sign up here to be notified when registration opens again.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What areas of your life do you depend on your own strength or the actions of others to feel successful? Offer this to God in prayer.

Recall a time when God was your help, and offer Him your thanks for that situation and your trust for situations to come.

© 2016 by Kristi Woods. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Sandy Ozanich says:

    I too struggle with what you are saying about yourself, that you felt as though you were a “fraud” a Christian “fraud” Help me understand why you feel this way about your sons heart issue. How could you be responsible for this? Your article doesn’t explain what you mean.

    Be blessed

    • Thank you for bringing that to attention, I am wondering the same thing. Good devotion otherwise but I’m not making the connection between the heart issue and the overall message. Hoping to hear an answer.

      • Faith resides in the heart, the place where Jesus lives (like I used to tell my kids). Heart knowledge is different from head knowledge. Your thoughts can be deceived but in your heart of hearts you know the truth. That is faith. Put on your armor, breastplate of righteousness protects our heart. Clear as mud?

    • Those feelings of fraud are such, well, fraud. When we hang our worth on the accomplishments of others or our own, we’re doomed for disappointment. Thankfully Jesus never disappoints. The cross and its truth are always faithful and oh so powerful. I will pray for you and I, Sandy, concerning the feelings of fraud. #goJesus!

    • I wonder if perhaps you have never had the heart rending experience of being involved in a position of public ministry and being the parent of a rebellious child? My heart instantly understood her meaning. I’m the pastors wife of a wonderful church, in a precious, tight knit, but very tiny community. EVERYONE knew of our child’s issues, and everyone held firm opinions about the situation. We were blessed to learn through our experience, that we had many true friends who loved, supported, held, cried and ceaselessly prayed, prayed, prayed us and our child through. They never gave up on us, or him. But people are also very judgmental and cruel. When you are in the ‘spotlight’, there’s no escaping their condemnation, the feelings of failure and inadequacy are very real and so hard to overcome. I battled daily, sometimes constantly, over the ‘woulda, coulda, shouldas’, the mantra of “If you had been a better parent your child wouldn’t have strayed.” seemed to always run through my head. The devil is the father of lies, and when your heart is already so bruised and battered with grief you must cling to the Truth of Gods Word, otherwise his lies seem so rational and trustworthy.

      • Kelli Roe says:

        I know exactly how you feel. I am a ministers wife also. People are definitely judgemental. We had a member of our church tell my husband He should resign because our son did something she deemed unforgivable. I know in my Bible it says train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Sometimes a PK will rebel but they always know how to find their way back. We haven’t failed. God is faithful.

        • I’m a member of the club as well. I’ve reared three children in the Pastor’s home for 34 years. So often I question myself. I fight the fraud syndrome. I must give myself self-talk reminding me who God says I am. Reminding myself that their is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Reminding myself that we are all human and Christ came to free us from the bondage of sin. It’s not ours to return to the cell and lock the door.

          • I just went searching the internet under the title: “What to do when you feel like a bad Christian”…because…i have two daughters who are struggling and my husband was a pastor for 22 years, now a speaker and writer. Our girls suffered the situation of expectations because of who their parents were, and in turn, made poor choices, and still wrestle with God. I feel alone so often, like other people’s kids get it but mine don’t when they should. I am so encouraged by this article. But saddened that my kids had to be in the spotlight, feeling guilty for doing ministry! How crazy and silly is that? But it is true. So I love the thoughts here about trusting what GOD says about us, not hanging our hats on others behavior. Its a lonely club. Most people will never understand.

    • Myra Brindley Brindley says:

      I thank you for this reminder
      I will share it with my 15 year old daughter who also struggles with this daily

  2. Thank you right on time

  3. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s beyond right on time for me in the season I’m in! God is so good!

  4. fumbani says:

    Thank you

  5. Ouida Griner says:

    I once read, “to be disappointed in yourself is to have believed in yourself”. How freeing! Eyes on self is bondage. Eyes on Him is total freedom. Freedom from our own condemnation. With four grown children, I still have those same feelings. He is their only hope as He is mine. We all must lift our eyes.

  6. OneLove01 says:

    God is faithful! In every season. Keep your focus on Him, He will make your paths straight. Hallelujerrr!!!!

  7. Michelle Yussuf says:

    Wow! I have been struggling with this very issue for the past few weeks. I realise I have neglected reading Gods Word and so when I felt emotionally tired and spiritually dry, I did not stand on Gods promises or let him be my strength. Revelation and encouragement for me today! Thank God for His grace

  8. Thanks for sharing.

  9. you ladys have my support .and im no woman .but im greatfull to this sight.it does help men as well. ive lost my way in life by listen to other i got used ,lied to an even keept from my calling.i struggle now with trust.of people not of our lord. what can i do to change this and how to ever believe when i hear ilove you.to be real not a lie .ive wasted 16yrs believing .in somthing that has never exzisted.to the point ive become homless.ive just be came a minister last year.

    • kathy wyg says:

      Good morning…John…I am sorry to hear you were homeless…but congrats on becoming a minister…..I was born & raised & still am a Catholic/Christian..but when I first met my hubby..he is not Catholic…I would hear those terms…minister..& for me it was foreign….since in the Catholic Church ..it is priests & deacons…but obviously since being married for 40 yrs I have learned over time…due to his faith..& my previous workplace..I came in contact w/many ..ministers…pastors…who are now very good friends of mine..that I can call on @ any time for help…so…once again..
      John…congrats…now both of us embrace both all of them..& we are good friends with
      Both sides of the realm…& we actually just had both sides..bless us for our 40th wed Ann last wknd..I surprised my hubby…w/a blessing from each…it was awesome…

      Have a blessed day…..John…………….Kathy wyg

    • John, I’m so glad you are here today. I’m sorry you’ve had to face homelessness and trust in folks. Both are hard! I’m thankful you’re clinging to God Almighty. Keep clinging, my friend, and allowing those folks to come alongside who will help and encourage you. He’s faithful.

  10. dorothy says:

    “Adam and Eve had a perfect Father and lived in a perfect environment and they still sinned. Why would you think you can produce ‘perfect’ children?” This is truth that God spoke to me many years ago, after I had crashed and burned in my efforts to be ‘the perfect Christian wife/mother/human’. Give it up being the perfect Christian anything! THAT nonsense is about ‘self’ not God. You were made by God, for God. Wallow in that.
    God is 100% trustworthy to lead us along the path He wants to walk with us, teaching us as we go what we need to learn. Learn His heart. See His beauty. Love Him. Be grateful to Him. Cry out to Him. Be authentic. Give Him permission to be.your.God.
    (Not my most eloquent or complete thoughts this morning, but it’s early!)

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you Dorothy for sharing what God spoke to you about perfect children! I’m going to hold that gem near to my heart, especially in the difficult times 🙂

    • I love this! Thanks for sharing! That sure takes a load off!

    • Dorothy I was about to write a similar comment because the Lord spoke the same thing to me about my three Marines. Our kids rebel because his first two (Adam and Eve) kids rebelled.

      He knows I raised all three of them to believe and said to me their lives are His responsibility now, not mine. Love them unconditionally to demonstrate His love to them, pray for them and know I did my job as a parent or steward.

      His word also says that He never forgets the work we’ve done and it says that when we raise these kids in the way they should go they’ll never depart from it. The truth of the Kingdom is ALWAYS with them even when they’re ignoring the truth. Eventually those seeds will bear fruit and that’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility.

      We parents (His children) are simply stewards of HIS littler children.

    • Love that about Adam and Eve – never thought of it that way. I have 4 grown children and three are a constant burden on my heart – addictions, mental illness, on and on. I know I cannot save them but it still heartbreaking and I have to give that to God too.

    • Dear Dorothy- loved your perspective-I never thought about Adam and Eve/the garden in that way and it lightened my soul as a parent of a child that struggles. Thanks so much.

      This particular psalm is my favorite and I carry it with me wherever I go.

    • This is similar to the message I received too, but the example the Spirit used wasn’t as far back as the garden of Eden. He used me instead…as believers, we’re all God’s children and our imperfections aren’t used to measure what kind of parent God is to His children. I’ve learned that if I take credit for the success of my children (or anyone/anything else for that matter), I must also take responsibility for their failures. It’s two sides of the same coin. So my prayer is that God help me to stop taking credit for thing I should not and to rely on Him to show me the role I’m to play in every situation.

    • He is trusthworthy, Dorothy. Amen!

  11. Each day I try to seek His help and guidance!

  12. Michelle says:

    A time when I called for His help and guidance on a situation was actually yesterday. I had to tell a widowed customer of mine she couldn’t have her newly installed mailbox on a fence away from the road (I’m a mail carrier). After discussing any possible way of making it work, the supervisor said no. At night I was a little anxious in having this discussion with her as I hate any kind of confrontation. When I finally got to her house I just remember praying for God to give me the words and to let things go well. At first she got really kind of angry, yelling that the supervisor can fix this and that. I offered another solution I thought may work and she was happy as a clam, a win-win for the both of us. In the meantime, I learned she is having trouble sleeping so I told her I was a praying girl and would pray for her to get good sleep.

    I drove away praising God! Something that could’ve been a wildfire was extinguished as quickly as it almost began,He is so good!

    It might be a silly story lol, but this just happened yesterday and I am still singing praises with how it all went down 🙂 God is so very good! 🙂

    • Isn’t it wonderful how God moves in even the smallest situations in our lives? I love your “silly story”! Many times my stories are simple and silly too, but I KNOW the hand of God was there. Thank you for taking the time to write down your blessing.

    • kathy wyg says:

      Good morning…ladies & Michelle…obviously I read your comment…& I don’t think your story was silly @ all..it was actually right on point…I thought it was awesome..
      You were there to help this customer out & serve her as God instructed..I find that very inspiring & uplifting & encouraging..Kudos to you..& thank you for sharing that
      W/us…have a blessed day…Michelle…..

      Kathy wyg

    • kathy wyg says:

      Good morning again…Michelle…if you come back to this post today…I did leave you a comment ..but it went under another commenter Tammie’s box…so kindly ck Tammie’s box….thanks….Kathy wyg

    • Oh, I love this! Thank you for sharing, Michelle. I have a heart for widows. Several women near and dear to my heart recently lost their husbands. Bless you for being compassionate with this woman – for being the aroma of Christ.

  13. Dorothy thank you for your words of wisdom. It is early! But if your like this cause it’s early you must be crazy good later in the day! Lol. Your words were a much needed comfort to me. Thank you.

  14. Marilyn says:

    As a mother of 10 myself, I so relate to this plight and the wonderful, consoling words of Christi, certainly the Word which has become my true Counsel, reprimands in Love, assurances of who I am, and who I can become, not because they are of my works so much, but my decisions, my heart desires based on what I’m learning from Him to rest in not me,but who we are already in Him receiving not only correction but more the grace of His righteousness He has blessed us with,thank You Jesus.

  15. Thank you for sharing! I needed to read this today.

  16. Sarah B says:

    This has been a very relevant and thought provoking scripture for me. I am a Christian and was aware of the ministry and came here to ask wise Christian women a question regarding ectopic pregnancies. I am a recently married young woman, and since I became a Christian I’ve of course been prolife, given that is the only biblical stance. However I also have a reproductive disorder that (if indeed I do get pregnant) would run a high risk of me having an ectopic pregnancy. I can’t find any good, solid Christian content or advice online as to what a Christian should do in that situation. I know that it hasn’t happened yet and might not happen, but the risk is there. What should one do?
    Blessings,

    Sarah.

    • Hi Sarah, my daughter had an ectopic pregnancy last year and struggled with “what to do”. Her only options were “terminate” the pregnancy (abortion) or risk dying. Being a believer, she does not believe in abortion. So she prayed and asked God to make the decision for her (take the baby from her by causing a miscarriage)…but He was silent. Because time is “of the essence” in treating an ectopic, she had little time to decide. Eventually she chose to have the chemical “abortion”…but it broke her heart because she knows abortion breaks God’s heart. She struggled with feeling like God was mad at her or disappointed in her. Eventually though she came to realize and accept that God knows her heart and He knows that she desperately wanted that baby and did NOT want to abort it. She knows too that she is forgiven because she asked for forgiveness multiple times throughout her ordeal. Even though she knew God before, I believe this difficult time in her life actually brought her even closer to the Lord.
      Everyone’s situation is different though, so my advice would be to seek the Lord whole-heartedly EVERY step of your journey and TRUST that He will be there by your side.
      Father, I pray for Sarah’s sweet heart. Ectopic pregnancy is such a faith challenging situation. I pray that she would constantly seek Your will in her life. I pray that you would guide her on the path that You want for her, whether to get pregnant or not, and if it turns out to be ectopic, whether to seek “treatment” or not. Above all, i would pray that You would be with her and make Yourself known to her every step of this frightening, emotional journey. I pray that You would provide her with wisdom and support during this journey she is on. In Jesus name. Amen

    • Hi Sarah,
      Congratulations on your recent marriage. I’m glad you came here and asked your question. How has the Lord guided you in prayer? He’s faithful to guide us, even in tough situations. And Amber, thank you for your sweet prayer. As for online content, I’ve not come across any, unfortunately. It might be there, however. Asking like you have here is a good way to find it. I will be praying for you, Sarah.

    • Dear Sarah, I can fully understand your thoughts or your feeling of insecurity concerning a possible pregnancy. But I think there is not a thing you should do, in the sense of right or wrong. I am a physician, though not a gynecologist. In medicine there is often no right or wrong, and a decision has to made based on the pros and cons, weightening them against each other. But as followers of Christ we have one more choice and that is to trust on his guidance. Although sometimes He doesn’t guide us in a manner that is evident at first sight, he leads us step by step if we only let Him do so. Please: don’t worry. He is in control. He will guide you. May God bless you and give you peace.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Sarah,
      Thank you for sharing and for reminding us to ask God for wisdom but also to ask a community of believers as God speaks to us through each other! If it’s helpful to you, I’d love to share a bit of my story. I’m a physician who used to do a lot of maternity care (I stopped when I had my last baby a few years ago). I am blessed to have three little children here with me on earth and four little ones who were born too early and I can’t wait to be reunited with in heaven.

      During my first pregnancy, my water broke when I was 18 wks. An 18-19 wk baby is not viable and with no amniotic fluid present, there is no chance of life outside of the womb no matter how long I managed to keep her in there. There are lots of medical reasons why the amniotic fluid is crucial for proper development, but I won’t bore you with with those details. I had a choice to wait it out some more with the very high risk of infection to myself or choose to end the pregnancy.
      As a Christian, I know that all life is precious to God. It was easy to think of that when I considered my unborn baby, but for some reason I didn’t realize right away that that also applied to my life. God had also formed ME in my mother’s womb, He knew me, loved me, and my life was equally precious in his sight. So, while the decision to proceed with an “abortion” was not easy, it seemed to me clearly the right decision. There was nothing to ask God’s forgiveness for, only fall into his arms and pray for his help as I grieved for the loss of this precious little life. As an aside, I did have the option to have a D&C where my daughter would have been surgically removed, but I chose instead to go into labor so that I could see her, hold her, and pray over her as she breathed two little breaths and then was gone.

      An ectopic pregnancy is not a viable pregnancy. There are no medical technologies that can move that little embryo into the uterus where it belongs. There is, however, a very real risk of death to the mother if left untreated. When thinking about these odds, I am again reminded that all life is precious to God, the mother’s life just as much as the unborn child’s.

      I hope this story helps. Strange how I haven’t thought about my first pregnancy loss in years but the tears as I write this are still as fresh as the day it occurred. Our God is a good God though and even though we live in a broken world with broken bodies because of our sin, He still provides, supports, loves, forgives, encourages… the list goes on and on.

      I’ll be praying for you!

  17. Dee Dee McGinnis says:

    So thankful that my help comes from the Lord. My messiness is to big for a human to fix. Thankful that the Lord always shows up just in time!

  18. Suzanne says:

    I remember when our son started playing soccer @ 5 yrs old and he was fighting with another little boy on his team. on our ride home I said Kyle now why would you fight someone on your own team? His reply you said don’t get in fights but if someone says something about your family then it’s okay ! Then he proceeded to say mom he said something about you! I didn’t remember ever saying that, so we can’t understand when feelings rage at any age as they come from so many experiences or places.

  19. I needed to hear this! I’ve felt like a failure as a parent b/c my children aren’t “perfect” and feel like their actions and choices define me. Thanks for reminding me that they don’t, but God’s grace and truth do!

    • Hi Mona! God’s grace trumps it all, thankfully. #goJesus Keep His truths in front of you as you run the race well, mama.

    • Deborah says:

      So true, Mona! I had to learn to look at my children as “works in progress” and realize that is how God in His Grace and Mercy, sees me. How could I expect my children to be perfect when they did not have a perfect Mom. I also learned to pray the positive over my concerns for my children especially when it was beyond my control. For stubbornness, I prayed God would turn it into perseverance for Him. For that seemingly over sensitive child, I prayed God would give her a heart tender toward others and sensitive to Him and His calling for her. Most of all, I learned I had to be Mom and leave the rest up to God who loves my children more than I do. Now I am praying these prayers over my grands! God bless you! Deborah

  20. Janica Burton says:

    Awesome word for every Christian! Thank you.

  21. Mrs. Lamptey says:

    Amen! Amen! Amen! Thank you Lord Jesus for being my strength and help!!! I am in tears of joy right now. This beautiful reminder of God’s love and mercy and grace… wow! There is hope and forgiveness. My help comes from the Lord!!!!

  22. Oh Kristi, it’s so good to see you here, friend. May the Lord use your words today to encourage many moms. You’ve encouraged me.

  23. I was praying about many situations on my drive in to work this morning, and wondering how God could be allowing things to go from already-strained to heaping another disappointment on our shoulders just yesterday afternoon. I praised Him, thanked Him, and proclaimed my trust in Him, but was still left wondering where we/I went wrong in this path of surrender we are taking with Him…as things seem to just get harder. When I sat down at my work computer and read this post, it helped to assure me that if I look anywhere else for help with this most recent stress, I will come up short. I, like you, feel like I need to claw my way out of the pit by proclaiming the words just as you did, so that I’m not swallowed up in the misery that could surround me and take me down. Thanks for the example you set forth in this post of how to proclaim truth and get back up over the cliff’s edge by lifting up my eyes.

  24. I understand the feelings you describe here completely, Kristi! I’ve often placed my own worth on the decisions my children make. I then have to remind myself they are growing and changing each day, and just like you said – it is my job to pray for them. I love the verse you shared, and will tuck that one away for those moments of doubt:) Thank you for this encouragement today. Beautiful!

  25. AMEN Sister!!! THANK YOU!! Often we moms/wives/friends need some “accountability deemed necessary” (I love how you said that!). Thanks for the re-focus back to the TRUTH!! 🙂

  26. hi Kristi, I admit I too feel rejected and withdrawn. Recently I came Home for a vacation. But I have realised again and again that I definitely don’t belong here.My dad keeps talking bad about me. It’s not that He does’nt like me, just that He or my family never saw anything good in me. some problem of perception. They will never see anything good in me regardless of what I do. I’ve tried my best. Believe me I have! But nothing seems to work. He does’nt care about me. He does.nt love me. All He cares about is HOW right I am!!! I feel depressed and rejected – not once but many times. I hate coming home. I don’t want to come back.

    • Gracy, it sounds like God’s help is just what you need to remember it is not by anything we do we are accepted, but by Jesus living in you. Parents, just like you, are not perfect. We all need the same mercy and grace that only comes from the Lord. If your father doesn’t lean on that grace, that is between him and God. If you lean on God’s grace, it is up to do to decide. Your happiness is between you and God. Sure, if your relationship with your father is graceful, that would be amazing, but if not, your relationship with your heavenly Father is unfailing. Seek His face and you will find the acceptance and love you seek.

    • Gracy, I thank God for you – for the plans He has for you – and for every thread He wove together to create you. It’s good. PS 139:14 assures it, and God doesn’t lie. When the words or actions of others fall harshly upon us, it hurts. I can hear the hurt in your words. I’m so sorry. Consider placing your parents in prayer, yourself as well. They – we all – need it. Faithful help comes from Above, both for them and the feelings badgering you. Be assured, you’ll find help Above.

    • But Gracy, you are beautiful! Look at your picture! And surely you are not only beautiful from the outside;)

  27. It is so easy, for me, to slip into looking to others for validation, rather than God. When others are in my face with approval or worse yet disapproval, intentionally focusing on God’s approval is challenging. As a wife, teacher, and mother of teenagers, my quiet time with the LORD is essential for me. Indeed, my help comes from the LORD.

  28. I’ve been struggling a lot with my kids’ poor choices defining my value as a mother. I often feel that I must have done something wrong (ie. Too much discipline, not enough discipline, too much yelling,etc.) It’s exhausting. Just need to pray more to let God make me the mother they need. Thank-you so much. This spoke right into my circumstances. God bless you.

  29. Mary Clare says:

    Thank you for the message. It spoke loud and clear to me today. I hope someone will also have the courage to write about this relating to adult children? It’s easier to approach this with children. Little ones. They still have so much ahead. It’s heartbreaking when after all, they still turn away from right teaching and faith. Yet, “my help comes from the Lord” always and forever.
    Thank you for ministering to the Moms!

    • Mary Clare- I can relate this totally to some of my adult children. I had no idea how hard it would be once they reached young adulthood and I would need to watch them make faith choices of their own, and watch some of them choose to walk away or not follow the path they seemed so sure of while living under our roof and in our home. We have been shocked and saddened, to say the least. If I could only go back and raise them knowing what I know now- wow. But, that’s not possible so we love them and pray for them and gently point out where we see God at work in their lives and hope that they will one day fully turn their hearts to Him. He loves them more than we do, which is hard to believe but necessary to remember. I’m right there with you, and I know we are not alone in our heartache. Thank you for your comment, and I’m praying God will right our children’s ships and bring them into His harbor.

    • Hi, Mary Clare. Yes, our help (even with adult children) comes from the Lord. I love that you’re standing solidly upon His truth.

  30. Heidi Mohney says:

    Praise you Lord for Your powerful truth….so grateful that He know what we need to be reminded of…Im so grateful Im not defined by my children behaviors, But His Truth. Thank you for sharing your heart…and The power for His Word. Let us walk in it today friends.

  31. Stacia Morse says:

    Wow just what God wanted me to read. I too have been broken and bruised by the people I love most. My trust is in The Lord!

  32. Debbie Moore says:

    I am going through many of the same feelings of what did I do wrong? I wasn’t a good enough mother. My 21 year old daughter is going her own way after years of walking with the Lord and wanting to please him. I have gone through depression, wrestling with feelings of guilt and betrayal, countless fights with her, trying to make her see what bad choices she’s making. I am slowly coming to realize that, like you said, she is not mine to control. She is mine to pray for. Things are better between us when I keep my mouth shut and trust God to convict her. But it IS hard. I struggle with it every day. This was a good message!

    • I am in the same spot as you, Debbie, and it’s very difficult, but you have come to the same conclusion as I and my husband did – this is God’s work, not ours! Wow, that takes the pressure off and we can now cover our kids in prayer but not control. They respond a LOT better that way, too! Keep the faith!

      • Yes, it does take the pressure off. When I give her to Him, it is such a relief, knowing that He loves her even more than I do and knows her and her needs so much better than I do! Thank you for sharing, Beth.

    • Debbie, I completely understand your feelings. I have been going through a similar situation. Holding my tongue is not easy for me, but like you, I’m learning to pray and give her to God.

      • Holding my tongue is so hard for me too! I just can’t believe that she doesn’t want to hear and follow all my words of wisdom! I jokingly say that, but deep down I know that’s how I’ve felt. God is showing me that He is the source of all wisdom and I know nothing. He knows all about her and what she needs. Thanks for sharing, Jan. It’s comforting to know others are going through similar issues. Being a mother to adult children has been harder for me than any other stage of motherhood so far, which I wasn’t prepared for. I thought the hardest parts were behind me!

    • Debbie, the struggles are real, aren’t they? They are for our children as well. I’m glad our God sees us and offers His strength for our Help. Keep running the race, my friend. Keep running. Your help is Above.

      • Thank you Kristi. I often forget that she is also struggling, probably even more than I am. Thanks for the encouragement!

  33. So good to see your beautiful face here, Kristi! Oh, dear I can relate to this message SO much right now. I spent the last year in a fairly public position (locally in my community) in women’s ministry and every time I took my kids out of the house, I worried about what they would do and how that would make me look… That same concern delayed my seeking help for my healing for my son and I because Satan kept saying, “A real Christian wouldn’t need a counselor…” Oh dear, his lies are so effective, aren’t they! Many blessings to your for your beautiful and brave words, may they encourage women far and wide to seek their affirmation from God alone!

  34. This is so true, thanks for the wonderful message. I thank GOD for bringing me through a divorce, getting me out of a bad work environment to the one HE has blessed me with for 18 years now and bringing me through cancer. They are the big things but everyday HE goes with us, protecting and providing. As a mom of grown children, the best I can give them is to pray for them.

    • He’s a faithful God, Susan. I praise Him for His faithfulness in the midst of the battles you’ve faced. And yes, praying for our kids is powerful and our best.

  35. Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal. God is Love. He put these words in my weary pathway many years ago, “children are a special treasure, a gift from heaven, do not be a prodigal mother.” Unconditional LOVE.

  36. I often struggle with trying to take care of things that are out of my control. I started reading Lysa’s book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, and realize that asking myself if it is something that is out of MY control is imperative to being in His way. Although it is difficult, it is by faith that I will be able to do this!

  37. This is beautiful, Kristi. Thank you for such honest and helpful words.

  38. Kristi!! This was such a good topic to write about. I was gripped with these feelings with my first child. Everything he would get in trouble for became a huge burden in my mind. I had those exact feelings and they smothered me at times. I felt like a fraud, like a failure. I fell into the comparison trap as I observed other families that seemed to have perfect kids. My focus had centered on what other people must think and the one job that I had held as the most important job I had been given, I was bombing at. It wasn’t until I turned my focus to God, read scripture, prayed and sought wisdom that the weight of failure started to lessen. I’m more alert now to the places my mind tries to take me and when those feelings start to creep in scripture comforts me with Gods truths about who I am in him. I put such unnecessary pressure on myself back then. I know your devotional this will speak to many hearts. Thank you!

  39. Anonymous says:

    This could not have come at a more perfect time in my life. I have been struggling with many things in my life right now and just today I wrote a note to someone I have been struggling with rather we were to make it or not, and I had said that I am sad that our “season” had come to an end this way, but that I felt it was best so he could now go on with his life in a less chaotic way then my lifestyle is. My love for him is strong enough to let him go, but my love and strength comes from the Lord above and he has given me the strength to move on and find my way with my family and the struggles they are having as well. My Prayers have been long and steady for sometime for relief of this all, but God works in his own time and I have to except that as a human and my trust is steadfast in him and his decisions for me and my family.
    Thank you for reading…God Bless

    • Even when all seems dark, our perfect God knows. There’s such strength in His help, and I’m glad to hear you’re looking to God Almighty. I’ll be praying for you, friend.

  40. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and truth. I needed to hear God’s truth after a stormy altercation with my mother last night. It was good to be reminded that our salvation and worth isn’t in relationships, but in Christ alone.

  41. Good job Kristi. This devotional is well written and inspiring! Well done.

  42. “People are not our salvation. Jesus is.” Wow Kristi. What a beautiful word. This post is going to bless so many! Thank you for writing it. 🙂

    • It’s my prayer that these words are His. After all, our God has the power to help change our situations. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Lauren.

  43. LOVE this Kristi!!! Love your heart and love these beautiful, needful words. Blessings, friend!?

  44. Penni Risner says:

    A truly great devotion. It spoke truth to me, truth I needed to hear! Thank You God and thank you for listening to Him.

  45. Jo Ellen says:

    As mom’s we often feel like we are under constant scrutunity. Not only from ourselves but from other mom’s. I know how painful this can be. I am the mother of a son who would have been 28 today but 7 years ago he took his life. I also have a daughter who suffers from bi-polar disorder and I still fault myself for what happened to them. I often have to take my judgement and condemnation of myself captive and focus and what honors God.

    • Jo Ellen, I am so sorry. Please accept my condolences concerning your son. In the midst of hurt and a hard journey, you’re a wise woman. It seems you know where help comes from. Keep speaking His truth to yourself. He’s faithful.

  46. Excellent devotion! As a mother of four teenage boys I have thought about this subject at length!! What are the “chances” that all four of my boys will turn out “right” or make the right decisions in life… Through my thinking and praying I too was brought to Adam and Eve…. And their parenting! They had the first two boys in the world…. How did they turn out? Well you can’t blame their bad choices on peer pressure, drugs, the Internet etc… They were the only two kids alive in the world!!! It all comes down to choices!!! Pray for your children to be tender to the Holy Spirit… And don’t deny that there is a REAL enemy out there that wants to destroy our marriages and families… But keep your eyes on the Lord because through Him is the only victory!!!

  47. Oh Kristi, this is beautiful! I am so proud of you for saying yes to follow Jesus. You are touching lives! xo

  48. Good Morning thank you for bringing these verses back to me. This has helped me with a situation with a coworker.

  49. I put the wrong email, sorry.

  50. My help comes from the Lord in so many ways but I think it’s keeping fit where I have come to Him most often. As a very overweight little girl who was bullied, I struggled for many years. I ate comfort food as an adult when emotions were raw to soothe myself. God knows of my struggle but has helped me enrich the physical and emotional desires to eat healthy and exercise almost everyday. Besides emotional fulfillment that the Lord’s blessings provide, the exercise and healthy eating has helped me with a couple of physical challenges, e.g., arthritis and breast cancer. If it were not for HIM, I would not have recovered and recovered completely.

  51. My older son is really having challenges in school and he was just told at the end of this session that he will repeat the grade he just concluded as he did not get the required pass mark. I felt so bad when I saw the report as we have engaged in a lot of extra tutorial lectures at huge cost without any results. However, it dawned on me that I haven’t handed him over to God. My help comes from God and I know He is more than able to help my son in the way that only He can and He is the only one that can give me the strength to do what needs to be done for my boy.

  52. Brittany says:

    The area that I need to leave to the Lord for His strength is my children. I feel like I have no control or even respect from them, and it really starts to wear me down. Loved reading this devotional, really needed it today. Thank You! 🙂

  53. Fraud! Yes, the enemy loves to scream that to us in order to stop us from pressing on in the work of God’s kingdom. I’ve struggled with telling people about Jesus Christ and how He brings salvation and changes your life when all the while my daughter is not walking with the Lord today but living in sexual sin among other things. I live pretending all is well while inside I’m broken hearted and crushed in spirit. I hide from shame. Talk about feeling like a fraud! A couple years ago I felt in my spirit, “You know the gospel is being effective when it’s changing you.” How true that is, however, the enemy loves to take what appears to be our failures and badgers us with them in order to feel disqualified from sharing the gospel with others. No matter what I feel or believe, the truth is I am not responsible for her choices. My responsibility is to continue praying for her and keep fighting the fight off faith. Fraud? The devil may tell me that’s what I am BUT I’ve got to remember he’s the father of lies; he’s a liar from the beginning. Praise God!

  54. totally confused….

    • What are you totally confused about? Would you like to share? I am very confused myself at some of the strange things going on in my life that are beyond my wildest dreams at a time when all should be wonderful. Sometimes as a senior, I have to rethink who I am and where I am going. It is never something we can take for granted.

  55. Oh how I LOVE it when God uses His “family” to exhort! Feeling giddy with delight as He used your heart to encourage mine to “right thinking”. Thanks gobs sista!

  56. Sally Ann Price says:

    Great story! I new how you felt. Hope you have a beautiful weekend.

  57. Isn’t faith like that sometimes?
    A stubborn clinging to God’s truth…
    I want to encourage you that you did the right thing in a tough circumstance! Good for you! ???
    Thanks for sharing your struggle for others to be inspired by! And by God’s good grace, may you continue to cling to Him without compromise! ❤️??

  58. I feel like a fraud everyday! I put on my fake smile & mumble “ok” when people ask how are you”. Truth is…I’m NOT ok. My heart is broken, my spirit is crushed & i’m meatly just existing. My world came crashing down when my husband left me & our kids 1.5 yrs ago. I have been praying everyday for transformation for him, me, our marriage..everything. I keep asking God for help & wisdom. I keep pleading for Him to heal my heart. I have scripture after scripture that I recite but it doesnt help. I know God has a plan for me, I know He knows the end from the beginning, I know His ways & thoughts are higher than mine & i know His timing is perfect, but i need to catch a break! I need for those truths to become real in my life rather than just words. I need to see a difference. I need Jesus to show up in my life (& my hubby’s). I need Him to answer me & the kids prayers. I just need Him. Please stand in agreement w/me for complete restoration of my marriage & healing in my family.

    • CJ, I’m so sorry. Can I give you a hi-5 across the miles, even amid the struggle? You’re asking God for wisdom. That’s so wise. You’re looking in the right place. And sometimes it’s okay to say we’re not okay. God can and does use that. Please know I am standing alongside you, praying to God for you, your marriage, and healing within your family.

  59. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for this devotion. All I ever wanted to be was a good mom. My son is struggling and living outside of anything he was taught or modeled. My daughter made some jaw dropping choices. In both situations I immediately questioned my own parenting. I have to constantly be reminded that my identity is in christ and him alone!

  60. Joanne Erkert says:

    Your devotion today, When I Feel Like A Fraud, struck my heart like an arrow strikes a bull’s eye. I am not having parenting issues; I am living in a retirement community where everyone else has their financial situation where it belongs. We do not, and every conversation with others drives that home and causes me to feel like a fraud. I do not want to get caught up in excessive worry and know I need to trust our Lord. Lengthy morning prayer & devotional sessions should keep me grounded in His peace. Thanks for your imput; I feel less alone.

  61. I completely understand this devotion. Many people love to stereotype others due to the people that surround them or look like them. Only God can determine if we are truly Christians or not, not the people we hang around.

  62. Kristy, from a fellow compel member, this is a beautiful post. I often felt like a failure as a mom. As a Grandma, You get a redo. Thank You. Love Diana

  63. I needed this more than ever today! As a mother I feel as if everything has to be perfect. My husband works crazy hours at work so it’s just usually me and I have a hard time giving things to God and letting go! I feel I need to give Him more of me than I actually do

  64. I understood this message. My brother has fought with addiction and bad choices for many years. We were raised in a home in which Christian principles were taught, but my brother has chosen a path, and seems to want to continue on that path. I have had discussions with my parents in which I know they have both reflected on what they could have done differently. They ask “where did we go wrong?” My response to them is simply…”you didn’t.” The funny thing is I have even contemplated “could I have been a better sister?” I have found myself thinking back to times when we were younger, and actually blaming myself for the times I was a typical big sister, and thinking maybe that is why my brother has made the choices he has. Good grief! Do we ever quit blaming or beating up on ourselves?
    My brother has made choices and continues to make choices, but I know my parents deep down blame themselves. My brother is at the top of our prayer lists on a consistent basis. We pray that he will turn his eyes back to the Lord, and work to make better choices.
    As a mother myself, I realize we are strongly connected with our children being a reflection of who we are, and in some instances that may be true. At the end of the day, however, we must raise our children in the church, in a home with God as the center, providing love and care, and then pray that they will be guided by the values that have been instilled in them. Pray that they will be guided by God.I guess the phrase that I find sums it up best is “Let go and let God.”
    At the end of the day, I think it is safe to say we all struggle at some point with being viewed as a Christian “fraud.” After all, we are human, which means we will make mistakes, we are not perfect, we will sin, but the beauty of being a Christian, is we are forgiven, loved and cherished no matter what. We get another chance to make better choices.
    In a culture that is quick to make judgements, I am guilty of this as well, it is easy to beat up on ourselves. To get caught up in what the world thinks, but at the end of the day, what the world thinks is not what matters. Peace is found in Jesus Christ, not the world. One truth I have found, is being a Christian does not guarantee protection against difficult times, but it does insure that we are not ever alone. He has stood beside me, led me and carried me through many, many difficult times.
    Thank you, God for never leaving me alone, even when it felt like the world had abandoned me!

  65. Chantelle Wai says:

    I just wanted Kristi Woods to know that God used her Thursday devotion to speak to my heart. Bless you and thank you for answering God’s call to encourage other women.

  66. Thank you for the message I needed today, particularly …not mine to control but mine to pray over and stop believing feelings…My sons are 26 and 32 and I pray for Jesus to fill their heart with his truth.

  67. Thank you for that wonderful piece. I have judged myself as I fraud especially when I see pple get so Easily what I have spent years trying to get and yet to no avail.

  68. Jennifer says:

    “Our children, spouses, or others don’t define us. Truth does, His help assures.
    People are not our salvation. Jesus is.
    Others’ works aren’t stars on our performance chart. His grace has approved us, simply by faith.
    We aren’t what we feel and certainly aren’t a fraud when troubles rise. We are what God says we are — accepted, dearly loved and forgiven.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read these words. They hit the perfect soft spot with a soothing balm of encouragement and renewed hope. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

  69. Crystal says:

    Thank you, ladies! I am a young mom and these feelings of fraud & failure have already bombarded me more times than i can remember. Just in the past month I have had 2 parents tell me it would be best if their kids didn’t play with my son. That made me feel like a failure big time…like I’m doing something wrong and I can’t even control my own son. It felt like they were telling me, “You have not been a good enough mom and your son is going to corrupt mine.” It is easy to start feeling like you are the only one going through things like this, so I really appreciate all of you sharing your stories and your encouragement to not let others define you, but to find hope in the Lord. Thank you so much. This devotion was much needed!

  70. Susan G says:

    This hits home… We are not always responsible for what our children do…or our husbands! I have been embarrassed many a time for the rude behavior of my husband, who insists he is a Christian. If at all possible I try discreetly to show those whom he is rude to, that I do not agree…but it is very difficult at times especially when he hurts the feelings of our grown children. I have to just leave it to the Lord…
    Thanks for this!
    Blessings!

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