No more pretending

Written by Rachel Denison
Published on December 29, 2020

This year has kicked everyone’s butts. Everyone. I can’t think of one person who’s exempt. As parents, many of us feel the pressure to tow this fine line between being open and transparent with our children while also being a shining example of what it looks like to choose Jesus in and out of every season.

The pressure I have felt this year to shield everyone I love from that which is the dumpster fire of 2020 has felt insurmountable. And in doing so, I am drowning. My deep desire to keep my children from feeling lonely, bored, scared, withheld from, let alone the pure effort it takes to shield them from Covid, has sent me spiraling and left me exhausted deep down in my bones.

I have mustered up all of my own strength to guard them, instead of letting Jesus be our shield. In my very human attempts, I have stumbled and face planted time and time again.

But in a year like 2020, we don’t have the emotional bandwidth to pretend anymore.

In a year like 2020, in a global pandemic, choosing Jesus is going to look messy. There is no way around it. We are human. We are hardwired to cope. And this year has literally been traumatic for us all.

The mom guilt I have entertained over my own coping and reactions to this year have stirred up deep sadness and feelings of unworthiness like never before. Whether it was too consistently having a glass of wine to blowing up in anger or sadness, or numbing out too much on my phone or in front of the TV, the list of my shortcomings is endless.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve misinterpreted what it must look like to choose Jesus in the good times and bad. Friends, it doesn’t have to look perfect. Our “witness” if you will, has much less to do with us, and more to do with the One it points to: a perfect Christ. 

What if we checked the mom/dad guilt at the door in 2021?

In our frantic attempts to be an anchor for our children in the midst of global chaos, what if we let go of the need for perfection? What if our truest witness was choosing a life of transparency (age appropriate, of course), showing our kids that it’s okay to be human when life is really hard? And when it comes to being an anchor for them, not pretending to be this perfect, shiny one… but one that’s been banged up and sitting at the bottom of the ocean and has weathered lots of storms. One that is deeply dependent on Christ for strength, joy, and righteousness?

 Is it okay to be a broken, shipwrecked, human anchor hanging on for dear life to the true anchor of our souls? Wouldn’t that be even more effective in pointing our kids to Christ?

 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” Hebrews 6:19-20

 Friends, I am praying for Jesus to go before us into 2021. In a year that has left us banged up and bruised, maybe drop the charade, and choose his mighty strength. May we model ourselves after the woman with the issue to bleed, knowing that just a touch from the hem of his garment will make us whole? There is healing and restoration for us today in our sweet Jesus. He is our sure and steadfast anchor, a pure steady hope. And that is all the example our kids truly need to see. May they say of us, “My parents didn’t pretend that they were always okay. Instead they showed us what it really looked like to come before Jesus on their knees when times were tough, and sought him for their strength. In doing so, they taught us to do the same.”

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Rachel Denison

Rachel Denison writes to help others draw near to God in every season of life. She and her husband Craig live in Dallas with their two boys, and spend their days enjoying their kids, cooking, watching the Office, and leading worship together. You can find more of her writing and worship as companions to a free daily devotional on

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