Muddled and Messy

I hurriedly walked into the grocery store, itemized list in hand, grabbing the first cart I laid eyes on. Of course it was stuck. I wrestled with three more carts until one finally broke loose. I shifted my mommy speed-shopping skills into fast-forward and started down the list. Apples, bananas, carrots.

Muddled and MessyAs I was attempting to lug my cantankerous grocery cart through the produce section, I bumped (literally) into a friend from church. I blurted the first nice thing that came to mind: “Hey! How’s it going?” (Was really hoping she couldn’t tell I was gritting my teeth.) She responded with a friendly, “Oh hi, Anne-Renee! I’m fine. How are YOU?” Conversation ball was now back in my court. “Oh, we’re good. Family’s doing well. Things are great.” I launched into the kid’s latest adventures, a few tidbits about our current weather, and our family goal to grow more plants than weeds this year in our greenhouse. (Time and a plethora of sad wilted plants having revealed to the world that I have more of a brown thumb than a green one.) We exchanged a few more surfacey “blah blah blah” topics, and at the first opportunity, I politely bolted.

Bummer. I knew I’d done it again. A conversation anchored with forced cheerfulness and dripping with insincerity. Forget the fact that I was battling a raging headache, had a taxing day at work, and was presently less than thrilled in my rushed task of shopping. But did I share any of that? Oh no. Never. Those facts remained locked away behind my mask of smiles. I pushed my internal guilt back and focused on the task at hand. I now had only 15 minutes to finish the selection process and get checked out. Time was tickin’. I did not have time to stand around and be all sincere and stuff.

Can anyone else relate? How often do we start conversations with others built on a foundation of shallow pleasantries? We go through the motions of friendliness, hoping to give off the right vibe of perfect mothering, while our hearts inwardly cringe at the little white lies. We so desperately want others to think we’re doing this task of motherhood well. And not just that things are going well, but life is GREAT. Like faux-mazingly great!


Being real with one another takes humility. And being authentic, means allowing others to see inside the messiness of our daily lives. The moments that make up who we really are. The victories, the hurts, the uncomfortable. But as we share our hearts, we need a filter. The Holy Spirit can help us sort through what things are true and good, sifting out the yuck. And if we’re still uncertain, the book of Philippians contains a pretty thorough checklist for us:

Philippians 4:8-9

So let’s do a little experiment. Let’s work toward being more authentic with one another. Whether put-together or messy (with our Spirit filter in place of course). Here’s how it works: The next time you run into someone and are tempted to start the ping-pong game of “I’m fine–How are you”… Don’t do it! Remind yourself that God doesn’t want you to be anyone other than who He created you to be. And a true friend won’t mind a little mess.



What are some ways we can be sincere and honest with our fellow mom friends without turning conversations into royal gripe sessions? We would love to hear your ideas.



Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family's party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won't go away.

Latest posts by Anne-Renee Gumley (see all)

About Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family's party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won't go away.


  1. Wow!!! Just what I needed to hear!!! Thank you so much for this new blog! I am LOVING everything about it!!! You are speaking right to this mama’s heart! Thanks! The Lord sure knows when we need to hear something.:)

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Kristina! Just what this mama needed to hear as well. This was my very first official blog post (I’ve only written online articles up to this point), so I was feeling quite nervous pushing that little “publish” button last night. I even dreamed that I had accidentally erased the whole site editing my post. Ha ha. But as my mom encouraged me recently, “A message prepared in the heart, reaches a heart.” Thank you for allowing me to share my heart message with you!
    ~ Anne-Renee

    • Ann-Renee,
      I am soo glad that you DID push the publish button! You can keep posting more posts like these! Even tho you may not feel that what you write is worth while, it is helping a mom somewhere who needed to hear that very thing at that very time! God is AMAZING with that! It seems that when I need to be told something or am just having a bad day that is when I come across a blog post like this and it just gives me the boost that I needed to point me to the LORD! 🙂 Your mom is very right in her saying! I really like that a LOT!:)
      Hope you are having an amazing day! Looking forward to more of your posts!

  3. You hit the nail on the head — so true, my friend, and thanks for the encouragement! P.s. Your mama gave me the same wise encouragement once (about a message from the heart) and I’ve never forgotten it!

    • Well my friend Jane, sometimes the nail has to hit me on the head to get through to my heart. I tend to have a pretty tough skull. I’m sure this is a topic we’ll come back to address again. Appreciate the feedback! My heart rate has finally settled down to a somewhat normal pace now that this first post is out. Thrilled to see what God is doing and is going to do through this little project of ours. And yes, my mama is amazing at passing along pearls of wisdom. She’s a keeper! HUGS to you, friend!!!

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