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  • Destroyed

    filed under: I Am Servant on December 1, 2016

    (If you are able to, I recommend listening to this song while reading this post.)

    I have failed at everything I have ever done. Telling you that isn’t easy, and telling you why won’t be any easier.

    Failure. I fail as a daughter. Members of my family are not a part of my life, barring the occasional request to see my kids.

    I fail as a wife. My husband is an amazing God-fearing man who deserves a doting, affectionate, supportive wife who will listen and meet his needs. However, I am often too wrapped up in my own.

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    I fail as a mom. I try to not yell, not to dismiss them if I am in the middle of working on something, to give them the quality time and care they need. But I often work longer hours than I should and offer cereal instead of good dinners.

    I fail at losing weight. I have never been able to do it successfully.

    I fail at work. I have poured my heart into a career that I thought would be so much further along by now.

    Just to name a few.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    But there was one thing that I did not consider a failure in my life, and that was my faith.

    When I came to know Jesus 11 years ago, it was a life changing moment. A faith entered into my heart… the faith of a lion!

    I was HIS.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    There was simply no longer doubt in my life… I had value. All God’s children did. Not only did becoming a Christian change how I saw myself, it changed how I saw others. People mattered. Life mattered.

    I considered my faith the best thing about me. Even if I screwed up, the King of Kings never did. My value was no longer based on what I did and said and wore and had, it was based on a Perfect Holy Savior.

    I was eager to share with others. I felt blessed…  like I had been given a platform (my blog) to share His love and grace.

    My life seemed to take on a whole new meaning, purpose, and hope.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    Flash forward to earlier this year.

    I arrived at a brunch being hosted for a group of bloggers with high spirits. As I hopped out of the car and swiftly shut the door behind me, I realized that the keys were still inside.

    I had locked the keys in the car. The next 20 minutes were spent on the phone trying to get someone to come out and open up the car.

    A friend had walked in while I was on the phone and I waved and smiled. She glared at me and looked away. I didn’t think much of it as I was trying to work out keys-in-my-car details on the phone. I caught her eye again a few minutes later and tried to wave another time.

    She ignored me again.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    I made small talk with the gracious host and a few other guests, then found out that I would have to leave early to meet the people who would be opening up my locked car.

    I walked up to the old friend, determined to make things right. I did not know what I had done to her, but whatever it was I was going to take the blame and beg for forgiveness in hopes of moving forward.

    I touched her arm gently, “Listen, I’m sorry!” I looked into her eyes. “If I did something, I am so sorry.”

    She sighed. Then she seemed to shift her thinking and said, “Let’s go chat over here for a second.”

    “No, no, I don’t want to upset your luncheon, I just wanted to apologize for anything I might have done. I feel awful if I have upset you.”

    She insisted, “Let’s talk. Over in the corner.”

    So we walked over to the corner. The entire time I was thinking to myself, just accept whatever she says. Just take it on. Do not defend, do not argue. Say you are sorry and ask for forgiveness, no matter what she says.

    So she starts by saying, “Do you remember that block party we were at last fall?”

    I nodded yes. We had sat and eaten together. I remember us talking about faith as she was also a Christian.

    “Well,” she paused, “you ruined that day for me.

    Whoa. Wow. Ok. Um, what? Was not expecting that.

    I managed to spit out, “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry.”

    She was not phased and gave me an annoyed look. “Don’t apologize when you don’t even know why.”

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    Her explanation began, “It was a beautiful fall day. And you ruined it by gossiping. You talked about my friends. You said things about people I care about. I went home that night and told my husband that you made me feel icky.”

    This was the first time someone had told me in all sincerity that I had made them feel “icky”.

    It hurt.

    I stumbled over words and stammered out, “I am truly sorry. I do have a problem with gossip. I am insecure and have resorted to bringing others down to make myself feel better. I know it’s my sin and I am truly working on it.”

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    Everything I was saying was the truth.

    Gossiping had gotten me in trouble before and God had been trying to get me to work on it. I knew that I needed to change and as much as these words hurt, she was absolutely right. I had ruined her day and I was wrong.

    She nodded and said, “Those are my friends. I wanted to reach out to you a few times but I didn’t know how. I was very uncomfortable with the whole situation.”

    I nodded slowly and said in a low voice, “I understand and just want to reiterate how sorry I am. Definitely will work on it and try to be better.”

    “Good,” she said.

    We made some awkward chit-chat for a few seconds and I started to make my way towards the door.

    I was thinking to myself, I can work on this. I know I need to work on this. I will make it a priority and then write her a card and seek her forgiveness (fully) and hopefully mend the brokenness I have created.

    But she wasn’t done yet.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    She stopped me and looked at me with a smile, “You know what? There is something else I wanted to say. Now, I hope this doesn’t destroy you!” She laughed.

    “I hope this doesn’t destroy you…” The hair on my arms raised and I got a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    “I know a lot of people. Some of these people have nothing to do with blogging! They are not a part of our industry… but they have literally approached me when they find out I know you. There are lots, I mean, a LOT of people who have said the same thing to me!”

    I didn’t know if I should be flattered or horrified by the number of people who seemed to know ‘of’ me.

    She continued, “Some are mutual friends. And many you would consider friends. But they all say the same thing.”

    My heart is pumping out of my chest. I don’t want to hear what she is going to say. Please let her stop. Please let her forget. Please let a snake come out of thin air and bite my foot. Please let someone set off the fire alarm.

    She continued, “So they ask me about you being a Christian because you say you are and you have blogged about it. And when I answer that yes, you are, they all say, “if that is what a Christian is then I want nothing to do with God.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    And in that moment my heart broke into a million pieces.

    I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. Like my very breath had been sucked from my chest.

    That the only thing I have ever felt that I was good at in this life was a lie. 

    She just told me that I had turned people away from God.

    I was a fool. How ridiculous to think that I could ever make a positive impact on God’s kingdom.

    Big tears started falling. They rolled slowly down my cheeks and I made no effort to wipe them. I whispered, “I’m sorry. I will work on it.”

    She continued on telling me just how many people had told her that and how she tried to tell them she thought my heart was in the right place, but that my actions just didn’t match up with my testimony. She said in all these conversations that she had with all of these people about me that she wanted to defend me, but simply could not.

    She agreed with them.

    Then she said, “Whew! I am so glad I finally said that to you! My heart is racing. I have been so uncomfortable, but I feel better now.”

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    I don’t recall how the conversation ended. I think I tried to change the subject and act like I wasn’t dying inside. I went outside and waited for the guy to come and open my car. Then I started the lonely hour long drive home.

    I sobbed in that car ride like I have never sobbed before. My entire body was shaking from the grief. I had to actually focus on steering. My eyes started swelling so much I had to pull over.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    I drove home, hugged my kids, and acted like nothing happened.

    It took me a week (a very long, miserable, heavy, and lonely week) to tell my husband what had happened. I was overwhelmed with shame.

    In that time I logged off of social media. (Kind of a big thing when it’s your job.) I questioned everything. Who were my friends? Was there anyone that I had not offended? The doubts and insecurities were multiplied by a thousand.

    My heart was broken, my spirit was broken, my desire to be a member of society was broken. I wanted to shut it all off and not feel the agonizing grief that was permeating every single cell of my being. The grief was a physical pain.

    It took me weeks to not burst into tears at the thought of that day. It took months for me to understand that this was now my testimony. That no matter how much I wanted the conversation and those words to go away, they were a part of me. I repeated the day over and over in my head and grieved for the fake life I had been living. I was the worst kind of Christian. Those words… her words… were branded on my heart.

    I had failed God.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    With time, devotion to the Word, and a patient and loving husband, I was able to start searching for His mercies again. I found bible studies and did them on my own. I prayed. Read. Forced myself to walk through the worst of the pain. To admit where my gossip and sin had done the most damage and what I needed to do to fix it and who needed to know I was sorry. I felt so alone.

    But then one day I woke up and realized… I had not cried the day before. There were even joyful moments… times when a smile came naturally.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    My entire life I had been aiming for the mountain tops, for the highs, accomplishments, and the dreams bigger than me. I wanted to meet God in the best moments of my life. To give Him praise and worship when my heart was bursting with joy!

    What is painfully evident is that it is the valley moments that truly change me. In my lowest of lows, I went looking for Him. I had to be utterly broken and defeated… that is when He became my everything.

    It took me being broken in the most humbling, humiliating, earth-shattering way possible for me to fully realize that I was His no matter what.

    Even when I failed Him.  I was made to lean on Him in all things, not just in the joyful moments.

    I was created and designed to fail when I relied on me, but I was created and designed to thrive when I relied on Him.

    i am baker, amanda rettke, faith, Jesus

    If I were being completely honest… I would mention that this is all still very much a work in progress. Sometimes the gut-wrenching grief of that day, of who I was, pours over me and I have to be still. I have to look at where I am… and if I am headed down the wrong path. I have to sit on my hands and bite my lip until it bleeds and not ever say the words that used to flow so freely.

    I pray over that friend that broke my heart. While I can’t say we will be friends again, I can say that I believe she was honoring God when she came to me with her concerns. She was not the bad guy in all this, I was.

    I will never be perfect. But I’m trying to be better.

    This song by Shane & Shane sums up my heart so well. Such a powerful song and testimony!

     

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    Comments

    Thank you for sharing this! This is amazing and you never know how God can use you! I follow your blog and you have inspired to me bake and create, but after reading this and knowing that you are a woman after God’s own heart, it makes me so happy to know that there are people like you out there! Stay close to Him…He is your tower and shield! Thank you for your testimony and inspiring words.

    Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you. Your story is making me take a look at my own Christianity and how I can better serve internally and externally.

    Thank you so much!

    “She stopped me and looked at me with a smile, “You know what? There is something else I wanted to say. Now, I hope this doesn’t destroy you!” She laughed.”

    She laughed? She took delight in knowing that her words were about to destroy you? That is cruel and is NOT honoring God. That was revenge. Regardless of your role in all that mess.

    In any case… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nci9d3fYuk0 one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever encountered. Right up there with the Hymm: “Just As I Am”.

    May we all be blessed to come to know the Christ Consciousness and the true experience of Grace (and Mercy).

    Hugs to you, my sister… your story touched me deeply. <3

      the Christ Consciousness? New age lies. Christ the Lord is the way to real Grace and Mercy. Pray for Him to show you the difference even if you think there isn’t any.

      I completely agree with Mab!!! She did take some snarky delight in hurting you.

      Dear sweet sister in the Lord, I found your blog today while looking for a little courage and encouragement to start my own baking blog. I began reading this post and the first impression I got *after* thinking how incredibly BRAVE your transparent honesty is, as I was reading your story about how she did indeed destroy you and the pain and the grief you felt just broke my own heart!!

      Not only was the “friend” being vengeful while you were showing nothing but complete humility and grace offering your sincere “I’m so sorry” to her, I just feel like telling you-you did nothing wrong in the eyes of God. Certainly nothing worth that kind of grief and condemnation that you took home with you.

      She shared something that you did that hurt her. OK, good. You expressed your sincere apology. Awesome. She should have accepted it and moved on. The main point I want to make is WHO CARES what those people think!!!! If those people said you are not being a good example of a Christain then SHAME ON THEM. Who are they to judge you, sweet sister???

      They are no one and in no place to judge you.

      I see someone with a BEAUTIFUL heart for Jesus and I think your story shows an EXEMPLARY example of what a “true Christian is”). I know Jesus did and does too.

      I stand up for you and I would be honored to know you as a friend.

      I’m going to try to share my own stories and start my blog and I want you to know you have encouraged me.

      God bless you.

      I agree. Something about the way she approached Amanda does not sit right with me. A Godly approach brings confrontation done in love. It heals and restores relationships!

    Bless you for your raw beauty and honest heart Amanda. I am wiping away tears as I write this, listening to the amazing song you attached to your testimony. The Lord sometimes strips us of every support so we will truly love Him more than anyone or anything. I thank God for shining His love into your precious heart Sister, and showing you that His perfect love is the only love that won’t fail us. Keep pressing ever onward and upward into His unique calling and gifting on your life. xx

    You did a great job writing this! It brought many things to my own head. As a Christian woman I stumbled upon a video of yours on Facebook while looking for recipees and was hooked! You shine with joy of the Lord! In one of the videos I watched; you were having your husband try and decorate a cake… being newly married it was nice to see a Christian couple giggle and do fun things together! Your kids are well behaved and I enjoy keeping up with your blogs. You excite me when thinking about the future and when I get to become a stay at home mom in the years to come! I enjoy watching your videos and this site because of your joy and your lack of fear for hiding your faith! All of us struggle in some realm, and if yours is gossip, it’s good you know so you can work on it. But, if the joy you have comes from God (which is clearly yes) then I don’t see why any one wouldn’t want the joy you have! God Bless

    I have pinned your recipes and have followed you on pinterest for a while. Today your recipe for the pencil cake was on my Facebook page and I clicked on it. I saw your giveaway, started looking at your blog and ended up reading this. God sent me here today. I needed to read this today. I have struggles that I am so trying to let go of and give to God. He has blessed me in so many ways. I needed to read this and I thank you for sharing this and your honesty. The words of this song so touched my heart I will be praying for you and I thank God he sent you into my life today by way of the pencil cake. I am not a frequent Facebook reader, but God sent me there today! thank you and God be with you, my friend! “But that deep sense of grief prepared me for Him.” I have grieved for so long. Thank you for helping me see that He has a plan for me and it will all be fine, even better !!

    I just stumbled across this post today and was shocked and horrified. There’s so much about what this woman did to you that I find disturbing. First she confronts you for gossiping. She probably could have done that a better way at a better time, but letting that slide, she then goes on to tell you that she herself has been gossipping hurtful things about you with “lots of people”. What a hypocrite! And after all of that, she had the nerve to say she felt better for telling you?! That’s just hateful.

    Even if it’s true that “lots of people” are saying that if you are Christian they want nothing to do with it, that’s kind of vague. What does that even mean? They don’t want to sacrifice their own interests to love and care for 5 kids? They don’t want to donote their free time to serve in their community? They don’t want to give up a high-power career to follow the path that G-d is leading them on? I think those are the kinds of things that really prevent people from wanting to follow G-d, not you gossipping about someone. No offense, but I just don’t think any of us have that much influence over other grown-ups. What is good is that something so hurtful and disgusting became a positive motivation in your life—Genesis 50:20. My heart goes out to you for the hurt you’ve gone through. Blessings.

    Just want you to know that I will pray for your continued healing. We are not perfect, none of us. We each have our sins. The fact that you admitted yours and are brave enough to post them really touched me. Keep on “keepin’ on” after God’s own heart. That is where He wants us to be.

    Amanda,
    I have followed you for a very long time and our paths have crossed a time or two. I have found you nothing but kind and considerate. My heart hurt as I read of this “friends” need to tell you of your “sins” I say how dare she judge you and what purpose other than to hurt you did this information provide. However on the other hand it is sometimes when we are most humbled and hurt that the Savior is able to teach us our greatest lessons. I applaud you for sharing your story of pain, repentance, growth and ultimately hope and joy. It is with a joyful soul and hopeful heart we can continue on.

    Just before I read you blog and listened to the song, Make me broken, I was feeling so lonely and sad. My husband was in a work related accident 14 years ago this week. He fell off of a second story building that he was working on. It has left him with many injuries including a brain injury. I am so thankful that the Lord allowed him to live. But it has been a challenging 14 years. He isn’t able to work or drive a vehicle any more . He can’t be left alone either. I gave up my career to be at home with him, which I don’t regret at all. I have to say at times it is a lonely life. I am a Christian and belong to a wonderful Church with very supportive friends. Along with having 3 grown sons that are all close by. That being said I find the evenings lonely as my husband is in bed asleep most evenings by 7:30.
    Tonight I was in bed on my computer and listening to some Hillsong music and still I was feeling so lonely. Than I came across your blog, which is amazing!!!! I can relate to your story in a lot of ways. But at the end of your story I listened to the song that you posted , the line ….. make me lonely!!!!! Oh dear that brought me to a new perspective. I pray that I won’t take for granite anymore what our Lord has done for me. I have a loving husband and I am so thankful that He is still with me and that that fall did not take his life. My prayer is that I will be so sold out to God that I will call on Him and He will complete my life.
    May the Lord continue to use you as you work for Him.
    Your Sister in Christ.

    I read your story and I must say.. it made me angry. This woman, your friend who said those words to you. Shame on her. A person who identifies as a Christian did not understand that God never created perfect people. He created imperfect ones. The more imperfections one has, the more you should love them, embrace them and care for them. Honesty was a good thing.. perhaps you needed to hear it, but she needs to hear a few truths too. How dare she judge you when her imperfections were worn on her sleeve?

    My advice, be yourself. Find your own path to peace, love and happiness. If you have “friends” who cannot accept you for who you are, then find new ones.. the world is full of wonderful, loving and FORGIVING people.

    Best wishes on your journey.

    How wonderful that you were able to use this awful experience to strengthen and shape you instead of becoming bitter. It is very painful to receive feedback like this. I had a family member dress me down in a similar fashion, in the name of love, and it left me feeling quite the opposite of loved. Sometimes we Christians lose sight of the person in front of us in favor of wielding a big stick of prideful justification. The affect is the crushing of a spirit instead of holding it with as much honor, care and respect as we ourselves might like to receive were roles reversed. Even if the person may be right on some level, there are more effective ways to go about communicating, starting with exertion of discernment and timing. I don’t know about you, but using such an experience as a reminder of choosing to treat others better when noticing flaws offers some degree of redemption for the pain. To come alongside and build up rather than to tread upon can bless both people. Thank you for your vulnerability. And your delightful recipes! You are a gifted baker. God bless

    What a testimony! You are brave for sharing and being so open, it couldn’t have been easy to open up that part of yourself to all of us out here, looking in. I am sure that God honored you and that moment, drawing your heart closer to His. No matter if that relationship was restored or not, you didn’t let that break you, darken you instead you let Jesus in and light filled where anything wasn’t of Him. I enjoy following real women like you and being inspired to be better and get great recipes!

    I cried like a big baby reading this and can so relate. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been following you on Facebook for a while. Your response to the email and link to your blog brought me here today for the first time and I’m so glad it did. Thanks again!

    Well, I definitely can’t comment on what makes a good Christian. But I kind of excel and being your own person. And I’m quite sure that someone should not be telling you how to have a relationship with God.
    One thing my husband’s recent heart attack has taught me is surround yourself with those that lift you up. I don’t feel she was telling you this to lift you up.

    Loved reading this 😘 So happy to have learnt baking from such an honest and God loving person. God accepts us just as we are. People can be cruel at times but He is our refuge and our defender. It takes so much not to give back the person who is so blatantly pointing out your weakness. Your actions definitely met your words – you did not defend. You let Him handle you. Every situation that we go through moulds us and makes us better. His love grows deeper and we see a Him in a new way. The more we know HIM, the more we feel we can go through fire and still not be burnt. Lots of love.

    That happened….

    Thank you.

    Thank you, Amanda. I don’t bake, I am a terrible cook, but I Googled “what do I do when I have destroyed my testimony” and found your beautiful example.

    As with Paul Harvey’s writings, i think we’d all like to hear the rest of this story.

    I cried as i read this blog, felt your humilty and brokenness. If we are genuine women of faith, surely we have all experienced the sting of our sin exposed. Lord knows i have. What i have found, time and again when confronting and confessing my sins agaist others, my sincere apology and amends are favorably received, forgiveness is given, healing takes place, and God’s love and mercy replace grudges and hurt. Relationships grow stronger. I pray you have been able to publicly or privately reach out to those offended and make amends. If not yet, i believe when you do, you will feel the loving embrace of forgiveness in most, if not all cases. In His love, by His grace, Annee

    “I hope this doesn’t destroy you”!!!!!!
    Whhhattt??? Do they not answer to the same God we do?!!
    The same high power?!!
    “Go and sin no more…”.
    God bless you for sharing and He guide you through healing
    and rebuilding of friendships. 🌺❤️

    I’m so glad that we all have to be washed in the Blood of the Lamb. He is the One who keeps us holy. Christ has become for us wisdom and peace. He’s all we ever need. And your testimony proves that to all of us who are struggling to be light and salt. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    Girl, we ALL fail at representing Christ. But He still claims us. Not sure the motivation of your ‘friend’–but we as Christians need to love each other even harder when we encounter weaknesses and failures. Wish she had chosen a more private and loving way to pass on her words. Also, she needed to provide concrete evidences–real names and scenarios. Too easy to say ‘lots of people say this.’

    Use your platform for Him–and make no excuses. Partner with an older, devout Christian woman, to train you in the things of Christ. And don’t be discouraged, but “press on towards the mark” of Christlikeness!

    My dearest sister-in-faith, my heart is filled with sadness at the manner in which you were exposed to a personal weakness, but it is also filled with joy that your relationship with the King of Kings is deeper. I too am a mountaintop kind of gal. However, it was in the valley of widowhood, I found my true relationship with Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit. Knowing Jesus is being filled with love. Corrections are to be made “in love”. Jesus loved us to the extent of dying as a ransom sacrifice for each of us. Unconditional love doesn’t wound, shatter, or break a brother or a sister. Satan does that. The King of Earth is who you ran into at that luncheon. The King of Heaven doesn’t break his children into a million pieces to heal them. I am glad you are sheltering in the shadow of God and relying on him to guide you. He is going before you and he is your rearguard, today and every day. Wield your sword of faith and continue to wear your armor in this spiritual battle each of us fights daily. Remember – God is good and Satan is bad. Your sister-in-faith, Sallee Bonham

    I came here for chocolate cake and leave with compassion. It’s much better for me.

    My father was a minister, and here’s what he taught me: the word sin, in Hebrew, means literally to turn away (from God) or miss a target as with an arrow.

    When we realize our errors, it is the armor of our denial, the scales falling from our eyes, like taking off a band-aid and seeing that a cut is infected because we haven’t tended to it.

    It’s then that it hurts, true, but it’s then that we are free to bring it to our Father and say, “I have neglected this and hidden it away. Please help me heal.”

    You did not fail God. He knows we are all sinners, and He has forgiven us in the most amazing way. You only ever have to open yourself to redemption, and by healing yourself, His light will shine like a lens through you to heal those you may have hurt, and even those suffering who don’t know Him.

    You are the light of the world. 🙂

    Don't Pass on Dessert!