My Fake Family by Julie Arduini

Years ago, I received a tote bag for Christmas that featured pockets to place your own pictures on both sides. It was a season where I was overwhelmed with moving, young children, and the baby was quite ill at the time. I’d look at the bag and feel guilty for keeping the already inserted model pictures in and not customizing it with my own. However, I grabbed the red tote and took it with me.

One day when I was grieving the loss and change in my life, I carried that tote bag with me to church. It was still a new church to me and I did not feel like I belonged. I was homesick. A woman approached me and asked how I was doing. Just as I responded to everyone, I smiled and said, “I’m fine, how about you?”

I wasn’t fine. Not even close.

The lady then asked if the picture on the front was of the baby, because this picture had a child with blonde hair. I laughed and said, “Oh, no. These pictures aren’t real. This is my fake family.”

Then came the loving rebuke in the form of a whisper to my soul.womens-2684462_960_720

It’s your fake tote bag to use when you’re lying.


But it was the truth. Every time I was asked how I was, I lied every time. Even in church! I pasted a smile and always said I was great. Good. Fine. Never the reality. Lost. Grief-stricken. Shell-shocked. Lonely. Angry. Sad.

That began my journey to authenticity and the funny thing is, today that’s one of the things people comment about, that they enjoy my transparency. I point right back to my Heavenly Father and explain I found freedom when I surrendered my fake family. Although I never did change out those pictures, I still carry that bag around to remind me. Faking fine doesn’t work for anyone.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw a book called No More Faking Fine by Esther Fleece. It didn’t take long for me to become completely absorbed in the book and her story. I confess even though I thought I learned everything there was to know about transparency, No More Faking Fine taught me even more.

Starting Monday, October 16th at 8pm Eastern, I’ll be online HERE for a live chat. Although the group is closed now, it will be secret once we begin. All posts will be private and confidential as we share what we thought about the book and encourage each other.

51r6PTOO0hLAll you need is to be on Facebook and have the book. If finances are an issue, I first read it at the library. If you absolutely can’t read the book, I still think the discussion will be helpful, so if interested, ask to join. Even if you can’t be “live,” the discussion and my notes will be on the group page for you to access at any time.

If you auto-answer “fine” to questions when you are anything but, I invite you to join me. Tote bags not needed!



About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at
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2 Responses to My Fake Family by Julie Arduini

  1. Thank you, Julie. Excellent post. I’ve learned to answer, “Blessed,” when asked, for that covers everything. Those that really care will dig deeper. Those that are just being social will leave it at that, and perhaps take away a positive that is true. Things may be bad, but I am blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

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