Listen in and Let’s Talk {The Grove – Façade}

If you followed #VAeditorsretreat on Instagram, then you know that the four of us Velvet Ashes editors had an amazing time together last weekend.  We went into the weekend feeling like it was an extravagant gift for us to be together.  And it was.  But we came to realize that this kind of in-person time and planning is actually vital for the future of Velvet Ashes and what the Father wants to do in and through this community.

When the four of us got together in person for the first time ever, it felt like something unleashed.  The conversation and creativity and planning and sharing just flowed.  So many times we looked at each other and said, “Wow…this is Spirit-led.”

Velvet Ashes Editors Retreat

We came away from our time together alive with all the dreams the Father stirred in us for Velvet Ashes.  One thing is sure, God is moving.  He cares intimately about connecting with his daughters spread out across the globe in service to him.  And he cares about connecting us with one another, a sisterhood journeying out our devotion to him.

Today at The Grove we’re doing something a little different.  We’re inviting you to listen in on a conversation that the four of us editors had during our time together.  We’re talking about façade.

Friends, we really believe the Father has a deep work he wants to do in each of us.  And we think the first step begins here with façade.  So listen in…



Alright, let’s talk…

What about you?  How do you wrestle with façade?     

And what’s your vote?  Do you like listening to audio recordings/podcasts or do you prefer written posts?

***News flash!  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is sale right now at Amazon for $2.99 on Kindle! ***  The winners of a free copy have been chosen and notified. Welcome you all to join!


This is what we call The Grove.  It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions


  1. Jodie October 1, 2015

    This was a great conversation and so helpful to listen in on. Thank you for inviting us in!

  2. Annalisa October 1, 2015

    I prefer written posts.  I have a metered connection and podcasts take up too much of my limit.  (I never listen to them now that I figured that much out.)  However, a written transcript provided with the podcast would be completely fine by me.

    1. Melissa Toews October 1, 2015

      I would be okay with a transcript too!

  3. Melissa Toews October 1, 2015

    I like the audio, but it is much less convenient. Honestly I will end up not listening to them most of the time. I would not like to see regular posts be discontinued.

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 1, 2015

      Thanks for the feedback, Annalisa and Melissa!  We definitely won’t be discontinuing written posts.  And we don’t intend to switch to audio recordings for The Grove every week.  If people like it we would maybe do it quarterly or a few times a year.  Or we would have a separate podcast option.

      Just experimenting to see what connects with people.  And we understand metered internet is an issue for some!  Again, thanks for the feedback.

      1. Beth Everett October 1, 2015

        I also prefer written posts; and like the idea of quarterly or few times a year podcasts – it was nice to hear your voices 🙂

  4. Laura October 1, 2015

    Loved listening to all of you chat about facade. 🙂 Amy, I especially loved how you described the struggle of reentry. I kept nodding my head in agreement – yes, I don’t feel like I belong, even though I look like I do! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Amy Young October 1, 2015

      Thanks Laura, speaking for myself, I feel a little over exposed at the moment :)! Where is a facade to hide behind? So, your words (and I’m know the other editors will read them too and appreciate them) help me to be brave to try new things (like recording my voice) and saying things that are on the inside.

  5. Amy Young October 1, 2015

    Today I was at a weekly lunch for Chinese scholars … but one of the wife of one of the volunteer’s died within the last week and I ended up sitting next to him. They had been married for 38 years and she died of cancer. He was talking about the tension he already feels within himself to chose to go on with life — that he might be disingenuous to her if he travels. Obviously he is still deep in new, raw, awful grief. But in light of our discussion on facade this week, I’m reminded that the Enemy can use any phase of life’s journey to get us to present to the world what we think “they” want to hear.

    1. Amy Young October 1, 2015

      Oh my word. He has one wife. It should read … but the wife …

      1. Elizabeth October 1, 2015

        Oh my word, I laughed so hard at this comment, Amy.

  6. Elizabeth October 1, 2015

    I love hearing your voices — love that part of a podcast. But I agree with some of the others — written is more convenient for me (and less guilt-inducing if I can’t find the time to listen).

    But it was all very interesting to listen to as I’m walking around the States feeling so VERY different from everyone else right now. When I’m in Cambodia, I think of myself as an American. I think like an American. Well, compared to a Cambodian that is. Because coming back here, I’m pretty sure I don’t think like an American anymore! So I just feel a lot of dissonance and disconnection right now.

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 2, 2015

      “Dissonance” is such a good word to describe it, Elizabeth.  Feeling it too.

  7. Kristi October 2, 2015

    Having some issues with listening to the audio.  It keeps stopping before the end.  I so agree that we pup up facades because of pride or to protect ourselves or to protect His reputation.  I wrote the following before trying to listen to The Grove post.  Nice to hear all of you ladies.  A written post is easier for me as well.


    A great BIG

    Toothy grin

    Plastered and painted

    On her face to hide

    Cracks emanating from

    Her soul

    Pride the plaster

    Self-preservation the paint

    Unwilling to even see

    With her own eyes

    What lies beneath

    The facade

    Desperately in need of


    And dying to be




    Stop resisting

    Open your heart

    Allow the


    To be removed

    By the hands of your

    Maker, Father, Friend

    Receive all that He is

    Receive all that you are in Him

    Be free




    1. Danielle Wheeler October 2, 2015

      This is gorgeous, Kristi.  “Pride the plaster” – brilliant.

      Sorry for the listening troubles!

    2. Patty Stallings October 2, 2015

      Beautiful, as always!

    3. Melissa October 3, 2015

      Kristi- I love what you said about being unwilling to see what’s under the fascade.  I think that can be true sometimes – hiding the pain even from ourselves.  But you’re right, God has healing for what’s under there and HE really is all we need even when we don’t have some stellar safe person to help us work through it all right now.  Thanks for that beautiful reminder!


    4. Jodie October 5, 2015

      Kristi, your poem is so beautifully written and I love what you’ve expressed about facade. Yesterday I was reading Mark Buchanan’s Your God is Too Safe. The chapter on confession made me think about what you wrote. He says without confession we’ve created “churches of smiling, laughing, savvy people who are dying on the inside and too afraid to let anyone know. First Church of the Whitewashed Tombs. This, too, bypasses the real issue of spiritual growth. Rather than bear fruit, we’ve tended to paint it on and hope nobody notices that we have no real roots or sap to grow fruit anyhow…Confession is presenting our real self to God. It’s bringing before God not the person we hope to be, but the person we actually are…In order to present our real selves to God, we need to be honest with ourselves about ourselves, and honest about ourselves to at least one other trusted and godly person.”

      1. Jodie October 5, 2015

        I apologize that there is such a big picture of me there! I’m new to this and I thought it was going to show up as the profile picture. Now I don’t see how I can take it off!

        1. Danielle Wheeler October 5, 2015

          No worries! You’re not the first to do that, and I’m sure not the last! You can set your profile picture for comments at

          1. Jodie Pine October 5, 2015

            Thanks Danielle! I think I know how it works now.

  8. Sue October 2, 2015

    I really loved hearing the voices and hearts behind the written words! I appreciated the raw honesty of emotion that couldn’t be edited away 🙂 Please do this again! For those of us without much “physical” support, it is sweet to hear Godly voices speaking life and hope.

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 2, 2015

      There was a layer of discomfort with the added vulnerability of non-edited audio.  I SO wanted to edit out all of my “um’s”!  Glad that it was sweet for you, Sue.  I do think that God wants to connect with us through all of our physical senses.

  9. Rebekah October 2, 2015

    I discovered Velvet Ashes only recently and I’m really enjoying reading the posts and discussions. This topic of façade really struck a chord with me. I’ve been on the field for only 9-10 months, and the first 4 were orientation and language school, so I’m still settling in – to the area, my job, into new relationships.

    The last few weeks I’ve been feeling quite weary, partly due to a lack of quality alone-but-with-God time, but I think part of it is also to do with the issue of façade. Not that I’m presenting a completely false image of myself, but rather trying to present my “best” side, all the time! (or at least my opinion of my best side … but that’s another issue!)
    Striving to prove to national colleagues that I do know Swahili, despite the garbled nonsense that often comes out of my mouth; striving to prove to colleagues that I’m not too young and inexperienced for this role; striving to show supporters back home that I’m worthy of their attention, financial support, prayers. Striving, striving, striving… and it’s so tiring!

    When thinking about this earlier this week, I began arguing to myself that striving wasn’t a problem because it wasn’t God’s acceptance, approval or love that I was striving for – I know I don’t need to strive for that – but rather it was everyone else’s approval I was striving for … “Ah whoops, there’s the issue!”, I realised and actually started laughing to myself! I was reminded of Galatians 1.10 (Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.)
    “But God, how can I stop this striving? I don’t know how!” Then I opened my Bible notes, and this was there: Jeremiah 33.2-3 ‘This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it – the LORD is his name: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” ‘.

    The God who shaped the earth and everything in it, who created me, who brought me to this place, he knows my heart and he can help me to rest in him and to rest from my striving for the approval of man.

    Thank you Velvet Ashes!

    Also, it was fun to listen to the recording; I was pleased my internet could handle it. As a very visual person, however, I struggle to follow things when only listening; I get caught by a particular comment, but whilst trying to remember it I lose track of the flow of the conversation! (This is especially when adjusting to unfamiliar voices and accents, being English myself.) Perhaps a transcript as well with future recordings could help others like me?

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 2, 2015

      Rebekah, so glad you’ve found us!  I’m struck by several things you’ve said here.

      “Not that I’m presenting a completely false image of myself, but rather trying to present my ‘best’ side, all the time!”

      I think this is so true and points to why so many of us are exhausted!  And yes, it shows us whose approval we’re trying to win.

      Praying that as we journey together we’ll all be learning to rest in him…

  10. T October 2, 2015

    Amy! I’m scared that isn’t the exact same book (on sale or $2.99)!  Is it the right one?  The cover doesn’t look the same and it is a more recent date, with a different subtitle?

    1. Amy Young October 2, 2015

      T, I checked! It is the right book … just with an updated cover. I looked at the table of contents and it is the same from my book too :). WHEW! But, better safe than sorry, right :)?!

      1. T October 2, 2015



  11. Ellie October 2, 2015

    Thanks for sharing!

    Oh my goodness Kim, the “outlyer thing” if you go with your own choices, yep, and I feel “but I don’t fit in *anywhere*God…”

    Amy, I’m so sorry for your feelings of disconnect – was wondering whether you should maybe wear traditional Chinese dress so that people think you’re different? 😉 And we value all you do because you’re you and being in the right Role for you. I keep thinking of the “God who sees” that Elizabeth wrote about last week – we all need that and sounds like you need it at the moment.

    I think shame and facade are super related. Honesty, into the light, naming, yes, Amen!

    I worry a little about Instagram for that reason. All my friends who are on there I feel like it’s all the amazing stuff and it makes me feel belittled. I want to start a campaign for photos of our dirty kitchen floors etc !

    What do you mean we’re not going to “arrive at this place of wholeness”?! I feel cheated 😉

    Amen to being “Peters”!

    Wow, thanks for that dam picture (Patty?)

    Bible college threatened my facade, and they I’ve built one up again to protect myself through and after some hard bits and disappointments on the field. This last year has been “too much” and the facade has come down to a certain extent, one brick at a time.

    I think it’s really important to choose safe people and choose to be open with them. Choose as in for me it’s hard. I have to push through and actually tell them what’s going on with me. Because I really have had that experience of being shouted down in my vulnerability. So I know that there are some safe people who won’t do that, but it can be all too easy not to reach out to them..

    Love you all. Thanks for being the stewards of this community.

    1. Danielle Wheeler October 2, 2015

      I’ll add my kitchen floor to that campaign, Ellie! 🙂

      And “amen” to choosing safe people and choosing to be open with them.  Hate that you’ve been shouted down in your vulnerability.  Praying healing for you and the bravery to open again.

      1. Ellie October 7, 2015

        Thanks Danielle! A new post where we share photos of our kitchen floors! 🙂

        Getting there. This place is good for me for that. Hug.

  12. Rachel October 2, 2015

    I loved listening to the interaction between all of you, the conversation vs the monologue of a blog post. I could go for more audio/podcast posts!

  13. TGP October 3, 2015

    I couldn’t listen to it.  It stopped after 3 mins and I haven’t been able to play it again so I would say written is best but if I could figure out how to keep it flowing then I’d love audio, too.  I was really interested in the topic as I think it’s something that so many face on and off the field.  My family and I are new to the field and finally “arriving” where we’ve always hoped to be but it’s been hard.  Hard.  Wondering if this is right for us, if we heard right, if we are only here b/c of our foolish desires.  Trying to discern those in my life that I can truly be honest with and are safe to hear the troubles of our hearts.  The truth is there are some that would rather see the facade than deal with the real.

    1. Elizabeth October 3, 2015

      Finding people you can be real and honest with is SO important. Not everybody is safe! I say this as a blogger who is often very real and transparent in her writing and receives kudos for her honesty. Yet there are private battles I fight that only come out with the closest of friends (including my husband). And that’s ok too. It’s healthy to draw those boundaries. It’s too exhausting to be that real with everybody, everywhere. So find your safe people. Safe people you can unload, process, and journey with.

      Praying you will remember in the dark what God spoke to you in the light, and find comfort in His voice and His presence. This is so important! We DO doubt the call when we first arrive on the field — I know my husband and I did. So that doubt is very normal, as is the fact that this cross-cultural life is just plain HARD. Hard in the beginning and hard later on. (But fear not! Culture shock does get easier and fade away. 🙂 )

      P.S. I’ve found Velvet Ashes to be a safe place, so I do hope you will return. Love to you this day.

    2. Melissa October 3, 2015

      “Wondering if we are only here b/c of our foolish desires” Oh, yes, that resonates with me!  Maybe it’s a lie the Devil has used more than once?  Now that we’re looking at 2 years here next month, there’s a little more fruit that shows the lie in that feeling.  I will pray for God’s presence in the uncertainty for you!  Do you remember when you thought it was God talking to you before you came?  I think those moments are good ‘stones of remembrance’ when the uncertainty rises up.

      1. TGP October 5, 2015

        Thank you Elizabeth and Melissa for your encouragement.  I’m knowing that I’m in that wrestling place right now with God.

  14. Shelly October 3, 2015

    I really liked listening to the four of you talk about the topic – unedited. I can feel like I am at the table with you. I understand that podcasts don’t work for all people, but a few times a year would be great!

    Facades. Masks. Walls. Whichever metaphor I choose, it is disheartening to see how hard it is to remove them. And having lived with them so long can I even recognize the facade from reality?? My current role places me in the path of some serious facade building if I am not careful.  But it also puts me in a direct path to dependence on God. May I lean hard on Him rather than prop myself up with self-made supports.

  15. Leslie Verner October 3, 2015

    Wow.  So much to say, but my kids are running around and the snack is running out…  First of all, I LOVED hearing your voice and laugh, Kim!  I miss you!

    I could so relate to your comments on re-entry, Kim & Amy.  Amy, if you feel like an imposter on this site, I certainly do because I’ve already been back in the states for 5 years! But the truth is, like you, I think I’m finding myself gravitating toward Velvet Ashes because it seems like the only place where I can find people who actually “get” me.  Sorry Kim, but I lied–even five years later, I still don’t feel that I truly “fit in.”

    I’m actually hashing out a lot of this in posts about re-entry this month (see my link up) for “Write 31 days,” so it seems that the Lord must really be working on this in me right now.

    Shame. Yes.  I so relate.  Danielle and Patti, thank you for your beautiful images and words of encouragement in this area.

    Ok, the play dough and snacks have run out, so I have to run, but I just wanted to comment quickly and thank you for sharing your hearts.  This is a much-needed ministry and it is having a profound impact not only on those serving overseas, but on those, like me, who are re-learning how to live in and love our passport culture.  Thank you!


  16. sally dharminder October 9, 2015

    hello everyone, I am Sally, AND I am new (I heard about velvetashes from my friend Diane who runs peter’s.wife for cross-cultural female overseas workers).
    Danielle kindly allowed this misfit to join this community (I am a misfit becoz I am a Malaysian and live in my own country, and yet so often, I get along so much better with internationals who live in this region).

    I LOVED the topic of the Façade. Loved, loved, loved. Thanks so much for it.
    I love audio versions, but due to time/lack of a good sound system, I prefer a written text.
    Thanks so much for this topic. It is RARELY talked about, and too many believers walk around with a façade, and yet pray for people to know the Truth…

    God bless this amazing team of 4 dare-to-live-life women who created this platform for the rest of us women-folk to live and move and have our being, as God intended.
    Thank you for welcoming me. 🙂

  17. the grove :: facade « Our Life in Austria October 24, 2015

    […] Groups, there are various questions that are posted during the week over that particular topic. The Grove is where people share and post about the topic of the […]

  18. Day 3: No One Is Special {31 Days of Re-entry} – Scraping Raisins January 23, 2018

    […] Day 1: Introduction Day 2: Grieving Day 3: No One Is Special Day 4: Wasted Gifts Day 5: I Never Expected… Day 6: Identity: Through the Looking Glass Day 7: Did I mishear God? Day 8: When You Feel Like Shutting Down Day 9: Caring for your Dorothy Day 10: You’re Not the Only One Who’s Changed Day 11: 12 Race Day Lessons for Serving Overseas Day 12: Confessions of an Experience Junkie Day 13: Longing for Home Day 14: Readjusting: Same Tools, Different Work Space Day 15: Book Review: The Art of Coming Home Day 16: The Story of My “Call” Day 17: Is Missions a “Higher Calling”? Day 18: And Then I Fell in Love Day 19: Is God Calling You Overseas? Day 20: Life Is Not Seasonal Day 21: What I Took and What I Left Behind Day 22: Groundless, Weightless, Homeless Day 23: When the Nations Come to You Day 24: The Call to Displacement Day 25: Scripture Anchors for Re-Entry Day 26: In the Place of Your Exile Day 27: Resources for Re-entry Day 28: A Time for Everything: A Prayer of Leaving Day 29: Journal: 8 Months After Re-Entry Day 30: 12 Survival Tips for Re-Entry Day 31: A Blessing (Day 32: Writing is Narcissistic (And Four Other Reasons Not to Write)–a reflection on this Write 31 Days experience)  Also linking up with Velvet Ashes.  […]

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