“What’s so bad about your life, anyway?” he spat at me.

I recoiled from the tone – and the truth – of his words. Though our argument was resolved within the next ten minutes, the words remained, beating within my head, resonating in my heart.

Because the truth is – nothing. There’s nothing truly “bad” about my life. My family is in relatively good health. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and financial stability. I have the freedom to be flexible with work and the jobs I take on. I’m blessed with supportive friends. I love our church. I work with great ministry organizations.

On the surface, life looks good. So why do his words ring true?

The discontent can rise up in so many ways: Feeling frustrated with the challenges this pregnancy has wrought. Thinking someone else could be a better parent to my kids. Hiding my temper, but knowing it’s still lurking in the background. Feeling tired and worn and weary but most of all, feeling like it’s not ok to feel that way.

Sometimes, I feel like a fraud. And it’s exhausting. Because the truth is, while my life might seem easy on the surface, sometimes I’m just treading water — waiting for relief, for bedtime, for a moment that makes the daily mess of life worth it all.

It’s always when I’m at the end of my patience, when I’ve had it with sassiness and sticky floors and potty training accidents that those moments come. When Elise and Tim twirl around our living room at 7 a.m. When a friend texts me to say she knows what I’m going through. When my daughters hold a lengthy conversation with the child in my womb. When my husband takes the baby monitor so I can nap, even though the football game is on TV. When I’m the only one awake in the late hours of the night, thankful for the silence and comfort of a cozy, dream-filled house.

When I feel like a fraud, I just need to remember: I’m only a fraud if I’m not honest about the struggle, if I let my outward appearance mask my inner turmoil. The truth is that sometimes, life is hard. But God is good. And he’s given me so much goodness.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Phil. 4:8-9 (MSG)