To know and be known: Relational Wholeness

a 6-part series on the dimensions of wholeness …
to activate you in your life + leadership

Ezer + Co. - Relational Wholeness

The Voice cries, Child, come home.

But home hurts, I reply. Home means ridicule. I am not known, there, only judged. I must hide and suppress to survive. I can’t go back. Home is not safe, Lord, and it is scarce, there, not abundant. It is ‘the lesser place’.

Your healing won’t come unless you go back, my Love. You won’t see my Beauty and Power unless you believe I Can.

But I don’t know how to return, how to stop running. For decades home has only been a dwelling place; a place to lay my head but not my heart. If I keep moving, no one will catch me and see my loneliness, my lack, my inadequacies.

And if you keep moving, Love, you will miss my gift. I can redeem the pain, the loss, the fear. What you see dimly, now, will become clear. I know what it means to go to the “lesser place”. I did that for you. You must stay, awhile, and create beauty where you are.

Then show me how to remove the mask and enter my own story. Heal the wounds of my past and teach me how to make my home a safe place. A haven instead of a thoroughfare. Teach me to LOVE.

— Tamara Carpenter

I wrote this in 2014 when a family crisis made it necessary for me to quit my career and become a full-time caregiver. Outwardly, I embraced my family’s need, but internally I recoiled at the thought of being home all the time. Condemnation and shame flooded me. How could a MOM feel this way? I felt like an imposter. 

My troubled and lonely childhood had sealed in my soul the belief that home was unsafe and unpredictable, and that to survive I had to hide. Hide my fears from the people who were closest to me; the relationships I held most dear. It was easier to work outside the home with strangers who could be kept at arm’s length.  

My upbringing also deposited in my inner being beliefs that became behaviors: 

  • keep working, never rest;

  • always keep the peace;

  • never venture out and try something new;

  • don’t ever be weak;

  • don’t trust others, they will leave you or betray you. 

I was living out these beliefs in my own home as an adult without even being aware I was passing them on to my family.

Here I was, a mother of two adopted children and I was still hiding. I felt ashamed and afraid, unsure where to turn. If I was unable to show up as my true self in my own home, what hope was there for wholeness in any of my relationships? 

With time and inner work, I understood it was not home I was running from, but from being known.

Because to be truly known is to be vulnerable. And for me, being vulnerable had always been unsafe. I was hiding from myself, and in so doing, I was hiding from everyone.   

Coming back into the home exposed my feelings of unworthiness, of being insufficient, of feeling invisible. It highlighted my survival skills to cover shame. When the tension became unbearable, I saw two options:  

search for More, or simply give up.

I chose to search for More of knowing others and being known.

Healing came over time as I did the work I feared most. Vulnerability. I was vulnerable and honest with myself, and with a small group of women who could pray for me, encourage me, and challenge me. This led me to eventually risk more vulnerability with my family.

Women created a safe place for me to expose the messiness inside and the fears that overwhelmed and clouded my thinking.

The only way to overcome shame was to face it. Walk right into it and name it. Slowly, shame began to give way to grace, and grace created room for hope. And hope let me really dream for the first time.

Coaching caused me to look at the narratives I was telling myself. Ancient narratives that had followed generations of women through my ancestral line. I was challenged to check the automatic, self-defeating voices in my head and choose what I wanted. I was invited to show up in my own life and change its course.

Wholeness in your relationships is shown in your ability to build meaningful connections to others including social interactions, cultivate intimacy, and manage conflict.

This is a journey that cannot be traveled alone. By its nature, wholeness requires that we relate with increasing authenticity with ourselves, God, and others.  

If you are feeling a lack in your relational wholeness or a tug toward More, let me encourage you to do this:

  1. Don’t run away from this feeling. Sit in it. Let yourself feel where the struggles lie and resist the urge that is so familiar, the one that tells you it’s too scary, too much.

  2. Identify where you want to experience more relational wholeness.

  3. Remember shame loves silence and darkness. Do something practical to break its power. This can be journaling or sharing with a trusted friend or writing a letter of repair to someone you have hurt.

Simply begin. You are worth it.


Tamara Carpenter

Certified Coach

Interested in joining a coaching group with a sisterhood of other women?

New groups are forming this year to help you take your life and leadership to a whole new level as you deliberately pursue wholeness in every dimension.