While you were being a good mom 7/29/2011

I haven’t written anything new for a couple of weeks because, honestly, I don’t want to fake it to make it. I see bloggers who share everyday, but this spreads the content very thin. I am still trying to decide how often I can expect anyone besides my own family to want to hear what I have to say. In the meantime, I will try to be regular with the Friday link-sharing feature. Here is what you missed this week while you were cleaning up biohazards and keeping really cute people from harming themselves or others.

What a Good Mom

There are no Words –  If you are a word geek like me, this is fun. this is a list of words from other languages that have no English equivalent. You will wonder why some of them are necessary and how we manage without the others.

Breast Ironing – Yes, I did a double-take on that one too. Just when you thought you have heard everystrange practice of women around the world, here is another. This story also shows us the strong women of the area who are trying to stop it.

The Apostle Paul getting worse and worse – Paul is my go-to guy when I am feeling sorry for myself or even proud of myself.  He tells us to imitate him in his walk with Christ. That sounds like some serious swagger for an apostle.  This article will show you how humility was a developing characteristic for him and a great goal for us.

This is just for fun – Stick with this video and you will either see something you are all too familiar with, or you will learn about some pop-culture that will catch you up to speed….or catch you up to about 2005 anyway. That’s about the standard time warp for busy moms.

While you were being a Good Mom…..

 In order to succeed at blogging, you must start out pretending you have lots and lots of readers. My first attempt to keep up this illusion will be a new feature. (Blogs with lots of readers have features) This one is going to be a link-sharing feature that helps moms like me have one place where they can plop down for a minute and see some of the cool things from the internet. If you are still in the stage of child rearing that is all about keeping people alive, you don’t have time to mosey around the net like I do. Stop by on Fridays for shortcuts to some of what I saw while you were being a good mom.

Taylor Mali slam poet  – Now don’t go thinking that I even understand all of what slam poetry is. I am a very white girl with absolutely no street cred but this man happens to be white as well and he is considered one of the best. He addresses a pet peeve of mine while inspiring his audience to speak with authority. The first thing people noticed about Jesus when he spoke publicly for the first time was that he spoke with authority. It is not to be feared but imitated.

A new trend in plastic surgery – This article is for women only. Women are having all their body parts redone to look like magazines….all their parts. I share this because of the revealing comments the women share. Women are supposed to have been freed from oppression to become whatever they want to be. It is heartbreaking to read what many, many women have decided that should be.

Can I get an “Amen” ? – Jenna Fisher, who plays Pam Beasley on The Office, reaches a much larger audience than I ever could with an important message for “the nation” regarding a pregnant woman and her needs.

Glorious Day – The Casting Crown’s song  “One Day” is  a lovely song. Really, it is.  But…someone has messed with it and this is how it really goes. It should be played the way it was originally written and played by a lovely old lady. Oh, and there should be a few fumbles at the keys because she is keeping it real. I can’t explain how happy this makes me.

On Family-Sized Blessings and No Regrets

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed in the hotel room after our first night as man and wife. It was time to finally get up and get on with our first day together. For the past few months, my morning routine included taking a birth control pill. For some reason I paused and we prayed about what to do with the rest of those pills. We felt complete peace with leaving them there in that wastebasket. I can still see them laying there in their pastel case, still open and alone. It was one of the top three decisions we ever made.
Little did we know (a lot of stories from newlywed days start with that phrase) that we would be expecting a baby so soon. By September, this June bride was queasy and green and pregnant. I was only 18, just out of high school. All I had ever wanted to be was a mom. I never even thought about being a teacher or a nurse or even a rock star. Well, maybe for a few months when I was little, I wanted to be one of Barker’s Beauties – dodged a bullet there. Other than that, when adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say “pregnant”. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I had achieved my career goals ahead of all those suckers who were just starting college.

It would take many posts to cover all that happened to bring us where we are now. We are the parents of six beautiful children who make our lives better, contrary to what most people think. We all make each others lives better and that is the bonus of it all. We decided for our family that we would follow our desire to have babies, even when it went against modern thinking and even common sense. I would pretend for a while after each baby that I was done, but I knew I was lying to myself.

getting these pics is harder than you’d think

I used to tell people we were letting God decide when we would have another child. I now believe that He decides this whether you “let” Him or not. He can override your birth control method, He can heal a vasectomy, He can change a heart and He can tell you when it is time to move on to Phase II of family growth. During this time of arrogance when I believed I had “let” God do something others had not, I heard numerous stories of regret from women who had done something permanent to prevent babies in their family. I would feel sad for them or angry at their selfish husbands or fed-up with the world and its ways. Now I believe that all the babies that are supposed to be here are here. God will not be thwarted. There are no unused souls sitting around sad in heaven because someone took her pill today. This is just not what the Bible teaches us.

Now, before you start using all CAPS in the comment boxes, I do believe that the decisions to have babies or not to have babies should be taken very seriously. My point is that God leads in so many subtle and mysterious ways. Every woman should educate themselves and do whatever they do in an informed manner. For instance, I do not take birth control pills because they come with the chance that a fertilized egg will be spontaneously aborted. Once I knew this information, I could not take them in good conscience.

The best thing to ask when deciding about children is are your reasons for attempting to prevent a baby purely selfish? So many times this is the case. I believe any couple trying to make this important call does best to stay close to God, search His Word, listening for His guidance. In my experience, it will not be subtle. No blog can tell you what to do or let you off the hook from what you are called to do. You must know in the deepest way possible that you and your God are clear on this.

My heart hurts for women who want children or more children and their husbands do not. (or vice versa) However, I can’t imagine having a child with a man who had simply lost this argument. I would much rather watch for your hearts to line up on this issue, one way or the other. I have a friend who prayed earnestly for a year and watched her husband’s heart soften to the plan of a second child. This joint decision-making comes in handy in the middle of the night for feedings, puddle cleaning during potty training and when that first car insurance bill comes after they pass that driving test. Then you can happily think, no regrets. None.

Seriously now, these things are deeply personal. What happens with your family is ultimately up to an Almighty God who does not make a mistake while His head is turned. He goes ahead of you, He has your back, and He takes care of your regrets as well. The child you are imagining could just be a future, flesh-and-blood child – His child.

Let’s All Bow our Heads and Say “Grace”

I am republishing this post today as a reminder to myself. Anyone out there need some grace today?

My six-year-old is known for saying some dinner-stopping stuff, but this past week she let one fly that I will need to remember forever. She started by saying that she loves her daddy more than she loves me. Now that may sound awful, but I was glad to hear that one.  Her daddy would have been gratified to hear it, if he had been there.  He is always having to be the heavy around here so he gets the lower flow of the warm fuzzies. The reason she gave is what echoed in my head and still stirs around uncomfortably in my gut. She said, “Daddy loves God more than you.” …Ouch. Wow. Really?

Of course I had a ton of questions for her. Why did she think this? He prays with them every night before bed and I have them pray. To quote her, “He prays more than you.” Then my ten-year-old piped in with, “But Mommy reads her Bible more than Daddy.” Oh dear.

I have lots of explanations for why they think these things. That is beside the point. I was left wondering why my little one didn’t see me loving God. Do I not teach her right from wrong on a minute-by-minute basis? But…have I explained where I get all those standards from? Do I not talk to her about God and Jesus and love and sin? Yes, but…

I realized I was avoiding talking to them about spiritual things because I am afraid. I am afraid of doing the classic talk-the-talk without walking the walk. I know too many who have been burned by this hypocrisy. There is no way I could live up to all the ideals I want to teach them. It is one of the hardest dichotomies of parenthood. My children see me for who I really am. They see me get angry and tired and complain and make jokes at the expense of others. They see me dance like a fool to a Kesha song. They see me laugh my annoying laugh at less-than-spiritual things on 30 Rock. This is why I don’t want to preach to my children. I’m very prone to give up doing something if I can’t get it just right.

So God in His great timing has been teaching me about grace. Not just the work of grace that He did on the cross by reconciling us to God, but the constant state of grace that we live in every moment. I realized, through the work of the Spirit, and my great ladies group, that I have been trying to reach a place where I no longer need grace. I was striving for the ultimate sweet spot where I would live consistently and be transformed into some other kind of Christian who didn’t need to feel failure or darkness or doubt or defeat. This place is one we are all to look forward to, while at the same time realizing our inability to achieve anything but human-ness this side of heaven. Until that great day, we rely on Jesus as our righteousness. Not to teach it to us or help us achieve it but to BE it for us. It is our only peace.

So now my job is to be human and spiritual with my children. I will try to do this more each day, keeping grace in mind as the motto for me and for them. I can demonstrate love for them even when they fail. I can  explain to them how this is possible through what God has done for me. I’m only sad that I learned this so late in the game. The beauty part is, His great grace will cover that too.

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.