January 31, 2010

What Makes us Better Mothers? How do we View others?

What makes us better mothers?

Do you homeschool or send your kids to school?

Do you cloth diaper, use disposables or both?

Do you breastfeed, bottle feed or both?

Do you home birth, hospital birth or done both?

Do you natural birth, use epidurals, or done both?

Do you cook with whole foods or open up a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese?

Do you home church or are a member of mega church?

Do you wear a head covering, long skirts or have short hair and wear trendy clothes?

Do you do attachment parenting or let your babies cry to sleep?

Do you have 2 children or 20?

Do you use birth control or not?

Do you live on your own land/farm or do you live in a small apartment?

Do you work or stay home with the kids?

Do you immunize or never dare to inject your child?

I am going to be very transparent and open with you all. I don't know if it's just hormones but what I have swimming in my heart and mind lately needs to come out. So this is the case for my posting this side of me. I know we can go from blog to blog like we might go from home to home, everyone has different lives and different family chemistry. I am still on my search in finding out who I'm suppose to be in this world. Yes, I am called to be a wife, a mother, and a woman of God...I know this. But I look at my life and wonder "Lord, who am I?"

Okay-- prepare yourselves for this LOL.... :) When growing up, I was the sort of teen that fit in everywhere and with all types of people. The cool preps, the punk rockers, the skateboarding crowd, the cheerleaders, the partiers, the head bangers, the smart nerd types,.....etc... . I was a "watcher" of people. I would sit back and look at others and think "wow, they have a happy life." or "They are pretty, talented, and the most popular. Maybe if I do what she is doing then maybe I might get all the boys to like me." :) and as I grew up and became a Christian, I would do this in church. Thinking, "Well....they seem godly and happy and have friendships with the leaders in church....hmmmm.....maybe I need to be like them?" You get my drift? I wasn't going to the Lord for my identity, but I was going out.....I was looking outside to find my identity. I know really sad. :(

Soooo, when I became a mother, I found myself falling into the same pattern. I would look "out" because I knew there were some success somewhere and I wanted to be the "best mom" around. I wanted to show the world that I was a good mom. All in the name of the Lord, I wanted to do all that might look "righteous" to those around me. Ouch!! I know....Please bare with me. I can't believe I am even sharing this with you all.

I will share some personal examples of how I thought if I "followed" certain trends or ways of life it would make me "feel" like a better mother in the eyes of the world or church. Yes, I would end up following others way of life and then thinking that "this was it!!" This is the way ALL moms should be like. This was "true mothering"! Unfortunately it caused a bit of judgement to come out on my side towards those not like me or feelings of being judged if I decided to do the opposite. What torment to feel this way. Anyway, here are some examples of what I have gone through or thoughts I've had.

I had been through a whole foods, natural eating kick and I would think that if I didn't feed my family the "perfect food" it would make them sick and God forbid...I don't want to look like I feed my kids Captain Crunch in the mornings. GOD FORBID!! LOL I still find myself on the cereal isle looking left to right hoping none of the healthy moms I know aren't in the same store because who knows what she will think of me. She might think I'm not a good mother and how dare I feed my children this junk or even worse---Ramen Noodles!! You know what I mean...don't say you don't know? :) LOL

Or what if I do give my children vaccines? Does this mean I am poisoning my children? Or what about homeschooling, what if God called me to put them in school?? Oh, God NO, NO, NO---not public school, anything but that! Only the "lost" go there or the parents that don't care for their kids. I need to sacrifice and prove that I can do it ALL!! Barf-A-Roni! I know horrible thinking, but really, I would think these thoughts. Remember I'm exposing my dirty laundry (my whole life of dirty laundry LOL) My thinking now is (after the convictions of the Lord---ouch it hurt, let me tell ya!!) Yeah, I'm a homeschooling mom, but this doesn't make me any better than if I decided to send them to public school and it doesn't mean I have backslid. (Oh and if your are wondering--no we are not putting the children in school)

How about the family who chooses to have two or four children and not 8, 10, 20? Ohhhhhh......brace yourselves--AGAIN! Are those moms being selfish and not giving all "control" to the Lord? Maybe? Maybe not? Who's to say that the mother of two is not doing God's will for her life? Or that she is selfish? Why should we judge?!!

Or, what about birthing? Does home birthing or using no meds prove I am a TRUE WOMAN? I have arrived! I Birthed WITH NO medications so I am THE WOMAN! Where is my button saying I am a Natural Home Birth Mama! LOL :D Quick I need to pin it on so EVERYONE knows I did it!! How about cloth diapering? Maybe if I diaper my baby with cloth then I am doing good for him. (I have started cloth diapering again after laying it down for a couple of years--she still wears disposable at night and when I don't feel like dealing with washing dipes. LOL! Freedom!)

What about the working mom?? How dare I look down on her or even think negative thoughts of why she is working. I have no clue and I don't need to be concerned or judge her for working outside the home.

Then there is the breastfeeding condemnation we might face. These are true thoughts that many mothers might struggle with and beat themselves up about if they are not successfully nursing their babies. Tears come pouring down the faces of mothers thinking they are not good enough to feed their little newborns; thinking they are not doing their job as a "nurturing" nursing mother. These thoughts beat mothers up!! I tell those moms "It doesn't matter HOW you feed your baby. This doesn't mean you don't love them or aren't caring for them. It is ok to give them formula. You are no less of a mother than the one who nurses her baby till he's 2. Enjoy being different than the norm, rejoice and know that you are your baby's mama and this little one loves YOU not what he eats!!" :)

Ok....ready for another? Watching entertainment? What if some moms let their kids watch to much tv? Does this make a family irresponsible and not good parents? We don't know what season of life they are in or why they chose to let their kids watch certain movies or not watch TV at all. If we don't watch TV or movies does this make us better? Of course not!!

I hope I didn't offend anyone of my readers. I am just sharing some ugliness that the Lord has exposed in me. It is truly an ugly heart of judgment I may have put on others for not doing certain things, certain ways. You know sometimes I feel like I can be such an ugly person inside. I have been crying out to the Lord to show me His love. What it means to Love in His way. He revealed alot of it through things in my own life. Like I said there have been seasons in my life that I had been so radical about and thought everyone needed to do it like ME!! But God showed me that everyone and every family is different. Some have different callings in their lives. Some might be going through a season in life that no one understands why. Some might have been directed by the Lord to follow a certain way of life. Some might just be slow to understand the Lord's direction in their life. I have learned that my only reaction and thought to anyone or any family must be LOVE! Pure Love!! This is all they need from me is Love. Not my opinion or advice as to what they should or should not do. I need to support them in the God kind of Love.

Judgemental thoughts is such an ugly thing. I have learned through my own life that I would actually judge others and then realize a few years later.....I am on the other side. I am now like the one I judged. Ouch!! But what a lesson learned! Jesus continues to show me and convict me in ugliness of heart and I weep in sadness knowing that I would think this way. This scripture has brought such light to me and it is a scary thing to be a judge, even if you don't realize you are doing it. I didn't realize I was doing it!! I thought I was giving my opinion on the matter or thinking about what they should do. Not realizing it was not my business unless they asked, and even still....I need to encourage them to seek the Lord for answers, not man!

Matthew 7:2

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

I am coming to understand LOVE in a new way. I am still learning and the Lord is showing me everyday how to LOVE in His way. Not a judgmental love or thinking I have all the answers for the person, but to show them to seek Him for the answers and He will teach them all they need to know and who they are to become. EVERYTHING!! Even if the world, church, peer groups, homeschool groups, etc think they are nuts they need to do it because the Lord told them to.

The Lord loves His children just the same, no matter what state in life we may be in. He delights in our love for Him. Not everyone is a clone and not all need to be the same, even though God still sees us all the same. I remember having a vision of heaven.....I was in a beautiful field of little yellow flowers. This field was miles and miles in size. It was huge! It was beautiful! I remember looking at one of the flowers and seeing my face in it and the Lord said "These represent my children on earth. I see them all the same. There are none who are more prettier, more successful, or different. They are all the same to Me." And He treasured this field.....it was right next to the throne room of the Lord. It was truly beautiful!

He is waiting for us to come to Him with open arms and not to follow those things that we think might make us better mothers or women of God, but be led completely by Him in what He wants us to do. You just might be surprised on what he wants you to do. Things you thought might be the so called "right thing" to do in the eyes of the world or church and realize He is leading you to sacrife your Isaac. Yikes!! But what lessons you will learn. There is truly a freedom when we surrender our own will to the Lord!!

With His kind of LOVE,


PS: I encourage you to read the comments posted thus far. I have added a response to one of my readers. Interesting stuff..... Feel free to join in the discussion. :) We are all growing and learning together.
Chris

13 comments:

Morgan said...

It does hurt to be judged. Considering that none of us will ever be perfect, we all fall to someone's scrutiny at some point. There is someone in my life that is extremely judgmental of every little thing I do. It has caused me a mass amount of stress and pain as well.

We can never control what other people will think of us, but yes, we can control how we think of others. Like you, I've found myself on the "other side" some times. I've also tried to take it easy on what I think of other moms, because you just never know what is going on in someone's heart. Most women want to be awesome moms, not crummy ones. When I start to think of someone else's choice as a wrong one, I try to remember that maybe it was the right choice for their particular circumstances, even if I don't understand it.

Thank you for sharing your heart on this subject.

Benitta said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://toddlergirls.net

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I LOVE this post. This is why I keep coming back. You are raw, real and I love it and love you!

Chris, you and I are so much alike it isn't funny. Our motive was to be a better mom, but it ends up backfiring.

Just know that I am a disposable diaper, breastfeeding, vaccine-giving, junk-food-cereal-eating (sometimes), hospital birthing, homeschooling, pants and skirt wearing, mom of six. I don't know anyone else like me. God has made me unique and in His image. I have prayed about all of these decisions. I might have leaned one way at one time or another, but now I have found a happy medium for myself and my family. I no longer judge those who work or who don't. Most women I know that do work, work for insurance purposes.

Great post, and the Lord is working on both of us, isn't He?

Thanks for sharing your heart. We need more honest blogs like this. This is the kind of stuff that is beneficial to people who are struggling.

leah said...

Chris you are exactly right we have no right to judge others, look down on them or tell them they are wrong. But that doesn't mean some things are not wrong. Some things are prefences like diapers, vaccinations,breastfeeding, how you eat, home birth, but other things you listed are right and wrong acording to the Bible. like I said I don't judge others for not doing these or think I'm better. The issue of pants to me is pretty clear in the Bible please don't shut me off I'm just sharing my heart and what I have studied.(no meanness intended. Deuteronomy 22:5 The women shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, neither shall a man put on a women's garment: for all who do so are a abomination unto the Lord thy God. Now the old testement is valid God never dismisses it, what was nailed to the cross was serimonial laws. This is a moral law. People that think everything in the OT is not valid then I guess we should throw out the 10 comandments, is it ok to kill, commit adultery, and worship other Gods? No. So back to the verse pants are a garment that pretanth to a man. Women for 100s of years wore dress, that all changed when the femmist movement happened and women wanted to be just like MEN. The feminist movement is a very wicked think that caused much damage to our nation and familys, and thats wear women wearing pants came from. If women can wear pants then it must be ok to put a pink fluffy dress on a boy , but that is considered outrages. But then women can put on pants and no one thinks twice. God makes it very clear in the OT and NT that he wants men and women to look different. He called it a abomination for them to dress the same.

So if you ignore that verse because its in the OT, Then there is this verse 1st Timothy 2:9 NT In like manner also that women adorn themselfs in MODEST apparel, with shamefacedness and sobrity, not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. Now I don't think its wrong to braid hair or wear necklaces, it also talks about apparel and we should defintily wear clothing! But it says for our apparel to be modest. Womens pants are not modest, it is a tight outline of your bottom, thigh, and legs. Body parts men lust after ( it is also importiant. Not to wear low cut tops or tight tops which are also immodest.) so even if you think pants can be a women's garment then they are still not modest and cause men to lust. So some women say they wear baggy pants or gouchos to be modest, well even most baggy pants and gouchos are still tight around the bottom, and if you get pants baggy enough to be modest they look like MEN'S pants.( not to mention very sloppy). So to me there is no way around it. If you want to ride a horse or do some actvitys like that modest kulotts are a good altrnitve. My body is for my husband and him only, so I want to keep it for him and not cause other men to lust after me. Don't get me wrong I don't think I'm so good looking or anything. Men think differently then us, so we have to be careful. I dont think I'm better for wearing skirts I do think its is wrong for a women to wear pants but that is somthing between them and the lord. I don't go around preaching to people about it, I don't think people should do that. I have had a few women that know I only wear skirts ask me why and I sweetly tell them one on one not in a group. And I also tell them its just what I've got from studying about it and they should study it themselfs. I do think we should seek the Lord in these issues but a way he speeks to us is in his word. Study out these subjects you have listed, in the Bible. I know you probly have. Believe me I don't think I'm perfect there are a lot of things I have to work on, everyone does.

leah said...

..........I have convictions like vaccinations I don't do and I cook healthy foods because God wants us to take care of our body, so we can do more for him, and the holy sprit lives inside us. But I don't care if someone thinks different, if they judge then that's wrong of them. I have friends that wear pants and friends who believe in birth control, which I don't. But they are still good friends of my and I love them just the same. Sorry for such a long post. I hope you don't take offence, that was not my intent. I love your blog and will keep coming back, you sound like a lovely Christian women. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Women working is wrong God said he would have women marry and guide the house. Also women in the work place have caused adultery, and children to be negleted. That's not how God designed it

Timmy's Girl @ Luv My Quiver Full Of Arrows said...

OH,Sista. Good post, Girl. I will have to ditto Morgan and Stacy...LOVE YOU.

And miss you, too.
xoxo,
Veronica

Chris in FL said...

Thanks Leah for sharing your heart.

I understand what you mean about the pants thing. But what I am trying to point out is judgement on any part in the body of christ. Yes, we can come and speak our convictions or truth in love. But that is it!

Religion or works oriented walk with the Lord can cause someone to feel like they are not loved by God if they aren't doing the all the works.

In 1 samuel 16:7 it says:

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

The heart is the biggest thing the Lord is concerned about. And it is through His own conviction and word that will make a woman to dress in skirts or whatever. BUT---we should never think we are better if God tell us to wear skirts or a head covering. This is the point I am sharing.

THere have been many times where because I have done something in the scriptures that may look "righteous" and then realized I was doing the works with a pride to it. I was acting like I heard God more and better than the mom who had 2 children and wore a nose ring and jeans. Who happened to be in a different place in her life or walk with God. Who am I to judge anyone but to encourage them to be the Woman and Mother God has called them to be, not because a teaching or religion has said so!

Not looking on the outward but looking at the heart of love and compassion. We can look to the outside world like we have it all together and look like we are "godly" but inside we have lusts, gossip, anger, covetousness, you name it. I rather wear my jeans and never have any nasty gossip, lusts, anger, etc...

Or I'd rather work outside the home than to force myself to be home fighting and yelling at my kids and sitting depressed. Sometimes it is better to stand back and look unto the Lord and ask Him to show us what to do and maybe it might be a season of placing kids in school and working for some to see that "you know what? I think I can handle being at home without fighting, and I think I can homeschool." So we have no right to look at a mom who is working or public schooling....because we dont know what God is speaking to her inward heart.

And Leah, I welcome you to come and I thank you for sharing. I just had to add to my post.....I guess LOL

You know what? I am still learning, growing and loving and by far have I arrived.. Who knows I might be wearing dresses next year. LOL

leah said...

Chris
you have a good heart, but you seem to think every thing is a gray aera, but right and wrong is black and white. that is the problem with this world today everything is circumstances. well some things you listed are right and wrong, I wasn't judging at all I thought I made that clear. it just seems like you used to do these types of things for the wrong reason, and now you are saying they are all prefences, but they ate not. not everyone that wears dress, eats heathy and stuff are mean and judgmental. please don't just say people who are doing some of thoes things are judging. and about the hair coving thing the Bible says a women's hair should be A covering and it is her glory, it doesn't say it should be covered. A women's hair should be long. And women with long hair wear trendy cloths to just modestly. Your right God is mostly concerned with the heart, that doesnt mean everything in the Bible is up to prefences. He says some things are plain wrong. If your heart is right you will want to follow his comandments. But this is why our nation is failing, not because of the "bad sinners" but us Christians. We are so librial and acept anything and everything when the Bible has clear verses on it. The things God convicts you about will never be oppisate of what his Word says the Bible. That's what's wrong with your whole post, some things are oppisate of Gods word, so they are wrong. I think we should treat everyone with love and not judge them nomatter what, but that doenst mean we should condone anything and everything. You can't just call all of us that want to do that as people with aditudes. That is judging.

momto9 said...

good post. A lot of outward stuff are done out of pride and a lust to be recognized as a good Christian or mom. Judging the thoughts and intents of MY heart rather than someone elses is where being a genuine Christian all starts.

Chris in FL said...

Leah,

I wanted to say I totally admire you for stopping your blogging or visiting blogs. I have been told by the Lord to lay some of the blogging down. I used to visit many blogs and spent much time debating my beliefs. I know how it can be on the mind! So you go girl and do what God is calling you to do. Sometimes through times like this we learn so much about God's call in our lives. He is truly a wonderful friend, daddy!!! Only by His love and correction can we be changed.

I hope you still visit on occasion. And whether we disagree on certain issues we are all learning together. I am not against wearing dresses or skirts. I actually think many women should consider dressing more modestly. It is a respect to the opposite sex, but if they are still wearing their skin tight jeans that is A- OK...that is between them and God!!

With Love,
Chris

Rachel and Family said...

What an amazing post!! I loved every bit!

Jen said...

I'm enjoying these last few posts...I'm curious how these statements make sense:
copied from one of your comments...
"1st Timothy 2:9 NT In like manner also that women adorn themselfs in MODEST apparel, with shamefacedness and sobrity, not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. Now I don't think its wrong to braid hair or wear necklaces"


How can one take that verse and say it's wrong to wear pants but "I don't think it's wrong to braid hair or wear necklaces"

Interesting.....no need to comment to me on here because I won't have time to come back and read the comments for a few days but feel free to comment on my blog or email me.

Keep at it, girl. A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised...whether or not she wears pants or skirts. My heart is seeking and finding the Lord and I'm wearing my pants....one of my closest friends are seeking and finding the Lord in her skirts....our hearts are in one accord!