The Gospel-Centered Mom: 3 Fads that are Killing Your Joy

3 Fads that are Killing Your Joy

I’m already sweating when I pull into the parking spot. Not close enough to the store, but it will have to do. Four kids ages four and under – the big cart with a two-seater car attached to the front is my goal. Shoot, those are at the other grocery chain. Did I bring my stroller? Doesn’t matter, that wouldn’t help. Two carts or one? This store has narrow isles. One cart. Two can ride, two can walk.

“Everybody out!” Why do I say that? No one can get unbuckled without me.

Everyone in diapers/underwear? Check.

Everyone have shoes on? Check.

Into the store, cram groceries around the toddler in the basket, make a beeline for the checkout. Stuff a cracker in each mouth, grab my wallet – oh. The wallet that’s sitting on the kitchen counter at home? Yeah, that one.

Fail.

Sometimes the gap between my expectations for the day and what actually happens is huge. I look back at the end of the day and think, “What went wrong?”

Disappointment is natural. But when we base our joy on how we’ve measured up to our own expectations, something is off balance. “Was I a good mom today? How do I know?” It is a God-given drive to be the best mom you can be, but our calling becomes an idol if our joy depends on our performance.

There are a host of factors out there waiting to help you determine if you’re a good mom. We have to be guarded. What is meant to help can actually be destructive to our joy. Three major fads in the mommy realm are ready to give you a grade.

Ready to see how you measure up?

Click through to The Gospel-Centered Mom: 3 Fads that are Killing Your Joy to read the rest of the story.  Don’t forget to read the comments at the bottom.  Excellent insights there as well.

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T is for Taking a Break #AtoZChallenge

A to Z Letter TI mentioned on yesterday’s post that this has been a very stressful.  Very stressful.  I’m spiritually battered and emotionally spent at the moment, and my soul is bruised.  Rather than try and come up with something that would be coherent (that’s not happening today), I’ll share what is giving me comfort today, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll start catching up.

Psalm 73:21-26

21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength[a] of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[b] help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Isaiah 53:4-6

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Philippians 4:4-8

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Dear A&E, congratulations, you just committed suicide

There’s nothing I can add. This is the perfect response.

The Matt Walsh Blog

phil

Dear A&E,

I read that you are indefinitely suspending Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty after he quoted the Bible and said that the homosexual act is sinful. I get it, guys. I do. You punished the Christian guy for being a Christian because you got some angry emails from a bunch of whiny gay activists who lack the spine and maturity to deal with the fact that there are still people out there who have the guts to articulate opinions that they find disagreeable. In so doing, you’ve kowtowed to a pushy minority of vocal bullies who don’t even watch your channel, while alienating the fan base of the one show that keeps your entire network afloat.

Makes sense.

You’ve got standards, after all. You wouldn’t want to be associated with tasteless and inappropriate things. The people on Duck Dynasty can’t be allowed to run around being all Christian-like. It…

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The Mirror Moment

Or What I Need (and Want) to Do, but Have Not Yet Succeeded in Doing

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Matthew 18:35:  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Mark 11:25:  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Luke 6:37:  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Luke 17:3-4:  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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cs-lewis on forgiveness

C.S. Lewis talks at length about forgiveness, and what it means to really forgive.  It is a task much more significant and difficult than simply uttering the words “I forgive you.”  It is a radical action, like love, that when done with the same desire and fervency that God has shown, wholly reconciles the relationship.  It is not forgetting, but putting it in the past and leaving it there.

I had a mirror held up to my face heart over the holidays, and realized that I have become that which I hate most.  I seek forgiveness from Christ for the most inexcusable in me, yet I have not done this for others.  I seek reconciliation and redemption from Christ, but I have not offered this to others.  I ask for God’s mercy and grace in my life, but I am reluctant unwilling to spare even a measure of it for others, even those who have granted me an undue portion.

cs lewis obeying godWhat do you do when you realize that all the navel-gazing in the world…that which you thought would give you a release from the bitterness, anger and frustration that has plagued you for so long…does so only minimally, but has the very real consequence of hurting others more than helping yourself?  When the mirror was held up and I saw SAW, I realized the bill of goods that I’d been sold…and believed.  In the effort to make others see, really SEE, I failed to see for myself.  And what I see…finally…is this:  I can not claim forgiveness for myself until I am willing to forgive trespasses against me.  I can not be reconciled to Christ unless I am willing to be reconciled with those in my earthly life.  With my family and friends.

forgive others

And it is HARD.  I have had this crutch, this safety net of anger & pain, for so long that to try and break it down is unbelievably daunting.  Tim Keller talks in Counterfeit Gods about how we don’t realize what becomes a false god to us until we recognize that we have made it more important than God Himself.  Why can’t I trust God to protect my heart?  I know He will.  Why can’t I rely on God to show me the way to redemption?  He always does.  Why can’t I lay at His feet the shackles of hostility, bitterness, pain, grief, anger, frustration, worry…and know that He is bigger than all of those barriers, that He is more than enough, and that He has only been waiting for me to cast aside my counterfeit god and truly rest in Him?

I hate being vulnerable.  I hate being in a position to be attacked, vilified, and ridiculed.  I hate feeling as though knowledge about me constitutes ammunition that can be used on me later.  There is a sense of protection in putting things out into the world in writing, so that I can say what I need want to say without immediate repercussion.  So I have taken the easy road.  I have written about the litany of hurts and slights in my life.  I have wallowed.  And I have hurt others.  I have made targets of people in a manner that allowed (I thought) for as little consequence as possible.  Except that now it is out there, and the bell can not be un-rung.

no-new-years-resolutionsI stopped making New Year’s Resolutions many years ago.  What was the point?  We all start the new year with expectations that it will be different from last year, and from the year before that.  2013 was no different for me…I started the year with no list of things to do better, no list of changes to make, no list of goals to meet (other than to try for the gazillionth time to read at least 100 books).  Then came the mirror moment that reflected how empty my soul has become, because I keep digging at the bottom instead of turning around and letting God fill me up.  I am tired.  I am tired of only partially trusting God, and in still thinking that I have to do the heavy lifting in my life.  I am tired of propping myself up with grudges and grievances.  rather than laying them down at His feet and moving on.  I am tired of what so much navel-gazing has rendered in me…which is nothing.  I am tired of being empty.

Here are my resolutions for 2013…a very different lot than had I made them 17 days ago:

  • Make God the biggest part of my life, rather than the grudges I have held onto for so long.
  • Think of others before myself, care for others before myself, serve others before myself.
  • FORGIVE.  My single, biggest impediment to quieting the personal demons, and to reconciling relationships that have been hurt by my inability unwillingness to forgive.
  • Understand that forgiveness is both an action and a process.  Do it daily, sincerely, and continuously.
  • Read my Bible every day.  Let it infuse me, and change me.
  • Stop making excuses.
  • Be joyful always.  In fact, do just as 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us:  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

be silentPractically speaking, this means the blog will change.  A number of posts will go private, and I will not publish them again.  I have hurt and angered others by writing them, and that stops now.  I will not publish new posts airing grievances against others.  If I can’t find a way to focus my thoughts in an uplifting way that points no fingers, it will not go live.  I want to do something better with my time and my passion.

reconciliation-lizbydesignDoes it seem strange to look at this chain of events and thank God for the crushing blow of clarity?  Sometimes – MANY times – it takes exactly that to get it.  How many times do I need the mirror to be held up before I realize my brokenness is by my own hand, and I am crushed by the weight of my own sin?  I don’t know…I’ll let you know…this year…as I let Him help me out of this spiritual, mental & emotional pit I have dug for myself.

I believe, Lord.  I truly believe.  Please help me to take it to heart and live it out.

Go Ahead…Get Mad

Much hay has been made of how exclusive the GOP is, how unfriendly conservatives are toward women’s rights, how repressive they are toward women’s freedoms.  There are graphics flying around Facebook and other social media that “remind” women time and again that Republicans are not a party that embraces women, that they are a party that seeks to set women back 50 years.

Perhaps so, but is that really such a bad thing?  Really?

50 years ago, women:

  • Were guaranteed the right to vote (Constitutional Amendment XIX, 1920)
  • Were entitled to equal pay (Equal Pay Act of 1963)
  • Were protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination
  • Had a much lower percentage of out of wedlock birth, which likely meant…
  • A much lower percentage of premarital sex
  • Did not have abortion on demand
  • Were more likely to get married and stay married
  • (Most) were more discreet
  • (Most) were more modest
  • Felt an appropriate level of shame when engaging in unethical or immoral behavior, because…
  • Society’s standards against immorality and shady ethics were (generally) higher

This is not a comprehensive list, by any means, but it is representative of a time when people (generally) took more responsibility for their personal behavior, and when women (generally) valued themselves enough to conduct themselves with more propriety.

Fast forward to 2012, where I look around and see women who are “free” to do anything, say anything, wear anything, promote anything, criticize anything – all under the guise of freedom and diversity – and it has resulted in gutter morality, vulgar behavior, slutty apparel, and shamelessness in areas where we, as women, should be blanching with embarrassment & humiliation.

So go ahead…get mad.  I am.  I’m mad that so many women have dishonored and degraded themselves to such a degree that they shriek in protest if someone passes judgment against them, never once considering that they need to examine their own pitiful behavior.  I’m mad that so much of politics involves insuring that abortion remains available upon demand.  I’m mad that so many women think that tax payers should provide all of the money for their reproductive choices, and that they feel they bear no responsibility other than shrieking about unfairness and discrimination should there be any objections.  I’m mad that conservatives get made fun of and called hypocrites for having less permissive standards.  I think it’s high time that respect for women be earned by respectable behavior rather than demanded in the name of freedom.

We, as women, should require much better than the moral and ethical depravities of 2012.  We should require it of ourselves first, and then of those around us.  If we are to have respect, we must behave in a way that commands it…from everyone.  I’m starting with me, and with my vote in November.