Thursday, November 7, 2013

Poor Grandma, Part 3

If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, you might want to read them first.

My head spins with all that is in it.  So many contradictions, so many opinions. So much pull to things other than Him.  The devil is a cunning and crafty adversary and has lured an entire gender of this and every other industrialized nation into an ages old game of compare-and-contrast and hyper-exaggerated it.  Do the duos Rachel & Leah or Martha & Mary ring any bells?

One friend refuses to serve her children any soda other than diet, another searches out soda without high fructose corn syrup and yet another thinks it's child abuse for any parent to serve their children soda of any sort.  Which one loves their children more?

One friend is gluten-free, another feeds her children Paleo, and a yet another is a regular at the McDonald's drive-thru.  Which one is the better mother?

One friend will only buy fair-trade clothes, another says her new necklace that she bought on Etsy was "only" $60, and another friend cries as she can't find jeans at the thrift store that fit her children.  How do you know which one is a better steward of their money?

One friend says she has no time to be on Facebook and the other friend's feelings are hurt because she can be found on Facebook quite often so what does that mean about the way she spends her time?  And yet another friend apologizes about being on Facebook all the time and must explain her new fangled phone.  Which one uses her time wisely?

Only God can see the heart of each of these women.  I'm certain they are all wonderful mothers, doing the best they can.  We each make decisions for our family based on the information we have available.  Would it be edifying to say "Please tell me you don't feed your child aspartame?"  Would it be encouraging to say "I really hope you don't buy clothes made in a sweat-shop!" 

If we stop and think, do we feel judged and belittled by our friends or do the voices in our own head scream more than loud enough to make up for it all?  Did my friend *really* imply that if I am on Facebook I must be sitting around lollygagging all day long or do I feel guilty and therefore interpret what she said incorrectly?

Can we just give it all up?  Stop judging?  Stop comparing?  Stop looking at other peoples muscle mass, flower beds, children's birthday parties, SAT scores, marriages, residential square footage, on and on ad nauseum....and just live the life God wrote for me and me alone?  Love God, love your neighbor, serve others, die to self? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Poor Grandma, Part 2

Note: Just after I posted Poor Grandma, Part 1 I could not access, edit or otherwise even see my posts.  Mr. Steady was able to find & solve the problem for me...thank you, dear!

For Part 1, read here 

There are many modern conveniences, joys, and treats that I enjoy that "Grandma" never did.

For example, I thoroughly enjoy having a library tens of thousands of books a few blocks from my home.  I love that books are not as expensive as they once were and my boys can visit places all around the world through the stories they read.  If you've read this blog for any length of time you know how much I treasure books & reading.

I enjoy my running water, my shower, my washer & dryer - especially with all those cloth diapers, and my dishwasher.  I enjoy entertaining and hosting parties, it's fun to do something special for friends.  But do I do it because I want to bless my friends or do I do it so they will be impressed?  

"Grandma" was never able to keep in touch with so many friends and family through her computer.  "Grandma" was never able to hear sounds and songs from far away countries such as Kenya, Ireland, India, or Brazil.  Our world is so much bigger and more diverse than "Grandma"'s world ever was.  I'm so blessed to be able to email our friends in Kenya, Haiti and Norway - to see pictures of their children and to hear about their lives.

I enjoy looking at all the different and varied crafty projects available through Pinterest.  I am glad I don't have to make all of my families clothing or grow our own food.  I am glad I don't have to hitch up the horse and wagon every time I leave the house (although lately I'm thinking a horse would be more reliable!)

There is nothing inherently wrong with hosting dinner parties, painting your walls new colors or wanting your children's education to be more varied and diverse than your own.  But when we start comparing, judging, feeling discontent with our lives because of these things it just feels wrong. 

Please don't misunderstand, I am preaching to myself here - I want to serve God, love my family, love others, acknowledge my blessings, bless others - not out of the abundance of my blessings but bless others sacrificially.   I don't want to add more lists of things I must do, heaping rules and more unrealistic expectations on myself.

So because I was born for such a time as this, I will live in the moment, not pining for the past, not hoping for the future.  I will embrace the things that are useful to achieve His purposes for my life and chuck the things that bind. I will not question or judge how other people spend their time, their money, their resources.  I will not presume that because you do things differently that I am worse or you are better.  I will add beauty and peace to my life and discard misplaced expectations and appraisals.

My value is in Christ alone.  Am I pleasing Him?  Is this what He desires for me?  Is this how He desires I spend my time?  Is what I am feeling true, noble, lovely, pure....?  Dear Lord, keep my eyes focused on you & may my life and actions, decisions and words be pleasing and glorifying to You alone!