Thursday, May 9, 2013

Joy Killers: Mom Wars

I was having a wonderful day at the park a few weeks ago. It was warm and swarming with children. Mine wanted to climb the rock wall. All four of them climb up and jumped off the 5 ft. ledge- except for Max, whom we carried off after each accomplished climb.

Some parents with young children told them they were too young to try. It took all I had to not roll my eyes. Why wouldn't you let them? As I sat in judgment, a three or four year old girl ran past. She must have been 50+ pounds. She couldn't even lift her little legs high enough to climb without help from her mom I started thinking of all kinds of health problems this child will have due to her condition.

Then God whispered, "You don't know what that mom has been through. Pray and don't judge."

As someone who is infuriated with parents that complain about the inconvenience of children,  I find myself being far too judgmental. I see them missing out on all they joy kids bring and leaving a less then favorable legacy. However, I don't know the whole story. After all, parenting is hard for me and I have a participating husband and an occasional grandparent to help. I have my pet peeves, but then again, I have been judged as well.

I'm not careful enough.
I shelter my kids too much.
I'm denying them of a social life.
They are not in enough activities.

In fact, the more I judge, the more I feel judged. Matthew 7:1 anyone?

It doesn't matter which side I'm on, it just doesn't feel good.

To stay at home or to work.
Private, Public, or home education.
Natural food vs. at least they are fed.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.

Really, the fact was that day, that there were parents who cared enough to take their kids to the park. That is something to be thankful for.

Is it possible to train our minds to encourage before judging? To see that our situations are unique and each family must make the right decision for them? To know that we are not God?

From where I stand, I seems to me that the number one reason for discouragement and depression as a parent is the inability to meet other people's expectations. This is time and effort wasted in the areas not meant for us. It is a joy killer. In fact, it is bondage. It is an inability to flourish in our unique gifts as a family. We set made-up and unrealistic expectations that will always leave us as failures.

But God's expectations are full of freedom and joy. They fit right into our very makeup. They were written for us by our creator. Oh, to live each day delighting in Him, letting Him direct us.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:4-6

Moms, we will enjoy or job much more and do a better job at it if we stop letting others blindly influence our family decision and refrain from having all the answers for someone else. Godly council is good, but it is void of judgment and pride.

Let's encourage each other instead.

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