The Kind of Mom I NEVER Want to Be

About 6 months after Morgan was born, I went through a weird phase where I decided it would be a great idea to start a hair bow business.  It lasted about a year and after some tired fingers and lots of 2 a.m. coffee,  I decided It would be best to leave the hair bow business in the hands of the professionals…in China.

Needless to say, I still have lots of supplies left over including an organizer with every size and color of rhinestone imaginable.  Morgan discovered my collection and has since adopted it as her own.

A few days ago, Morgan told me she had a surprise for me.  She opened her little hands and revealed the three biggest rhinestones in the box.  “These are for you Mommy!” – she exclaimed as she held them up to my face.  I put them in my jewelry box and gushed over them as if they were real gemstones.

She then proceeded to get more for me to put in my jewelry box.  I soon realized that to Morgan these gems were not just acrylic rhinestones that cost less than a dollar at any craft store.  To her, they were her most priceless possession and she was giving them to me…

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The parable of the talents is a passage I have heard since I was young, however, I missed an important aspect.  In Matthew 25:14-30, a man entrusts talents to 3 different servants.  “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” 

From the passage, we can see that talents and abilities are not all equal.  While we are born with various abilities, God gives us different opportunities to use those abilities.

The first two servants were both faithful and doubled their talents, so they both received the very same reward (vv. 21, 23).  God was just as pleased with the servant who doubled 2 talents as He was with the servant who doubled his 5 saying in both situations, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”  

Each servant was faithful with what He was given.  Whether your resources and abilities are small or large, what counts is your faithfulness with whatever you are given.  The Christian who is faithful in his or her sphere of service, though it be small, will get the same reward as the person who seems to have a great ministry.

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But there was a third option in this parable – the man who was fearful and buried His talents.  To him, the master’s response was “You wicked, lazy servant!”  The master scolded him for burying his talents because, to him, self-preservation and fear came before putting his resources to use.

As I reflect on my bow-making “career”, I realize I started it out of my own insecurity.  I felt like being a stay-at-home mom of one child was not enough.  I believed the lie that more was better and felt that my station in life was inadequate.

The reality is, however, that God rewards those who are faithful with the resources, blessings and abilities He gives them – no matter how big or small.  Whether you are a working mom of three or a stay-at-home mom of one, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, whether you do public school or home school, our goal is to seek God’s direction in motherhood – whatever that looks like for us.

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Moms spend far too much time comparing themselves with others.  That kind of thinking can only result in feelings of either inferiority or superiority.  There is no ideal mom because God directs us differently based on what is best for our(His) children.

Just like with my bow business, when I make my own plans without consulting my Maker, my pride interferes with my usefulness by building my own mini “towers of Babel” that He will have to topple over in order to make me useful to Him.

 

He wants us to give Him our best – whatever that may be.  My pastor’s opportunity on a Sunday is to preach to a congregation but my opportunity on a Sunday might be to be a Godly example to my daughter as we get ready for church.  Our audiences are different but what is important is being faithful with the role God gives us.

Colossians 3:23 states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  No matter the task, whether I’m scrubbing a toilet or writing a blog post, as long as I do it to honor Him, it has more worth than gold in His spiritual economy.  God is not as concerned with our perceived sphere of influence but our faithfulness with what He gives us.

The parable of the talents makes me realize the kind of mom I never want to be…

the kind of mom who looks her God-given dreams in the eye but then looks away in fear

the kind of mom who is too inundated with lists and projects to remember her main focus is her children

the kind of mom who thinks more about the sacrifices of Christianity than its exponential privileges

the kind of mom who judges another mother because her God-directed choices are different than her own

the kind of mom that seeks what is best for herself instead of what is best for her Heavenly Father…only to realize in the end that the latter fulfills the former.

In Matthew 26, a woman breaks open an alabaster flask of precious perfume to rub on Jesus’ feet.  The flask of perfume had to be broken to access the highly expensive perfume inside.   The extravagance of this gift was not lost on her…or on Christ.   She gave Him her very best in the same way my Morgan gave me her biggest “jewels”.

That’s the kind of mom I want to be.

‘Til Next Time,

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Curing The Comparison Trap

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Wearing a stylish workout ensemble, she drops off her four well-behaved children at preschool.   She smiles, says hello and hops back in her SUV hoping to get in a run before going to work and leading her Bible study that evening.

As I park the car, I slap on my hat, tucking my naturally frizzy hair underneath, hoping no one notices I’m not wearing any makeup.  It’s about that time that my daughter spirals into a panic saying she can’t possibly go to school today because her socks “feel funny.”  After dealing with the sock dilemma and getting Morgan to class, I drive off thinking about that mom and why I can’t seem to get my act together.

This is not a new struggle for me.  Whether it’s the mom at my daughter’s preschool last week or the cover of Seventeen magazine when I was a teenager, the problem is still the same.   Comparison can be a struggle at any age, but I have become increasingly aware of its ability to steal my joy as a mom.

Why Comparison is a Trap

In Galatians 6:4, Paul writes to the Galatians, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.”  The pride Paul mentions here is in reference to one’s confidence in their standing before God.  Comparison is a subtle but effective tool that satan uses to redirect God’s people from their necessary focus.  Here are the three major pitfalls of the comparison trap:

  1. Inferiority– On one hand, it can lead to feeling inferior to the object of our comparison, which leads to a lack of confidence in our identity in Christ.
  1. Superiority – On the flip side, comparison can make us feel superior and lead to pride.   Sadly, my feelings of inferiority towards “super mom” in the parking lot, ultimately turn into disparaging thoughts about her to make myself feel better.
  1. Self-Reflection – When we become TOO introspective about our need to compare, we can fall into an equally perilous trap. Often times, I found myself struggling with comparison over and over again only to realize I was focusing on myself instead of God.  This is a form of conforming to human standards(my own, in this case) instead of God’s standards.

The Cure for Comparison   

As you have heard, comparison is the thief of all joy.  It is impossible to be content and jealous simultaneously, as jealousy is so consuming.   That’s why climbing out of the contentment trap is incredibly freeing!

As mentioned in my post The Ministry of Motherhood, God used the Parable of the Talents to show how God rewards the use of his gifts.  Our focus shouldn’t be on comparing gifts and talents with others, but on how we are putting those gifts to use.  God rewards those who are faithful with the gifts they are given.  It’s not about what you have but what you do with what you have.  When our minds are clouded of thoughts of comparison, we are distracted from using our gifts.  Ironically, this deprives the world of the blessings of our own unique God-given gifts.

“Super moms” only exist in the realm of social media and our own “snapshot” perceptions of others.  Our struggle with comparison is deflated when we come to the realization that we aren’t making comparisons to reality.  Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are great, but they give an illusion of effortless perfection.   From the magazine on your coffee table to your friends’ Instagram photos, it can be difficult to delineate what is real and what is contrived.  This is where our perspective plays a role, not of others or ourselves, but of God.

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What we need is not repeated self-assurance, but to look to Him, affirming that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is not enough to merely look at ourselves in self-reflection.  Jen Wilkin says it best in a recent post:  “Our primary problem as Christian women is not that we lack self worth.  We lack awe.”   When we focus on God, our struggle with comparison dissipates.  We come to realize that everything and everyone pales in comparison to the surpassing greatness of our God.

The good news is that there is hope for us moms.  By spending regular time with Him and remembering our role in His plan, we afford our children the directional marker of the unfathomable riches of His grace.  By focusing on Him,  we can extend His very own love and grace to them.  The greatest catalyst to your child’s spiritual growth is your own.

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Isaiah 30:21 states, “Whether you look to the left or the right there will be a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  This verse always reminds me of a horse with blinders.  When we stare in any direction long enough, we will ultimately follow that path.   We have to keep our eyes on Him in order to follow Him well.  That means spending time in the Bible getting to know Him better and the providence of His plans.

Any time we compare ourselves to one another, it is a distraction from our true directional focus.  The habit of comparison flies in the face of our identity and role as conduits of God’s love and grace to a lost and dying world.  It compromises our ability to rely on His power and allow His power to bless others through us.

 

I would love to hear any feedback and insights.  Thank you for reading!

His,

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