Saturday, February 4, 2012

AM I BEING REAL {or just negative?}


"older women likewise, that they be...
teachers of good things- that they admonish
the younger women to love their husbands,to
love their children... that the Word of God
may not be blasphemed."
~ Titus 2:3-5


Recently a friend emailed me to ask my opinion on a popular article. Several people had sent the article to her because they thought it would be an encouragement. It was not.

In the article a young mom was rolling her eyes at the older women who tell her to embrace this season of motherhood because it is in fact hard!  She recounts that at the moment one of the older set was encouraging her to enjoy this season her kids were out of control in the store.

One was missing. One was bothering another shopper who was trying to pay for their purchases. And one was eating a lollipop off the ground and had damaged store merchandise.

We are meant to chuckle along and say along with her- yep. That's normal.

Friends- that should not be normal. A bad day- sure.  A sign that training needs to happen at home- absolutely. 

But not a normal part of the climb.

Grandma Donna with Tom and the girls


We are supposed to be encouraged by the author's "realness" and agree that the goal is to simply survive each day like anyone else at a 9-5 job.  In fact, my heart goes out to her.  As you know, motherhood is nothing like a 9-5 job. 
God has placed in our arms children who will last forever.  And He expects us not just to hold on to our talent but to multiply it.

I do trust that the author's intentions are good.  She wants stressed out moms to be relieved from the shackles of those who are telling them they should be enjoying this season- because she is struggling.  And she has a couple of good points. 

Foremost, motherhood is real work.  No "working woman" should be able to outwork us.  We work unto the Lord and we have a much higher calling than someone just punching a clock. 

Conforming ourselves to the discipline of raising and disciplining others is not always pleasant at the moment (Hebrews 12:11).  We may have been used to great freedom and indulgence.  As we put our flesh to death it can be difficult.  But we must have a vision of we are moving toward. 
Our pain should not be the result of daily neglect in training but because we are on the front lines of a spiritual war.  We are the ones raising up a generation of warriors and reformers who will champion the principles of God in their time. 

No, people don't approach our husbands and encourage them to "enjoy" their work because we all know there is a world of difference between the two types.  One is necessary for daily bread.  One is eternal.

Grandma sittin' pretty


My concern when reading any "real" rant is the fall out.  In this case, as sweet older ladies approach younger moms, a new "us" and "them" mentality has been forged. 

We have been encouraged to shake our heads at their "lack of memory" and assume these women have early onset of Alzheimer's disease rather than good, old fashioned wisdom that they learned while making the climb themselves.  

Hopefully, if you are a younger mom you will seek out those more seasoned, godly women and as them- - how?
How do I love my husband and love my children like God commands?

How do I train them and have some order so that I don't just feel like I am surviving or that I can't even take them to the store?

The truth is, those older women in your church (and maybe even at your local Target)  do not have amnesia- but often life experience and wisdom. 

Hailey enjoying down hill sliding at Uncle Ted's


I can say in all honesty that I am not trying to pounce on anyone specifically- not this author or the moms who chuckled at her story, but I simply want to encourage us to think through this issue of putting "realness" on display and it's implications.

It has become so very popular to blog about our sufferings, our annoyances and any other gritty "realness" we can get our hands on.  Those who have done it can tell you that their readership has increased exponentially.  We are encouraged to share "inner darkness" to encourage others. 

But we must ask-  encourage them to do what?

If we are encouraging others to:  meditate on Scripture and grow in Christ; to have a vision for this important season; to deny self (aka our natural bent) and take God at His Word; to embrace the biblical role of keeping our homes and expanding our husband's vision and the like, then we are on the right path.

However, if we are encouraging women to simply embrace their inner slob; do what feels right at the time; to disregard discipline or the needs of their family.  Or to simply gain popularity.  I would warn that we are on dangerous ground.

Yes, real life drama and putting darkness on display has become very popular-- and as readers we are called to a higher level of discernment. 

Tom and his brother Ted supervising kids-- in short sleeves!  Brrr...

Elisabeth Elliot warned that we need to take heed in how we share our struggles:

"We need to be careful lest our eagerness to expose our inner darkness becomes an exhibition or even a celebration that will gain for us an acceptance with those who really do love darkness rather than light.

The man who resolutely turns from darkness to light will not have much popular support. The truth teller, as Socrates predicted long ago, will have his eyes gouged out. So it has been. So it will always be... "

Michaela boarding down little hills- go Kayla!

She continues:

"We don't gouge out eyes nowadays, not in civilized society.
We merely tell the man who turns from the broad road to the narrow that he is hung up, not in touch with his feelings, a do-gooder, a party pooper, holier than thou--any label that will exonerate the rest of us of the responsibility of being Christ-like."

Our newest sweet niece, Bethany Kathleen



God's Word is like a screen door.  It helps us to filter out the bad and welcome in the good.

  • Let us be those women who filter everything through the Word of God 
  • Let us be careful not to simply co-sign darkness on display.  When you read a blog post or a Facebook status, ask yourself if it's biblical (Phil. 4:8) before you give it your "amen!" and forward it on to your friends
  • Let us ask ourselves what the goal of our "realness" is before we post something online- and be honest about the answer
  • Let us feed on things that build us up and increase our vision for godly motherhood
  • Let us be on guard against what is described in Colossians 2:23- things that have an appearance of wisdom, but are falsely humble and of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Rather, let us encourage one another to love and good deeds in Christ Jesus (Hebrews 10:24). 

Cousin time just means fun multiplied

Blessings friends, 

A lovely resource that encourages a vision for godly motherhood: Tending your Garden by Denise Sproul.

A wonderful audio helping us to:  Think Like a Christian by Douglas Phillips.

We do not receive any reimbursement for our recommendations.


Photos from our visit with Grandma (all the way from Washington!) and our sweet extended family.


  1. You know, I read that article as well and though I can sympathize with the writer some, I am usually very thankful when one of those older ladies come up to me and say what they do. It usually shoots me back to the right attitude, especially when I am struggling with a rather naughty little one in the middle of the store.

    I like real blog posts. But I don't like them when they are encouraging me to wallow in my self pity. I like the posts that tell me..."I know what you are going through and let me encourage you to persevere and love your children/husband." The ones that lead me back to the Word are the best!

    Thanks for your godly take on this! Good and encouraging read as always :-)

    Lots of love,

  2. This is timely, Rebecca. I think that I did read the article you mention, and while I've certainly had trips to the store I regretted later(smile), I do think we need to be careful in our expectations and our out-loud, in-sight(on the blog, Facebook, in front of our KIDS!) processing of those emotions.

    The one thing I did take away from that article was an appreciation of the need to back off the emotional "feel" of day-in, day-out;there is a need to strike a balance between "loving every single moment like it's the LAST" and simply going through our days in a robotic state.
    It is hard to navigate those waters, I think more so because we are SO bombarded by emotion(and horrors!)through our media deluge daily.
    Thanks for saying we need to be women who filter everything THROUGH the WORD. Life doesn't read like a Hallmark card, but thankfully it's not ALL sticky suckers and screaming kids, either. We need to cultivate the mind of Christ, and therefore learn to value what HE does, while gently encouraging others to do the same.

    Your family is beautiful!

  3. Sommer-- Thank you. And yes, nice when we can see it as a chance to be brought back into the right attitude; to smile at our children and tell them (in front of a captive audience) what a blessing they are. Wouldn't it be great if we trained our kids to have a tract handy in those moments as well? :)

    April-- Thank you. And I hear you on the those types of trips to the store-- we've ALL had 'em.

    They are the wake up call that training is needed at home. And if we don't know how to go about doing that we need to seek out an older woman to help us.

    Yes, I agree- we do need to be thoughtful about how we process these emotions- especially in front of our kids. And I do think she had a good point or two but they were mixed with some ambiguous points and non-biblical perspective which is likely what provoked my friend's e-mail.

    I do hope anyone reading this and feeling swamped right now does not think I am trying to pick on them for enjoying some of the points of her article.

    My concern is that we need to be careful as we navigate through this exceptionally popular trend of exposing inner darkness. In the right context "keeping it real" is edifying; in a non-biblical context, it is not.

    Older women helping younger women is God's design (Titus 2) and my heart as well.


  4. Thank you so much for this encouraging post! As I read it, I thought about a kind, older lady in our previous church who mentored me as I began raising our boys. What a blessing she was (and is) to me! I thank God for her encouragement and prayers. Being a mommy is hard work, we are going to make mistakes, and we will have those store moments. But I am thankful for His grace to me, and for giving me this woman who was willing to help a tired, harried, first time mom! Your family is beautiful. Thank you for your blog!:)

  5. Crystal- Thank you. And what a wonderful testimony!

    I too am so very thankful for the more seasoned moms I have gleaned from (and continue to glean from) as I make this trek as well.

    Settling in with our peers is very natural, but seeking out friendships with the older women who have faithfully raised their families in the Lord is wise.

    I have heard younger moms discount the opinions of more seasoned moms because they "no longer have little ones" and therefore are no longer experts in this area or that. That thinking is backward!

    Not only do the older moms have greater perspective, they have encountered areas in parenting our minds haven't even conceived of yet. We need to find these older women and keep connected with them. Sleep schedules and obedience training are just the start... we need the wisdom that comes with walking with the wise!

    "He who walks with wise men will be wise,
    But the companion of fools will suffer harm."
    ~ Proverbs 13:20

    Blessings to you dear!

  6. This was a good word, Rebecca. I didn't see the article you're talking about, but I have read/heard similar things before. I also appreciate the recommendation of the book by Denise Sproul. I'm going to try to get my hands on a copy.

  7. Thank you, Candice. You will love reading Denise's wisdom.