These weekend features are to remind us of all the INGs of life. The Doing. The Nothing. The Speaking (of the Holy Spirit). The Listening (of our hearts).
I will freely admit it’s difficult at times to keep an open heart and mind when it comes to other moms’ personal choices. Because sometimes people just don’t make sense, amen?
And when we get into “people just don’t make sense” territory, our natural inclination is to judge them. The amens just got a little quieter. Goodness knows how many times we’ve done this. How many times I’ve done this. I’m not proud of it, but still:
I’ve judged a mom for appearing to be a push-over with her kids.
I’ve judged a mom for teaching her daughter to care too much about her appearance.
I’ve judged a mom for spending too much money on kids’ clothes.
I’ve judged a mom for making swift decisions about school for her children before taking the matter to God in prayer.
I’ve judged a mom for shouting at her kids at the grocery store.
I’ve judged a mom for not taking seatbelts seriously.
Must we go on? It’s so embarrassing. But it’s necessary for us to visit this. So if you can look past the ugly pride in my own mothering that God’s been working with me on, you’ll begin to catch a theme. Each time I judge it’s because another mom’s choice goes against something I uphold as important. If this is true based on the above instances, I value:
My kids respecting me when the answer is no.
Wanting my daughters to understand inner beauty.
Keeping calm (okay, especially in public.)
Common sense safety.
It’s absolutely fine (and good) for me to have values and hold firmly to them. But it’s not okay for me judge another mama because she doesn’t. So hard, right?
It makes me think of sisters Mary and Martha in the famed Biblical account found in Luke 10: 38-42. Lazarus’ two sisters had invited Jesus into their home for what one can assume was a meal. Martha felt the need to get her hustle on and scurry around making preparations for him. For mercy’s sake, it was Jesus. And Mary was content to leave the work to her sister while she sat eyes fixed on the Master. I can’t judge either of these women because I can see myself in both of them.
Martha was upset Mary wasn’t helping, and I can imagine Mary was wondering why on earth Martha was scurrying when she could come sit by Jesus instead. Both judged the other because they adhered to different values in this situation. And then of course Mary probably snuck in a smug sideways glance at Martha when Jesus announced her the winner, er, I mean the person who chose the right thing.
We all have preferences and values that were placed within us when we were just the size of a tiny speck in our mother’s womb. Our nuances, idiosyncrasies, and ways that look strange to the watching world are not all bad. They are evidence of a grand design, a divine puzzle of which we’re a unique piece created to carry out God’s purposes in that way only we can. That mom whose life looks so strange holds a piece of that puzzle too.
This weekend, may we choose to turn those initial thoughts of judgment around, deciding instead to let it solidify the values we hold in high esteem while allowing other moms room to wrestle with her own values no matter how different or wrong her life appears.
May we also pray this prayer often as we seek to appreciate God’s endless creativity.
For more on a similar topic, we invite you to listen to the latest episode of The Masterpiece Mom podcast: My Life vs. Hers — The Prickles & Stings of Stereotypes.