Christ

Discriminating Mommies

Let's make motherhood a beautiful thing. Can we learn to support and encourage fellow mamas? rachelaz.com

dis·crim·i·na·tion          noun: discrimination;
1. the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things.
2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.”discrimination between right and wrong.”

Prepping for motherhood can be absolutely terrifying. To co-sleep, or not to co-sleep. Wide-mouthed bottles, or traditional… oh wait, should I plan to use a bottle at all?

As a first-time momma, I felt absolutely overwhelmed through pregnancy. I was terrified. Petrified. I was bombarded with all kinds of statistics, opinions, articles, and research on the daily. Nursing, immunizing, birthing, professional care… all the options and arguments circled my thoughts and closed in on my emotions. It was an overwhelming, constant feeling of, “I should be doing more.” And if I’m perfectly honest, I still fight it today.

So, let me just start out by saying that I’m not arguing for or on behalf of a particular parenting topic. But instead, my heart is to hopefully broaden our perspectives and face the real issues.

We live in a society that lives and breathes to replace one idol with another. If it isn’t fame, it’s fortune, or success, or goal achievement, or superficiality, or a certain relationship, or self-improvement, or a particular job position. We’ve become convinced that we are sovereign over our own lives. And while we are indeed responsible for our actions, we’ve lost the freedom that comes with entrusting our Creator with our lives and worshiping Him alone.

We’re bombarded with and constantly reminded of what we don’t have, what we do have, or why we aren’t good enough. We obsess with what we believe in, or the choices we make; to the point that they themselves become a part of our identity.

With one year of motherhood under my belt, I can confidently say that the same struggles come with motherhood.

When we have a good mommy day; we’re great. And when we miss the mark or it’s challenging; we’re miserable. Just like everything else, motherhood can quickly become an idol. And our preferences, routines and parenting styles can easily become a part of our identity.

We allow them to define us and take it personally when people don’t agree with our styles or share similar perspectives. We get bent out of shape over feeding techniques, oils, health standards, professional advice, and physician care.

We allow the real enemy to come between us. And before we know it, it’s high school all over again, full of mean-girl cliques, “she said’s”, peer pressure, and “did you see what she did’s.” It’s silliness. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And yet, I fight it, and have found myself guilty of it many times.

How did we get here? Where did it start?

The older I get, the more I recognize my desperate need for Christ. Comparison, gossip, and judgement are not new tricks. The enemy’s just really good at disguising them. And now more than ever (even more than in high school.) I need Christ.

I need Christ to lead my husband and me as we seek out wisdom. I need Christ when it comes to bridling my tongue against gossip. I need Christ when it comes to guarding my heart against judgement. I need Christ when it comes to loving my family well. I need Christ to silence the voices of insecurity, pride, and selfishness. I need Christ when it comes to encouraging my sisters and fellow mommies.

I need Christ more than motherhood. More than my husband. More than my daughter. More than anything. I need Christ. He alone is worthy of my worship. He alone must be my source.

While I was pregnant, I fought so many feelings of insecurity and judgement when it came to our original plan. We chose a hospital, high risk doctor, and epidural, for Finnley Haven’s birth. I was told all about articles, horror-stories, and statistics which had underlying undertones of fear. Well-meaning people whom I love and adore lovingly tried to me that we weren’t choosing what was best for our daughter. I fought feelings of being judged, bullied, and almost discriminated against.

We didn’t get to our much prayed about “birth plan” due to severe pre-eclampsia at 29 weeks. But I am so very thankful for our doctor whom the Lord led us to. She stayed up all night while I was in critical condition, on her night off. She performed an emergency c-section the following day (on her other day off) and saved our lives– by no exaggeration. We’re also so very grateful for the hospital and incredible nurses who literally kept our little preemie girl alive for her first two months of life. God used our little “plan.” 

I say all this to say, that I understand this is the plan the Lord led us to. It was His sovereign hand on our lives. He led us, and He kept us. So, I mustn’t judge anyone if they’re being led in a different way than myself. Because who am I to know what the Lord has planned for their lives? 

There are risks to all kinds of births and parenting styles. Fear shouldn’t ever be the deciding factor. There is no perfect, fail-proof way to have a baby. Which is why we must put our trust in Christ alone as we seek out wisdom. If you seek the Lord He will lead you. Entrust the outcome to Christ. Trust His best for your family– through the boatloads of articles, opinions, statistics, and options. He has a plan, and He’s not up there freaking out. He is with us.

I love the wealth of information that’s out there, but at a certain point I think the best thing we can do to love our mama friends well is to pray for them, hold our tongues and wait for them to ask us for advice, and be okay if they don’t.

I want to trust that God knows my friends. He will lead my friends in the best path for their children. Just like there’s a reason He made Johnny and I Finnley’s parents; there’s a reason why He chose my friends to parent their littles.

Can we as mamas encourage and empower each other instead of sizing each other up and trying to convince each other of our own personal convictions when it comes to birthing/immunizing/parenting? Can we be a safe place, and extend grace to others when they struggle? Can we lean on Christ while fighting against pride and gossip amongst us? Can we point others to Christ, instead of some article?

Our mission as moms should be to make Christ our foundation, as we seek Him for wisdom and entrust our children to Him. He is good. He is for us. He is with us. 

There’s no easy or perfect way to parent, so let’s do everything in our power to support and encourage our fellow mamacitas. Let’s build each other up in Christ and stop discriminating mommies. Let’s love each other deeply, and make sharing the bond of motherhood a beautiful thing.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:5-6]

xoxo,

   Rachel

BE INTENTIONAL; ON PURPOSE

Be Intentional; On Purpose

What if what we said, did, felt, acted like, lived as; was all on purpose. What if instead of passing it off to be “a mistake in the moment” or “something which we didn’t mean” we actually thought about it, prayed for it, anticipated it. What if every word, every thought, every prayer, every second; was utilized to its maximum potential. This is truly how Jesus lived. Not in fear of what missing a moment would cause; but with expectancy for the outcome of what His awareness for each minute would bring.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

It begins in our minds, that is where we have the power to kill what is negative, and nurture what is positive. You see, we frame our references around our own experiences. If our experiences in the past, have been distorted; our ability to discern and examine the present circumstances can be off center. If we’ve been victims of the past either forced upon us or chosen by ourselves; what do we do when we have been poorly programmed by life’s events?

In the above verse, the Greek word metamorphoo is translated as “transformed” in this text. Literally, it means to change into another form. We have all the tools necessary to turn our attitudes, reactions, moods, and lives around!

May the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

If your actions, responses, attitudes, and moods are not a reaction to the Holy Spirit’s gentle leading, then you are operating according to the subtle taunting of the enemy.

Eve could have chosen to be intentional; she could have lived by what she had known to be the Truth, instead of acting on impulsive desires which were deviously planted in her. Instead of doing her job of resisting, she accepted the offer and agreed with what she would have previously recognized as deceit.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Don’t allow the devil to get away with his camouflaged prompting. It’s his job to distract, accuse, and deceive-it is your job to resist! The devil loves phrases such as “I’ve had enough” “I can’t stand her” and “I’m just in a terrible mood today”.

“Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27

Don’t be so ignorant to believe that the devil has devices strong enough to destroy your power and authority. We’ve been given absolutely every tool necessary to overcome. No questions asked, no excuses. Never allow yourself to settle for anything less than the attitude, response, mood, and lifestyle that God wants you to have. I love what T.D. Jakes says in his book Woman Thou Art Loosed; “Lips that say ‘I’m in a terrible mood today’ accept what they ought to reject.”

Countless times I’ve found myself walking away from a heated discussion realizing my failure. I responded in anger, instead of love. Instead of turning away wrath with kind words- I added fuel to the fire. I furthered the problem, and brought new issues to the table.

How many times do we find ourselves wishing we would have grabbed hold of our moment. How many times do we walk away wishing we would have been intentional in our conversation. How many times do we inconsiderately do what’s convenient or seemingly satisfying, instead of accomplishing the task assigned to us. How many times do we rush through life, ignorantly overlooking our cues and missing the mark. I find myself painfully looking back; seeing divine appointments which were intentionally put in my path. They have come and gone.  Oh, how easy it is to pass it off for someone else to accomplish, without even a second glance or thought.

“His master replied, ‘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!’ -Matthew 25:23

But how rewarding it is to know that you passed the test; you were given a choice. You were intentional in the way in which you handled yourself. You weren’t raging in anger, caught in a fit of emotions, or found having a bad case of impatience. You were simply walking in the spirit; at peace.

What if the gravity of our words brought harmony and restoration, instead of conflict and destruction. How different our world would be. What if we thought before we spoke, listened before we answered. What if our actions made the path straight, instead of adding questions and confusion. What if we prayed and observed before we acted. What if we were led by what we know to be truth aside from the present circumstances.

What if we weren’t power hungry, greedy, superficial or materialistic. What if our words didn’t reek with bitterness, vengeance, pride, or resentment . What if we recognized that there is a common goal. A mission at hand, and countless opportunities to further develop everything we’ve ever learned. Since the beginning, we were created to live purposefully every day, every hour, every moment- to it’s fullest potential-it’s original design.

After all, our world won’t change for the better on accident, because of a lucky streak, or by chance. I encourage you–  Be Intentional; on Purpose.