Rachel AZ Cavanaugh

Never Judge Another Mother’s Highchair

We returned from the zoo to find bananas. Everywhere. All over my daughter’s highchair. Smeared across the curtain to it’s left. And flaking off the wall directly behind it.

My mind flashed back to my single years, seven years ago. I couldn’t help but cry — and immediately call the friend in this story.

Seven years ago I found myself in a similar situation. I was babysitting a friend’s young son, and to my horror, I found my nightmare awaited me in the kitchen.

A white highchair sent my OCD-like tendencies into full swing. There it was in all of it’s ‘I don’t care what you think’ glory.

It was covered in crusty ravioli, cheerios, and some kind of sticky goo. I didn’t dare sit the little boy in it. I put him in a pack n’ play in front of the tv while I proceeded to clean the dirty thing.

And boy did I clean it. All the while, a single; childless; 18-year-old Rachel came up with all of the excuses why it was dirty — because of course, I ‘knew’ them.

These thoughts and others circled my mind as judgment mounted:

‘She has time to do her makeup and work out, but can’t clean this mess up…’

‘How can anyone live like this…’

‘This is disgusting…’

‘Is she blind? She definitely needs glasses…’

‘How could you miss something like this…’

‘It’s not like she has a real job, why wouldn’t someone make time to clean this up…’ 

‘How could anyone let their child sit in such horrendous filth?!…’ 

I know, it’s ugly. Actually, it’s disgusting. It makes me ill to think of it now. My heart was one big, heaping mess of judgmental ‘I will never be that kind of mother.’

This evening. I ate my words.

Today, my daughter’s highchair was filthy. Why? The answer is simple. And one I never thought of while I judged others:

I was busy making memories.

I neglected my home, because I was too ‘busy’ making memories with my little family.

And I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it one bit.

Houses are empty shells. Highchairs will need to be cleaned; and recleaned. Laundry will need to be done; and redone. Never allow your appearance, home, or even your child’s behavior to define you. Jesus Christ died so that He alone could determine and attribute your worth.

Forget the dishes and make time to be silly with your children. Leave the laundry and kiss your husband. Be thankful for the little messes in life — they remind us that we’re alive and still in need of Christ.

Mothers weren’t created to be God-almighty. Mothers were created to be daughters dependent on an almighty God. We were NEVER meant to do it on our own, or in our own strength. He is good. He is gracious. He is strong enough to be our strength. And in Him, motherhood is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Do not attempt it alone.

So go ahead and judge moms for their ‘highchairs’ and any other form their ‘failures’ may take on. Irregardless of what sparks your judgement — just know that you’ll most likely eat your words later — and be glad that you did — because you were too busy making memories to be perfect. 

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part.” Matthew 7:1-5


Pawn Shops & Louboutins

Pawn Shops & LouboutinsYou are fearfully and wonderfully made. For you are God’s masterpiece. He has created you anew in Christ Jesus.  Ps. 139:14, Eph. 2:10 

You can see them from the window. Some walk hurriedly by and don’t dare step foot in. They prefer quantity and would rather not invest on quality.

Locked away in those shiny cases, far above reach.  With bright, shiny lights positioned ever so perfectly showcasing their design. Here, you won’t find that they’re on sale. Or even 15% off.  For these items, markdowns don’t happen and member discounts aren’t given. No bartering is done.

Anything but ordinary, these items are bought with a price. And a pretty penny at that.  Alas, these are couture.

So I’ll admit it. I discriminate. Not all of my handbags are treated equally.  A few of my favorites lie safely stowed away on my top shelf; filled with stuffing to hold their shape, and carefully placed inside cotton dust covers to protect them. While others are sadly thrown aside, hidden in the corner and usually covered with dirty laundry. In my closet, it’s embarrassingly easy to determine which items I was willing to pay more for.

If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re a girl.  Why?  Because all girls love the ingenious brilliance and beauty of our ever-changing fashion world.  Chanel, Stuart Weitzman, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Valentino, Chloé, Louis Vuitton, and Alexander McQueen top off my favorites list. Shoes. Yes, especially the shoes.

Though they have rightfully earned their name and price tag, I must admit at times I’m shocked to find what people are willing to spend on popular brands and fashion fads. I remember getting on to one of my girlfriends after learning what she paid. “Do you realize you’re just paying for that label!?” I exclaimed.

And that was just it. It didn’t matter where it had been, what color it was, or whose arm it was on. All that mattered was that tiny little label stitched on the inside. It alone determined its worth. And that pretty little label sells itself right off the shelf.

val·ue [val-yoo]  noun: merit, or importance, estimated or assigned worth.

Have you ever found those gorgeous, red-heeled, Christian Louboutin‘s at a pawn shop, or garage sale? I sure haven’t. Such beauty doesn’t belong there.  And quite frankly, most of their shoppers wouldn’t recognize their worth.

I had an epiphany the other day. And maybe you’re starting to join me in it. Much like designer wear, our worth is not found in our design, but is because of our designer. The name we carry inside determines our value.

Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard this. Or maybe you’ve heard it so many times you’ve grown seemingly numb.

So let it sink in…

You don’t belong at The Dollar Store, just any old pawn shop, or someone’s pile of dirty laundry.  And you weren’t born to be resold.

You were designed by the master of all artists. And it doesn’t get any more couture than you. You are one of a kind baby. Yes, you are His striking masterpiece.

And He died, just so He could call you His.

So dare to get to know He who created you and understands your original design.  Hold your head high because of what’s inside.

Stand fast, lead with character and fight off anything that threatens your value.  Don’t be a counterfeit, or envy how easy they are to come by.

Surrender everything and hold nothing back.  If you take pride in anything, boast in Him and what He’s done for you. Don’t compare yourself to others, it only aids in making you either prideful or insecure.

Learn to live in the season you’re in and don’t take it for granted. Because like fashion; it too will change.  Abide in the grace, peace, and joy He has provided for you in the here and the now.

If you’re a woman, don’t resent your covering, even when you feel hidden. And don’t settle in places that dumb-down your value, or guarantee that you’ll be taken quickly. Wait for the gentleman who knows, bears, and promotes the Name above all labels.

If you’re a man, don’t look for a cheap deal, but instead, hold out for the best– even if it costs you more.  Don’t just look for the “prettiest” design, but instead, observe and inquire if she truly knows her designer. And finally, only lead if you’re following.

I’ve come to realize that confidence in Christ is an ever-growing adventure. And I’m so thankful for the process the Lord started in me before I met my sweet husband, Johnny. Without it, I would’ve been sure to sell myself short and bound to have missed out on the wonderful marriage I’m blessed with now. But even after getting married, though I am proud to be an amazing man’s wife, I must still draw my value from Jesus Christ. I am thankful for His name that I bear. He alone gave and gives me my worth.