This blog is written by a dear friend of mine, Julie. It is very different from the parenting/baby blogs that are typically posted on our website. The primary difference is that this article is very obviously directed towards a Christian audience. I KNOW that not all of you may share those beliefs, and that is ok! The reason I chose to feature this blog is that it addresses an issue all too prevalent among women. At the core of who we all are, especially as mothers, is the desire to be understood and valued for who we are and what we bring to the table.
There is a lot of judgment going on among mothers, and it can be destructive and completely counteractive to what we truly seek. If you are a working mother you often get judged for making your job a priority above your kids, and if you are a stay at home mom you receive slack for not helping to provide for your family financially or not having much of an identity outside of being a mother. Deep down, that criticism usually stems from the criticizers' insecurity about their own value and purpose in this world. I know that, because I am the owner of a company featured on a national television show and I am the inventor of a relatively successful brand, many people might think that I should have it all together and have a strong sense of value and purpose. That simply isn’t always true. I have a lot of insecurities about my role as a business owner, a mother and a wife that tend to manifest themselves in negative ways when I attempt to validate my worth and purpose.
One of my favorite Bible verses is James 4:1. It says, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?"
So much of the animosity or judgment that flows between mothers stems from those desires and insecurities that wage war within us. This article asks the question, “What if we laid down those desires to be understood and valued in an effort to create something really great?” What if laying down those desires could create a truly authentic community of women that focuses more on building each other up than tearing each other down? How powerful could that community be to truly affect change for the good and provide individuals with a much greater and lasting sense of purpose and value!? Where does this start? It starts with transparency about our insecurities and support for those who are willing to open up about them! Transparency can be so terrifying but so freeing, and it can ultimately result in being understood in a much more genuine way! What insecurities are holding YOU back that might do you some good to lay down?
What death am I being asked to die?
In the book of John, Jesus gives Peter a gift we all want at times: the gift of knowing how our story ends. I’m not sure how fun it was for poor Peter, who learned how he would be killed for the gospel. This was a death “by which he would glorify God.”
For Peter, following Jesus meant following him to death. Peter would die, not accidentally or incidentally, but on purpose, in order THAT. His death was one of the prescribed means by which God would be glorified in his life.
This business of God’s glory also comes up earlier in the book of John when Jesus heals a man born blind. This man was blind not because of his parents’ sin or his own, but so “the works of God might be displayed in him.” He was blind so THAT.
In order THAT.
God may be glorified.
God’s works might be displayed.
What kind of death is Jesus asking you to die? Today, I was asked to die to being understood.
I was walking back to my car after dropping off my elementary kids at school, and found myself in step with two of my neighbors, women with kids my kids’ ages. We got to talking, and one of them asked about the play I’m currently in. Side note: I do PLAYS. People pay me, and I act in plays and musicals and sometimes I can barely breathe it’s so wonderful, but then people start HATING ON ME — for being a mom who does plays; for being a wife who does plays — so it kind of balances out. Maybe if I had a respectable job like being a real estate attorney or a cardiologist, I wouldn’t get as much hate. (Or maybe some of you mom-attorneys and mom-doctors would strenuously disagree.) At any rate, I’m pretty sure there’s enough hate to go around in this world.
So we were walking along, and my other neighbor, whom I’ll call Hilly (“The Help,” anyone?), piped up when the subject of the play came up. “You’re in ANOTHER show?”
Yes. Isn’t it great? I wanted to say. I’ve worked so hard and put myself into what feel like life-threatening auditions and paid acting coaches and read and studied scripts and prepped and second-guessed myself and finally broke into a new theater and now it’s my first PERIOD PIECE and I get to play the lead but will the Star-Telegram give me a good review or will I be shamed publicly in the NEWSPAPER for a bad performance, OR —
“Your LIFE,” she said. “Does your husband just have AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF PATIENCE?”
You know that moment when it begins to dawn on you that pain is coming, about to descend, that’s it’s about to run down your face and soak your shirt in a matter of seconds — but not yet — and all you can do is say, “Aw, dang it. Here it comes.” Before I knew it, I was taking a shame shower.
On the tip of my tongue were words of defense, of explanation, of protest. And, naturally, of anger. (I mean, had she seriously never read “Lean In”? Was her soul black as night?) Lord knows my impending word-vomit was a conglomeration of words I had preached to myself in my lowest moments. My lifestyle, after all, IS alternative. This vocation has not been something I’ve entered lightly, without travail. It hasn’t been something I would have done had I not felt God purposefully and methodically opening doors, nudging, daring me, even calling me to do it. But it’s not bunnies and sunshine. My husband and I don’t always get it right. Sometimes it IS stressful on the family. I have missed baseball games and family dinners. Despite my obedience to what I feel has been God’s leading, there’s still shame. And the shame I’ve felt is not made in China; it’s manufactured right here in the U.S. of Me.
But heck if HILLY was going to add to it.
I started in on my defense, but just as the words came to the front of my mouth, a woman who had been walking a few paces behind us slipped and fell — HARD — in a slippery place on the sidewalk. We rushed to her aid, but the horrible, hairless gremlin inside me was saying, “Thanks a lot for getting HURT just as I was about to lay down the smack!”
My moment, my tiny, porthole-sized window of opportunity to be understood and appreciated was gone. I didn’t get to feel vindicated. I would have to live in Hilly’s unanswered accusation.
(And look, I know you and Taylor Swift and Sheryl Sandburg would tell me HATERS GONNA HATE and I just need to SHAKE IT OFF, but I’m far too Southern and insecure for that kind of immediate awesomeness.)
I’ve been struggling all morning with what it means to die to this. I could carry around the burden of my rights, of being seen as a respectable wife and mother and human being, or I could lay down those rights. In a grave. Six feet deep. Let Jesus advocate for me — now or never — and let him glean glory by whatever mysterious way he’s purposed. It’s kind of his fault I’m doing this weird thing, anyway.
Now look. I’m not comparing my mini-death to Peter’s crucifixion or the blind man’s affliction. Ok, maybe I am. But the truth is, none of us will probably reach that level of dramatic death-for-Jesus. Those guys take the cake. Well, them and maybe Job, who had to die to everything except his own actual DEATH to endure what God had gravely prepared for glory-making.
So my goal today? To not be a walking zombie. A half-dead, brooding terror of roving, ravenous angst. My goal is NO life. Total death. To accept the white shroud of surrender, pulling it over my head and admiring how it brings out my eyes — like a costume in a very dramatic and terribly fabulous period piece.
But it’s sobering, as Oswald Chambers reminds us: “You cannot die or go to your funeral in a mood of excitement. Death means you stop being. You must agree with God and stop being the intensely striving kind of Christian you have been.” (“My Utmost for His Highest”).
Let me agree with God today. Let US. Let us all agree with God. Agree to whatever race he’s called us to run. Agree to the deaths he’s asked us to die along the way — in order that his glory may be revealed. So that his works may be displayed.
Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
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