In this final installment of why we mother differently, I’d like to offer practical examples of the sameness some of us seek in the Christian mothering community. That sameness for some would make us all look like this:
This is certainly a beautiful garden, especially to moms who think this way: “Because we believe in the same Jesus and live by the same Bible, we should all have the same lifestyle. Sure, we’re different colors, but we all should walk in line with each other.” That’s the voice of a mom who seeks sameness about
- Where we give birth
- Whether we nurse, bottle feed, eat “clean” or out of a box
- Whether we home school, public school or private school
- Whether we spank or not
- Whether we stay at home full time or work somewhere else
- Whether we use day care or a nanny
- Whether our kids play sports on Sundays or go to church
- Whether or when we give our kids chores, allowances, credit cards and cell phones
- Whether our teens date or pursue a “courtship”
- Whether our college kids take out student loans or remain debt free
On and on.
Unity on these kinds of issues is impossible, moms. It leads to legalism, rules and regulations that make motherhood and Christianity miserable. I know because I used to think like that and I was a miserable mother because of it.
So let me suggest that the reason why we mother differently is because we’re free to. Yes, God made us to be free!
Problem is, we don’t feel confident enough to walk in this freedom and we hate it when others don’t align their lives in the neat little rows we value. So we compare, pass judgment, and we are just plain scared to think for ourselves. How sad is that? How sad that we are immature and need a crowd to conform to. Aren’t we grown-ups now? Why do we get mad at our teens for giving in to peer pressure when that’s what we do in our adult sort of way?
If mothers are like flowers, then this is how we really look:
We are God’s garden, rich in beauty and diversity. Some of us are tame and others are on the wild side, but God can handle all this variety even if it’s overwhelming to us. He is the Master Gardener. He created and planted us to thrive. We all wilt occasionally and fail to bear fruit. We experience drought, frost and storms that kill our high hopes to bloom for the Savior. But if we abide in Him, he will guide each of us uniquely, according to his plan for our families.
Remember, when the disciples asked Jesus to tell them the greatest commandment? He didn’t give them a list of lifestyle choices, like what to eat, what to wear, and how to raise children. Nope. Jesus offered lasting truth we all can live: Love God. Love your neighbor.
Translate that: Love God. Love other moms. And by all means, love yourself. Celebrate the way God is growing you, season by season.
I am the true Vine and my Father is the Gardener…Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. John 15