I Am Not A Man

img_5312-jpgWell, I am not a man.

This fact has been well noted as I approach the birth of my fifth child. As a woman, I am blessed with the privilege to steward the life of another eternal being. Having experienced the pain that can accompany an unrealized pregnancy, I acknowledge that this blessing is not something to be taken for granted.

There’s a wave of perception, however, invading the conscience of society that threatens to undermine our female distinction.

Perhaps the messaging has struck you as well? That by embracing pregnancy and motherhood, you are relegating women to the lesser gender. At its extreme, the movement views motherhood as a form of bondage and oppression; a curse to be avoided and destroyed.

As a child of God, I’m glad He doesn’t feel the same way. According to God, even though I am female, I have been equally created in His image. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).  And as a matter of salvation, “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Yet, we women may look at a man and think, I want what he has.

It’s no coincidence that Satan used this same trick on us in the Garden of Eden. Human nature is to want what we can’t have or what others want, distracting us from appreciating what’s already ours to enjoy.

Lest we forget, bearing children was not the consequence for Eve giving into temptation. The privilege has always been the woman’s to serve as the vessel through which God would proliferate the human race. The consequence, rather, was to bear children in pain. The role remains no less an honor.

Thankfully, God is fair. We women weren’t the only ones to feel the effects of the Fall. Sin also adversely affected man’s God-given role. Instead of eating freely from the earth, he now had to toil in pain to sustain life from the ground.

And so, I choose to view motherhood as a gift bestowed on the chosen gender.

Unfortunately, perception is reality.  And it seems the enemy’s propaganda has worked to distort the perceived worth of the woman, relegating her strength to a weakness.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe women should ever stop advocating for equal rights. My fear is that in our pursuit for equal rights, we may lose sight of the power inherent in our ability to bear the future generations. Our true power is in embracing who we are.

Thus, I no longer believe the lies; that reaching our potential means assuming the role of the man; that our XX chromosome imposes an undue burden rather than an undeniable privilege; that motherhood is a role to be marginalized rather than celebrated; that freedom is disposing of a life as a matter of convenience rather than experiencing the indescribable honor of stewarding a life to his or her God-given purpose.

As I embark upon the road to motherhood once again, I thank God for this most honored privilege. I advocate for society to support the women who choose to embrace motherhood and pregnancy. I encourage men to lift up and cherish our most sacred role.

And I pray that all women will proclaim with pride, I am not a man. I am a woman.

Confessions of a Not-So-Perfect [Christian] Mother

shutterstock_400379908It happened. If you knew me, you may have noticed something a little different. A dreamy look in my eye. A little lighter in my step. A cheesy smile on my face.

My son was complimented, unprovoked, on social media. Someone even gave me the credit in the comments. The mother graciously noted on my Facebook page how my son had returned the extra change inadvertently given him at the school store. “What a good kid” and “Great parenting” were two of the compliments included. Whoo-hoo.

If they only knew..

It couldn’t have been more than two days prior that an emotionally-charged me stormed off an email stating “I don’t want to do this anymore!” after a less-than enjoyable volunteering experience at our elementary school.

If they only knew….

Maybe five days prior, this same son who acted so nobly returning the money had broken a Christmas ornament in a store. I watched inconspicuously as he carefully placed it back on the shelf, putting the pieces back together as if nothing had ever happened—all the while looking over his shoulder to make sure no one noticed.

If they only knew…

Every day my one year old goes down for a nap–my precious, loving, adorable one-year old—I do a little happy dance and whisper “freedom!”

If they only knew…

(And this is really embarrassing) In the span of a month, I had to explain myself to the police—twice—for my bad parenting. First, my dog jumped into the minivan unbeknownst to me, so I didn’t know to roll the windows down. Only a few minutes passed, but when we returned to our car, the police were writing my license plate number down and a concerned citizen stood nearby on her phone. All in front of my kids. (The dog is totally fine thank goodness).

Then, my daughter and I were playing in the backyard, she in the playhouse, me in the garden when someone came and asked if I had a toddler. In a matter of seconds, she had snuck out of the playhouse and wandered out of our yard onto the sidewalk. Another wonderful and concerned citizen thankfully grabbed her–and called the police.

Both times the police responded with compassion, and thankfully nothing truly bad happened. But seriously, the guilt and shame of bad parenting and the “what could have happened” overwhelmed me.

Those are the most recent. The list could go on and on with the criticisms, solicited and unsolicited; warranted and unwarranted, I’ve gotten for my parenting.

So when another mother took the time to note with appreciation something good; something that reflected on all the hard lessons we spend 99% of our time trying to teach our children; the fruit of the repetitive chiseling of Godly values we painfully etch into our children’s hearts, I can’t help but rejoice.

Maybe that’s why God says to “Honor Thy Mother and Father.” He knows how flawed we parents are. We try and try and still come up short on occasion. But the parent who takes the time to instill the “way they should go” and use even these shameful, embarrassing moments as teaching moments, may occasionally get the “atta-girl”. Just maybe.

When my son tried to get away with breaking the ornament, I knew how he felt. If I could have snuck away from any of the situations described above and acted like they never happened, believe me—I would have!

But like God who disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), I love my children too much to let that become apart of their character. I made my son go back, get the broken ornament, and confess to the clerk what had happened. He cried, embarrassed and ashamed.

Nevertheless, the responsibility for molding a child’s heart falls on the parent. So, I tried to explain that it’s better to get in trouble for being honest than get away with something for being sneaky—whether it was intentional or not.

The clerk was compassionate. I believe that‘s why my son returned the money a week later. He learned it’s not so bad to fess up and it feels a lot better on one’s conscience to confess and take the rap (if necessary) than live with the guilt of trying to get away with something.

Bottom line for me—I love the Lord and I love my children. I give thanks and pray everyday for the supernatural protection God provides when He stands in the gap of my parenting blunders.

At the end of the day, I pray that our efforts to mold the hearts of our children, albeit painful, will transcend our mistakes. And I pray in the end, our children will honor us, their parents, and glorify God by living lives obedient to Christ; serving as lights in the dark world.

Parents: A New Christmas Tradition

I thought about putting together a Christmas Gift-Giving Guide for the Christian Parent. But this storyshutterstock_521383825, adapted from Dr Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee’s book Family to Family: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, touched my heart in a way that no list of gadgets could.

Are you ready ready to live the true meaning of Christmas with your family rather than barely surviving another chaotic season of activities that leave everyone drained?

Perhaps you would consider making this part of your family’s Christmas gift-giving tradition.

Continue reading

The Most Important Lesson You Will Ever Teach Your Child

shutterstock_182287196

As a mom, I spend a lot of time in the car, shuffling my kids to and from school and activities (read: many opportunities to listen to the radio). Today, I caught a talk show host interviewing a child psychologist. The topic was how to give your children the best chance of staying on the right path. In her practice the number one stressor facing parents is knowing how to raise happy kids who make good choices.

Continue reading