Stay Away from Earthly Dependencies

 I wish I would have learned earlier in parenting the importance of dependency on God.  Not that I wasn’t living for Him or that I failed to seek Him on a daily basis.  But too often I got caught up in dependencies that were earthly.

 

Methods of discipline…the argument surrounding stay-at-home versus working mom…educating through homeschool, private school or public school…to vaccinate or not vaccinate—that is the question…what’s best for baby—breastfeeding or bottle feeding…processed foods versus organic…you get the idea.

 

My “success” as a parent was oftentimes defined by these types of dependencies.  I was wrong to homeschool because my kids would turn out to be social misfits.  I was wrong to send them to public school because the “wolves” would get them.  My breastfed babies had more ear infections than the one that was bottle fed (explain that!).  I felt guilty as a stay-at-home mom because I wasn’t contributing financially to the household and I felt guilty working because I wasn’t available to my kids like I used to be.

 

Even church became a dependency—that my kids would turn out “right” because we were there every time the doors were open.  Surely this would prevent our family from dealing with some of the same issues that those outside the church did.

 

Not that any of these things were wrong.  Some may very well have been callings for our family or the right way to raise them.  But they couldn’t do for my children what only God can do.

 

When we put our trust in how we discipline, where our child goes to school or even the rules implemented in the home…we are sure to be disappointed.  Earthly dependencies aren’t reliable.  But God is reliable!

 

Some of the good we do can still leave us shaken to the core.  Discipline can fail.  Methods aren’t guaranteed.  Church can’t save our children.  And some of the things we got so caught up in when they were little…well, it won’t make a single difference when they’re older.

 

If you’re depending on anything other than God when it comes to your children, it’s time to change focus.  Don’t allow earthly dependencies to become greater than the One who not only knows and loves our children, but has a purpose and plan for their lives that we cannot possibly understand.  Heavenly dependency is the best guarantee of successful parenting!

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

 

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The Struggle with Guilt

imagesOne of the biggest enemies we face as moms is guilt.  It starts almost as soon as that wee one is laid in our arms.  And it tends to grow as the children get bigger because there’s so much more to feel guilty about!

 

I’ve felt guilty about homeschooling because I felt I was depriving my children of real education.  But then I felt guilty putting them in school because I was throwing them to the wolves (the charge given to me by more than one homeschool mom).

 

I’ve experienced guilt over my leniency in parenting and the times I was too tough.  I felt guilty at times for staying home with my children because I wasn’t contributing financially to the household.  But then I felt guilty when I was working outside the home.

 

As if there wasn’t enough to feel guilty about—I’ve even experienced guilt over the fact I feel guilty!  It can turn into a never-ending vicious cycle…kind of like the Israelites, only it’s more like going around the mountain of guilt instead of Mount Sinai.

 

I wish I could say that I’ve defeated this enemy.  But he constantly finds ways to infiltrate my thoughts, to cause me to question my abilities as a mom.  The problem is that what I’m doing is comparing who I think I should be to what others say I should be…instead of being concerned about who God says I am!

 

When you know who you are in Christ, you don’t have to struggle with guilt.  The more I grow in my relationship with Him, the less of a battle it has been.  But I still haven’t arrived at that place of complete victory.  Which means there is more room for God to work in my heart…as soon as I step out of the way.

 

It’s about surrendering not only my children to Him but who I am as a mother.

 

It’s about accepting that only God is perfect and I will never be.

 

It’s about learning how to seek forgiveness when I really have messed up and then being able to move on.

 

It’s about not attributing everything wrong that happens to what I did or didn’t do.

 

It’s about recognizing the enemy’s lies.

 

It’s about grace.

 

Guilt can no longer reign in my heart when these things are true in my life.  It can’t rob me of peace…sleep…joy…trust…or any other arrow the enemy would throw at me.  It’s defeated by Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

 

P.S.  If you haven’t visited my site in a while, check out my new header that I personally designed!

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

 

 

Mommy Wars: Engagers and Victims

Photo by familymwr in Flickr

Photo by familymwr in Flickr

Once in a while I feel compelled to respond to something I’ve read.  I don’t recall how I first learned about this article but when I read the title, it definitely piqued my interest.  Let’s see if it does for you as well…”I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.”

I strongly encourage you to read it for yourself.  But not for the reasons you might think.  My goal isn’t to get you riled up.  It’s not to start a war on feminism or the cultural stigmas attached to certain groups of women.  To better explain what I’m hoping to gain through my response to this author’s piece, I want to address a couple of key things she wrote.

And it starts with her second sentence, “Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself?”  About the only sentence in this entire piece I agree with is the one that follows, “There’s no way those two things are the same.”

She is absolutely 100% correct.  There is no way on earth the two are the same.  But not because one is better than the other.  Not because one is more difficult or more rewarding or more whatever.  You see, that’s the whole problem with many women in general—engaging in an unnecessary war.

We fall into this trap of trying to prove how our life and the way we choose to live it is more valuable.  All this does is put each other at odds. No longer united as women, we’re now divided.

And it goes beyond this author’s problems with seeing marriage and parenting as important accomplishments. I get it—no one wants to hear a single woman say that it’s easy and anyone can do it.  Which by the way, I do also agree with that.  It is true anyone can get married and have children. But not everyone can do it well.

What her article brought to my mind is beyond her naïve and narrow thinking.  You see, too many women are either inclined to engage in mommy wars or they fall prey as victims.  And there is a difference.

Those who engage are kind of like the Pharisees, righteous in their own minds.  They believe their choices aren’t just right for their families but for everyone else’s. The battle lines are drawn between those who have a couple of kids and those with a quiver full.  Or we’re battling over what’s best for the children—mom working or staying home…homeschool or traditional school (which then turns into the battle of public versus private school)…breastfeed versus bottle-feed…co-sleeping versus let ‘em cry it out…and oh my, the list could go.

Those who fall victim to the mommy wars try to fit into a group for no other reason than they want to avoid guilt.  They haven’t really thought about what is best based on the unique needs of their family.  They glob onto a group that seems to have all the answers.  And when it turns out that it’s really not ideal for their family, they experience even more guilt for not “measuring up.”

Honestly, Amy Glass’ very candid views on marriage and parenting has opened my eyes to some other issues I feel inclined to address.  But those will be for another time. You can expect (in future blogs) me to address the following statements she made:

“You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.”

“I hear women talk about how ‘hard’” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time…women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.”

“Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work.  They are not equal.  Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business.”

© 2014, Stephanie Romero