Sometimes I forget to spit out the seeds…

Posts tagged ‘love’

Embrace Your Place

I got a call from my husband at about 11:00pm.  “We’re at a gas station now, but I think Jr.’s going to need an x-ray tonight.”  Ugh.  Seriously?  I was in my pajamas, settled in bed with my laptop, thinking about actually going to sleep soon.  But my husband had to get up and out the door for work in the morning, and I did not, so it was logical for me to take the kid to the ER if he did indeed need to go that night.

My 15-yr-old son walked through the door, shivering because it was freezing outside and he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, in too much pain to change after playing basketball at our church’s open gym night.  He also was holding a paper towel full of ice on his wrist, and it was dripping coldly all over him.

As soon as I saw the pain in his face, and how gingerly he shuffled down the hall, my annoyance at being disturbed vanished. “Can we get a coat on you?”  He winced.  Nope.  I threw a sweatshirt over his shoulders and grabbed a blanket and my purse.

In the next 18 hours (after three hours in the emergency room, an inconclusive set of x-rays, a visit to the orthopedist, a temporary cast on his possibly-broken wrist, and a padded and wrapped possibly-broken elbow on the OPPOSITE arm) I began to do something I had not done in quite a while.  I took care of my son.

I held doors open for him.  I buckled his seat belt.  I held the ice pack on his wrist when his hand went numb.  I put pills in his mouth and held a cup to his lips so he could drink water.  I untied his shoes and pulled them off.  I prepared him food and drink when we got home, and tucked a blanket around him on the recliner before I passed out on the couch.

In the days that followed, I continued to serve him.  There was so much he couldn’t do.  Put his sweatshirt on and off.  Put his socks on.  Wash his hair.  Open a pill bottle.  Pour himself a drink.

This first-born child of mine is independent with a capital I and has been since he was very young.  Yes, he’s still needed me.  To talk to him.  To teach him.  To guide his decisions.  To drive him where he wants to go.  To grant permission for the things he wants to do.  To embarrass him by dancing in the kitchen.  But he hasn’t NEEDED me.

There’s something different about serving him now than there was before.  Babies and toddlers need parents to provide for their every need.  To do everything for them.  The willingness to do those things springs from our love and adoration of them.  But then they learn how to do things for themselves, in leaps and bounds, needing us a little less every day.  We rejoice with pride at their new accomplishments.  But there’s also a pang, with each step toward independence, at the unprecedented separation.  It’s as it should be…..and yet….

I have served this boy-man of mine through this time of healing, and it has been my pleasure.  I’m reading my own words here, and I know it seems like I’m romanticizing something small and mundane.  Of course my child, who is closer to being grown than being born, doesn’t need me to care for his physical needs anymore.  Of course, when the need arose I took up that care again, willingly.  So why all the emotional blather?

This past weekend I attended a women’s conference called IF:Gathering.  My church hosted an IF:Local simulcast, and I was there for over 15 hours over two days, worshiping God, enjoying time with some amazing friends, and being fed spiritually.  What I gleaned from the women who shared from God’s Word and their hearts is worthy of a dozen blog posts.

From my notes:  Embrace your place….when God is ready to use you, He will find you!  and Service is preparation for battle, not performance.

In our small group discussion time, we addressed a question about how to focus on the eternal a midst the practical.  A wise woman in my group (a.k.a. my mom) reminded us that during the years when our lives are consumed with the 24/7 acts of service associated with raising children, we are also ministering to their souls.  We are attending to their eternal souls with our practical, mundane, sometimes thankless service to their physical needs.

Whether they are just hours old and completely vulnerable, or approaching adulthood and quite capable….

Whether the ones you are serving are your children, parents, and siblings….or your neighbors, friends, and strangers….

Serving practical needs IS eternal, because those you are ministering to have eternal souls. 

Mothers, your mothering makes you great.  Your service to your children is service to your King, and it’s preparing you for whatever He has for you in the future.  Never, ever, believe the lie that what you do is only valuable in the moment.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

The “M” Word

It’s ironic how a prim and proper word like “modesty” has turned into such a dirty word.  It’s seen as judgmental and legalistic.  And it’s probably a bit cliche for a Christian blogger to write about it, especially in the spring.  I’ve read other bloggers’ takes on this (surprisingly) controversial topic.  Their posts are sometimes greeted with a resounding, “here, here!”, but just as often with mocking and scoffing at the ridiculous notion that public near-nudity is a problem for anyone.

I want to start with a few disclaimers to un-muddy the waters.

1.  A blogger I follow, and heartily enjoy, by the name of Matt Walsh (www.themattwalshblog.com), recently wrote about how modesty is about more than just clothing.  Modesty is about not bragging.  Not showing off.  I agree, wholeheartedly.  However, in the smallness of my immediate world, it’s physical, bodily immodesty that seems to crop up most often.  So it is that that I’m writing about today.  Physical modesty is not the most important measure of character or Christian faith.

2.  I’m not going to evaluate any specific articles of clothing in this post.  There’s value in those discussions, and they certainly have their place among friends, fellow moms, mothers and daughters, and yes, sometimes even a blog readership.  But we will never all agree on how many inches of cleavage or thigh is acceptable, or how long a shirt must be to sufficiently cover a legging-clad booty.  There will be those that argue that culture dictates modesty (which it does, to some degree), and as long as you are more modest than the rest of your peers, you’re good.  Those conversations are worth having, but they are worthless and actually do become all about legalism if we don’t also discuss where modesty comes from:  The heart.  True modesty can not be dictated; it must be heart-felt.

3.  If you know me in real life, or have read my blog, you know that I have recently become overweight.  It’s a mystery to me, but it is my reality.  I have seen other bloggers torn to shreds about their position on modesty because, apparently, being overweight means one thing only…..you are jealous.  My position on modesty does not in any way stem from jealousy of thin women.  Believe it.  Or don’t.  Whatever.

4.  While both men and women struggle with lust, men are more visually stimulated than women.  In general.  It is not an all-encompassing rule, as there are many exceptions.  However, this generalization is a scientific fact.  Google it.  Likewise, it is not only women that are guilty of immodest dress.  Men do this, too, but it’s not as prevalent.  Generally speaking.  Please assume that when I’m referring to women (how they dress), it also applies to men; and when referring to men (how they respond), it also applies to women. 

5.  Yes, men already know that you have breasts, and a rear-end, and legs, whether you are dressed sexily or not.  Yes, they can be distracted by the sight of a “hot” woman, even if she is dressed modestly.  Let’s not ignorantly claim that it doesn’t make a difference how you dress because men are pigs who will stare and gawk anyway.   Let’s use common sense, ladies.  Does a well-built man look the same in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt as he does in just his underwear?  Either way, you can tell what his best features are.  But….not. the. same.

6.  Men are not pigs who have no control.  But they are hard-wired to respond to visual stimuli.  Again, Google it if you don’t believe me.  Yes, they are responsible for their own thoughts and actions and should work to control them through the grace of God.  Discussing modesty is not about blame.

So with all that as a framework, here’s what I want to say:  Modesty is, first and foremost, about love.  You know, that 2nd greatest commandment, right from the mouth of Christ?

Matthew 22:35-40    One of them [a pharisee], an expert in the Law, tested Him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The Pharisees hated Jesus, and were trying to trip Him up, asking Him to choose just one of the ten commandments (“the Law”) as the most important.  Jesus’ answer summed up not only “the Law” in one word, but also His entire mission.  Love covers it all.  If we love, we do not murder.  If we love, we do not cheat on our spouse.  And it’s the love of our Savior that enables us to love others.  So how does this apply to the topic of modesty?

Love one another.  Love your spouse (current or future) by keeping the precious gift of your body just for them.  Love the men and boys in your life by not giving them one more picture of overt sexuality to be tempted by.  Love the women in your life by helping to protect their men from unwanted sexual images.  Love the young girls in your life by modeling self-respect and true beauty.  Love God by keeping His gift of sexuality in its proper, and more glorious, framework.

One blog post I read on the topic of  modesty was followed by pages and pages of arguments, and hundreds of (mostly) angry comments.  An astounding quantity of them were from self-described “Christians,” vehemently defending their right to wear whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, claiming no personal responsibility for any repercussions, and if men were tempted to lust by their appearance, too bad.  Is this love?