Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Honest Truth About Me

I sent a letter with our Christmas cards this year, something I haven't done in a while. I enjoy reading others' letters, yet "this is what our family did this year" letters can so often sound braggy or cheesy. So I tried to write a letter that would emphasize God's grace to us and our gratitude for undeserved blessings.

After a brief paragraph about Steve's job change (he's leaving his mechanical engineer position and becoming a "Continuous Improvement Specialist" at work), it was time to sum up my own life. I wrote:
I have the privilege of caring for our kids and home full time, a gift for which I am admittedly not always thankful enough. But as many wise women have said, though the days may be long sometimes, the years are short! When all is said and done, I am so glad for the opportunity to devote my time and energy to my family, and it seems there is no end to the lessons God has for me to learn in this season of motherhood and the work He is doing in my heart. I try to keep writing, primarily through my blog (in fits and spurts), and have also loved taking a couple of distance education classes through the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation.
Once the letters were printed, I started second-guessing my honesty. Everything I wrote was true...but did I really want to say it all, to scores of friends and family?

As I stopped to think about why I was hesitating, I realized that it was fear of man. I feared that the ambitious women who have outside-the-home careers would read that paragraph and think that I am wasting my life, my talents--that "I try to keep writing, primarily through my blog" would sound to them like a pathetic excuse for no longer exercising my mind and using my gifts. And I feared that the women who are over the moon about motherhood and aspire to nothing else besides the glorious calling of staying home would read that paragraph and judge me for not unconditionally loving it, would think me a terrible mother.

Pretty ugly, huh? Oh, how I need deliverance from the idol of man's opinions. I'm reminded of Milton Vincent's wise words on the subject, which I blogged about last spring. The truth is, I *am* wasting my gifts. And the truth is, I *am* a terrible mother. But that's not the worst about me: I am also an idolater, an adulterer. I am so unfaithful to my God, so full of wickedness, in fact, that the only way for my sin to be atoned for was for God's Son to hang on a cross. And that was a public display for all the world to see--so why should I fear that people might find out lesser wrongs I have done? The worst about me has already been broadcast far and wide. I must believe that *that* is truly the worst about me--my offenses against a holy God, not merely the bad impressions others have or the ways I fail on a strictly human level.

And then I must dwell on the good news. I am a lazy, wasteful squanderer; I am a terrible, inadequate mother; I am an idolater and an adulterer...BUT I have a glorious Savior! He has removed these sins from me as far as the east is from the west. He knows the gory details of the very worst about me--and loves me anyway. He has pulled me from the pit and adopted me as His child. And He is committed to cleansing all the remaining evil from my heart and making me like Christ.

By His grace, I can grow in using my gifts for His glory as this season of life allows. By His grace, I can be a loving and godly mother and point my children to Him. And whatever I am doing, however I am failing, I can make Him look great and satisfying and glorious when I freely, humbly admit my weakness and depend on His mercy and strength.


Danielle said...

The same fear of man issue shows up in my life too, in a different way. It's usually in a conversation with someone I don't know well who asks me what I do. I've realized I always respond by saying I stay home to take care of my kids, but quickly add I've started my own photography business too. I've realized I'm actually insecure about just saying I stay home with my kids, and it kind of surprised me to realize it!

Anonymous said...

Amy..time and time again I read your posts and I am in total agreement. THANK YOU for sharing your heart. I have a long way to go to get to the place I need to be!
Erin (Inman) Weber