If you’ve ever wondered what on earth possessed me (pardon the pun) to write about the seven deadly sins and motherhood, check it out!
There was a time in my life — right before I moved to Michigan, in fact — when nearly all my earthly possessions could be packed up and moved in the back of my Toyota Tercel. A few boxes of books and kitchen utensils, a suitcase full of clothes (I was living in California at the time so didn’t have all the bulky winter wear).
Now I couldn’t move either of my children with less than a pick-up. “YOUR son certainly takes after YOU!” I tease Craig not-so-pointedly when Christopher pulls yet another treasure that I have hidden away in the trash. Honestly, what on earth was he planning to do with the leg off a busted Buzz Lightyear? Bronze the thing, apparently.
So, this weekend (or so) has been dedicated to restoring order. I’ll let you know when I manage to shovel out … Gimme a month or two. It’ll take me that long to pry the computer magazines from my DH’s panicked grasp.
You ladies who sort and pare down to essentials without any perceptible interference, how I envy you! (Uh, oh … back to the “Envy” chapter in Raising Up Mommy, followed by a refresher in “Greed”!)
I was particularly touched by the contribution of adopted twins. One child told the story of how they flew on a plane to meet their parents from Beijing … the other told the story of the ancestors of their “forever family.” It was clear that each of these stories were deeply rooted in the hearts of these children. Their faces were Chinese … but their hearts had fully embraced the Slavic and British roots of their parents.
Another parent was standing next to me, and I was just about to point out the twin’s posters when she spoke. “You know … this project was really too advanced for these kids. It required a LOT of parental help, and I’m not sure ours is good enough to go up there.”
This was coming from one of the more “visible” and active mothers at the school. She looked so anxious, and her comment so surprised me, that it took me a moment to respond intelligently. “Everybody has their particular talents … we just use them the best we can, right?”
That wasn’t right. She replied, “My father died, and we just got back from the funeral, and then we had to put THIS together … and …” Her voice broke.
The poor woman. Gently I patted her shoulder. “That’s so hard. I think that given your situation you can cut yourself some slack for six months or so. Sometimes we just have to shoot for ‘good enough,’ you know?”
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We “should” all over ourselves with long, sideways glances at how other moms are doing it. And somehow we always fall just a wee tad short.
It’s the ugly Envy Monster, my dear sisters. It feels awful, and it poisons the soul. Fortunately, each of us have a special antidote that God places inside us, dormant, waiting for release.
That gift is contentment. The distinctively feminine ability to assess a situation and offer ourselves the same grace we would naturally extend our best friend.
“Okay, God. It’s really tempting right now to get discouraged with all the things I am NOT getting done (like she seems to be). So today I choose to entrust my day to you. I’m going to offer every minute back to You, and trust that You will help me accomplish today exactly what I’m supposed to.”
Try it. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when our eyes are “on the prize.”
Do you struggle with envy, or one of the other seven little dwarves … I mean, deadly sins? Pick up a copy of Raising Up Mommy, and let’s fight it together!