A True Story of a Ridiculous Mother

This past weekend I took Zac to Fiesta Texas so he could swim his energy away. I took up residence in a lounge chair and did what I do best…watch people. And in the summertime, my people-watching reaches a new level because I am wearing sunglasses. I can watch people and they don't know they are being watched. Sounds creepy, but I'm a writer. I simply stand firm on the fact that I'm doing research, developing characters, whatever.

So this mom and her friend and their two girls were sitting next to me. I took a pic of them in front of the wave pool for their Instagram or Facebook. Then Blonde mom and her 8 year old or so daughter stood in front of the pool, and brunette mom snapped a photo. Blonde mom came back and checked the photo and it wasn't what she wanted so she wanted another one. She stood next to her daughter, and leaned down and whispered something to her.

Mom stood up and the daughter, I KID YOU NOT, this EIGHT YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRL

I

KID

YOU

NOT

…sucked in her stomach.

I wanted to do what Jesus would've done and smack that mom in the face…okay maybe not the face, but perhaps just a simple sucker punch to the stomach. Perhaps. (after a conversation with my sweet friend from Florida [wink, wink, you know who you are] I want to make it clear that Jesus would never actually punch someone. He didn’t even beat the crap out of the guy who sold him to send him to the cross. It is ME that wanted to punch the mom….I’m working on being more grace-filled…I am a work in progress.)

I planned on writing an open letter to the Blonde Mom, but feel it more fitting to write to every parent. There is no pressure or formula to raise our kids flawlessly. As parents we are just imperfect people raising imperfect people. But there are certain things you just cannot do. And this is one of them.

So I say this to you with the same anger Jesus had in the temple when he freaked out and flipped tables:

Your child is not a canvas in which to paint your insecurities.


I'm not judging, I'm stating observations. Blonde mom–now known as 'Ridiculous Mother'–doesn't like herself. She is more concerned with what her Facebook friends think about her. To this mom, that sweet little girl is a direct reflection of her. I mean, we can't have our middle school friends thinking that our 8 year old growing super cute kid is anything but perfectly thin.

Every time we push our kids to be thin like we want to be, or be the best athlete like we wish we were in school, or even be protected more than we were, we are leaving a permanent mark on complete purity.

So stop.

Stop hovering, and feeling guilty. Stop caring about what other people think of you…as a person and a parent. Stop telling your kids to suck it in or suck it up. As a counselor I have worked with too many young girls who refuse to eat. As a youth leader I have seen too many boys who will never measure up to their dad's ridiculous expectations. Stop hurting your children because you haven't dealt with your own heartbreak.

I'm speaking to myself as much as I'm speaking to you. I live so afraid that my children will look back and hate their childhood, or feel in some way that I have failed them. My daughter told me last night that I care about these things more than they do. We all do…we care about things our kids don't even consider–like whether or not they look fat in a swimsuit.

What insecurities have you unknowingly pressed upon your child's heart–making it theirs?? How did your parents do that to you? Comment and Share

LG|LP <3 Tiff

Jesus Doesn’t Care About Middle-Class

I am being vacuumed slowly and painfully into the vortex of suburbia America.  This was one of my fears when deciding to move here. In Florida I lived in smaller town where I knew people and saw familiar faces. I was able to get to know my neighbors and the cashiers at the grocery store and the lady who worked the counter at the pizza joint.  I also intimately knew the lives of the teenagers, their struggles and their pain.  I prayed over them and dried their tears. Their lives kept me immersed in the realities of the world.

At one point I served as staff of a church who’s property backed up to a poor neighborhood.  Children would come out on Wednesday nights in search of some community.  I would walk nine year old girls home at ten o’clock at night when it was pitch dark out only to find their moms say things like, “I was wondering where you were.”  Those same kids would show up on Sunday, not feeling like they quite fit in, watching through the windows at the “churched” kids. Barefoot, dirty and unfed.

Now I”m back in the bubble of the city.  A bubble filled with children living with a narrow worldview, thinking their lives are difficult.  I’m living in a city where your attire is important, and everyone pays hundreds of dollars to get their hair done.  I’m surrounded by people who take regular expensive vacations and teenagers consider $150,000 houses the “ghetto”.

nice house

 

And all of this “lifestyle” is sucking the life out of me.  I find myself wishing I had more “things” and comparing myself to the trendy women who walk about with their babies ducktaped to their bodies.  I find the time and energy to reason with myself about buying clothes and shoes. I desire things now that I did not desire eight months ago.

shoppin

 

I completely understand that some people work hard to have nice things and own their homes and do their nails and spend $200 on their hair.  I get it.  But I don’t want to be that person if it costs me what matters most.

I see myself losing perspective.  I see myself allowing the world and my flesh to drown out the purpose of my life.  I feel myself allowing God to be at arms length because the suburban lifestyle is oh so comfortable.

Friends, it will suck you in.  And it’s strong…oh so strong.  Convincing you and enticing you.  The seductive dance of wanting and buying and needing skews the picture of the why Jesus came in the first place.  Your bubble- life you live without disturbance, focused on yourself and your own needs and wants, completely shelters you from the Kingdom of God.

Pop the bubble.

Take off the blinders.

Remove the night vision.

Change the way you look at things.

Alter how you think of your circumstances.

Most of us don’t have it that bad.  In fact, most of us have it pretty damn good.  Don’t let middle-class America determine your relationship with Christ, if it hasn’t already.

And I’m not talking about donating a few things to Goodwill, or helping load a food truck.

I’m talking, be sold out for Jesus instead of worrying about what’s on sale or how you’re going to get more of something you already have way too much of.

I’m talking, stop being in a hurry and start being still in His Presence.

I’m talking throw everything you think you know about your neighbors & all that gossip out the window and really listen and be a friend.

I’m talking stop just showing up to church on Sunday after going to the bar on Saturday.  Don’t go to the bar and serve, give, love.

Do more, be more.

Jesus doesn’t care much about your middle-class or upper-class or wealthy status.  Jesus cares about the condition of your heart, your intentions and the love you have for Him and His people.

 

LG|LP 

Tiff