Category: Relationships

The Sacrifices We Make

What would you give up for your child?

If you’re like most parents, you would pretty much give up anything- your money (ha, which you do), your sleep (ditto), your health, your opportunities. We spend time, money, and energy making sure that our kids have the opportunities they need to grow and become all that they can be. For the past several weeks I’ve been spending all three of those things creating developmentally appropriate activities to do with each kid to help them to reach some goals we’ve set for them by the end of the year. Some of those nights I would have much rather been reading, writing or scrapbooking, but, that’s what a mom will do.

But here’s a trickier question- what would you give up for someone else’s child?

I remember Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Church say that he told his congregation during a big back-to-school clothes/shoes/supplies drive to buy the same quality of clothes or shoes or school supplies that they would buy for their own child. If you shop at Walmart, buy clothes from walmart for the drive. If you shop at Gap Kids, buy from Gap Kids. If you normally spend $100 on a pair of shoes for your kid, buy a $100 pair of shoes for the drive. I wonder what the congregation actually did, because you see, it’s hard to sacrifice for someone else’s child.

This is the question that the editors of Conspire offer in “Our Children, Our Souls.”

In a world that insists that resources are scarce, where the playing field is fractured with structured and intentional inequality, children force us to confront directly this question: ‘Who am I willing to sacrifice so that my own live well?’

This question haunts me.

And if you are a follower of Jesus, it should probably haunt you as well.

Are you willing to give up some of your time for other children? Are you willing to give up a little money for other children? Are you willing to give up a little energy and hard work for other children?

Are you willing to give up some of your children’s opportunities in order to create good for other children? If giving up “best” for your child meant moving another child from “bad” to “good”, would you do it?

These are the things I think about as I play and love and dream with my three precious little children. I want the best for them something fierce. But as I pray for God to break my heart for the things that break His, I’m beginning to realize that while He entrusted these children to my care, I would be failing Him and them if I just did what I could to give them the best opportunities in life. He wants them to care deeply for others. He wants them to learn to love kids who are really different from them in all kinds of ways. He wants them to fight injustice and dream of ways to show compassion for those on the margins, even if they don’t recognize what that means. You see, sometimes what I think is best isn’t what God thinks is best.

Father, give me wisdom and courage to raise these children in ways that would love you and love others. Help me to love others, not only as I love myself, but also as I love my children.

I’m all “Mommy blog”-ged out.

I’m starting to get a little tired of reading mommy blogs.

But why? you ask. Tiffany, you are a mom. You love to blog. You love to do crafty things and projects and stay organized.

Indeed. I do enjoy reading about what others are doing, and how I can do some of the same. I like to read how different moms deal with potty training, travelling long distances with young children, and fun recipes that are healthy and easy for kids. I like when mommy bloggers put up free printables that I can download and use for my kids.

But I don’t like the hurriedness, overachievingness, perfection, and judgementalism that many of these mommy bloggers put off. What? Your kids sometimes play video games? You mean your daughter is 2.5 and NOT potty-trained already? You don’t go outside and play everyday? Your kids’ 5/6 fruits and veggies a day was mostly fruit? Sigh.

I admit it.

Sometimes I turn on a video so that I can close my eyes and rest.

Sometimes I give the kids crackers instead a fruit or vegetable for a snack.

Sometimes we stay in our pajamas until right before lunch time.

I let my kids jump on my bed pretty much whenever they want.

We barely get our “5 a day” in many days.

I’m not a perfect mom and could never be a “mommy blogger.” I love hearing and posting about projects, crafts, ideas, stories, and recipes. But no thanks on all the other stuff that comes with it. Maybe we need a different genre of blogs by women who are also mothers. Authentic, helpful, interesting, and fun blogs for others who have or spend their day caring for children.

Entertainment and Hospitality- Can They Co-exist?

Today I came across a post in Out of Ur about the clash between the church’s values of entertainment and hospitality. In the article, a church asked a family to leave their service on Easter Sunday because their 12-year-old son with cerebral palsy made a loud noise after the opening prayer. In the comments, a visitor to the church (in 2009) also was asked to remove their 2-year-old after she made a few loud noises after the singing was over. The church did this because the wanted to provide a distraction-free environment for the congregation to worship in.

I understand this to an extent. I get that it IS distracting when a baby is crying in the service. Or a kid is talking loudly. Or a teenager is laughing.

Then I think about how the disciples were mad when some little children were approaching Jesus- Get them away! Jesus got ticked and rebuked the disciples- Let them come to Me.

As we think about our church’s worship services, we MUST think through our values. Is it our value to entertain people? SHOULD we have the value of entertainment? What happens when we turn a worship service into a show? How is this value supported in Scripture? What values do we teach our congregants when we remove people who are not conforming to the right behavior?

And we also must ask- what is the option for this family with a 12-year-old son with cerebral palsy? The church has no special needs ministry, nor do they want one (or so it seems from the blog post), so the 12-year-old has no class to go to AND the 12-year-old is not welcome in the worship gathering. It seems like the only option is for them to be in a different part of the church, watching the church service. From my experience with small children in a similar situation, this makes the family not want to attend a worship service at all (and participation is out of the question).

WHAT in the world are we doing, American church? It is not our job to provide a slick show to convince people to come to Christ. We are NOT competing with television or movies. If we are not making space and WELCOMING those who are on the edges of our society, we are not being the Kingdom of God. We are putting on  a musical and verbal show that gives off a putrid smell before Him.

I think some churches have some serious re-evaluating of policies to do. Let’s talk about it– what are your thoughts? Can entertainment and hospitality co-exist? Should they co-exist? What are some alternative practices to this situation?

Ideas and Words

In light of the Rob Bell controversy, I have been reflecting on my life and my use of words and ideas.

Sometimes I use ideas in a wrong way. I use ideas to gain power over people. I use ideas to make myself look better than I really am. I use ideas to display something on the outside that isn’t there on the inside. I use ideas to make me look smarter than I feel. I use ideas to gain access to people that I wouldn’t otherwise gain access to. I use ideas to seek approval, affirmation, or being on the “inside”. I use ideas to “other” people.

Sometimes I use words in harmful ways. I belittle. I tear down. I call out people for saying things that I perceive to be false (whether that be about life, about Scripture, etc.) in ways that discourage dialogue and make someone out to be the enemy. I make people feel small. I make people feel dumb. I make people feel like they have nothing to contribute to a conversation. I write things or say things about people that I would never say to their faces. I use words to “other” people.

I have been on the giving end and the receiving end of both of these inappropriate uses of ideas and words. And for where my use of words and ideas have damaged people and damaged the advancement of the Kingdom of God and the unity of the church, I apologize.

Eating Disorder Guide for Campus Ministers

I recently attended an eating disorder and body image seminar at Asbury Theological Seminary. I’m posting a guide to eating disorders for campus ministers in hopes of raising awareness and providing some ways that campus ministers can help students on their campuses. If you know someone working with college students, please feel free to pass along this guide!

E.D. Resource Guide for C.M.

Also, please feel free to give me feedback on this guide or ask any questions you have about eating disorders.