Kids can easily lead us into stress, frustration, and worry, as Christian women, but those aren’t biblical solutions for how to deal with motherhood.
This is the nitty-gritty of being a mom, and I really believe we can take those thoughts captive and refuse to take on anxiety, fear, worry, and a grumbling attitude. We can actively choose to trust God with what we feel like being angry or worried about.
Philippians 2:14 tells us:
"do ALL things without grumbling & complaining."
Yes, I actually DO think it’s possible for Christian moms to not complain about their children. I’m not saying that imperfect humans will live up to that standard non-stop, but it ought to be our aim as believers.
We really can choose to see our hardships and challenges through the lens of Scripture and not ignore them, but not magnify and focus on them either. We can see them as tools in the hands of God to grow/mature/sanctify us, and be grateful even for the hard things.
I know that sounds all big and philosophical, but the truth is that this is the nuts-and-bolts of Christian motherhood… what we think about and what we say.
AM I COMPLAINING ABOUT MY KIDS or ABOUT GOD?
Some people might say, well, that verse is not really talking about “complaining” like talking to your friend about your kids… it’s talking about complaining about or criticizing God.
To me, those two things are two sides of the same coin. Complaining in general (putting it out there for the ears of anyone around) actually is complaining against God. When we gripe, without trusting God that He will help us rightly address and/or live with the issue that’s bugging us, and without actively participating with God to realign our attitude and perspective toward the one He has, that’s sinful complaining.
SEARCHING FOR WISDOM/WORKING OUT FAITH
I do think, when we address our complaints toward the people who can actually help us deal with them– toward God, toward a husband/parent/close friend that can be a truly helpful sounding board for us, directing us toward the right sort of ways to handle/address the issue– I don’t think that’s sinful.
That’s actually, I believe, part of working out our faith, where we are searching for wisdom and attempting to figuring out:
- What is the real issue here?
- Has something been done poorly?
- How does the Bible say I should address it?
- Is there something I can do differently?
But complaining about our kids to the lady down the road, just to get a little “closer” in relationship or have a laugh over the garage sale table, is actually (in my mind) not a good thing. Depending on the words/context, it could be (and probably is) sin. Whatever the case, it’s certainly not filtering our words & thoughts & attitudes through Philippians 4:8.
Talking to our husband about a frustration with our oldest child, or an attitude issue we see cropping up in the 5 year old, though, seems perfectly right. Then, we are talking through the issue with someone who can actually help us properly frame and address it.
But for most complaints about children that I hear, these things aren’t legitimate efforts to try to deal rightly with parenting issues, or to get biblical feedback on how to handle x, y, or z. MOST complaints about children boil down to complaining and basic old discontentment in one’s situation.
Most times when moms complain about their kids, they’re doing what they’d call “letting off steam,” “fuming,” “just being real”– which really amounts to, discontentedly complaining about life in some form.
Which, in my mind at least, brings us back to sin.
NOTE: THIS DOES NOT = LYING/PRETENDING
“It is always possible to be THANKFUL for what is given rather than to COMPLAIN about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life.” ~Elizabeth Elliot
Choosing not to complain does not mean that you pretend to live in a fantasy land, where nothing ever goes wrong. Rather, as believers, I’m proposing that we see it this way:
We all live in a land full of sorrow, hurts, disappointment, discouragement, and unexpected challenges. No one lives in a fantasy land without disobedient children, ER visits, unexpected diagnoses, and serious challenges of all stripes.
But each of us can CHOOSE:
- to be a woman who complains about the hurts and disappointments, focusing on our great hurts and disappointments, rather than our great God, OR
- to be a woman who trusts God THROUGH the hurts and disappointments, and blesses His name right in the midst of them…
And I think our “little” complaints to the grocery store clerk, or to another parent in the bleachers, can do either one of those things… either point to our God and how very great He is, or point to our crummy circumstances and how very hurt we are. The focus is different. The outcome of the comments is different.
- WHICH WOMAN WILL YOU CHOOSE TO BE, TODAY?
- WHICH WORDS WILL YOU SPEAK, TODAY?