As I’ve returned some attention to this little blog of mine, I’ve revisited old draft articles. Some are fiery; others seem lackluster.
Well, if it were you, and you had sensible articles with practical advice about mommy topics you could finish up and polish, or passionate articles brimming with fervor, which would you pick?
Each time I open up my dashboard of dozens of near-finished articles, I personally am drawn toward the fiery ones, and then, after editing for a while, I realize…
I don’t live in remotely the same world I lived in when I wrote them 4, 5, 7 years ago. And I am not the same ME.
That “me” lived in a cloistered setting that veered toward legalism and cult-like lock-step thinking.
Because I had a large family, homeschooled, and was a pastor’s wife in that environment, I felt an ever-increasing obligation to speak out to explicitly say that I didn’t believe the legalistic, formula-driven, outsides-focused messages continually recycled within (and sold to) the homeschool world.
That former “me” observed many concerning things in the homeschooling community— including the desire for formulaic approaches to parenting and schooling and home life, and the way that desire naturally attracts false prophets preaching false hope in false gospels. Too often, people grow increasingly committed to those false gospels, and Jesus becomes a nice-sounding add-on to the life they are building for themselves.
Concerns increased as I saw so-called “ministries” whose focus on fertility resembles/rivals Asherah worship, the unbiblical idolatry of marriage that dishonors singleness and denies the maturity and sanctification of every believer in Christ (whether or not they are married), “homeschool leaders” who start para-church “ministries” but have no one to whom they are ultimately and truly accountable (who often fall into gross sin)… and more.
These things troubled my soul. And still do.
Year after years, false teachers with false promises sieze the ears and hearts of hopeful young homeschooling parents… but I have seen the sorrow that comes, quietly, years later, as these ideas burden, ravage, and overwhelm those who listened.
It is especially grievous to me to see the way that, for so many– parents and children alike– the biblical Jesus gets intertwined with all the rules to a degree that they can’t tell which is which and (have they ever even felt the freedom of being in Christ and walking by the Spirit?) end up discarding Jesus– the Prince of Peace– alongside all the legalistic nonsense ideas they previously embraced.
What a tragic outcome!
In my writing back then, I was often stirred to tackle these ideas, and seek biblical, practicable, freeing ways of living and trusting God instead of clutching and controlling my life and the lives of people around me.
Sometimes I posted those writings, and sometimes they stayed in my “saved” folder.
And I may yet finish those fiery articles… Increasingly, God has stirred my heart to learn to speak with clarity, about the false teachers, false gospels, and cult-like beliefs that entangle and enslave people I love.
But the reality of today beckons.
Today began with the beauty of 1 Thessalonians 2 — how those who are young in the faith can be utterly committed to the Gospel in ways that echo out into surrounding communities. What a great gasp of fresh gospel air!
Today, our washing machine doesn’t work and the laundry pile grows taller.
Today brought Narnia among read-alouds with my youngest four.
Today I somehow misplaced my van key (we only have one!) and can’t find it and tomorrow is co-op day. (total facepalm)
Today on my run, I listened to a Spurgeon snippet that moved me to deep groans and tears as I prayed for someone I love.
Today, so many boys in my home were bickering and having physical altercations with one another! Lego towers destroyed, faces slapped, names called, anger riled… and these were all separate instances– it seemed like a different pair of boys each time!
Today brought lovely, edifying conversations with two godly women.
Today included sitting alongside my daughter while she filed her first insurance claim (someone hit her on the way into our driveway, oof!).
Today also included the evidence of Doug’s kindness— he’d planned for me to have a “night off.” (Even while I grumbled. What a steady, godly man he is!)
Today, there’s a State of the Union to watch, and Governor Sarah Sanders’ response to catch up on. (yes, I’m still into politics) 🙂
HERE COME THE “SHOULDS”
Here I am, clicking away on this keyboard, even though I feel a long list of “shoulds.”
- I “should” be shopping for a washing machine and finding The. Very. Best. Deal. Ever.
- I “should” be discipling all my young ones, especially because they’re so bickery and grumptastic.
- I “should” be patiently present with my older ones… because, you know, time is short…
- I “should” have cooked a wholesome dinner and stayed to enjoy it with the family.
- And more “shoulds” will stay unvoiced everywhere else but here in my heart.
The shoulds are fierce.
I can hear them.
- Sometimes in voices of those who laid “shoulds” on me in earlier seasons of life.
- Sometimes in a cruel, accusing voice (the Father of Lies)
- Sometimes in my own voice– when my own intentions and convictions collide with my limited capacity, time, finances, and inability to control all things the way God does.
- Sometimes in niggling, vague anxiety.
But oh the freedom when I hold up the heavy list of “shoulds” (spoken and unspoken) in light of the limitations of now and the limitless Gospel.
THE LIMITATIONS OF NOW
I am just one body, and I do not have infinite zest. I get weary, and feel like giving up. I feel alone, and I feel like a failure– like every ounce of everything I’ve done can only come to a fantastic flop. Or I feel surges of zeal and get momentarily proud and pleased (rare moment but those occasionally still come too).
Mostly I feel that the waves are mounting up, and the storms keep on a’churning, and I don’t have any more kicks to kick as I kick toward that distant shore.
Oh how difficult this life can be! And how weighty and full of grief and burdens– beyond our ability to bear them!
The limitations of now are REAL.
THE LIMITLESS GOSPEL
How good, then, to sit under the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus.
God fashioned me and made me. He knew all that today would hold. He knew He’d make me in an unlikely mold for a homeschooling mom of 9. He gave me a heart that is stirred toward truth that edifies and sheds light– on practical and theological topics.
And yet He knew (before the world began) my limitations. He made a way for unimpressive, limited me. He knew that sometimes, it’s all I can do to get through a day and hope to have energy to search for washing machines sometime in the next 72 hours. Before I was even born, in JESUS, He PROVIDED the holiness I need now, and He promises to work the obedience and holiness in my heart that I can not muster up strength or zeal to do on my own.
He is so faithful and kind and generous. I can trust Him to keep His promises and keep working on me, whether or not I have energy for editing fiery articles or shopping for washing machines.
Whether it’s a great day, the Worst Day, or an average day of kicking toward that far shore and having my view too-often eclipsed by waves, I can rest in the beauty of His grace.
I still can’t find my keys.
But tomorrow will work out by grace.
Grace and Peace,
2 thoughts on “The “SHOULDS” & the Limitations of Now”
I “happened” to come here today and I’m glad I did! I don’t think we’ve interacted online in some time.
It’s so interesting to read this because I’ve been working through something similar in terms of the ministries and homeschooling influences of the past. What has motivated me is that I can clearly see some younger and fervent young men starting to move in the same direction with their ministries, YouTube channels, etc. I had taken down a lot of my content that dealt with these things from many years ago, but a few months ago started to wonder if I should put it back up as a reference to newer posts I want to write. I had taken it down because it was “outdated” and didn’t fit with what I’ve been doing. Now I’m looking at it and thinking that I need to have it up so it is a witness and warning to what those of us who were early bloggers watched and experienced.
Anyway, I wanted you to know that reading what you wrote here was a confirmation that I’m on the right track. I trust that the Lord will lead you regarding what to do in your particular situation as well – whatever that is.
How FUN to hear from you Sallie! I’m glad you are well. You’re right; it’s been a long long time.
Thanks for sharing your insights. As far as writing on these things, what I need most is the TIME to edit my thoughts!
I have so many concerns; so many observations– but not enough time to refine them and make sure I’m saying precisely what I mean to say, neither going too far nor failing to go far enough.When I was a “young mom” I had no idea the way that my time would shrink in this season!
Good to hear from you, and I’ll hope to see you around and hear your thoughts when you’re able to share them!