Ok, no I’m not really a parent. Or some might say I’m more than a parent because at 24 I’m running a house of 16 40 hours a weeks. Whatever your perspective on my job, I’ve had to jump into parenting in ways I never thought I would. As my mother used to say “You’ll understand when you have your own kids”. Well mom I do. And this God given, fresh perspective on people is worthy of being shared.
Before I continue, I would like to give my two largest influences on parenting. First is my mother who loves selflessly and graciously, and second is my co-worker Pam who is bold and wise in ways I can only pray to be. Watching these two mother has helped me to love all around me more wholly.
Point number one: It is actually possible to love someone so much so that his or her actions break you. Ya, I’m sure you all think you’ve felt this in a romantic way, but it is entirely different when you are serving, molding and guiding the one you love and they break your heart by not making good choices. The depth of a mothers’ compassion on her child is unreal and is something I have only brushed the surface of. And since I have no children of my own to love, I instead see glimpses of this compassion on the women and children I serve at work as well as m friends and family. It’s a tough love to contain. It’s hard to explain. It’s one of those things you have to wait for until you have your own kids I suppose.
Point number two: Natural consequences are the best kind! Oh ya there are! Instead of punishing people with my own actions or condemnation, I simply allow them to make their own choices and live in the consequence of that. There’s only so many times you can tell a child that something is hot and will sting them before you have to just let them feel it so that they know. People are pretty much the same way. I will give wisdom and love and will be there to kiss their boo boo, but ultimately their going to do their own thing and when we stand before God, I’m not responsible for managing their sin. This is a double edged sword because, on the one hand there is so much freedom in letting go and letting people live, and on the other it breaks my heart, as I stated earlier, to watch them do it. But they are Gods children and He loves them and will take care of them. I have to humble myself and let go of my need to control them and just love them like Jesus, without condemnation and judgment, but with wisdom and truth.
Point number three: Laughter is the best medicine. Oh how it is! The sound of a baby’s deep belly laugh or all my clients cracking jokes in the kitchen warms my soul when I’m at work. Similarly laughter breaks down walls when tears are flowing and helps friendships and romances to bond. It is a type of glue that helps the love to flow. We can’t take life or ourselves too seriously. It’s simply not worth it. Life’s too short. If you can laugh hard enough each day that you nearly wet yourself, I’d say your life is pretty successful. It doesn’t all have to be deep talks and preachering. Let loose!
Point number four: You have to choose your battles. Is a three year old having a string cheese and yogurt for breakfast worth a yelling match that ends in tears? Is your friend not telling you a small detail about something worth your bitterness? 90% of the time, I’m going to say it’s a no. So why do we do it? Pride! We need to let go. We really aren’t as important as we think we are and it really isn’t that big of a deal. Our stuff doesn’t really matter. Battle for the things that matter. Those things will not only bring your life purpose, but will do better for all around you. This perspective has made me want to take people (including myself at times) and shake them and say, “Get over it! Not worth it dude!” We as people often want to wrestle with others about God, instead of wrestling with God about people. We need to kneel before Him and plead and then let Him do the work. And when there is need to wrestle, do it in love.
Point number five: Love happens well when you do life with people. I’m not going to say it happens best, I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen when you don’t do life with people, but doing life with people makes it happen. When we live life with people we can be the most raw, we can be the most real, and let’s face it most of the time it’s the most fun. I’m not against the street evangelists, but the Gospel was first given to the disciples who LIVED with Jesus. The Gospel can also be modeled in the same way today, as we love people into it. And those people can be our children, but really anyone you do life with. Go do life with people and talk about Jesus, you’ll see.
Point number six: Without Jesus nothing is possible. After hearing my name (or my nicknames Reverend Mother or Rev) out of 15 different mouths asking for a hundred different things, I reach the end of my rope. I have come to the point for the first time in my life where I run out of energy for any sort of conversation. I run out of words. I need to be refueled and fast! And it doesn’t end at work. Life is draining, that’s what it is. Good or bad, it just is. If we aren’t eating from the bread of life how do we expect life to be any different? He is the only fuel that lasts. It’s like trying to travel from Cali to New York. If given the choice would you rather walk or fly a plane? Jesus is the plane. I understand you’ll get to the same destination in the end (maybe, if you make it) but you could just rely on a plane and have the help and grace flowing love you need.
Point number seven: It takes a village to raise a child. I think what this saying actually means is it takes a village to support the people who raise the child. The point I’m getting at is community is essential. No matter what you’re doing you need advice, to process, to share stories and laughter and you need a break. I am so thankful for the other two women at work who help me run the home, and I am also thankful for the people that come alongside me in life and help with…just life stuff. We need people. We were made communal. The biggest lesson I had to learn was to reach out and say when I needed help or when I’m drained. We need community and we need to communicate with our community. If we try to do things without the resources around us, loneliness is sure to consume us.
If anyone is reading this I hope it helps you. I can take no credit for these discoveries, for I am a dumb little lamb in need of a shepherd. I think I like it better that way. It gives me grace to make all the mistakes I need to and for people to still be loved with the Gospel of Christ. For those who have prayed and supported me through this, please keep doing it. Community is so necessary! And I thank you!