You should know that as a teacher and speaker I always have, what I call, 3-n-1 messages. You see, there are always three different messages that are swirling around in my mind and heart even though they are all on the same passage and are to be delivered to the same women at the exact same time.
Here are the three messages:
1. The one I prepare to give
2. The one I actually give
3. The one I give to myself on the way home from the event.
That third message can be torturous for me. Sometimes hilariously so. There are always so many things I wish I would have said or would have at least said so much differently than I actually did. It can often become comical as you can often spot me speaking to a make believe audience of thousands while I’m in the car by myself leaving an event. (I wonder how many drivers in other lanes have thought I was going insane?)
This weekend’s teaching was no different.
I was at a wonderful conference with 1400 moms. We talked about every topic under the sun that touches the heart of mothers. I only taught one session and sat on a panel for another. Other than that I was in the workshops just like the rest of the attendees, sitting in a padded folding chair, listening to the teachers and taking furious notes.
When I took the platform for the final general session, I was delighted to share the thoughts the Lord had laid on my heart for them. It was a fun, eager group that was sitting on the edge of their seats to hear from God (my favorite kind).
I shared the main focus on the message on the blog last week. You can get the main thrust of it there.
But when it was all said and done and I was left alone with my thoughts in the hotel room, I regretted that I hadn’t shared something that I’d fully intended to. It made me stay up into the wee hours of the morning with that churning feeling deep in the pit of my stomach ’cause I so wish that I had. It had been important to me.. . and I think it would have been to those moms who were gathered.
Then I remembered that I had a blog and could share those thoughts with them here!
So, in a nutshell, here’s what I wish that I would have said at the DotMOM Conference this weekend in Birmingham:
In Luke 5, Simon and his fellow fishermen are spotted by Jesus. They are washing their nets. Scholars say that it would require more than one fisherman to wash a net because it was so large and heavy. I encouraged the women to find some fellow “net washers” in their lives – women who will come along side of them and help them to remain encouraged and uplifted in their rolls as mothers. Partners who will help them to wash off the regret and discouragement from yesterday’s discouragements in preparations for tomorrow’s victories. What I neglected to say was that it’s ashamed how often we, as moms, stand back watching another mother repair and wash her net and instead of helping her, we criticize her.
Simon’s fellow fisherman were unified in their purpose. Unity doesn’t mean SAMENESS. It only means ONENESS of purpose. You and the other mothers in your sphere of influence do not have to be the same to be partners in “net-washing”. You only have to be unified in your purpose to glorify God in your mothering.
So, if she decides to send her kids to public school instead of home school, don’t criticize, help her wash her nets.
If she chooses to work outside of the home instead of stay home full time, don’t talk about her behind her back, help her wash her net.
If she chooses to pick up her bread from the local grocery store instead of making it from scratch, don’t ridicule her, just help her wash her nets.
If she decides not to put her kids in any extra-curricular activities, don’t judge her for her lack of “involvement” just come along side of her and help her wash her nets.
If she chooses to have her kids at home with a mid-wife instead of being under the influence of the (glorious) epidural (my child-bearing drug of choice), let her be . . .and then help her wash whatever nets she’s got to deal with.
Your way isn’t necessarily better. . .just different.
If the men who worked alongside Simon had spent their time berating him for their failed fishing expedition the night before instead of coming along side of him to wash nets, those nets would have never been ready for the miraculous catch that Jesus was preparing.
These fishermen were not THE SAME, they were just unified in their mission.
Goodness gracious, my sister and I couldn’t be a more clear example of this. She’s had her babies at home, I went straight to the L&D as soon as I felt anything resembling labor. She purees her baby food from scratch, my babies first word were “Gerber”. She buys her bread from the store, I make mine from scratch. She home schools and I get mine dressed each day to head out the door.
We are different and . . . yet we are partners. We help each other as much as we can to raise these children the Lord has given us in a way that gives them the best shot at being men and women who will live honorably before Him. Sure, we lovingly challenge each other and share our opinions in gentleness when necessary but we also help each other wash the nets that are in our hands.
Let the mom’s around you be who they are, which will be different – not lesser or greater in value – just different from who you are.
Let’s give each other a break.
Can I hear an AMEN!