Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Death of Superwoman: Part Two

After a discussion today with one of the elder ladies in our church, I felt compelled to write this. Although she does not have access to e-mail, this sister got a copy of my "Death of Superwoman" post and was bothered by the contents of it. By the time we finished our discussion, she understood what I was trying to say, but it made me wonder if anyone else had the same problems with it.

In my post, I had no intention of accusing anyone of anything; no one but myself, that is. I have been blessed and ministered to by many of the ladies in our church, especially with meals after the birth of my children and after breaking my wrist last year.

What I was trying to say is that our culture has lost its sense of community. Even the Church is often treated as a social club. But if you study the Scriptures, you'll see that the Church is compared to the family. That's why we call ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ.

But if we are family, then why do we have to pretend with each other? Why do we show up at church with a plastered smile, and a "Hi, how are ya?" and then go on our merry way without thinking about each other again, until next Sunday?

When we do invite each other to our homes, we want to pull out the best china and serve up a perfect meal to exemplify our "hospitality."

But, if we are family, then why can't we just enjoy potluck meals on paper plates? Or, better yet, why can't we let others help us with the dishes?

But no, we have to be "the perfect hostess!"

It would be unthinkable to ask someone to bring a side dish or dessert! And heaven forbid we allow them to assist with the clean up. "No," we say, "Let's just visit. I'll clean this up later!"

But why can't we fellowship while we do the dishes?

Back to my frustrations: I was venting about my own stubborn pride. My refusal to ask for help. My thinking that I have to be Superwoman. I know that the women in our church would be happy to assist me, with actions or simply words of encouragement. But they don't know my struggles, because I have done everything in my power to convince everyone (even my husband) that I "have it all together."

My post was not an attack on anyone, but a personal decision to stop the facade. Despite the strong exterior that you may see when you look at me, I am full of weakness and prone to sin. I am not someone to be admired or placed on a pedestal, but someone whose pride needs to be crushed. I need help. I just have to learn how to humble myself and ask...

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves
to think any thing as of ourselves;
but our sufficiency is of God." 2 Cor 3:5

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Children and Clowns

Lately, I've spent a lot of time contemplating facades and masks, so this note from FlyLady really hit home:

"What is it about clowns that scare some children? Yesterday I figured it out along with a dear friend. Their face tells a different story than what is in their heart. To a child's instincts they may seem to be hiding something. My dear friend suffered with serious child abuse. The abuser was her mother. To the world her mother seemed to be nurturing kind person, but behind closed doors she wore another face. She has nightmares about clowns and when the clown face is removed; it is her mother."

"My mother was like that too. Everyone loved her. They didn't see the screaming rude vicious side of her. She put on a different face for them. Are you wearing a lot of different faces and your family can never tell who you are or who you are going to be. It is up to us to change this behavior and make our inside face match our outside face..."

After considering what was said, I felt the need to comment thus:

Very good analogy and application! The thing is: everyone of us is wearing some sort of mask. Since the time Adam fell, mankind has had the need to cover his/her shame. But this sort of hypocrisy is detrimental to our children. As a Mom that struggles constantly with frustrations and a quick temper, I have apologized to them repeatedly for my actions/words, trying never to place the blame on them. I think this is important. Parents aren't perfect, and children will figure that out eventually; but they need to see humble, contrition from us- so they don't internalize our faults and later churn that into bitterness.

Any thoughts on this from my readers?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Death of Super-Woman

There are some things that I miss about the Simple Life. True, it was never really simple, but life was more laid-back, there was less waste, and a sense of community. I really miss those days! I miss the wood cuttings, the barn raisings, and the quilting bees. I miss getting together with other families to butcher a deer or can vegetables. I even miss the idiocy of making ice cream in the dead of winter because that was the only time we had access to ice. But these days, I just miss community.

It seems our culture has turned from the Scriptural premise of "bearing each others burdens" to a "survival of the fittest" mode. Each of us is expected to eek out an existence while putting on a "Super Woman" facade. Inwardly, we wonder what happened to the elder women from Titus 2 and secretly long for the day when a sweet, mature voice on the other end of the line simply asks how we're doing. But when the phone does ring, it's a "less experienced" mom, timidly asking for our help. Bitterly we comply, grumbling that we should be thus imposed upon. How can we bear someone else's burden, when we're already straining under our own? Yet, we plaster on that fake smile and apply ourselves to "their" problem.

What has happened? Can it be that age-segregation in the churches and schools has fostered this mentality? The hoary head is no longer revered, so young mothers must "learn" from their peers? I can't count the number of times when a woman old enough to be my Mom has complimented my "wisdom" and commented on how much she has learned from me! That isn't the way it's supposed to be!

I'm tired of being Super Woman! So, I'm just going to be honest with you. My floor hasn't been mopped in I don't know how long. My toilets need to be scrubbed. I have days when I'd rather frit away my time in some endless dispute on facebook, than attend to the matters of my home. I raise my voice, and lose my temper, then I cry myself to sleep. When a "less experienced" mom calls for help, I'm as likely to bite off her head as to offer a word of encouragement. I wallow in self-pity and despair, but I don't know how to ask for help. And then I go to church with that plastered smile and do everything in my power to convince everyone I meet that I've "got it all together."

Oh, Lord! Would You humble my pride and teach me how to ask for help when I need it? Would You bring me to my knees that I may lift my eyes to Jesus? Teach me to cast my care upon You, that I may truly bear the burdens of others! And may Your name be glorified in all I say and do. Amen!