Monday, October 28, 2013

Not My Gospel

If you've been around here for a while, you know that I try to live and mommy in a pretty intentional way and that I'm happy to share with you what that looks like for us. You know that I have really loved using cloth diapers, eating whole foods, being a stay-at-home mom, travelling with our children, and having the occasional bout of craziness.

But I've noticed a trend lately. OK, I haven't just noticed it - it's been going on for a long time, but it's been nagging at me more and more. Now, I need to address it before I write anything else. I'm happy to continue sharing about our lives, but something important needs to be said before I can do that.

I have watched parenting and lifestyle decisions (especially mommy-ing decisions, in my context) become an all-consuming endeavor to the point that they are what people evangelize. I've seen people insult others for using disposable diapers. I've watched women publicly degrade other women for the health decisions they have made concerning their children. I've even heard that women would not come back to a church organization because someone there ridiculed their decision to use formula over breastfeeding. You see, this isn't just a secular problem - it's also rampant within Christian circles. It breaks my heart.

Whatever decisions I have made in these areas, whatever I may think of them on a personal level, whatever I may believe about the arguments behind them, I want to make something entirely clear right here and now:

These things are NOT MY GOSPEL.

You see, I'm happy to talk about them. If you ask me, I'll share with you why we've made the decisions we've made and how they work out in our everyday lives. It's one of the primary things I've used this blog for in recent years - because there are those of you out there who want to know. But if you know that I use cloth diapers or buy into a CSA before you know that I love Jesus more than anything else in heaven or on earth, then I am doing something wrong. And if I am turning you away from Jesus because I am pushing those things and not Him, then I have seriously missed the point.

Because when it comes to eternity, those things don't matter. It doesn't matter whether your kids are immunized or circumcised or eat junk food every day if they don't know that Jesus loves them. Your value doesn't come from those decisions; it comes from your Creator who has prepared good works in advance for you to step into (Ephesians 2:10).

Paul talks about becoming all things to all people so that he can best represent Christ to them where they are (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). For me, that means that if you have never heard of a CSA but you want to hear an answer for the joy I have in my life, I will gladly meet you and your kiddos for McDonalds to tell you about it (1 Peter 3:15). That means that I will use a cover or retreat home or to my car to nurse my baby so that no one can be distracted by even a perceived lack of modesty that would keep them from hearing truth from me (1 Timothy 3:2). That means that I will never think less of you, ridicule you, or shame you for your mommy-ing decisions, because I know that you have value as a child of God and because I am just as fallen from glory as you are (Romans 3:23).

I am willing to live and die by and for the Good News of Jesus. I am willing to span oceans and climb mountains to show you how much He loves you. I will insist that He, a perfect Savior, died and rose again so you can be reconciled to a Father who longs to be with you forever. All the rest is just details and I will never push them onto you. I think it is good and wise to enjoy the blessings God gives us and do the best we can to steward them as He leads - but they are not Heaven and Hell, and I refuse to turn them into such. They are just a breath; here today and gone tomorrow and only my spiritual legacy will follow me.

So please take anything else I share or explain or talk about with a grain of salt. My mommy-ing decisions don't define me, and I won't define you by yours. I decline to be labeled by that gospel, and instead run after The Gospel.

**I have only shared a few examples here of how these priorities affect my life and decisions. If you would like to know more or have specific questions, I'm happy to share - just leave a comment and ask!**


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