Party Pooper

I wanted to help a new friend.  So I broke my own cardinal rule and hosted a jewelry party for her at my home. 

It’s never a good idea to stray from core values and it didn’t go well for me.

There may be something to picking a bad event date.  Note to self  *Nov. 7th SUCKS!  Most of my good friends were previously engaged with kid’s activities and work and board meetings. I should have canceled the event or picked a new date.

I get it.  We are busy, busy people. But almost a dozen ladies agreed to join me, so I went ahead and forged on with the party. 

Some cancellations are explainable.  My sweet neighbor has a three day old baby.  She gets a pass.  Another dear friend is moving –she fell asleep accidentally early in the evening.  I hate moving.  I understand.

But the other ten people who RSVP’d to my party and didn’t show… I need a note from your teacher.

Because I felt like a BIG loser. 

It’s like waiting for your date to show and waiting and waiting and waiting.  And then you take off your makeup and try not to look in the mirror to see your sad face.

I did however have three of my daughters friend’s over.  We played Just Dance and ate all the food I prepared.

We ate a lot.  Hey ladies…the appetizers were awesome.

I sat on my barstool next to my jewelry friend and tried not to panic.  But we both knew by 8:30pm the party was a disaster.  My cheeks burned with embarrassment.

It stinks to feel unwanted and discarded for the “Voice” or something better that came along.

My pride prickled.  I wanted to cry but I honestly didn’t have it in me.  I was too exhausted from cooking and cleaning. 

It was a great opportunity to be reminded of my true worth and value which is not dependent on a room full of women purchasing jewelry.  I spent some time in Psalms this morning refreshing my wounded spirit.

“Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity.  This is the basis of your confidence.  In my presence you live and move and have your being.”*

I’m guesing Jesus had some parties that didn’t go over too well either.  It brought back my smile.

Next party…no jewelry. And just so you know, if you no-showed, I still love you.  A lot!

Have you ever had a party where no one came? 

 

*(Taken from Acts 17:28 Jesus Calling)

One Click at a Time

My post Why Guys aren’t Asking Women Out has created a big buzz.  The comments are pouring in and Ruth Rutherford even blogged about her struggle with some of the male comments in “Oh Henry! There’s Gotta be More.”  In this controversial post I suggested the over-sexualization of our culture (and porn specifically) is one of the biggest contributors to the problem of women not getting asked out.

Some agreed, while others clearly did not.  I was dismissed by a few guys who by their very own comments proved my point that many men in our culture are driven by the sexual images they see.  I was also affirmed for identifying this as a cultural crisis, but my FAVORITE response came in this morning from Brandon. 

I wanted to share this because as a woman I lose credibility by the sheer fact that I don’t have a penis, AND maybe some of you can hear this message better from a man. 

(Although this whole post was done in collaboration with my husband –a male pastor and we deal with this issue on a daily basis in our church, ministry, through counseling and in the relationship seminars we speak at.)

Here is Henry’s comment, which I confess I struggle with a bit.

As a guy I have a very different perspective. I’ve dated a ton of women – more than I care to admit. I don’t think porn is the real problem as to why these girls aren’t getting dates. Any honest Christian single guy will admit he’d much rather marry and sleep with his wife/best friend than settle for porn.  Read more…

Brandon replies…

“Henry is right…men DO want somebody to cuddle up with in front of a Cowboys game, enjoy bedroom life with, and read the Bible with…but that’s about it. The long drivel that makes up the rest of his comment is incredibly shallow, ignorant, and short-sighted.

When I first saw the title, “Why Men Aren’t Asking Women Out”, a little thought popped into my head… “Why men aren’t asking women out? That’s simple. Porn.”

For Henry to dismiss pornography and the general sexualization of our society as one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, contributors to this problem means he has his head in the sand. Recently, I have discovered that multiple men very close to me…older men that I have looked up to, some of which that are in ministry or deacons of churches who have by all accounts healthy, close relationships with the Lord have struggled with pornography recently or in the not so distant past. These are men who have served as my personal heroes and confidants, all of which are in their 40s and 50s, all of which have daughters… And they have all come to me separately in the past year to confess that while they were giving me advice in my struggles…they were struggling with lust and secret sins of their own in a way that boys do now starting as early as elementary or middle school.

If these types of men are struggling with this, it’s undoubtedly even bigger than any of us probably even realize.

Pornography and constant easy access to sexual imagery is re-programming our brains one click at a time and the result will be many men and many women that are single much later into their lives, if not for the rest of their lives as well as many ruined marriages that are entered into without full disclosure of the digital women that the groom brings into the equation from Day 1.

In the spirit of transparency, I have met girls before and thought to myself, “She seems awesome. I would ask her out but [insert physical feature] doesn’t really match up with what I’m into.”

I’ve tried to capture those thoughts and re-train my thinking in these areas but with a world full of men that are more likely driven by lust and fulfilling physical desires with such quick and simple ease rather than being driven by Christ-like motivations, there will undoubtedly be millions of women who will continue to pay the price.

The only thing women can really do is pray and ask the Lord to show them areas that they’re falling short in their relationship with him, which will undoubtedly make them more attractive to the right type of man. Also, continue to pray for your future husband. It’s very likely that he is in a spiritual battle with sin and the enemy that needs your interceding. As for men…there are a lot of difficult choices to be made, but the first of which is to step up, take responsibility, get our heads out of the sand, and start fighting for the wives and the children that God has yet to entrust us with because we’ve been warped by a computer screen.”

Brandon, THANK YOU!  You articulated this beautifully. 

What do you think about Brandon and Henry’s different perspectives?

 

Photo credit: Via pinmarklet

Cheerleaders, Pink Push-up Bras and a Cause

It’s that time of year again –when the leaves start to drop dead from scorching heat and the vibrant green fields of football in HD take on a lovely pinkish hue. 

Pink?  Oh, right…apparently orange and brown have lost their edge.  These days “Fall”is so blasé.   Now it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Season.

I think Breast Cancer Awareness used to be a day, then a week, but somehow it’s morphed into an entire season. 

It ALSO used to symbolize supporting women who battle a deadly disease, but more and more it’s become a tawdry fashion statement and a way for retailers to exploit people’s compassion.

When I see NFL players in pink shoes and gloves I applaud their effort to raise awareness.  If Facebook turns pink or Google goes a light red for a week…Yeehaw! 

But when I see NFL cheerleaders in hot pink bras or neon pink cut-off tees just grazing their bodacious bosoms I think it’s gone too far.

What MORON makes these calls?  I’m guessing it’s not a woman.

What woman who has lost her breasts feels honored by a twenty-two year old girl shaking her fake oversized boobs clothed in pink?

The “I Love Boobies Campaign” is TASTELESS, pink push-up bras are LAME (in this context), and Jr. High kids running around wanting to buy new pink football shoes when they can’t even articulate what Breast Cancer is seems POINTLESS.

Is it about money or women?  Does raising money for research justify trashing the very object it’s supposed to fight for?

Breast Cancer is a frightening, painful and awkward disease.  Losing a breast doesn’t make a woman feel sexy, it’s terrifying and overwhelming in a way few can understand but the survivors who have made it to the other side.

Isn’t there a way we could celebrate this disease in a more honoring way, maybe an empowering way?

For the kid who has lost his mom to the ravages of cancer, a cheesy plastic bracelet does little to assuage his devastation.  The kid just wants his mom back.

I would love to see Breast Cancer Awareness find a way to CELEBRATE women instead of the message getting lost in an over-sexualized culture that subtly degrades the breasts it claims to champion.

 

 

Blonde Ambition

About a year ago I decided to grow my hair out.  For some, this would be no big deal, but for those of us who haven’t seen their real hair color in twenty-three years, it was a significant risk.  I was a bit apprehensive at what might surface under the prolonged years of L’Oreal abuse.

Was I blonde, grey or brown? I had no clue.

But as the roots came in, it wasn’t as atrocious as the images I conjured in my head.  Turns out I have medium to drab blonde hair and as of yet, the grey fairy has not appeared. 

I thought I’d try out this new me for a while –the real me and see if I liked her.

People tell me it looks more natural, maybe because it’s the color of dirt? 

But “natural” isn’t necessarily a compliment.  “What a lovely color” was just as nice.  I think as one ages, natural might be overrated.

I’ve noticed lately I’ve been struggling with blonde envy.   I drool over light blonde hair and wish mine was just a little more flaxen.

But because I am wretchedly poor right now thanks to private pre-school, high school and a husband finishing seminary, I couldn’t justify a trip to the hairstylist.

And so I forgot the cardinal rule of hair care.  If you screw up your locks, you will pay one way or the other.

But I’m a natural blonde, (remember?) so I embraced my inner ditz and proceeded to make the dumbest move possible.  I picked up a highlighting kit at Wal-Mart for $6.00.  It looked simple enough.  Paint a few little beach blond stripes through my hair and brighten it up a bit.

Unfortunately, my artistic brain begins and ends in the writing realm, although I do have some qualms with Revlon…. (a)They need to include paint by numbers diagram and (b) there should have been an idiot test.

I really tried to get it right but the gobs of blue goo I accidentally dropped on my head left a little surprise for me.

How bad could it be you ask?

(Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing I am tall)

On top of looking like cheetah, I also have large gum-ball spots of white hair in the middle of my darker blonde head. 

I tried to part my hair about fifty different ways to cover the spots, but to no avail. 

It looks AWFUL! 

I‘d cry, but every time I glance in the mirror I start laughing at the quandary I’ve gotten myself into. 

My vanity is like a dysfunctional friend I’ve (mostly) set firm boundaries with, until in a moment of weakness, I crack open the door and invite back in to torment me.

It might be time for professional intervention, but In the meantime, I will answer to Spot or Hound’s-tooth. 

Have you ever screwed up your hair?

 

Photo Credit: http://nopsa.hiit.fi/pmg/viewer/photo.php?id=755210

Pretty Girl Syndrome

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my daughter Faith and I am afraid for her. Faith is arresting in her beauty. While little Kolby is pretty and toddler cute, Faith has an exotic look to her and though she is only eleven years old, the child turns heads.

I worry she will become spoiled, entitled or a diva. People already do things for her and occasionally instead of pitching in to get work done, she stands there helplessly looking too cute to get her hands dirty.

The story of the lady in Britain made me cringe. Here was a lovely woman (at least by British standards) who claimed she was treated differently by her peers. The world retaliated with venom. How dare she claim to be beautiful?

(Apparently, you are only gorgeous if the world tells you so)

I think she had a serious case of “Pretty Girl Syndrome” and it’s the one disease I will move mountains to make sure my girls don’t get.

But I don’t think the British chick was loony –maybe just too arrogant for our liking. I think she was probably on to something.

Treating Pretty Little Girls Differently

From the very beginning, a pretty girl is more sheltered, statistically buckled in to her seat more often, and overly pampered. She will make significantly more money than her less attractive friends and will be perceived as easier to get along with, more loyal, and more intelligent. She will serve less jail time, if any, than those with an ugly mug (i.e. Lindsey Lohan). She will be given more opportunities, from job interviews to sorority memberships and find cooperative people to engage with. In a world obsessed with image, attractive children are both blessed and cursed with expectations.

Dave from New Mexico, has some strong thoughts on this research.

“Like this is a surprise. Beautiful people get more of what they want handed to them, and never have to work as hard for what they do get. They’re more likely to be manipulative, and less likely to be caring, compassionate people. Yes, I’m homely, and I see this every day.”

Underdevelopment of Pretty Little Girls

Because the pretty child is used to excessive attention and extreme complimenting, there may be little incentive to exercise normal social skills of engagement; i.e.-empathy and interest in others. Shallowness may be a result.

Constantly affirmed for beauty, fawned over and coddled, the child may also lose interest in more intellectual pursuits. Over time, she may begin to lack developmental skills in common social situations. Entitlement and a true lack of common sense may be seen in cases where the parents do not intervene and de-emphasize the role of beauty, contradicting the messages of the world.

This is where the Pretty Girl Syndrome can mutate into:

Pretty Dumb Girl Syndrome.

If the attractive little girl happens to be blond and voluptuous, then she will be lumped into the paradigm of a sexual object and men and women will both desire and hate her. Before she opens her mouth, the assumption will be that nothing of any relevance will come out. Now, the pretty girl’s beauty will be used against her. She will face a wall of opposition with people who will refuse to take her seriously. Because she is affirmed for her beauty she may retreat into the role she knows she will be accepted in, and thus ensues a vicious cycle of disengagement in one realm and overcompensation in another. It’s the Marilyn Monroe phenomena or the likes of Paris Hilton; who exploit their own beauty while downplaying their obvious intellect.

My daughter Faith came home the other day with an Abercrombie bikini that looked like a band-aid. My ex-husband and I watched as she tried it on for us and we almost passed out. I don’t want my girl to be affirmed for just her body –I want her to know how much God treasures her heart, how smart and kind she is, how talented and lovely both inside and out.

My husband reminded me I wore a bikini at my fortieth birthday weekend in Palm Springs. I worked out super hard and I wanted to see if I had it in me one last time to rock a two-piece.

“Is it possible your daughter is modeling you in wearing a bikini” Tim suggested.

Ouch! I guess its back to the one piece and her suit will be returned back to the store because the last thing I want is for my girls to define their worth solely on their beauty.

Why is it always the bikini that takes me out? It’s like some last remnant of my youth I hold onto.

What do you think?

Husband Bashing

The second the words left the woman’s mouth, floating in the air like a little bomb on the cusp of detonation, I knew I had to chime in.  While her comment was probably not malicious–if left unchecked –the game of husband bashing could do irreversible damage to the Christian ladies gathering.

I’ve noticed this sport usually starts with a hefty dose of female empowerment masked in affirmations and coy compliments… “Ladies, I have been so blessed by this group and by these AMAZING female friendships to the point where I feel like I don’t even need a man around anymore.  Don’t you agree?”

Subtle wink…dainty pout …lips parted with just a hint of an invitation.

And then each woman, happily married, bitter and single, or somewhere in between… makes an instantaneous but crucial decision –do I jump on the bandwagon and annihilate my husband’s (or ex-husband’s) character or defend him and take a stand against the crowd?

Unfortunately, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.  I was the bitter chick for a few years after my divorce that turned tea parties into toxic parties and now I cringe at my past behavior. 

(Hurt people hurt people, right?)

Just as the first few lovelies dove onto the slippery slope of male abuse, I jumped in and loudly interrupted, “Look ladies…the beauty of healthy female friendships is how it enhances marriage –not replaces it.  When our uniquely feminine emotional needs are addressed by empathetic girlfriends who understand us then we don’t place false expectations on our man to decipher our complicated hearts.”

I paused and waved my arms around for emphasis.  “This allows our husband to operate as a real man who loves to fix and struggles to listen to chick-speak without the burden of fulfilling our every whim.  My husband is a tremendous man who both refines and compliments me.  And while I certainly love all of you, I am first and foremost my husband’s biggest fan and I refuse to act like he is big dolt or a Homer Simpson wannabe.”

The table went silent and tongues poised to launch a volley of verbal assault paused and retreated.  The claws went back in and then a chorus of agreement chimed in.  “Oh yes, we do need our men…they are so wonderful…I do love my husband.”

I sat back down in turmoil –glad I had spoken up but frustrated I even needed to.  Sadly, I see this happen all too often –women gossiping loudly about their husbands faults and complaining to whoever lends a willing ear.  I know if the shoe were on the other foot and I discovered my husband trash talked me in public I would be devastated.  So why do women act like we have a hall pass in this area?

In an ideal world there would be no double-standards in marriage.  And though I far from perfect in this area and still consider myself a recovering gossiper, I try to remember I can’t expect my husband or our children to act differently than the behavior I model.  So what am I teaching my son and two girls when they accidentally hear mommy dissing daddy on the phone to her BFF?

What if we –as wives –chose to affirm our husbands instead of nit-pick?  What if we saw the best and let go of the little irritants?  What about truly forgiving and FORGETING, instead of forgiving and then repeating the offense to the gals in Pilates to get a big laugh?

I want to be the type of woman who champions her husband at all costs.  I try to speak of him and about him in the highest regard.  And I’ve found, quite inadvertently, my words and actions are helping him become the man he wants to be because he feels supported–even when he makes mistakes and even when he struggles.  This allows him to take bigger risks and move towards the best in life because he knows I am his team-mate and not a passive aggressive opponent licking his face and simultaneously peeing on his leg.

Harold Macmillan –a British politician once said, “No man succeeds without a good woman behind him.”  I think Harold is on to something.  And I think starts by being an advocate of marriage and learning the art of keeping our mouth shut.

 

 

No Money, No Honey

I’ve never really understood how “visual” men are when it comes to being attracted to the opposite sex.  Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and my metrics for measuring up a dude are vastly different.  Sure, looks played a part in my overall decision-making process but it was never a deal-breaker if the guy had other stellar qualities.

(*note: my husband’s hotness was a bonus on top of his other attributes)

But when I saw a new study in the OC Register the other day, I had an epiphany.  The article, titled –Women aren’t looking for an unemployed man, online dating service’s survey discovers, suggests single men without a job are lonelier than the Maytag repairman as 73% of women refuse to consider dating an unemployed man.

(For those too young to remember, Maytag had an ad campaign showing a lonely repair man in his shop insinuating their washers and dryers rarely break…)

And then it hit me why men date hot chicks who have the brain cell capacity of a flea – it’s because men are wired to be visual in the exact same way women are wired to seek financial security from a mate.

Tit for Tat.  Hot Chicks vs Cold Hard Cash.  Show me the Money vs DD Cup Size

Jokes aside, I have to believe it’s how God designed us.  Despite feminism and women’s rights, the truth is most women feel vulnerable when they are pregnant or raising small children and a husband  with an adequate income allows her to focus on nurturing and caring for her young without the burden of financial stress. 

I know this all too well because when I was single mom the financial stress was OVERWHELMING.  But once I got remarried, the burden lifted.  I still had to go to work and provide but it felt more manageable with a partner.  I don’t believe women are designed to carry the financial burden alone. We can do it (and some do it very well) but it doesn’t sit well on our frame just as most men struggle to get up at night with baby.  They can certainly do it but it mommy does it so much better with a smile and a song instead of bad words from a cranky and grumbling daddy.

The male focus on visual aesthetics is not just immaturity.  According to Dr. Phil McGraw, it’s a “psychosocial, biochemical and neurological gap—so trying to get a man to function according to female standards is like trying to get a pig to fly. It’s just not going to happen. That old but often accurate notion that men are hunters seems especially applicable here.”

 
Men need to be quick on their feet and act fast to bring home the bacon while women need to plan and store provisions for a long winter and hungry mouths to feed.
 
Terry – a reader from the Register article responded: ” A man is set up on a blind date, first question, what does she look like? A woman is set up on a blind date, first question is, how much money does he have?”
 
But here is the catch, although we are designed to operate in a certain manner, we, unlike our four legged friends, have a choice in the matter.  We don’t have to  take this”pre-wiring” to the extreme.  Not every woman needs to be a gold digger and not every man needs to be a skirt chaser. 

We let the world distort God’s standards of provision and beauty.  We let Cosmo and Maxim tell us what matters most and we tune out the simplicity and brilliance of God’s design for male/female relationships.

A man who can provide a roof over a woman’s head and put food on the table is a good catch.  A man who will take a job at Starbucks, or parking cars or get up every morning and apply for a hundred jobs in a bad economy is a treasure indeed. 

A woman who takes care of herself and others, has a sweet spirit and big smile (though she may not be a super-model) is still a beauty.  A woman who follows God, is faithful and true and loves without barriers is ravishing.  And a woman who is physically appealing on the outside but nasty on the inside is not worth the misery of a dreadful marriage, or worse yet, an expensive divorce.

I think it’s time we stop complaining how men only like hot chicks and women only want guys with a job and instead start redefining what real beauty and real provision actually are.

And maybe we need to fix our broken “pickers” so we spot the real jewels when we find them. 

Is your “picker” in need of some fine-tuning? 

 

 

Death by Tan

“Bend forward and pose like Arnold,” Maggie instructed.

In a grimace of sheer humiliation, I leaned forward and did my best body-builder imitation. 

Maggie pointed the spray gun at my shoulders and released a cool blend of brown shellac and air.

It was my first ever spray tan and I was standing in my underwear in a little tanning tent feeling like a big goof.  But then I thought about exposing my Colgate white butt cheeks at the pool this weekend in La Quinta I remembered my motivation.

I am what most people call a fair girl.  I have naturally blond hair and blue eyes with a spatter of freckles dusting my nose.  I burn, I peel and even after a summer by the pool I am at my best a gentle shade of cream.

Self-tanner is my friend in the summer.  Usually I do a mystic-tan for big events, but because this weekend is my fortieth birthday I thought I would go all out for the personal touch.

And Kolby’s pre-school teacher (also a spa owner) gave me good deal.  How could I refuse?

Maggie looked at me and smiled.  “Now go home and sleep and take a shower in the morning.  Half of this will come off and you won’t be this dark.  Don’t be scared when you look in the mirror.  It won’t be this dark.  I promise.”

I turned and glanced in the mirror and almost fell over.  My body looked smoking tan but my face looked like the scary tan lady who took her kid to the tanning bed.

I looked like an Aborigine with blond hair. 

How could I go home like this?  I put on my glasses, paid her and skulked out.

When I got home I ran up to my room and grabbed a wipey and tried to undo the damage to my brown face.  My daughter Faith came upstairs and in her usual Jr. High tactfulness said, “Ummm, do you think she did a good job?”

I ran downstairs as my son and husband returned home.  Kyle walked in and started laughing, “Mom, who screwed up your face?”

Kolby stared and looked confused.  And then I started crying brown tears of shame.

My sweet husband calmed me down and stared at my tan legs and arms. “I like it,” he exclaimed.  It will be better tomorrow. 

Leave it to my darling man to talk me off the cliff.

I woke up this morning at 4:45am and showered.  And fortunately, Maggie’s prediction came true.  All the icky brown washed down the drain leaving me with a pretty golden glow.

Score this round    Sam -10    Vanity +10

 

 

 

 

One Thing

I expected to see thousands of screaming doe-eyed girls, long lines and expensive parking (a whopping $20) at the boy band concert I sold both my arms and legs to attend with my daughter Faith last night.  I knew I would be deaf by the time I drove home, cringe at the over-priced Diet Coke and delight in my little girl swooning over Harry Styles.

I brought an Advil for the headache I anticipated and psyched myself up to be the cool mom for one evening –difficult for me at best.

I laughed at the banners –“Snog Me Harry” and the glittery t-shirts saying “Mrs. Nials to-be.”  One clever girl threw a walkie-talkie on stage and got the band to chat with her.

I planned and expected many things for our girl’s night out, but the one thing I didn’t expect to encounter was a strong brush with humility –from the band One Direction of all places.

And even this morning it lingers.

One Direction –the boy band de jour –was surprisingly, one of the more grateful groups of young men I’ve seen in a very long time.

These boys don’t take their success lightly.  They weren’t ego-maniacs despite their Beatles-like power to hypnotize little girls.  Even while panties and bras were flying on to the stage –they laughed and poked and teased each other with sweet self-deprecation. 

And fortunately for all of us parents who chaperoned –these lads had pipes and could dance and wail and brilliantly light up the stage.

But most importantly –they thanked the crowd no fewer than thirty times.  Each young man (five in all) took multiple opportunities to dote on their fans, appreciate their fans, encourage, affirm and edify their fans…over and over and over.

In a world of people pushing and striving for the spotlight, it was deeply refreshing to see rock stars who willingly give it away.

And their startling humility made an impact and made me think about my own personal thank-o-meter.

Do I thank people enough?

Probably not.

Maybe it’s time for a tune-up.  The truth is I want my life to be less about me and more about others.  I want to diminish (my ego) to allow others to flourish.  I want to be thankful for every friend, fan, like and reader.

I want it to be less about me and more about you.

So, here we go.

Thank you.  Thank you for reading the words I write.  Thank you for giving me a chance to pursue my dreams.  Thank you for commenting and loving and encouraging me on the overwhelmed days, the achy heart days and all of the ordinary underwhelming days.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!

I think One Direction has really figured out the “One Thing” –HUMILITY.

Do you have someone in your life you need to thank today?

 

Not so Compassionate

The other night I spoke to a group of gals at Birthchoice –a nonprofit supporting the parents of unplanned pregnancy.  It was the usual crew of girls albeit a few new faces.

The topic was pregnancy and exercise and the level of interest was slim to none.  I know not every talk I give will raise the roof, but is a small rumble too much to ask for?

One of the new ladies was either mentally disabled or had fried her neurons from excessive drug use.  I was warned by the leader that she had been very disruptive the week before and interrupted the speaker constantly.   I prayed for Holy Spirit intervention or at the very least, enough humor to keep it light.

Every few sentences I uttered, the woman chimed in.  I found out it was her fourth pregnancy and she walked an hour a day and the names of her kids and a thousand other details all while I was supposed to be speaking.

I kept thinking of Henri Nouwen and the lessons Jesus was trying teach me about compassion and empathy but my frustration level subtly rose notch by notch with every interruption.

I asked the girls a few questions to figure out their lifestyle and discern their difficulties in finding balance between exercise and babies, work and education.  

  1. How many of you work?                              None
  2. How many of you are in school?                One

And then I realized how my stupid my questions were and I got pissy and a little defeated.  One of the girls had been showing off her hair extensions earlier and when I looked up, she flipped her glorious locks over her shoulder. 

I think it’s what set off my internal envy switch.

I am standing up speaking and what’s going through my mind is pure evil…This is so unfair!  I want hair extensions for my scrawny tresses but they are too expensive and my kids need new shoes.  Some days I want to stay at home and not work two jobs to pay the mortgage and all the sports fees and endless activities for my kids; so what gives you the right to be lazy and Welfared and sooooo relaxed while I have heart palpitations and still take more time out to volunteer and share with you how to exercise when you are going to laugh at me and eat Cheetos anyway and then just have another baby? (was that a run-on sentence or what?)

After an exhausting thirty minutes, I finished up and exited quickly.  Normally, I hang out and talk with the girls but I needed to sort out my heart and emotions.

Jesus clearly needed to take the wheel back from Satan.

Here is what I discovered once I calmed down and dug into my crusty soul.  Like everything in life, nothing is black and white.  I admire these women for choosing life and not aborting.  I love them as sisters in Christ and I can champion and promote their desire to overcome adversity and grow into responsible citizens and loving mothers. 

But I cannot take on their burden if or when they choose to operate with entitled and lazy behavior, nor will I condone it. 

I volunteer and give because God called me to encourage and love these women and it’s possible only a few will hear the message and respond.  But even if it’s only one or two or even none, they are precious to God and to me.  My agenda is love and to come alongside them -not  to fix.  And in all honesty, at my worst, I am no different.  I too want to be coddled and cared for and take the easy road some days. 

But at my best, when someone believed in me –even when I didn’t believe in myself, it allowed me to experience a sliver of hope and to dream of a different and courageous life. 

A life where God can take a selfish and self-righteous girl –despite her complete and utter unworthiness, and allow her the grace to grow and minister to other women. 

 

 

 

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