Have you ever noticed that what’s held up as the “ideal” within the Christian world is always that which is at the extreme–and very legalistic?
Those who are “holiest” are those who have the strictest interpretation of things. And somehow then it becomes incumbent on other Christians to never present an alternative view.
I’ve talked about this in the past with regards to dating. My mom was a teenager in the 1950s and 1960s when it was NORMAL to date a whole bunch of people–even in her conservative Mennonite town. The thought of saving kissing until the wedding wasn’t even really talked about.
Today the most “Christian” thing is not to date–but to court. And not to kiss until the wedding. To emulate the Duggars (though they were not the first to do this).
I am absolutely NOT saying that there is anything wrong with this model. I know so many who have followed it and are in wonderful marriages. I do believe, though, that it is entirely up to you–it’s between you and God. I don’t think that it makes you more of a Christian to save your kiss to your wedding–though I do believe that some couples really benefit from this. I also believe some couples benefit by NOT saving it.
But here’s what happens: once this idea enters the consciousness, then people stop talking about any other model of dating because they don’t want to seem less Christian. So all of a sudden it seems like EVERYBODY is courting/saving kissing, and then it’s easy to feel inferior.
In truth, a very small minority does.
We see this in other areas as well. A good Christian watches absolutely no media unless it’s Christian media. A good Christian doesn’t listen to the radio. A good mom doesn’t go on Facebook during the day. A good mom doesn’t let her kids eat Kraft Dinner. Ever. A good mom doesn’t use birth control. And so on. And so on.
And blogs start talking about these things, and then writers are afraid to be real and Instagram their true pictures of “what I fed my kids for breakfast” (which in my case, all too often involved chocolate cake. They saw me eating it, after all; it only seemed fair to share).
What if you’re allowed to be you?
What if you don’t have to live up to some rules and follow some pattern of parenting to the letter? What if you’re allowed to make your own way?
Wouldn’t that be FREEDOM?
I want to tell you today about the Steady Mom’s Freedom Guide, which is an awesome book that’s part of The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
Sometimes when we hear about homemaking advice, we think it’s all going to be of the don’t-ever-feed-your-kids-crap-get-perfectly-organized-so-you’re-absolutely-perfect variety. And, of course, the author’s version of perfect is stifling.
What if you’re not like that?
Jamie Martin gets that. In her book, Jamie admits that she lets her kids watch a bit of TV. She doesn’t focus on discipline–she tries to distract her kids and interact with them first, to avert the need to discipline in the first place. She sometimes doesn’t get the housework done, and she doesn’t get through her to-do list.
She concludes like this:
Maybe children aren’t meant to be solved like mathematical equations. Maybe, just maybe, the life of a human being, the life of a family, can’t be encapsulated in a bullet-point list of how-to’s.
And that’s why I’m done.
Done with theories, formulas, and labels. Utterly, completely, lavishly dependent on grace.
Labels hurt us and our children, even if never spoken aloud. We limit their future, their genius by projecting limiting thoughts and ideas over them.
I’m giving up all of it. It adds nothing to our family, but takes plenty away.
Today and forever, I paste these labels over me and my family, over you and yours: Mother
I think that’s beautiful!
And I want to assure you that THIS freedom is what I want for you in your home–with homemaking, with parenting, with marriage.
It isn’t about living up to someone else’s ideal (even MINE! ). It’s about figuring out who you are, and who your husband is, and who God made your kids to be, and listening to advice, and then tailoring it to meet your own family. You don’t have to look like anyone else. There is no “one way” to be a perfect Christian mom. There are thousands. Millions. And they all involve just listening to God.
Take just one example. I’m a big believer that kids should not sleep in their parents’ beds. You will never have as good a sex life with your kids in bed with you as you would without your kids there, even if you get creative. And since sex is so key to keeping a marriage together, and since it’s such a challenge when the kids are little, I think teaching the kids to sleep on their own is a great service to them and to the parents.
I absolutely believe this.
But you know what? You don’t have to do what I say. I hope you listen to my reasons and think about it and pray about it. But it is YOUR family. And you and your husband have the right to make that decision together. I am not God to you.
And that’s how so much advice is set up: like there is one perfect way to be a Proverbs 31 woman.
And so I want to assure you about something today with the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. There are 97 resources–that can seem overwhelming. Are they all going to try to turn you into Martha Stewart? Into the Duggars? Into Sheila?
No. Not at all. I hope what they’ll do is give you tools to be a better YOU.
Here’s why I love bundles: it’s like a big grab bag, where you reach in and you’re never sure what you’re going to get. My friend Susan loves buying those $2 grab bags the drug store sells, because there’s always some cute makeup or chocolates or something they’re trying to get rid of. Sometimes the lipstick colour is awful. Sometimes the nail polish just isn’t you. But there’s always SOMETHING, and you never know what that something is going to be until you open it.
A number of people have asked: Is this the same as the bundle I bought last year? NO! It’s all NEW resources! Every Bundle is ALWAYS unique. So fun!
That’s how I attack these bundles when I get them (and I LOVE them!). I skim it all, put the books I know just “aren’t me” into a giveaway folder, but then I give myself half an hour a night to read through the ones that ARE me. I try to do the courses that apply to me one by one (right now I’m working through the 14 Days to a Better Neck video course because my posture is so bad that my neck is really bad!). And inevitably I find a way to be a better me.
You see, the books don’t all teach the exact same approach–because we all have different personalities, different homes, different circumstances. But they’re full of awesome ideas, and you are free to pick and choose. It’s okay. You don’t have to do everything–and it’s okay to say, “this won’t work for our family.”
It’s like I told you on Tuesday–I am gaga over the book Paperless Home Organization. But I know for some of you that would be stifling. But don’t worry–there are tons of printables if you’d rather go that route! It really is okay.
You’re allowed to be you. There is no one-size-fits-all. But you CAN be a better you. I’ve taken so many ideas that I’ve gleaned from bundles in the past (and from this one) and they’ve help me to enjoy my life better and feel like I’m more on top of things.
But I still don’t meal plan. I still don’t do my devotions before breakfast. I still watch Netflix sometimes. When my kids were little, I still tried distraction rather than a 4-point discipline program. I still was my own person.
And you can be, too. There’s freedom in Christ, people, to listen to the Spirit.
But there’s also excitement in the “grab bag”–in sifting through different ideas, holding them up to see if they fit your family, and finding the new tools to be even better.
I love the Bundle–and I hope you will, too!
Remember, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is only available until April 27. After that this collection is gone for good! And it’s a great collection–79 ebooks, 20 courses and audio downloads, and over $200 in bonuses!
Or, click here to buy now!
Here’s how you can see what a bargain this is:
Looking just at the resources I’ve mentioned,
- 14 Days to a Better Neck: $14
- Marriage and Sex Download: $3
- Steady Mom’s Freedom Guide: $3
- Paperless Home Organization: $5
Just those resources alone pretty much come to the price of the bundle. But you get 96 MORE! And that includes freebies, like an actual physical book Tyndale will mail you. A gorgeous new scarf valued at $20. Free enrollment in one of Craftsy’s classes.
Even the Healthy Home ecourse–valued at $95!