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musings, insights and other thoughts from Shonda Parker - Love Above Preferences
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Love Above Preferences 
I noticed a friend posted a prayer request recently on Facebook for a friend of hers. She listed all the natural living qualifiers for this woman: homebirthing, freebirthing, no vax, organic, green, baby-wearing, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, long-term breastfeeding...I can't even remember all of them. The list revealed a truth about us, friends. Without intending to, we've created an "in" club whereby other mamas get to be respected and loved by us only after they've fulfilled all our pet preferences.

All I could think when I read it was Jesus doesn't create a club with a list of requirements in this area. When He invites us, no matter our stinky or self-elevated behaviors, to sit at His family table, He loves up on us as a brother or sister and gives us a whole world as a kingdom to tend and rule. What He asks of each of us is that we accept His brothers and sisters as our own, too, just as they are. He has their self-improvement courses covered. The only thing He asks us to do is love them and not create ANY burden beyond what His Word makes clear - and whaddaya know, His greatest commandment is LOVE - to make His plan for them more difficult.

If our social life does not include a diverse group of people: home/hospital birthers, SAHMs, WAHMs, WOHMs, TTCs, single ladies, married gals w/o children, (this list could go on and on); those who vaccinate and those who do not; raw eaters, meat eaters, veggie-only eaters, McDonald's eaters; the green and the chemical-happy; baby-wearers and baby toy holders; parents who discipline a variety of ways; co-sleepers and crib fams; breastfeeding mamas and mamas who have, for whatever reason, chosen to do otherwise at this moment...A pastor friend once said, "If you don't have people in your church, in your life, that make you uncomfortable, you are not living out the Gospel."

I not only believe these words, I have seen what my own personal preferences have yielded over the years. I don't regret creating some preferences for our family; I do regret having pressed those preferences on others through the years in ways that made them feel they were less.

As for me and my house, we welcome you to our home, no matter your own personal preferences. Ours may be different. That's okay for both of us. If and when Jesus wants to change either one of us, He'll do it without either of us needing to make the other feel badly about our efforts to be good mamas or holy women of God. Yes, there may be times when one of us has to confront the other about a sin, but how about we all make certain we limit those times to what God calls sin rather than what WE think is best for others. Our understanding is so limited, folks. Let's try the love He asks of us and see where that could get us.

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