Today’s Bread ~ Cool Moms

24 Apr

Proverbs 31:25 – Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. ~ESV

Mom 2My mom was not cool.

Not at all. Not one little bit. Not even close.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom is a wonderful person. She is funny, witty, and smart. She is generous, compassionate, and gentle. She gives objective, balanced advice, a well-blended cocktail of truth and love.

My mom met my dad in college and they married shortly after graduation. I came along five years later, the first of three daughters, so she set aside her masters’ degree and teaching career so her children could have a stay-at-home mom.

I have a deep appreciation for my mother. That being said, she was not my buddy, and she was not cool.

Recently, my on-air co-host (90.9 KCBI) Jeff Taylor, posted a question to our listeners:

“When you think about the world your kids are growing up in, what concerns you?”

I knew well in advance we would be talking about this, so I had plenty of time to formulate a response.

My number one concern for our children today is cool moms.

When did it become okay to follow the trends our kids are setting?

Case in point #1, the selfie. Two years ago, it was considered obnoxious and narcissistic to post a picture of oneself on social media. It was something our teenagers did on instagram, and we, as adults, collectively shook our heads and sighed.

Some of the recent selfies I’ve seen on Facebook – by moms: “Bored in the carpool lane,” “Dramatic eye make-up, whatcha think?” and “New outfit, feeling cute!”

As moms, we must understand that we hold more influence in our daughters’ lives than anyone else. The goal is to train them, guiding them to be gracious, intelligent, caring, and compassionate hard-workers. I want my daughter to love Jesus first and others second. I want her to hold herself in high regard and walk with dignity.

My heart breaks for the woman who needs to be propped up by the comments and “likes” of people she may scarcely know on Facebook.

Case in point #2, following their lead. Sisters, we do not need to impress our children by “speaking their lingo.” Shorty shorts with the pockets hanging out and spaghetti straps are not appropriate for six-year-olds, sixteen-year-olds, or sixty-year-olds. Our daughters don’t need mani-pedi partners, they need moms. And moms who sound like a Disney Channel sitcom aren’t cute.

They are, however, guiding the next generation of leaders.

The question is what are they guiding them into?

My sweet eight-year-old orbits me. She wants to do what I do. She says what I say. She tries on my dresses and teeters around in my shoes. I have a tremendous, God-ordained duty to love her well and provide her with a godly role model.Reb and Caitlyn

And that means we’re not friends.

It means she has firm boundaries that are not crossed.

It means we have showdowns that sometimes end with her stomping down the hall to her room in an angry huff.

It also means we have sweet conversations about wisdom. I explain to her that, just as God knows more than I do and therefore doesn’t give me everything I want, mom has been around the block a few times and loves her enough to make tough decisions on her behalf.

Like a family cell-phone instead of her own, not just now but for many years to come. Bedroom doors as privileges, not rights. Tablet devices charging overnight in our room, and heavily restricted usage terms. No unsupervised computer time, ever.

Caitlyn doesn’t get to do everything her friends do. She still uses a car-seat booster, because the law says she needs to; a point of contention, because she has classmates half her size who don’t.

Sorry, honey. I love you too much to bend on this. I will sacrifice my status in your eyes for your safety any day of the week.

Nope, I’m not a cool mom. My daughter is not my friend. Her long-term character is far more important to me than her approval. My speech, my clothing, and my behavior toward others, in life and on social media, must be a reflection of who I want her to become.

If they can’t look up to us, moms, who will they look up to? #HollywoodAintCuttingIt

Proverbs 31:26-30 – She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ~NIV

 

Today’s Bread ~ The Day I Met Beth Moore

26 Feb

Mark 6:34 – When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.

Beth-MooreIt was the year 2000. I was a DJ at 99.5 The Wolf in Dallas, Texas. My life was all about good friends, good times, and good wine. I had money, things, and a cool loft in Uptown. I also had a secret.

I was absolutely miserable.

One day a co-worker invited me to her church.

I will never forget that day.

I stood there, tears streaming down my face as my friend lifted her hands and sang. I was right where God wanted me: broken, empty, and defeated. With nowhere to turn but up, I rededicated my life to Christ.

Soon church once a week wasn’t enough, so I investigated Bible studies. Having never attended one, I wasn’t sure where to start, so I asked the girl at the information desk for suggestions.

“Have you ever done one of Beth Moore’s studies?”

Beth who?

“Um, no. Is she good?”

“Oh, you’ll love her! The class starts next week, so let’s get you signed up.”

I filled out a form, gave her my check, and three days later walked timidly into my very first Bible study -“A Heart Like His: Seeking the Heart of God Through a Study of David.”

Not sure what to do, I walked up to the petite brunette who seemed to be in charge.

“Excuse me, are you Beth Moore?”

How sweet of her, not to ridicule me. The girl, named Tianne, smiled as she introduced herself.

“The Bible study is a video,” she kindly explained. “Trust me, you’ll really like it.”

I didn’t just like it.

I was absolutely blown away.

Fourteen years later, I serve as a morning show co-host on a Christian radio station. I am a frustrated wanna-be-seminary student.  I read commentaries and concordances for fun, and get grumpy when I don’t have my “quiet-time” with Jesus.

I totally blame Beth Moore.

Fast forward to February 21st, 2014.

My friend Amanda and I loaded up her SUV and turned south on I-45 to Houston.

Destination: Women of Faith (WOF).

Speakers: Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, and Christine Caine.

Because I work at 90.9 KCBI, the WOF organizers promised me credentials and backstage access to interview the speakers between presentations. Having chatted on-air with Sheila, Priscilla, and Lisa, I was hoping for a quick “hello” and a picture.

We picked up our tickets at will-call, only to discover we had no media passes.

Undaunted, I texted the backstage coordinator (thanks for your help, Dawn) to see if interviews were a possibility.

Everything fell through.

In all honesty, I was fine with it. This wasn’t a rock concert, it was a ministry event. These women were not there to make much of themselves; they were there to make much of God and His Word. We were there, and that was enough.

Or was it?

The next morning we were forty-five minutes into the first session when I decided to try one last time.

Dawn texted me back immediately with the following: “Meet me to left of stage (by camera operator) at the break. We can try for a pic during break with whoever is around. Key is getting to this spot super quick at break. Talent moves quick.”

Say no more.

“Amen” had scarcely left Lisa Harper’s lips when Amanda and I shot out of our seats like a bullet. We made it to stage left at breakneck speed only to discover that Dawn was right. Talent moves quick.

A stern looking gentleman moved swiftly in front of us as we attempted to get their attention.

“Do you have media passes?”

“Um, well, Dawn told me to meet her here to speak to Sheila and Lisa, so…” My voice trailed off uncertainly as I looked to Amanda for help. Finding none, I looked back at the man.

“They have to head to make-up, because this is only a thirty-minute break.”

With that, he turned and strode off.

Amanda and I looked at each other.

“Come on,” I whispered, “and let’s try to look like we’re supposed to be here.”

After a winding series of turns we found ourselves in large sitting room. I spotted Sheila Walsh over by the corner. Sheila Walsh

“Sheila!”

She graciously took a picture with us before hurrying off to reapply her make-up.

Amanda and I looked around. We were clearly out of place. Everyone else was quietly chatting or snacking from the buffet line, and there we stood, credentials conspicuously absent.

We knew Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, and Christine Caine were signing books, so we turned to leave.

That’s when I saw a flash of blond. (more…)

Today’s Bread ~ The Bible and the Working Mom

19 Feb

Proverbs 31:10 – A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

photo (1)I turned off my computer with a sigh.

Another blog post championing the cause of the stay-at-home-mom; another passive aggressive poke at moms like me.

It brought to mind a recent conversation with a friend. A friend who, like me, wrestled with whether or not to work. A friend who, like me, struggles with the oppressive cloud of mommy-guilt that shadows the joy of her job. A friend who, like me, feels like a less-than mom who somehow, because she doesn’t home-school her children, must love them less than moms who do.

The blog didn’t really bother me that much. I expect strong opinions from the blogosphere. But what about the pulpit?

In a span of one week, I heard two different pastors preach two different sermons with one clear message: Good moms stay home.

Really?

Did God say that?

Indulge me to hash this out one more time, because I’m tired. Not just physically, although balancing wife/mom/job is exhausting at times. I’m emotionally tired of the us versus them mentality in the world of mommy-ing. And I’m really really tired of feeling judged, weighed, and measured in the church, only to come up consistently short.

Consider the dreaded Proverbs 31 woman:

Proverbs 31:13-18 – She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable; and her lamp does not go out at night.

To all those who would sacrifice the working mom on the altar of laundry and lists, I ask a question:

Is it the working mom’s job that offends you? Or is it the paycheck?

I don’t have a doctorate or masters in theology, but I love to play amateur exegesis.

Does the text not say she gets paid?

“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”

The translators phrase this verse one of three ways: (more…)

Today’s Bread ~ Coffee, Commentaries, and Divine Interruptions

13 Feb

Acts 16:7-8 – When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.

starbucksHave you ever had a Divine Interruption?

I didn’t coin the term; Priscilla Shirer did in her Bible study on Jonah.

Jonah had a divine interruption in the middle of the sea. “Go to Ninevah,” God said. “No,” said Jonah. “Then be fish-lunch,” said God.

Pardon my paraphrase.

My Divine Interruption was not quite so dramatic. No one found themselves wading through the gut of a large fish. My experience involved coffee, a traveling library, and a guy named (we’ll call him) Fred.

Some context, if I may.

My children take Spanish one afternoon a week. I drop them off, post up at a near-by coffee shop, indulge my latte addiction, and get to work.

By “work” I don’t mean the radio station. After I leave job #1, 90.9 KCBI, I begin job #2, which, at the moment, is teaching a verse-by-verse study on the book of Genesis.

On this particular day I almost didn’t go to the coffee shop. I didn’t really want to. But every time I thought about doing something else a strange feeling came over me; for reasons I couldn’t understand, I felt as though I was supposed to go to my normal haunt.

I dropped off the kids, headed around the corner, and nestled into a corner armed with my laptop, four Bibles, a one-volume commentary, and a notebook. Latte in hand, I dug in.

My concentration was broken about fifteen minutes later when a tall gentleman, mid 40s, started looking around for an electrical outlet.

Knowing my seat hid one of only a few precious outlets, I offered to move.

“That’s okay, you look comfortable,” He said.

“I can get comfortable somewhere else.”

“I’m good, I’ve got half a battery,” he replied, pointing to his computer.

Smiling, I got back to work.

A minute or two later I heard his voice again.

“What are you studying?”

I looked at my large pile of books and laughed. “I’m teaching a verse-by-verse Bible study on Genesis,” I said. “But I’m not really a teacher, so I’ve got to research and study it to death.”

His eyebrows shot up and he mumbled something about the Bible being an important book. Thinking I’d scared him off for good, I shifted my attention back to John MacArthur’s article on the significance of the Fall.

I worked in peace for ten more minutes. I looked up when the college student one seat away from me unplugged his computer and walked out. Fred immediately got up and took his place.

“See? It all worked out,” he said. “Maybe the Lord is smiling on me.”

A familiar feeling came over me. You know the one. The “You’re going to tell this guy about Jesus feeling.” It always catches me surprise. It always makes my heart race.

I looked at my stack of books and my computer. I thought about the week ahead and how little time I had to prepare this lesson. I thought about how this was my special time that I didn’t like to share, and decided the feeling was wrong.

“Sure looks like it,” I said, cheerfully, and turned back to my now-heavily-highlighted article.

“Can I ask you a question?”

Okay, God, I said in my head, “I will totally do this. But I need You to give me the words.”

Turning to give him my full attention, I said in the kindest way possible, “Of course!”

Fred told me about his mother. After a long struggle with a cruel illness, she passed away in 2012. Fred, the only son in the midst of five daughters, had felt the loss tremendously.

“We’re a spiritual family,” he continued, telling me about his traditional, orthodox upbringing, “so I believe and all that, but tell me what you think about this.”

Fred had been having an unusual experience. He told me about one of his final conversations with his mother, and how she promised she would always watch over him.

“Well,” he said, “about six months after she passed, I was feeling really lonely. I was thinking about her and crying. I looked up, and I saw the brightest red bird you’ve ever seen. And I started seeing this same red bird all the time.”

Having had an unusual red bird experience myself, I leaned in.

“Then I was hunting one day, and just when I started thinking about my mom, there was the red bird, so close I could almost touch it.”

I started to speak, but he cut me off. (more…)

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