Monday, September 01, 2008

Let's be honest...and humble...

Edited to add this introduction to my post:

Yes, this is my response --- as a conservative, Christian mother --- to the announcement that the single, teenage daughter of Governor Palin (McCain's choice for vice president) is currently pregnant and planning to marry the father of her child.

I am open to suggestions that a Christian response should be something different...and Biblical reasons as to why.

I'd also like to hear from those, especially conservative Christian mothers, who either agree or disagree with the substance of my "confession". Do you relate? Why or why not?

I am freely confessing the following to my half-a-dozen or so readers, and urging that other mothers join me in being both honest and humble. Let us not rush to judgment. Let us not hold other mothers to impossible standards. Let us realize how much we all need Jesus, how much we all benefit from His grace.

So, on to the confessions:

1. I am not a better parent than God. Beginning with Adam and Eve, all of His children have sinned. Every single one, except for Jesus. So have mine. While at times I wish we didn't have free choice and sinful natures, I am so thankful for the remedy for sin that God provided through His Son Jesus. I stand in desperate need of that remedy. So do my children.

2. Like every mother of many who has neither been born to privilege, nor been able to afford household help, nor has had a husband who enjoyed paternity leave, nor has had the luxury of extended family/church members with no other responsibilities, I have had to return to work fairly soon after the births of my babies. Meals needed preparing, children needed tending, raising, and feeding, babies and toddlers needed changing, the house needed cleaning, and my host of responsibilities to my husband and children didn't abruptly end just because I had a newborn. That's life, especially for the middle-class and working class. Sitting in an office doing paperwork and answering phones, with my baby in a sling, would have seemed like a welcome break on many days. But envy should not make me attack a mother who ventures to her office, just like it should not make me attack mothers whose husbands are able to wait on them hand and foot for six weeks post-partum. God chose my path for me. It's one I don't regret.

3. I have ignored doctors' advice and even direct orders. I willingly, no eagerly, got pregnant with my first child. I have refused pre-natal testing. I have had more than two children. I have breastfed my children. I have given birth in my late 30's. I have not hired a nanny. Etc., etc. While many viewed me reckless and irresponsible for these choices, they were made after much prayerful research. I don't regret any of them. In fact, they all turned out to be, even more so in hindsight, the best choices in our particular situation.

4. I have sinned. Yes, even today. Without the grace of God, I am ruined. Utterly without hope. Not only am I a sinner but, even when I mean well, I am not all wise. I don't have perfect understanding. I make mistakes. I fail. I fall down. But...God still loves me. Someday, when I get to Heaven, it will not be because my theology was correct, or because I wasn't a feminist, or because I stayed home with my babies. It will not be because of my own efforts. It will not be because I meant well or was sincere. It will not be because my good deeds outweighed my bad. It will not be because I am basically a good person, because I'm really not. It will be only because of Jesus.

5. And the few good things about me? The few good things I may accomplish along the way? Jesus deserves all the credit for that as well. I am weak; He is strong. The right things I do are only through Him Who strengthens me.

What about you?

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  1. Rebecca, character does matter. But I'm looking at her character and McCain's not every other person in their respective families.

    How she handles this situation will tell a lot about her character, and so far, from what I've seen, she is doing the right thing.

    Some would say she needs to pitch it all just to be there at home for her daughter. Some would say she shouldn't be where she is because she's a woman.

    I don't agree with the second assertion, and as to the former, it's not for me to judge what is best for her family. I would hope that she would be willing to do what is best for her family -- AS MANY OTHER PUBLIC OFFICIALS HAVE DONE. They step aside, claiming they need to be with their families.

    It appears to me, from what I can see, that she has already made good, godly decisions already, and I pray that she and her husband make the best decisions for their family.

    Meanwhile, I support her as McCain's choice for VP.

  2. You make a good point --- character does matter. And it is the character of the candidate or leader that matters.

    Look how many of God's chosen leaders in Scripture had flawed families. The judgment against Eli came not because his sons sinned but because of his lack of response to their sin --- he preferred to indulge them rather than obey God.

    It is our response to sin that matters.

    Palin's daughter could have chosen to compound her sin by destroying the "evidence" and secretly having an abortion. She didn't. Imagine the courage it took for her to confess this to her Christian parents, knowing that her mother, as governor, was in the public eye. What teenage girl in that situation would not be filled with sorrow, fear and trembling?

    Our God is a redemptive God. When we behave redemptively, when we extend grace, we reflect Him to a dark world.

  3. EXCELLENT post! You stated many of the same things I was thinking.

    No one said a word to me when I was out snow shoveling 3 days after giving birth to my 6th child. No one said a word when I was running stairs, doing piles of laundry and cooking huge meals (even for others) when I was 3, 4, 5 days post-partum. In fact, the same who criticize Palin for going to her office are the same who would praise me for being a properly devoted and submissive wife and homemaker.

    Sitting in an office with my newborn in a sling and doing paperwork WOULD have been a BREAK for me.

    I have also defied doctor's orders by getting pregnant too soon after I was in the ICU from sepsis which was the direct result of having a stillborn baby.

    Doctors always tell women they shouldn't travel in the last few months and it is because of liability and lawsuits. They have to cover their rearends because if they do not they will end up getting sued.

    Listen, I shovel snow, rake mountains of leaves, move furniture, move households to new locations etc when I am big and pregnant and traveling on an airplane in order to go and sign some papers would have been a breeze compared to the hard physical labor I do while I am pregnant.

    I also find it highly amusing that they would much rather a woman jeopardize her very life when there is no hope for her ectopic pregnancy but then would turn around and rail about Palin going to Dallas at the end of her pregnancy?

    Maybe they should criticize the pioneers who would travel West while the women were big and pregnant? At least they would be consistent. The pioneer women most certainly traveled in dangerous situations which caused their babies imminent danger.

    I have about had it with the hypocrisy.

    These same people have plenty of skeletons in their own closets and they should make sure to look good and hard in the mirror before criticizing Palin.

    A pregnant 17 year old daughter could happen to ANY homeschooling parent.

    Take heed lest you fall.

    You are so right when you say that the good things in our lives are totally credited to Christ. I could do NOTHING without Him. If my children do not get pregnant, it is not because of me but because of Him and His mercy and grace. I am a big, fat zero and if Christ was not in my life, I cannot imagine how terribly I would have messed up.

  4. When I was pregnant with Eldest Child, my husband asked me fill in for his vacationing office employee for a week or two. Some women I knew were aghast. "He's making you WORK while you're so far along in your pregnancy?!" They acted as if my sweet husband was some sort of cruel tyrant.

    I asked them if I could call them the next time I had work to do at home...oh, like in 5 minutes or so. I also told him that my mean ogre of a husband had promised to help me with all the household work during the time I was helping him in the office. It was really like a wonderful break for me! I hung around a nice air-conditioned office and helped mostly friendly people all day, went to lunch with my handsome boss, had him help me cook dinner that night, and then sat on the couch (at his insistence) while he cleaned the house like a whirlwind. I was sad when that life of ease ended all too quickly!