Monday, June 24, 2013

Modesty

I have divulged the family secret that we are terrible about modesty in this house, so if there is anyone to speak truth on this subject I am fairly doubtful it would be me. Me, the mom who has on multiple occasions taken a child on outings sans undies. Me, the mom who doesn't own a bathrobe and generally has to attend to someone elses need upon exiting the shower before I can even attempt to get fully attired.

This does not mean I don't have an opinion on the issue because of course I do.

I have read many an article on the subject that sounds like this. Now that one is delivered with a bit more love than most, but the the tone is the same.

I grew up in the church. I have heard the spiel. Heck, I worked with the youth, I have GIVEN the spiel. The church and I both missed it. Yup, I was wrong even though my heart was in the right place and I threw scripture at it. Imagine that, you can be misguided even when toss the bible at a problem!

Here is what I believe I, and the well meaning church, missed. I will use the Cosby show to illustrate. Why the Cosby family? Because when I was a little girl I watched it and one episode spoke more truth into my life regarding modesty than any church sermon/youth event/women's book I have ever heard or read.

It went like this:

Rudy and her friend are playing in Rudy's room. Rudy's friend is wearing a head scarf. Rudy asks her friend why she wears a scarf on her head and the friend responds "My hair is my glory. It is a special part of me only to be shared in private, with my husband"

Are you struck with wonder and awe? Ok, maybe not. But here is what captured my little girl heart, she kept something covered because is was so super special. There was no shame, she didn't look embarrassed or apologize for being different. She held her head high, confident that she was worth the respect of being waited for. She believe she was covered not because she was so tempting but because she was so glorious. As a knobby kneed, spectacled, frizzy haired and awkward 8 year old, I envied that level of comfort in my own skin, I yearned for the deep held belief that I was so valuable I needed to be respected.

Guilt, shame, judgement and blame are all motivators, just not good ones. For so long modesty has been spoken of from a place of ugliness and I hope that in all my many parenting failures, I don't do this to my kids. Modesty is subjective, and like the article says, it is a heart issue. I just don't believe that they heart issue is the one she says it is. 

If a child is taught that what they have is so special, that it is there "glory", and that they are a true treasure, will they treat themselves cheaply? If girls are told that they are powerful, not tempting, and if they are reminded of the responsibility they have TO THEMSELVES to live respectfully, will they be more modest? If children are told and raised with the belief that the value they have is INTRINSIC and in no way externally measurable, will they live their life feeling a need to flaunt their...ahm...assets?
Honestly, I just don't know. But I will do my damndest to find out. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·ty  
/ˌserənˈdipitē/
Noun
The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: "a fortunate stroke of serendipity"


My life is lived slowly. It might be because I find myself moving at the pace of a newly walking one year old boy or a incredibly distracted 3 year old girl. It could be by chance but in my most honest moments I must confess that I really like to move slowly. I like to drink my coffee not in a travel mug. I like my kids being able to paint pictures in their jamies until 10:00 am. I like having a clear calendar and nothing expected of us. I don't sign my kids up for stuff, despite the lingering mom guilt, and instead plan trips to museums, lakes, camping, and the library. All on our own time. At our own pace.

The other day I had just put my kids down for some quiet time when there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find a friend of ours who was dropping off some items her husband had purchased for us at my husbands request.We started chatting. Soon she was sitting in my living room pouring out her heart. Newly married, wanting a family, feeling torn about career and finance, we chatted for over an hour while my children napped and my lunch grew cold in the kitchen. I had nothing else planned and she needed a friend right then.

A great friend of mine is about to imbark on a huge adventure. I couldn't be more thrilled for their family. There are a lot of detail she is feeling the pressure to figure out, one of which is to find someone to care for their dog and their house while they are away for 6 months. She told me this the same day another girlfriend told me that her and her husband would love to have a few months to figure out what missional direction God is looking to move their life but it is hard to do while working. Can one friend end up helping out the other? Maybe, this might be Gods nudging, I connected them none the less. 

My life isn't always slow and it looks like the next few months are going to hold a lot of big changes for my family. I love that God will be in that too. I can live in faith that God can speak into my quiet moments and He will still be there when I am running around like a mad woman. He can still use the moments that don't get penciled onto my calendar, which usually are the most meaningful ones. The long phone conversations, the coffee dates and the unexpected dropping in of friends are Gods serendipitous hand in my life and I never want to shrug them off because they are inconvenient or unplanned.

So this is my tribute to the boring, the slow, the monotonous, the unrushed and countercultural choice to slow down. I will let my kids be kids and that means being bored on occasion. I will be still when I could rush. I will let the baby nap in his bed, the children play long drawn out and elaborate games, I will drink my coffee and chat with friends and teach the neighbor kids to play dress up with sarongs. I will let God speak in the slow because when I move quickly I have a hard time listening.