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As God by creation made two of one,
so again by marriage He made one of two.


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Mothers, Untie !

teacuppamela.pngYep – I let a typo become the title of this entry. Cindy‘s original blog yesterday “Older Mothers of the World Unite” has been quite interesting to watch as comments have doubled overnight. I shared some things on her comments section and posted them here. Not as an indictment of mothers but an admonition to evaluate some decisions/activities. That said… I continue to mull over this matter today.

I say… mothers: Untie!

This, I say, for many reasons. Older mothers have been afraid to say things to their capable, confident, well accessorized, independent, younger counterparts. Now, at first blush, my description of the younger counterparts may seem critical and maybe even judgmental. O, not so. I actually marvel at the capabilities of the younger mothers – and am astonished at the proliferation of baby-childcare-childhood merchandise and training materials. But I also marvel at the independence I see and the sad consequence of that independence. I see many young mothers as unaware of their lack of skill or unaware of their self-centeredness or unaware of their marginalizing of their older counterparts. To many younger confident mothers, the older mothers are passé – obsolete has-been’s who aren’t really relevant because times have changed and the archaic ways have been replaced by the nouvelle motherhood – the, what I call: bigger, better, more motherhood. The “righter than you” motherhood.

Now, here is a potential for trouble – young mothers may feel unnecessarily accused or offended at this point and that’s not my intention. My intention is not to ‘slam’ young mothers or to reprimand or criticize. But to say: Mothers! Untie!

Untie! Old mothers… Older mothers… Younger mothers… Young mothers: Let us all not be so bound up in sanctimonious thinking that we forget where we are, where we’ve come from or where we’ve been.

So that, when a young mom says, for example: we’ll never spank our children! You don’t reply: “Then you’ll wind up with little terrors who will destroy the property of every home they visit and be miserable to spend time with.” Instead, maybe a better tact would be to demonstrate how and when and where and why to properly discipline and hopefully the overly confident- inexperienced young mother will take into consideration the biblical mandate to discipline properly and to love and respect properly – and quite possibly understand the reason Titus 2.3-5 is included in the Word. You will gain respect, you will impart understanding and wisdom and, more importantly, you will gain a loyal friend in that young mom.

So that, for example, when an older mom describes how to do something that goes against or doesn’t line up with contemporary conventional thinking, young moms don’t bristle and close their ears to other options – and old moms need to see there are some great ‘new ways’ of doing old things better and not be so callused, closed minded or hard hearted to new ways of seeing things. We need to see there may be new and better ways. We might need reminding that the old way of doing things just might still be the best way – and just because appliances and convenience have replaced many things – that doesn’t mean the old ways obsolete.

Just look at the number of so-called retro things are popular. Aprons, cookbooks, wheat-grinding, bread, clotheslines, soap making, herbs and tinctures, natural products, cloth diapers and on and on.

Untie! Young mothers… untie yourselves from the preconceived notions that the older mothers think they know everything and want to ruin rule your lives. Be taught! You’ll be teachers one day!

Untie! Young mothers… from the thought that generations before you are antiquated and this generation now (finally and fortunately) has things figured out. Learn from the old ways while you’re walking the new paths.

Untie! Older mothers… Untie from the old ways that aren’t profitable! Be teachable and adaptable to the new ways. Hold fast that which is good… (1Thessalonians 5.21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”)

Untie! Older mothers… be what God has called you to be. Be it! Teach it! Live by example – and if your example isn’t so good right now – get it there… study, improve, correct, change, apply! Get your life in order, learn what you ought to know, be what you ought to be: that(!) the Word of God will not be blasphemed in or through your life – Let the Word be lived through your life!

Unite your heart to fear the LORD and to live in obedience to Him.

Let us learn from Titus 1.9 and 16 and 2.1: “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers… They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate… But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:”

And older mothers: we need to be sweet. The younger generation needs an example to follow. Let’s strive together – not against one another. Let’s unite.

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  • You know— that is exactly what I have been praying – that god would so help me to be the woman He’s created/designed me to be that He would not let me stay as I am but that He would work in me the character of the Lord Jesus… that I would be tenderhearted, merciful and compassionate and *not* forgetful of where I’ve been / what I thought and how *He* has worked in and through me. Well, actually, that’s what I pray for all of us older mothers – that we would be easily entreated and tender toward those who are coming along the path. I know it sounds critical or even ‘preachy’ sometimes to share what’s good or not so good to do or whatever. I just don’t know another way to say things than to just say them sometimes.

    But I do want to learn to be more gracious in not just the tone but in conveying my intention – bcz I know what it’s like to feel like I’ll just never make it, be good enough or get it together. Really.

    Thanks Traci!

  • Wise words indeed Pamela! As an older mother of 6, grandmother and women’s mentor – I too see many things in the younger generation that give me pause. I offer my advice when asked, and post my articles when not. 😉 We can only pray for teachable hearts for young and old – because we never stop learning. And the grace and love to accept the information shared in the spirit in which it is intended.

  • agreed. *smile* and thank you for the welcome.

    I’m chuckling now because everytime I leave a comment here, a math test is required. Clever security.

  • Sara wrote:

    “I have to admit that I DO usually require that I see a good end product before I follow the instructions of a professed expert, but as far as I can tell, no one here has claimed to be an expert so I am more than willing to listen. ;)”

    Sara — thank you for writing. And you know… you’d not be very wise if you didn’t check out for yourself what you’re reading or listening to or whatever. Especially in faith, parenting and marriage.

    I am praying for a good end product here – and I am by no means a professed expert. But I will be quite open and say that I share from some experience – and experience is not to be confused with expertise. However, I do have some bits here and there where I will probably sound like I’m conveying expertise in a matter. That will be rare, though.

    So… have some tea and see what the Lord might be telling us from day to day.

    love, pamela

  • Cathy – O, precious sister – you do not need to apologize one bit – forgiveness bcz you asked, but truly – I didn’t take your letter as being harsh but as a very good and needful caution to me to be very forthright in what I say and to be gentle – more gentle – and kind in my words.

    Now, I know what you mean about concerning yourself with how the children will ‘turn out’ bcz I am concerned with the same thing here in our home *and* even with the ones who are grown and have children too! You see you never get too old to be concerned for your children – or grandchildren. And just bcz our children here are walking with the LORD, I don’t see my ‘job’ as ever coming to a close – especially concerning being a help to them or being in prayer for them. The world *is* powerful and the enemy of God is seeking to destroy your marriage, your children and your home. Be wise, be joyful, be vigilant, be in the Word, be diligent and be instant in prayer. *Love* your children and make *sure* they *know* you love them.

    Now, you know I have obviously made mistakes – My hope is that lessons from those mistakes I have made – and/or make, will be used for God'[s glory and that I will see them as sort of an impetus to change or to yield another area to the Lord or whatever.

    I actually needed your letter bcz when I say something like: I hate to see younger mothers do this___________… I really am not meaning that I am looking around critiquing the young mothers and see their mistakes and wish they’d stop and do things my way. Instead, I am simply seeing a *few* things that I sure wish younger mothers would do/change/stop so that they won’t have more troubles or a heavy burden or whatever down the road and so that they will be following the Lord.

    I didn’t have a lot of input in the earliest days of motherhood and I was plodding along and every now and then an older woman would say something and I would catch a glimpse of how I ought to do this or that… those lessons are with me to this day. We need to hear from one another: older to younger and younger to older – as an encouragement one to another.

    I have learned so many things in the last nearly thirty years of marriage – many good things and many things that could have been done differently and many things that were right, but were done with the wrong method or whatever. That is why I share what I do.

    So I don’t want to ever have an “emulate me” attitude, instead I have a: walk with me as I walk with Christ attitude. Not like I walk with Christ or how I walk with Christ, but, rather, walk with me walking with Christ. That’s why I have this blog. I share slices of life and if one sister is helped, if one marriage is spared and if one family turns around and follows Christ and lives for His glory – well, then… what a great honour it will have been to encourage one family… one mama or one sister in the Lord.

    Thank you for writing again.

    Stay in the Word and in prayer. Be joyful, and let your husband and children see the Lord in and through you. And even if you hit a rough patch of it sometimes, I want to encourage you to trust in the LORD and don’t lean on your own understanding. He *will* make your paths straight. He *is* faithful.

    with love, pamela

  • Cathy

    Pamela,
    I re-read my comment from last night, and I am so sorry that I sounded so harsh. I certainly do not mean to be hurtful, and I know that is how I came off. Please accept my sincere apology.
    The truth is, I am terrified of losing my children to the world. I wish there were some sort of foolproof system for raising children, but even the Christian “experts” seem to contradict themselves. I even have difficulty with the outward obedience part! My kids are still very young, and I worry constantly about how they will turn out. I should have realized that you are NOT like some of the “older” mothers who are quick to criticize younger mothers. Everything you say is said with sincerity and kindness. Please continue to share what you would have changed, and what you would not have changed in life. We younger moms need your gentle wisdom, and you did not deserve my harsh criticism. Forgive me.

  • I have to admit that I DO usually require that I see a good end product before I follow the instructions of a professed expert, but as far as I can tell, no one here has claimed to be an expert so I am more than willing to listen. 😉

  • connie

    Cathy, as the mom of grown children, I’m shaking my head at what you posted.
    There is no such thing as a mom who does not make mistakes, visible or otherwise.

    I myself have three grown children, two of which are on fire and sold out to follow God, while the third is in the process of recovering from a prodigal period of her life. Shall I pat myself on the back that my first two have made me look good as a mom?

    Only if I am an idiot.

    All of us moms rely on the grace of God. And by the way, a humble older mom who has made mistakes has just as much to teach you as a so called “perfect” mom.

    Every mom has blind spots. No mom is perfect. And if you are looking for a perfect process to rely on instead of the grace of a perfect Saviour to rely on to raise your children, you are gonna have a hard row to hoe in the future.

  • Yes you did. And yes, you’re very right, Cathy, I have agonized over a wayward child. And you are right – I obviously do not have a perfect score – and yes, I have, as you have inferred: obviously made serious mistakes. Obviously.

    I don’t think you really asked your question wanting an answer. But I will answer it: I don’t write these blog entries as one who has arrived, one who thinks she’s got it all together or especially not as one who pretends to have it all together. I do not – and I am very candid about that.

    However, I still trust in the Lord and I trust in His Word and I do write about things I have learned and am learning – or what we have learned and are learning. Mistakes are great teachers and they are great equalizers. And ‘humblizers.’ (this is now my new word) Mistakes make us equal to less than nothing – bcz apart from God, that’s what we are. And I would’ve stayed there, at nothing, had I not seen/known the grace of God. God has carried me and by His grace I am daily going from strength to strength because the Lord is my shield and guide.

    The longer I live, the more sure I am of the presence of God’s unfailing love and His sovereign will and His permissive will. And the great blessing and comfort to me is that all the weights of the bag are His. It’s all His work and it’s all His glory. Not mine.

    It, I’m sure, would not matter to you what has come of the wayward child or even the marvelous ways God has worked (in spite of my obvious failings) in and through our other 10 children. But it matters to me. And if you really knew me and/or if you really knew them, then it would matter to you. But I am not attempting to sell myself to you and I never will. But you would more clearly see why I take the stands I do. And *because* I have, as you say, “obviously made serious mistakes,” I have so intensely learned some very hard things and am stronger for it and my resolve to stand for Truth and my faith in God is greater *because* of my failings. God’s Word or His truths are not any less true bcz *I* have made obvious and not-so-obvious mistakes – or even bcz a child decided to not obey father or mother or Lord – the truths are, in fact, more true to me than ever.

    But you’re right to want to emulate someone whose children walk in the ways of the Lord. Obviously. I pray the Lord will direct you to her door and there are *lots* of great blogs/books/programs to choose from. And I pray that He will bless you and your home abundantly with His merciful kindness and provision for all that’s needed each day.

    Thank you for writing.

    with sincere love, pamela

  • Cathy

    Pam,
    Didn’t I once read an article you wrote about how you agonized over a wayward child? Why should this young mother listen to what you (as an esteemed “older” mother) say when you obviously don’t have a perfect score when it comes to raising children? I want to emulate someone whose children walk in the ways of the Lord. I am perfectly open to the teachings of an any older mother who has children who have all turned out to be Christians, but not those who have obviously made serious mistakes.

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.