Posted on Sunday, March 27, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

My middle child, Zaidee, had her ninth birthday recently.  Of course you want your child to feel special and loved on their birthday.  She started her morning opening presents and then it was off to school to be the celebrity of the day.  I blessed her with my presence at lunch, where she discovered the awesome chocolate cupcake with sprinkles in her bag.  Surely the daily note I wrote on her napkin was going to have an extra-special message for her.  After we were reprimanded by the school librarian for talking during “quiet time,” I kissed her good-bye, waved to all her friends, and was off to perform miracles.

Our original plans to go out to dinner had been circumvented by softball season.  Zaidee’s first practice was scheduled for 5-7  and her older sister, Solanna’s, from 7-9!  Plan B: take out.  Even though I had a million things to do that day, I was determined to make it work.  In breaking up my tasks, I decided to run errands while Zaidee was at practice with her dad and return with dinner.  While poor Solanna froze alone in her practice, we would be singing the Happy Birthday song, eating cake.  Not ideal, but I was still going to pull it off…until 10 minutes before Zaidee’s practice when I realized one of my errands was to buy her new cleats.  Rats--my bricks were beginning to crumble!  Once again, I kissed everybody (apparently my other two kids would rather freeze playing on the ball field than run errands with me), and left with even more determination.  I might have forgotten class picture day, and my daughter might be practicing in cleats a size too small, but I was about to fix all that!

No I wasn’t.  Once again, no Mother-of-the-Year award for me.

Who was I kidding?  Only myself.  We all joke around about the Mother-of-the-Year award because we know it doesn’t exist.  What we are really trying to do is make sure that when our kids grow up they have more of the “my mom is awesome” memories than the “my mom is a basket case” ones.  Am I right?  And for my kids, I’m sure the jury is still out.

Why am I sharing all this?  Well, I think that many times we moms measure our worth in terribly reductionistic ways.  What I am accomplishing is not near as important as how Christ is transforming me.  Let’s break down the two:

Accomplishing looks at what I can produce.  I would have loved to have produced a nice hairstyle and smashing outfit for Zaidee (yes, she was again the victim for that one) on picture day instead of dressing her for Phys. Ed.  Accomplishing leads to my praise.  Who gets the credit for the adorable 3rd grader in her picture?  I do, baby.  And then it’s done.  I have received my reward, a notch in my belt for Mom-of-the-Year.  Yet in these and even our much bigger accomplishments, we are left still longing, unfulfilled.  The vicious cycle continues.

Transforming looks a lot different.  As a matter of fact, instead of building myself up (as much as I may try) I am becoming poor in spirit, even broken.  Jesus called the poor in spirit blessed, because it is then that we completely depend on Christ.  We look to what He has accomplished on our behalf.  Instead of seeking our own praise, in humility our purpose is to Glorify God—finding our joy in Him no matter what the circumstance.  In both our failures and successes, He is transforming us into the image of His Son.  We trust in Him who is able, as He builds in us character and holiness.  We serve in light of the gospel, from gratitude of His love and through the power of His Spirit.  As we persevere, He is our reward, the Everlasting—never to leave us unfilled.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that accomplishment is bad in itself.  In fact, I have a lot to do today.  And I have many ambitions for my future.  However, I cannot look to my accomplishments for my meaning and value. I rest in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is sufficient for all my needs.

**Related Scripture for further meditation:  Matthew 5:3, 6:1-4; Phil. 4:4; Eph. 3:13-21

Posted on Friday, March 25, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman:

So I finally get around to reading Postman’s great book and on p. 68 I’m challenged with the question: 

How often does it occur that information provided you on a morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, caused you to alter your plans for the day, or take to some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve?

Published in 1986, Postman’s first audience could only imagine where his prophetic lament was headed!  Sure, there is nothing inherently wrong with using media for pure entertainment, but how much of your day is consumed as entertainment under the guise of news?  Most of the so-called news that flashes on my computer screen every morning is not helpful at all.  Of what value are our blog posts and Facebook updates?  How engaging are our conversations?  Postman’s challenge has led me to some considerations for what I read, write, watch and say.  I want my content to be profitable.  One resolution I have made is to have at the forefront of my mind the eternal weight of our interactions.  We may think that something we are watching or participating in only has a temporary, situational value, but that isn’t necessarily the case.  Impressions are being made in our daily doses of data.  Let Paul’s imperative be our ambition: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2).

Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

I remember when my fifth grade art teacher announced, much to my horror, that we were now too old to be drawing every picture with the sun (burst) in the upper left corner of the page.  What?  That was how I began every picture!  It was like the schoolgirl’s way of spreading happy onto whatever theme the rest of her picture took on.  In my mind, that was the only way to compose a sun.  When I drew my first sun-circle, I crossed a rite of passage from childish, storybook art to real life interpretation.  If it weren’t for Ms. Nehemiah, who knows how long I would have continued caging my suns in corners.  But now I was liberated with the truth.  The sun was unleashed in its glory, showcasing its splendor with vigor in my many pieces to come.

Now my daughters are giving the sun the role of a pizza slice in their page corners.  As I glanced at their artwork yesterday, I considered how similar our thoughts of God are.  We like him at the top of our page to spread happiness, but as we mature we learn that he is so much more radiant than the corner we’ve been assigning him to.  That corner may symbolize some of our beginning teachings, but as we are shown more from his Word we realize we have been far too easily satisfied with storybook happiness.  As our knowledge of God increases, our whole picture changes.  Here are but three ways:

  1. How we view ourselves.  Suddenly that little pony with a rainbow I’ve been drawing to represent myself is looking out of whack.  I’m not just a good person who has made a couple of mistakes.  I am a sinner from birth in desperate need of a Savior.  Before my conversion I was dead in my sins, by my very nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3).  All the so-called good I was doing was to glorify myself; to draw my own praise.  “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6).
  2. How we view God.  Before, I was satisfied to draw him as a triangle in a corner.  My thoughts of God were obtuse.  Once my teacher revealed the truth to me, I realized what I was missing.  Likewise, when I am illuminated by the gospel, I learn that my creator God is holy and just, and fully good. He is also abounding in a grace so amazing that he “demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).  I learn the beauty of my Lord’s plan and action of redemption.
  3. How we view the world.  I now learn that there is light and there is shadow in the picture.  “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deed should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21).  Rather than a false coating of happiness spread all over the page, I want my drawing to be true.  I want to have the joy of Christ Jesus fulfilled in me.
Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2011 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Join me in learning more about God and examining whether our knowledge of Him is congruent with our thinking and everyday living.