Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Have Gifts and I Have Gifts

My sister-in-law and her kids just spent ten days with us. While it was quite the circus around here, I got pretty used to our evening dinners together and growing addiction to Call the Midwife. Parenting alongside another mom for ten days gave me a helpful perspective I've been working through since I became a mom two and a half years ago.

There are many different kinds of moms. And that is a very good thing.

My sister-in-law is a woman of many talents. She can walk into a room and redecorate it in her mind in a matter of seconds. In fact, I sent her a picture of Seth's room before we completed it, asking for help with how to fit everything in there, and immediately she sent me back a sketch of an idea. Did I say she is quite the artist? She is. Her kids regularly ask her to draw pictures of their favorite animals or characters for them, and she gladly obliges. She can make stuff out of Play Doh. She can put together toys and build towers and train tracks without getting frustrated. She is crafty and can think of fun projects for our kids to do together. She is resourceful and servant-hearted, always willing to go the extra mile for people.

She is nothing short of amazing.

And I am nothing like her.

I like other things. I do other things. I am good at other things. Her kids expect different things from her that my kids would never even dream of expecting, and vice versa. She parents her kids out of her gifts and strengths, and I do the same with mine. We both bring something to motherhood that the other does not have, and through this we are helping shape children who will bring different strengths and gifts to the world.

The world needs mothers who are crafty and the world needs mothers who pretend with their kids. The world needs mothers who have dance parties and the world needs mothers who play kickball. The world needs mothers who do all sorts of things, because the world needs kids who do all sorts of things.

Often we see the strength of others as a commentary on our weakness, we feel threatened by them and judge them to protect our own feelings of inadequacy. But their strengths are not a threat to us. They are a gift. They are an opportunity to stand in awe of the abundant creativity of God. Just like we can't all be doctors and scientists, we can't all be crafters either. It's not cause for comparison, but cause for appreciation for how God has gifted each of us to parent the children that God has given us.

My friend Trillia Newbell says it well in her book Fear and Faith:
In our fear of being judged as lazy or of incurring the Lord's disapproval, one way we might seek to feel better about ourselves is to mock other women. Yet have we ever stepped back to consider that some women have been especially gifted by God as cheerful, thankful homemakers?
She goes on to say this in response to our comparison:
What if you rejoiced instead? Perhaps if you see women who excel in areas you do not, it can be used as an opportunity to thank God for His creative design. 
So embrace your strengths, my friends. But also, embrace the strengths of others. Every gift and ability we have been given is working together to serve the world that God has diversely created.

2 comments:

winen lose said...
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MK Jorgenson said...

I've had this open in a tab on my phone for too many days. I'm glad that I finally got to it; it was a breath of fresh air (especially as I am currently hiding in the bathroom, feeling like something of a wreck). We are all different and it is all good. Thank you for the reminder, friend. :)