Because I was the oldest daughter in a family of six and babysat for years, I assumed parenting would come pretty easily to me.
Like most moms, I was in for a lot of surprises, shocks and too many meals of humble pie.
I was never sure who to talk to about my questions. I wasn't sure what was normal, what wasn't, what I should change and what I shouldn't change. I devoted myself to studying all the verses in the Bible in parenting and looking for good fellowship with wise Christian women concerning my questions.
But it was something a friend admitted over a cup of coffee that really gave me direction and vision in parenting.
"I yelled at my kids this morning. I was a regular screaming meamie."
I was shocked. I actually asked her, "You yell at your children?"
I wasn't shocked in judgment, I was shocked by her frank admission. I was also relieved.
I wasn't the only one.
It wasn't that I wanted us to wallow in our sin, but it helped to talk about our frustrations as parents and come up with coping and confessing strategies.
My new vision wasn't to yell at my kids; I purposed to be honest and open with women, as the Lord led me. I realized if we all ran around pretending the way we looked and acted on Sunday morning was the only true representation of our life, then we would never dare to open up to confess our faults to one another and to bear one another's burdens.
This was driven deeper into my convictions with another admission.
"After my last baby, I walked in deep darkness for a long time."
A friend suspected I was struggling with baby blues after the birth of my fifth child, and offered her story first, giving me permission to open my heart.
It is the same theory, but on a deeper level. How much are we willing to confess to another woman to get or give the spiritual help needed? Is there something you think you can't share?
My friend gave me permission to talk about a struggle that many Christians would have blown-off as merely a lack of spirituality.
Why don't we bear our hearts?
The truth about others:
*Too often the reply can be harsh, thoughtless and judgmental. We fear adding to the burden we already carry.
*We have to admit that some people don't forget and forgive, even after a Christian matures.
*We haven't found someone who is wise in the Scriptures and not apt to gossip. You might find a woman who bears one of the qualities, but few have both.
The truth about ourselves:
*We are hearing the words from the accuser of the brethren who tells us we are the worst Christian, the only mom who yells at her kids, the only woman who sometimes doesn't love her husband, and we begin to believe we won't be able to overcome.
*We are wrongly concerned with what people think about us.
If we don't share openly, we can't get the help and encouragement we need. Obviously, we need to go to the Lord and His Holy Word first, then we look for a faithful woman that will allow us to say,
"Hey, I yelled at my kids today!"