Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Puffed Sleeves of Parenting

Clothed In Christ
Part Two in a Series

In Anne of Green Gables,
the imaginative, slightly vain Anne,
longs for puffed sleeves in the new dresses
Marilla is sewing for her.
After all, they were in style.
The other girls were wearing them.
She wanted to look elegant.
Marilla tried to chase the longing away
with practicality and sensibility.

She knew Anne's weaknesses, and didn't want to play into them.
Showing her own fears not yet overcome in life,
Marilla wrongly feels denial is always the best for the soul,
as if a desire fulfilled would be a sign of weakness.

Matthew, on the other hand,
was determined that Anne wasn't going to be raised
"as cheerless as we was."

He knew Anne's desires, and that it was time to fulfill one of them.

Proverbs 13:19

A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.

Even though Marilla and Matthew are brother and sister,
they took the opposite sides many couples find themselves on.
When my kids were little, they noticed this trend,
and wrote their own song.
"Mommy says NO! Daddy says YES!"
Instead of working against each other as a couple, however,
we learned to work together,
complementing instead of complaining.

If Marilla always said no, Anne would have a dreary life.
If Matthew always said yes, Anne would be spoiled.
If I always said NO, the kids would live on fruits and vegetables.
If Scott always said YES, they would have cake for breakfast.
(OK, he only did that one time, and the conspiratorial
smugness of the kids was worth the possible tooth decay!)
When I see the tear on Anne's face as she faces Matthew,
too overcome with thankfulness to speak,
it always make me realize I have that same power as a parent.
I can provide the "puffed sleeves"
of my children's dreams.

For one of my little girls, it was simply sparkly gold shoes
that made her childhood sweet and fulfilled.

Another daughter longed for violin lessons.

I have moments of regret when a longing wasn't fulfilled,
like the Christmas when I bought a four-year-old a doll I loved,
instead of the doll she loved. When she buried the doll in her closet,
without a fuss, without a fit, I knew I had done the wrong thing.

In all things, it takes wisdom and prayer,
to know when to say "yes" and when to say "no."
And when the husband and wife disagree,
pray until you can act in unity and peace.

Spirit-led moderation is the key.

Even we adults have all felt the longing Anne for puffed sleeves.
Maybe it was for a spouse.
Maybe it was for a child.
Maybe it was for an unspoken prayer request of your heart
you couldn't voice to any human.
Feel the hunger of that desire again,
and turn your longing to the Lord.

1 Peter 2:2
 "Desire the sincere milk of the word,
that you may grow.

Long after Him,
then when the desire is fulfilled,
thank Him.

Tears are optional.

Read Part One - Off With the Old, In With the New
Part Three - Holy, Holey Jeans

1 comment:

  1. These clips brought back many memories of lates nights with Anne my sisters and mom! I don't think I've watched it for 10 years or better! I'll have to think on my "puff sleave moment" for awhile.


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