Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guilt 101

When I got pregnant with our son, it was shortly after what was called a 'chemical pregnancy' that didn't take. I knew I was pregnant for all of 24 hours but was still devastated when I found out that I wasn't really pregnant. Not that we had been trying for years or anything, I just so badly wanted to be a mom and it wasn't happening at that moment.

When I got pregnant a couple months later, I was on top of the world. I enjoyed every moment, every craving, and thankfully very minimal morning sickness or aversions. And if you ever wonder about the incredible grace of God, I couldn't stand coffee when I was pregnant. The girl who can consume cup after cup was free from any type of longing for something she couldn't have.

I often joke that cows were sacrificed for me....both male and female alike. I could have kept the beef and dairy industry going myself. I wanted steak and burgers and consumed obnoxious amounts of milk.....among many other things. Just ask the people I worked with. The joke was you had to get to the potluck before me.

Ninety pounds of love later, I delivered (well he was removed surgically). And he was perfect. Minus a small bit of jaundice. And then it started....a downward spiral that I am still working to climb up.

I blamed myself. If I had eaten healthier, exercised more, gained less, rested more often, etc. It was completely and totally all my fault that my baby had to come home wrapped up in a light blanket that my dad said made him look like a gloworm. Remember those?

I think it took half a second to go into a complete hormonally charged crying fit over what I had done to my baby. Needless to say, 14 years later he is healthy, strong, and perfect. At least from my perspective.

The point is, as women, we question so much of what we do, is it good enough....was it enough....does it even matter.....could I have done more......did it have make a difference? And believe me, even now those questions rattle around in my head and heart. And they go far beyond motherhood to every friendship, endeavor, and dream that turned out to be an epic fail.

And while I don't think guilt is anything new to women in general (remember Eve?), there is no evidence in Scripture that Mary felt guilty about anything. After giving birth to Jesus, she used what was available....cloths and a manger. There is nothing that suggests that she was shamelessly berating herself for not being more prepared with supplies. 

When the shepherds spoke the words they did to her about what had been told to them, she treasured them up and pondered them in her heart. No mention of hating herself for not having the baby book ready to go to record everything so that she'd have a record for Him when He turned married....or became a father Himself. (you know what I mean)

And when He got lost as they traveled back from the Festival of Passover, she simply said they were anxiously searching for Him, not that she was the most irresponsible mother of all time that she couldn't even manage to make sure her child was within arms reach at all times.

The point is, like Mary, we can rely on the grace of God to give us what we need. Whether it's cloths and a manger, the ability to remember, or the realization that something is missing and the ability to find it, God's grace reminds us that we aren't perfect and we don't need to be. We might expect ourselves to be, but we certainly don't need to be.

This Christmas, let's diligently seek to trust that even though we might be inclined to believe we didn't find the perfect gift, prepare a gourmet meal, or even decorate enough, that God has chosen each of us in the time and space we occupy to be the perfect person to be around those with whom we spend our time.  Let's choose to believe that because Jesus came, we are now, and always have been, enough.

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