One year for Mother's Day or Christmas, I can't remember when exactly, my husband gave me a Willow Tree figure. I really love this collection of family depictions of love and devotion and I still do. The first one I recieved as a gift stood prominently on my mantle in my living room for all to see. Actually, I have had two of the same pictured above. The first one broke and smashed into many pieces on the floor. The floor of the living room and the floor of my mind. I remember that day vividly. One of the children reached up to get something and knocked it off, off it's pedestal and it fell down and down into the abyss of understanding and rethinking. It smashed that day right in front of me, that figurine depicting perfection in the family and I cried. I remember balling over it being shattered. My possession and my idealism. The kids bought me another one of the very same things.
And yet again. It fell and broke and in the picture above the woman, the mother, has a gaping hole in the back of her. I looked at that today and thought, wow, yes, some women have sacrificed themselves completely in order to keep up with the Jones' when it comes to having children.
Family worship is given a whole new meaning and never what I believe God ever intended.
Definitely broken and spilled out for Jesus is given a new, awful meaning. For some there is nothing left. Some have such health conditions that it puts their life at risk every time they attempt to have a child. Listen to me, God wants, demands us to use our brains!
When our desire to have many children or a certain type of home or perfect kids trumps our logically thinking brains coupled with our total focused worship of Jesus in our lives then something is horribly wrong. Yes, indeed, family worship takes on a total makeover of meaning.
If only people, the ones that want to emulate this culture of family worship, and I mean worshipping the family, if only these ones knew the process, the sticky, messy, difficult and at times, harrowing process in which we, parents, go through to have kids they would seriously think about having so many children. They, kids, are NOT nick nacks, people. If only we saw what really goes on in the homes of these neat, perfect-seeming, Christian families having all these kids. The delegating of responsibility to children, who should for the most part be allowed to be children and not stand in the place of parents. The child neglect, the taking advantage of children, depending so much on them to do for everyone. The endless work that must be done.
It isn't neat and pretty and it shouldn't be worshipped. It may seem that way on tv and in people's homes when you visit and they know your coming...that's all a cover up. I'm not saying that there isn't love in these homes or with their kids, but the dross of seamless seeming perfection which is portrayed is a mask at best considering all the ugly details that are so easily left out or unspoken about.
And, let's make it clear, Jesus is not wanting to compete with your love and desire for a perfectly huge family pursued at such idealistic levels and in turn is pushed onto others and turned into another religion. Even your small family or husband or wife or extended family being put on a pedestal above Christ can become a religion. And religion is just what we don't need. It binds and enslaves you. It will never set you free or give you a patent to a freetothink kind of brain. Jesus came so that you could be free from all of this junk and give you life abundantly. Walk out to an open field and extend your arms wide and breathe deep. That's what He wants you to have. He gives rest and life and peace.
I promise you, my husband and I haven't always, like the depiction above, lovingly stared into our children's eyes even though that's all I ever wanted to do before I actually had children. I wanted that *perfect*, Christian, idyllic family life. In truth, we, my husband and I, have yelled, screamed, lost our tempers, mistreated and huffed and puffed with difficulty and frustration in our parenting and cried and cried, too, at the loads of work that had to be done to care for our children.
It is a lot harder to attempt to worship your family when you get a vice grip on reality. Your husband may never tell your kids stories at bed time. Get over it. Your wife may never want to have five kids. Get over it. Your kids are going screw things up sometime in their lives. Look to Jesus and worship Him, not your ideals.