A few weeks ago I started watching “Mad Men” season one.
(Note: My dear friend warned me I wouldn’t like the smut. She was right. After about seven episodes I had to stop watching. Sad. I really LOVE the costumes, set dec, and the historical details. Booo smut.)
I am now totally intrigued by that era of American history. Tell me, were women really treated that way in this country? ¡No puedo creerlo! I don’t think it was like this in Australia. Am I wrong? (Note to self: Ask Mum about her observations of the treatment of women in Australia in the 60s.)
Thanks to Mad Men, I now understand why the feminist movement happened in the US. It HAD to happen. For the first time, I’m genuinely grateful for the women and men who brought such a radical change to this culture. There is good fruit from the feminist movement. I am so grateful to have had access to education, encouragement, freedoms etc etc. I’m sure I’ll never fully understand just how much of my life is a result of the good fruit of the battle for equality.
But, as with most things, both good and bad fruit came from the feminist movement and subsequent cultural shifts.
I got to have time with one of my mentors last night. She is an incredible woman and every time we get to chat my life is deeply touched. We got together last night to talk about her preparation to preach on womanhood. Her wisdom and viewpoint is so deep and good. I’m excited and honored to be part of her journey.
As I drove to our meeting I was praying for her and for the topic. I asked God, “What is your heart for the women of our church and this community?”
This is what stirred in my heart:
Rise up Mother’s heart.
Do not wait to be valued.
Do not be quiet anymore.
I thought about Mad Men and how womanhood had been devalued. I thought about the battle for equality and how womanhood is still being devalued. This is one of the downsides of the battle for equality: we had to shelve some of the non-equal things about womanhood. And although we should be valued equally, men and women are not the same. We can do the same things and should have the same opportunities but we are not the same. (Oh I feel like I’m opening a can of worms.)
Here’s my sense of what I felt God say to me: This is a new season. What happens now is not a reflection upon or condemnation of the past. What happens now is what needs to happen for now. The value of a woman and the value of a mother’s heart was set aside during an era when other things needed to be addressed and valued. But now is now.
I feel God is stirring up the Mother’s heart to be active again. This term I’m using, “Mother’s heart”, is not just in women who have children. I believe there is a “Mother’s heart” in women who don’t have children. And there is even a “Mother’s heart” in men too. I see a “Mother’s heart” in the way a Grandpa adores his granddaughter. I see a “Mother’s heart” in the way a man dresses as Santa and gives special time to each child that comes by. Know what I mean? Or am I being weird? Regardless, I think there are some extremely valuable functions of that “Mother’s heart” that need to be revived and valued again.
I do not have fully processed thoughts about this yet but, if you’re willing to go along for the ride, I’d like to dump some thoughts out and see what comes of them.
Today’s thought: When Mothers don’t see how bad their kids are.
Years ago a dear friend of mine defended her daughter in a situation where her daughter was 100% in the wrong. I sided with the other person because there was no other choice. The daughter was wrong. I asked my friend, “How can you support your daughter in this? She is totally in the wrong!”
My friend’s response changed my life view: “I am not siding with her because she is right, I’m siding with her because I am her mother and if she ever comes back around I want her to know I’m for her.”
Surely Dr Phil would say this was wrong? Surely what was really needed was “Tough Love”? Right? I mean, isn’t that we’re told? You can’t support bad behaviour, right? Isn’t it a terrible thing if a Mother is in denial about the badness of her children? Wouldn’t she be “enabling” her children? Is there anything worse than a Mother who thinks her children are perfect when in reality they are awful?
Hmmmm. Yes, there are situations when Mothers are enabling their children to behave badly. Yes, there are times when tough love is needed. But these are exceptions. These are minority occurences. And somewhere along the way we’ve let these small percentage situations establish a cultural norm.
We threw the baby out with the bathwater. And we devalued this function of a Mother’s heart. What if, instead of viewing it as “a denial of problems”… we called it “being a prophet of hope?”
My friend was choosing to hope in who her daughter could be. She didn’t join the rest of the world as it stood against her daughter in judgement. She chose to stand with her daughter and believe that she could grow and change.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Who will see the best and believe the best about my kids if I don’t? In fact, there is an enemy who is out to kill, steal and destroy their lives (John 10:10). There are schemes being built against them. They have enough critics and judges in their lives. I should be a voice of hope in their lives. Am I wrong in this??
So I’m choosing to revive my Mother’s heart to be a prophet of hope. I will stand for my children and believe the best of them. I will stop looking for things to be critical of. I will guide, teach and discipline but I will do it as an advocate not a critic. I need to value my role as a believer in and advocate for these amazing humans. And not for just my own children. God has placed this Mother’s heart in community. I want to be a prophet of hope for the people in my life. My Mother’s heart needs to be revived and active. I will stand by the people I know God has placed me with. I will stand for the beautiful possibilities of their lives.
This Mother’s heart will see the good and the beautiful and the best of what could be.
By the way, my Mum has modelled this for me in incredible ways. She has fought for my sister and I. She has always called out the best in us, even when all other voices spoke criticism. Thank you Mum. You are amazing. I’m so sorry I didn’t value this in my own life. I need to be more like you. Love you.
Ok. Today’s brain dump complete.
What do you think? Are there parts of your Mother’s heart that you don’t value? How hard is it to see the best in people? How socially appropriate is it to support imperfect people?