• Angelene Woodard

Guest Post: This is My Idol

This week, I invited Laura Crowell to be our very first guest post writer. Reading her words is nothing short of moving. My heart is saying, "Yes, yes!" and "Preach it, Sister!". Also, I'm feeling condemnation, conviction, and a soft beckoning from the Holy Spirit to lean into what she writes.

I am smitten with her wise words and pray this new mother's guest post helps focus your Mother's Day weekend.

Laura, thank you for such a soulful contribution to this blog.

This is My Idol by Laura Crowell

I have an idol. I didn’t stop in at the local smelting shop for a golden calf, but I’m still guilty of allowing an idol in my life.

We all have idols, they just vary tremendously. Anything we put above the Lord is an idol. We tend to call them vices, fears, or even goals, but labeling them something different doesn’t change what they are or the place they hold in our lives.

We tend to look down on people who struggle with idols—drug addicts, alcoholics, gluttons, power thirsty executives, etc.

Sometimes their sin can make us feel better about our own idols because their sin is a little more obvious on the outside. Christians are good at hiding their sin and twisting it around to make it look all pretty and even spiritual.

It’s easy to call out an adulterer on their priorities, but what about a helicopter mom? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never pulled a friend aside to confront her about mommying too hard. It’s easy to overlook sin when it looks like something good.

My biggest idol came into the world at 8lbs and 9oz.

I was totally unprepared for the aftermath of this tiny emotional tornado. I knew things would be different when I became a parent, but I had no idea how difficult it would be to care about anything else.

Fear gripped me in the night if I didn’t hear his breathing, the idea of leaving him with a babysitter suffocated me, and the reality that I would not be in control of his every waking moment, for the rest of his life, to keep him safe, happy and loved, was unnerving.

While I attribute some of my issues to the inescapable anxieties of being a parent for the first time, the rest is simply a lack of faith.

As a parent, there’s nothing wrong with wanting the very best for your child, but fear and the need for control can creep in and take over your heart. Parents do need to protect their children and bring them up in the nurture and counsel of the Lord. But, as soon as children take precedence over God, they become idols.

I don’t mean skipping church if your child is sick or missing a scheduled devotional because your toddler needs a snack. I’m talking about when your love, concern, or worry for your child, surpasses your love and devotion to Christ.

It can look a lot like attentive engaged parenting, but when the decisions you make for your child come from a place of anxiety and not prayerful consideration, the heart is totally different.

You’re not trusting God if you’re doing everything you possibly can for your family, because you’re afraid of what will happen otherwise.

Sometimes I don’t trust God with my son. Even though I know our omnipotent, omniscient God loves him more than I do, I can’t always let God carry parenthood for me. I have a plan for my son. I want that control. I want him to have a long, full, blessed life. God may have different plans and I’m not always willing to accept that.

God is good and his plans for us are good. My sinful nature fights to inflate my own abilities, even though I know everything is by God’s design. It may always be my struggle … on his first day of school, when he starts dating, driving, or whatever life circumstances come up that make me want to tighten the reins.

But, I’m learning to trust God more and more and meditating on these verses.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

God gives us wisdom to make good decisions for our children, if we ask for it.

Without relying on Him, anxious smothering swoops in because of worry and self-reliance. I love my son more than I could ever fully describe, but can’t allow him to consume me.

A wise friend recently said, “Let your children bring you joy, but don’t let them BE your joy, because when they leave they will take your joy with them.” I don’t have to be an empty-nester to understand that’s where I am headed without God’s help.

If I don’t take care of myself or nurture other relationships in my life, especially my relationship with Christ, I could find myself a forty-something mother of grown children, with no friends, hobbies, or relationship with God, because I spent the last eighteen years building my son a bubble, instead of a firm foundation.

That’s an unhealthy example of adulthood and certainly a poor example of Christian faith. After all, my life’s purpose should be to love and serve God, not to simply be a mother.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11

It is my God-given responsibility to care for my son to the best of my ability, especially while he is little. Parenting is a top priority in my life and always will be, but it shouldn’t be my first or only focus.

This is my idol.

Slowly, I am melting it down to create something new and beautiful, that I hope to one day offer to the Lord in full repentance. I am and always will be a flawed mother, but God is using parenthood, and His example as a perfect heavenly father, to refine me for His purpose.

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