I try to be as honest and as raw as I can be in my posts. Part of the reason I lay bare my struggles before you, on an open forum, is because: For so long I doubted my salvation. I doubted because a lot of the Christians I knew presented their lives in such a way that it appeared they had no struggles. And because I had struggles my logical conclusion was that I really wasn’t saved. I never want you to think my life is perfect. I want to share life with you, as brothers and sisters, and how can I do that if I’m not sharing my real life?
Most of you know that I am a mom…of three. After nursing three babies my body isn’t how it was before. For 13 years I’ve wanted to get breast implants. Once I was saved I thought that this want would simply disappear. I really thought this would no longer be a struggle for me but I was wrong. For the last 6 years I’ve actively thought about and prayed about breast implants. Then three years ago I chose to do it. I sat in the doctors office with money in hand. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. Because of that I thought that I had come to the end of that struggle. I was wrong. However, this post isn’t about the outcome of my decision of whether to get breast implants or not – it’s about what the decision process has taught me about myself as a woman and parent and most importantly – my view of who God really and truly is.
As I again began to contemplate actually going forth with breast implants, I did what most would do, I asked my husband. I also brought the subject up to my friends, my home-group, my pastor (btw...awkward). I also scoured the web for information. If you type in “Is it a sin…” and Google auto fills “for a Christian to get breast implants?” That is entirely my doing. You’re welcome. I also asked my mentor, my BTCL table group, my hairdresser, my mail lady – basically if you presented yourself as a Christian I was asking your thoughts and convictions about breast enhancement.
I grew very frustrated with the answers I received because they were so diverse- although, all answers on some level said basically this one thing: It’s a heart issue. (Grrrr! the legalistic person in me abhors getting that answer – even though I often tell others that very same thing!)
Now, above I mentioned that I prayed. And I did…sort of. This is where the meat of this post comes to rest. All theses years of frustration and tears – yes, lots of tears, has brought me to these two things. And the funny part about it is that it really has nothing to do with breast implants at all and everything to do with: parenting and fear. Yup. Parenting and fear.
Of course I worried about the image I would be projecting to my girls and to society as a whole. But, that’s not the parenting I’m talking about. I’m talking about how a lot of who we see God to be is a projection of our relationship with our own parents. I’ve learned why it is so vitally important to be the parent that your child can talk to about anything and everything. Why so? Because if our children can come to us about the most cumbersome, embarrassing, tedious wants and desires then it’s easier to understand that you can do that with the God of the Universe too. If we are the type of parents that offer more punishment than grace or the parents who just don’t have the time or want, who do you think that ultimately gets projected on to? Yup! God.
I’m not here to bash my parents. I feel like they did the best they could. They weren’t perfect parents but then again who really is? However, because they grew up in homes (and a culture) that children were ” rarely seen and absolutely not heard” guess what kind of home I grew up in? I didn’t have the type of home environment that I could ask my parents stuff (just the thought of discussing boys with my mom makes me blush and I have given birth to 3 children!) Hugging, praise and a general loving atmosphere isn’t what I spent my childhood days wallowing in. It was uncomfortable for my parents because it had been uncomfortable to their parents.
So when I prayed about breast implants my prayers were more like this: “Dear God, I know you think this is a stupid uncomfortable waste of your time and I don’t want to make you mad God but… is this okay?” The ultimate reason I walked away from getting breast implants 3 years ago was because of fear. I feared the Lord and not in a healthy way. I saw God as someone who was just waiting for me to screw up so He could punish me. My dad, like his dad, was “present” but “absent” a lot of my life. He mostly stood on the sidelines watching the chaos and piped in when it was time to hand out punishment – as was the culture he grew up in. And that’s how I ultimately saw God to be like. I didn’t know God was/is someone who you could really talk to. I didn’t have that as a child so why would I expect to suddenly have that as an adult?
It’s unimaginable to me that God is a loving parent who wants to be involved. Say what? You, the God of the universe, actually wants to know about this stuff? My stuff? And you’re not going to ground me? You’re not going to roll your eyes and tell me I’m being “dramatic” or “dumb”. This stuff isn’t embarrassing to you? You aren’t just waiting for me to screw up so you can punish me? (I’m not saying that God is going to say “yes” to everything but He’s not waiting for you to screw up either.)
I am also NOT saying that you need to make your children your life. What I am saying is that as parents we have a lot to do with how our children’s relationship (Lord willing) with the Lord will be. We do help to define what they project onto Him. While they are young we come off as every bit “the God of the universe” to our children. Everything they can or cannot do, what feelings they can express…everything, rotates around us as parents and how we react to it. The parent-child relationship is oh so important. That relationship is something a person will carry with them in some form or other their entire lives. Wow! No pressure, eh?
~My take away~
I had to be honest with myself and with God in how I really viewed Him. I had to accept responsibility for that view. Yes, my parents had a lot to do with how I see God but it’s now up to me to look deeper and seek more. I also had to be willing to learn. I also had to step back and examine how I am raising my own children. I’ve made a few calls to Cali asking a friend to help get me through “the talks” and “the instructions” that come along with having girls. But in the end no matter how flaming red my cheeks are while I explain tampons, bras and boys I have to let my girls know that I’m where they can find answers – NOT Google!
~What I’m learning~
I’m learning that God doesn’t just want you to talk with Him about the things we *think* are important to Him. He wants us to talk with Him about everything, as dumb and self-centered as we may think it is: if it’s a part of our thoughts then it’s a part of our heart and God searches our hearts. I’m also learning that dads need to be a large of part of the “girl stuff”. A girl that can go to her daddy is a girl that can go to God.
~A question for you, too~
So if you too are probing the internet for answers instead of laying your troubles at the feet of the Lord, let me ask you this: Do you have an unhealthy fear of the Lord? Are you seeing God for who He is? Or are you seeing someone else? Do you believe that God loves you enough to sit down and talk with you like a loving parent about anything? If you don’t, can you honestly say that you believe God sent His one and only Son to come and die for you? If you don’t believe one how can you believe the other?
Bottom line is this: God is showing me what kind of parents Travis and I need to be and why it’s important. I’ve learned how I really view God and His love for me and this all started because of a desire to get breast implants. Don’t be afraid to talk to God about about your life, even the “dumb stuff” – you never know how He will use that conversation to grow you.