Yes, you read the title correctly. I am a mom who sweats.
Like perspires. Like leaks stuff from my armpit, forehead, and neck glands. Like a mom who has pit stains that not even Old Spice can contend with on humid days.
I am that mom.
I am the mom who literally rides to the park on a 66 degree morning with the windows down and the air conditioner on. No, really; I did it this morning. And then I am the mom who gets out of the car and walks toward the park with only a Target tee and a pair of flip flops on–passing moms with long-sleeves, jackets, and shoes.
I am that mom.
I don’t shine; I don’t shimmer; I don’t sparkle. Friends, I sweat.
And while I looked around at the park full of moms who were covered from head to toe, I noted the beauty of our differences.
Because friends, we are all different.
Some of us drive mini-vans and some of us do not. Some of us run and some of us do not. Some of us are extroverts and some of us are not. Some of us scroll Pinterest and some of us do not. Some of us work outside the home and some of us do not. Some of us have a big group of friends and some of us do not. Some of us are planners and some of us are not. Some of us enjoy magazine reading and TV watching and some of us do not. Some of us “LuLaRoe it” and some of us do not. Some of us keep our gas tanks properly filled and some of us do not.
And guess what?
Because not every tool in the toolbox plays the same role and not every color in the crayon box colors the same, and THAT is beautiful.
We need different, and we need variation. We need the stretching and growing that comes with different. We need the beauty of each other and the difference of YOU.
Different can bring perspective. Different can bring needed-challenge. Different can be beautiful.
And yet, sometimes different can be scary, and out of our comfort zones, and an opportunity for judgments and even contempt.
Like what about our differences in opinions and preferences?
Like what about those moms who feel strongly about home-schooling and no screen time? What about those moms who are okay with the 3 year-old watching the PG shows and bringing their iPad to the park? What about those moms who drink a glass of wine with their Bible study and what about those moms who wouldn’t be caught dead sipping fermented grapes near the Word? And what about those moms who are okay with using the word “butt” instead of “bum,” and how about those moms who are okay with skipping Sunday School to have a family morning at the playground? And what about those moms who feel strongly against two-piece swim suits, Barbies, and piercings? Or how about those moms who are proponents of sleepovers, make-up, and drive-thru dinners? And those moms who are against Sabbath sports and are against certain vaccines? Or those moms who lean left and less right?
The opinions can be vast and the preferences endless.
And as I stood at the park this morning, noting the differences between us moms, I couldn’t help but think of Romans 14, a recent place of study for me.
I won’t insert the entire text here (please check it out for yourself), but let me give a quick summary.
Paul is writing to the church in Rome–made up of both Gentile and Jew believers, and he’s urging them to be unified. And what is he worried might disrupt their unity and community? He’s concerned that the believers might get caught up on the differences and opinions they held regarding eating vegetables, consuming meat, celebrating certain holidays, and sipping certain beverages.
In short, he’s worried that carrots, pork, the Sabbath, and wine were going to cause division. Doesn’t sound that different from 2017, huh?
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats…One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike… Romans 14:1-5
Again, Paul’s concerned that judgment and contempt will stand in the way.
So what does he say?
1. Stop the judgment and don’t be a stumbling block!
…let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. v. 13
2. Don’t let the preferences and opinions tear down the unity Christ brings…and died for!
For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. v. 15
Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. v. 20
3. Pursue peace!
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. v. 19
4. Remember what matters!
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. v. 17
5. Whatever you do, do it for God!
He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. v. 6-8
6. Let God be judge.
Each one of us will give an account of himself to God. v. 12
Friends, the body is diverse and different and so are our preferences and opinions.
And ya know what?
If it was growing and good for the Church in Rome, it can be growing and good for the Church in the USA.
So whether you’re a mom who sweats, skips church occasionally, and sips on wine…or whether you’re a mom who wears sleeves, discourages sleepovers, and teaches your kiddos at home…DO IT FOR THE LORD; DON’T LET IT DIVIDE; and LIVE IN FREEDOM!