Recently I was at dinner with a friend and my 18-month-old daughter, Ariebella.
Ariebella sat with me as we ordered our food and munched on chips and salsa—but about midway through her meal I let her watch “Peppa Pig” on my phone. This girl LOVES Peppa! It isn’t an everyday practice but I have caved for a little Peppa now and then at restaurants as a fun distraction during a long evening. It is just part of what we have chosen is in the ‘okay’ section of our parenting journey.
Ariebella was quite content watching “Peppa!” when a woman walks by looking at me with shame and shakes her head and mumbles something along the lines of, “I just feel so sorry for her. Seriously sorry.”
This stranger had just arrived at the restaurant, and granted I am sure Bella maybe looked zoned in on my phone, but what this lady didn’t know is that she was openly judging me based on a snapshot of what she thought my mothering looked like. And she was doing so in an area I have personally struggled with.
Do we, or do we not allow TV time? Phone time? Cartoons? Modern technology?
Ariebella loves Peppa and would probably watch hours if I would let her. But so far we pretty much avoid daytime TV and have limited it to early mornings while momma is getting dressed, and a few minutes before bed for daddy snuggles. However, when Bella is with Saba and Nana (Grandpa and Grandma) it is pretty much a free for all. They assure me it is not, but I am quite sure she asks, and they oblige. Lol!
All said to say that I am trying to navigate these waters and make the rightdecisions, so this stranger’s off-the-cuff comments felt like a punch in the gut. I know for a fact that Ariebella is anything but neglected, but this lady’s words of judgment have lingered with me long since the evening has past. Even though her words were not true, the very thought that I might be failing in some way as a mother—or appear to be failing in some way—filled me with guilt.
I write all of this NOT to have people say… “Oh, you are such a good momma” and “shame on that woman.”
I say all of this to say…
As I was pondering this situation and the quick judgment unleashed on me, and how it made me feel, I realized how many times I have judged someone just by a quick glance at their situation. I have judged strangers and people I know alike.
In fact, we are walking through a situation right now where someone I don’t know made a horrible decision and my flesh is hoping they are penalized accordingly. But I literally know nothing about this person and I am judging their entire existence on one really bad decision. I have completely written them off and cannot see their value through the blindness of my harsh judgment.
So, I confess. I am quick to judge. I am guilty. But I am choosing to make an effort to change in this area and I want to encourage you to do the same.
Curt Landry Ministries is full of strong and powerful women who are searching for a deeper purpose; we need to unite and not tear one another down. We need to look for the good in one another. We need to engage. We need to multiply.
As a ministry we are here to help empower families, and one of the first steps to living in empowered purpose is by dropping the judgment lens that we view the world and one another from.
Sure, we may not agree on everything from parenting to how you spend your money, or where you go to church, but that isn’t for us to be so highly critical of. The Church is literally tearing itself apart from the inside out instead of loving one another and seeing the value that Jesus sees in each of us.
So today I want to tell you that you are beautiful. You are valued. You are enough.
We are called to live as men, women, and families of righteousness. We are called to walk with God in holiness, obedience, and sacrifice. I know those are ‘big Church’ words, but it is true. We are called to live according to what the Bible says, and not some modern-day ‘interpretation’ of what we think… but that does not mean that we live with dark hearts for others who make decisions that are different than ours.
I am not saying that we don't call sin as sin. We do need to clearly recognize sin. In fact, I think my generation has blurred the line in this area and is in a dangerous place as a result. Regardless, we need to learn to live with eyes that can identify sin and yet have hearts that can embrace the good in one another, and not major on the minors.
Encourage one another—especially all of you women out there. As a young mom I can tell you how much it means when older moms encourage me that I am doing a good job. We need your support. It strengthens our hearts and our homes.