pride and self-righteousness is so deeply hidden and woven into the fabric of the human heart. how easily i find myself boasting about my efforts and showing off my results. i think as Christians, often "good deeds" and "best practices" become a crutch and idol in themselves. especially among mothers.
i find this in myself so often. i am currently reading give them grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. it is provoking my heart to such a deep level, and is something i'll be touching on a lot in the future.
how often we believe as parents that our aim at perfect parenting will produce perfect, righteous, well-behaved children. though godly parenting is definitely required of us as Christians - it is not the work that will produce goodness in our children. what a evil thought that creeps within us, that our efforts can aide to the Lord's salvation.
and in these things we deem as "super mothering," we often find such pride and comfort in them. what a slippery slope this is, because not only does it puff us up and cause us to sin - but this tight rope we walk is so thin that we can so easily fall. fall into depression and feelings of failure. our emotions, and value as parents, become tied to the behavior of our children. we are tossed like a boat at sea when we cannot attain the "saving parenting" we subconsciously believe will be the rudder in our children's hearts.
one example i found within my own (creeping underneath, ever so slightly), particularly in deriving a sense of "dang, aren't i an awesome mom teaching my son such great awesome values" was with amos' wardrobe. we had some amazing friends in our lives whom pretty much provided all of Amos' clothing up to about 6 months. Add in baby shower gifts, grandma (x2) gifts, and more - i barely purchased one item for Amos his entire first year. and those that i did were second hand.
it's a tricky thing, this mothering, because i' never want amos to put excessive value or gain his confidence and/or worth from his clothing - it's price nor it's labels. and as strange as it seems, that can be from both expensive clothes AND cheap clothing. amos can, one day, have pride in wearing trendy, pricey items, though he can also have pride in cultivating a style from cheap things and being counter cultural or thrifty.
and at the end of the day, amos is a sinner who will put his hope in anything but the Lord unless the Father draws him to His Son, Jesus. Teaching him to properly order material items within his heart will neither save him nor make him clean within. It's the Lord, and the Lord's saving grace only.
Saying that, I've begun to take my black and white, extreme nature and throw it at the cross. this has been by the grace of the Lord, but fleshed out in my relationship with Ricky - who is a naturally grey human being. ricky lives in the tension and rarely lands in extremes, unless they are clearly defined in the Bible.
And so, I began making small purchases for Amos here and there - because i don't want amos to find his treasure in anything - rather it be in too much or to little. and, even more, expressing ourselves in clothes isn't a sinful thing. i remember talking to a lady who was describing her mother - a lady that can dress well - i mean, SHE JUST ALWAYS LOOKS GOOD. she said, "my mom is a creative at heart and she expresses that in her wardrobe. i always think to myself, if my mom knew a paintbrush she would make masterpieces, but instead - as a woman who grew up in the 50's in the fancy south, she began to make beauty with her clothes."
what a gracious way to view style. and in that grace, i remember that things don't make us sin, they are just often what we sin with. and so, clothes are okay. and style is okay. i mean, obviously. we are going to have some freaking awesome garments in heaven.
so here's just some of amos' little outfits. i don't claim to be worthy to be named a fashion blogger, but most of what i do put on him are straight up DEALS, because it fits in our budget - and he just looks cute in them.
some of my favorite places to shop for Amos are:
- target. just because it's CHEAP and cute.
- second hand (goodwill, st. vincent's, thrift stores, etc.)
- a free clothing exchange at a local church
- gifts from friends and hand me downs.
- H&M (probably where you get the cutest stuff for practically nothing)
- flash sale sights like zulily and gilt group. (if you decide to sign up and use my invite, i get some free cash) - this is where i get my highest quality items and items i feel will be worn a ton. example: shoes, jeans, jackets, hats, etc.
|Outfit One - jean button up : target // khakis, carters? from outfit set : gift, Outfit Two - plaid button-up : ralph lauren, christmas gift // khakis, carters? from outfit set // boots : christmas gift, H&M|
|hat : gap kids with gap christmas gift card // khakis, carters? from outfit set // jacket : gift, H&M // shoes : high top vans for v-day gift|
|jacket : target // tee : (not shown) baby exchange, jeans : hand me down from cousin kyan, H&M|
|plaid shirt : good will // jeans : target|
|First Outfit - hat : christmas gift, h&m, gloves : hand-me-downs, jacket : gift, H&M // jeans : target // boots : H&M, gift Second Outfit - shirt : gift, Old Navy, vest : gift, H&M, shoes : gift // sweat pants (haha) : thrift store|
|undershirt : hand me down // star trek t-shirt : clothing exchange // pants : hand me down // shoes : hand me down|
|t-shirt : target // undershirt : goodwill // jeans : target // shoes : baby vans!|
|hat : baby gap, gift card // shirt : target // khakis : gift from a carter's set // shoes : vans|
|shirt : good will // jacket : gift, H&M // khakis, carters? from outfit set // boots : christmas gift, H&M|