A Letter to the Church on Mother’s Day (Guest Post at Spiritual Parent)

One night a couple years ago, I was in the middle of our bedtime saga—trying to get dinner put away and my twin toddlers wrestled into pajamas so we could begin the  battle that would end, inevitably, with me sitting on the floor between two wiggly toddler bodies, a hand on each back, patting slowly while the white noise machine and the Moana soundtrack drowned out every thought.

I was marching my troops towards the bathroom, a slimy kid under each arm, when I heard my phone buzz on the table. It was from my pastor.

“Would you like to write a mother’s day prayer for the service tomorrow?”

Mother’s Day. Already?

I winced, thinking of the card I hadn’t even managed to get sent off to my own mother. A toddler wriggled free as I dashed off a quick “Sure! I’d love to!” Because I did want to. Because I grew up in a church that barred women from speaking from the pulpit. Because even though this church didn’t restrict female voices, we rarely heard from them. Because our church had a reputation for caring for women and families, but only because young mothers did the lion’s share of the caregiving for the community. Because I had strong opinions about all of it.

The dinner dishes would have to wait.

Click here to read the rest of this post at the Spiritual Parent. 

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An Imprinting of Love: How to Be Gentle With Your Kids and Yourself (at the Spiritual Parent)

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I was nine when we moved from our small New England town to the suburban sprawl of Colorado Springs. Everything was bigger there. The houses, the churches, the mountains, somehow even God was larger, more real, more present.

Christianity had been an important part of our family culture before, but now it took center stage. Our social lives oscillated  between attending a mega church (and all of the classes, groups, dinners and activities that came with it) and hanging out at the Focus On The Family complex which was conveniently just down the street.

My brothers and I spent countless Saturdays exploring in the Adventures In Odyssey wonderland while my parents steeped themselves in Dobson’s philosophy. His empire pumped out radio programs, magazines, and parenting books that explained how our “sin natures” caused us to misbehave and directed parents to set firm boundaries via physical punishment and authoritarian shaming to help children understand the dire consequences of their sins.

I’ve been trying to shake off the effects of this toxic approach for years…

Click here to read the rest of this post on the Spiritual Parent blog.

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