By Melissa Miller
When it comes to motherhood, I spent time carefully preparing the birth plan, the hospital bag, and the nursery, but one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the onslaught of other people’s opinions. Even people without kids had opinions about how mine should be raised!
It started during pregnancy…while my doctor deemed me slightly overweight, a woman from church pulled me aside and told me I clearly wasn’t eating enough for the baby. One day at the park, I was scolded for having a bottle because, “There is no such thing as a low milk supply!” My son’s chubby bare feet offended one woman, who told me, “Babies should always wear shoes.”
Facebook didn’t exist when my oldest was born, so the access to various opinions has the potential to be more overwhelming than it used to be. Although the copious opinions haven’t changed, I’ve grown since my new-momma days. I’ve realized the crowds of unending opinions aren’t the ones rocking my babies to sleep at night, wiping their noses, or reading their favorite story for the fourteenth time in a row. They don’t know my kids intimately like I do, they aren’t praying for them on a daily basis. God didn’t trust the crowds with my kids, He trusted me and my husband.
I recently started homeschooling. I’m only a month in, but I already love it. Homeschool is another hot button parenting topic, with various opinions…for every ten people that think I’m amazing for the task, there are twenty who think I’m crazy. It doesn’t stop me from knowing what’s best for my family and for sharing my excitement with others. In fact, the first time I shared about homeschool, a friend called me who just received a dyslexia diagnosis for her child and couldn’t place him in the school she originally intended. I’m glad I didn’t let the fear of people thinking I’m amazing or crazy stop me from sharing that day.
True humility isn’t focused on whether people look down at them or up at them, because in this life you will find both. No matter how much you point to God’s glory and not your own, some people may still put you on a pedestal…and no matter how carefully you rear your kids, people will still find reasons to criticize. The crowds are fickle.
In Acts 14, the crowds praise Paul to the point where they think he’s a god. Even though he assures them he’s a man with a nature just like theirs, and points to God’s glory, they still put him on a pedestal…at least until another opinion came...
“Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Acts 14: 8-11
“But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.” Acts 14:19
The very crowd who placed Paul on a pedestal one minute, nearly stoned him to death the next. I’m glad Paul’s focus wasn’t on the opinions of the crowd before he declared the crippled man’s healing. His focus wasn’t on what other people thought of Him, he focused on the person who needed a touch from God. In this day and age, when hundreds of opinions are at the click of our finger, we need this reminder from Paul. We need to keep our focus on stewarding God’s presence to our children and beyond. We may receive conflicting opinions from others, but God always approves of a mom who puts His opinion first.
Melissa Miller is married to her best friend and has three children. She serves alongside her husband at Canvas Church in San Diego, CA. Melissa works for a marriage ministry, and is passionate about helping marriages and families thrive. Melissa and her husband are in the process of adopting a child from the Philippines. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and beach days with her family. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!