Updated: Oct 17, 2019
I couldn't have been more shocked to hear these words come out of his mouth.
Sitting in this small group, hearing this testimony, I was floored. I mean, I had heard some crazy stories in my life, but none with this perspective. None as simply life-changing for me as this could be. I have heard no more powerful words than what he shared about his mother. I have heard no more testimonies that would change the direction of my life, than the one he shared. But let me set the scene.
I had heard some crazy stories in my life, but none with this perspective.
I visited India recently. I love culture--I am truly a culture junkie! I would love to visit every place in the world if I could, just to experience how people choose to live. I was excited that India was going to be different than this industrious and tech-driven culture we have in America! I was truly invigorated to have the chance to visit.
I loved the simplicity of the culture that I had the pleasure to experience. The colors were fabulous and gave that so much life to the experience. And the food... you guys... why is India such a leader in the world of flavor! I could write a whole other post just on things I ate that I'd love to try to recreate, here at home. But, that's for another time. Just promise me, if you ever visit India, go to KFC (yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken) and get chicken wings. KFC Corporate India could seriously send some reps over to add a few spices to our menus. I'm serious! Off. The. Chain! But I digress.
While visiting, I had the pleasure, to meet some fantastic people. One of which was a young man who shared his testimony of becoming Christian with my friends and I during our trip. He shared that he made friends with some local Christians and just began to do life with them. He mentioned being so moved by their lives, and by-and-by heard that they were Christ-followers. He felt the Father moving in his life too, and noticed things, supernaturally, he could not deny that he was experiencing. The young man shared that one day, he just realized he wanted to walk in Christ's leadership as well.
However, it wasn't his story of how his life changed that really stuck with me. It wasn't his story of the kindness of these Jesus-following strangers that joined him on the journey he was taking. It was actually the story of his orientation that got me.
My new friend shared that his mother died early in his life, but not before which he had developed a deep love for her. After she had passed, however, he shared that he was completely wrecked. As a young man, he realized that he was so discouraged because he had been worshipping her.
As a young man, he realized that he was so discouraged because he had been worshipping her.
Now that may not have hit you as hard as it hit me, but let me tell you, I am never going to be the same. The way that I have been mothering to this point is in a way that probably sets me at the center of my kids' lives--and I have three, and a half so far (sister, ;D ), so you can imagine how exhausted I end up being. I essentially, was encouraging them to worship me, because I like to feel needed. I like to know that I am valuable to other people, and so I let them have more of me than I even let myself have sometimes. I, also, say "yes" before I really should a lot of times, because, honestly, I want everyone else to be taken care of. I'm okay if I'm the last one fed, and I eat the ends. The smiles on their faces encourage me plenty.
But when my friend said this of his mother, I was shocked--truly. And convicted. And challenged. I could not go back home to the idea that I should be the first one that my children look to forever. I let go of them, a little bit, in my heart. And I realized that, if I could ever be a great mother, I'd direct them to the One on whom they should worship--Jesus Christ. I believe we are all creatures of worship--that's Biblical too! (Check out Judges 2:16-19 for an example.) In American culture, we worship money, freedom, independence, and plenty of other things. And I realize that for me to encourage my children to come to me for all their problems, I'm encouraging them to worship me. Heck! I'm even worshipping myself in that light!
I don't want to be their god.
Yes! I want a great, deeply-bonded relationship with each of my children. Yes! I want them to be able to talk to me about anything. Yes! I want them to know me as a friend (although not exclusively, lol). But, I don't want to be their god.
So, from that day forward, I decided to make sure that I encourage them to worship Christ--and remind them that He alone will be able to be with them wherever they may go. My kids are babes still, but I don't want to establish any bad habits now that I will have to undo later. And even for my parents, my husband, my friends--I commit to being just that. I will be a friend, a confidant, an encourager, but I will not be their god. I will point them upward.
And I hope that, for all the people in your life, you will as well.