Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Pride of Experience

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Today I've been thinking about the pride of experience. Those of you who
have lived life a little, and have a bit of age to you know what I mean.
I've been married for over twenty years. I'm the mother of five
children. I had five babies in 9 years. When the mother of one small
baby comes to me complaining about lack of sleep or weight gain or
whatever it is, it can be really hard for me to not scoff at her in my
mind, thinking "Yeah - what a rough life. Try doing my laundry for a
week then let's talk."

Often times we can look at the lives of others and mock them in heart,
saying "Just wait until you go through THIS thing! Then you'll have
something to whine about!" Sometimes we grin at those who haven't
experienced what we have, with that certain look on our faces that
projects nothing less than controlled condescention.

Other times we look at the lives of others, thinking that because they
look good or seem happy, that they've never suffered. We envy their
apparent lack of excruciating experiences. What I've found over the
years is that every person has his or her own suffering, and not everyone
broadcasts their sufferings to others.

I remember distinctly the time when my fourth baby was two weeks old and had a little head cold. I felt like the worst mother on the planet. The baby was born in December, and had siblings ranging in age from 2 to 6.
Anyone with small children knows that December through March is pretty
much head cold season...and that siblings of new babies LOVE to stick
their fingers in new baby's mouth, occasionally sneezing on them and
showing them other signs of love.

I called my dear friend, crying, because my two week old baby had the
sniffles and was having a hard time breathing when she nursed. After
taking her to the doctor, we discovered that she also had an ear
infection. I was so sad for her. I hated to see her suffer like that.
My dear friend calmly reassured me that not only was I a good momma, but
that my baby probably wouldn't remember this time of her life. My
friend's calm words of assurance were such a blessing to me.

When I got off the phone and calmed down, I realized what an amazing
thing my friend had just said to me, and how insensitive I was to
complain to her about my baby's cold. You see, my friend is the mother
of seven children, one of whom has Lisencephaly, which is a congenital
brain problem resulting in profound mental and physical disabilities. Her
son would never walk, talk, or be potty trained. He has a feeding tube
in his tummy permanently. He has faced death many times in his life,
faced many surgeries, and has suffered much. How in the world could I
complain to her about my baby's cold?

Yet her response was filled with grace and love for me and my baby. She
didn't mock me, or lecture me on how small my suffering was compared to
hers. She saw that although my suffering was different than hers, it was
still suffering, and I had presented her an opportunity to minister life
to me through her kind words. She gave me a life-lesson I will never

I turned to her because I knew she loved me. Over the years her
faithfulness and godly counsel have been used greatly by God in shaping
me to be whom I am today. Her humility and gentleness continue to point
me to Jesus.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. I can't help but
think that when we boast in our experiences we're walking in pride and
taking the focus of others off God and onto ourselves... usually on how
well we endured our suffering. Pride doesn't share the throne of one's
heart with God.

I'm asking the Holy Spirit to remind me of all He is to me, and all He
has taken me through the next time I'm tempted in heart to despise
someone else's lack of experience in any given area. Even in
homeschooling, education, tragedies, motherhood, marriage, or ministry
it's easy for pride to rear its ugly head in anyone's heart. Ultimately
the fact that I even have the ability to type this post, to breathe my
next breath, and to live my life points to the truth that all I have, all
I am, all I've experienced, and all I am called to be were not created by
me but have been given to me by my heavenly Father. If I keep that in
mind, I bet I will be less likely to raise myself up in hidden pride of
experience, which is sin.

I noticed an interesting passage in Psalm 66 today:

"Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard,
Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.
For You, O God, have proved us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through the fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment."

Ps. 66:8-12

Even our experiences are from His hand. May our boasting only be in Him!

1 comment:

  1. You really spoke truth well, here. Thank you for sharing this!