I grew up in the seventies and eighties. My grandparents sent us to a private Christian school (which I loved, by the way.)
The time that I was growing up was known for two things that I remember clearly. I say clearly because I’m sure there are many more things that I can’t remember! You know they say that with each child, you lose some brain cells. Seven times whatever … well you can do the math. It ain’t pretty.
In any case those two things that I remember are these:
I remember the excess of the 80′s – the Christmas tree was overflowing with gifts and everyone was trying to “one up” everyone else. Cars, houses, clothes. I don’t think it was because of my private school education, either. The same little competitions were happening on my cul-de-sac.
The eighties however came with some baggage from the seventies. And honestly, I think that “baggage” had been there for decades before. I can’t compare them of course but the baggage I’m referring to is this: we had a hard time saying what was “really” going on.
My grandparents, whom I loved dearly, we very tight-lipped about anything that seemed amiss in our perfect private-school family. And I don’t think it’s because they were afraid. I think it’s because of a misguided sense of care for us. Well, and fear. Okay, and pride. That too.
It’s funny how we think that by not sharing our weaknesses and struggles that others will somehow be encouraged by our example.
I was reading Colossians 4 in a quiet nook of my bedroom today. (Okay let’s be honest: it’s only truly quiet here at 6:30 a.m., so if you ever hear me say my house is quiet, assume it’s early in the morning.) Anyway, my heart was heavy. I struggled to read the Bible without being distracted or jumping ahead to make my list for the day.
In fact, I was pretty distracted until I read the very.last.verse of Colossians 4. Here’s what it says:
“ I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains.”
I was struck by the image of this man in chains for the sake of the gospel. But I was more struck by the fact that he was not trying to impress anyone with his “tough it out” attitude. And this was an apostle! He was a super-star for Christ, someone that was looked up to and admired by many.
I went back to the beginning of the chapter and discovered that Paul asked for help again and again. He told the truth. He didn’t put on a “brave” face and he didn’t try to keep his struggles a secret.
- v. 3 – “pray for us, that God may open a door for our message”
- v. 7 – “Tychicus will tell you all the news about me.”
- v. 9 – “They will tell you everything that is happening here.”
- v. 12 -”He (Epaphras) is always standing in prayer for you.”
- v. 16 – Paul gives instruction to tell about his circumstances in Laodicea
- v. 18 – “Remember my chains.”
Remember my chains. In other words, don’t forget me. I need your prayers.
It reminds me of the time I was struggling with a newborn who never slept. One night, I asked my dear friend to just please remember me at 2 a.m., 3:30 a.m. etc. I really thought that I might die from sleep deprivation if no one prayed for me!
When I look at Paul, it’s clear: prayer was essential to his life. Here was a guy that was truly suffering. And he didn’t care who knew it. Why? Because he knew that he needed to be undergirded. He knew he needed the prayers of his other brothers and sisters. I think it’s interesting that Paul didn’t seem to care what other people thought of his suffering.
That’s usually what hangs me up.
Paul knew there was power in prayer. So he asked for it. He told the truth. In so doing, he opened the door to what could have been wide-spread criticism.
I think he did so because he had his eyes on the bigger picture. He was trying to follow God. And he knew he needed prayer more than he needed to guard his pride.
The next time you have a chance to talk with a friend and you sense an opportunity to be real, take it. We need each other, busy moms.
Are you in pain? Is your marriage in need of prayer? Are you struggling with a strong-willed child? Wondering if you’re really cut out of this motherhood thing?
Then you’re in good company. Keep it real. Let’s pray for each other. The road is a long one. I say we travel it together and carry one-another’s burdens.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” I Thessalonians 5:11