Loving Supermom {www.boldlytanya.com}

Photo by Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash

I have a strict and long-standing zero-tolerance policy toward Supermoms. Those immaculately put together women who are always coming around with their goodness and perfection and vegan lattes making me uncomfortable with my low standards. And they smile. Always. I just don’t need that in my life. At least, I thought I didn’t.

Recently, I was minding my business when Supermom walked in. Naturally, she took the seat right next to me because Supermoms are oblivious to discouraging vibes. As she took her seat, I notice a frantic gleam in her eye, and I swear there was a hair out of place. It was almost imperceptible, so I shrugged it off as my imagination and set to my task of being awkward and insecure in the presence of her greatness. But it wasn’t just me. Other people noticed. Something was off.

A well-timed question finally popped the top on her shaken can. Words exploded from her and in between deep breaths, throttled emotion, and unsure starts, Supermom finally confessed, “I had to make my family sandwiches for dinner.” She had never made sandwiches for supper in her life. She had taken an oath against it. Her idea of loving her family involved a painstakingly prepared meal. But she was so overwhelmed lately her standards started to slip. Now, she stooped to a new low: deli meats.

As she bravely and honestly shared, I imagined her cold cuts delicately arranged on a silver platter and circled by an assortment of designer cheese with fresh-baked artisan bread starring as the yeasty centerpiece. I compared my speculative imagery to the bologna (lacking the first name), pasteurized processed American cheese slices (not even Kraft), and smashed white bread slices (most likely stale), served on paper towels (not even Bounty) gracing my kitchen every other weeknight. Then, overcome by my smugness, I actually wondered if she was distraught over sandwiches or the possibility she didn’t have it all together. Her perfection was just a front. And now we all knew. Because of sandwiches.

She let out one last sigh of defeat finally piercing my hard self-righteous heart. Here was a woman – a sister – disheveled and broken because of the turn her life had taken, and I sat there haughty and convinced she brought it on herself.

You know you are being nasty when you are taken aback by your own level of nastiness.

In my insecurity, I was incapable of seeing the good in Supermom.

She excelled where I foundered.  But to acknowledge that was to admit my flaws and my weaknesses and I don’t do that. I cover my shortcomings and pretend they don’t exist. Unfortunately, that kept me from getting to know Supermom and seeing all the beauty and grace abiding in her. It kept me from knowing her weaknesses and flaws and helping out in her areas of need. It kept me from loving her properly.

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law…So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (James 2:8-9, 12-13)

I was biased against Supermom. I was not being merciful. I was sinning. In my sin, I could not see that she was fearfully and wonderfully created by God complete with her sandwich-supper aversion.

Who am I to judge my neighbor when I could be loving her?

Conviction fell hard and tasted bitter. I felt a very distinct call to practically love her and try to meet her need.

So, I abandoned my assumptions and got to know her. I learned tragedy struck her life early and hard. She lost. She grieved. She languished. Yet, she was restored. Now, she worships. She prays. She relies on God. Her experience birthed awareness. She knows tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and she lives like it. In return, God built a family who desperately needs exactly what she has to offer upon her once-broken foundation.

Supermom is super, but not in my derogatory application of the term. She isn’t perfect and she doesn’t drink vegan lattes. She is godly. She radiates with the joy of the Lord. She strives to give her people the very best she has to give out of obedience and thankfulness to God. Not to posture before man.

She will tell you that God sustained her is through His Church – the meals, the phone calls, the prayer, the visits. People showed up and loved her with the heart of Jesus, and she was revived.

While I enjoyed a languid repose in my petty judgment and supposition, I missed an opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet. Perhaps that was my goal all along. I didn’t want to get involved. It was easier to judge her than help her or love her or facedown my faults.

But once I got over myself, I entered into a beautiful friendship. I encourage you to consider who you are avoiding because they seem too hard to engage, or too far outside your comfort zone. Maybe you think they have it all together and you are scared their light will either dim yours or leave you blind. Don’t forsake friendship and discipleship for judgment and jealousy. Here are five simple steps to love the person you are secretly scared of:

  1. Pray. You cannot begin this journey of love without the help of the Holy Spirit. Pray. For her and for yourself. Repent if necessary.
  2. Get to know her. It won’t be easy. You have to make contact. It may require swallowing some pride. It won’t taste that great, but it will be good for the digestion.
  3. Let go of comparisons. Life isn’t a contest. You are not measured against the yardstick of your neighbors, rather by how well you loved them.
  4. Listen for opportunities. What is she stressing? What does she need? Connect dots as necessary. What does she joke about that is probably true? One night where she doesn’t have to do it all? Conversation deeper than Paw Patrol and Disney Princesses? Call her. Invite her out. Invite her over.
  5. Act. It is one thing to be aware of a need. It is another to meet it. Don’t pray that God will supply someone else. He supplied you.

Will there be women that you just don’t connect with and cannot help? Yes. But assumption is not the boss of you. Don’t let it decide who your friends will be. Keep your mind open and test your suspicion. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to change your heart and mind.