Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Convicted

This morning I was convicted of sin in my life in a way I'm honestly not sure I ever have been before. I'm not even sure I viewed the sexual sins of my past as such filth as I do this. The way that makes your stomach churn when you think about what you've done. Because I pride myself on encouraging a spirit of transparency on this blog and because I want to be reminded of this feeling FOREVER, I decided to share about it.

I counted Annie's clothes this morning. 

Sixty three outfits.

From this Summer.

I had been thinking about doing this for awhile and I've done it before with similar results, but something was different this time. I had been dreading doing it, but I finally made myself. When I got to the last dress, I was close to tears. My face burned red even though my two oblivious children were the only ones to witness my silent enumeration. I literally felt like I was going to vomit.

Just last night I read a statistic saying that a child in Somolia can be fed on seventeen cents a day. My mind flashed back to the article and I began quickly trying to figure out how many families could have eaten for the entire year were it not for Ann Peyton's obscene wardrobe and her mother's selfish materialism. Or better still, how may families could we support through programs like Heifer International, programs that enable and facilitate families to obtain animals and skills that allow them to be self-sustaining long term. HOW MANY?

I could say a lot of things in my defense. I could say that plenty of upper middle class women in America do what I did, and more, for their children. I have consoled myself with this reality on many occasion. I could say that a good portion of Ann Peyton's and Graves's clothes are gifts or hand-me-downs. I could tell you that up until recently, I have not bought Ann Peyton any Sunday clothes, because I prefer she wear the things Cookie and I wore as toddlers. I could say that this Summer has been unique because she's worn a wide variety of sizes and things that fit last Summer still fit, yet she's big enough for other things that I anticipate her still being able to wear next Summer. I could tell you that I really rarely spend money on things for myself anymore and that Peyton and I recently readjusted our budget to allow for less "spending money" for each of us. I could say all that, and I just did, but it doesn't change anything.

It doesn't change how my stomach hurts and my heart breaks when I think of the picture accompanying that statistic last night, a child a little older than Ann Peyton, his belly bloated with starvation, left to waste away by people like me who want it all- the bishop dress AND the romper, the appliqued set AND the Feltman bubble, the smocked dress AND the shoes to match it. How long will I thumb through ten smocked bubbles and see his image etched on my mind???

I KNOW that the Lord does not delight in my continual self disgust and that forgiveness came quickly, at the moment of repentance. But it still stings. Hard. I consider myself pro life, and while I vehemently and unapologetically support a child's right to life that shouldn't stop once he or she has left the womb. I am called to care for "the least of these" and it's my duty to love and serve the poor and oppressed, just as it's my duty to love and serve my own children.
 
I want you guys to know that when I link to a blog of a recovering alcoholic, I am humbled because I see my sin as no worse than theirs. I am in no way trying to lessen the reality and the pain that is an addiction nor am I saying my struggle will be anything compared to that, but I do want to convey how repulsed I am with what I have justified for so long.

 I really don't know how this will work out practically. My friend Catherine once said that she basically did not buy anything for herself (clothes, jewelry, ect.) the year following her wedding because she had been so the recipient of such generosity and simply felt no need to purchase anything above that for a time. Maybe I should take a year of buying non-essential clothing for the kids? Not go to consignment sales or sample sales, since we do have most everything we need for the Winter already. Or maybe I will go, but STRICTLY limit myself to a certain amount of items or a predetermined sum of money (I do that to an extent, but I've given myself a lot, too much, leeway).

I do hope that I will never again be such a slave to materialism. It is not fitting for a servant of Christ.

6 comments:

Ashley said...

I am really proud of you for blogging about this! God knows your heart, and He is so faithful to guide us to where we need to be. We ALL have areas of our lives that are in need of a "holiness" check!! Also, materialism is something that, in my opinion, starts out as a subtle thing and all of a sudden a veil is lifted and you realize....where did all of this useless CRAP come from!?!??!

You are not alone in this struggle or conviction, and I'm proud to call you my friend. :)

Ellis said...

"Forgiveness precedes repentance. Not the other way around." - Brennan Manning "The Ragamuffin Gospel

Thanks for sharing your heart. I love you.

Amy said...

ouch.
i think you could have started this post with, "dear amy, ...."
sometimes i feel like i can justify my spending because "it's not for me"....it can make it seem less selfish or materialistic because i'm buying for someone else. nevermind that this "Someone else" does not ask for any of these things nor have any NEED for them!
i was definitely convicted after reading this. thanks for sharing your heart so honestly. praying for you as i KNOW what you're going through.

Jessica said...

Thanks for sharing your experience and struggle. I know there are times for me that I see all the mess around my house and just want to get rid of it all. I too struggle with the desire for more and the reality that I really have more than enough. My needs are met...it's my wants I'm after.

I think there's a balance though too. It's okay to enjoy what God has given and blessed us with, but I do feel we are also responsible to care for the poor, the widow, etc. I think God may lead each of us differently down that path.

But, for sure, we have all we need and more.

The Taffs said...

Not an easy blog to write, I'm sure.

I went through these same thoughts with Eli earlier this year, and he's a boy! I only thought of how out of control I'd be if i had a girl and had bows and shoes and tights and who knows what else "I had to have" too.

God led me to psalm 62:10, "though your riches increase do not set your hear on them." I actually wrotenitnout and taped it to our back door so I'd see it every time I left the house!

Thanks for the reminder.

Betsy said...

SD, I read your post the same day I wrote mine, and I agree--we were obviously on the same page! I loved this post, and it is so nice to know that this vein of thought is being dialogued about more frequently, and that I'm not alone in my quest! I have absolutely LOVED Crazy Love, and I've been reading Radical Together as well and find it equally as encouraging/convicting. Feel free to shoot any thoughts my way--I'll be blogging about this topic for quite a while, and it's always nice to have multiple opinions & perspectives to consider :)