Sometimes in life it is so easy to get caught up in something, in some ideal, some perfect dream of what people should do or be. I find that as conservative Christian women, we are just as guilty (if not more) as everyone else of doing this very thing. We read Proverbs 31 and Titus 2, and then we read the great women writers and their books on marriage, motherhood, and homeschooling. We faithfully follow the blogs of those women we deem somehow better and more Christ-like than ourselves in the hopes that someday we can be just like them.
Is this really what God wants? That a select elite of women get to rise up and be called blessed while the rest of us pine away wishing we had what they have? That we think if we just had a husband like hers, or kids like hers, or a house like hers, or a sweet temperament like hers? If we could just do crafty stuff like her, or bake our own bread like her, or grow all our own vegetables like her...
I don't think that's what God wants for us. I don't believe he intended us to be miserable trying to live up to some created ideal set before us. Don't get me wrong, there are things the Bible sets out as must-do for Godly living. But nowhere in the Bible does it say "You shall always have a spotless house," or "You shall never eat inorganic food," or even "You shalt goeth to hell for having short hair."
We are Christians, bought with a price. We do not have to adhere to every Old Testament law any more. Many of the old laws and practices are wonderful and great to follow but you don't have to in order to love God and share that love with others. For example: in Leviticus 12, it says that after a woman gives birth, she isn't allowed to come into the sanctuary for 33 days if she has a son, and 66 days after she has a daughter! Do you know anyone that still does that?
We all have our preferences. Most of the time that is just fine. If you want to do things one way that does not go against God's Word, and I want to do things another way that also does not go against God's Word, who cares?
Do you know that passage in the Bible where the Christians in Rome were so caught up in ideals that they were all passing judgment on each other for little insignificant things? Some excerpts from Romans 14 (the main issue here seems to be clean/unclean food, but you could apply the principles to anything):
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man , whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another, another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. ....
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother?.....
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Far too often, it is not the "ideal" people who are judging (although in some instances they are), it is more often that the "real" people struggling to make it through the day are judging themselves by someone else's standards. Are you living for God? Are you doing your best not to be a stumbling block to anyone else's living for God? That is enough. I don't believe you have to follow a man made doctrine of the perfect woman in order to please God.
Now, with all that said, I believe a woman should submit to the leadership of her husband. But I realize that some women have terrible husbands and I'm not going to condemn them for crying out in frustration. I believe that mothers should stay home with their children (based on both the Bible and modern day research), but I realize that there are a lot of single moms out there who can't and I'm not going to condemn them for it. I love the idea of growing all your own food and I love to cook, but some women just don't or can't and I'm not going to condemn them for buying groceries at WalMart or eating at McDonald's (hey, even I do that!).
I think Christian parents should be educating their children at home, again based on both the Bible and modern research. But I realize that a lot of people don't, won't, or can't, and while I hope that one day they will change their minds and hearts or their circumstances will change, I'm not going to tell them they're going to hell for sending their kids to public school.
It has been my experience that far more people have told me things like that they admire me or my marriage or my family simply because they have seen us living out our lives in as Godly a fashion as possible than people who have been changed because I preached at them about how wrong they are.
The blog name comes from an old inside joke we have in our family. I was at the bookstore one day with my mother, and in the children's section they had a set of books, called The Crazy Family, The Messy Family, and The Loud Family. I asked my mom which best described my family, and she immediately laughed and said, "All of them!"
Since then, we have referred to ourselves many times as the Crazy Messy Loud Family. When we have those days where chaos reigns, we just laugh and say, "Crazy Messy Loud!" That is the story behind the blog name :o)
The truth is that my family is like me: an odd assortment of eclectic likes, dislikes, thoughts, and ideas. I love a clean house but I'd rather have dirt than clutter. I love to cook but sometimes I just want Tony to bring home some Taco Bueno. I hate washing dishes. I'm super organized about some things but totally unorganized about others. I do not grow my own wheat but I hope someday to at least have my own vegetable garden. I keep my hair long but I wear pants. I like to watch documentaries and horror movies.
My family is made up of individual people with their own temperaments and preferences. We don't have cable but we have tons of video games. We use Charlotte Mason methods in our homeschooling but I can't imagine doing math without a regular old math book. Sometimes we listen to praise and worship, sometimes we listen to Christian rock, and sometimes we listen to popular music (well, popular 15 years ago anyway, LOL). And sometimes I listen to Christmas music in August!
We love Sci-Fi and Fantasy in both books and movies, and I don't see anything wrong with that. My children know that stuff is not real. They don't really think that ghosts or vampires or wizards or elves or anything else are going to show up on our doorstep. We do family Bible studies and a Bible study just for Tony and I. We also read and watch Harry Potter (*gasp*).
We like to be involved in our church and yes, that involves a youth group. Tony and I are both workers in our youth ministry and try to make sure things stay as they should be, because we do believe it is the parents' responsibility to train and equip their kids and not ours.
We like to run through sprinklers with our clothes on and stay up late watching movies on Netflix. We like to learn but we like to take breaks, too. We sometimes listen to our music loud in the car with the windows down. We love a good date night away from our kids (that's right, sometimes we like to get away from the kids for awhile -- another *gasp*). We believe in modest clothes but don't think you have to wear ankle-length skirts to be modest.
We are who we are, and I am who I am. I am not just a wife and I am not just a mom. I am a woman, an individual, a part of the whole of our family but still very much my own person. I have my own likes and dislikes and thoughts and opinions and sometimes I think about things that have nothing to do with housekeeping, homeschooling, or church.
So, this has been long but I want to get my point across the right way. I'm not perfect and neither are you, and neither are any of the more famous writers/bloggers/women teachers that we all tend to idolize. God is perfect, and as long as I follow Him, I don't need to worry about doing things just the same way someone else does. And neither do you.