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Archive for June 15th, 2008

Jennifer’s thoughts:

Through my years traversing the “Christian homemaker” blogosphere and beyond, I’ve found several of my favorite bloggers mentioning that they had been contacted to be on Wife Swap. Here is the basic premise of the show as described by one of the ABC people who contacted the bloggers:

“In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the mom’s switch place to experience how another family lives for 6 days. Half of the week, mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. The other half, she introduces a “rule change” where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It’s a positive experience for people to not only learn but teach about other families and other ways of life.”

For a while, I was a pretty faithful watcher. Its more like “Mom Swap” then wife swap. The wives sleep in the house but most certainly in different bedrooms. Most of the interaction takes place between the wife and the kids rather then the husband and the wife. The show always puts two families diametrically opposed to each other together. They’ve found every extreme in the book.

Many of the contacted bloggers I found reacted with either a question about the show because they had never seen it or outrage at its premise. Only one ever took ABC up on the offer, but it never came to fruition. The rest were too fearful of having another woman in their house influencing their children and their husbands.

The subsequent discussions when these bloggers posted about their contact was pure disgust at the idea behind the show. “Swapping wives is a SIN,” I heard. “I NEVER watch TV, and if I did, I wouldn’t be watching THAT sinful show.” “How could these fathers EVER let their wives go into another man’s home?” Oh me! Oh my! This show is a travesty!

I can only conclude that they haven’t watched it. As you can see by the title, I don’t hate Wife Swap. I’ve been very moved by a number of episodes where the families involved really needed changes made in their homes and the show seemed to bring about those changes. Oftentimes, the show puts a 100% SAHM in a home where the mom works and the dad stays home or where both parents work. Neither of the parents spends time with their kids, but when the housewife comes in, somehow, the dad ends up with the kids and a lasting change is made. I’ve seen families that are totally focused on sports or partying or rock bands give it up and bond together. I’ve seen very uptight families let lose and have FUN! I even saw a patriarch make a rock video with his daughters. He even let them wear pants!

As parents, we have a lot to learn and I think there is a lot we can learn from other people- even people whose parenting or family philosophies seem different from ours. We don’t need to fear even worldly people. We have the opportunity to minister to others- both the wife that is sent, and the husband who stays home.

Wife Swap is a fantastic reminder that we still have a lot to learn about ourselves and our own philosophies of family life. NO ONE has it all figured out. Its humbling to watch because even families that look like they are perfect still have their issues and someone who comes in with a fresh perspective can often point things out that those living in the situation cannot see and then help them make it better.

Anne’s thoughts:

Jennifer actually turned me on to this show, and while I’m not a faithful viewer, I try to catch in when I can. There’s nothing quite like seeing the incredible extremes in the show to remind you that the middle isn’t such a bad place to be.

Eventually, at the height of my homeschool blog’s popularity, I received an e-mail from the show asking me if I’d be interested in doing an episode. I literally laughed out loud and called Jennifer immediately. I never responded for two reasons: 1. I’m not as extreme as they like moms to be and 2. My kids are just too small. I’ve been nursing a baby for a long time now, or I’ve been pregnant, and I don’t believe that my children are of an age where I can leave them for two weeks.

It never occurred to me, however that the show was sinful. In fact, for those who are interested, what a great opportunity to let the Christian family be seen for what it is, or to share the gospel with another family! I can’t imagine that there would be serious danger to one’s family from the other mother, at least spiritually. After all, if the Lord is with you, who can be against you?

I think the rush to judgment over this show is just plain silly. As if there aren’t enough real things in the world to be upset about. If the show isn’t your cup of tea, I can understand that. But there are plenty of bigger fish to fry in the sin department.

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I published this picture on a message board to which I belonged when some loss moms were hounded for displaying photographs of their lost babies. With all that I’ve been reading from VFM and it’s affiliate blogs on the subject of termination for the loss of the mother, and especially in light of Doug Phillip’s comparison to the mother simply wiping away her tears and moving on, I thought I’d post it here. I wonder if he saw it, if it would give him some idea of the grief we go through, even when it’s to save our lives. This picture is of my husband and me, holding our baby daughter Sarah immediately after her birth. It’s been three years, and seeing this picture touches nerves still raw with grief. We don’t just simply move on from this kind of loss and sorrow. We learn from it and grow from it. But it becomes a part of us.

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Where Are Our Duties?

Reprinted from my homeschool blog, this post was written the day before our daughter Sarah was born still at 22 weeks, three years ago.  Our story of Sarah’s loss is here.  I never hid what was going on with us, and suffered quite a bit at the time from people who believe that the mother’s life is not a good reason to end a pregnancy.

The week that Sarah died I received hundreds of comments from people who had heard my story and had come to offer me support.  Many were from pro-choice blogs whose authors I had long had conversations with as I tried to share the pro-life message where I could.  Many of those who came at the time weren’t Christians, and were appalled that a woman in the throes of loss could be hounded the way I was by those who thought I was about to murder my daughter.

I thought about those who had come to offer my comfort in my grief.  People who didn’t know me at all, and maybe didn’t know God. And I feared what they would think of my faith.  So I wrote this post.  Considering we’ve been discussing this topic, I felt it appropriate to share.

Where Are My Duties

I have been thinking a lot over the last few days of where my duties lie. Of course I am a child of God first. I believe I must answer to Him for all of my actions (I can hear those who currently disagree with me rolling their eyes, and I didn’t even know that had sound). Second I am my husband’s wife. One day the kids will all be grown, and it is the relationship with him that is supposed to be primary and till death. Third, I am my kids’ mom. I have a responsibility to raise them, provide for them, educate them, and love them. I hope I’m doing well on each of those counts, though some days are better than others. Then I have my Christian duties.

As a Christian I am called to reach out in love to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes to offer support, and occasionally to rebuke (though with love and kindness, which can be hard). They are part of the body to which I belong, and we consider ourselves inter-connected, which is why those who believe that I’m making a bad choice feel it to be so important to tell me. They really have the best of intentions. But we are also called to reach out in love to those who are not of our faith. Many people have come here over the last week. Thousands. Many of them not Christian. Many of them not any faith.

It has made me wonder what they see when they read this. They see a woman in incredible pain. The loss of a child is universal, one that everyone can sympathize with. But then they’ve seen members of the community who should be giving her strength and love, attacking her. They don’t see the good intentions. So many of these comments have been worded in ways that were unkind, or argumentative it makes it hard for me to see the good intentions and I believe that they’re there! I wonder what it makes them think about what it means to be a Christian, and what they think of us?

I still have dreams where she’s just fine, and it was all a terrible mistake, and I continue the pregnancy. I still have dreams where God’s miracle is that she lives, even premature, and is just fine. Regardless, I know that I don’t have the power to thwart God’s soveriegn will. I wonder if people who say that I’m taking away God’s chance to perform a miracle have really thought through the theological implications of that statement. We have free will, yes, but His Sovereign Will cannot be changed, His plans will come to fruition. Who do they think I am that I could change that?

I had hoped that by sharing what we are going through, that people would see how God sustains. How we can move past so many barriers that we put between us and reach out to one another to share His love. I hoped that people would see that my foundation is not dust, but a rock so strong that it cannot be moved, even in the deepest despair. I hoped that they would see how He has held me in His arms when I have been to weak to cling to Him any longer. I hoped they would see how I trust in Him to hold my baby safe in His arms, and how I believe that He has a plan for all of this (though I’d really love it if He’d let me in on it).

Now I just hope that those who might have seen God are not driven away by people who truly love Him and want to do what’s right, but have done it poorly. Please don’t judge God based on our imperfect ability to follow Him (and that totally includes me too, I have not always handled this with the most grace). He is so much greater than us.

I love my baby so much. I wish there was something I could do to make her well, to make her able to sustain herself at some point. But I also know that He is bigger than all of this, and that He will be with us, no matter how hard it is, or how much it hurts.

To those of you who pray, please continue. To those of you who don’t, I thank you for every kind wish. I probably wont be able to post again for a couple of days.

Blessings to all of you.

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