As parents, it’s not unusual for us to operate under a cloud of disapproval- at least from from our children.  My infant let me know clearly that she disapproved of my decision to put her in a car seat.  My two year old expressed his displeasure at my rule of “no standing on the kitchen table.”  My three year old spun around in anguish as I levied a ban on wearing pajamas in the snow.  My four year old thought it was an injustice to limit her TV viewing time.  My teenager… well, I don’t have a teenager yet- but I’m sure they’ll be just as dramatic.  You get the picture.

While I do wish they would see things my way, that kind of disapproval doesn’t bother me too much.  But as a parent of children with special health needs, I do sometimes feel affronted by the disapproval of adults- relatives, friends, doctors, other parents.

In Galatians 10:1, Paul asks us, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Here, Paul was talking about the accuracy of his scriptural teachings.  In verses 11 and 12, he goes on to explain that the gospel he preaches is not something he made up on a whim, to please other people.  It was not taught to him in a classroom by another teacher.  It was revealed to him by Jesus Christ.

Once again, in 1 Thessalonians, we see Paul defending his honor- this time to the Thessolonicans.  In chapter 2, verses 3-7, he states,

“For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.    As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.”

Once again, Paul references “not trying to please men but God”.  He was not “looking for praise from men.”  He was “gentle among [them], like a mother caring for her little children.”  Within the same argument, Paul juxtaposes a self sacrificing service with parental care.  Strictly speaking, Paul was referring to the fact that he had not made himself a burden to the Thessolonicans, but cared for them gently.  Other words that can be used to describe this gentle care is “nursing or cherishing.”  From this association, we can imply also, that physical parents that are nursing, cherishing, and caring for their children, should be doing it in a way that is not seeking praise from men, but direction from God.

Sometimes I feel like talking to a “specialist” is like talking to a brick wall.  They’ve put your child in a box before even meeting him.  They’re going to spout the same textbook answer at you that they spouted to every other parent that walked through their door that day.  They often don’t approve of parents that challenge their assumptions, or challenge their opinion regarding a certain surgery or procedure.

Sometimes when I have to restrict my children’s activities or diet, I feel like other friends or relatives just don’t “get”it.  I can almost see them thinking, “This lady is a nut.  One little molecule of (dye, milk, gluten, fill in the blank) can’t be that big a deal. Why can’t her kid just stay away from those balloons on her own?  I’m sure there can’t be that much latex dust in the air.”

As a Christian parent, I do my best to raise my children the way God directs.  I search for His guidance in every area of care.  I listen to the Holy Spirit, who placed my child in my care.  Disclaimer:  Do  not use this as an excuse to disregard the council of others.  God speaks through other humans as well, and the word of the wise, we would be remiss to dismiss.  So.  While I do take into consideration the counsel of other wise and godly parents, there is a reason God put my child in my family.  No one knows my child better than my husband and I.

When I get the weird looks or comments of disapproval from others, I’ll admit- it bothers me.  It makes me want to scream.  Usually I do scream, at least in my head.  But God makes it clear that when we are acting on the Word of God and by guidance by the Holy Spirit, whether we are church planting, preaching the gospel, or simply choosing to serve our child broccoli- we do not need to seek the approval of men.  Seeking everyone’s approval will drive us crazy, and it’s impossible.

If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Nor would I be a good caregiver for my child.  I am convinced of this.  I trust my gut, or rather the Holy Spirit that resides inside me.

If only I could get insurance to do the same…