Wine & Netflix: Battling the Ever-Growing Cultural Pandemic in Motherhood
If you are reading this, you are already winning. You have stolen a few moments away from your chaos to hear from another mom. Rest assured, I am not here to tell you that Wine and Netflix are from the devil. I hope nothing more than to bring encouragement to your heart for the next 3-5 minutes. I think we can all take a breath and give each other a virtual mom hug as we share many of the same battles during this season of quarantine. We wake up each morning asking the questions: Do I need to put makeup on today? Do I need to get out of my pajamas? Do I even need to shower? What time is my child’s Zoom call again? Will my Instacart Shopper be able to score a bag of flour for me today? Wait, what day is it? Is it 5 o’clock yet? Eh, 4:48… close enough. Pour the Chardonnay and start dinner!
Our reflection in the mirror of motherhood right now may not be as “Pinteresting” as we would like. And our weaknesses have been brought into the light, becoming as obvious as the dark (or grey) roots on our head! But some of us are fighting other battles beyond “Parenting during COVID-19”.
Some of us are suffering from a greater pandemic that is as invisible to others as any wide spread virus. We have no idea how sick we are. But God does and He’s calling you into battle.
Last year God handed me His sword and called me into a battle I didn’t know needed to be fought. The Lord knew I had made something more important than Him and this sin was leading down a path that would only lead to destruction for me and my family.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. – James 1:14-15
You see, I had been lured away and enticed by my own sin and into the ever-growing mom culture of wine and Netflix. This didn’t happen overnight, it happened slowly over time. What was a casual glass of wine here and there had now become my source of comfort after a long day. I would giggle over witty “mommy- juice” memes on social media, open a bottle of Chardonnay and laugh late into the night with my favorite characters on Netflix. This mom-wine-culture began to normalize my actions and sear my conscience. Let’s face it, I had joined the club. Cheers? I mean, according to my Friends on my TV, Rachel and Ross thought I was doing just fine!
Eventually I could pour a glass of wine for any reason: stressed, upset, happy, celebrating a win or mourning a loss. Alcohol was now tied to my emotions, my habits, my heart. All the while I was attempting to go deeper in my faith but unable to reach the place of intimacy in Christ I had always desired.
Because I had given a part of myself over to something other than Him, I hadn’t experienced the full satisfaction of savoring God’s word.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:12-13
As we lay down our earthly comforts and pick up His word, we can see clearly the battlefield in front of us. One glance at the enemy may leave us feeling overwhelmed and alone. But the battles we fight are not our own. They belong to the Lord. He went to war for us a long time ago. And spoiler alert: He’s already won. He has conquered sin and will one day return to conquer death completely for all who are in Him. Until then, we choose our best weapons to cope with life’s daily trials.
So, let us consider a greater weapon (I’m talking about the Bible here, Ladies) that refreshes our spirit in the morning and defends our soul in the night rather than any one that leaves us empty at night and exhausted in the morning. Let us pick up His sword and fight.
But here’s a warning, this sword is sharp. It divides, judges and cuts deep into the dark places of our hearts that make us cringe. Nothing is hidden from Him. We pick up His sword only to find ourselves naked and exposed (that thought is terrifying enough!) And yet this is how He prepares us for battle. He strips us down, removes the weight of our sin, and replaces it with His armor. So take heart! This sword is living and active and it will change you. You will begin to submit, desire, and even crave His word beyond any glass of pinot-schmeno or schmoozy TV drama.
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21
Now the question we ask ourselves is, “do I really need to fight this battle?” I can’t answer that for you, nor could I place my own convictions upon how much you should or shouldn’t drink or what shows you should be watching. But, let me confess my ignorance: I thought battles like mine were just for those who didn’t know the Lord, those who weren’t brought up in a Christian home, those who rebelled in their youth. But I was none of those things. I have been walking with Jesus for 35 years! I am married to a god- fearing man with two Sunday school kids, and I have the privilege to be on staff in Children’s Ministry. And yet, I had welcomed this pandemic into my home with side effects that kept me from being the wife and mom I needed to be. Amongst many things, alcohol was robbing me of energy, patience, and joy. I could no longer deny my own desires and serve my family with the attention they needed.
But by God’s grace, He revealed to me my own filth and wickedness, leaving me with no other choice than to humbly accept the word He implanted in me so long ago.
So, I don’t know if God has called your number yet, (if your heart is racing then I think you know your answer) but let me just say I am so glad He called mine.
Here’s a few things I have learned from battle:
1. God calls you into battle, but others may not understand why.
As we begin to bring our sin into the light, God gives us courage to reach out to others for support. At first, some may not see your need for battle. Our symptoms may not always be obvious. My own husband was surprised when I told him I needed to stop drinking. I wasn’t an alcoholic (at least not yet anyway, praise God). To others it may seem legalistic or too extreme to give up alcohol altogether. Some may try to negate, justify, or compare your sin to their own. Don’t forget, our enemy stands behind a deceiving mom culture that seeks to normalize, even glorify, our need to pour a glass of wine and escape into our own self-entitled world after getting the kids to bed. But let me ask you this: If you told your friends you had decided to quit smoking would they ask you, “Why would you do that?” Of course not. You would hear, “Good for you!” Why should alcohol be any different? On the contrary, I was blessed with a friend who chose to hang up her wine glass with me the second I confessed my sin to her. What a gift to have another sister in Christ persevering alongside me! Needless to say, choose your friends wisely to encourage you in your battle.
2. God appoints His battles on His time for His purposes.
The Lord appoints our trials of sanctification on His time for His purpose in preparation for what’s to come. What a good Father we have that doesn’t drag us into full blown war, but patiently and gently works out our sin one battle at a time. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. When we reflect over God’s victories in our lives, we see His purpose for why He pierced our hearts when he did. These battles can be painful but they restore us, drawing us closer to Him and His word so that we are armed and ready for what He has ahead of us. Looking back, I can see God’s hand over my battle against alcohol. I am so grateful He brought victory over my life long before our family locked down in quarantine. I can’t imagine where my sin would have led me and my family during this time.
3. Victory in Christ brings a divine confidence and willingness for future battles.
When we confess and surrender our sin over to the Lord, we begin to exercise the God-given muscle of perseverance as he carries us to victory. We hold our swords with confidence in the midst of our quarantined homes full of dishes, laundry and screaming children. We find quiet hours in the morning to hear his voice. Like our children we become wide-eyed and curious. We start to ask different questions than before. “If God can conquer this sin in my life, what else can he do? What else can He take from me to bring me closer to him?” We open our hearts and say, “Take it, Lord. Take everything.” Christ has proven himself to be a better comfort to us than anything else. And as our confidence grows in Him, we willingly allow our hearts to be pierced once again and pick up our swords to prepare for the next battle, knowing He will bring victory.
So let’s get back to that virtual mom hug! I hope you are encouraged, sister. I hope that you are curious as well, wondering what freedom the Lord could bring to your weary heart.
What if during this great pandemic, God could reveal, heal and bring victory to own hearts? What if upon re-entry out of captivity we could be found standing on a greater foundation of motherhood than ever before?
I pray that during this season of COVID-19, we as moms will reach for our greatest weapon. I pray we will allow the word of God to cut deep into our hearts, helping us discern our thoughts and intentions. As our sin is exposed, especially to those we love most, I pray we won’t shrink back but hold fast in confidence our sword of the spirit. Read it. Study it. Let it become living and active in our lives, changing us to be the Moms we were made to be.