Shrews for Jesus
ATHARINE, the Shrew, was the eldest daughter of Baptista, a rich gentleman of Padua. She was a lady of such an ungovernable spirit and fiery temper, such a loud-tongued scold, that she was known in Padua by no other name than Katharine the Shrew.
Forget about her.
Meet me, Karen. A lady of such an ungovernable spirit and fiery temper, such a loud-tongued scold, that I am known by no other name than Shrew for Jesus.
I married the Missionary’s son.
I’ve been blessed with one onery son, who hasn’t spoken to me in months, and three nearly-perfect daughters, who every morn upon rising pray to the Sandal-footed Jesus that they don’t grow up to be like their mama. I am the mother-in-law to a verified Sinner, which means all of my grandchildren are doomed to be Sinners.
I’m college-educated, middle-classed, and middle-aged, but never middle-of-the road about anything else.
I’ve been a pretty good girl all my life, if you overlook the times I wasn’t. I grew up attending Sunday School, Training Union, Vacation Bible School, Wednesday night supper and prayer meetings. I collected pennies in plastic bread loaves for Lottie Moon and starving children worldwide. I memorized all the books of the Bible and John 3:16 by the time I was 10. I can sing “Victory in Jesus” backwards. And I know all the hand-motions to Deep-and-Wide. I can recite the Love chapter of First Corinthians ten times really fast while holding my tongue. And I know how to swaddle an infant with my eyes shut, holding my breath.
I didn’t read Our Daily Bread, Living Streams or My Utmost for His Highestevery day, but on the days I didn’t, I always felt guilty – really, really guilty. Lately, I’ve come to understand that shame and guilt is underrated in our society.
Guilt is useful. Just like those-fourteen-hour bras – it can force us to rise to the occasion. Guilt is a mother’s best motivator. Without it, unruly, and very likely nekkid children would rule the world. Or, worse yet, they might all grow up to become political pundits prone to idle babble. (see I Timothy 2).
My children owe me. If not for me, they’d be living carefree self-absorbed lives. Instead they’ve turned out to be slightly neurotic, but mostly caring people. As far as I know, they are law-abiding citizens who, chances are, will raise their own children in the ways in which they’ve been instructed.
I’m hoping to protect my grandchildren, that I don’t have yet, from being raised by Shrews for Jesus. If you think being raised by wolves is bad, you ought to have had me for a mother. Motherhood turned me into a shrew. This was not a gradual thing. If I had to pin it down, I’d say it happened during labor. Most likely during that late transition time when I felt inclined to put my husband in a head lock and give him a noogie until all the hair on top of his head fell out, but I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this theory up. I don’t care about science or theories. I don’t have time to prove anything. Besides, as a mother, what I say goes and that’s all the “but why?” answer anybody needs.
How can you know if you’re becoming a Shrew for Jesus? It’s not all that easy. I didn’t recognize the signs of it myself until after my four kids were grown. Here’s a quick test. Put a check by each sentence that applies to you.
-You tossed out all the white sugar and white flour in your home, and sent your children to birthday parties with strict instructions that he/she eat only the carrot sticks you’ve sent along.
-You’ve read every book on parenting thatDobson wrote and became a strong-willed mother in the process.
– You forbade your children from reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe because there’s a witch in the book.
– You petitioned the local school to get rid of Harry Potter books because of the demonic activities depicted in the stories.
– You did this even though you home-school your children.
– You hide all the bananas in the household because of their obscene shape.
-You know your colors, and your entire wardrobe consist of warm autumns or fushia pinks.
– A family outing is a stop at 7-Eleven for Slurpees after the Tea Party prayer rally.
-You read Marabelle Morgan’s Total Woman but were out of Saran Wrap so you met your husband at the door in aluminum foil, instead. Your husband thought you and the kids were dressing up like ET.
-You insist your husband pray before sex.
-You bought a copy of Joshua Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye and explained to your 12-year-olds why dating was a bad thing.
-You gave your children abstinence rings for Easter instead of chocolate bunnies.
-Your husband told his friends abstinence wasn’t something you practiced until after the two of you were married.
-Your 40-year-old daughter still lives at home.
-So does her 42-year-old brother
-Your idea of a good time is being slain in the spirit.
-You secretly wish you attended a church where they served real wine for communion instead of grape juice.
– Your fantasy life includes thoughts of Mitt Romney.
Feel free to add your own Shrew for Jesus moments…
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Mother of Rain (Mercer University Press).