When I was pregnant with our second child I met a woman who I was very envious of. She was older than me, thin, very pretty, and had confidence and poise. She wore clothes I wished I owned and drove a car I wished I had. I knew nothing about her other than what I could see on the outside but yet my jealous heart couldn't help but think she had a better life than I did. Like most women who have indulged the sin of coveting, I was cruel in my thoughts about her. I'd invent things about her to not like. My envy had caused me to indulge in the sin of false witness as well.
She was a career woman and contributed a fair amount of money to her and her husband's household income. I had been a homemaker for the last three years and though I knew the value of being a stay at home mom it was easy for envy to take over. I hadn't had the strength of conviction I needed yet, nor did I have years of personal evidence to look back on to know I was making the right decision. I
This woman was pregnant with her first child and would speak openly about how she'd be returning to her career and putting her child in a good daycare. Seeds of doubt crept into my mind. Is daycare all that bad? It is ridiculous I thought this, I had previously worked in a good daycare and have first hand accounts of how awful they were, especially the baby rooms. Never the less, jealousy and envy is horribly destructive to the heart of a woman, it "makes the bones rot." A weak minded woman can meet her demise throwing away all prior wisdom in order to get what the heart covets.
I struggled with this for a long time. I'm ashamed of how much this woman and her life consumed my thoughts. Then I heard a man say, "I'd rather live in a box than have my wife work for another man." He went on to say, "I can't protect her there. I am powerless over what she has to face. No way will my wife be forced to submit to another man." Oh, how I needed to hear those words to affirm that I was doing the right thing for our family.
My heart began to soften and understanding started to overwhelm the envy. I studied God's word and sought forgiveness for my covetous and shameful thoughts. I felt rebuke from the words of 1 John 2 15-17:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.I had a peace in my heart by the time my daughter was born. I had joy and thanksgiving for all of the blessings we had. My thoughts turned to doing my best within my home by supporting RLB more. I started working out more to lose the baby weight I had accumulated. I guarded my thoughts and associations while I devoured encouraging books to strengthen my confidence and convictions.
I am filled with remorse and sorrow as I reflect on what happened next to that woman. Her son was only a few weeks old. It was a bitter cold January day that she dropped him off at the daycare and kissed him goodbye for the last time. As he sat, unattended to in his car seat, still bundled up in winter clothes, SIDS took his life. To this day that was the most difficult funeral to attend. I embraced her and cried with her like I'd never cried before.
I'm no longer in contact with this woman, but I do remember this; her second child never saw the inside of a daycare and her career became that of a thin, very pretty, confident and poised, stay at home mother.
*Edit - A comment of Dalrock's on his blog has prompted me to change this wording. In examining myself, I know that it was not due to a lack of understanding that I was not submitting fully to RLB, it was rebellion to God's command. When I had read the words of 1 Peter 3, I clearly understood what they meant, they were part of the Bible that went on "scroll by" for me because the command was something I wasn't accepting - rebellion. Thank you Dalrock for bringing to light yet another way that I, as a woman, carelessly reject taking responsibility for my actions.