Parenthood · Spiritual growth and healing · The way we are

Be brave, dear one

We enter the world expecting others to be there for us.

We take it for granted that someone will feed us, hold us, clean us.

I remember how vulnerable I felt after the birth of my first son. I suffered from a drawn-out, traumatic labour which lasted through the night and well into the next day. I was physically spent. Once it was over the nurse handed Jonathan to me and said to feed him. I could hardly lift my head. But if I didn’t, who would?

Like many new parents, the sleep-deprived nights took their toll on us. Many of the challenges brought tears of frustration. Part of me wanted to be mothered too. But I summoned up enough strength to keep going. I wanted to – for my son.

Children need us – or at least one capable caregiver – to be strong for them. It’s their right.

But for some of us, we never grow out of that childhood state of dependency. We might continually expect to be ‘mothered’ – to have people doing things for us. No one has ever taken the time to teach us independence – so we stay stuck in a rather disempowered cycle.

But if we don’t grow up – how will we be strong for the ‘young’ in our care? If we’re always pre-occupied with our obsessive need to be nurtured, how will we do what needs to be done for others in our sphere of influence?

We must grow up eventually.

We must be brave for others rather than wishing others would be brave for us. They may, but they might not.

We can’t help everyone but we can help some – so we must keep asking. Who can I help? Who needs nurturing? Not of the unhealthy, co-dependent kind. Some just need to be pulled to their feet with a few kind words… Or taught independence so they can teach others the same.

We can only teach strength by modelling it. And we can only model it by learning it first.

May you find the wisdom you need to be a courageous leader in your family, school, workplace, or community. Love as you’ve been loved.

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

brave

25 thoughts on “Be brave, dear one

  1. Ouch! You struck a nerve there! My mother was called Home to heaven almost 8 years ago, and I have never stopped wanting to be mothered. It is hard being the brave one, the strong one. I almost look around looking for someone to take the load off me. The first holiday away with a baby taught me that I don’t get holidays, mothers just don’t! You just have to go on!
    The Lord is with me, and I know I should turn to Him, rather than expecting others to carry me, or make my troubles lighter, but it is a hard lesson, and I am still learning it!
    Thank you for your words, even if they are not easy to listen to!

    1. Hey Betsy,
      It is a hard one.
      You have been through so much, losing your mum so young… then as a mother, summoning the reserves of courage to be there for your little one.
      We never lose the desire to be mothered. It’s a powerful, primal need and it haunts us if we haven’t been nurtured well. And I think, even if we have, at times of vulnerability our hearts cry out for support of the mothering kind. It’s not wrong to want this, and I don’t think the solution is simple.
      I think it’s important to grieve what’s been lost – but to then, somehow, find that turning point where we realize that beautiful – though often hard-to-achieve – balance of being nurtured by our Heavenly Father, and caring deeply for ourselves… Learning how to ask for help (rather than feeling sorry for ourselves) and finding a way to do things for ourselves that we wish others would do. To put on our own bandaids, in a sense. I think the idea is that we do this out of self-love – not through gritted teeth.
      And it does require mountains of courage to work through the pain of loss and emerge at the other end.
      Thanks for your honesty. Your courage and faith in God will sustain you xx

  2. You handled this so well, Ali. . .thank you! The balance you spoke of is an important key, and leaning on Jesus as much as I know how each day and getting my courage from him to go on, instead of expecting too much from others helps me too, God bless you and nurture you today!

    1. Thanks Debbie. Leaning on Jesus is far superior to leaning on others isn’t it? And if we ‘lean right’, he will enable us to also ‘lead right’ I think… and grow into the people he has planned us to be. I think there’s a balance between allowing others to help us, but also knowing how to take ownership of those things which are best handled on our own…

  3. Hi Ali
    This post was so key for me in this season! As my mentor’s have left I am at crossroads. Do I move forward in this new terrain by myself or do I stay in my comfort zone afraid to move because no one is with me???
    You brought a very important point – if I don’t step out how will I show other’s who have no one the way????
    A great post Ali……Very thought provocking!

    Rolain

    1. I’m glad Rolain. It is easy to stay ‘frozen’ in a sense, when our supports have been pulled out from under us. There is a grief process, and many questions about why it’s happened. It’s scary and hard.
      But I pray you will rise up with strength like never before. That you would not only find others who can help lead you on the journey, but also be a leader and inspiration to the ‘young’ in your care. I’m sure God is already using you in mighty ways. Keep asking him to open the next door and the next door. He’ll be with you all the way.

  4. WOW–this really struck home for me, Ali. If we don’t have early nurturing, and then healthy, positive pushes toward independence, it’s really hard to “grow up”. It took me way too long, embarrassingly so–and sometimes I think I’ve regressed! The one “right” thing I did, was to choose not to have children–they’d have been so lost, with a mom depending on them. Over the years, I’ve been very hard on friends–expecting too much from them; and of course I thought there’d be a “hero” spouse to rescue me (wrong, there wasn’t). I’m grateful to have Jesus to depend on now–because being alone, I’ve had to learn to be independent.

    So–how are things going for you, since your news about your child’s diagnosis? Been praying for you each night. God bless you all BIG–love, Caddo

    1. I’m glad Caddo! I can relate to the slowness in growing up and the tendency to rely on others to make many of my decisions.
      It sounds like God has led you each step of the way, giving you wisdom when needed, and growing you in independence. It’s hard not to expect a lot from friends isn’t it?
      Children do ask a lot of us it seems – and you’re right in that we can ask a lot of them.
      Yes, I’m so thankful for our rescuer Jesus – no one else will do the job like he does.

      Thank you for asking, and I’m so moved and thankful that you’ve been praying so much for me.
      I went through a time of grief and sadness, over what the diagnosis will mean for Jonathan (my son) and our family. But I have been emerging out of that during the last few days. I can see ‘light’ ahead. All is not lost. He’s still our beautiful son, and there are answers ahead. It really is a one-day-at-a-time thing with autism. His mood/temperament changes frequently. But it’s a great exercise in relying on God for strength, and entrusting all the unknowns to him as we learn to navigate the journey.
      Thank you again for your friendship.
      Ali

      1. Hi dearest, I think that period of grief and sadness is so normal–even necessary–in order to get to the next phase without accumulating a pile of “stuff” that you would then have to deal with “later”–a probably inconvenient time. Not being a mom, I can’t begin to fully appreciate all that a child brings–the blessings and the burdens. But whenever we get huge dramatic, potentially life-changing news that sounds at least scary, if not negative, we all have those feelings you described–I just think it’s smarter and healthier to acknowledge them, as you did, let God help us deal with them–rather than stuff them and pretend we’re “fine”. And the added bonus, is that we’ll likely be able to pass on the lesson to someone else one day–God is good at using everything, never a wasted moment or feeling! God bless y’all BIG–love, Caddo

      2. So well said Caddo. I think the temptation is definitely to ignore the feelings, but it’s so much healthier to let the sadness and grief run its course. To just let it be, in a sense – rather than fighting it. 

  5. Great post and yes, being a parent is hard on the husband as well as the wife (if he is as supportive as he should be). Children don’t come with instructions except for the Bible so it is up to us to learn and hopefully have some help from grandparents.

    1. Thank you… so true. Parenting is just about two imperfect people muddling along and doing the best they can to love and provide the essentials. We need God’s wisdom daily to parent, and also parent ourselves in a sense so that we can find strength for each new day.
      Blessings and thanks for dropping by,
      Ali

  6. LOVE as we have been loved. And sometimes THAT takes a good amount of UNlearning because the ones who loved us really didnt know how because they didnt understand how much they were loved. But GOD!! And His great love that heals and teaches and helps us become more like His Son so that we can share the love in all the dark corners of our world.

    1. I agree Sheila – unlearning is a much harder road isn’t it? So thankful too for our teacher God, who gently molds us into the image of his Son. Only when we know his love, can we love others healthily.
      God bless, and have a great week dear friend.
      Ali

  7. Great post! This makes me think of Thanksgiving in our family- my grandma always ran the show, then it passed onto my mom. I can’t imagine myself taking it on, but I know one day I will have to grow up🙂

    1. Yes – it’s a daunting thought – rising up to become the next generation… Part of us wants to stay stuck in our ‘childhood’ state forever, receiving wisdom rather than leading others with wisdom.
      I’m sure you’ll do a great job at Thanksgiving when the time comes🙂

  8. What a beautiful topic and post, Ali.

    I’ve often thought of parenting as the strangest job. The whole point is to put ourselves out of work. We must love our kids enough to teach them to be independent.

    1. Thank you Denise. Well said. It’s the most important thing we can teach them isn’t it? Our job must become obsolete in a sense… Though the love never dies.

  9. It is so good that Children have the solid foundation that you shared about Godgirl and as you said also, we are to be there for others, all of those who are hurting that God draws into our arms of compassion. I don’t label people though, if they are hurting they are hurting and the same with me. I don’t feel others are weak or myself for being open and honest and not being Happy Clappy when I’m hurting, Jesus didn’t, He was known as a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, meaning he felt it deeply.

    I find it very sad that Secular Psychology has become part of the Church today and many are hurt because of it. Sayings like we need our own boundaries, motivated by the thought; unto our own-selves be True but it’s not what God tells us to do, which is put others first, it is in giving we receive, we are even to cry with others and help carry their burdens. (see link below)

    Caring from the heart – http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/what-does-it-mean-to-thine-own-self-be-true/

    Also God tells us to become dependent and Trusting like a Child, yes with Him but also with each other, we are not an island or do we treat others as if they are, we were created to need others both in Marriage and in the Body of Christ as the Scriptures below confirm.

    2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

    Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

    Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

    Philippians 2:2-4 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

    Hebrews 10 24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up Love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

    Christian Love and Blessings – Anne.

    1. Good food for thought Anne. So glad we can cling to God and his word when the answers seem unclear. He is our ever-loving, ever-guiding Father🙂
      Also grateful for the gifting of medical doctors and psychologists too, I must admit. Such professionals aren’t ‘infallible’, nor a replacement for God and his word, but I believe they can offer help to the broken at times.

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