A newborn baby, so completely dependent and innocent. Yet we know it is only a matter of time before they experience their first disappointment, their first boo-boo, or their first unmet expectation. As a Mom you know that you cannot keep these things from coming and you know sometimes these disappointments will come from your own hands. We do the best we can with what we know, motivated by what we hope and desire for our kids. From the moment they are born we are teaching them to not need us. We are training and preparing them for the long road ahead, knowing they need to learn independence and to speak up for themselves. As much as we love those early years when only a Mom can soothe a hurt we know that they need to learn how to jump up and dust themselves off and try again.
Children can be such a huge source of worry for a Mom. We are their "protectors" and we want to guard them from unnecessary struggles. It can be a mighty tug on a Momma's heart when you want to save them from the things that are difficult for them, but you know they must walk through it themselves, without your help.
I have experienced this firsthand with my son. Seeing the struggle early on for him to put himself out there or speak up for himself. We witnessed many occasions where he stood on the "sidelines" watching other kids having fun. What I wanted for him was to be part of it, experience it, and enjoy all that life has to offer. What a difficult life lesson to teach an introvert! But something changed for him this year. Call it growth or maturity or maybe the desire to be a part of it started to outweigh the anxiety to taking that first step, but he has really taken some amazing steps forward this year, surprising me and showing me that my own kid can teach me a few things!
In teaching opportunities with him we have often referenced him to Romans 5:3-5, "We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never let us down. God has poured his love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us." This perseverance, or strength to go on, means trying something even if it challenges us, volunteering for something even if it's out of our comfort zone, or participating in something new even though we have no idea how to do it.
These thing may come easy to some, but it does not come easy to him. So I'm celebrating Caleb doing the hard things, but I hope it is also an encouragement to you, to persevere, to join and not avoid, to push through things that give you anxiety so you may receive its blessings. What are the blessings, you might ask? In the verse perseverance produces character and strength in character is a great blessing in and of itself. Doing the difficult thing, pushing through it, and seeing, even proving to yourself that you can do it, that it isn't as bad as you might have imagined it to be often gives you new confidence.
This may surprise some of you, but my natural inclination is to be introverted. I was a hesitant child, I liked to hide behind my mother's legs upon meeting someone new. I still fight anxiety and discomfort in a room of people I don't know. And yet, somehow I have been able to overcome it. I don't let it stop me from trying new things. I have learned, through experience, to push through the fear and anxiety. I have figured out how to trust. I don't always know the "right" thing to say. I still get butterflies in my stomach sometimes. But having those feelings is not necessarily a reason to not do whatever I want to do. And sometimes, it's a sure sign that I need to do it.
Happy Mother's Day! Celebrating the women who open their hearts to loving and preparing children to spread their wings to fly.