It takes a village to raise a child….

Saturday night, I had one distraught teen.  She cried and cried until she could cry no longer.  It was all to do with matters of the heart, and as we all know, they sometimes don’t quite go the way we would wish.  As I took her in my arms, I told her how precious she was; how God has someone for her who will not just love her in spite of her foibles, eccentricities and quirks but love her all the more for them; that she shouldn’t waste her tears on someone, who in the larger scheme of life, will in all probability not be a huge part of her future and most of all that she is so precious to us and has so much more worth in God’s eyes than she could possibly know.  I urged her to turn it all over to God.  By the time she went to bed the tears had subsided somewhat, and all cried out she fell into an exhausted deep sleep.

Needless to say, I was awake all night worrying about her (and yes I absolutely see the irony here).  I realised in the early hours of the morning that protecting my children from all life’s hurts was not so much my job anymore.  My teens need something different from me as they make the transition from adolescent to adult.  They need me to give they a soft place to come to when they are feeling raw, without judgement.  They need me to be on their side no matter what.  They need me to love them especially hard during those moments they feel unlovable.  But, and this was important, I could not protect them from pain.  For it is through these moments of difficulty that we so often see growth and maturity and new understanding of how life works.  Still.  When my children hurt, I hurt also.

The next morning things seemed to be a little less emotional, and off both she and her twin went to fulfil their job as Action Angels at church (they do the movements to any action songs for the rest of the congregation to follow).  Afterwards the twin in question left the body of the church and sat alone outside in the foyer, sadness overcoming her once more.  I was not there this time to be of any support.  But a dear friend of mine came out and sat with her, prayed for her, loved her and reiterated everything I had said the night before.  And urged her to give it all to God.  My lovely friend, who has such a special heart, and accepts everyone just as they are, took time to be the mum that I was unable to be, even as she had eight of her own children to look after.  Thank you Vicki for being there, for knowing what to say, and for pointing her to Jesus.

But Vicki wasn’t the only one looking out for my daughter on that day.  Another very special friend was also quietly praying for her.  Although she lives a good half an hour away, via text, she, too, took the time to minister.  She wrote messages of love, messages of affirmation and most of all messages of faith.  This precious friend, again, repeated the same words both Vicki and I had said, and once more urged her to turn that area of her life over to God.  Thank you Jaime for being such a huge part of our family’s life.  Thank you for the mentorship role you have with my daughters.  I am so grateful for your realness, your heart for people and how special you have become to every member of our family.  My girls already think of you as a second mum 🙂

My precious daughter was given, quite by accident, the same support, the same words and the same encouragement by three different older women, who she knew cared about her and wanted the best for her.  She’s heard it all before from me, and bless her heart, she really does try to take on board everything I say.  But yesterday, she needed to hear it again.  And again.  She came home from church and said quietly to me in the kitchen, whilst engulfing me in a huge hug, ‘I think I need to hand it all to God.’

You see, it takes a village to raise a child.  I’ve seen this African proverb combined with the words ‘I’ve seen the village and they are not raising my child!’.  But, honestly, these people should come to mine.  Because my village (and I am talking about the people here, not the place), because my village, well, it rocks!