A couple of years ago I decided to tell my closest friend about a situation we were mired in with one of our teenagers. It was one of those issues with many layers; not my journey but I am greatly affected, not my deal but I can be judged for it, not my decisions but I can easily talk myself into taking the blame. It was a dark time and easier to stay hidden. But I had some time with my friend in person and I let my guard down and poured my heart out to her.
Her response? Love. She spoke directly to my heart, telling me that we were given these children specifically because we are uniquely qualified to handle them. Then she went on to remind me of several characteristics that my teen needed and how her parents had those very qualities. If I doubted her, she drew on her own experience and pointed out how she had learned this lesson in parenting earlier in life, when she was going through a difficult season.
My friend didn’t try to fix it, she couldn’t. She also didn’t try to cover over it with trite sayings, she wouldn’t. And she didn’t let me off the hook, she shouldn’t. What I did that was right was that I opened up and shared with someone safe and what she did was to respond with safety and wisdom. We must be honest with each other about the struggles we are facing; when we bring the darkness to light shame evaporates, fear flees and hope is restored. My friends bolstered my confidence in God and in our parenting, and gave us the strength to stay in it and fight for our teen.
I’m including a video if Francesca Battistelli’s ‘If We’re Honest’ because it highlights the value of bringing our brokenness to one another. It is my prayer that you have someone you can open up and be honest with, and if you don’t, that you would find that person or group of people who can remind you who and whose you are.