Proverbs 13:10 says,“Where there is strife, there is pride. But wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
When my children were born, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to work hard and be a good momma and love them fiercely and raise them to become the adults they were meant to be. I read books, thought things through, and sought to do it all well.
And yet, I had a child who would not sleep, a child who would not eat, a child with sensory processing issues, and a child who lied. A lot. So, I read more, prayed more, and did not discuss these struggles with friends. A part of me was embarrassed. But, if I am totally honest, behind that embarrassment lay a bigger issue. Pride. I wanted my life to look more put together. Struggles made me feel like a failure as a mom. When they did well in spelling, were complimented on their table manners, or responded lovingly to others, I felt proud and would openly share, but no one wants to share the difficult stuff.
But in telling half of our truth, in withholding the hard parts, the broken parts, the parts where I needed help, I found myself lonely and struggling and out of ideas. If we don't share what is really going on, how can we find answers or get support. When we share our burdens, we may find some compassion and empathy. But to be honest is to risk being vulnerable, knowing that some people may not display grace. Not everyone will display grace, but many will. Together you can make a deeper connection and begin caring for each other. As we face obstacles together, we become the community that God intended us to be.
What would happen if we told the truth? What would happen if we sought advice, and offered it without judgment, and stopped giving in to our own sinful pride? As parents, we are in the midst of a difficult job. We are raising our children who came without instructions, and all around us are people who could help. If we are willing to ask. If we allow ourselves to show that our lives are imperfect and our children are imperfect and sometimes we just need help.
Over time, out of sheer desperation, I have wrestled with my pride and reached out in truth to those around me who know far more than I about raising children. I have asked other mommas, grandmas, and friends. And, oh, the treasure trove of wisdom I have found! Now, I have a child who knows how to rest, a picky eater who loves his veggies, a list of activities to help sensory kids, and creative ideas to draw my child into truth. And I have something more. All this wisdom comes with a greater blessing.
God has created us to live in community. He created us to do this life together. Galatians 6:2 says that when we bear one another's burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ. God did not think it was good for us be alone And when we tell the truth, when we seek advice, when we release our pride and begin to get real, we find it. Close by, where it always was. Community. Belonging. Companionship. Just as God dreamed it would be. And this is what we need more than perfection or pride.
Rev. Joel Vande Werken
Rev. Joel Vande Werken