A week ago I would have called myself Christan, The Encourager. You see, I've identified "encouragement" as my talent, my spiritual gift, for a long time. There are characteristics that require much discipline, and then there are traits that just seem to spill out of us. (Ummm... yeah... good and bad ones.)
I've played the role of peacemaker. Cheerleader. Motivator. Perspective-giver. I've grabbed the half-full glass and begged my friends to drink it. It just sort of happens.
But maybe this trait has hurt me as a parent. Maybe the woman wrestling to be authentic in her own life has been training her kids to do the opposite.
"Oh, sweetie, that's awful. You'll have a better day tomorrow."
"Look at the bright side. We don't have a snow day, but at least we have a four-day week next week."
"Yeah, you came in second in the field day race... but there's always next year."
And on. And on. And on.
Scary stuff. I've been doing this for a decade with my children.
And while there's a place for my "gift" in my children's lives, I might be bestowing it upon them a little too soon. Like immediately. Might they need a mom who empathizes and teaches them it's okay to actually experience the depth of what they're feeling - and then name it - before "looking on the bright side"? Might they have a better chance of entering adult relationship with their masks tucked in their back pockets instead of permanently on their faces? And (this is the hard one) what makes me uncomfortable with my children being sad? Or angry?
And this is when I desperately beg God for discernment because I know He wants me to help my children stand when they can't on their own. I know He wants me to guide them with a healthy perspective of this broken world. I know He wants me to shine truth where there is darkness.
If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding...
...The LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.
...You will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Proverbs 2:3-10
And I have the assurance He's ultimately shielding my son, my daughter, from the brokenness of their mommy. And I'm hoping my mistakes will make them run all the faster to their Rescuer. But for now, I'll choose to sit with them in the sadness for a little while. I'll be their companion as they wrestle through their own Psalm of angst.
And I'll trust my Maker to show me when to give them my gift.