I hate feeling helpless. I really hate feeling helpless when one of my children is going through something that I know I simply can’t help them with. They just have to sail through that storm alone, and I have to wait at the harbor with my first aid kit, until they get through it.
Recently, my eldest daughter has begun to experience being in love for the first time. Unlike so many other teen-agers, she never had any real crushes in high school. She doesn’t date much, and has only had one boyfriend, which lasted a week or two. She’s intelligent, beautiful, spiritual, and commitment phobic. An over-analyzer like her mom, she’s managed to avoid the painful side of “love” experienced by most of us in high school. Until now.
The person she has this crush on is someone we consider one of us. Very few people have come into our lives and taken up residence here like they had been born to it. He is one of two successful interlopers. Let’s call him Joe. Joe reminds me of the prophet Hosea. He always seems to fall in love with the women that are guaranteed to break not only his heart, but his spirit as well. He is kind and generous to them; in turn, he is taken advantage of regularly. It has been rough on my kid because she doesn’t fall in the “Broken Woman” category. She doesn’t have that spirit of neediness that I think attracts so many men. Independent and healthy, she doesn’t need this man to take care of her; she just wants him to love her.
Hosea had the unlucky position in the Bible to be ordered to not only marry a prostitute, but to actually love her as well. God used Hosea’s life to show how He felt about Israel’s lack of faithfulness to their God, who honors His vows to them, and loves them, despite their wayward and flighty hearts.
As parents, my husband and I genuinely would like this match. But as we no longer arrange our children’s marriages in this day and age, we are relegated to ambulance drivers on this field of sport. We can’t play, but we’re here if you get hurt.
It seems lately that each day is measured by “Joe Events”, some excellent and some sad. Most only confuse us both. An entire outlook of life can be changed by a nice text message or dashed to pieces from an un-returned phone call. And poor Joe has no idea about any of this. I’m sure he would be completely surprised to know just how powerful he’s become in someone’s life right now. Do any of us ever really know at the time how powerfully we can effect another human being? Watching this dance from a different viewpoint for the first time in my life, I reflect back to the early days of learning to love, and I hope I was gentle and kind to those around me that might have had a crush on me. How powerful these emotions are when we are first experiencing them!!
I’ve always cautioned my children that love isn’t all fairy tales and sunshine…there are down sides too. I have found in my own life that the deeper you swim in the ocean of despair with your partner, the more you appreciate the mountaintops of joy. That being said, sometimes we feel we’ll drown in the despair….and many often do. But if you’re going to experience the full spectrum of what love has to offer, you have to take the plunge into vulnerability…It simply can’t be achieved successfully and satisfyingly any other way.
My only advice to her would be to pray often to Jesus about your longings and desires. Cry to Him when things don’t seem to be working the way you would like them to. Laugh with Him when you’re heading back up to the mountaintops. But most of all, trust that He has your best interests in mind. Trust that He knows what is best for you, despite what our own opinions may be. Trust that it will be okay, whether your love is ever reciprocated or not.This too shall pass, even if it doesn’t feel like it ever will.
I don’t have a lot of wisdom to offer her in this kind of crisis because I certainly don’t want her to follow in my foot-steps down the path of love. It ended up great, but it was one painful ride getting here. I can only offer her my prayers and support, my shoulder to cry on, and my hope in the Lord. And I can beg God to be gentle with my baby girl….I know He will. She belongs to Him, too.
So, I’m rolling the bandages and checking the medical supplies, all the while hoping they won’t be needed at all when this experience plays itself out.
– A Mom