COURAGE: So Much to Say About 7 Simple Letters
Webster’s dictionary defines courage as: “the ability to do something that frightens one, or strength in the face of pain or grief.”
It takes courage to let go of your mother’s hand and walk on two feet. It takes courage to remove the training wheels and ride without them. It takes courage to surrender oneself and plunge head first into the deep end of the pool. And then there’s another kind of courage, which is not my favorite. The one where God tells me to do something I don’t want to do.
“Be strong and let your heart take courage.” Psalm 31:24
Courage is Choosing Life
I gave birth to my son on a Saturday in April of 1995. I had a very stressful pregnancy, but I enjoyed my growing belly. I got more serious about life when I found out I was pregnant. I was young and naive, and thought it would be me and my son against the world. That Saturday I believed my problems were over. Having my son would make my life better. I loved him so much and he was perfect.
Life Didn’t Go as Planned
Following the birth of my child I made mistakes. Big ones. I felt like a complete failure. As a result, my son didn’t get to leave the hospital with me…he left with my parents. I hated myself…I let my precious son down. Many years passed without my son and I living and sharing life together. Life for me became surviving life without my child.
I made attempts to be with him during his childhood, but I was not welcomed. I was looked at like an unworthy person, and definitely not like his mother. I was only seen as as one who had made a mistake. This always drove me away again, and the pain was unbearable. I felt like a criminal, unworthy and dirty.
Did you know that mothers whose children are placed in foster care are at much higher of a risk of dying young, particularly due to causes such suicide?
Courage is Going Back
I went back to see my son again when he was 8. I was met with obstacles. Big ones. I just wanted to be with him, and not just as some family member, but as his mom. I was never acknowledge for who I truly was. It was out of this pain that I found God. Or I should say, God came to me. I prayed every day that I would be acknowledged and given grace. I wept for many years because I was alienated. Methods of staying connected with my son were rarely made available to me. I spent years trying to prove why I’m worthy to be close to him. I remember the day when my son found out who I was. God did for me what I could never have done myself…my son discovered I was his mother because he found his baby book with pictures of us. Knowing that I was his mom made him so happy, and he fell into my arms with a huge hug. He was very excited that now he had two moms, his birth mom and my step-mom. The truth was out. I was elated that I’d finally be able to be with him and spend time with him without another minute wasted. But again, life didn’t go as I had expected. My son wasn’t allowed to honor his innate desire to love all of us and to be loved. My parents continued to keep me at a distance.
Courage is Continuing to Go Back
Meanwhile, I continued to ask myself, “How do I find ways to connect with a son I didn’t bond with at birth?” Maybe I didn’t get to see his first steps, but certainly I could find new firsts for me to share with him. So, I took him to his first concert, I took him jet skiing for the first time, and as of recent I took him to swim with dolphins. I love my son’s smile. I love when I see him laugh or have long talks with me when he opens up. I don’t feel like a mistake, I feel like his mom.
Courage is Pursuing
Again, I asked God what to do. There had always been so much interference. We were under a microscope. It seemed like in an effort to bolster their parental identity, my parents created an expectation that he had to choose sides. It was then that I almost heard God audibly say, “Pursue him.” The word Pursue hit me hard. I knew it was God calling me to pursue my son. So, I started thinking of how I could pursue him under the difficult circumstances. For me, that meant small reminders to him that I loved him, wanted him, and that I’ll never go away. So that’s what I’ve done. I send him small gifts in the mail. I’ll send him greeting card with a collage of our pictures. I drive to wherever he is once a month if he’s open to it. I always offer. And, the pursuit is paying off. This past Christmas, my son surprised me and stayed with me for 3 days. Spending time with him was wonderful. I will not let my son go. I will continue to pursue him. He is absolutely the love of my life.
Courage is Trusting God and His Word
God has always been there for me and His word has given me strength when I felt defeated. His Word is the anchor that kept me grounded when I wanted to crumble under the shame of not having raised my son. I made big mistakes, but I cannot go back…I can only go forward. Pursuing a relationship with my son has taken more courage than I could ever muster on my own. I want to share with you the Bible verses that gave me strength to persevere when it seemed hopeless.
- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
- My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is my strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
- Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” Psalm 73:26
- God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the Crown of Life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
If life led you away from your child, or any other important relationship… it’s never too late to pursue him/her. God can restore what was lost. His love covers over sin and shame. God is for you and for your child. That simple seven letter word COURAGE will usher you towards trusting God and doing the work needed to bring healing. Pursue, pursue, pursue. You won’t regret it.
Love in Christ,
Thank you Gloria for sharing your heart, your pain and your courage in a very difficult situation. Pursuing isn’t easy, but your story is sure to inspires other’s to seek and mend broken relationships. ~JJ @ Chickening IN