Mom: A Synonym For Warrior?
A small group of volunteers at the JAF family retreat one summer were gathered around on the porch, after dark, hanging out and chatting about deep or devotional things. “Do you ever think maybe God has a future reason for bringing us here as volunteers?” one of them asked. “Like, do you think we’re being prepared for something up ahead in our own lives?”
“I don’t know. Maybe,” was the best answer I had. But we all admitted we had this “feeling.” Like this was just the beginning of something we couldn’t yet see. This was a safe place to speak all our fears. And many of us felt them. We saw the weight as well as the privilege of being the caregiver in someone’s life. Because it is both. Not one or the other, but both. And being young, the possibility of that kind of responsibility seemed daunting.
I remember that feeling now. Because it was like, I knew. I knew the answer was yes. Not in my head, but in the depths of my soul. I knew it was definitely for a reason, and that somehow, whether chosen or gifted, I’d be a caregiver in the future. I didn’t know to what capacity, and I also put the memory out of sight, though it would return unbidden many times.
In many small ways, I have chosen caregiving as a life’s calling. I’m a Type 2 on the Enneagram, which in most interpretations is called The Helper.
Right now, being the helper is like a warrior stance. I place both feet firmly on solid ground; a defender of those I love. I face the challenges head on. I’m not fond of conflict, but I am a confronter and solution-finder whenever the need arises. That is not to say I won’t bake cookies and provide warm blankets and snuggles, because I am not afraid of being soft, either. But “helper” doesn’t necessarily mean something soft. Sometimes it means stepping up, advocating, and doing everything in my power to make things right/good/better. It means holding the shield up for those who find their strength diminished or their hearts deflated or their souls defeated. It is how I reflect the image of God, Who referred to woman as “ezer” in the creation story, but also used it to refer to God’s own strength to deliver from trouble in the face of distress.
I am being called now to step up for my son. “Mom” is now a synonym for “warrior.” Muscular dystrophy is scary. It is also treatable. We’ve brought home a pamphlet of illustrated exercises to help him tone the muscles that will prolong his mobility. We will continue visits and observations and physical therapist updates, and anything else required. We will research optimal nutritional support. I am resolved to equip him with as many advantages as possible.
My prayer is that when he reaches adulthood, he will have the confidence and mobility to function independently. And he will know he is loved and important and called to his own unique purpose in the world.
Pray that with me, will you?