Being someone’s “rock”
It can be a scary thing to discover you’re someone else’s rock; that they look to you, in a sense, to interpret what is going on around them and for stability in the midst of anything life brings.
But I am just that. I am the “rock” my kids look to*, especially right now in the midst of crazy transitions that come from moving from America to Thailand.
I think our kids always look to us as their parents to help figure out just what’s going on in life. Then again, they are probably not trying to figure it out as much as they just need to know that everything is ok. Take for example my kids. I would not say that touch is their #1 “love language.” I mean – they are ok with being touched, but aren’t going to naturally hug someone or always need to be physically close to us. Until we moved to Thailand, that is. See the picture below? Yep, that’s about what it’s been like. Actually, I think they’re doing it a little bit less, but for the first couple weeks, they wanted to be close. Very close. Not all the time, but for a large percentage of the time. They each needed to know where exactly in the house I was if not in sight. They would fight over who would sit in my lap and if the 3 of us sat down, they had to be within about 2 inches of me. Now imagine those scenarios in 100 degree, high-humidity, weather. Wow.
Let’s just say these times haven’t always been my favorites.
Because hey, I’m trying to figure it all out, too. I’m experiencing sensory overload, am fairly overwhelmed at least once/day, can speak very little Thai, and am trying to figure out how to accomplish even the small things in our days. I need some space to process life and if I’m honest, two little ones looking to me and needing me so close cramps “my style.” As the first days of us being here continued to pass by, I started becoming impatient easily, speaking in anger, and would often say, “Please get off me; Mama just needs a little space!”
And then, at some point last week, I felt very challenged in my attitude. I realized just how selfish I was being. How would I feel if my true Rock, God, basically told me I was being too needy during times of upheaval and transition? That I was asking too much of Him, wanting to be too close to Him, seeking too much comfort from Him? That I needed to just quit asking Him to be my stability because, good grief – He needed some space from me.
Well, ok. Consider me sufficiently challenged, God.
When I thought more about how my attitude needed to change for the sake of my children (and everybody, really), I thought more about the fact that I am the rock my children look to. One of my first thoughts was, “Oh, those poor kids.” Seriously! Me? Imperfect, impatient, easily angered, sinful me? Yikes. But yes, me – including all the aforementioned messiness. I also realized that being my children’s rock was not only a huge responsibility, but a privilege that came with being a mother. A costly privilege, but a precious one. A further realization was that of, “Oh man – I so cannot do this on my own! Only by the grace of God can I be this for my children!”
And so, by God’s grace, I will be just that, albeit imperfectly … Mama, their rock. I will let them climb up in my lap even when sweat is pouring down my face and when the scenario at hand could be pulled off more easily (ie. dinnertime) if no one was in my lap. I will let them be in the kitchen with me while I am working there even if they will possibly make a mess or get into things they should not be. When they ask me to lay next to them while they’re falling asleep, I will do it more often even though I have other things I’d like to get to.
I will also continue talking to them about Jesus, their true Rock, the one who will always be with them and never fail at being their stability and comfort. The one who will always speak the perfect truth into whatever transition (or no transition at all) or difficult circumstances they find themselves in. And hopefully, they will see a bit of Him in the way I seek to be their rock.
“There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2
* Shun-Luoi is also a rock for our kids, but for the sake of this post, and because I am with the kids more throughout the days, I focused on the mother-child relationship.