A few months back I was deeply impacted by a girl who spoke as part of a mixed-age women’s gathering. She candidly shared some of the hardships of teen life, and emphasised the need for strong role models. With tears she spoke five words I’ll never forget:
“Please… Be brave for us.”
She represented a community of youth who desperately needed strength and resilience modelled to them. A tribe of girls who wanted to know what bravery looked like as they faced uncertain futures.
Her words made me consider how I could better love those in my care. How I could show what a courageous life lived for God looked like.
And tonight I read this article by Jackie Knapp about the reality of suffering in the ‘best years of our life’ – and the importance of hearing our ‘elders’ talk about it.
“We… need to hear from the older generations, how they have faced hard things and fought for faith. We need their perspective, their wisdom, their words spoken into our lives. We want to hear more from our pastors and leaders about how they move though struggles.
We wish the church were more honest, that we didn’t feel alone there in our addictions and sin and heartbreak, that we could walk in and be real. Most of us don’t care all that much about the music style and building aesthetics. We long for transparent relationships with people who are willing to enter our mess and point us to Jesus.
[We need] to teach them that even the ‘best’ years of their lives will include heartache and pain. We want them to have all the excitable idealism of being young, but we want that enthusiasm to be met with wisdom and tempered with reality. Most of all, we want to tell them of all the good we found along the way, how we learned to live again – and how we look to our next decades with hope that God is making something new out of our crushed expectations.”
…Have you considered sharing your “crushed expectations” with someone younger than you?
Youth need ‘real talk’ as much as anyone. Let’s cheer them on – be brave for them… And part of that bravery involves sharing honestly our own disappointments, heartbreaks, failures and triumphs.
God blessed me with a number of wise role models in my youth. They rejoiced in my successes, held me close in my hearbreak, and pointed me towards a God who loved me more than they. I remember the tears and the nurturing well. They didn’t pretend that life got better – but they gave me hope that I’d become better at working things out.
I want to be a role model like that.
And I want to be brave – not just for them, but for me.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Good you had such role models – I didn’t and desperately wanted them. =(
Even today there seems to be a dearth of older Christian women who wish to fulfil the part of Titus 2 v 3-5. Which is so sad to me.
I attempt to be a help to younger Christian mothers – in whatever way I can, and it will hopefully flow on from there!
Good role models can be hard to come by! Wish we all had them.
Yes, there seems to be a ‘drought’. It’s great you can see that though, and help where you can.
Early motherhood is such a tough season and we need all the practical and emotional support we can get during those years.
Yes, I believe it can have a ‘pay it forward’ effect. When we are shown love, we are more likely to offer it to others who need it.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Reblogged this on Stumbling into Grace and commented:
Be Brave for yourself and share with orhers
Thanks so much for re-blogging 🙂
yes, we must be brave for others….one way is to pray for each other like God wants us to: Matthew 18:19 good read!
Yes – prayer is powerful isn’t it! That’s where true courage begins 🙂
I strongly believe that experiences, both rough and smooth, are to be shared so that others may learn of what God has done for us, and to glorify Him through it all.
Be brave, step out, and share what great works Christ has done.
The roughest roads where I grazed my knees are my best travelled roads =)
So well said Von! Yes! Our stories are powerful aren’t they? They can impact the minds and hearts of others, and we need more open sharing I think 🙂
These are powerful thoughts. We need more transparency but more than that we need an accompanying side of grace. Transparency is scary so often because it is met with judgment not grace. It is met with suggestions rather than a promise to walk alongside.
Thanks Joseph. I agree. There is a risk in sharing our lives with others, and we need to do it within an environment of trust and grace.
Thanks Joseph 🙂
As a young people’s minister this post really spoke to me Ali. I now have a clear understanding of how important it is to share what we have gone through with the younger generation and how important it is for me to hear of my mentors challenges and victories! Thank you for sharing a very important piece of information. God bless you Ali…..
I’m so glad Rolain! God bless you as you share yourself and your life with those in your care. Our stories matter – the struggles and the victories 🙂
Yes they do….thanks again Ali.
Thanks Ali. I sometimes wonder as a parent about this front of togetherness I’ve been told to present so as not to worry my kids. It kind if makes sense but perhaps it’s something I need to drop as my children get older and can handle more. Could it be that not including them in “appropriate” struggles is robbing them of a role model?
Yeah, that’s interesting.
I think it’s a fine line, and, as you say would depend on how old/mature they are.
Definitely there are issues when a parent uses their children as mini-counsellors, offloading problems and burdening them emotionally. That can make the children feel responsible for their parent’s pain, and they have enough to deal with.
I think children need to hear their parents’ stories of struggle (and success) at some stage, but till then you can be a role model by virtue of the way you live. I suppose children don’t necessarily start analysing or unpacking their parents’ lives/example in a sense till they’re, say, in their 20s? Our example (rather than our words) throughout their lives will speak louder than we think it will.
I think the ‘front of togetherness’ is unhealthy if we pretend we have it sorted, and children never see healthy conflict resolution modelled. I think we need to be able to admit mistakes and say sorry to our kids from an early age.
I think the role modelling changes, definitely, as kids hit their teens and are able to think things through. Then it would come down to whether or not they want to talk about your life/ the family dynamic etc etc with you. But you have great kids who are really open and would appreciate your ‘real talk’ and vulnerability I think. I would think they’d want to hear not only your struggles, but the ways you’ve overcome. That gives them hope for the future, and they can then start to think strategically about how they will tackle life as an adult.
This is so important for us to hear and respond to, Ali. I can see where I have bought into the lie that I’m not relevant to teens…that they won’t listen to me. Thank you so much for encouraging us to be brave for them! God bless you!
I always admired and appreciated those who took time to minister to me – even just with a hello and a smile – in my teens. I think we underestimate their need for role models and ‘brave ones’ such as us 🙂
I really like this post! So truee, we need transparency in the church so that we cannot feel alone in our struggles. God bless!
Thank you! It’s so important not to wear masks isn’t it? To be real with one another, and cheer each other on.
crushed expectations.. I love the sincerity and transparency. If this was found in church people would have more trust in us preachers and have more knowledge and hope in our God. Thanks for being a blessing today.
Well said Paul – I agree. We need to have openness/ transparency modelled to us, so that we know it’s OK to share our own struggles. Following leaders/ pastors who ‘have it all together’ can make us feel there’s something wrong with us if we don’t.
Thanks for dropping by 🙂
i liked reading this it gave me hope, i am 16 and pregnant so this is good timing. thank you.
I’m glad it gave you hope Barney.
That’s a big thing to happen – how are you going with it? Do you have support around you – people to talk to?
Let me know if you need to chat/email. Take care,
I really enjoyed your article. I have 17 years in recovery. I am very transparent at my church. The pastors and everyone brings to me, everyone who comes to church high.
That is so encouraging Ernie! How wonderful that God is using your experiences to help others in such a real way. God bless.