I had parents growing up. I’m grateful for that. I’ve always understood my lot in life could have been much, much worse. But unfortunately parenting was a difficult task for my mom and dad. I can see now as an adult, they did the best they could with what they had but then again, they were who they were. And it had its lasting effects.
I recall feeling left to my own devices in most areas but especially when it came time to make monumental decisions or even seeking comfort. The odd thing is, if you don’t know what you’re missing when you are young, you don’t really miss it at that time. Or at least you don’t realize that’s the void you are attempting to define.
It was only after I grew up that I realized, overwhelmingly, the need for that parental support. There’s been times in my life I’ve needed those “atta girls” and sometimes a refuge or just a sounding board. Mostly, I’ve needed that figure in my life to help me find my true north.
Having grown up without it, I hold a compass in my hand on those difficult days and simply watch it spin out of control taking my best guess at which way is right. And when I really need my “north” is when the pain of not having it rears its ugly head.
As I enter into yet another really difficult and overwhelming week, I need that sounding board. I need that atta girl. I need that advice that only a parent can give.
Now, this is the part where most Christians will offer the beautiful advice of how God is our one and only infallible parent. That with him we can overcome all obstacles and of course, with Him, nothing is impossible. And I do believe that to the core of my being. However, years ago at some church, at some point in time, somewhere, a pastor told the story of a young boy who was afraid of a lightning storm. He kept calling for his father who came running. The father, obviously tired from his repeated trips to his son’s room, explained how Jesus was there with him and would care for him no matter what.
The boy replied, well I know that, but sometimes I need someone with skin on.
And that’s where I’m at. A little lost. In hostile territory. And desperately needing that north.
I don’t doubt God and His perfect plan for my life. He’s done so much for me a million times over when He’s never had to prove a thing to me. I have to say I admire people like my sister who after never receiving that type of support when we were growing up has, in turn, given it back to our parents as they are now both disabled.
And that’s how God does it. He uses His people to come to us in our hour of need. It’s that phone call, or prayer, or a thousand other ways. It’s His people, showing up “in the flesh” and meeting those needs we have.
And it’s us, responding to God calling us to be there for those other people in their hour of need.
So for this week I pray God will make me sensitive to those in need. Those who also need their north and try to be that instead of just searching for it and wandering about. The funny thing is, I bet that’s when we find ourselves, and discover we were heading north all along.