Loving Our Kids Takes Courage and Vulnerability

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Kaboom Pics

“We cannot opt out of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure that’s woven through our daily experiences. Life is vulnerable… These are the challenges of being alive, of being in a relationship, of being connected.” – Brene Brown

When our babies come to us after hours of excruciating pain, we immediately pronounce them as perfect – those symmetrical faces, joyous smiles and spontaneous squeals of delight bring boundless joy. Then, little by little, as the pint-sized stage, peppered with milestones, fades, we notice imperfections; once cute gestures are annoying, and we long for simpler days. I know I do, especially when Nai is consumed by a tantrum, and my patience is frayed.

All I want in that moment, Mamas, is perfection – instant calm and compliance. So unrealistic, and yet I crave the easier, predictable path. You know, like in a nanosecond, she will simply “get” how to control her emotions. Ludicrous, right?

But in this era of social media, where nearly everyone’s smiling at us through filtered photos, it’s hard to face anything remotely perceived as imperfection in ourselves, let alone our children. The reality, though, is our kids are mirrors, through their struggles and imperfections we see ourselves.

This is the vulnerability and courage of authentic love, it calls us to accept the range of humanity – the beauty of light and hope, and the struggle of impatience, anger, aggression, and selfishness. Each challenge we face, as parents, changes us and our children in profound ways. Gradually, I am learning to surrender to gentleness, and stop harsh self-criticism. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day.

The other morning, while reading through my daily devotional, How Deep A Mother’s Love…. A Mother’s Journey, I stumbled across a scripture passage (Isiah 43:18-19) which so deeply connects to this season of my life: “Do not remember past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the dessert.”

Love, I am learning, is not a place of rest and complacency, but of trust and conscious bravery.  And, you know what, it grows not during times of ease or comfort, but struggle – those moments when your child is melting down in the mall, and somehow, you find the empathy to talk through it, or with a little one who faces daily physical, emotional or learning challenges.

When loving in these ways, you come to understand the core of love – no illusions, expectations, or prerequisites (e.g. if you present this way, I will love you).

You simply see with your heart.

Inspired Music: Mandisa’s Overcomer

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Cover art, Mandisa single, "Overcomer"
Cover art, Mandisa single, “Overcomer”
… got so much on your mind, nothing’s really going right, looking for a ray hope. Whatever it is you may be going through, I know he’s not going to let it get the best of you. You’re an overcomer. Stay in the fight til’ the final round…”

As I look in the rear view mirror our daughter Naima’s little head bobs back and forth as Christian artist Mandisa‘s voice reassures us God is in control, not our circumstances. Her innocent joy is contagious, I smile, but not long after my tears begin to flow. Raising my arms, in this moment, it’s as if the weight of these last few years – the disappointments and heartaches – are gradually lifting.

“Overcomer” is the kind of song which illuminates those dark places we all confront. Little by little, I am beginning to understand God’s love for us is rooted in pragmatic everyday lessons – the set backs, some monumental others seemingly small and innocuous – each designed to shape us into overcomers.

We often learn through discomfort, vulnerability, and dare I say those periods of loneliness and stark quiet when it’s just us and God. These last few months have taught me that, perhaps more than any other season in my life. Sometimes we must rest in solitude.

None of this happens quickly, you and I take daily steps towards healing as the video illustrates quite beautifully. We watch each person’s path and gradual healing, including the celebrated Robin of the Today Show’s bout with cancer and former congresswoman Gifford’s return after being nearly killed by a lone shooter.

The longer I live, the more I understand overcoming is both process and journey, a continuum.  Those of us who are “prisoners of hope,” as the book of Zachari says, are stubbornly courageous; we are ever rising above the obstacles in the natural world and connecting to spirit. Every day, our tiny steps, often the ones no one witnesses, lead us along a path which refutes despair or practicality and instead offers the uncertainty of a less stable, but far more fulfilling blind faith. I’ll embrace that road any day, friends.