A few years ago I was left broken from previous hurts and disappointments, that stemmed from my encounters with men. My experiences affected me profoundly, so much so, that the thought of marriage and family seemed nearly impossible and completely out of reach.
I used to see it as a weakness to rely on men in general, but boy did that way of thinking change as the years passed. God has used the men in my life to bring some much-needed healing.
Things I’ve learnt through loving my husband
When I met my husband twelve years ago, I would never have pictured how much my relationship with him has changed me. I once struggled to trust men and their intentions in general, and I was very guarded towards them.
However, despite me being an emotional tornado in those early days of our relationship – my husband has always been gentle, kind, loving, supportive and encouraging, while continually leading us so gracefully in so many areas of life. Even though I used to struggle to let go at the start of our relationship, but with time it became easier. I’ve learnt to lean on my husband without feeling ashamed; to trust in him when making important decisions together. Additionally, I’ve learnt that together we are stronger, to be vulnerable, and to not see my husband as the enemy, but rather as my confidant, my best friend, my hero, and protector.
My husband chose to love me the way God loves us: unconditionally. Despite me maybe not always being lovable, he still chose to show love and kindness towards me. Which in turn softened my heart and helped to heal all those broken bits and negative mindsets that I had towards men. This is a picture of how God chooses to love mankind as a whole. When we are broken and seemingly unlovable, God still extends love to us and provides forgiveness for our shortcomings through His son Jesus.
Things I’ve learnt through raising my son
When I first found out that I was pregnant with my first-born, I immediately assumed that I would be a mom of girls. The thought of raising boys felt very foreign to me, something I couldn’t really picture or imagine. When we found that we were having a baby boy, I immediately started giggling in the doctor’s office.
I fell in love with my son from the get go, and to this day I am totally smitten by him and his cheeky smile!
My biggest prayer for raising my son is that:
1) I would raise him in the way God intends me to
2) That I would raise him to feel confident in who he is and in who he is called to be
3) That he would feel emotionally confident and empowered as a young man
Watching my son Malakai grow into his own, has been such an honour and a very surreal experience. He is only four years old, and is already very expressive, emotionally intuitive, and expresses what he feels openly and honestly. He has a strong understanding of emotions, and expresses them with ease.
Most men find it hard to open up easily about what they feel and why they feel certain things. Some men may even feel ashamed for feeling certain emotions all together and may see it as a weakness. Which in turn encourages them to build up emotions and become passive aggressive or emotionally switched off.
Raising my son has taught me that God’s men can be soft, and strong at the same time. Over the years I have always tried my best to make our home feel safe, not just for our son but for my husband as well. I encourage my husband to express what he feels, and I try to make sure he feels heard, respected and understood. In turn this encourages him to be more open emotionally and as a consequence, Malakai is learning from his father how he should respond to situations. This pattern will hopefully create an enduring legacy when my son draws upon these lessons as he raises his children in the future.
To me this is an example of how God encourages and guides us. God wants us to grow and mature in character. This is good for us, but it is also for the benefit of those around us. When we learn to become more like Jesus, displaying love, kindness and being people of peace, we are able to exhibit theses artibutes to others. When we surrender our lives to God it doesn’t just touch us but can overflow to our families and friends.
The world needs great male role models. Men who don’t just show us how men should live but show us how God is through the way the navigate life. The ultimate example of this is Jesus. The Bible tells us that if we see Jesus we have seen God and it’s through a relationship with Jesus, God’s only Son, that we can truly know who God is.