When Home is Not Home. (350 words)

Parents are the first homes for their children. We exist to welcome and nurture them–as the protectors of their souls. This is not a perfect job, nor one where you can take off when you are exhausted. We were chosen. Given an opportunity to pour purpose and breathe life onto their innocent, blank slates.

Slates that are always, always influenced by their surroundings.

Parents/mentors/extended family have an important responsibility to guide children away from hardship–but to stand firmly by their side when pain is inevitable. We are NOT meant to wound these innocent spirits with self-righteous ideas of who we THINK they should be. Especially, when their idea of who they are conflicts with what we were taught to believe.

If home is not SAFE, children will learn to outsource their needs. They will run–into the arms of others who may give them false information and take advantage of their hearts. They will lie and tell you what you want to hear when they think you cannot handle their truths. They will form guards against any connections to you.

I am reminded of children who “come out” to conservative parents. And parents who then attack the very thing they were meant to protect. There are parents who refuse to listen when their child is screaming for their attention. And parents who later blame themselves for the consequences.

I am reminded of myself. When I was younger I did everything I could to get away from home. I felt invalidated and broken. So much so, I delayed my potential for nearly a decade before I discovered that I was worth so much more.

Now I know that I am my home.

Sometimes, parents fail and we are left to keep our home safe. This is okay. Things like this happen to people everyday. We fall off our paths and run in a million different directions. We chase after things we do not need and leave our homes open without any security. We make mistakes then drag ourselves back in the game.

But with or without them you will find your way.

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– Jen Cosby

Support.

Classic definitions: To bear or hold up. To sustain or withstand.
To endure. To uphold. To maintain or advocate.
Synonyms: Aid, assistance, protection, comfort, encouragement, loyalty, friendship.

Islands are supported by water, but water is impetuous and strange. Water is powerful, yet silent–until the elements motivate it to change. You are not an island. Islands exist by the grace of the sea. They are beautiful, but easily damaged–struck down by unexpected defeats. Islands do not inspire permanence– they have no say in who comes or who leaves.

Some people insist on being islands. It is the “woe is me” mentality. Better to stick with the familiar than to take your chances in the sea. Risk evokes trepidation. Fear emboldens shame. How can I do better, when I have always been this way? We question our ability to break bad habits, we lack the confidence to conquer the storms once and for all.

Maybe you identify with the ocean. Maybe your faith lies in your strength. Water symbolizes an incalculable advantage. Water covers the Earth and can be found in everything. Without it, we grow weary and our energy fades. Water is how we survive.

But water has a dark side. Water is hard to reason with, preferring its mysterious solitude. Waves, are the ocean’s violent protests. Collateral damage is the language it speaks. Do you wreak havoc in your expressions? Is your stance, “I told you so?”

—Or do you offer a foundation in which an island can be renewed and grow?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your Presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

(Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)