Earlier this week I had coffee with a friend and he was telling me his horrors of raising his teenaged daughter. Now you might realise that I don’t currently have a teenaged daughter, so all I could really is sit there and listen. I realise that not all daughters would be like this, as I do have some teenaged nieces and they don’t seem to resemble what my friend was telling me (not all of them, at least). But I’ve heard some difficulties (especially from dads) about raising daughters when they get to those teen years, and I guess it’s not really something I’m looking forward to.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that daughters are awful and that I regret having one, but what I’m saying is that I’m worried that my parenting won’t be enough when she might go through that phase of life. Not because I don’t love her or anything, but mostly because I haven’t gone through what she will go through, so walking with her as a male who has never been or identified as a female might not be as effective as someone who may have had the same experiences as she may have.
I don’t know, there’s just something about someone having gone through what you have that gives you a different level of comfort and trust, knowing that they just know… you know? (that last sentence was intentionally written to sound awkward for the vibes it brings)
While I’ll still do my best (on the most part) to be the best parent I can be for our children, I am worried that I can’t be the parent that they need. So I guess it’s a good thing that I have a partner in my wife that can fill in the gaps that I leave (which honestly are plentiful… she has her work cut out for her).
The 4th Sunday of Easter is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, where we recognise Jesus’ role as the Good Shepherd in our lives, walking with us and leading and guiding us to higher heights of joy, hope, and relationship. The good news of that, as seen in the readings, is that Jesus is well equipped to be this Shepherd as he knows what we go through as he’s lived it. He understands our hardships as he has had hardships. He gets it when our hearts hurt because his heart too has been broken time and again, by his disciples, his professed followers, and even by us.
Sometimes it isn’t enough to just be told to “give your problems to Jesus”, but I find that it is helpful to see that the things that Jesus taught isn’t coming from a place of haughty and perhaps condescending and generic advice giving, but from a place of real compassion, empathy, and understanding. Knowing that Jesus’ words come from a place of real human experience helps me in trusting that he knows life isn’t easy but can be joyful when looked at through a different light. Believing that Jesus just gets real hardship allows me to believe that he truly is the Good Shepherd.
And shepherd us he shall, has, and always will, as we continually learn to trust him, have our faith strengthened, and grow our love for God and each other in community and right relationship in this kingdom of peace, filled with hope and joy.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!