Megan Cox is the Founder and Executive Director of Give Her Wings. She holds an MAR in Pastoral Counseling and is certified in crisis response with the AACC. She also recently completed her CPE Unit 1 training.
These boys . . . our boys. Boys who grow up with their mamas. Boys who know that their biological fathers are abusive. Or maybe they don’t know. Maybe they share time with their fathers and are tossed back and forth by the cruelness of circumstances and they are wrestling with the intense desire to love and respect their father and they do not want to see the abuse. They want to look away. Just like their moms did for so many. years . . . they choose a willful blindness and they do not understand abuse. I understand that. Why would you want to have to unpack the knowledge that your blood-father is abusive? Why? Boys want to admire their dads. They want to respect them. As my oldest son is about to turn 17 and my younger son is now a pre-teen, I think about this a lot more. Our mamas think about it constantly. I wonder if people realize how amazing these mamas are. Their children are pre-teens, teens, young adults . . . and all of us watch, helplessly, as their sons hurt. There is no escaping it. Our sons are going to hurt. That is all there is to it. They would have been utterly damaged had we stayed . . . they are going to be hurt if we go. Period.
It wasn’t until Andrew Bauman came to speak to our mamas on their private support page yesterday that I felt a strange release. For the past seven years, I have tried to shield my sons from that pain. It can’t be done. I mean, all children will have gaps in their childhoods . . . and we moms cry out to God to fill those holes with His grace in our babies. We know it is coming. But these boys . . . our boys. I have taught them everything I could teach them about Christ and His grace and yet still. Still, they hurt. Andrew said that they will — no matter what. And as I watch my oldest become an amazing adult, I realize that it is true. There was nothing I could do to stop the pain. At first, I was in a bit of agony over this. But, after listening to Andrew tell us that there are things that we could do to help our sons, I felt relief. Because I had done those things.
I have pursued health.
I have modeled health to the best of my ability.
I have encouraged my sons’ walks with the Lord IN the hurt. And they both have beautiful, intimate relationships with Him.
I have done what I could. No child of mine can ever say I did not give everything I had.
The best thing I did for my children was to find healing for myself.
Single mamas have such a unique role with their boys. The challenges youth face are wholly different that what we all faced. Just different. We mama bears are constantly trying to stay ahead and learn about those challenges and reinterpret them through the lens of God’s love. It is an every day thing. It is good work. And hard work.
How do we train up our boys to be godly men in our particular circumstances? How do we share the good qualities of their biological fathers with them so they know that they have good qualities, too? How do we teach them to honor their father while not becoming him? How do we teach them to love Jesus when the church has so visibly and obviously let us all down? How do we teach them not to speak ill of family members who devastated all of us while still allowing room for their pain? How do we, as moms, warn our boys of the destructiveness of pornography, especially when they have seen it with their fathers? How do we instill in them a deep and inherent dignity for themselves and all people when they have seen so much ugly coming our way?
Pray for all of us. This is not an easy road. We seek God every single day . . . we carry a tremendous burden. And I’m realizing more and more how much Give Her Wings mamas — and all of the single mamas who are bravely raising their boys — need men to surround them. Good men; godly men; brave men; masculine men. I am so thankful for men like Andrew Bauman and Patrick Wilson who have done so much to help me, as a mama of boys AND my boys.
This morning, I was praying that aching mama’s prayer for all of my children that so many of us know well. And Jesus led my mind to drift upon Mary. Once again, as so many have done throughout the generations, I thought of her agony in watching her Son suffer unspeakable pain. Oh . . . what she must have gone through. But then . . . then, He rose. Her son rose. We die in so many ways . . . the seed is broken, crushed, ground into the dark dirt and spilled out. Jesus died. Broken, crushed and put into the dark tomb. And then . . . He rose; we rise. We all rise. Our children rise. Our sons rise.
The best thing I ever did for my children was tell them about Jesus’ love. He was irresistible to them! And because they know Him, they will be OK. They will never be alone.
It’s going to be OK, mamas.
In the meantime, I highly suggest visiting Andrew Bauman’s website and facebook page, if you need some resources. They have been invaluable to me in so many ways. Andrew is making ground-breaking pioneer work through his honest, transparent journey. And we, at Give Her Wings, could not be more thankful for his fresh perspective.
And keep showing those boys Jesus. Every day. I promise you — they will be OK as long as they know the real Jesus. The Jesus who is friend to sinners; who can shake the earth; who can meet us in our most vulnerable places. Show them Him.