Mama Bear Syndrome
I am a mama bear. There’s no tiptoeing around that fact. If I feel that my child needs protection and common sense talk isn’t getting the job done, the claws come out. I make my children take responsibility, so this isn’t a case of “my children are perfect angels.” But, when I see that something about my children needs protecting (emotionally, educationally, etc.), I am not one to sit back and wait for things to work themselves out. Yes, obviously, I have areas to work on! In all honesty, no matter how I go about it, I do know that one of my God given responsibilities is to protect my children.
I have four uniquely different from each other children. One is so uniquely created he has needs that none of the others have. These needs are not outright blatant, but those who spend time with him will notice the needs, although they may not know what to do. As much as I can, without being “that mom” (yes, I probably am “that mom,” though I try not to be), I try to help others work with him without me being too bossy. Those who are put in his life consistently are told what they need to know to assist him.
Over the past six months, this hasn’t been going so well. A few weeks ago, this all came to a head-on collision. I had been consistently, gently fighting for what was best for him. I kept the claws in and tried every gentle approach that I could think of. In fact, I kept the claws and the mama bear sedated for a while, because I was purposely avoiding letting her shine. Eventually, I was spending as much time crying through a broken heart for my boy as I was gently fighting for him. A string of events occurred, and an all-out head on collision ensued. The mama bear in me (which had been waking up slowly) jumped out in full protection force. All of this happened on a Friday evening. I had 3 days to ponder, wait, and imagine what was going to happen when everyone involved would meet to “figure out” how to uncollide all that had happened.
For me, the tears continued to flow as I realized we were in a no-win situation. Even if we got what we wanted, it wouldn’t be a win, because a collision cannot be fully undone. The damage had happened, and there was no real way to smooth this out to a happy win. I cried. I worried. I dreamed of all the scenarios and how it would affect my tender-hearted boy. Fear, worry, tears; fear, worry, tears; fear, worry, tears; they were on repeat all weekend long.
Sunday morning in church, the chorus of a song kept repeating, “You are good.” For a moment, my strong fear dropped, and I calmed for the first time in months. I began to resign to the memory of what I know, “You are good, you will be here, you will take care of things. You’ve never left me, you will help. You love him far beyond what I do.” Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” I’ve known this truth since I was 18. In the midst of some very yucky things going on, someone spoke this to me. Since then, God has reminded me of that truth every time I’ve needed it.
After that, it really happened. The song we sang said, “All glory to our God and King, every crown thrown down in offering.” My list of crowns raced through my head, basically, my titles—teacher, wife, student, friend, mom. “Yes, God,” I thought, “I’ve laid those all down. You’re in control of those areas, not me.” Then it hit hard; He didn’t have to say a word. Mama—that crown I had not offered up, and my list of reasons why stormed through my head.
“What if you don’t handle it the way I want?”
“We’re already at a no win end, what if we get the worse of the two outcomes?”
“What if I don’t control this?”
Through my tears, He softly reminded me that I’m not in control of the situation anyway; it’s totally out of control. He reminded me of the times I have watched my children sleep and been completely overwhelmed with love for them. He reminded me how it has always amazed me to know that He feels that and so much more for me and them. I was reminded that He is in control, and I’ll feel so much better if I let Him be.
Laying the control down brought much peace. The meeting went fine, and we got the win; the best that could have happened in the situation. My son is okay, actually doing better than I had hoped. Over all, I learned that even though I am a mama bear, God can be in control and do it better than this bear could hope for.
Being mom is a daunting task; rewarding, but there is a lot of pressure. It is important for us to remember that God will not leave us, regardless of the situation. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” This is in the context of the Israelites running from Pharaoh. A few verses later, God blew open the sea to make a safe passage way for them to run to freedom. God is a God of now (I’m thankful for that reminder that I heard today). We can read in the Bible the history of what God has done, but He is still a God of now. He will still fight for you. You shall still hold your peace. He will still never leave or forsake you. Whether you are a mama bear, a silent protector, or somewhere in between, He will go before you, He will guide the path, He will fight for you and your children. Whether today is great mama day or a hard one, be encouraged and reminded that giving the ultimate control to Him will bring peace.
Amazing God, thank You for being an in control, papa bear, protecting us and our children with so much more grace and kindness than I could ever hope to as a mama bear. Thank You for giving moms the instinct to love and protect their children. I pray that You give us all wisdom and the peace and strength to give the control we hold onto regarding our children over to You. Thank You that Your ways, thoughts, and plans are so much higher than ours. Thank You that You will not forsake us and that You go before to fight for us. Help us to hold our peace, give You the control, and relax in the fact that You love us and will guide us. Amen.