You don’t have to be independent to be strong

Aaron and I went out to dinner on Saturday night and enjoyed the bliss of uninterrupted conversation for an hour and a half.
The conversation, of course, fell into line with the biggest thing on our minds.

Very soon, (sometime in 2017, I wish I knew when!), my husband will begin his military training, travel hundreds of miles from our home, and be gone for 9 weeks while I care for our four sons on my own.

The burden of the 9 weeks is never far from my thoughts.
Some days I’m like, “Yeah. I got this. We can do this.”
Other times, I cope by pretending it’s not going to happen. But that’s getting harder to do.

“You have to remember, you are a strong woman, Brittany,” Aaron said.
My eyes shot up to meet his brown eyes, uncertainty reflected in my blue.
“You are.” He repeated. “You’re strong. Not independent, but strong.”

Not independent, but strong.

His phrasing unearthed a facet of my personality that I hadn’t wanted to acknowledge before.

I know I am strong. I haven’t always been strong, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today, especially in the last year.

Autism? You’re part of our family now. Com’on in.
ADHD? Simmer down, but sure—you too. We’re used to you.
Twins? Four boys? Oh, what wild, unexpected blessings.
Military Wife? It’s been while coming, but I’m ready (I hope!).

Life has been heavy at times, extremely heavy, almost crushing. But God has sustained me and I am still on my feet, moving forward, strengthened, strong.

But I’m not independent.

I wondered if I should be insulted by my husband’ statement. He is honest to a fault, and sometimes I take the hit (another thing that’s made me strong) but I paused for a moment, rolling his words around in my mind.

Not independent.

Not too long ago, this phrase would have wounded me; I’d have seen it as a character flaw, something to be remedied, a chink in my warrior-mom armor that I’d worked to hard to craft over the years.

But I know better now. I am not independent.

I need people.

I need my husband: his love, his support, his honesty.
I need friends to build me up, make me laugh, and encourage me intellectually and emotionally.
I need the educational team at my sons’ public school to help me educate my boys.
I need therapists and doctors to help meet my sons’ special needs.
I need my church to provide comfort and solace and help me grow in knowledge and faith.
I need God, with all that is within my body and soul.

Even now, listing all the needs I have feels overwhelming. They are pervasive and invasive, reaching out and deep, sometimes shaking my strength to its core.

But, I’ve found, especially in this last year, that I don’t have to be strong all by myself.
Each time I say, “I need help,” and reach out to another person or a resource to help me or my children, I find another lifeline that is keeping me afloat in the middle of my crazy Life.

And do you know what? It’s the lifelines that keep me, help me, make me strong.
I’m tethered to people who help me do my life and do it well.

I used to think independence was a sign of strength, that if I could do it “all by myself” then I’ll have truly arrived.
img_1272-2703847240-oBut honestly? That’s a lie.
We all go through crap.
We all struggle.
I have so many, many needs. I’m strong but I’m not independent.

I need people. You need people.
We need to say both, “I need help,” and “I’m here for you.”
In both, we find the deepest, most life-giving strength there is.

I hope that my story can bring hope, healing, and happiness to you. TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please like and share! Thank you! 🙂

2 Comments

  1. What a wise and clever little hobbit you are married to!

    In my unhealthiest mindsets, at times, will take the “independence” trait to the extreme and make it the frontrunning symbol of strength and ability. Oh, pride! Thanks for sharing this tidbit of your dinner conversation and the goodness that came from it.

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