I was a young mother, I had my first daughter at 19 years old. I encountered a mixture of treatment from being pregnant at a young age, the most positive was from the midwives, they had confidence in me during labour and birth, they had faith that I would be a good mother.
It was a steep learning curve adapting to being a parent but I loved it, so much so I had my second daughter a year and a day later. I had the same midwife for my second birth, she had confidence in me, she believed I had the knowledge and experience regardless of my age.
Flash forward a few years and I had five children by the age of 24, I was knowledgeable about looking after babies, I knew how to have a good solid routine, how to breastfeed, how to cope with night waking, yet if I offered advice to other older mothers who asked questions at baby group, I was ignored.
I became afraid to talk about my experiences of being a young mother. I decided I would start to write about them instead, but would anyone believe the information I had to share? Would anyone take me seriously? Was my knowledge irrelevant because I was young?
I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. (Job 32:6)
I was terrified when I started my parenting blog, I remember hitting publish on my first post expecting to either be ignored or mocked. In fact neither of those things happened. My readership grew, my stories of potty training, night waking, and weaning were actually quite popular.
I have experienced this feeling of fear again, whilst sharing my experiences of being touched by God. Here I am, starting another blog to write about my journey, to share my ups and downs, but to write about one constant, God.
I remember taking the first step to vocalising my experience of hearing God’s word, I was concerned about whether I would be taken seriously or actually believed.
Elihu, so desperate to speak to Job, acknowledges that he is young and shares his fears of being ignored and offers evidence to show why he should be listened to:
“But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the almighty, that gives them understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.” (Job 32:8)
I thought of that passage as I sat in church, with my voice breaking as I told my story, my eyes hot with tears. Small patches of silence allowed my emotions to build like a wave, crashing over the fire in my chest. I was sitting down at the time, but inside I was on my knees; begging you not to cast away my story, pleading to let me tell you what I know.
I am (relatively) young, but I know God is with me, with all of us.
I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I thought, “age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom” But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the almighty, that gives them understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. (Job 32:6-9)