Thursday, January 27, 2011

She Needs

She needs a friend.

She searches it out in me, her Mama.

The one who sets the rules, makes her brush her still falling out baby teeth, tailors her curriculum, disciplines, and tucks her into bed at night.

I look forward to the day where I am less parent and more friend, but that is a good decade or more in our future. She desires it now...and it makes me wistful that I cannot yet gift it to her. For the time being, I am charged with shaping her heart.

She needs a comrade to pal around with, giggle, and share secrets...with which she can be a goof.

Her soul, sweet and tender, often bruised by the unkindness of those around her.

She’s always been




In one-too-many ways, grown-up before her time

Being incredibly intelligent doesn’t help things; other ten in less than two weeks eleven year olds don’t enjoy better yet prefer conversations with adults or consider those three to four years older “peers”. Most of the tweens she knows are into Tiger Beat magazine. She’s never flipped though the glossy pages. She prefers discussing our Compassion Child to chatting up Justin Bieber. Her heart is heavy, even troubled, with the weight of the unknown for missionaries she holds dear to her little heart. She’s able to pretend that I can do anything because I once did...effortlessly in her eyes. She doesn’t want to see my limitations. I’m often asked to push them aside so that she can continue to perceive me as completely whole because the reality terrifies her.

She has “friends”. I’d consider her popular, both with parents and peers. More individuals than she could count on both hands and toes consider her a buddy. Her laughter is shared and multiplied and her shoulder is often used. Like a magnet, she draws people to her with sweetness and an open, beautiful heart. But where does she place her burdens? Like a kettle, she holds them till steam comes out and the whistle blows. Everything falls apart and she feels alone.

My rational heart knows that this is a trying, difficult age. I’ve navigated not always successfully this maze she’s in and I wouldn’t voluntarily experience it again. Okay, in honesty, I’d rather have all of my toes amputated than be her age. At eleven I was heavy with the weight of steroids and medication, rode a short bus, and used a wheelchair, all while attending a public school. It was a time I’ll forever refer to as “the dark years”. I’d rather be almost any age than eleven. I, of all people, get it. But she’s not me...she’s beautiful and petite and well received. Her eyes sparkle and her smile warms. She thinks she’s okay going it mostly alone, but she’s not.

I know.
I’ve been there.

So, I pray. I ask God to give this girl of ours, the one with the sweet, feisty, tender heart, a friend. A buddy. One who will accept her where she’s at, cheer for each and every accomplishment, and support her through thick and thin. I’m asking Him for a girl who shares her interests and her faith.

A big request? You betcha.

But I’m counting on it being filled, for it’s His desire that we’re in community with others...whether we’re eleven or four times that number.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another...” Proverbs 27:17


  1. I'll pray it every day with you. I wouldn't go back to eleven for anything, either. But for Hannah I'd at least consider it. For her lovely and sweet and endearing self.

    But then I look at us. And sometimes the sweetest friendships come when we least expect them. When we're older and set in our ways and still need the friendship that is open enough for our childlike yet adult shaped hearts.

    I hope she finds the other half of her heart young. And that they hold it gently and firmly and love her as she deserves.

    This was beautifully written, Shan. Loved it.

  2. Thanks my friend. I appreciate your prayer and know that it will happen in God's timing, not mine. I wouldn't trade our friendship for anything...and I would've waited a lifetime to find it. I'm just thankful God gave it to me now. He gives us what we need, when we need it, right? :)

  3. yes… beautifully written.
    eleven is hard. even on a good day. i remember teetering between the world of little girls and big girls… i grew up around older siblings and adults. i totally get where she is. too smart and cognizant of the world around her to be willing to "waste" her time on such frivolities of tiger beat.


    will be praying for a sweet friend for her.

    curiously, i wonder where you attend church? is she in community there? small group… is she in middle school yet? i attend cedar springs and we have a busy older elementary/middle school group.
    if she's really interested in missions, the missions conference is coming up. feb. 26… you can get more info at

  4. UMMM!!!! H is the most special girl I know! I do believe this little one has been placed in my life for a reason. Shannon- you are doing beautifully! I think the Lord would ask nothing more of you than to pray for your precious daughter. She is His too! I am praying that H finds a buddy. One who has the same desires and passions as her...I am 23 and I understand what it likes to walk "this" road without someone who "gets" me. I am praying for the same thing. Hopefully my beloved for life! I love you guys! I am gonna give H the biggest hug ever when I see her!

  5. You have such a beautiful weblog, and I love the honesty you have shared, especially in this post. If I was to pray anything for your daughter, it would be for her to be a true friend to herself. I think that will the hardest and most painful thing as she goes through these next couple of years. But it sounds like she has a loving and supportive family to hold her, and that is the best thing of all.