I was first introduced to the idea of holding space in midwifery. It is said that midwives hold space for a woman to birth in a way that is natural to her. We all have different comforts, spots, positions, that help us mentally and emotionally as we bring forth a baby. I love this idea of holding space – near enough to assist, but not meddling, no unnecessary interference. With two perfect homebirths, that space was glorious, with a small scare on our third, the nearness was comfort and calm in the midst of chaos.
It doesn’t take but a second for the faces of the women who held space for me to come to mind. I remember them warmly and fondly. I am forever grateful for their presence in those huge moments in our life.
On a particularly hard day with my teenager, I heard Holy Spirit speak, “Hold space for him.” And like a bright revelation, and with words He knew my heart and mind would hear, I was able to slow down. I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I’ve told myself, “Hold space, hold space.”
Close enough to keep them safe (even from themselves at time), enough space to let them sort it out, figure it out, make a way. See, parenting isn’t about it always being my way, imparting only my way to do things. It is about teaching them to navigate, be resourceful, solve problems, make decisions. And oftentimes, they make a decision we wouldn’t. They find a resource we overlooked. They solve the problem differently. Sometimes they take the hard way, but you know what? We once took the hard way ourselves. Maybe not in everything, but always in something. Someone with experience and years beyond our own probably can see with clarity how we are still taking the hard way – even if we don’t realize it yet.
More holding space, less imposing my will/my way for every second of the day. More room for emotions, thoughts, conversations, more room for them to explore and be and do. I’m close enough to keep them safe and guide them back toward honoring God and right living, but not breathing down their necks about every moment of the day.
Until next time,
A Prayer to Share:
Please help us hold space for the people around us – our children, spouses, friends, and others you’ve sent into our lives. Help us remember that we don’t know the only right way to solve problems and get things done. Help us be slow to speak, slow to anger, and good listeners. Help us be a little more like Jesus today.
In Jesus’ Sweet Name,