Presence, not protection

Today, I'm linking up with Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: Protect 

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My pregnancy was fraught with complications.

After nearly every doctor's appointment, I came home thinking, “I just want my baby to get here. Once she's here, I can protect her.”

Sometimes I want to laugh at my naïveté now.

How can I protect my daughter from the evil that seems to surround us?

How can I protect my daughter from terrorist attacks? From mass shootings?  From traffic accidents?

Or on a much smaller scale, from the mean girls at the park?

There are times when it feels like the only way to ensure my daughter's safety is to huddle indoors and never leave our home.

But even there, danger lurks.

Just the other day, my daughter got ahead of my husband and I, went through a gate we thought was locked, and tripped down a step.

Try as I might, I can't protect my daughter from every danger that might exist.

Instead, I have to have a little faith and entrust her to the God who created her and the community that loves her.

In those moments when that seems impossible, I remind myself that staying inside is not actually an option.

So we go outside.

We run.

We play.

We travel.

We explore.

We choose life rather than fear.

Usually, my daughter leads the charge. But on those rare occasions when Hope-girl gets scared, I lean into her ear and whisper, “Mama loves you and she's here.”

As much as I may want to (or even try to), I cannot promise her my protection.

But I can promise her my love and presence.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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