*post previously published
The kids and I pause in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. It’s coming down harder now, slapping against the patio overhang and the windows.
“The bird!” my daughter yells. We run upstairs to her room to check the balcony.
The mama is still there.
I don’t know if it’s the same bird we had on the balcony last year—the one who came and made her nest in the very same corner—or if it’s a different one this time. But either way, it breaks our hearts to see her sitting there, wet.
The rain pelts her tiny head and back. She blinks fast to keep the water out.
“We have to help her!” my daughter says, determined. She runs out of her room and I hear the linen cupboard in the hallway open and close. She returns a minute later holding a towel. “We can make a shelter and drape it over the balcony so she’ll stay dry.”
I doubt the bird will sit in her nest while we open the window and hang a towel above her, but it’s worth a try. “Okay, but do it slowly,” I say.
We slide the window open and reach out to hang the towel…
and in an instant, the mama startles and flies away.
Her two tiny eggs lay exposed in the nest.
“Oh no!” my daughter cries.
“Take the towel down!” my son says.
“It’s okay,” I tell them, closing the window and pulling the towel inside. “She’ll come back.”
“How do you know?” my daughter asks, her face up against the glass, looking at the eggs.
“Because she’s a good mama. She won’t leave.”
We stood there for a while that day, waiting, watching, hardly breathing. And sure enough, within a few minutes, the mama did come back and settle down over her eggs, protecting them from the rain.
It was a relief.
And it was a reminder of the instinct, spirit, and determination of a mom.
It made me think about the teen moms I mentored years ago through Youth for Christ. Those moms–young and unsure and facing their share of difficulties–were just like this mama bird…
trying their best to be there for their baby,
weathering storms—plenty of them—but staying.
Being a mom isn’t always easy. And especially for teen moms—who face an uphill battle in so many areas of their lives—it can sometimes feel impossible.
I remember one of the moms I mentored telling me that the hardest thing about being a teen mom was the stares she got from others and how she always felt judged. It broke my heart, especially because I knew her story and the courage it took for her to make the choices she made.
So if you know a teen mom—or even if you just see her walking by on the street, at the mall, in the store—will you take a minute to encourage her?
Will you smile at her, ask her if she needs help, or reach out to her in some way?
Because being a mom can sometimes feel like sitting high on a balcony, alone, surrounded by wind and rain and cold.
And a little encouragement can be the very shelter that mom needs.
A little love can be the very thing that changes her world, the world of her kids, and the world you and I live in.
Because sometimes, a mom just needs to be told she’s a good mom.
And then she will be.
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