There’s an African saying that it takes a village to raise a child. It means that an entire community of people is necessary so that the child can grow up properly. As I pushed the button for my blog to go online some days ago, this quote came back to me.
Why? Because as I sat there, pondering how in the world I actually made it to the finish line I saw a picture of a beautiful flower bouquet. Let me explain.
Passion or Career?
I always knew I loved to write. Back in school I chose German and English as my two advanced courses. And I loved it and excelled in both. However, when time came to make a decision for college, I went for an MBA instead of a pursuing my passion. Writing fell behind. At some point though, I started journaling again. This surely helped with processing everything that was going on back then. And it helps me to this day.
But it wasn’t until 2011 that I started to really grasp how much it helped me to put my thoughts in writing. The year of our firstborn son. The year when my ghost writer approached me with the idea of a book. Today, I can understand why my therapist once said: “Ms. Bohg, you chose one of the hardest yet most effective ways of confronting your trauma. It will tremendously help with the healing process.” Back then however, I looked at her and shook my head. No! I never chose that. It chose me. Literally. But that’s for another blog post.
With my book-writing experience in mind, I kept writing. For myself. But even in emails and letters I would get the feedback “girl, you need to write not just for you! There’s something about how you express yourself in writing.” And that’s where the village comes back into the picture. As a result of an entire community of people this blog made it! It sure felt like being pregnant for a very long time with this baby of mine. So to a certain extent, this post is about thanking all these people that stood by me, encouraged me and kept me pressing toward the goal. Furthermore, this post is about destroying the lie that you can do it all on your own. I strongly recommend you don’t! I’m glad I didn’t.
As I sat in front of the computer still contemplating whether to tell everyone that the blog is online or not, I started to panic. What if people didn’t like it? What if no one would read it? My dear husband sat next to me and I asked him to pray with me. We prayed exactly the same prayer we had prayed in 2012 right before my first book was released. Back then, we had committed to keep praying for every person that would ever read the book. And now we did the same. At first we prayed over every person that would come across the blog and read a post or two. Next we addressed fear of men and people-pleasing. So overrated. Even worse – those two quickly become fierce prisons!
Push the button!
Earlier this year, I got to spend a day with one of my closest friends, Anja. She’s a soul sister and I love her dearly. We sat down in her kitchen and I told her: “Anja, I know something great is about to happen in my life. But I’m so scared. It’s like I sit in front of a button and don’t dare to push it.” She smiled and asked me to empty my pencil case. What? So I did. In it I found a little decorative stone that my daughter had put in there so I would remember her. Next, Anja wrote on a piece of paper: There’s something big coming! And besides the paper she put the stone. “This is your button. Take a deep breath, let’s say a prayer and then you symbolically push the ‘button’.”
Honestly, it felt a little weird at first. But as I closed my eyes and we prayed I sensed that God asked me to step out of the boat. And to embark on a journey where He would lead me. I said “Amen”, opened my eyes and pushed the “button”. A moment later I felt relieved and a huge wave of joy was bubbling up. Why? I don’t know! But something shifted for me. In hindsight, this weekend was a door opener. Four weeks later I turned forty. Then the story with the piano happened.
To trust or not to trust?
Since then, with each passing day and week I’ve understood a little more what God was doing: He was answering one of the biggest prayers I’ve had since 2011: “Teach me to trust you again.” He chose to use other people to teach me. And in doing so, He killed two birds with one stone. Let me explain why.
I have trust issues. Due to experiences in my earliest childhood years I had to acquire coping mechanisms and these did a great job. They helped me to survive in and adapt to this world. However, over the last ten years I went through an extensive period of therapy. Thank God for that!
With each passing year it felt like shedding old skin, figuratively speaking. There was no question that I healed and grew in many different aspects emotionally. Nevertheless, trust was one of the topics I didn’t see any progress or change with.
Let me be clear: I trust my husband. I trust him with my life. But other than him, there is only one or two people that I would consider trusted close companions. And both of them live in other states or even countries. So, it’s not like I can simply sit with them and have a coffee.
During one of my prayer times shortly after my son had died, I asked God: “What can I do to make myself trust ever again?” His answer was plain and simple: “You can’t. All you can do is put your little hand in mine and keep walking through life with Me. The rest is My business.”
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”Corrie ten Boom
Finally, during the last year God has brought a few wonderful people into my life. That sounds so sweet, doesn’t it? Well, for me that was and sometimes still is a great challenge. First of all, it meant opening my heart, secondly becoming vulnerable and eventually, I would have to retell my life story. Over and over. I’d rather not.
Because, not only am I highly sensitive but I’m also an introvert. That mixture brings with itself a variety of “special behaviour”, so to speak. If you’d like to find out more, I highly recommend Jenn Granneman’s blogpost. She perfectly describes how I’m wired.
Nevertheless, on this journey of finding trust, I continuously sensed God’s still small voice. Encouraging me to push beyond my comfort zone. To make the first step and introduce myself. To invite someone over to my house. Was I hurt in the process? Oh yes. Several times. Did I want to withdraw and just throw in the towel? Of course, I wanted to! But I didn’t.
As a result, I’ve met strong women like Miri or Sonja. Gals, I love you both! These two are examples of women who have enriched my life. Women that have shown me what it means to do life together. Authentic. Raw. Truthful. But most of all, by opening up to them and letting them into my life, I’ve dared to trust again. And it feels good, really good!
Coming back to the beautiful bouquet of flowers that I saw in connection with my blog: Through women like Miri and Sonja I met other fine folks. One of them is the young lady that so beautifully lettered my logo. The other one is the young man that helped me build the website. Could I have done it without them? Yes, I think so. Would it have been as fast and beautiful in the process? Absolutely not!
That brings me back to the “killing two birds with one stone”. Firstly, God has taught me to trust Him and His people. And secondly, He’s shown me in very practical ways that it’s ok to get help. That it’s not a sign of weakness or failure that I don’t “have it all”.
I’d like to close with another African saying:
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”African Saying