It was dark when they appeared on our front porch, tired and hungry. Evidence of their life or death, epic adventure flaked off from their hiking boots. Inside, the four young men filled their plates and began to unload a tale told only by those who tackle mountaintops. They took turns unfolding the events of the stormy night, the heavy fog, the desperate hiker, the run through the darkness, and their lonely attempts to keep a stranger warm enough to live until the helicopter arrived. My chest tightened as I imagined four fellow moms in other states who had no idea of what had happened on the distant veiled mountain. Their college sons had just leapt further forward into manhood.Motherhood takes courage. I thought I had reached deep for my Greatest Brave when I felt contractions, brought my infant son home, stared down the neighborhood bully, and let our boy drive off in the family car. How much more brave must a mom be?
A mom has to be brave enough to let her boy grow up and climb mountaintops. The Greatest Brave allows a son (helps a son) to plan and attack adventures born in his heart. It’s a mother’s instinct to keep her son from harm, to protect him, to be close to him. While there’s a time to hover and supervise, we raise our sons to release them. That means when our boys emerge into young manhood and yearn to do brave things of their own, we dig deep for our Greatest Brave. Without the opportunity to be brave, our boys will remain weak, unsure, and reluctant. They will stay boys. By releasing our grip enough to step back, we give our boys the blessing of learning the Greatest Brave.
“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” (2 Samuel 10:12)
The bravery of a boy rises in the courage of his mom. But it’s not easy to let go, because the certainty of our son’s presence and well-being gives us a kind of security that sometimes masquerades as bravery. It isn’t bravery if it comes out in a need to control. I know, because my son is about to follow the four young men on the mountain, and a great part of my heart wants to stop it. I want to protect him. I want to keep him. But more than my greatest fears, I want him to be brave.
Brave moms allow sons to learn lessons essential to brave men.
- When he feels alone in the world, and he will, God is with him.
- When he finds himself in darkness, and he will, God will move.
- When he feels weak, and he will, God will give him strength.
- When he needs courage, and he will, God will make him bold.
- When he longs for purpose, and he will, God will use him to change lives.
The four young men who came off the mountain and into my kitchen encountered God when courage was called for. It shone on their faces, in the stance, and in their gaze. Their moms were far away, probably praying through that stormy night, without even knowing the needs. I believe God prompts moms that way to do prayer-battle on behalf of their children. Sons discover the bravery of men when their mamas practice the Greatest Brave.
My boy has been with me 18 years. I am about to release him as a man. If I give in to my own fears, I will stifle his courage. It’s time to allow him to go, to help him go. It’s time for me to cheer him on and believe in him. It won’t be easy, but I know he was never meant to stay a boy. He was always meant to be a man. It’s time for my Greatest Brave.
Are you raising your son to release him? Maybe it’s time for your Greatest Brave.