Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I believe in you...

I've been thinking recently about moments in my life when I have thought I couldn't do something, when I thought that something was too difficult or too scary or just not me.  There is one key moment that comes to mind that is a kind of foundation stone in my life.

I travelled to New York on my own when I was in my early 20s.  It was the first time I had flown anywhere on my own.  Do I need to add that I was a reasonably naive and inexperienced 23 year old, although I had grown up in London?  I was going to meet up with a group of people during the UN Millennium Summit, but I arrived in Manhattan at the church building where I was staying to find no one there.

I'm not a particularly adventurous person at heart - although I suspect those who know me would probably say that I am - my adventures usually being more by chance than choice.  It was dark, I was alone in a strange city with a suitcase and no earthly idea of when anyone would arrive at the church.  I can still remember deciding to walk from Madison Square Gardens to the YMCA near the UN where I knew some of our group were staying.  So I walked, dragging my suitcase, through the streets of Manhattan.  When I think of it now, I can't imagine what I must have looked like, but I focused on looking confident and kept walking.  After about 10 minutes I decided that this was madness - surely I was asking for trouble just walking - so I got in a cab for the rest of the way.

I booked myself a room in the YMCA for that night, and asked the reception for the room number of  the others - who I had never met.  I left a note for them and then I went to my room, got into bed and started to cry and pray.  I had no idea what I was going to do, but at least for the moment I felt safe.  I hadn't allowed myself to think about how terrified I was to find myself in New York so totally on my own - and yet I didn't feel completely alone, even though I was afraid.  About an hour later I had a knock on the door.  It was the lady organising the group and I was so relieved I think I burst into tears on her right there.

After the summit I had arranged to stay a few extra days to look around New York after everyone else had gone.  Once again I found myself alone, sleeping on a church floor in the middle of Manhattan.  I hadn't realised everyone else would leave immediately.

On my first day alone I went shopping, only to find that my credit card wouldn't work.  In a panic I phoned home - what else do you do?  Of course, I sent my mum into a panic too.  She phoned the bank, she phoned the church, she did everything she could think of to do.  My dad said something very important though.  I can't remember exactly what he said, but the essence of what he said was: "You'll be okay, Nicky.  You always are.  You can do it."  Even now it makes tears come to my eyes to remember his confidence in me.  He trusted me.  He believed in me.  And it wasn't just my (earthly) Dad saying that to me.  It was my (heavenly) Father too.  He says "I trust you", He says, "I believe in you", He says "You can do it".  (Although he can cheat - He never leaves my side.)

And I was okay.  I went to the bank - fortunately a global bank - and I discovered I could use my cash card in the cash machine.  I got the money I needed, and when my mum tracked me down at the church later that day I had everything sorted.  (It turned out the international connections had been down between banks that day!)  The next few days were not easy - particularly the evenings and nights - but I pushed myself to explore and to make the most of the time.  Those few days on my own in a strange city taught me to trust God in a way I never had before.  They also taught me to trust myself, not to allow fear to stop me doing something.


Now that I'm a parent I want to be like my Dad.  I want to give my children the gift of my trust.  I wonder how I can show my children that I believe in them - and yet still be there for them?  How can I give them that self-confidence - without expecting too much of them?  Will I ever have the strength to let them stand on their own feet in a situation and say "You'll be okay.  You can do it."  Well, of course I will - my Daddy believes in me.  And I am no more alone in this than I was all those years ago in New York.

I think I shall link this up with Reasons To Be Cheerful over at Mummy From The Heart today, because I am so grateful to have a Dad who believes in me...


12 comments:

  1. Wow what a story Nicola, it sent goose bumps right through me! I'm a Christian too, what a comfort it is to know that our heavenly father is always looking out for us. You were one brave 23 year old and what a lovely dad giving you that encouragement. As you say, I hope I'll have the courage do say that to my daughter one day. Glad to have found your blog x

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    1. Hi Suzanne, I always look back to that time when I'm facing something new and it helps me to get things in perspective and to remember I am never really alone. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. There's nothing better than the support of your Dad :)

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    1. I think it is hugely important, especially for a girl - although I know single mums do a great job too (like my MIL). I wouldn't be the person I am today without my dad's steady influence, though.

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  3. What an incredible story. How wonderful to have a physical father who believes in you and gives you belief in yourself and to be able to pass that on to your children. I'm having to find it from the spiritual one to pass one to mine in the physical world, but it all counts. My memories of New York, having lived and worked there are also fond xx

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    1. I am very grateful for my dad's trust, and I do want my children to experience that same trust from me. However, I think it's like any area of parenting - somethings we have had good models of, and others we have to discover the truth of as parents ourselves. Sometimes we have to be the first to be the model, and I'm sure your children will look back and see how much you have done that for them.

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  4. What wonderful parents you have. Written so beautifully, i felt myself holding my breathe in parts! Xx

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    1. Yes, I have been very fortunate to have great parents. And thank you for your comment on my writing - it's nice to be appreciated!

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  5. Thank you for pointing me to this last night. I too have a wonderful, supportive Dad who is 100% behind my trip and I know my Heavenly Father is with me all the way,but sometimes that small voice of fear creeps in. All your prayers will help keep the voice at bay. Thank you:)

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    1. Thanks Liz! We will all be praying for you!

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  6. I went to states at 19 and nearly got stranded in NY thanks to late connecting flight! Think these experiences help us grow and gain confidence. Having family and faith gets us through too

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    1. Wow, at 19, you were very brave. You're right, these things do help us to grow, when you're put in a situation where you have to rely on yourself you discover that you can do things you'd never believed, and that helps in other situations to have confidence in yourself.

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