In the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent.
They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.
When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life.
Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases – under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.
I really love this imagery. Elephants not just protecting their vulnerable sister but also celebrating when the task is complete.
This is a real challenge to me. I often look at others and judge them before celebrating them. Due to feeling like I’m not good enough I try to look at the flaws in others to make myself feel better.
I need to be more like a female elephant. When someone is in need, I need to surround them so they know I have their back. And when someone is giving birth to something new – a new child, a new job, a new ministry, a new idea – I need to encourage and celebrate them.
God created us to be in community not so we could judge and pull others down, but in the same way He created elephants to be in community – to protect and to celebrate.
How can you help support and encourage someone you know?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.