I’ve never posted twice in one day before. But I had something weighing me down today and I thought I would share in the hopes that somebody else had/has the same struggle and needs encouragement.
I come from a long, long line of worriers. Certain members of my family could make a professional career with how much they worry - and sometimes I’m beginning to think I belong in that category.
Even as a young girl I have memories of my mom or dad shutting the door to my room after telling me good-night, the sliver of light left by the hall lamp shrinking, shrinking as I continued to call out to them.
“But, Mom! Wait! Don’t leave...what if this happens?...what do I do if...”
And always, the door would crack back open and she’d reply in that go-to-bed-right-now-my-little-procrastinator-mama voice: “Shannon, you can’t worry about that now. Just cross that bridge when we come to it. NOW. GoodNight!”
28 years later I still haven’t fully mastered that old adage. Actually, I never thought I was that bad until birthing my children. And on days like today, The Worry, the thorn in my flesh, is like a flood-swelled riverbank streaming through my thoughts. I can’t explain it - the worries are just there.
Is this normal 2-year-old behavior?
Why is she doing that?
What does it mean when she says something like that?
Why is AV not crawling, pulling up, taking steps yet?
Why do they not like this particular food...what if that means they’ll be picky eaters forever?
Why does she only eat bananas and cheerios?
What are we going to do about this potty-training regression?
What’s the best way to handle that?
WHY AREN’T THEY SLEEPING?
Why are they sleeping this long?
Did I handle that situation appropriately?
Will saying this THAT WAY damage their little spirits?
Will they grow up to be OK, be themselves, love others?
Why am I even worrying about all this stuff?
And under all and through all of it:
Am I doing this incredible, awe-inspiring, miraculous, important parenting thing right?
Do I love them enough?
Do I show them enough?
Am I enough?
One night recently I was feeding AV before bed. She had already fallen asleep, her downy head tucked against my heart, but was still eating in that sleepy baby way. My eyes closed, I prayed as I do during her feedings for each of my girls - for their trials and their gifts. For my own feelings of inadequacy when parenting them. And in that moment, her body a 24 lb. luxurious weight in my arms, I had this calming sense that God was around us both - His arms holding me, my arms holding her.
That He who loves me, the same as He who loves her, loved us both so much that he gave us to each other - gave us all to each other, our little band of four.
And we’re on the same team. On the same team. A peace overwhelming.
Here’s what helped me today:
Remembering that when it comes to my children and everything else, I’m on God’s team and He fights for me. And if I can turn the worry into a prayer, then I can better hear the game plays.
Not only that - but He’s on my children’s team, too. So the game plays are all worked together to bring them and me and Him victory.
A dear, dear friend sent these words to me in an email in the wake of our recent move and they’ve been such a comfort and teaching to me:
"A constant anticipation of evils which perhaps never will come, a foreboding which takes away life and energy from the present, will simply hinder and cloud the soul, and make it timid and sad. If troublous thoughts as to the future will press, darkening a bright present, or hurrying on coming clouds, the safest thing is to offer them continually as they arise to God, offering too the future which they contemplate, and asking for grace to concentrate our energies on the immediate duties surrounding us. Come what may to the dearest ones we have on earth, God and his upholding grace will be there, and He cares for them more than ever we could do. An earnest conmmendation to His love will avail them more than all our fretting." -H.L. Sidney Lear.
I guess that’s where I’m trying to be in life right now. Not hiding from the worry, or pretending it doesn’t exist, or wallowing in the unending questions...but sending the worries up in constant communication, releasing them upward to the One whose perspective is forever, good, all-knowing, love.
And listening in return.