Tuesday, August 25, 2015
The anxiety came fast and hard this week.
Maybe you know the kind of anxiety I'm talking about.
Maybe you're like me and the unknowns that lie ahead like shapes just beyond your reach are worrisome for you too. Maybe you are like me than you know the sense of security, albeit false, that you feel when the horizon is clear as far as you can see and the unknowns have named themselves and everything is within your control.
I guess no one told me motherhood would be chock full of unknowns that simply will not name themselves.
And this week I found myself updating my pregnancy app and reading all about how our daughter is as big as a butternut squash and how I only have 10 weeks of pregnancy left and the anxiety came flooding in fast and hard.
Suddenly no amount of preparation emotionally or physically or in my home seemed like it would be enough to feel ready for this little person to make her arrival. Her nursery isn't finished and I haven't bought all the cloth diapers and I haven't been doing my breathing exercises and I felt inadequate and unprepared and scared for everything that lies ahead. And the unknowns of being the mother to this person threatened to undo me.
And then I felt her kicking inside me and I took a deep breath and I suddenly knew that I was more than equipped to be her mother and I felt an infinite peace wash over me and I knew everything would be okay somehow.
Just kidding. That didn't happen at all.
What actually happened was that I listened to a song that we sang at church this Sunday that sings lines from the old hymn "It is Well With My Soul" and I remembered that the last time I sang that song was at my Dad's funeral. And I ugly cried in the car on the way to work.
As I listened to the words of the song, I felt the familiar whisper deep in my heart ask, "Why do you worry about the future? Do the birds go to sleep fretting about what they'll eat tomorrow? Do the flowers in the field work themselves in a frenzy to bloom beautifully every day? No. I provide for the birds and the flowers. Aren't you worth so much more to me than birds and flowers? Don't you trust me?" And still an infinite peace did not wash over me.
Instead I had a conversation with Jesus that I have so often that by now it should be a script that I just write down and keep in my pocket. He asks, "Aren't you worth more to me than the birds and the flowers? Don't you trust me?" And I respond honestly and say, "Sometimes I do, but sometimes I don't because I just want to be in control." And he says, "I know. But remember those times you have trusted me? Like when your Dad died? Remember the peace you felt when you let go of the need for control and just embraced the unknowns and trusted me deeply?" And I nod along and take a deep breath and finish ugly crying and get my act together.
This scenario is not new for me. Anxiety and the unknowns are shadowy presences that I work hard to keep from overwhelming me. And something tells me that this is an important conversation to have over and over and over again as I set out on the ultimate unknown of parenthood.
And until I figure out how to ignore the question marks that lurk ahead and let infinite peace wash over me, I will keep it real and keep having this conversation and you can know that if you're anything like me and the anxiety comes hard and fast for you, too, that you're not alone. We are worth more than the birds and the flowers and we will be provided for and we gotta stick together and remind each other of that.