They laid her all warm and new into these wobbly arms of mine and I knew life would never be the same for she had changed me in the enlarging as I waited nine months to meet her. I never knew fear like I did as a new mom. The feedings, the sleeping (or lack of), the cries of all kinds and through all hours, and the questions clouding the small piece of sanity left after sleep deprivation. But the one always lingering I dared breathe, let alone whisper: what if something bad happens, and worse yet, if it’s on my watch? And I trembled and shook and got hard on these knees because that’s what raising up a child does. It exposes every fear you’ve ever buried and someday somehow you have to stare it down long enough and know that bigger than IT, is a God who is watching for you. Who longs to give rest. And regardless of what you do or how you control, He’s really the one who’s got it!
The millionth doctor (or so it felt) finally had a clue that something was wrong. These infections and days upon endless days spent in bed were not normal. He sent me off to another specialist and I was scared. What if they found nothing…or worse yet, what if they found something? And he did. And it was scary. And I wanted to run but there was nowhere to go. So I got hard on these knees and found a God watching, working in the dark for my good and as prednisone healed this body from cryptogenic organizing pneumonia blessings upon blessings, gifts beyond number were scattered along the way. I take my last treatment today a new person. We can either let illness enrage or enlarge the soul. The challenges in life can be what makes us bitter or beautiful. We have a choice: choose fear and control or surrender and rest.
I tuck them in tight, bellies full from the celebration of a hard season past over steaming bowls of homemade pasta with new friends, and she asks it with tears streaming…”Momma what if something bad happens?” The lump forms and my voice falters because what do you say to the one you love when you’ve wrestled and battled these fears yourself time and again? It’s then I remember truth I stumbled on when I forged into this thing called motherhood and I pull it out and read it slow:
If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
“God’s got this” I say to her, and no amount of controlling or trying or fearing will keep us safer, or make us better. It’s in the opening of the hands, the surrendering we find rest. Ahh, how far I’ve come and yet still so much farther yet on this sojourn.