Mama’s Losin’ It – Prompt #5
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see the shadow” – Helen Keller
I have always been a worrier. I was an anxious child. I was concerned about things that probably never crossed most children’s minds. I was cautious. I didn’t take chances. I thought things through and weighed consequences before I made decisions. I think this was mostly brought on by the influence of my mother who was, and still is, a constant worrier. With six children, I suppose she had lots to worry about. I would listen to her warnings and see how my siblings should have listened and saved themselves pain and grief. I made sure not to make the same mistakes.
As I turned into a teenager, I began to take more chances. I was just careful about not letting my mother find out. Still, I worried about home, life, finances, grades, and other typical teenage angst. I went into marriage and motherhood with those very same concerns over every little detail of living. It was to the point that I was not really living.
While I’ve always known God, I did not know how to hand burdens over. Well, I knew how to hand them over, I just continued to take them back. I prayed and even occasionally bargained. And I continued to worry.
Then, I was held up at gunpoint. The anxiety reached an all time high that evolved into outright panic attacks. I tried medication, therapy, and religion. It all worked to a degree. The panic attacks subsided. I continued with life. However, I still lived in the shadows.
Finally, I turned my face to the sunshine of God. I embraced Him into my soul. I learned to trust Him, and lay my burdens down. It was in this trust that I was able to let go of an existence based on worry and control. When I let go of control, I allowed myself the freedom and the peace to really live.
Yes, I still try to grab the reins on occasion, but I realize what I am doing, and I back off. The ultimate fear of a parent is the harm of a child. I’ve been there, but I’ve learned to rely on the grace of God to get me through. I have no control over the actions of others or the workings of the universe…so I know to worry obsessively is of no use to anyone. I’ve gotten the late night/early morning call from a child. I know that breath-stealing fear that rips from your heart to your hips. It happened when Oldest totaled his motorcycle and again last night when Youngest was in a skateboarding accident. (Other than staples in his head, gashes, scrapes, and pain, he is fine.) Fear can be paralyzing. Though, I was worried sick, I handed it over to God. When it involves your children, accepting God’s divine intervention without your help is the most difficult thing a mother can do. It is also the bravest and smartest thing I have ever done. I don’t know how I would have made it out of the shadows and into the sunlight without the comfort and strength of the One in charge. Certainly if He can create the mountains, seas, you, and me, He can handle the small stuff.