Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fear- A Mother's Unwelcome Companion

There is a lot of history between me and this topic of fear so I am hoping to wrestle with it along side of you with clarity. I was browsing through some other blogs recently and found this treasure of a blog by a woman named Angie Smith called Bring the Rain. It is the story of her fourth daughter Audrey Caroline, who she was told at 20 weeks of pregnancy, would not survive. Audrey did not survive. The powerful thing about this blog is how Angie faced this incomprehensible outcome. She faced it in the way I hope I would be able to, but can in no way picture myself actually doing. Being pregnant now, it brought up fear in me, but it also brought up hope.

You see, before I had children I was fearless, perhaps reckless at times. I flew to Europe and backpacked around by myself, hitchhiked, had all my stuff stolen and one night slept in a train station. I also always wanted to be part of history. So, when after the Rodney King verdict came out and the L.A. riots started, I drove down to the center of it all to see what was happening. I ended up being in a group of people who were charged by the police and we all started running. I remember dropping my car keys in the middle of the melee and trying to find them with people stumbling over me. My friend found them and we made it to the parking lot where my car was parked. The little parking shack was on fire with my car close by. We got in and drove home to safety.  Those times were exciting, but rather stupid. I say this now from a mother's perspective. 

Then, as soon as I conceived Luke, fear rose up in me like never before. I prayed over him growing inside of me, begging the Lord for his complete health. I was terrified that this gift would be stolen from me. Since then I have spent countless minutes, hours, days in fear over my children's lives. It has been a very unwelcome companion. The "what if's" run wild in my mind. What if he isn't eating enough? What if his teeth rot? What if he gets kidnapped? What if someone molests him? What if his teacher thinks I am neglecting him because I have not cut his fingernails? What if he gets hit by a car? What if my husband gets in an accident today? What if I get cancer and can't be here to raise them? What if he suddenly gets autism at two? What if the baby is born blind or deaf? What if my baby dies of SIDS? What if my child gets cancer? What if the plane crashes? What if ? What if? What if? In the Beth Moore Bible Study I am doing right now on the Book of Esther, Beth brought up this exact point and it brought me to tears.

Can I tell you something? "What if?" is a thief.  I can be having a perfectly lovely day with no threat in sight and the "what if?" monster will come and steal my time, my peace and my joy and the loveliness of the day. I can go down the whole path of whatever the fear is and bring myself to tears in moments as if the "what if" had actually happened. 

Once when my sister and I were flying together to Mexico, the plane seemed to lurch downward. We looked at each other and said, "It's going down" and we were both in tears within seconds. Jason looked at me shaking his head and said, "We are descending." My friends, sometimes when things are descending, it does not mean they are crashing.

But what if things do crash? Then what? Then we walk through it with hope and friends close by our side and grace enough for each moment. I know this is easy to say, but my point is that we don't have the grace to walk through a circumstance unless the circumstance is happening. In the meantime, I refuse the let the "what if monster" steal the good moments I have now. 

I was privileged to go to Mommy's Day at Ty's preschool today. It is a day where the moms get to go for an hour to play. I say the word privileged with all sincerity because there was one mom who was not able to be there. I know her and I know it must have broken her heart. She is in the hospital where they are trying to get her organs strong enough so they can give her another dose of chemo. She is battling her second round of breast cancer. Please pray for this sweet mama who loves her daughter deeply. Her name is Michele. This woman is facing one of my greatest fears. The fear of leaving my children before I have raised them. Not that I don't think my husband would do a great job raising them, I just want with all my heart to be there for them through everything. 

I said in the beginning that Angie's story brought up fear in me, but that it also brought up hope. The reason it brought up hope is because Angie is alive, she is writing, she is surviving, she is giving, she still laughs and smiles and she is not on the ground in a heap or in a catatonic state even though she has lost a child. Some kind of grace must be carrying her!

Do you know what the most frequent command in the Bible is? Don't steal, don't sin, don't lie?None of these. The most frequent command is "Fear Not or Do Not Fear." Why is that? I think it is because God knows that fear is a thief and that it is a waste of our time. He also knows that when trouble does come, and it will, that He will carry us through it if we let Him.

I know that some of you may agree or disagree with my perspective on things, but this is who I am and it is part of my desire to be transparent. So, feel free to share your comments, experiences, disagreements with me because I want to hear your voice too. 

Sometime I'll share how I walked through one of my deepest fears when Jack was three, which is why I know that grace shows up just in time.  

By the way, don't even think for a second that I'm not thinking, "What if I write this and then have to walk through one of these "what ifs" as an example?" Be quiet, you silly monster, you are wasting my time. 


Stephanie said...

That was really touching. You are very inspirational.

ajs_momm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ajs_momm said...

Hey Brigetta...I want you to know that I was laying in bed, my head spinning with a ton of useless and un-important stuff and I decided to check into your blog on my Blackberry. My son slept soundly right next to me, with our 3 lb pup at the end of the bed and I just read and read and read your entire blog in complete blackness!
Anywhoo, I just had to get up out of my bed and comment on this particular blog before I forget to do so, becuase as you know...we mommies get sidetracked very easily! This blog hit home to me...I always thought I was alone feeling the crazy "what if's"! I've always wondered if other moms worried as often as I do?! Sometimes when I look at my son or often times when he is not near me...I worry until my heart aches with sadness! As if all or some of these "what if's" will happen to us! Sometimes I cant get them out of my head and they suffocate me, becuase I only have "one" child and dont plan on having anymore children. I worry sometimes about whether I could handle both mentally and physically if something should ever happen to him. I dont like thinking these aweful things at all, as they are very scary and real to me. He is 4...I worry about him when he is 18, 35, 50! I dont want to be over-protective, yet I sometimes dont want him out of my sight! Dont get me wrong, I dont obsess over this on a daily basis; but like you said, it creeps into my mind when least expected! arrgghh!
With all of this said, I want you to know how helpful your words of wisdom have been for me. I know wholeheartedly now that I am not alone and I want to thank you for this. You reminded me how important it is to live in the present and how to appreciate every moment of every day that we have together. Sometimes when we are looking downward in sadness, we should be looking up to our creator for strength and guidance...knowing full well everything is in his hands and be at peace with that.
So, THANK YOU again my friend!
It was great seeing you at the park a few weeks back! Your new little guy is so precious and I am so happy for you and your family. Life is a 'miracle' we often take for granted. You are blessed abundantly! Hugs-Staci

ajs_momm said...

P.S In case you are wondering which Staci commented above, it's Staci Fasano.
P.S.S. I know your an English major and I know I cant spell or punctuate-but I try...God knows I try!!(hehe) So with that said, can you please kindly deal with it...because I dont want to worry 'what if..' she thinks I am a complete moron! ;oP