Newsflash: Christians Still Worry!
Confession Time: I Worry. In fact, let’s be honest, I probably worry a lot. Sure, my ministry is literally named ‘Trust in The Word’. You would think I had the whole faith thing figured out right? The truth is, what I’m preaching, I’m preaching to myself. I encourage people to place their trust in God because I know the difference it makes in my own life. But what do you do when trusting God gets hard? When you can’t see even a week ahead of you? When things build up and feel like they are too much to bear? This week has been a bit like that for me. So I thought I’d bring you inside my world a little. I hope this helps you to feel like you’re not alone and gives you some encouragement about how you can also use God’s word to literally help you sleep at night!
Where to begin?
Here are some of the questions I’ve asked myself this week:
What If My Baby Is Born Tonight?
I’m 5 days away from giving birth. My second little baby is due in 5 days time. My husband has either been away in another city or out from early in the morning to late at night with important work duties. The thing about having a baby is that you have very little control. When it’s time, it’s time. Something like that is difficult for the control freak that I am!
The honest truth is that I have had so much to do and so much on my mind, that the last thing on my mind is the fact I am about to go into labour and have a newborn in my arms.
I thought to myself, ‘If I go into labour tonight, I would be in a huge amount of shock tomorrow with a baby in my arms.’ I just haven’t thought about it enough. I don’t feel mentally prepared. But this reassuring thought followed when I woke up the next morning: ‘God won’t bring the baby until I’m ready’ and that thought gave me a huge amount of peace. I may not be in control, but God is. His timing is perfect and we can truly trust him with our lives.
There is no safer place for our tomorrow than in the capable hands of God.
“My future is in your hands.”(Psalm 31:15 NLT)
I’m 39 Weeks Pregnant – How Can I Look After My 2 Year old Daughter on My Own While My Husband is Away for Work?
I lost some sleep over this one. I found out last week that my husband was going to Melbourne for a few nights. I was a little surprised because I didn’t know that was happening but I figured I could manage 3 days on my own. I had done it before, I could do it again. But then the 3 days stretched into a week. Even once he was back, he was only home for ½ hour a day to get change his uniform and head back out again until late at night.
When I found out that this was going to happen, I felt very angry. I felt angry that he has been so busy organising this event that he had completely forgotten to tell me that he wasn’t actually going to be here. There was one night, I was awake at 2 am feeling very restless. I ended up getting up for a few hours and doing some work. In the morning, I told my husband how I felt and I’m glad that I did that because I was able to let go of the feelings that were holding on to me.
I can tell you, as of yesterday, I have survived the one week of parenting on my own! It’s amazing what you are capable of when you give it to God. I literally waddle. I have painful and unsightly varicose veins and vuval variscosities (don’t Google it). My back aches. I’ve had sleepless nights and yet, I’m so proud of how well I did! My daughter is 2 ½, strong willed and independent. One of my biggest fears was that I would be so physically and emotionally fatigued that I would get angry at her and regret my behaviour, which would in turn set off her own tantrums, thus making my job 20x more difficult.
I kept telling myself these verses:
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’(Philippians 4:13)
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’(2 Corinthians 12:9)
I was amazed looking down at my Garmin to see myself doing almost 10,000 steps a day, honestly, with very little pain compared to usual. Please don’t tell my Obsteatrician I do that many steps. She will kill me! I wear compression stockings and I’m not meant to be walking much at all! But all things are possible with Christ! I was able to get up early, get myself ready, feed and clean up after my messy toddler. I picked up things off the floor (Very difficult at 39 weeks pregant!), cooked, shopped, did all the dishes and kept the house tidy. I deep cleaned her room and went to numerous appointments. We went to the shops, the park and other places that can tend to be stress inducing. I got her dressed (something I usually find so stressful and ask Nic to do) and had fun doing ‘Elsa braids’ in her hair each day.
Honestly, I feel like this week has restored my faith in God and in myself that anything is possible when we submit to him. Not every morning, but most mornings, I sat and read my Bible while we ate our breakfast and that gave me the strength I needed. We listened to worship music and I prayed throughout the day. God is good, even in our less than ideal circumstances. He will give us what we need when we need it. We don’t have to worry!
In the end, I think it was a good thing Nic forgot to tell me I’d be solo parenting for a week. I would have just been anxious in anticipation, but there was no time to worry. I just had to take a deep breath and get on with it.
What Could I Have Done Differently? When mum guilt gets you bad.
Amidst everything this week, we had an important appointment for my daughter. Anyone who knows me and sees me in person would have heard my her chronic wet cough. In this Covid climate, I have to profusely appologise to people explaining that she is not sick, she just has a permanent cough. People in public glare at me. Doctors reprimand me for taking a coughing child into the clinic. Anyway, 9 months ago, I took her to the GP saying enough was enough, we needed to fix this because it’s not okay. We did some tests and x-rays and trialed a few things. I won’t bore you with the details, but finally, this week we got into the respiratory clinic at the hospital to see the Paediatrician.
He was wearing a mask, so I could only see his eyes but I could read on his face that this was actually quite serious. The fact that it has been going on for 18 months? Well that’s a really long time. He was fantastic and I am so thankful we have a game plan for recovery. But when we left with the nurse, I burst into tears and said, ‘I just wish we were here a year ago’.
There were a few other concerns the doctor also raised that I was not expecting. It shocked me and took a few days to really process. I felt worried for her future growth and development as well as the burden of feeling directly responsible for this happening.
Some thoughts I had were:
‘If I hadn’t sent her to daycare, she never would have caught RSV as a baby’.
‘If I had have been more proactive about finding a good GP sooner after we moved, maybe this wouldn’t have gone on for so long’.
‘I should have put my foot down at the start of the year and demanded a referral immediately’.
‘It’s my fault the referral got lost in the mail and it took so long to get into the clinic’.
‘What will become of her future? Will there be long term effects? Will it affect her learning? Will she be able to sing?’ and many other thoughts along the same lines.
I messaged a friend from church who works as a GP. She reassured me and slowly, I am beginning to accept where we are now. I’m choosing not to dwell on the unhelpful thoughts I outlined above. Instead, I’m choosing to place my trust in God’s word:
‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’(Romans 8:28 NKJV)
‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Ultimately, my daughter is God’s child and I know he has great plans for her. I choose to let go of the fears and put my trust in him.
Who can I call? I Feel So Alone. Who Will Help Me When I Have another Baby and I’m So Far From Home?
I cried a bit this week. I was so exhausted from mumming alone and processing the mum guilt that I felt about Allirah’s medical situation. My mum called me the next day and I could tell from the sound in her voice that something was wrong. I was already in full survival mode. My own emotions were making this whole solo-parenting thing harder and I just had to get through one day at a time. That night, I told her I was too tired to talk and after an hour and a half of trying, Allirah finally settled and I went to bed too.
But the next morning I called her back and I was met with some more unexpected news about someone else in my family. I was really surprised and overwhelmed. Suddenly things were beginning to become a bit much and I felt very worried about the situation. I wished I could talk to Nic but each day for him was more stressful than the last. Not only was he too busy for me to contact him, he also had too much on his plate for me to burden him. I’d never seen him under this much pressure before. And suddenly… my one person I could always go to wasn’t available for me to call them when I needed to.
I took my daughter to the Botanic Gardens where she chased a peacock and I sat there crying. Have you ever had those moments where you’re in a pickle and you’re wracking your brain, ‘who can I call?’, ‘I need help’? It’s happened a couple of times for me this year and it’s the most damn-awful feeling to feel like no one is there and you don’t know who to call.
The truth is, that even when we feel like we are alone, we never are. God is always by our side. Take it from the OG Covid-Mamma who raised a child in complete isolation. I’m a RAAF wife who moved interstate during a lockdown. I feel like I’ve almost become a professional loner! And I’m not even an introvert! So many times God has reminded me that he is there. We don’t have to fear. He’s got our back. In the end, I called a lady from church who listened to me cry on the phone and came to visit us in the afternoon. I don’t know her very well. We aren’t close. But I want to share that I reached out and asked for help, because maybe there is someone else here reading this who needs the courage to do the same.
In the times when I feel alone, here are some verses I cling to:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9)
‘I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.’(Joshua 1:5 NIV)
Some Final Thoughts After My Week of Worry:
I’d like to say that the list above were all of my worries. Unfortunately, there were more concerns and fears that bubbled to the surface. Being in the military, we also have no idea where we will be at any point in time. Everything is always up in the air. Anything can happen and then last night, I was lying awake in bed wondering what next year will hold for us. Not exactly what you want to be thinking about when your waters could break at any moment.
The thing is, we will always find something to worry about. There will always be an unknown factor in front of us that is simply unfigure-out-able. Perhaps you have some serious worries like a medical diagnosis or the concern that next week, you don’t know where the money will come from to put the food on the table. I know some of the things I outlined above from this week may seem trivial, but isn’t it true, that so many of us seem to worry about the simplest things in our everyday lives? We are all susceptible to fear. We are all inclined to be in control. Because if we are in control, we feel safe. But sometimes, it just isn’t possible to know everything.
This baby? Who knows at what moment, my waters will decide to pop, or if I’ll be induced again, or if I’ll have another emergency procedure? I can’t possibly know. I can’t possibly control the outcomes. I’ve got to let it go and surrender it to God.
My daughter’s medical conditions? I cannot know if any permanent damage has been done. I cannot change the past by laying guilt on myself. But I can trust God loves her, wants the best for her and has an incredible plan for her life and so I hold on to that.
All the other stuff? The loneliness? The family sitch? The Postpartum days? Where we’ll live next year? Once again, I cannot know how things will go. I may not be able to control the outcome, but I can control my response to these unknown factors. I CAN CHOOSE FAITH OVER FEAR and place my worries in God’s capable hands. He knows far better than we do. He can see how everything pieces together. He weaves purpose from our trials. We can trust him with every aspect of our lives – big or small.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)
God’s got this.
“Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”(1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT)
What have you been worried about lately? Do any of these verses resonate with you? If so, let me know in the comments below which verse you’re choosing to hold on to as you trade your fear for faith this week.