I was lying awake on the couch the other night, listening to my one-year-old Owen’s raspy respirations. He had a bad cold and I was little anxious about how much trouble he was having breathing. Then, having a few moments to think in between Owie’s labored breaths, my mind cast back to the last five years of motherhood and how often I have been anxious about my children.
There was my concerned call to the doctor about Andrew because I didn’t know that periodic breathing was normal for a newborn. Then there were Andrew’s febrile seizures in the middle of the night which were way-scary. I was relieved to hear that he would soon outgrow them. Then came the two miscarriages which led to constant wondering throughout the next two healthy pregnancies.
When an ultrasound discovered a spot on Liam’s heart while I was still carrying him, the midwife could tell I was very anxious. “You can do more harm to your baby by worrying than any spot,” she told me. It turned out to be nothing but a calcium deposit.
Now there is Liam’s speech, which still isn’t as far along as other two-year-olds. And the fearful thoughts crowd in again: “What if he has a learning disability? What will his life be like if he does?”
So much anxiety in these few short years! Then I thought of the writer who said: “There is nothing easy about good mothering. It can be back breaking, heart wrenching and anxiety producing. And that’s just the morning.”
However, that quote is not entirely accurate. Yes, good mothering is hard! But it hasn’t produced anxiety in me. Rather, it has revealed the anxiety that was already there in my heart. Mothering has revealed my sin of unbelief in God, in who He is and what He’s promised to do. So often I have sought relief from my fears in a doctor’s reassurance that “everything is going to be OK.” Too many times I’ve run to the pediatrician instead of running to God.
But because of the grace of God that has broken through my hard heart, I can…I must now choose to repent and trust God with my children. For He is their Loving Creator. He knit them together in my womb and He planned all their days (Psalm 139:13-16). And if he has allowed them to have seizures or learning disabilities, or even a cold, that is all part of His perfect plan for them.
That’s what’s wonderful about Liam’s slow-developing speech. I can’t run to the doctor and get a “for certain” answer this time. I simply have to wait and trust God for my son. I must believe that God’s plans are for Liam’s good, to give him a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). All is under God’s sovereign hand. And in this truth is rest for a mother’s heart, and eventually for me that night…sleep.