What do you find most taxing as a mother? The repetitive nature of household chores, or the tendency to worry over your children? Or maybe over your own perceived failures as a mother? Or does it all run together, sapping your joy?
For me, definitely, the hardest emotional fogs to emerge from are those spent worrying over my children.
As a non-Christian, my middle name? Worry. I'm blessed to say the Lord cured me of general worry. I now live most days by faith with joy ruling, unless the floor I just mopped gets muddied or my estrogen rollercoasters.
Sometimes these both happen on the same day.
Despite the divinely-inspired progress, at times I'm plagued by serious worry over my children.
Will Mary's stubbornness turn people off and how do I make her personality sweeter than it is? Will just the right man come along and find the sweetness buried under the strong-willed exterior?
I worry that Peter's ADHD symptoms will make him so self-focused that his wife and children will wonder where they stand. How do I make him more other-focused?
I wonder if Beth will indeed grow out of this arthritis, or will it be a life-long sentence of drugs and pain? How will it affect her childbearing and mothering? And her joy?
Paul, my nine year old, has given me plenty to worry about in the last couple years. A child who once amazed people with his smarts now has significant difficulty focusing on academic and personal tasks. It's come slowly but I'm more convinced than ever he has his brother's generalized anxiety disorder, which runs in my family strongly, as well as ADHD with mainly the attention span affected, and possibly early bipolar, which often pairs with ADHD. He has a cousin on both sides of the family with bipolar.
A child who people once said "has a lot going for him", now seems disordered. He's still fiercely sweet and plenty smart, but for instance last night he had insomnia until 2:30 AM. What nine year old lays in bed for five hours, tortured by insomnia?
He does have a history of insomnia but never more than a couple hours at worst; last night was severe. He woke me three times and each time I felt more despair over my boy and his future.
Was it the Benedryl he had to take for two days after a bee sting, and then abruptly stopped taking? He has a yellow-jacket venom allergy but last week he got stung by a different bee and had a large local reaction, as opposed to an allergic reaction. The Benedryl helps reduce any unusual reaction.
He seems fine today and slept till 10:00 AM, which I probably shouldn't have allowed. Insomnia is made worse by sleeping in, or so Google tells me.
In the summer when flowers grow everywhere his anxiety is especially problematic. He panics over the sight of sunflowers and black-eyed susans and any flower that looks scary, in his opinion, especially once it goes to seed. He won't pass a flower patch unless we lead him with his eyes closed. It's embarrassing to all of us and no one understands. They judge him and us, wondering what child fears flowers, for heaven's sake?
One of the hardest things about having disorders in the family is the amount of judgement one receives from those not plagued by such things. All their brain chemicals are balanced and they have no clue what unbalanced feels like, so they're harsh and judgemental, even if coyly, assuming it's our parenting.
After awhile you learn to extend grace to the judgemental ones, but you also stay away from them, for your own peace.
Anyhow, each time I go down this worry spiral, writing out my thoughts and letting the Spirit speak to me helps.
What does my son have going for him? That is the question the Holy Spirit asks me to contemplate, and it applies to you and yours too.
1. We are loved radically by a gracious God. He weeps over us and with us.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2. We are made whole by the Cross, our brokenness redeemed.
1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
3. We have an everpresent Holy Spirit sorting things out for us and restoring our joy.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Mark 11:23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
6. We have the Answer to human emptiness. We don't have to mindlessly search for significance and purpose. We are filled and fulfilled.
Romans 9:17 "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
7. We can fill others' cups with our spiritual overflow.
John 15:9-13 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
8. We have the Word always available. Reading it is like walking with Jesus in the Garden.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I don't know what you're worried about today, but I know you have assets...plenty of them to draw strength and peace from. I hope this helps you as much as it does me.
My Paul suddenly seems very whole to me!