This past weekend, I experienced the pleasure of a joyous celebration! Can it get any better than a one-year-old birthday party? Watching this precious little girl interact with her loving mother brought back lots of memories of my early ”Mommy” days. Perhaps it was those reflections or last week’s story about my dear father, or maybe a mixture of both, but my musings brought this story to mind. In a moment of motherly crisis, my wise father shared some powerful advice that I have never forgotten. With all the sickness and worry that has hit our household in the past month, I find that I need to hear these sage words again. Perhaps you might need to hear them too.
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3 – NLT
So there’s a reason my son is an only child.
Actually, several reasons, not the least of which was that the pregnancy was a bit challenging. I pulled my back out in the fifth month and struggled with back pain thereafter. I had tons of swelling, even necessitating shoes a full size larger by the end. The labor was relatively short, but the delivery was quite complicated. I’ll save you the gory details, but suffice it to say that Jonathan had to be checked out by the neonatologist, and I required a blood transfusion and close monitoring overnight. A case of undiagnosed toxemia was the culprit behind my issues, and thankfully, Jonathan pepped right up once he got to the nursery.
The worst seemed to be over until the next night when he began to run a low grade fever and had trouble nursing. The poor little guy ended up with lots of poking and prodding, but after another 24 hours of monitoring, they still couldn’t find anything amiss except a mild case of jaundice. It was decided that we could take him home with close monitoring and a follow up plan.
All new mothers are a bit anxious, but the unexpected events of those three days in the hospital pushed me over the edge. By the time I toted Jonathan across the threshold of our back door, I was a mental and physical wreck. Jonathan was still running the low grade fever, and all I could think was, “What if something is really wrong with my little boy?”
My nurse brain was working overdrive assessing my tiny infant like one of my patients. My mind kept circling through all the things that could go wrong, and having taken care of adults most of my career, I didn’t even know the full list. But I knew enough to be freaking out, wondering if the doctors had missed something important.
Had it not been for my dear mother, I would have definitely fallen apart. She came through the door ready to save the day, and save the day, she did. She took care of me, making sure I got some much needed rest. She picked up that sweet little boy and showed us what to do. That child took one look into his Grandma’s big brown eyes, and that was it. It was love at first sight from both directions.
My father couldn’t get down to our house until two days after our arrival home. Directing him to my grandmother’s old rocking chair, I handed him my sweet little boy. I’ll never forget the look of utter joy that flooded his face as he cuddled his precious grandson in his arms. From the first look that passed between them, they were bonded, and it hasn’t changed since.
My Dad doesn’t miss much, and he didn’t miss the worry lines etched on my face. It was the next morning when Dad offered his counsel. I guess he had heard enough of my fretting to know that I was a bundle of nerves. Jonathan’s jaundice was slowly improving, and the fever was gradually abating. Still, I worried whether we were missing something. “Was everything really OK with my baby?”
I can’t recall the exact words that prompted his comment, but I do recall the fix of those gorgeous blue eyes on mine as he said, “Just because it can happen, doesn’t mean it’s all gonna happen to you.”
I have never forgotten those words. My wise father has shared a lot of his wisdom with me over the years, but that statement ranks with some of his best advice. His words hit home that day, helping me settle down and learn to be a mother. Those words return to me now, reminding me once again to settle down, have some faith, trust the plan.
That young mother had no idea what the future would hold. This much older mother still doesn’t know.
We don’t get to know the plan. We just get to live it. How we live it is up to us. We can stumble through it, wadded up with worry, or we can take a deep breath and open our hands in trust. We can’t calm down when our hands are clenched so tightly, desperately holding onto everything we want to control. No matter how hard we hang on, we can’t ensure the outcome. We can make our mental list of everything that can go wrong, but it doesn’t mean it will go wrong.
“Just because it can happen, doesn’t mean it’s all gonna happen to you.” Why should we waste today worrying about things that may never happen? Wouldn’t it be far better to walk through this day trusting that no matter what does happen, our good and gracious God will go with us through it?
By the time my mother left two weeks later, I was more calm and confident about my new role. The jaundice had cleared, the fever long gone. Jonathan was eating and sleeping better, and Eric and I were getting a handle on the parenting routines.
Of course, there were more rough patches in the road. In fact, uncertainty is a constant companion on this road of life. Still, one thing is for certain. No matter what happens along the way, God walks it with us, and He is more than worthy of our trust.
Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:21-24 – NIV
O Mighty God, help us fight our fear. It steals our joy and threatens our peace. This life is hard, Lord, and we are so weary. Come and calm our frayed nerves. Build up our trust muscles that we would cling to You in whatever trial might come our way. For You are our Rock and Refuge, our Strength and our Redeemer.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus, we pray,