Monday, October 08, 2007

worry

Most of the time I'm fairly laid-back and trusting but every once in awhile I give way to worrying ...I confess I worry about a lot of things. When did this happen? Did I get it from my mom? She is a professional, blood pressure-through the-roof kind of worrier. Does it just come with the territory of being a mom? It's not all the time, and not an obsessive thing, but when I think about certain things, there's no denying it. I worry about vaccinating my kids and all the preservative-filled foods lining the shelves of the grocery store. I worry that if I'm talking to someone at church Juden will be standing on the communion table when I turn around (it actually happened!). I worry that I'll never fit into my 'before kids' jeans again. I worry about money. I worry about how to wisely and lovingly discipline my kids; am I too tough on my kids or too soft? I worry about how to educate them. I worry about how to raise thoughtful, creative people in a culture that seems to breed apathy and materialism. I worry about how to combat the lies my girls will be fed by our culture about the importance of appearance and their worth, and how to raise my son into a man of honor. I worry that my shyness will be misconstrued as disinterest. I worry about not having enough time for ministry because, honestly there are days I have trouble meeting all the needs of my three babies and keeping some kind of order in my house. I worry about something bad happening to my kids. I worry about the fact that every paternal family member including my dad died of cancer. I worry about pollution and air quality. I worry about the political climate. I worry that I'm not using the gifts God gave me to full potential. I worry that I'm so wrapped up in myself and my family that I won't see that person who is lonely or hurting. I worry about recurring sin in my heart that keeps getting the better of me.

When these thoughts creep in like a summer afternoon thunder storm it's hard to keep them at bay. And so I remind myself that my God is a God of power and grace. This fear that wants to overwhelm is not of him. Thankfully it seems to take the simplest and most humble of encounters to make these worries vanish before they can even set in. Funny how I haven't changed that much from when I was little. If I was anxious or upset I would go somewhere, where I could see the sky, hide among trees or immerse myself in the quiet reflection of water. I would always return comforted somehow by the how tiny I felt, and thus how trivial my worries felt in relation to the vast world around me. Now that I can't steal away and solitude is a rare commodity; my children are often a very good remedy for melancholy. Anxiety dissipates at the sound of Juden praying,thanking God for all his favorite people followed by all his favorite foods. Or Juden's ostentatious displays as he belts out songs in a ridiculous vibrato voice, or the way my kids bust into a ballistic dancing frenzy whenever we put on Stevie Wonder's Superstition. And honestly it's hard to think about anything else at the sight of Naya Faith's smile...the simplicity of the heart of a child. Just like that, I'm thrust back into the here and now, and for today, we have life and each other and it's all far to precious to waste with worrying.

I think back to the last time I heard my dad recite the "Do not worry" passage. I had heard him read it several times over my lifetime, but none so poignant as the last. I think he was touched as much by is deep truth as its poetry. It was shortly after his collapse. After a night of wine and celebration in preparation for my brother's wedding the following day, my perfectly healthy dad fell, and in an instant, lost the use of the left side of his body. We later found out it was a cancerous brain tumor and that he had months to live (although that didn't sink in until much later). A few weeks later I wheeled my frail father into a worship service where he worshipped with every ounce of the strength he had left and he recited part of this passage.

"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?'or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble."
~Matthew 6:25-34~

6 comments:

Darla said...

I was once impressed by a woman who was serving in the church - especially in the area of youth - to the extent that OTHERS had to minister to HER children because she really had very little time left for them. I have since maintained that the FIRST ministry of a mother should be to minister to her own family.
Your words are so beautiful and thoughtful as always. To those who know you - it is clear that you are ministering greatly - to your family, but also by example through your sweet spirit and then of course through this gift of expression that you have. It is easy to see that you have many gifts and that you are using them. Thank you.

Lynn said...

Thank you.

Mom said...

Sorry to pass on the worry genes. I've been trying to tell myself now that my worrying will do absolutely nothing to alter what's going to happen except get me upset. Always want to step in and try to "fix" things and that's not very good usually. And God truly is incontrol. (I caught a little bit about a family who has triplet girls who look about 3. Every one is blind and deaf. Can you imagine! Getting a lot of support and help, certainly needed. Heard nothing on the little bit I caught as to whether they are Christians or not. Something else to put things in perspective.) Love ya lots.

Karen said...

I'm so glad you shared this and so glad I read it. I think you're a wonderful mom, but I identify with your feelings. The only real hope we have is in "considering the lilies", considering the strength and provision of a perfect God.

Michael and Mandy said...

Linda, your words (which seemed to be my own from someone else's pen) meant a lot to me today as I have been wrestling with the same questions, thoughts, worries for some time myself. I am not quite at the same place of resolve and rest in God's sovereignty, but on my way there even more so thanks to your thoughts. I sat here nursing my own sweet babe, crying as I read. Thanks.
Mandy (Brown) McBride (CC '97) - got your blog link from Susan

linda said...

Thanks all, and Mandy thanks so much for commenting it's always fun to have nice to have feedback. I didn't mean to imply I'd overcome the struggle with worry, more just to share two things(nature and my kids) that ultimately bring me to my knees with gratefulness and perspective, and ultimately bring me to God.