Monday, October 08, 2007


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~