I looked at my child, smiling and joyful, and tried to not panic as he climbed two stories up the rock wall. Rock climbing camp and my youngest son make a great team…as long as I avert my eyes and pray.
When he was only a year old, I came into the room and found him standing on the kitchen table, doing a wobbly little victory dance. He was thrilled to find that although he couldn’t even walk yet, he could in fact, climb.
I tried not to freak out as I grabbed him, set him back down on the ground, and said, “No, no. You could fall. This is not safe.”
He smiled at me, pulled the chair out, and climbed back up.
Fear slowly spread through me, gripping my heart and playing out all the things that could go wrong.
I put him down again.
He smiled and climbed up again.
He has been climbing everything in sight, ever since.
When my eldest son was diagnosed with autism, I remember initially feeling relief. Then came grief. Then fear.
Fear of the future.
Fear of today.
Fear of the next meltdown, the next playdate, and the next time we had to travel.
Fear of the unknown and worse, fear of the known.
Most of all, the fear that I would fail him.
Another diagnosis, this time a medical condition, brought the same, familiar seizing in my heart.
When the doctor said it would likely impact my son’s life expectancy, I felt so much fear I went numb.
Fear that he will die before me, and the horror of living without one of my children.
Fear that I will die before him, with no one left to really care for his needs.
Fear that my son will be fearful of it as well.
So. Much. Fear.
Fear, I’m afraid, has shaped far too much of my motherhood.
And living fearfully, is exhausting. It’s debilitating.
It robs me of the life I have right in front of me – a life that is begging me to dig in, to be present and live out every moment.
I have spent a lot of time lately, trying to combat it. Calling it what it is – fear, not truth. Willing myself and praying to try to push past it, to force it back, to cling to the good instead of being stifled by all the bad that fear brings.
The only antidote I have found to fear, is faith.
Fear tells me that I have to do it all.
Faith tells me that I never could.
Fear tells me the worst will happen.
Faith tells me that no matter what happens, I am loved and my children are loved.
Fear tells me that my future is only as good as the decisions I make today.
Faith tells me that hope can be found in every circumstance, no matter what the future holds.
Fear wastes my precious time, losing the moments, the days, the weeks, the months, and the years I do have with my sons.
Faith shows me the here and now – the joy and the grace and the beauty and the mercy that exist in all my family’s circumstances, today, right here in front of me.
Faith in motherhood calms the fear, and speaks the truth.
The truth is, I am not alone. My children are not alone.
He sees me. He sees them. He loves me. He loves them.
And there is nothing to fear.