I have been crippled with anxiety my entire life.
The angst in living can be debilitating and exhausting, if you are constantly battling the tremendous weight of this burden. Once I became a parent, my anxiety level climaxed to heights I never knew existed.
Even the most steady and strongest of soldiers fall to their knees in this fierce battlefield called motherhood. To those who have nerves of steel and a peace that never breaks open into a flood of tumultuous waters, just go ahead and have a baby. And you will be broken into pieces scattered all about your precious predictable world.
I have yet to meet a mom who hasn’t lived in the land of twists and turns winding in and out of questioning and concern and sheer fear on any given day with their child. There is this entirely complex creation to behold in your trembling hands, and the responsibility of this calling, is a mighty one. Every stage and age and phase and fall… every change and turn and beginning and end… over and over again. Amen?
So as moms, we must find a way to manage our anxiety. It’s near impossible some days- those days. We all know ‘those days’… the big ones. The ones where we are yanked from our peace out of nowhere, grasping on to anything to survive.
Desperately clinging to some sort of sanity and solace in the midst of a crisis with our kids. Those are the ones that erupt without warning, or possibly hit us off guard. And then there are the days upon days of a slow steady strain… trying to care for your child while desperately trying to learn how to along the way.
Each day always gives us moms something to worry about. It’s in us. Always.
It’s an ongoing journey to find contentedness in parenting, and although I struggle with the rise and fall of these waves every day, I have built my own recipe to slow the pace of my heart and loosen the knots of my nerves.
Three things. Three significant ingredients that keep me from spiraling into a frenzy of complete and utter despair.
You could say I have had a lot of practice in this arena; perhaps you can even call me an “Anxious Expert”. 😉
There is nothing more isolating, than being all alone in your fears, your angst, your worries. The weight of your burdens can be lifted with just one call to a friend, one conversation sharing your feelings and your experience. Connect, dear friends. Simply pull yourself out of the darkness of anxiety by taking that one step to reach out to anyone you trust. A friend, co-worker, family member… anyone who would be willing to listen. There is relief in relating. There is a lift of the load when you share. If I am alone with my anxious thoughts spiraling down into despair… I know I need someone there. With me, in it.
Release it, and feel the burden in your heart become lighter, when you allow it to bear the weight with another.
As our journey often brings more and more messes to meander through and figure out and stumble upon once again, I am always reminded of my history. My past record. That is where I find the most strength in coping with my anxious ‘what ifs’ and ‘what fors’ and ‘what nows’…
I discover hope in reflecting on each crisis I survived, because of all the answers and provisions and people that were presented at the perfect time in the perfect way… This gives me great comfort. There are so many moments of strife and struggles. So much adversity in each of our lives. Did we survive it? We did. Will we survive this? We will.
Look back, dear friends. Look back.
Who best to go to in times of wrestling with worry? The One Who has already cleared your path, my friend. Cry out to God. Give Him everything… pour it on Him. He already knows. Cling to His Power, and trust in His Plan. When you are faced with fear, He conquers it with His Peace. When you are at the end of all you can do… that’s when He is at His Best. In prayer, we finally can surrender it all to Him, and He will gladly take control. Motherhood will eventually bring us to our knees…
And as we strip off our weakness in our own human condition piece by piece, He adds more of His Divine Certainty…peace by peace.
Allow Him in, dear friends. He is waiting anxiously to embrace you.
Parenting is riddled with anxiety and the constant challenges we face are both profound and often perplexing. We are never fully prepared to face things of the unknown, and that’s when it hits me most. In the unknown.
So find your place in what you do know. Find freedom in sharing. Discover comfort in reflecting. And find Peace in Praying.
Before having children, Chris Carter worked as a music therapist for several years in Chicago’s inpatient psychiatric hospitals. She also managed creative arts and recreation programming for four group homes. In that time of her life, she learned and grew to know the pain and suffering of so many people. She is now a stay-at-home mom and currently spends her days running kids to and from school four times a day, volunteering and keeping the house in some sort of order! She has a thriving blog, The Mom Cafe, where she regularly shares her mothering experience and wisdom.