“Can I stay home today? I am not feeling so well.”
“Sure…” was my response. With a little bit of apprehension. A sinking feeling of dread that had me asking this usually compliant child if something was wrong. If he was really sick.
Now, why exactly would I ask this question? Come on! The child was sick! Certainly he had no other reason to stay home.
But the nightmare I had the evening before. The one that began with the same exact question, had my stomach in knots and my heart filled with worry.
What if? Should I stay home? What if this happens? What if that happens?
This is not the only time I have been filled with worry over the last few weeks. Some rational and healthy. Others a little irrational and over the top.
As college looms ahead of us for our oldest son some of these worries include: What if he gets to college and hates it? What if he can’t wash his clothes? What if he doesn’t like his roommate? What if he starves? Gets lost? Doesn’t make it to class?
And, then there are the everyday worries that keep us in a state of constant pessimism, just waiting for that dark cloud to dump a bucket of rain right on us!
What if we don’t have enough money this month to pay our bills? What happens if the van breaks down? How will we fix it? What if something happens to them at school? What if she has problems with her friends again? What if he can’t open his yogurt? What if there is a substitute? What if they don’t like me? What if I say the wrong thing? What if just can’t handle this new job? What if I fail?
What if this nightmare really is coming true today?
Worry. Dread. A dark cloud of pessimism and defeat.
Until God reminds us not to worry. Until he whispers in our ears that He has got this. That, yes, some of those things could very well happen, and because He is always with me, and always with my children, I have no need to worry.
Don’t you call me your shield? Your protection? Don’t you trust me to do just that? Don’t I remind you that I will clothe you, feed you, and keep you safe? Yet you worry day in and day out.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27
Sure. I know it is hard not to become anxious. Not to worry. It is hard as a parent, as a planner, as a control freak to let go of the need to control everything. Every little detail. Even those I know I can never handle on my own. And, while I know it is hard to let our children navigate this sometimes scary world without holding their hand all the time, and stressing over every event, every detail, every little thing, God says otherwise.
He encourages us to cast everything that burdens our hearts and minds on Him (1 Peter 5:7), because He will carry all those burdens for us with ease. Which means I don’t have to carry any of these worries with me. I can give them all to Him.
My worry over a silly dream made getting through my day so much harder. Worrying about something that could have happened. That would have happened according to His will if that were the plan, despite any changes I may have tried to make to control it. Despite any of my worries.
Worry that could have kept me from taking a step towards the promise God had given me if I had trusted my overzealous Mommy gut, and not my never failing God, and stayed vigil all day waiting for something, anything to happen. Because while that dreaded dream was certainly about school, God knew it had nothing to do with my kids, but a different set of kids who needed me.
So, while it may be hard to let go of our children. To let go of the need to constantly be there to protect them, and to let go of some of the rational and irrational worries, God wants all of our worries. They are His to carry. His to handle.
Yes, my son may go to college and turn some whites pink. He may have a roommate with whom he doesn’t connect. He may miss a class…or two. But, God will handle it.
I may say the wrong thing. I may not know what to say at times. And, I may fail and get it all wrong.
But, God will handle it.
He will handle the yogurt. He will handle the substitute. He will handle the mean girls on the bus.
I need not worry. God will handle it.