July 3rd, 1989, was the first day of my brand new job. Most people are usually a little nervous on their first day and I was no different. It was a job I had no previous skills or training to do. I had not been interviewed or even filled out a resume for this, chance of a lifetime opportunity. I had prayed for an open door in recent years but never felt guaranteed my prayer would be answered, so when the door opened, I ran through it with a grateful heart. I can remember that first day. The feeling of insecurity, uncertainty, cluelessness, and awkwardness that overwhelmed me as I entered that new role. I felt overwhelmed, inadequate and lost when I tried to fill the position. On the job training will do that to you. Even though I felt I was being eaten alive by my own fears and insesecurities….at the same time…I was so in love and grateful for my new and important job. The job?
I was raised an only child by two loving and doting parents. Even though my childhood was pretty much perfect, being the only child in the house didn’t exactly prepare me for raising my own. Not having any little brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews around, I had almost no experience with newborns and very little experience with toddlers. So, when I brought my firstborn home, with zero experience under my belt and no family support within a five hundred mile radius , I was absolutely frozen with fear.
After a few months of reading every pamphlet, article and book I could get my hands on (this was long before Google) and gleaning advice from those around me, I finally settled into motherhood quite nicely.
Fast forward ten years.
By February of 1999 I was the mother of four cherubs. Colton was 10, Kelsey was 8, Cassady was 2 and the caboose was Caleb. By now I was a seasoned, confident, skilled, trained, professional mother and domestic engineer who was not paid nearly what I was worth! When I started out I was scared of my motherhood shadow, but by the time number four came along I could cook dinner, doctor an owie, help with homework, fold laundry and talk to a troubled friend on the phone, all at the same time. I had arrived and I had conquered!
The teenage years.
When the teenage years arrived, I had to start all over because everything I knew about babies and toddlers didn’t work with teenagers. Raising babies, toddlers and per-teens definitely has its challenges, but in my experience, they were a breeze compared to the new and complex challenges of the teenage years.
While having teenagers in the house has brought a whole new level of joy to our lives, they have also brought some tears and sleepless nights. And it doesn’t matter if you have two, or twenty-two kids in your house, every one of them will be different with their own set of unique personality traits. Some teens may be easier than others. Some may be on auto pilot while others need a co-pilot. Some may feel the need to push their limits and cross the boundaries where others may be natural pleasers. Let’s put it this way…no two teens are the same just as no two adults are the same….and with my four, let’s just say I’ve experienced a nice range 😉
A few months ago, one of my kids went through a little rough patch, as they often do. Nothing big, thank the Lord, but worrisome just the same. My concern over this matter went from barely thinking about it, to stomach ulcers and sleepless nights in a matter of days. The child in question had not done anything more to add to my worries…I had managed to grow them all by myself. It was just another bump in the road, but for whatever reason this one had become exaggerated in my mind and had gripped me with fear.
For weeks I prayed specifically for this child. I prayed with them, over them, for them and around them. Clothing them in prayer…praying for peace, wisdom, protection and guidance, but most of all I prayed they would feel and see God working in their life. While I firmly believe in prayer and that my God cares about every facet of our lives, I could not break from the fear that had now become all-consuming.
A few weeks before Christmas, Colton, my oldest, and his wife planned a trip to Chicago and asked if I would watch their dogs. Of course I said yes. The oldest dog Rocco, spent his first six months at our house so I kind of feel like he’s mine 😉
One day while the dogs were here I went outside to load my car, preparing for a catering job. I opened the back-end of the car and unloaded an armful of food. I quickly went back in to grab another load, as I made my way back out of the door I noticed Rocco standing directly in my path. He stood there with his tail wagging, carefully holding a piece of paper in his mouth. “Rocco, what is that in your mouth?”, I said, “spit that out!” He gently let go of the perfectly folded piece of paper and dropped it on the ground at my feet. As I reach down to pick it up I could tell it was a note. I have to admit, in the past when I have found a note and opened it to see what it was…I was not pleased with what I read. So, as I picked it up I hesitated to examine the contents but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t important before throwing it away.
With an anxious heart and trembling hands I carefully opened the letter hoping it wouldn’t reveal something else to worry about. I slowly opened the perfectly folded letter and began to read. When i did, all of my fears, worrying and anxiety began to melt away. It read:
Dear God, thank you for helping me sleep last night…
As I read that first line of that note a sense of peace came over me that I hadn’t expected but desperately needed and welcomed. Through tear-stained eyes I read the rest of the note. I was so grateful to the Lord for giving me a peak into what he was doing in my child’s life, how He was making Himself real in their life and how He was answering their prayers and giving them hope. As a mother, there was nothing more I could have asked for! As I continued to read, it was clear to me that God was doing a great work in my child’s life and that I was wasting precious energy and time worrying about something I had no control over.
I don’t know where Rocco found that note. I don’t know why he picked it up or why he stood in my path holding it in his mouth but I do know this, that note TO God turned out to be a note FROM God to me.
I learned something that day. God had heard every prayer I had prayed and felt every feeling I felt. He knew the burden of my heart and he wanted to carry that burden for me. He has the life of my child in His hands and loves them more than I do. I already knew these things…I just needed a reminder. I am sure He had tried to answer my prayers of peace through a gentle whisper but I couldn’t hear him over my own voice. That’s often the case. We tell the Lord our worries and give him our burdens, then we turn around and take them back…holding them close like they are priceless treasures!
That note TO God turned out to be a note FROM God to me. What it said to me was this:
I see you. I know where you are and what you’re going through. I know your fears and your hurts and I care about every one of them. I am the Creator of the universe and the Lover of your soul. I created you with a purpose, and for a purpose but you can’t fulfill that purpose if you’re carrying the worries of life around like a priceless treasure. Lay your worries down, let me take them so you can go about My business, and be all that you are meant to be.
I got this!
If you like this post, share it! If you loved it, pen it!
P.S. I asked for permission to write this post. Permission granted 😉