I sat in the darkness of the car, only the street lamps and cars streaming in light for us as we drove. We were quiet, as we usually were when I voiced my latest anxiety. Outside, the deep purple clouds covered the sky like a window blind, only revealing a small portion of the sky at the horizon. The stars and moon were well hidden, so I kept my eyes fixed on that small portion of exposed sky as I spoke.
“It’s just hard, always being afraid,” I whispered. “Last week, I loved feeling those sweet kicks in my belly. It always came as a pleasant surprise while I sat on the couch or laid in bed. Now, it’s like I’m always watching and waiting with fear, wondering, Was that movement? Did the baby move? When was the last time I felt movement? I’m just tired of constant fear.”
I was weary that night. I expected joy and excitement as I prepared for my newborn. I longed for those sweet kicks and a rounded belly. But when I finally got it, it wasn’t at all what I had hoped for—instead of excitement, I had the miseries of anxiety. My pregnancy seemed to be filled with hospital trips for unknown bleeding, random cramping, unbelievable backaches, and all the worries that accompany those.
I believed that when Levi finally came, my worries would dissipate. Finally freed from my fragile womb, I could know if and when something was wrong. I could finally have some kind of knowledge and control over this little life.
But that wasn’t the case.
When he had his first cold, I gnawed my lip raw on the way to the doctor’s office. When he had his first fever I cried from the guilt of not realizing something was wrong earlier (and fearing I was somehow too late). When he ate his first puréed meal, I suffered a headache the rest of the night contemplating what that butternut squash might do to his digestive system.
I am in no less or more control now than I was before he was born. That baby’s life is still in God’s hands as much as it was then. Though I can cuddle him in my arms, place him on a doctor’s table, and stick a thermometer in his mouth, they are only a mere perception of control. As my sweet baby grows, and eventually grows out of my arms, he will always fit in God’s palm. And that is the safest place for him to be.
Motherhood is teaching me the uselessness of seeking peace in my control over my son. Instead, I am learning that peace, as it always has been, comes from God. He is teaching me to sing this sweet hymn as I pace the floors with my baby:
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
I am learning to sing with the hymn writer, “It is well, it is well with my soul,” not because I have gained some kind of control or learned peace-inducing news, but because my God still carries us both. I am learning that that is a greater comfort than any control I could ever grasp.