Enjoy this devotional written by a FlourishWriter’s Student…
He won’t settle. I sway from side to side. His cries get louder and more desperate. The usual words and whispers are failing us both. I cry along with him. I’m napping, while my mother runs errands. I lie in bed, soothing my little restless one with tender pats and songs. It should be a tender moment. His tiny heart thrumming next to mine as mine thrills at his presence in my life. But his panic only increases.
A hand grabs my shoulder. I startle. As my sleepy vision clears, my face is mirrored the wild blue eyes of my son three feet above me. My mother holds him. She rocks him as I’d been doing. His gaze finds mine and he calms. The frantic fear in his eyes retreats. He’s happy to see his mother healthy and nearby. Meanwhile, worry surfaces in the eyes of my mother.
It’s happened again. Unable to rouse me, my mind convinced me I was soothing my son, though he’d cried and hollered to get my attention. I’d slept on. Helpless, the pattern repeats. I’m devastated by my failure, but tonight will be no different. Shamefully, I struggle to hide my fear.
After delivering my boy, I rejoiced in God’s great gifting. I wondered what the Father saw in me to entrust me with this present. I thrilled at His wisdom and though I failed to take in His love; I knew it was there.
At least, for everyone else. I had done nothing to explain this measure of grace. Raised in the church, I could tell you the moment I surrendered to Jesus. For the cross, I’d surrendered good deeds and a handful of sacrifices. But that was before my years of wandering.
Such undeserved favor should have stirred an overwhelming thankfulness in my heart, but it did not. Instead, I waited for the other shoe to drop. God’s gift was too great for me. Too amazing to come without strings. I loved my son so much but imagined God must be planning a way to use that love to set me straight and teach me a lesson.
I worried. In darkness, I paced the tiny hallway. Believing, if I were to nod off, someone could come and take my treasure away from me. Though every morning the sun would rise upon my boy, happy and healthy. I’d go weeks in sleepless fear my body gave up. A power nap turned into a blackout and I’d wake to my son sweaty from screeching. I could only imagine the damage I was doing to his heart. My shame only fed my terror.
The panic was constant. Why couldn’t I relax? Was I losing my mind? Could others tell I was going insane? What if I asked for help, explained my madness, would they send me away and lock me up? I had no idea what was happening to me. Years would pass before I’d even hear the term Postpartum Anxiety, yet for 18 months I battled it alone and undiagnosed.
Was God punishing me? Was He making my son suffer at my hands because I hadn’t been a pure enough teenager, a diligent enough witness, a loving enough daughter or wife and now because I was a failing mother? I pleaded with God not to take my son away. Such prayers only led to more guilt.
Beyond exhausted from the ongoing insomnia and detachment episodes, I sat in my garage alone and desperate. I admitted my fears aloud. God answered in a sweet soft pressure in my heart. Perfect love casts out all fear.
I answered the tenderness with a tirade. “I love you God, but I can’t love you perfectly. I love my son but I can’t love him perfectly. The fear is destroying me but I can’t be perfect.”
But I am perfect and so is my love.
Turning to the word I searched for passages on fear vs love. I hunted for the truth my heart was ignoring. 1 John 4:18… “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out all fear.” Yes, I knew all that. Knew it but couldn’t force myself to live it. “because fear involves torment (nkjv) because fear has to do with punishment (niv) the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Fear and torment I understood. I bore my fear and worry through the love I had for my son. But I didn’t see the love the Father had for me. The love that made me capable of loving my son. 1 John 4:19 “we love because he first loved us.”
To protect my son, I was willing to sacrifice, willing to die. Even at my frailest, I knew I’d give all for him. How much more did the Almighty Father love me and want good things for me? Had I been seeing Him incorrectly my entire life? I had understood him to be the great justifier and punisher. I had never connected with Him as the amazing father and friend he truly is.
Deliberately and painfully, I set aside my worry, forcing myself to shut my eyes and lean into the Lord. One hour at a time I placed my son, prayerfully, under the Father’s protection. After weeks of these small, repeated acts of trust, He faithfully showed me more of His love. As I uncurled my fearful fists, He’d sweep away my panic and pour in His rest. Real, healthy, holy rest.
The one night, it was enough. His continued outpouring of patience allowed me to entrust Him with my greatest treasure. His tender whispers of encouragement helped me surrender the spiritual checklist and be real with Him. His unrelenting affections freed me to lie down in peace and sleep. That night, I tucked my sweet baby into bed, kissed his forehead, and did just that. The Lord’s embrace had made me safe. His love had made me whole.
Sarah Hualde lives in a home that brings her happiness and hay fever. Her husband is an award-winning chef, much to the chagrin of her waistline. She is the homeschooling mama to two amazing kids with loud personalities. She loves Flourish devotionals and is uplifted by what other Flourish Writers share. Sarah is a newbie to the world of Indie Christian Writing. She’s published two books in the last twelve months and by the grace of God still loves writing. Her family is wildly supportive. Her dog is extremely loyal and her turtle is deeply condescending. She adores Jesus and loves coffee with a side of pastry. You can connect with Sarah on social media, and on her blog latenightcoffeemoms.com