Fear has always played a large role in my life. It has robbed me of joy, stolen my peace, and wasted precious time I will never get back.
I just put Mila, my 11 week old daughter, down for her first nap of the day. She has this outrageously soft, luxury blanket she was given as a gift.
There is a very short window of time when she is awake and not spitting up, always signaled by the hiccups, when I trust we will not ruin said blanket and we enjoy its softness together.
Around this time she is ready for her nap, so when she gets a little ornery and her eyebrows get a little red, I wrap her in it and lay down with her to cuddle.
She doesn’t fight it.
She feels that blanket and closes her eyes and rests against me.
I usually use this time, before I lay her in her bassinet, to pray and just soak her in.
Her smells, her sounds. The feel of her forehead against my lips when I kiss her.
These are the moments I am so overcome with gratitude I could cry. And I do sometimes.
The gratitude I feel for my daughter isn’t just because she is here and healthy and thriving, although for those things I am absolutely grateful.
The gratitude I feel for her also is connected to how absolutely terrified I was to have her.
The first trimester of my pregnancy was so incredibly hard for me. Not just because of the nausea and exhaustion, but because of the intense fear that gripped me.
Though the pregnancy was not a surprise, I was almost immediately overcome with debilitating fear.
Thinking of the way my life was going to change – the way my marriage was going to change – the way my career and identity was going to change. I was absolutely terrified.
This fear, likely mixed with intense hormones, quickly turned into depression. For a few weeks, I was incredibly depressed and completely encapsulated by fear and anxiety.
It was a complicated time. I felt like the worst human being in the world – why wasn’t I happier? Why wasn’t I more grateful when millions of people dreamed of being pregnant? What was wrong with me?
I remember crumpling on the floor of the bathroom sobbing. Wanting to be full of joy and happiness and excitement – this is what I had been praying for! Begging God for!- but simply not able to.
But God saw Mila.
While I fretted and cried, terrified I would never love my own baby, God saw Mila.
He already knew her.
He saw me stroking her cheek with my hand, whispering to her as she slept.
He knew the joy her smiles would bring me in the morning as I sipped my coffee with her on my knees.
He saw me crying into her head, sitting in the NICU alone, praying over her life.
He heard the Spanish nursery rhymes and praise music we sing together.
He saw her then before I did.
When I couldn’t move past my fear, He knew that the life inside of me, the thing that scared me so deeply, was going to bring more joy and blessing and glory to Him, as He once again, proved His faithfulness.
I went through something similar before meeting my husband. The fear of being alone, not being loved, never being married, clouded my judgment and at times controlled my life.
I stayed in relationships that were destructive, made decisions out of fear, and tried to take matters into my own hands on way too many occasions.
I shudder thinking about it.
If I knew about Max. If I would have just trusted.
So much pain – so much heartbreak – so many scars and baggage would have been avoided.
Because when I clung to what I thought wanted – based on the fear I would never have anything better – God saw Max.
As He gently, and sometimes not so gently, pried my hands off the steering wheel of my life – He saw my husband.
As He forgave and warned and guided me, through intense pain, He saw Max.
When I was so broken- thinking dysfunction and disarray was all there was, He saw me whole.
He saw Max- gentle yet strong. Soft spoken yet confident. Hilarious but never attention seeking. Incredibly intelligent yet humble.
He saw my husband – extraordinarily selfless, patient and full of more grace than any human I’ve ever met.
He saw me safe in the arms of Max.
Fear would have kept me where I was – but the Lord saw where I would land if I just let go.
Max and Mila, besides Jesus, are the best things that have ever happened to me.
I was bound in fear before receiving both – these beautiful gifts.
Fear has stolen far too much from me. While the Lord never has promised us we won’t go through trials – that we won’t suffer – that we won’t experience hardships, He has promised to be faithful through them.
I still don’t know what the future holds and battling fear of is still something I struggle with, but in the unknown I have to remember that no matter what happens, He has been faithful and good, and will be faithful and good forever – even if my circumstances are not.
He held me then, He will hold me and sustain me through whatever is to come.
He saw Max. He saw Mila. He sees every future joy and future heartache – and I might not know what they are yet – but trusting Him in the present, without obsessing about what is to come, is where I know I will experience true peace and joy. I don’t want fear to steal any more of it.
Photo Credit : The Incredible, multi-talented Brittny Brennan Photography