It started when Jonah was a baby. We brought him home from the hospital and I thought for sure there was some kind of mistake. They don't just let you walk out of there with these innocent, fragile human beings, do they? No one follows you to make sure you don't drive too fast? They don't come to your house and check the bed, the floor, the air, for contaminants? No one comes to check in on you and make sure you're being responsible and putting your kid first and that you don't forget he's in the car seat, or that you don't walk out when he's in the bath, or that you don't give him something he's allergic to, or that you don't let him roll off the bed? They just ... let you go?
That's when the fear started.
The fear that I would lose my precious little boy. The first time I fell asleep with him in my arms on our bed, I panicked. The first time he slept through the night, I was terrified to touch his body when I ran to his crib. I was certain it would be cold. The fear didn't stop as he became more independent and mobile. It just grew. What if I didn't buckle him in right? What if Zach was playing with him and broke his neck? What if I fell while I was holding him and he hit his head? What if he gets sick? What if he gets cancer? What if someone steals him? What if someone murders him? What if? What if? WHAT IF?
And then Emery was born and the fear continued to grow and multiply and make itself at home in my heart.
Every time he catches his breath in the middle of the night, I am wide awake touching his chest to feel the steady rise and fall of his beautiful lungs. Every time I put him in his car seat, I check the buckle a hundred times to ensure it's tight in all the right places. When he naps on our bed, I check on him no less than 10 times to make sure the blankets are no where near his face and there's nothing that he can tangle himself up in. Sometimes when I tuck them in at night, I think to myself, "What if this is the last time I ever hold him?" Sometimes at the end of the day, when I'm laying in bed with nothing but my thoughts, I try to think of what I did with them that day and if it was the last day I had with them, would I regret anything?
It's morbid. It's immobilizing. It's heavy. And it's so, SO wrong.
I am absolutely terrified to lose my children. I think there's a part of me that believes that I don't deserve them. That there's no way these two precious little lives are mine. Forever. So I buy into the lie that I'm not good enough. That God won't let me keep them. That he made a mistake giving them to me. Zach is a great father, but I'm the problem. My kids deserve better. All these lies just pound my head and cripple my heart and God's been dealing with me about it. The other night, I was driving home alone, and a wave of fear came over me. As my heart starting beating faster and that familiar knot in my stomach started making itself known, I heard the calm voice of the Father whisper,
"They were mine first."
As quickly as the fear came, it was gone. Because the truth in those simple words is so profound. They were always His. Before they were mine, they were His. They are still His. How can I think that I could ever love them more than their Creator loves them? And how can I think that fearing losing them will somehow ensure they never leave me? Fear accomplishes nothing. All it does is add weight to my life and a morbid cloud over my days. Fear is useless and it's not healthy. Fear is bait.
And so I struggle with that statement, "They were mine first." because I know that's it's true and sometimes that bothers me and sometimes it gives me peace. Knowing that their lives are in the hands of the one who made them is incredible, but the control freak in me has a hard time accepting that. I know I can only protect them to a point and then after that ... well the rest I just have to trust. And that's the part where I come up short because I stake some claim on their lives that isn't mine. They are my children, but they don't belong to me. They belong first to their Heavenly Father.
So I'll rest and breathe and find peace in that truth and every day I try to release the death grasp that I have on their souls.
Because they were His first.