It has officially been three weeks since the birth of our beautiful daughter, Riley Grace Cochran! I cannot believe three weeks have already passed since she came into our lives. We love her so much already! We have already learned so much during this short time. I can see already that I will never stop learning about God’s love through my relationship with my daughter. I have learned many things so far, but this lesson stands out today.
Here’s a little insight into our lives for the past three weeks:
Since being parents, Patrick has heard the following questions from me:
Do you think her skin is yellowish?
Do you think this baby acne is normal?
Do you think that nurse was too rough with her?
Do you think I’m feeding her the right way?
Do you think that if I eat this food, it will upset her stomach?
Do you think she’s too small for this car seat? She can’t hold her neck up.
Does she feel hot to you?
Is this room too cold for her?
Do you think her room has enough air circulation?
Do you think this mucus is bothering her too much?
Does her breathing sound labored?
Is her umbilical cord supposed to do this?
How do you get these gas pains to stop hurting?
How do I know if she’s getting enough milk?
Am I hurting her neck or her head when I force this gown over her head?
She’s only had two poops today. Does that mean she’s dehydrated? That’s what the book says… (Side note: Patrick has heard one million things from me about what the “parent emails” say we should do or say what is “normal” in pregnancy and childbirth. Anytime I bring up the book or the website, he tells me I shouldn’t look at them because I don’t have enough discernment to take the good and discard the bad, or at least realize that our baby and my pregnancy are not going to follow every “norm” out there. This has been a constant source of laughter throughout this pregnancy. :-) )
And I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting to list.
Worry and anxiety = sinful… Ouch!
The point…it is very easy to worry. I knew that already. Now, I understand that it is very easy to worry about your kids. I can’t remember how many times I would say, “Moooommm…” in a long, drawn out voice because my mom was worrying about me for some reason, and I was trying to convince her that she didn’t need to worry. But when I was talking to Patrick, I was justifying my worries (or attempting to) because Riley Grace is just a newborn and she can’t tell me what she needs or if something is genuinely wrong – as her mom, its my responsibility to figure out what’s wrong and take care of her. In the beginning, it was stressing me out that she would cry and the things that I would try to do in an attempt to console her were not working. Even though I thought that I had justified the worries by saying that it’s my responsibility to worry about her so that her needs are met, I knew that my justification was useless. (It's ok to be concerned and take action when necessary, but worry and anxiety take that concern too far!)
In God’s Word, we are told on countless occasions that we are not to worry about ANYTHING. Surely God can’t mean “anything” whenever it is my responsibility to make sure Riley Grace stays alive?! Parenthood must be the exception to this command, right? My husband quickly reminded me that while God has given us responsibility as parents to take care of her, it is ultimately His work to keep her alive or take her whenever He wills for that to happen. I can do all the things in my power that I know to do in order to preserve her life, and if God has willed for her final breath to be breathed, then it will happen regardless of what I have done to keep her alive. Also, if I am not the perfect mom (which I will never be!) and make a mistake and swaddle her too tight or turn the air too low or fail to clean her cord properly and its not her time to leave this earth, then God will preserve her life in spite of my mistakes. What a comforting truth! If I am worrying, then I am trusting in myself, not the Lord. How foolish is that, but how often to we default to worry??
Read each of these passages and journal about what you learn about worry and anxiety.
Philippians 4:4-7 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Matthew 6:25-34 – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Proverbs 3:5-8 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
Worry begins in your mind. Then, it can lead to actions (sinful actions…because remember, worrying is sinful because we are trusting in ourselves instead of God – which Prov. 3:7 tells us NOT to be wise in our own eyes!). What are some things that tend to worry you? In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul is defending his ministry and urging believers to test what they hear in order to believe and follow the truth and not heresy. He urges them in verse 5 to “take every thought captive to obey Christ”. How can you take your thoughts captive when it comes to worry and anxiety? For many of us, worrying comes natural because we find ourselves in a situation that is out of our control. Since it is so natural, we can’t expect to just wake up and be worry-free. We have to actively pursue trusting the Lord in the face of situations in which we would normally resort to worrying.
Pray and ask the Lord to give you the strength, faith, and self-control when you are faced with the opportunity to worry or trust Him in whatever circumstance you are facing! You may be facing something much more daunting than some of the silly questions I asked my husband about taking care of our three-week old, but the Lord is sovereign over all of our circumstances, and He loves us! Trust Him, and don’t live in anxiety. Remember Philippians 4:7 – He is the God of PEACE!