I suppose it’s a good thing I haven’t finished this series because a resounding mommy fail happened this morning and really stopped me in my tracks.
I had K go with me to the doctor on Monday to get a script for what we now know is an outer ear infection (apparently caused by going to bed with wet hair. Who knew?) She already has a fear of doctors but given the hypochondriac I am (I’m constantly afraid I have some sort of physical ailment-heart attack, brain tumor, cancer, you name it) I’m always convinced I need to go get checked out. Thank goodness for our flex spending card. I informed K that I had a monkey in my ear and needed medicine to help make the “owie” go away. She was a trooper and held my hand through the visit as I’m sure she thought I was in significant pain and needed saving. I thought nothing of it and days have passed. She’s such a sweetheart and extremely affectionate as I lay on my right side during most of my down time to help drain fluid and ease the pain.
And so the lesson learning begins. This morning at breakfast she said “Mommy, my ear hurts. I need to go to the doctor.” Well, shoot. I’ve taught my daughter the art of being suggestible and running for medical attention. Her ear does not hurt and she is perfectly normal. I’m teaching my daughter to live in fear of medical issues. I’m teaching her not to trust God and to place her hope in a doctor. The largest flaw I find in myself is trickling down to her sweet, innocent little life. I seriously have my work cut out for me in terms of explaining why we go to the doctor and how to have a healthy relationship with her body.
I know where it all started for me. I was nine and spending the night at the Ronald McDonald House in St. Louis. My brother, Jonathan, was days old and undergoing a heart surgery (The Norwood Procedure) to correct his barely existent left ventricle. Born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and various other conditions his likelihood for survival was slim and I knew nothing of it. We got a call in the evening that we needed to return to the hospital where we learned soon thereafter that after working on him and performing CPR for nearly an hour there was simply nothing they could do. My first experience with death and simply having no control, or so I thought, was in that moment. I was immediately plagued with fear and an inability to ever be full. I gained significant weight over the summer and developed extreme anxiety. When you’re in fourth grade your knowledge of anxiety is significantly less than about Tamagotchi’s, S Club 7, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Before this turns into virtual therapy let me make my point. This has been a personal battle for nearly two decades and finally understanding that I’m unintentionally passing fear onto my child is frightening. She knows nothing of death, of illness, of loss. She thinks days are supposed to be filled with milk, juice, Jesus Loves Me, and lots of giggles. As her mother I’m supposed to protect her from harm and yet I’ve been slowly instilling it into her. My lack of trust in God in my health is not something I’m willing to pass on to her. My sweet, sweet friend, Anne has reminded me of Hebrews 1: 11-“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> and assurance about what we do not see.” How easily we forget that the Lord’s intention for us is peace and not fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says it perfectly :”for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
I’m also reminded of Genesis 50:20-“You intended to harm me,<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> but God intended<sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”> it for good<sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”> to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” The point is, what Satan intends for harm the Lord can use for good. How frequently do I allow fear, and paralyzing anxiety to take my joy? Significantly less than when in college but clearly the effects aren’t just affecting me. My little girl is worth stopping this fear for. If I’m trying to teach her there’s a God that loves her and only wants her to run with all her might toward Him how can I be a role model if I actively show her my own fear of God’s plan for me? Surely I don’t know better than the Lord.
I’m unsure if anyone else has a struggle they’re unintentionally passing on to their children but I’m so thankful to see that I have many years to correct this not only for myself but for K. What a joyful and fearless life I’ve been missing out on-one I fully intend not to return to. Of all the lessons I’ve felt convicted of as of late this stands out the most. Sure, I’m thankful for my partner, co parent, and love of my life as well as my forgiving heart but if I’m called to be a parent the last thing I want to do is mess her up because of wounds from the past. I’m so thankful for Christ who died for me so I don’t have to go through this life in a cloud wondering what to do next and what’s to come for us. The comfort and peace that comes from being certain of His love and the Truth in His Word is not only immeasurable but a life without it seems unfathomable. I fully intend for my daughter to know without a shadow of a doubt that even though her health and her mother may fail her,her God will not.