I was born with faith in my bones. In my earliest memories, I am open to God, spying him in everything, longing to plumb the mysterious depths of his identity. I encourage myself to remember that fact when observing my own children today. They have a predisposition to faith that will not likely grow as their bodies grow, so I try to help them embrace it while it’s robust.
But the truth is my own faith has been minimal to nonexistent since I had Seabass. I chalk it up to postpartum depression (what kind of loving Father would put their child through that?) but it’s anybody’s guess as to why I would suddenly become cynical and doubtful of everything I’d valued all my life.
Ironically, just as my own faith was evaporating, I was passionately, primitively compelled to instill faith in my child. Why? Why indoctrinate Seabass while violently questioning that very same doctrine? Was I living in a fantasy where kids who go to church are the “good kids?” Where those who live in Christian homes are the same ones who get good grades, say please and thank you and make their parents proud? Or was it God himself who was using me – despite my own misgivings – to bring his truth to Seabass? I may never know the answer.
But a little path has risen to my feet of late. I feel stirrings of faith – pleasure in my life and gratitude in the midst of chaos. A desire to see God’s design in the disparate elements of my story.
So when irrational fear overtakes me, as it is so often prone to do, I am attempting to shine the light and lightness of God on it. This doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I have to make happen as though my life depends upon it. Which it does.
Before I had kids, I could watch movies or the news without a thought to how it might affect me. Stories about children who lose their parents or parents who lose their children had only a negligible effect on me.
Today, I am like a quaking leaf on a tree in winter: fragile and just waiting to be overcome. The slightest hint that a narrative will involve harm to a child can bring me to sobs. Within my natural inclination, I cut and paste my own precious babies into the scene – and I fixate. What would I do if it were them? Then I scheme. We are never leaving the house. Never again.
A good example:
But! If I head myself off at the pass, impose God onto the scenario – with the firm belief that he is good – there is peace. I can’t protect Seabass and Sweet Chuck from everything. In fact, they were never mine to protect. They are God’s. And everything he does will be shown as right and good when all is said and done.
When I take this approach to life, other caverns of fear open up for light to shine into. Like the insidious fear that my life is on the downhill now that I’m a parent. That I’ll never have the time or energy to pursue my talents or interests. Or worse yet, that I have nothing to offer anyway. When I expose these fears to truth, I find the joy and fortitude to continue walking forward in whatever capacity God deems fit. The unexpected blessing? I discover, with something like incredulity, that I am a good mom.
Is this easy? No offense, but HELL NO. Trust me: I’m the last person to feign anything like competence. It is nearly impossible.
But only nearly so.