Fear is one of my best friends. I am a very strong, bold person that others have always tended to lean on. Even as a child, I had adults that leaned on me and sought me to help them function and find relief. However, I am very fearful. It seems the older that I have gotten the more fear I have collected. I could
I fear being hurt. I fear being left. I fear failure. I fear success. I fear some truths.
One of my biggest fears has always surrounded my child. It has taken different forms and I can catalog certain situations that helped it take its shape.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had already ended the relationship with my child's father. Upon the news, he and his family sought a marriage and he genuinely wanted to resume our relationship, but I had no interest due to the emotional trauma I had suffered in the days leading up to my child's conception and immediately following [that's another post to be had].
When I refused the idea of reconciliation his parents moved him six hours away, and had no contact with me or my family until the month I was due. Then it was a visit every three or so months with little to no support.
I have never been typical. I was not a typical child. I was not a typical teenager. I was not a typical teen mom. I never created a camp against my child's father. I never talked about him outside of my family and definitely not to my child. I never put him in a negative light when discussing him with her (thanks to some amazing counselling with her godparents). I never screamed at him or told him what I really thought of him.
This however was not true of his family, especially his mom. I would encounter his extended family and they would tell me that they knew I couldn't be as bad as his mom had said. There were rumors about me having many sexual exploits even though I lost my virginity and got pregnant the same night. I understand that I got pregnant at seventeen, but I was not promiscuous and was very modest, so this was extremely painful to hear.
I supposedly never allowed them to visit with Rosalinda, even though there wasn't a single visitation turned down. My only complaint was that they would come into town and demand to see her without any notice, so their visits may have been shortened due to us having other plans. However, they never came to town and didn't get a chance to see Rosalinda.
In fact, there were times they came into town and I would get calls that they had been seen around, but they wouldn't even ask to see Miss Rosalinda. [I even drove by his grandmother's house and saw him and never received a call from him to see his daughter.] I never confronted them and just bit my tongue when they came to see my daughter. I wouldn't say a word. In fact it was probably awkwardly silent because of my desperate attempts to not bullet point the ridiculousness of their behavior.
I remember one visit in particular with my child's other grandparents. We arranged to meet at Toys R Us (I always preferred very public places). I had this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. A day or two before I was sitting with my child's godfather (at the time he was a psychologist and my greatest source or reality when I did try to react ridiculously).
I hadn't said a word to anyone about the fear in the pit of my stomach because I figured it was just me not wanting to deal with them, but pushing through because I wanted to do the right thing. Out of the blue, Rosalinda's godfather tells me not to let her get more than an arm's length away from me.
The pit in my stomach became red hot and I realized what he was referring to.
He said he didn't trust that they wouldn't do something drastic, like steal my child. If this had come from anyone else, I would've thought it a ploy to stir up paranoia, but coming from him was a shot to my gut. That visit I did just that and thankfully I was still nursing and could request the baby back for feeding, but it was forever burned into me the possibilities.
This uneasiness has never left me. Now, I definitely trust my daughter's father more than I do his parents. Well lets be honest...his mom. Fortunately, once Rosalinda was no longer a cute little infant, they lost interest and haven't pursued a relationship with her. Rosalinda has encountered them a few times and said that they "creep" her out. (I've never shared my fears with her, this is her own conclusion from her own experiences...go figure.)
Even though I don't face the same situation as with Rosalinda's grandmother, I still deal with worry concerning other people in Rosalinda's father's life. If he had the right motivation, he really could make waves in our lives.
Thankfully, he has shown he cares for and loves Rosalinda and I don't think he would ever want to disrupt Rosalinda's world. But when he was younger, he was easily commanded by his mother and I'm not sure that there aren't people in his life that could create the same atmosphere.
He so badly wants to redeem himself because he has made some horrible decisions concerning her, but isn't a horrible person. And being paired with someone with somewhat of a "hero complex" doesn't bring me comfort.
Ok...so that's a lot of back story. However, I wanted to give life to what I'm about to share. Eleven years of sitting in church under the word. Eleven years of fear still taking root. Eleven years of trying to keep my fears from making me look a paranoid freak and I'm just now finding a path to some peace...
Be merciful and gracious to me, O God, for man would trample me or devour me; all the day long the adversary oppresses me.
They that lie in wait for me would swallow me up or trample me all day long, for they are many who fight against me, O Most High!
What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.
By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?
All day long they twist my words and trouble my affairs; all their thoughts are against me for evil and my hurt.
They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they watch my steps, even as they have [expectantly] waited for my life.
They think to escape with iniquity, and shall they? In Your indignation bring down the peoples, O God.
You number and record my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle—are they not in Your book?
Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I cry out; this I know, for God is for me.
In God, Whose word I praise, in the Lord, Whose word I praise,
In God have I put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Your vows are upon me, O God; I will render praise to You and give You thank offerings.
For You have delivered my life from death, yes, and my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life and of the living.
Every big parental decision I have made has always taken into consideration this factor or fear.
This is a horrible admission, but I am guilty of parenting out of fear.
This Psalm has really shown light into this very dark fear that shadows many of my decisions. I know that we aren't supposed to be anxious for anything and that fear is just an illusion blocking the view of God's reality for me. But I'm still working through all of the illusions and trusting in Him one step at a time.
I felt so liberated this morning in my prayer time as I really took in the magnitude of this Psalm. I have literally felt like eyes were waiting to watch me fail as a parent.
Looking for a foothold to justify turning the tables on something that I deem so precious.
But He has this.
He had it before it happened.
I'm slowly working toward the revelation that even if my worst fears were realized, it would still be in the scope of His control and to His glory and my prosperity (Jeremiah 29.11).
I hope this encourages someone out there as I break off my relationship with fear!