On Going THERE

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I am a worrier.  And sometimes, ok, more often than not, worrying can get the best of me.  Especially when it comes to Gianna.  Part of it is just my worry-wart nature, but another part, a very real part of it has to do with losing Whitney.

All parents hate it when their child gets sick.  No matter what the illness, the age of your baby or other circumstance, its no fun to see your baby ill- whether your baby is 6 months old or 16 years old.  But when Gia gets sick, my mind automatically goes to a place I have otherwise so desperately trained it not to go... That place where I begin to imagine what it would be like to lose her, too. 

A few months ago, Gia got really sick, really fast.  She just started throwing up and wouldn’t stop.  After talking to the doctor on-call, we took her to the ER.  Now, the rational part of me knows that babies get ill sometimes, and more than likely, she just needed to be re-hydrated and all would be fine.  After some x-rays, blood-work and observation, Gia was, indeed, just fine.  We were sent back home with a very tired baby who slept the rest of the night.  However, as we were driving out of the ER parking lot, Sean voiced what I had been thinking all along... What if we hadn’t left the hospital with our baby?  What if she wasn’t coming home with us?  We’d already left the hospital without one baby before; who’s to say it wouldn’t happen again? The reality of our lack of invincibility has long since set in.  We are not immune to life’s cruelty of untimely loss and pain.

I don’t think its normal for my mind to go to There when Gia gets sick.  Most normal parents do not jump from flu to funeral in an eye’s blink.  But I do.  When we lived in California, we had a giant Weeping Willow tree in our back yard.  I loved it... It brought tremendous shade to the side of our house and I loved how its long billowy branches reached forever up to the sky then bent back down to nearly kiss the grass beneath it.  Sean had a different take on it, though... He hated the thing.  He hated how it was all spindle-y and twisty and messy.  The leaves and twigs were broken off and scattered around our entire yard.  And that’s what its like when this seed of worry gets stuck in my head-- in no time, it has become a big, ugly weeping willow that has entwined its sinewy branches into every thought that crosses my mind. 

Yesterday, I lost an earring.  Just a rhinestone stud, but I didn’t realize it until much later in the day.  I found the back to the earring on the kitchen floor, and immediately, I began to panic about where the earring itself was.  I think I lost it when I took my hoodie sweatshirt off earlier in the day... And I remember I was standing... In the living room... Right in the middle... Of... Gia’s play area.  And then I remember... A few hours ago, Gia looked like she was putting something in her mouth.  She’s always doing that these days.  Working on developing that pincer grip.  This girl could put a lobster to shame-- she always finds the teeny tiniest things to pick up and put in her mouth.  Much of the time, she hasn’t even picked anything up... Just practicing the imaginary motion of pinch-to-mouth.  Anyways, so I see her doing this and immediately pick her up to see if there’s anything in her mouth.  She fights me as I pry open her jaws... I do the “scoop” with my finger in her mouth, but I don’t see or feel anything.  She wasn’t choking or wheezing or gagging or anything like that.  So I forget about the whole incident.  UNTIL... I realized I had lost my earring. 

Later that night her fever started and she got increasingly fussy.  She has a stuffy nose and is teething, so the rational part of me knows that her discomfort is most likely due to that, rather than a possibly swallowed earring.  But I can’t help but wonder...

I took Gia to the doctor today, and everything seemed fine.  Ears clear?  Check.  Throat?  Check.  Lungs?  Check.  Hmmmm.  We got to talking about Gia’s sleeping and eating and I forgot to mention the earring I lost, which Gia possibly ate.  So here we are, a day and a half later, and I am obsessing about it.  Gia’s woken up a couple of times tonight in obvious pain.  Again, most likely from teething and the fact that she sounds like a hungry pig when she breathes.  But I still find myself Googling “how long does it take for swallowed object to pass”.  And even though I read on the website of my favorite baby doctor that most small objects are easily passed in 3-5 days (he’s even seen an open safety pin pass through a baby without problems!) and not cause for major concern, I’m still freaked out.  I get back on my hands and knees and check the carpet for the 5th time (this hour).  I take the couch cushions off (again).  I turn the hoodie I was wearing inside then out, inside then out.  Still no earring.  Still worrying.  What if it rips a hole in her entire body, and I forever have to live with that?  My mind goes There again, and by this time is almost completely lost There

But in a brief moment, something from Here entices me back, stills my mind.  I remember some verses I had compiled in an email for a friend when we were both pregnant with our Rainbow babies.  “Worry Verses” I had titled it. I search my GMail for “worry” and thankfully, the document I so desperately need pops up.  And then, like an ice cold sweet tea in the middle of a Carolina summer, my eyes drink in these words as my spirit slowly soaks them up:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I want to know more about the word “worry” or “anxious”... Being an Ozark alum, I’m a geek for a good word study.  Aren’t we all?  What, no?  I’m the only one?  Ok, well then hang with me for a few turns, because I promise its really cool.  The word used for worries (or in the NIV, ‘be anxious about’) comes from the Greek word merimnao (Strong’s 3309).  Essentially, the word means a part, as opposed to a whole.  It means to be drawn in opposite directions, pulled apart, scattered.  Doesn’t that make sense?  When I worry about something, my mind usually goes in a million different directions.  All the worst-case scenarios are zipping through my imagination at light-speed.  I feel frazzled in my worry, scattered in my anxiety.  Ok, put that in your back pocket for  a minute.

Next, I looked up the word “supplication”, or petitions.  It basically means a heart-felt request, arising out of a deep personal need.  The original root of the word implies a felt need that is personal and urgent.  Yes, yes that’s it!  Oh, Lord!  Hear my petition... I am lacking faith and allowing fear to take hold... Please, come quickly Father and quiet my racing mind!

Finally, I read on to verse 7 in Philippians... “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  What is this peace of which the writer speaks?  Back to the concordance... Peace.  (Strong’s 1515) eirḗnē ... (doesn’t this word look a lot like ‘serenity’?)... from eirō, "to join, tie together into a whole") – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God's gift of wholeness).  Oh, yes.  That is peace.  Wholeness.  God’s gift of wholeness.  When worry has scattered my heart and mind into a million pieces, whisking me There at warp speed, God’s unifying peace brings it all back together to one central place- his sheltering wings.  His protective arms.  His loving side.  Whatever you call it, peace is with Him... when all essential parts (me + Him) are joined together.  God’s gift of wholeness.  So tonight, as I’ve just gotten up to calm a crying babe for the 4th time since I put her to bed a few hours ago, I forego worry, and instead let my petitions and praises turn my worry into prayers so that I can rest in God’s eirḗnē.

6 Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.7 Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.  (The Message)

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2 Lovely Words

  1. Thank you. Nicely done. I needed to read that just now.

  2. So thankful for this today...I cried as God ministered to me through it, I have been a mess worrying about Bella this week.


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