The song ’Still’ by Amanda Cook was recently shared with me. As I listened to the lyrics whilst pushchair-pacing the streets of Romsey I couldn’t help but notice the irony. There I was unable to do anything but ‘be still’ in ongoing attempts to get my baby girl to ‘be still’ (i.e asleep). Another failed attempt to get Zoë to sleep at home leads me desperately turning to the place I hope I will find answers to all my first-time parenting questions and worries…the internet.
However scouring the internet for answers, more often than not, seems to leave me feeling more confused and even less at peace with the barrage of conflicting advice there is available.
I’ve always been pretty good at studying, working out the ‘right’ answers, preparing and getting ahead of the curve…coping mechanisms I’ve developed to try and make sure I never fall short in life. However faced with first-time parenting, this approach just doesn’t seem to work so well! I’ve found that so much of the time there is just no clear cut ‘right’ way to do things, yet the stakes feel much higher than anything else I’ve faced before.
So I continue to desperately search for answers, looking for just some freeing reassurance that I’m doing okay, and that my actions are not ruining mine and my baby’s life (dramatic I know, but my thoughts go there!).
And so again, as I chat to God in my anxious state, he gently reminds me: I have access to a God whose wisdom far outweighs anything I can seek elsewhere. And His Spirit lives in me, available to guide me through the most ordinary everyday life decisions (including parenting ones), available to consult 24/7. And thankfully, God is far greater than any unwise decisions or mistakes I may make. And he will make good out of all things for those that love Him. When embraced fully, what freedom this knowledge brings.
“You know everything yet You listen through my anxious thoughts with compassion. One by one they fall into perfect peace.”
I am only at the beginning of my parenting journey, but I am beginning to suspect that, ‘not having a clue what to do’ may be a reoccurring hallmark of what is to come when trying to navigate a child’s ever-changing needs. Therefore, I need to form a habit of constantly coming before Him in prayer and seeking stillness in my anxiety when faced with uncertainty, looking first to God for His reassurance and wisdom. He’s got this, and so I’ve got this. As it says in the Psalms:
“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalms 121:2-8 NLT
Easier said than done of course when you’re in those moments…so I have given my husband, Ben, permission to confiscate my phone when I’m beginning to show signs that I’m crazily anxiety-driven googling again!