My kid’s napping at the moment, for the first time all week, so I’m enjoying some quiet time to put my definitely broken toe- and possible fractured foot-up for a rest and ruminate on all the things God has been teaching me the last few weeks. I wish I didn’t have so much to learn lately, it’s been a pretty rough go of schooling around here. But, I wanted to share a story with you that God has been using every day to teach my heart a little more about myself.
This week, we moved Ellie to a big girl, toddler bed. This prospect was terrifying for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, our girl never sleeps as it is- the excitement of something new in her room was sure to keep her up for hours. Secondly, now she was mobile, which, for our little adventurer, means we would have to take extra precautions to prevent middle of the night trips to the emergency room or calls to poison control. (Yes, hello??? My kid just ate a dust bunny. A larrrrrrrrge one. Will you have to pump her stomach????)
We had done our best to prepare her for several weeks; making a big deal out of a big girl bed, of what a big girl she is now that would be able to get up and down by herself, that big girls are able to stay in their beds all night because they know that they can pray to Jesus if they are scared or read a book if they can’t fall back to sleep. She took to it right away, jumping on it, doing forward rolls, shouting, “I a big girl!” During the day. That first night, like Ellie clockwork, we heard whimpering in the monitor at 12:30. We both watched our door in anticipation of a little, toe-head in red and white striped pajamas. But, she never came and screamed louder still until I got out of bed to see if perhaps a pant leg has gotten stuck to prevent her from getting down, or something to that effect. As I rounded the corner to her room, I saw her forlorn, little tear-streaked face clutching the end bar of the toddler bed. It had not occurred to her that she could get down. That there were no more bars that she couldn’t climb. That she was free to come and go as she pleased. She couldn’t see what was right in front of her, because she had never, not slept in her crib in her room. She just didn’t believe that her life was different, though it clearly was.
I am a long time sufferer of anxiety. There are different gradations of anxiety, so what pertains to me, I am sure, may or may not pertain to someone else-just a disclaimer. But mine has increased in severity the last few years in which my health was altered, my sleep was disturbed and my brain couldn’t cope with all of the new challenges and changes. I know that for me, part of my anxiety stems from the fact that, just like Ellie, I forget that I no longer live in the crib of my old life; the one where I had to take care of myself and everyone else and control any and all outside forces and if one ball drops I will be forever guilty, forever marred, forever unworthy, forever broken. I forget that God took the bars off of my bed, and that I am free to run around, to seek His face for help, to rejoice in my freedom and the fact that I’ve got a Father in Heaven who looks out for me in case I get hurt or in trouble. I forget all the time. Everyday. I don’t want to, but that’s part of the anxiety. We don’t want to, but we do. We try so hard not to, and we do. I don’t think that makes God angry, He just finds different ways to remind us. God used my daughter’s night waking to show me how I’ve still been living like I was in a crib, instead of a big girl bed.
I want my kid to never live as though she’s stuck in her crib. I want the same for myself.