Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Scaredy Cat

“I said, ‘I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them.’ 
I said, and said, and said those words. 
I said them but I lied them.”  Dr. Seuss

Fear. I don’t think I really understood fear until I had my daughter in May.   

You know, that nagging worry that gets you when you lie awake at night, consumes your dreams and takes over your imaginings? I get it now. Fear of her not waking up, of somehow inadvertently hurting her or allowing her to be hurt, of losing her, of doing the wrong thing. Parents, I am guessing you know what I am talking about and I am also guessing that this doesn’t get easier as kids get older. As a high school teacher, I’ve seen the parents that can’t loosen the reins and I’ve seen the outcome. It ain’t good. And yet… I mean, Ems is only 7 months old and I have turned into a completely crazy person. I try to hide it, but just ask my sister or my husband. Never before have I been responsible for the entire wellbeing of another person and the enormity of that overtakes me sometimes.  

I am usually a spontaneous (maybe even reckless) person. I’m not scared of most things, at least not to the point where it affects my actions, and I say what I think, sometimes with my mouth working much faster than my filter. Before I had Emily, I assumed we would continue doing whatever we felt we should be doing in life and she would tag along. While I still feel this way to an extent, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of worry and fear that now accompanies me and my need for CONTROL. Control over Emily’s health, safety, and life in general.
So yesterday, when the public health nurse doing Emily’s last set of vaccinations before we head to Kenya (Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out our Christmas update.) looked at me and expressed (in no uncertain terms) her opinion of taking a 7 month-old to rural Africa, I just let her.  I let her question (slowly and clearly for the blonde in her office that had obviously not thought this through) if I think my child is precious. I let her imply, if not outright say, that I am flippant with her safety. 

Why didn’t I say, “I have researched every eventuality in this situation to the utmost degree.”
Or, “There is a family with four small American children living there, the youngest of whom was born there and I have been in contact with them for the last three months.” 
 Or maybe, “There hasn’t been a case of yellow fever there since 1997 and there is no malaria at that altitude.”
 Or how about, “We will be at a well-equipped hospital compound and have already stockpiled all medications we can bring.”
Or even, “The incidence of car accidents and stabbings in Saskatoon is statistically much higher than anything happening to my daughter in Kapsowar.”
Or more importantly, “The God we claim to follow in our North American comfortable lives is the same God in charge of us when we leave the bubble.” Or just, “Allow me to show you where you can shove that syringe.”

I didn’t say any of those things. I didn't say ANYTHING.

Maybe I accepted the thinly veiled attack because I have already expressed the same concerns. Over and over. To myself, to Nathan, to myself, to my family, to myself, to my friends, to myself, to God, to myself. Because I am afraid. Because I have said, “I want to stay home with Emily. It makes more sense. I’ll stay home with Emily and think how much cheaper that will be? Staying home with Emily will allow you to concentrate more on surgery…” and so on. Because if something happens to my daughter, here or abroad, I will bear that responsibility wholly, regardless of fault.

So why bother? Why even go? No one is forcing us to do this.

Why? Because we felt called to medical missions before Nathan started med school.
Because this opportunity has over a year of doors opening and everything falling into place as we prayed, “Either open the doors or close them. We won’t push it and we will accept either outcome.”
Because this is a step that is important in determining how we should organize our lives and our family once Nathan is finished residency.
Because God has called us to go as a family and because God is God wherever we go.
Because at the end of the day, I cannot control or guarantee Emily’s health, anywhere in the world.
Because in my life, God has always provided where He has led. Always. Regardless of my ability to trust Him.
Because I can’t control everything and because it’s not all about me. Gulp. That was a hard one to admit. 

It's not about you.

I know these things to be true. In my head. In my heart. So how do I conquer the fear? By letting go of my control and giving it over to God, every single day. This isn’t easy and I am not good at it, but I know it to be true.

I read a devotional, Daily Light, that compiles verses every day. Here’s today’s:

Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

— Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. — Having therefore, ... boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. — We may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

HEB. 4:16.  Phi. 4:6,7.  Rom. 8:15. Isa. 45:19.  Heb. 10:19,22.  Heb. 13:6.

So, like, um, well... remind me, kay?

I would just like to mention that every other experience I have had with Saskatoon Public Health Nurses has been incredibly positive and professional. 


  1. I am now all caught up in all thighs Abbie and can't wait to read more. Your posts are heartwarming and clever. Well done,friend

    1. Thanks Deena! I appreciate it. Love your blog and hearing about your family!


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