Friday, July 24
No one tells you when you become a mom that a free dose of anxiety comes with it. As someone who is generally not an anxious person, I have often been surprised how anxiety will rear its ugly head in the most unexpected moments and ways when it comes to my three kids.
When they were little I had low-grade anxiety around the normal day-to-day things. Did my toddler eat enough? Did he eat healthy food or sneak a crayon down the hatch? Why isn’t she sleeping a full ten hours like she should be? As they grew a little older my worries changed to things about school readiness, extracurricular activities, and playdates. Then our youngest entered the picture and his special needs added a whole new world of concerns. Not only did we face developmental delays but the challenges of living with a seizure disorder redefined “anxiety” in our home. When your other children watch their brother have Grand Mal seizures and turn blue repeatedly, it tends to leave a mark. To say we lived in a constant state of crisis for years would be accurate but eventually, you adapt and it almost feels “normal”. Normal to us.
But now we’ve entered a whole new world again. As if life wasn’t challenging enough, this pandemic continues to serve up a new dose of unwelcomed anxiety. All of the social skills we worked on for so long — years worth really, are they gone? Will he experience anxiety in the grocery store again? We worked on that one for such a long time and now he hasn’t stepped foot into a grocery store for 5 months. And ironically enough, I’m watching the child with autism who should not typically want to be with other people deteriorate when he doesn’t get to see people. Every day I feel I’m being challenged to either prioritize his physical health or his mental health but I don’t have the luxury of choosing both. And just forget the school decisions. Not even going there.
Now before this crazy runaway train jumps completely off the tracks, I’m reminded of this timely word from Proverbs 12:25, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
You see it’s easy to slap a verse on it and hope it sticks but the truth is I’ve already seen what God CAN do and I believe His promises are true even when we’re in a really long, dark tunnel. Sometimes I just need a good word to remind me of it.
More often than we might like to admit we need someone in our life to remind us of these truths and other beneficial ways to support good mental health in times like these. In some instances, we may need to just tell a friend that we’re sinking. In other instances, we need to seek out help from a trusted professional if the anxiety is overwhelming. There is no shame in asking for help.
The truth is, God is holding fast to you and your children, and nothing will ever change that. Pray the Holy Spirit reminds you that you and your kids are held, you are His, He is with you, He promises strength, and He will keep you safe in His care.
Suzi Soares, Family & Special Needs Pastor
Suzi’s heart for Family and Special Needs programming is personal, as a mom to 3 wonderful kids, including a son with autism and epilepsy. She desires for ALL families to have a place to belong, and for ALL children to be supported in a journey to reach their God-given potential. Suzi is married to her husband Alex for 22 years.
Click on the image below for today’s BOREDOM BUSTER.