fear and the bittersweet: when you need a midwife.
For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence. Upon You have I leaned and relied from birth; You are He Who took me from my mother’s womb and You have been my benefactor from that day. My praise is continually of You.
I know you’re scared. Maybe too scared to admit you’re scared. Maybe you curl up in bed at night, telling yourself not to be afraid, but deep down inside you carry that niggling, dark weight of fear.
And it’s robbing you. It’s taking slices of holy, precious time from your days, it’s casting shadows across the sunshine. It’s putting your celebration on hold. It’s hovering in the bathroom when you check for spotting like it’s penance. It’s throbbing in your veins while you wait, wait for results, wait for brighter days. Everything is on hold until you can exhale, until the next moment of worry comes. This is not how you want to live your life is it?
It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for being afraid and unsure. But tell someone. Tell your husband. Tell your mother. Cry hard on their shoulders until the weight of it all becomes a little more buoyant. Get caught up in the wide open space, way out there where it’s quiet, and learn to embrace what is good.
Dear heart, don’t think twice about next year or next month. Listen to the now, to the very moments that will pass by like a blur unless you hold on. Worry will harm your heart, leave pockmarked scars around the edges.
I know you’ve had grief in the past. I know it’s hard to move forward. I know it’s harder to move forward with grace, with joy, with peace, with abundance in your heart.
You can’t do it on your own. You’ve done it before, and it leaves you breathless in the worst possible way. You cannot do it on your own.
Maybe there’s that one friend that’s been there and done it, and she has the perfect freckled shoulder. Maybe you need many helping hands to hold you up. Maybe you need a midwife to walk you through this season.
You are carrying something. Don’t give birth to it, to fear. Lean into the doulas and the midwives, the women and men in this world that have lesions and scars and still carry faith like a lightning rod, like a patchwork quilt heavy across your shoulders. Lean on the ones that have seen the worst and still approach the day with gratitude, faith and expectation for good. These are the ones that work to bring forth life every day. These are the ones that see life come, sometimes against all odds.
Be led to the rock. The stone that’s been smothered in sunshine and bare feet, softened with time. Lean your head against it, and pound your palms if you have to, until you feel that fear release. Call upon the name of the one you worship. For Jesus does indeed hear every rambling, every cursed word, every mangled prayer.
And know that He knows. Know that He has gone to all the desolate places before you. Know that even if you experience loss, even if your child dies, even if your husband succumbs to the disease, even if you have to release your dreams of what would be, He will be there in that place. He hasn’t just gone ahead of you.
Dear one, don’t let fear rob you anymore. It will come, it always will be there knocking at the door. But you’ll get stronger. You’ll learn how to wean yourself off the whispers that made up your everyday life, that somehow became you.
Do circumstances have to measure up to your perfect plan before you can exhale? What if your greatest fears do come to life? Will you have saved a single moment of life by wearing that burden for years? If you breath life into those fears and they come to pass, you will be angry, you will shake your fist at God, you will say: how dare you, how could you, and you might even give up. Somehow you might feel like your worrying was a prayer, a petition.
I know you have your reasons for worrying. I know you’ve felt the sting of loss, of diagnosis, of grief, of loneliness. I know your fears are real, I know them like the back of my hand. I know they exist and you can’t expect them to vanish overnight.
But I know you have the strength to work against them, to push back, to hold your ground and dig your heels into the belly of the beast until it bucks you off.
And there you will land, in the dust, on solid ground.
You might climb onto it’s back the very next day, feel the familiar saddle beneath you.
Do you feel how it carries you?
But it’s not going anywhere sweet. It’s not going to give you answers. It’s not going to ever let go until you breath your last breath.
It’s not going anywhere until you stare it in the face, call it by it’s name and face it head on. Maybe everyday. But over time, you will spend less and less time communing with it. You’ll break bread with your friends, not your enemy. You’ll drink the wine of merriment even in the midst of this battle. You’ll smile and cast down the guilt, that familiar naysayer, in between sips of life. You’ll watch it swirl, blood red in the glass, and you’ll embrace the bittersweet.
You will realize you are not alone even when you are. You’ll gather strength from souls that surround you, from the God who listens in the quiet. You’ll realize you are living beyond your feelings, and the realization will awaken you.
Don’t go back, don’t go back there. Keep moving forward, keep tasting the bitter and the sweet on this wild and reckless journey of life.
Life is to be lived after all, not feared.