A Journey Toward Positive Possibilities
Kati was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in early June 2012, just weeks before she moved to Philadelphia. It was good to get answers and know why she was feeling lousy, but it was rather unfortunate timing from my mom point of view.
Just when she was set to leave and take care of herself, I felt a deep calling to hold her close and protect her. Kati was ready to go, and honestly, before her diagnosis, I had come to believe it was best. As close as we are, it was clear that we could only handle one woman in the house - especially in the kitchen.
After her diagnosis, however, I was plagued with fears and doubts. What if she became too sick to take care of herself? What if she didn't take her supplements and vitamins to build up her immune system? What if she didn't get the rest she needed? While working in our pharmacy, I had witnessed first hand some of the debilitating symptoms that can accompany Lyme.
Whether we celebrate or mourn our children leaving home, it seems many of us experience the unsettling pangs of what I call the "what ifs." We want to cheer them on, to believe the best, but fear sometimes tugs quietly on our heart.
What if they flunk out of school?
What if they don't make friends and struggle to fit in at college?
What if they don't follow God?
Throughout their lives, the what ifs can keep us awake at night if we aren't careful. I know one man in his seventies who lies awake many nights trying to sort through the events in his children's lives. He is positive and supportive in his communication, but although his children have grown children of their own, some nights he can't quiet his heart's concerns.
What if they don't get married?
What if they can't find a job?
What if their marriage is bumpy?
What if their spouse cheats on them?
What if they get sick and don't have enough insurance?
We breathe a sigh of relief and say grateful prayers when our kids ride successfully over small and big bumps or maneuver steep learning curves. However, since we have walked the road longer and know more of the twists and turns that could await them, the what ifs continue their attempt to plague us...
What if they have too much debt?
What if they get tired on that long road trip and have an accident?
What if their boss mistreats them and they don't stand up for themselves?
What if they can't have kids?
What if they don't want kids?
What if they suffer emotionally and we are left to watch helplessly on the sidelines?
What if, what if, what if...
Those two small words can hold us captive, and if we aren't mindful, we give them the power to slowly grind away at our joy and sometimes our faith. As I strive to maintain a closeness with my kids, I must continually lay them before God and make a conscious effort to relinquish control. It helps only a little to remind myself that any power I felt while they lived under my roof was an illusion. My mom heart holds tightly to wanting to protect, guide, and warn them.
When my heart is plagued by any of the what ifs, I often recall God's promise in Isaiah 43. This chapter has become one of my best counselors over the years. Listen to His comforting reminder:
"But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you Israel:
ear, for I have redeemed you
; I have summoned you by name;
you are mine
. When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you
; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...Do not be afraid, for
I am with you
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west
." Isaiah 43:1-3,5, emphasis mine.
God doesn't promise that there won't be trouble, but he does promise to be there in the middle of our pain. Sometimes the what ifs become realities, and we know that. Naturally, we want to avoid the pain and would do anything in our power to protect our kids as well. Instead, God asks us to turn to him and let him lead us through to the other side.
The truth of God's love is the power that breaks the grip of my what ifs.
God holds us all in the palm of his hand. He leads each soul beside still waters. His rod and staff comfort us when we walk through valleys. He woos us and continually reaches out, wanting to pull us close to his heart. Tom and I conceived our children, but God knit them together. He knows what is best for their development and maturity. He's got your kids covered as well.
If I spend too much time worrying about the what ifs, I might not fully enjoy the great events that happen now. That would be a shame. Kati did just fine in Philadelphia. It was bumpy at times, but she embraced the need to take care of her health. Since finding out she has Lyme, she not only moved to Philadelphia,
but also worked in Africa, moved to Georgia, became a certified health coach, spent 10 days in Costa Rico, and in 2016 she married Jordan Zech. They live in Dallas.
I'm training myself to turn those what ifs into
What if they go through bumps and it makes them stronger and capable to face harder challenges that come their way?
What if they fail and learn to be resilient?
What if they suffer emotionally and it makes them compassionate and kind to others because of it?
What if they have a bumpy marriage and it helps them grow and experience rewarding character changes?
I'm glad you are joining me on this journey and hope we will decide to embrace the positive possibilities together.
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