Eleven weeks ago we joyfully welcomed our 2nd little world-changer and our lives haven’t been the same since. It has been an exciting and sweet time for us at home, full of new routines, sissie love, and a few spit-ups.
With this new, two-child season we’ve entered into, along with some changes to my husband’s work schedule, I have had to face many situations I’ve never found myself in before. “Grocery shopping with a toddler” has now become “grocery shopping with a toddler and a newborn.” How do you fit them both in the shopping cart? And what if somebody starts screaming?
We attend a church where we sometimes have to park a block away, and I now have to figure out how to carry two kids with me when my husband can’t make it. It’s frightening being outnumbered by two unpredictable little people. And logistically, it can be challenging just trying to make it work in some situations, even without any major unexpected incidents.
Before we were expecting our 2nd child, I made plans to attend a national conference a year later for my home-based direct selling business. Shortly before she was born, we discovered that my husband would not be able to take time off to help out with the kids so that I could attend. Our youngest would be about 2 months old at the time, and I was faced with a decision of whether or not I would still make the trip. Just the thought of taking a 3 hour flight with two kids by myself was enough to make me break out into sweat.
When we are faced with new, challenging situations, we often have a choice to make. Are we going to stay home where it’s safe, or will we take a step into the unknown and the unpredictable?
There is something to be said for good planning. For the trip to the grocery store, I can make sure everybody is fed, changed, and napped. And when I am “flying solo” with 2 kids for the first time, I can carefully pack some helpful items, practice getting the little one in and out of the baby carrier, and ask for air travel tips from moms who have done it before.
But even with all that planning, there is always going to be the unexpected. Who would have thought that the change in pressure on the airplane would make the sippy cup start exploding milk all over the seat when my toddler flipped it open? Or who would have foreseen their 2 year old sprinting away as we waited for our flight? Even the best of planning doesn’t always result in a perfect outing. And sometimes the fear of everything that could go wrong keeps us from venturing into these uncharted territories.
Don’t let fear win. Do it afraid, with God.
I am by nature a pretty anxious person. I like things to be calculated, methodical, and planned. If I can’t see the end from the beginning, I fear everything in between. But that first time I pulled up to the church late with two kids by myself, and had to park a block away, only to realize the stroller wasn’t in the car, I had a choice to make. I could either turn around and go home, or I could get out of the car, pick up the newborn in the carseat, grab the toddler by the hand, and do it afraid.
It’s okay to be fearful. There might even be good reason to be fearful. It is entirely possible that my newborn will be inconsolable in the grocery store or on the plane and there will be no easy way out of the situation. But even if I fear the unknown, faith can push me past that fear. The God who never leaves me or forsakes me will be there with grace and love for every outcome.
I don’t have to do it carelessly. But when the planning is done, and I am still fearful, I can do it afraid– with God. And the more I practice stepping out, hand in hand with God, the easier it becomes.
I chose to go to church that day, afraid. But God was with me and so were many kind-hearted people who offered to help in small ways.
I chose to take the plane trip with both kids by myself. We were as prepared as we could have been, but things still went wrong. But God was with me and my faith was stretched by seeing how all those details worked out. Who would have anticipated that one of the busiest airports in the country would have a short line through security that day, and my sweet two-month old would sleep soundly in the ring sling through the whole thing? Who would have thought that on an afternoon flight in the middle of summer, we would have an empty seat next to us?
I did it afraid, and God was with me. He is with us. Always.