Sunday, January 31, 2016

Trusting in God

(Pieces of a talk I gave the other week in church)

Fear seems to be a big one for me that gets in the way of trusting God and becoming a mother has been my biggest fear. The idea of motherhood has been daunting my entire life. I wasn’t the teenage girl that babysat, I was the teenage girl that had the father that kindly warned the families in our ward, “No, Katie doesn’t babysit.” That really happened. Well, fast forward to June 2014… Jeremy and I had been married for over 5 years and I knew that motherhood was coming. It had been this big thing way off in the distance, which I assumed I would magically be ready for when it came. I was realizing that it was coming closer, and I was not more ready, I was more scared than ever.

Journal Entry from Father’s Day - June 2014
“I feel like I am living the dream. I love where I live… Boston has been a fantastic adventure. I love Jeremy so much. Our love continues to strengthen and grow. He is the perfect one for me. I choose him and I will choose him every day. He truly is the best. Today’s Father’s day which of course makes me think of Jeremy as a future dad. And then I get nervous and scared for the future. I know kids are in our future, I want them to be. I just doubt my abilities to be a mother. I’m having so much fun in life now, that I’m afraid to change it. I hear lots of things about motherhood, I see lots of things about motherhood. Most of them seem extremely difficult – sleepless nights, constantly sacrificing time, money, my body not being my own anymore – changes that I can’t control. It all seems inevitable when a baby enters the picture and that’s terrifying. At the same time, people say it is worth it. I wonder if that is true. I want to believe it. I want to believe that if I jump on that motherhood train that the blessings will outweigh the hardships. I want to believe that I will be a good mother and I’m afraid that I am too selfish for that ever to happen. I want to believe that I will feel comfortable holding a baby when now all I feel is fear when a friend passes their child to me. I can sometimes picture myself as a mom, exploring, laughing, cuddling. I want to believe these feelings mean I can do it and right now I don’t think I can. I am selfish and I like my hobbies, my time, my space, my clean house, our life full of traveling and adventures. I worry that having kids will take those things that I love away from me, especially my career, that I find incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. I’m scared that I will resent my children for the life changes they will impose. I’m afraid I will feel less like myself, that I will feel empty, lost, and angry and sad. I’m afraid I’m too wrapped up in my own hobbies, work, and dreams to be able to properly welcome a child into the world. I’m afraid I won’t be a good mom, that I’m not tough enough to make the sacrifices, deal with the pain, and get through the sleepless nights. I’m afraid of being a mother and the possibility at failing at something that seems so inevitable. What if motherhood isn’t for me? What if I can’t do it? What if I’m too selfish to make the sacrifices? What if I make the sacrifices and I feel empty and angry? Even now, here I am writing about motherhood and it’s Father’s Day. A day to celebrate my dad and the great men in my life, all I can think about is my unwillingness to let Jeremy be a father. Will I ever get to place where I am truly excited to have kids? I feel I have gotten closer in the last year, a tiny bit closer. I’m afraid I will never get there. I am afraid.”

I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to get to a better place, a place where I actually wanted to be a mom. I think Jeremy worried about the same thing. After writing that journal entry with tears sliding down my face, I passed it to Jeremy, and urged him to read it. I needed help. I needed him to know how I was feeling. I needed to get serious about changing myself, trusting in God, and preparing to take on the challenge of motherhood

Over the next 8 months, I worked hard. Expressing my worries and fears to God through many prayers, to my closest friends, to my parents, to my sweet husband. Everywhere I turned, I was met with compassion and wonderful reminders of Truth I had always known, but had forgotten while I was being swallowed by my fear. I remember my dad saying, “Katie, you don’t have to do this alone. You have Jeremy. You have God. You have us.” Through the many meaningful conversations, my heart began to change. My fears began to subside. My trust in God began to grow.

Looking at a Journal Entry in February 2015 the change is evident:
“Motherhood Preparedness Update: I have realized that I might not ever get that feeling of being prepared to be a mom. You can’t prepare for an experience or role like that. I will grow into it motherhood one step at a time. I will learn how to be a mother and that’s how it is supposed to be. The biggest thing I’ve recently realized is that being a mother – learning to be a good mother – will help me become the person I am designed to become. Learning to be a mother will stretch me, challenge me, and humble me. Becoming a mother is my next step. It’s the very thing that will help me develop Christlike attributes and become the being my Heavenly Parents want me to become. So I will jump in and embrace this crazy adventure!! I totally got this, especially because I don’t have to do this alone. I have Jeremy, God, our parents, siblings, and good friends to offer guidance, encouragement, and support. There is nothing we can’t do when we have God on our side and God is definitely on the side of bringing sweet, perfect, spirits into this world.”

My fears weren’t erased, they are still there. The difference is that my trust in God is now louder than those fears. God also didn’t just take this duty away from me, I wasn’t excused from my role of being a mother on Earth, but He has given me the support I need. Alma teaches, “I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” I feel exactly what Alma describes, God’s support. I know that God will lead me into the uncertainty of motherhood step by step. If he wants me to be mother, then I can do it, He will guide me along the way. I didn’t receive all of the answers to my questions or any of them in fact… but what I received was the reminder that God will not leave me.

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