I spent the first few years of motherhood in fear: fear that I would screw my kids up, fear that they would experience some of the hardships that I had endured during my own life, fear that I wasn't good enough, fear that someday they would want nothing to do with me, fear that I wasn't deserving of their love. I have no idea where this fear came from but it was very real and consuming. The anxiety of those early years was paralyzing at times and it stole giant chunks of my happiness. My insecurities were big and raw and prevented me from enjoying the most amazing gift I've ever been given.
"I'm afraid that I'm going to screw up my kids" I finally admitted to a dear friend about a year ago. It felt so good to say those words out loud, to acknowledge the wall that was blocking my heart from feeling free. I was in a spiritual place, a soul searching chapter, and things were shifting in my heart. I was letting God in more and anxiety in less. And God started moving mountains in me. The more I let go of my anxiety and fears, the more I trusted in God's plan for me, the stronger I felt. "I want to be grateful, I want to REALLY enjoy my life, I want to be free of these chains that are keeping me from loving completely and without fear". I wrote those words down in a journal and prayed them over and over and over again. I don't want to be scared anymore, I just want to love and live.
Though there were things that we definitely lacked and certain aspects of our youth that we would like to improve upon with our own family, Shawn and I both had blessed childhoods. The divorces, the disappointments, the struggles: those things can't define my own family. For every thing that I lacked in my own childhood, God has provided for me ten fold in my adult life. He chose ME to be a mom to these three children, these three in particular. He entrusted them to me because He loves me. He knew that I would be the perfect mama for Belle, Brees, and River. He knew that they would teach me just as much as I would teach them. Just like my mama and I were meant to be together, too. My fears and anxieties were the chains that were binding me and keeping me from truly experiencing that truth and I was done with it.
And so I am moving forward in my fearless year and vowing to spend more time appreciating this gift rather than being scared of it. I love my kids and I owe it to them to show them my love in a bold and fearless way. There's nothing to be scared of: we're in this together. I strive each and every day to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings we have been granted, to humble myself and ask God to take away my anxieties and fears, to replace those insecurities with a love so strong and bright that anything negative that comes our way doesn't stand a chance. Because I am a mama and I am so deserving of this love.
The gospel on Mother's Day mass summed it up much better than I ever could:
John 15:9-17“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”