Lately, I’ve been dealing with stress, some anxiety, and more emotions. Perhaps it is just that added stress from The Baby Habit is putting me in a more fragile state, which then leads to feeling more emotions and anxiety. Whatever it is, this 4th year since Emma’s death has been in many ways harder than the last two. I cry easier (and in case you hadn’t noticed since Emma’s death that is one thing that had been a marked change in me — I don’t cry as easily). But for some reason the tears are closer to the surface these last few months. I go to support group and actually cry, which is good, but definitely not as comfortable. I have often found myself fighting anxiety (not nearly as pronounced as the postpartum anxiety I have had in the past, but still there). I have to really be careful what I watch before going to bed, and often feel that I am trying hard to corral my thoughts to “safe” ones. Now, I know writing it all out like this will make it seem worse than it is, I don’t deal with all this constantly, it just comes and goes.
The last couple of nights I have been struggling with keeping my thoughts on track and feeling overwhelmed with the anxiety that was threatening to sneak in. It is usually only at night, after dark, that I deal with the anxiety. It is when the distractions of the day cease, and I am left only with my thoughts. Realizing that didn’t help the other night as I begin to wonder if that meant that that weak, anxious person was the real me. When you take away all that makes up my life, is that all that I am left with? Anxiety, worry, fear, and sin? If so, then I really didn’t like myself at all.
Then last night I was working through our new Mothering Matters book study. The book starts with discovering our identity. Last night I read the Creation story and was asked to answer several questions concerning how that story related to my identity. We were not asked to find our identity in the things and relationships that make up or life, but to go beyond that. It is clear who we are in the first part of the Bible. We are made in God’s image. The question was: “What does being made in God’s image mean for your identity?” And suddenly it was very clear. It gives me hope. If that is the true “me,” than all that other stuff, the weaknesses and sins are not really “me.” Those are there because of my sin nature, but it is not who I am. God created me in His image. He can and will take me beyond my sin and weaknesses, beyond the distractions of life, beyond even the relationships that make up my life, all the way to Him. To know that I was made in His image encourages me to turn to God in those moments of anxiety, to ignore the lies of Satan that pull me down, and reach up to take God’s hand. He will pull me out and continue to work in my life to make me more like Him, more like the thing He originally created me to be.