Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Scariest Test (A '31 Days' Post)

Prompt: Test

// Adrenaline is coursing through me, filling me with energy and, I hope, propelling me toward my goal. I’ve worked and studied and wrestled with this material. Now it all comes down to this. I’m ready to show my stuff.

This is generally how tests go for me. But there’s this one recurring nightmare that revisited again just a few weeks ago. Though it has been almost 11 years since I graduated, still it haunts me. As I approach the end of the semester I realize that there is one college class I’ve completely forgotten about! It’s too late to drop the class, I’ve missed basically the whole thing, and now it’s time for the final.

I am so completely unprepared. I haven’t studied for this. It’s completely new and completely terrifying. I have no idea what to do. Instead of adrenaline I have panic shooting through my heart, cutting off my breath. //

It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream. 

My heart will slow down in a minute and I will laugh at the monster who is revealed to be nothing but the tree branch scratching against the window once daylight comes. This is a common dream, I have heard. Except… it’s not as much of a dream as I think. 

Because this is what motherhood is.

There is no preparation for the deep passion you will feel toward this tiny being. No studying for the pain that will grip your heart at any thought of her harm. There’s no fail-proof instruction manual to tell you how to do this right in all the little particulars. There is no list to memorize so you can spit it back out when the test comes. 

There is just the startling panic of awakening to the fact that this LIFE is now your responsibility and depends on you for everything. And you have no idea what you are doing. Maybe you read some books and articles and felt prepared. But when they send you home with your tiny, infinitely precious bundle all those words feel empty and powerless. 

Motherhood is the scariest test I have ever faced. 

I was so unprepared for it and even now, almost 10 years in, I feel at such a loss much of the time. I’ve discovered certain rhythms that work for us…. for a season. And then I’m faced with some new problem or stage of life and I deal with the feeling of being in uncharted territory for the hundredth time.

Perhaps that is why I continue to be haunted by this nightmare again and again. Maybe the academic world of years past is just a representation of the pressures I feel as a mother – pressures of being tested and judged to see if I measure up, pressures of learning new skills but with the stakes oh so much higher. 

But there is a greater reality that I wake up to when I stop to remember the truth.

I am not being tested, I am being carried. The responsibility for these precious lives does not rest on me alone. I, too, am a child, being led and taught by a loving Father. He has shouldered the burden Himself and He graciously invites me to step into the yoke beside Him as He leads the way and carries the load. What a privilege to be such an intimate part of what He is doing in the lives of my children! What a relief that it does not depend on me.

And once again the light chases away the darkness – the panic of that nightmare is lifted, as it always is, by a good look at the truth. 

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1 comment:

  1. Loved this - "I am not being tested, I am being carried."