On Fear, and Not Being Okay.

December 15, 2015

Two weeks ago, I had a paper cut on my wrist. By lunchtime, it was red and a little sore. By dinner, there were red streaks halfway up my forearm. By the time I swallowed the antibiotics in the emergency room, they were past my elbow.

Oh, and a few years, ago, my dad almost died from a staph infection that turned into necrotizing fasciitis in his leg. So when the ER doc tells you he is worried, and lists all the symptoms that would indicate the antibiotics aren’t working, you maybe start to think of all the worst things that could happen over the next 48 hours. (Spoiler: I am fine.)

Fear is a funny thing.

You think you have it tucked away in the cobwebs and corners of your memory, wrapped up with a tidy little bow of scripture and the knowledge of life in the after. 

Then you don’t.

And fear unfurls like a waking lion, slowly at first, then with a roar that clears the cobwebs right out and you remember. Oh you remember. And you find yourself in the CVS parking lot at 11 pm, boxed into your dirty minivan with wet cheeks and a shaking heart.

(Fear is an unwelcome companion of mine, stemming from the aftermath of a very difficult first year of marriage and multiple deployments over the past eleven years.)

That was the beginning of what has been a very difficult two weeks.

Two days later I ended up in the bed at 3 pm eating cookies and crying over my perceived (in)ability to parent.

IMG_1745

I spilled my guts to two different groups of women who care for me and they both said I might need counseling.

I yelled at my chickens. A lot.

IMG_1701

I went to war with the Wee Man over squash soup.

IMG_1686

In the aftermath, I told the Husband,

“I am not okay.”

Actually, the conversation went more like this.

“Are you okay babe?”

“Well, I gotta tell ya, I’m not great!”

Which led to a much longer conversation about how I am, in fact, not okay.

The fear is still lingering. I conjure up ridiculous, statistically improbable scenarios. I hear stories on the news about child soldiers and I obsess over the safety of my sons and preserving their innocence. I read the stories of refugees and the impossible heartbreak they are slogging through, I imagine myself in their place, and my soul shreds apart with the weight of it and I think to myself:

“I can’t bear it.”

Any of it. All of it.

IMG_1665

I’m not okay.

(And let’s not forget that in one year, we moved to the woods,

IMG_0735 IMG_0738 IMG_0745

had a baby …

IMG_1048

started a new job, transitioned to four kiddos all under age 8,

HugginsWEB-113

and in the last four months have endured lice, pinkeye, mastitis, a broken arm requiring emergency surgery, several bouts of the flu, and a staph infection.)

Really, I’m just telling you this because sometimes it is okay to say that you are not okay. 

(And it’s allowed, too, to look at the pictures here, acknowledge and be all gratitude for what gifts we’ve been given, and still not be okay.)

I like to weave for you my stories that have resolution, that have redemption. But I might not have resolution on this one for a while. I’m slap in the middle of this one and I don’t know the ending. Except to believe with all my fearful, shaking heart that it comes steeped in gospel and grace.

But redemption, it always seems to come at a cost.

I’m not telling you this because I need compliments, or attention, but when I messaged my heart-friends from a pile of crumbs, I needed them.When I sat down at my MOPS table the next morning, I needed them. I needed to skip the past the small talk and the appearances of a comfortable, middle class life and tell them that I was not okay. That I was angry and afraid, overwhelmed and discouraged.

I needed them to listen, and love me through it, and they did. 

Maybe you need someone to listen to you, to know you are not okay. You don’t need permission to say it. You need to know that there are people who want to listen, and to love you. I will – or direct you to people who can. 

So that’s me this Christmas season … not okay. And that’s okay.

IMG_1562
Best post tree decorating pic I could get …

(And just maybe not okay is the best place to be at the celebration of a wee Babe who would be the bridge to our after. He who comes to bring joy in the morning, and who, in the end, brings victory over death.)

~M.

(Editor’s note: I am pursuing counseling, for those of you concerned. And I ever grateful for navigating this with my oh-so-gracious, wise, and compassionate husband.)

More about Molly Huggins

I am an unrepentant extrovert with an ongoing, passionate affair with coffee, ellipses, and the written word. I write because it’s how I’m made to worship. I am a story teller, because redemption has a story to tell. And always, I want to be a story collector. So have a virtual seat at my beat-up kitchen table. Read my story. Tell me yours. Stay awhile. And P.S. ... for more about me, click on my mug in the sidebar;)

10 Comments
    1. I am with you here. A few years ago the ER doctors found some lung nodules on a CT scan. I had to do a follow up 6 months later to see if they were growing (as that could mean cancer). I thought I was confident that I could just wait for the test but what happened eventually was that I started worrying about having lung cancer. So things like that do make you re evaluate perspective and other things.

      1. Oh goodness – I am glad you aren’t sick. And yeah, perspective is a beautiful thing! Just tough in the moment sometimes … love you!

    1. I did counseling for years, and still not ok.:/ But, then what is the standard of ok?;)
      Thank you for sharing. You’re a good Mom, sis. I always measured my day by if the kids were still alive, life was good.👍🏼
      Praying with passion. Love you!!

      1. I think maybe it is a little different for all of us!! Thank you for the prayers and encouragement. Love you too, we miss our Alaska friends!

    1. As always, thank you for sharing your heart Molly. As you say, we all have a slightly different journey, but you allow us to share in yours and remind us that there is redemption with hope in Jesus Christ. Thank you for that reminder. It’s pretty hard to resign to being “not okay” to some degree because we don’t belong in this world, and I have far too often allowed the fear to cloud my heart and overshadow the Hope. Your reminder of redemption is encouraging and I’m so thankful. Sending you and your beautiful family so much love <3

      1. Thank you so much. It is a privilege to share in this space and know that people are invested. Much love back to you and yours!

I love to hear from you!