It was an ordinary day. I was pulling my hair up in a ponytail before going outside to play with my husband and children. And I felt it. A lump on the side of my neck. I remember panicking as my hand rubbed against it. That was all it took. I didn’t waste any time.
I ran outside and told my husband I was going straight to the doctor’s after-hours clinic, as it was around 5:00. When the doctor came in, he felt the lump on the side of my neck and calmly told me that it was probably just an infection and would clear up within a month. A month???
He wanted me to wait a month to see what would happen?
What if it was cancer?
Or something worse?
The Grip of Fear
Now some of you may be thinking, “Wow, this chick was freaking out over nothing.” And I was. But what you don’t know is that, at the time, I had been struggling with a very real fear of dying young. It had started pretty soon after having my second child, who was 2 at the time. It was hard to explain. I wasn’t afraid of death because as a Christian, I long to see Jesus. But I was afraid of not living and leaving my children behind.
My husband is a wonderful father, and I knew he would be fine in time. But my children…who would do all of those little things that only their mom could do? Put the bow in just right? Cut the sandwich triangles perfectly? Pray over them and teach them about Jesus with that cheesy mommy charm?
My heart was racing as I headed to our church for a worship service that night. I was supposed to meet my mom, but was running late and ended up sitting alone. As it turns out, the Lord had a plan. The music was powerful and you could feel the Lord’s presence there that night. As I sang loudly, in my head, I was praying-begging really-to the Lord. “Please don’t take me yet, Lord. Please don’t let me die. I can’t leave my children yet. I just can’t. Please keep me here and use me for your glory here…I”m just not ready…”
When God Speaks
I was rambling on when I very clearly heard this message break through. “They don’t need you, Maggie. They need me.” I quickly, and defensively, rared back with “Yes they do. Please, please…” It came again, but more firm. “THEY DON’T NEED YOU. THEY NEED ME. AND YOU HAVE GOT TO LAY THEM AT MY FEET.”
I thought I had done that. I had prayed for the Lord’s will to be done in our lives. I had prayed for Him to guard and protect my babies. But the truth was, that I hadn’t completely given them to Him. I was holding on with a tight grip…just in case He needed my help.
But then it hit me. They really didn’t need me.
I couldn’t be their everything.
I couldn’t heal all of their hurt.
I couldn’t give them ultimate peace.
I couldn’t love them with a perfect love.
And I couldn’t save them.
There is only One who can.
And they need Him.
Choosing to Trust
My life changed that day. I gained a peace I didn’t have before. I felt a calm wash over me. And my pride took a hit, as I realized how very small I am in the grand scheme of things.
I can’t say that I haven’t worried about my health since that day. But when I have, it has been a different kind of concern. It is not a frantic worry full of panic and overwhelming fear. It is a concern that says, “I am afraid of what may come. But I trust You in the good and the bad. I will love You in the good and the bad. And I will lay my life and my children’s lives at your feet. Because You are all we need.” And He is.
Let Him be all you need.
Lay your life at His feet.
And live the abundant life, free of fear, you were meant to live.
Maggie Meadows Cooper
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments and contributes to IBelieve Truth: A Devotional for Women, Devotional Diva, and the Connecting Ministries Blog. ! She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.