Rocky Mountain National Park on film — personal work by Sarah Bradshaw
For months I’ve had a thought in back of my mind, a feeling slowly creeping up the back of my neck that I just can’t shake, that maybe we miscalculated when we did our annual planning and budget review last December. Maybe we missed something, maybe we’re overextended. Is this sense of “hey, we got this!” and “I’m actually handling motherhood and entrepreneurship!” just a false pretense that will crumble to pieces if someone jostles it? Am I faking it, or am I making it?? And how on earth will I know the difference?
I know I’m not the only mom/business-owner/woman/human who thinks this. I know I’m not the only visionary/artist/entrepreneur who wonders if maybe they’re not really good at what they do, it’s all just marketing or pretend, and maybe one day something will happen and they’ll be exposed as a fraud.
Please tell me I’m not the only one.
Last night, after trying to (very briefly, not at all clearly) talk through numbers with Buck, I ended up in full-on panic attack mode. Hyperventilating, shaking, crying, couldn’t calm down. And not even about what we talked about, but about everything else. The cost of childcare compared to my income (is it worth it?). The toll that working weekends and nights and Buck’s work travel takes on our marriage and family life (am I ruining us?). The impact of stress on my body (will I ever lose this baby weight?). The affect that being a working mama has on my friendships. The fear that my choice to work will have a negative impact on our child. The cringe-inducing feeling of impending crash-and-burn, and how will we pick up the pieces if the worst happens? The intense feeling of the world sitting on my chest, that there is more required of me than I have ability to handle, that I’m about to drop something, and it might be something invaluable and priceless.
Buck held me, wiped away my tears, whispered true things to me for every fear I spoke to him. “It’s not as bad as you think. And even if it is, we’ll get through it. You’re not alone. You’re not alone.”
No, no, not alone. Isaac Watt’s words of truth circled through my mind as I fell asleep— My Shepherd will supply my needs, Jehovah is His name… He leads me for His mercy’s sake in paths of truth and grace… One word of His supporting grace drives all my fears away… The sure provision of my God attend me all my days…
I sing these words to London every single night when I put her to bed. I can literally sing these words in my sleep. But I still struggle to believe them sometimes.
But WHY?? I have never gone hungry. Even when I made less than minimum wage and struggled to afford deodorant. I have never been in debt. I have always had enough, even when it didn’t feel like enough. God has always provided for me. His provision is even more clear when I think back over this last year— first-time mama, traveling husband, shooting 16 weddings in my baby’s first 8 months of life, and I still delivered weddings faster than usual, with more consistency with usual. Even when work and life and motherhood seemed more overwhelming than words could express, I made it through. I didn’t shatter. My God held me together.
Why would I doubt Him today, when He has been so faithful yesterday, and every day before that?
This morning I walked into my home office and saw these words at eye-level at my desk:
“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.” — Elisabeth Elliot
What is required of me today? Playing with my daughter. Editing an engagement session for two dear friends. Answering client emails. Tossing together salad for dinner. Faithfulness in the roles and tasks given to me. Buck only has one wife, London only has one mother, SBP only has one owner. Faithfulness. Just faithfulness. Faithfulness in TODAY’s work, leaving tomorrow’s concerns for tomorrow. To quote from my favorite author once again, “This job has been given to me to do. Therefore it is a gift. Therefore it is a privilege. Therefore it is an offering I make to God. Therefore it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
It’s now 3pm on Tuesday afternoon, and my heart is still heavy. It helps to have answers to my fears, but logic doesn’t change emotion as quickly as I’d like. My heart is still heavy… but not quite as heavy.
What are we going to do?? Today I will be faithful. And today that will be enough.