A Letter to our Children About Anxiety

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I still remember 8 years ago as though it was yesterday, the day that I woke up and no longer felt safe within my skin.

It was the day I began to experience a fear unlike anything I'd ever known. A fear caused by nothing, soothed by nothing, and seemed to be my lifelong uninvited unwelcomed constant companion.

It was the day I no longer felt like me, and the day I wondered if I'd ever get back to me again.

That day led itself to many years of anguishing internal pain and suffering that slowly seemed to suffocate everything that I had ever known myself to be. And not only did I feel I was losing myself, but I feared my family was also losing the wife and mama they deserved to have. 

The truth was, what I felt, what I battled, what I fought and prayed against hour by hour, day by day, was not me. It was not my heart, it was not my soul...and I needed them to know what was true. Perhaps in those moments, I too, needed to be reminded of what was true.

And so I sat down and wrote my babies this letter from my open and vulnerable heart directly to theirs, in hopes that one day they would know and understand the lesson behind it all.

My sweet babies….

Before I explain things to you, know that I love you.
Beyond words.
I love you that much.

And it is because I love you that I need you to know that I am not perfect.
And sometimes my imperfections may hurt you.
Sometimes you might even think that what I struggle with has something to do with you, and you’ll wish things were different.
And trust me.
Sometimes so do I.
So do I.

The truth is, every single one of us in this world has a struggle.
We all have something that we have to continually work and fight against, something that causes us to cling just a little tighter to our Savior.

And mine?
In this moment happens to be longer than I’d like moments of anxiety and sadness.
It comes without warning and goes just the same.
And it’s not because I don’t love God enough, because I do, maybe even more now than I ever did before.

I love Him and have given Him my whole heart and soul, and because of that, even in my anxiety, I still have peace. And I accept that this is simply my struggle for now, the thorn in my side that causes me to rely only on the Lord's strength, rather than my own.

I need you to know that I am a fighter.
I may cry and freeze up from time to time, but I do not and I will not lay down and let this take over me. Because I have the power of God that lives within me, daily I am able to take up my cross and call upon Him to be my strength.

You must know and BELIEVE that this has NOTHING to do with you….or my love for you.
When I need to go in my room to find a peaceful moment, it’s not because I don’t love you.
When I seem to be short tempered, it’s not because you are or have done anything wrong.
When I have tears in my eyes, it’s simply because I am hurting, but never because of anything you did or anything you are.
This is simply me….living and learning, taking each moment as it comes, and accepting the challenge God has placed before me.

My babies, also know this.

Sadness, depression, anxiety or the like….is not necessarily wrong, nor is it always our fault that we feel these things. But we need to remember that it cannot HAVE US.
We cannot give in to it.

It is my faith in Christ, (as well as my love for daddy and the two of you), that I have found it in me to fight. I will do whatever it is I have to do to be the best mom and wife I can be. I will fight this battle with all that God has given me so that I am able to come out of this one day stronger and better able to live the life He created me to live.

But, right now….I am still struggling.
Still fighting.
And still, perhaps, not entirely the best mom and wife I dreamed I would be.
I get sad.
I get anxiety.
I feel broken and scared.
I am so incredibly human.

For whatever reason, God is allowing this in my life at this time.
But He is sovereign. He has plan.
In Him, there IS always a purpose.
We may not see it. I know I don’t right now.
But even if I never do, still I trust in Him.
The details, the results, those are all meant to be left in His capable hands.
The faith and worship despite the circumstances, well that is simply all I can do.

I have learned that often in our harder times of life, the Lord sometimes speaks the loudest. And I am in a place where I hear him ever so clearly, and it is sweet.
His hugs show up daily in so many ways, and through so many people, and it is sweet.
And so, I continue to cling to those each and every moment they come.
It isn't easy, but with the Lord, it is always sweet.

More than anything, that is what I hope you take from this time of our life.
Though we will have our struggles, these times can also be our sweetest and most tender moments with Him if we allow it.
I can’t be perfect for you.
But I hope I can at the very least teach you that.

My greatest fear has been that you’ll think I was weak.
Or worse that God wasn't good or strong enough to make it all go away in an instant.

Instead I hope you’ll know that it was me fighting a battle He needed me to walk through.
That your mom is strong, but that our God is infinitely stronger.
And I hope you'll see that by putting all our faith in a mighty and all powerful Holy God, there is still able to be unbelievable joy and even greater beauty despite the pain.

I love you.

xo,
Mommy


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

{for more of my journey through and out of anxiety, I invite you to read more of my story here.}

Summer Saldana
summersaldana.com

Summer Saldana

Summer is one of those women who certainly isn’t trying to hide anything — except maybe what is behind her beloved bangs. She is refreshingly open about her mommy meltdowns (she has 2 children, but one is strong willed, so it’s more like 4), her faith, and her obsession with bargain shopping and makeup/skincare hauls. But, whether it’s through writing, speaking, or the missions work her & her family do, Summer’s greatest passion is connecting with others. And she does this by being open and honest, all while trying to find the humor and lesson in it all.