Annika Segars is a pastor’s wife and mother of (almost) two girls living in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. She is fueled by vanilla lattes and baked goods and is grateful for the challenges and joys of her current season of stay-at-home motherhood. When the toddler is asleep she enjoys trying new creative projects and watching a great show with her husband.
Last Friday, my husband, two year old daughter and I packed our SUV to the gills for our first ever family vacation just the 3 of us.
My husband’s aunt has a mountain house in western North Carolina, about 3 hours (or 5 hours if you are driving with a newly potty-trained two year old) from the small town near Charlotte, NC where we live.
This vacation was coming at a great time for many reasons:
We hadn’t left our house since Christmas when we visited my family in Gig Harbor, WA, and you might say we have a little cabin fever.
I am currently 27 weeks pregnant with our second baby, and I am now through the rough nausea portion of the pregnancy (cue Hallelujah chorus).
About a month prior to this trip, my husband, Gray was in a pretty serious car accident that threw our family for a loop emotionally and set him back physically while he recovered from a bad concussion.
We needed the break and this quiet, quarantined getaway sounded like the perfect reprieve from our daily grind. We pulled up to this great house in this cute town and unpacked for what was supposed to be a 5 day trip.
I will let you in on the ending here: we left after 3 days.
After we got settled in on Friday night, two crucial things happened. First, my anxiety (separation anxiety? General anxiety? Probably both!) influenced me to make the choice that our daughter, Isla, should sleep in her pack ‘n play in the same room as us because, even with a baby monitor, the upstairs bedrooms seemed too far away from me in a foreign house in this tiny mountain town. All the moms of little kids are internally screaming right now. Isla sleeps great in her crib in her room at home, and this was definitely a risk for rocking the boat.
Second, right before we tucked our little cherub into her little crib in our room for the night, I noticed she had a runny nose.
I will pause here to tell you something about me that you enneagram savvy readers may have already picked up on: I am a type 6 on the enneagram. Like a raging type 6. Like as 6 as they come. If you are not familiar with the enneagram, the point of my mentioning this is that people who identify with the type 6 personality are safety and security seeking, and prone to anxiety. We have lots of other great qualities but that is not important right now.
If it was any other year, I wouldn’t have been too concerned about a little runny nose. But it is 2020, people! I could not stop obsessively googling coronavirus symptoms in toddlers!! I could just see it now: all those slobbery kisses and sharing drinks with my big girl hours earlier would surely be my undoing. With the pregnancy, I’ve been especially worried about our family being exposed! This did color the evening a bit.
As you may have guessed, sleep did not go well that night with Isla in our room. Gray and I ended up moving to another room around 2am and I promised we could sleep apart from her for the rest of the trip. Problem solved! Or so I thought.
“Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.”
The next day, as we were setting up her crib in her own room, we were positioning our (very old, hand-me-down) baby monitor and the moment I had been anticipating for 2 years finally came… It died.
Of all times!! Of all places! The closest Target was over an hour away — getting a new one here was not an option. Even my trusty friend Amazon Prime was unable to deliver me a monitor to this remote village until a week later! As if I wasn’t nervous enough about leaving her in another room with a monitor! No. No, no, no. Move her back to our room. And cue another night of terrible sleep. We left early and have been sleeping great in our own rooms with a new monitor at home ever since.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We actually had a lot of fun during the days on this trip. But, I think we can all agree that even a few nights of bad sleep, especially away from home, will make anyone yearn for a solution. And in our case, that solution was our own precious beds in our own separate rooms. With surveillance of the little one.
So the sleep issue was solved, but the coronavirus concern was not! On the drive home, Gray started feeling sick too...I was surrounded. And truthfully, so scared.
The effects of coronavirus on unborn babies is largely unknown because there just haven’t been enough documented cases to study. I was scared for Isla, scared for Gray, and most of all, scared for this new life happily bouncing around my belly. Gray was tested for coronavirus a few days later, and in the waiting, I was convicted.
I had spent so much time worrying about all the different scenarios, when just a week before we left I had spent some time with the Lord that was really meaningful and quite significant to this whole experience. Since I became a stay-at-home mom two years ago, the time I spend with the Lord has changed as the needs of a tiny little person have become the driving force behind the schedule of my days (a gift I am grateful for everyday!). Nowadays, I try to carve out some time during Isla’s nap (I am simply not a mom who gets up before her kids. Now you know.) to read a short excerpt from a devotional, the Bible, or some other source that points me toward Jesus. It does not happen everyday, and it does not always feel like I am getting something out of it. But that day, it did.
My husband, who I should mention is a pastor, gave me this book of modern liturgies for my birthday last year called Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. Lately, I am reading one short liturgical prayer from it on the days I take this time — a sentence I never thought I’d write. I did not grow up in a church that facilitated much corporate prayer or that strictly adhered to the liturgical calendar. And that is okay with me! But right now, I am learning that I actually really like praying the same prayer over and over again, day after day, because I start to remember it. It has become a grounding point in the day to come back to after I lay my daughter down for her nap.
This particular prayer has a space for reading a scripture of your choice. That day, the week before our trip, was the first time I had done this prayer in a long time. I hadn’t thought about the scripture I would read, frankly because I forgot I was even supposed to pick one before I started it. When I got to that part of the prayer though, I thought I’d read a psalm. I had a particular verse in mind, but couldn’t remember where it was. So I picked the psalm I thought it was in, and instead read this very timely passage which describes those who are righteous, aka those who are walking in the way of the Lord:
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph upon their foes.” Psalm 112:7-8
I came back to this verse a few times over the weekend that we were away. I was convicted because when the bad news of a runny nose came, which comes with so many what-if’s nowadays, I certainly had fear. My instinct was not to trust in the Lord. It was probably trusting more in Google.
As someone who is motivated by seeking security, I love the idea of a heart being secure. Because the reality is, we are never fully secure or safe on this side of Heaven, but our hearts can be when we put our trust in the Lord.
P.S. I am happy to report the coronavirus test was negative!
Written by Annika Segars for The Anchor Journal
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