She was whimpering on the other side of the door, tears pouring down her cheeks. I looked at the clock and it said 10:07. Sigh. How come my kids never just stay in bed?
"What's wrong?" I ask, slightly annoyed and more than slightly insensitive.
"I am scared."
"Of what? There is nothing to be scared of."
"I am not scared there is something there, I am feeling like something bad is going to happen to someone I love."
Boom. It feels like a physical reaction as my heart softens. I know this feeling all too well. Most notably in the hours before I was told my grandma died, the weeks leading up to finding out that my dad has some serious health problems... And a few others. I am sure I felt it more times than that, but it's easy to forget those because they amounted to nothing in the end. I feel this feeling regularly in the middle of the night when Ry is working.
Maybe it has something to do with all she heard regarding the Boston bombings this week. Maybe it has something to do with what she heard regarding the Texas fertilizer plant exploding. Maybe it has something to do with being a cop's daughter. Maybe it's just because she is five now and more aware of the evil that is in the world.
I pulled her into bed with me.
I could tell her everything was fine and that nothing bad would happen to anyone. But what if something happened to Daddy tonight at work? Would she trust me ever again?
I could tell her that bad things happen and we have no control. But would she ever sleep again?
I decided to tell her all about my struggle with anxiety. How it triggered/triggers my acid reflux. If there is anything in this world that she hates it is throwing up. And shots too I guess. I told her how when I feel that feeling of worry i have to remind myself of some things. First of all that God is in control. Anything that happens in this world happens under his watch. He doesn't promise to keep everyone safe all the time; He promises to do everything to bring Himself glory. When we worry it most of the time comes down to wanting to be in control. We can controls nothing except our emotions and reactions. Our only job is to act in a way that also brings God glory. I told her that God wants us to pray always.
I told her I wanted her to list off the truth of the situation. The doors are locked. Mommy is here. If we need the police we dial 9-1-1. They will be here fast. We ran through what to do in a fire. We ran through how we know daddy is safe.
Then i told her that when we are scared, we pray. If we had enough faith we could move mountains.
And there is where I underestimated "childlike faith." She said, "really?!?!?!??"
"Yes, that is what God says. But we do not have enough faith for it.
"I do. You better watch out, mom."
"Oh, I guess I will then, Acey."
"Can you read the Bible to me?"
And I decided to read her the verses that calm my anxiety.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9 NIV)
While I was reading I kept thinking it was over her head. Why I doubted, I don't know. My faith in the Holy Spirit has been strengthened that much more. She is a believer and she listened to those verses... As a five-year-old... And said, "I don't need to worry. God loves me. I trust Him."
The truth will set you free.