“There is no such thing as monsters or ghosts,” I said those words many times to comfort my daughter at night, but still I checked in the closet and under her bed to prove it. She didn’t always trust me and believe she was okay enough to close her beautiful eyes and go to sleep. There were many times; I ended up lying beside her bed until she fell asleep, to protect her from the fears that come from the shadows of the night.
Monsters really are out there! You can read about them and hear about them.
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
A few weekends ago, my daughter and her friend got to go to a movie by themselves for the first time. I was in the building in another movie, still they were on their own.
It was probably a fun adventure for them.
Yet for me; giving a child freedom to be on their own in a public place isn't an easy decision in this day and age.
It is a very scary decision to make as the parent. There are a lot of horror stories out there. Stuff DOES happen. Yet, a child has to learn to handle themselves and be prepared for adulthood.
Back in the day, I pretty much hopped on my bike and was gone for the day with friends. I had my boundaries. In all my "playing with friends," I don't recall a mom or dad having to tag along unless it was an occasional event where parents had to drive, or we were at a home where a parent was home.
It's a lot different now. I have tagged along on almost every play date my daughter has been on.
This is the age the apron strings start to be cut. It’s not easy making the decisions though of when I need to be nearby or when I can just let her go.
Last summer, my friend, Bilinda and I had to make a big decision about letting our daughters go to youth camp for five days and four nights without us.
Both of us had concerns about letting them go to the youth retreat, and it would also be the longest time they had been away from us.
There were many things we worried about. Would they fit in? Would they be homesick and lonely? What about the river? Would they be safe playing in the river during the afternoon free time?
Big worry, What if there was a lunatic around the camp? It happens!
There were many other things that went through our mind. Things scarier to me than those big monster birds.
"Just think two weeks ago we were on our walk feeling all anxious about our daughters going to camp." I said to my friend Bilinda.
"Now that we are on this side of it, we can see there was no reason to be anxious. And if we would have taken them home early like we wanted to, they would have missed out on all He had in store for them."
Bilinda's birthday was on the Friday of camp so we went over to the camp to visit them on Friday afternoon.
They seemed bored and would have come home with us if we let them.
One of the things that was mentioned - this was a time set aside for them to hear God and to see what He had to say to them. He knew they had this time set apart in their lives so what was His plan for it?
We left them at the camp and drove away wondering if we should turn around until we started talking about how we didn't want to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.
When we returned on Sunday to pick them up, we were met with tired, but excited girls who had incredible stories to share about what had happened in the group and in their lives.
And it started Friday, after we had left them behind at the retreat instead of bringing them home early.
As a matter of fact, I had toyed with not letting Sarrah go at all, because of a circumstance I was afraid MIGHT happen. It didn't. It actually worked out really well.
Fear. Worry. It hinders our lives in so many ways.
I have had times where I stayed awake at night. I have fretted an entire day, weeks even, and talked and talked about something that never happens the way my mind conjures up the way it could be.
I am way, way better. Still, there are those things in my life that can send me straight to worry and fear, instead of to my knees in prayer. I do pray, always pray, but then I battle against the thoughts in my mind.
I had such an intense fear of flying. The first flight I took was a big emotional ordeal for me. I was fortunate enough to sit between two ladies who saw my fear and entertained me the entire flight.
Despite that...I did not want to fly home. Ended up driving home.
My next flight I didn't have too much time to get riled up because it was an emergency in the family kind of flight. On the way home when we flew over water...well...that was a different story. My brother entertained me during that time.
When I am flying somewhere...I could really conjure up some scary thoughts and be curled up in fear.
Now, when I get on a plane. Yeah, the thoughts threaten to fill my mind. And I still hate the take-offs, and I ignore looking out the window if we fly over water.
I have filled my mind with God's truth to help me walk with Him instead of with fear and worry.
The number one fear breaker for me was when I read in Psalm 139 that GOD had numbered my days. That He knows how many I have.
So, here is the deal. Whether I am driving a car. Walking down a street. Or flying in an airplane. If today is the day. It's the day. Worry. Fear. Have absolutely no power to change that day.
Instead, I have to choose (as we tell my daughter) to be the best me to glorify God today. I may not have tomorrow. I may not have tonight, the next hour, the next minute, the next second.
What I have is right here. Right now for sure.
The number two fear breaker for me was I know where I am going after my last breath here on earth. One breath here, the next in heaven with Jesus.
The Bible tells us that He who believes shall never die. We will die physically but not spiritually.
The third and absolutely hardest thing that is breaking the power of fear and worry for me is TRUSTING God.
That is a hard one for me. I don't trust very easily at all. And here is the ridiculous, embarrassing thing about not trusting God...Uh...He is the one I run to. And He is the one with the answers. He is always good.
And the other struggle. The biggest struggle...Is He going to be there for me the way I want Him to be there for me? Or does He have another plan and that other plan might hurt.
Such as the well-being of the people I love. I realize God wrote their days too. Am I willing to accept their day may not be another tomorrow? It will break my heart. It's not like I have a choice or not about accepting the days God has written for me and others. What is written is written.
Still, I have to trust and know there will be days in my life that may be filled with pain. And on those days...turn to the one who brings comfort to His people.
My prayers are still for what I hope will happen, but they are also; prepare me for what may happen, along with; letting go and letting God run this world, my life, the way He has planned.
Whenever I am on the other side of pain, I have always been able to look back and see something wonderful He has done. Also, I have been able to be there for others because I have more than sympathy, I have empathy.
Learning to stand, and believe in the promise that "All things work for GOOD for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Is a hard thing to do during adversities in life. It's is an easier thing to do after each adversity because there is the discovery that He is there even when it feels like He is not.
On Facebook, I have been seeing so many people going through scary, painful trials. Health issues, job issues, deaths, etc. The other morning I read about one girl in particular who is suffering so from cancer and has been leaning on God even when it seems He is not there.
I remembered some times when I cried out from deep within my being and it seemed there was no response. No one there. I just had to deal with the pain. Those are moments I will not forget.
Unless...the minute they creep up and start talking and filling my mind full of stuff that terrifies me...I turn and tell my heavenly Father those things...and then take His hand and let Him walk me through the valleys that have shadows of death. Life is better when I turn my eyes to Him and not the shadows, not the valleys.