I just had a beautiful moment with Marian and wanted to share. She is scared a lot, of really silly (in my opinion) things, walking down the hallway in the dark, sitting next to the couch (for fear of what’s under it), going down in the basement alone, etc. She has always been afraid of scary characters in movies and in books but it seems to be getting worse. We have been annoyed with this behavior as she won’t go to brush her teeth alone and she stomps running down the hallway as fast as she can from her bedroom while the boys are sleeping. We’ve tried a few things, very unsuccessfully (mostly involving chastising and making light of), as well as gently reminding her that God is always with her and there is no reason to fear. It’s always met with “I know, I just can’t help it”.
Yesterday I was reading my friend Julia’s blog, Mrs. Treehead (see my blog roll) and she had a great post about living out the gospel with your kids, the situation described is a bit different but has the same underlying idea. So, when faced again tonight with this fear, I was immediately frustrated, then God gave me the idea that this was a key teachable moment. I brought her back to the family room with my Bible. I reminded her that God was indeed always with her and shared a favorite verse of mine, John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. That verse has a lot of significance to me over the past 13 years but last year I heard something new in it — Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid, it doesn’t say you don’t need to be afraid, it’s a command and direct order from Jesus. When looking at it in that context, we are sinning when we are fearful. I explained that to her, that she was in fact sinning with her fear, that she was in a sense saying “God, I don’t trust you to take care of me”, I wasn’t harsh and I explained to her that I was indeed fearful sometimes too and that we have to fight that fear with scripture. I told her about how many times in scripture he tells us not to be afraid, Isaiah 41:10 is a new favorite of mine (check it out, in ESV is my favorite translation for this verse). I was working with her to memorize this verse and, she started singing Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong & courageous . . ., from VBS last year with a smile. Perfect, it’s amazing what scripture in little hearts can accomplish. I said, “Now, I’m going to hold your hand while we walk slowly down the hall to your bedroom and you can quietly (boys are sleeping) sing that verse/song”. She did it:) Thank you Lord for the gift of your perfect Word.
And, one of my favorite pictures of her from last summer . . .