what time I am afraid

Growing up I had fears. Mainly dogs. I didn't love being home alone. Tornadoes. You know.

In fourth grade I memorized a bible verse:
What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee. Psalm 56:3

I distinctly remember walking to my friend's house and hearing a dog bark. Immediately my palms grew sweaty and my knees started knocking. And then that verse popped into my head. For the last two blocks I just repeated: What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee. What time I am afraid I will trust in thee." 

I didn't feel a rush of peace, but it was enough to sustain me until I got to my friend's.

Now I have a two year old. In the last month or so Blythe has developed a fear of lions. And even though I know this is a completely ridiculous fear to have in northwest Missouri, it is very real for her. She has woken up a couple of times crying, and when I go in her room to get her up, she asks me if the lion is in the hallway.

Yesterday my dad took her "hunting." When they got to the woods, she stopped in fear. She didn't want to walk further in because she was certain the lions would get her. Of course her papa assured her there were no lions, and if they ever did run into a lion he would keep her safe. It was enough, and she made her way into the trees.

Last night Brent was putting her down for the night and after they read and said prayers, he jokingly laid her on the floor instead of in her bed. "But Daddy, I can't lay here. The lions will get me. I need in my bed."

Even though I know Blythe won't run into any lions in our backyard, it breaks my heart to hear her talk like this. I want to take it away. I want to hold her until she's certain she is safe.

And I can't.

It's the first time I know there is a fear festering in her little head, her imagination making it grow and run wild. And I thought it would be easier to trust my Lord to be her Lord. But it's hard. I want to be her Lord.

And I can't.

And so I begin to teach her God's truth. He is always with her. He is bigger than the boogie man [remember that one?]. When Daniel was in the lion's den he shut their mouths tight. He gives us peace.

What time she is afraid, she can trust in Him.

It has reminded me that we have a long journey ahead of us in this parenting gig. And on that journey I can't shoulder all their fears and hurts and worries. I can't be their god. In my Jesus Calling devotion the other day I read: "I am all you need, just when you need it." That has to be true in parenting.

In some ways it is a relief to take that pressure off of myself.
But in some other big ways it is scary. And I begin to be afraid.

I'm afraid someday Blythe's fear of lions will turn into a fear of the dark. And then one day she may be afraid of others opinions of her. And once again I feel like that knock-kneed elementary girl I once was, fearful that a dog may leap from the bushes and attack at any moment; fearful I will make a wrong decision, steer a wrong direction, teach improperly, and not point them to Christ.

So everyday, before I pick my babies up, I take a deep breath and repeat:

What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee. 

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1 comment:

*carrie* said...

Thanks for sharing, Kelsey. It's amazing how quickly fear can surface and take root in hearts and minds. A verse my mom gave me when I was younger--I struggled with nighttime anxiety for YEARS--is Psalm 4:8 "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you, O God, are with me."