She saunters out of her bedroom and it’s nearly 9 PM. She mumbles down the hall, her lowest low voice, still high and sweet as a song bird. The pony tail I twisted atop her head hours before now droops down at the nape of her neck and she whispers quiet:
Something’s waking me up.
You’re waking you up, I think to myself, say out loud. I’m certain she hasn’t fallen asleep yet, but she wants me to bring her back to her room and she wants a fresh diaper and she asks me to sing her a song: Can you sing me a song about me?
This girl who’s a mess of long strands that curl at the ends, this girl who ties strings around our hearts, she’s three years old. And sometimes there’s something, just something, that keeps her from trusting it’s okay to let go, and go to sleep.
I was standing at the sink scrubbing one scuffed old pan with wearing edges a few weeks ago when the eldest came into the kitchen with a statement that grabbed my heart’s attention: “Mama, I need to go to the bathroom.” (That wasn’t the startling part.) “And I need to tell you something.” (That was.)
I’m all ears and eyes as I lift his seven-year-old frame onto the counter, hoping to catch a good, deep glimpse into his eyes to see what his heart really wants to say. “You know that movie we watched last week?”
I nod, certain he’s speaking about a PG animated film he saw at the theater.
“It had some scary parts and I don’t want to go to sleep because I’m afraid I’ll have nightmares and my dreams are so real.”
Tears begin to stream from his eyes, and then mine, and my husband and I offer comfort, encouragement, hugs, compassion. Hero Hubs reiterates two words again and again: “You’re safe.”
He saunters slowly back to bed and I silently pray that he’ll sleep with heavenly peace.
There’s something these kids are telling me, on the edge of my heart and the tip of my tongue, and I’m trying to put my finger on it.
There are always dark places we are afraid of.
There are always reasons we would rather just ask someone to hold us like a baby and stay near a little longer.
Maybe it takes a lot of bravery to admit what we’re really afraid of.
And why did Jesus say Perfect love casts out fear?
Is it knowing we’re loved that solves the problem?
I wonder, if in the grand scheme of things the Father doesn’t look down and wish He could just “fix” the problems — but He knows better. Knows what we need and what we want are different things.
I can’t make the bad dreams go away, but I can tell the kid I love him and I’m here for him.
No one can make the fear of what people think, the fear of messing up, the fear that everyone is really just tolerating your presence, the fear that you don’t measure up… all those unspoken deep whispers in the dark that say “you are less than enough” … no one can make them magically disappear.
The Name of Jesus is incredibly powerful, but it’s not a lucky charm from a cereal box.
The message isn’t “Come to Me and I will fix it all better for you” — it’s “Come to Me because I’ll be with you in it — I already came for you, I am still coming for you, and I will come for you again.”
It’s “In this world, you will have tribulation but be of good cheer… I’ve overcome the world.”
I recently said yes to something I was afraid of doing. I thought it would be hard. I thought it would take up lots of time, lots of effort, and it could even not work out at all. Flop.
But I remembered: it’s not really about things all working out, life being easy, things going smoothly, never putting your hand to anything that might fail.
It’s about saying “You’re my Lord, and if You want me to do it, I’ll do it.”
Those are the words that brought me to villages in Mexico where I tasted Jesus like never before. Those are the words that brought me to orphanages in Zambia — to places where I got to see poverty, and at the same time, true wealth. Those are the words that carried me over the ocean where I met the man, not just of my dreams, but also of my destiny.
And perhaps it’s knowing the Father’s love — being so sure of that love — that’s the thing that casts out the fear. That speaks brave to the heart: You can because He is…
You CAN because He IS.
YOU can because HE is.
What are you afraid of? Do you believe in a God that’s bigger? A God that doesn’t promise it’ll all be perfect, but does promise He’ll always be there?
The greatest moments I’ve lived so far started with me saying yes to God saying come.
But every time I walked on water, I first had to get out of the boat.