The other night, Kyle was afraid. I'm sure it had nothing to do with this (cue mommy guilt...again). It was time to take his shower and he wanted me to come in the bathroom with him because he was scared to be alone. In my own defense (as if I deserve any), this has been going on long before I showed him the horrifying video, so it's not totally from that incident, although that obviously added to it. Sigh. And it's not just Kyle. Nick has fears of his own at night and hates being downstairs in his room by himself.
When my kids are afraid I have such empathy for them because I dealt with alot of fear and anxiety as a child. I remember, as the youngest in our family, having to go to bed earlier than my brother and sister, while the rest of the family was watching tv downstairs. My room was at the end of the hallway upstairs, as far away from everyone as possible. I was terrified!! Of what, I don't know. I just remember the fear that someone was behind me, or would grab me or something. The more I focused on it, the worse it got. My dad would come and tuck me into bed, sing to me, then go back downstairs. The fear would start as soon as he left the room, and when I couldn't take it anymore I mustered up the courage to run across the house to the top of the stairs, and softly call out "Daaaaaad. I'm scared." He'd come back up, reassure me that there was nothing to be scared of, and usher me back to bed. It had a mighty grip on my soul and it haunted me for years, this sense of fear.
Now, I see this same type of fear rearing it's ugly head in my boys. Maybe this is normal for alot of kids, but normal or not it robs them of their sense of security, as it did for me, and honestly it makes me angry. Angry at satan because he's the one doing it to them. He is the father of lies and that is what irrational fear is, a lie. It really is a spiritual battle. Satan knows our weaknesses and if you are prone to fear, then he uses any opportunity he can to cause fear to rise up within you and cause you to doubt yourself, and doubt God. Even when you are only 7. I am determined not to allow fear to take root in my children's hearts.
So, when Kyle comes to me saying he's afraid, the mommy in me wants to hold him and go with him and make him feel secure. And that is what I have been doing for both boys since they were born, until recently. I have been realizing that might not be the best thing for them. In the moment, it helps, but somehow I know that if I let them rely on me to make the fear go away, it won't. Not really. It will still be there, hiding and waiting for the next opportunity to attack. And when it does they will have no defense against it, and will come running to me again. And again.
So, with that in mind, I decided to wage war against the enemy. I calmed Kyle down, and explained to him why he has nothing to be afraid of, and that he needs to stand up to his fears and ask God to help him be brave. This took some time, but he finally did. So as I tucked him into bed after his shower, I could see the sense of relief on his face, and even pride that he had stood up to his fears. We talked more about what he can do when he is afraid. How he can face his fears and pray and be brave. And I explained the spiritual aspect of this in a way that I hoped he could grasp. That's when, after all the wisdom I had spent so much time conveying to him, my 7 year old said something quite profound...
"And I can say Jesus. Because when I say Jesus, whatever I'm afraid of goes away."
Well said, son.
"No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power." Jeremiah 10:6