July 21, 2010 9:24 a.m.
My three-year-old Caly often wakes up screaming in the dead of night. Jolted out of sleep, I run to her room as fast as I can only to be greeted with the same two words: “I’m scared.”
“What are you scared of Caly-girl?” I ask
“I’m just scared,” she whimpers.
A few hugs and kisses and she’s happy to be tucked back in to bed.
Well do I remember my own night-time fears as a child. Just ask me about my lobster dream sometime. It still gives me shivers.
So how do we help our small children deal with middle-of-the night fears?
Dr. Russell Moore—himself a father of small children—recently offered this insightful answer:
“The kids know—they instinctively know—that they’re living in a universe in which something’s gone awry. It’s not our job—as parents, or as Sunday school teachers—to disengage that. It’s our job to come in and to provide an answer to that. Yeah, you’re living in an enchanted world. Yeah, you’re living in a haunted world. You’re living in a world haunted by demonic powers. That’s exactly right—what you deeply fear is indeed the case… Your worrying about the monster under the bed isn’t unreasonable; there’s a monster under the fabric of the cosmos. Instead, we give them a story that provides the only comfort that really is lasting comfort; it’s a comfort that the enemies have been defeated.”
I am going to add a few words to my middle of the night hugs and kisses routine. Yes, Caly-girl, we live in a scary world, but we don’t need to be afraid. The monster has been crushed. And the One who crushed him, He’s right here in this room.
—from the archives
(Janelle is out of town with Mike’s family this week, but she gave us five pictures from the recent Mahaney family vacation to show you. Enjoy!)
“The mother is the hub of the home, holding all the spokes in place. Without her being at her post, the family spins out of control and falls apart.” Mark Chanski
When school starts, do you find that it gets more difficult to “hold all the spokes in place”? I sure do.
On a typical day I must get my son, Andrew, out the door for school (with homework, lunch and back-pack), clean up from breakfast, homeschool my two younger boys, pay the bills, drive to an afternoon activity, get home in time to meet Andrew and help him with homework, prepare dinner for my family and a guest, do dishes, catch up on laundry and finally clean up my house which looks like it has been visited by a tornado.
Just another ordinary day in the life of a mom. But so often, I go through these ordinary days far more aware of what I am giving than whom I am serving.
I need my gaze lifted beyond my daily duties to my eternal mission as a mother. In his book, Womanly Dominion, Mr. Chanski brings us encouragement right where we need it:
“There she sits exhausted on the edge of her bed, her face in her hands, wondering, “Where’s the glory in this?”
She needs something more empowering to keep her going.
She needs to gain and maintain the deep conviction of the glory, honor, and nobility of selfless service. This she finds at the foot of the cross, looking up to the One who earned for Himself “the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9), by “emptying Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” (2:7), humbling “Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:8). There she beholds her Savior who mopped up the damning vomit of her own sin with the precious sponge of His perfect life and atoning death. The love of Christ constrains and compels her to press on (2 Corinthians 5:14). The Spirit of Christ empowers her” (pp. 120-121, emphasis mine).
Are you having a hard time being “the hub” today? Then “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2-3), ask Him for help and strength, and thank Him for the honor of being a mother.
—from the archives
I haven’t watched this video (first posted in 2007) in years; but as a mom, these songs still make me laugh and cry. Enjoy!
Nicole for the girltalkers
There are few times I feel less spiritual than when I face physical and hormonal challenges such as PMS and (now) menopause. I feel tired and irritable, my sin sometimes spilling over onto those around me.
My strategy has often been to try and wait it out. Once this is over, I tell myself, then I’ll get back to making progress in the Christian life. I forget that I am smack in the middle of God’s plan for my life! God has ordained these hormonal days along with all the others! Menopause isn’t simply a trial to get through. It’s an opportunity for testing faith and spiritual growth.
Elizabeth Prentiss beautifully expresses this point:
“God never place us in any position in which we can not grow. We may fancy that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting, petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward. Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress.”
The best kind of progress. Far from precipitating a spiritual decline, we often grow more in these difficult seasons than when life is easy, and we feel like we’re flourishing (remember, those feelings can’t be trusted!)
That’s why the apostle Paul sees weakness as an opportunity for boasting in the Lord:
“But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
For the sake of Christ, we are to boast in our weaknesses, we are to be content in menopause or PMS or postpartum depression. For when we are weak, it is then that His power rests on us. What an opportunity!
—from the archives
These fears come in all shapes, sizes and packages. I don’t need to suggest any for you. You know what your fears for your children are. You were probably thinking of them just this morning.
In his book Running Scared (which I highly recommend), Ed Welch gives us the biblical solution to our fears: we need to fear more. We need to fear God more. For “when you fear the Lord, there is not much else to fear.” The fear of the Lord banishes our fears for our children. Dr. Welch illustrates:
“If you are trained in medicine and have parented five children, you aren’t going to worry when your neighbor asks you to watch her ten-year-old for twenty minutes. If you really want to fight fear, learn to fear Someone who captures your attention in such a way that your other fears suddenly seem pedestrian and unimportant.”
But there’s more. When we learn to fear God, we will actually be protecting our children. Proverbs 14:26 says, “He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.”
So if you want to be rid of those nagging fears and be a means of God’s protection for your children, fear the Lord today. Allow His wisdom, goodness, love, power and holiness to capture your attention. Then tell your kids about the awesome God we serve.
—from the archives