Afraid of the Dark

You collect fears like smooth dark stones in a trinket pouch. When I think your collection is completed, you surprise me with another stone that lodges in my throat as you whimper and hide.

You’re afraid I’m going to forget you. You chase me through the house like a small dog, hanging on to the hem of my shirt, tangling yourself in my arms, begging that I pick you up as we get us ready to leave the house. You wedge yourself through the door as I crack it open, and dart for the car to scramble in your seat. You’re afraid of the bathtub drain. You scream and collect all of your toys, you push me out of the bathroom for fear you and all that is precious will get sucked down the gurgling mouth. You’re afraid of the dark shapes in the closet at night. You’re afraid of the villains on the TV screen. Sometimes you are afraid of things I can’t even see or understand.

Your fear wears on me like the hole at the knee in my jeans. It’s annoying and irrational. But then, what are my own anxieties, but fear dressed in adult clothes?

And it reminds that I have my own childlike fear, that I manage to keep locked away in my own box of trinkets: I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid of the monsters in the dark.

My mom held me in the dark bathroom. I frantically shoved and cried, desperate to escape as she uttered the words, “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary.” I cowered and sobbed as she finished, the third time, “Bloody Mary.” And in the darkness there was nothing, only her solid arms wrapped around me driving away the monsters in my mind.

Sometimes in the dark, our biggest fear isn’t of the monsters. Its of being alone. Its of facing the monsters alone.

She made me face my fear. Because sometimes the fear is the greatest monster. It handicaps us, it steals our joy, and it prevents us from being the whole person that God created us to be. Fear blocks us from giving all of ourselves to others for fear of getting hurt- for fear that pain will overcome us. For fear that the dark will consume our light and that we will be left scared and alone.

I’m still afraid of the dark, but my love for you burns brightly enough to wrap my arms around you, despite darkness. I pray that my love covers you with a light that scares away monsters and emboldens you to face your fears. Because the dark never goes away; the light just empties it of its power.

When I met you I made a promise, “I will give you my all.”

I will give you all the love my heart can contain.

I will give you all the second chances you ever need.

I will give all that I have to protect you.

I will give you all that I am to shape you into all that God created you to be.

I made a promise to keep you safe, to be your night light, your dragon slayer, your champion; but sometimes I face giants that I don’t know that I can overcome alone.

Sometimes that promise seems impossible to keep. My own fears and limitations cast a shadow on my best intentions. And sometimes the dark threatens to consume the best parts of me. Then there are days when I feel like a failure. Like all of me isn’t enough to give you.

And being a Mom…is the scariest job…ever.

But even in the darkest loneliest places I am never alone. When the giants loom large and the monsters get loose from their cages, I have a light that overcomes the inky blackness. I have the source of all power and light.

I can’t keep my promise to always give you my all, because I am broken, and sometimes I come up short. But I can give you all of HIM. I can read you bedtime stories about a God that conquers giants and shuts the mouths of lions; I can tell you about a man who walked on water; a man that gave ALL of Himself, to conquer darkness once and for all.

 

John 1:4-5 : “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

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