A little over a week ago I wrote a post on the difficulties I’ve been having with nightmares. I so appreciate all the comments many of you made! I think my nightmares have been multi-faceted. I have been speaking a lot lately, and I think I’ve been under a bit of attack. But I also think just plain fear is rearing its ugly head.
Today I want to do a follow-up which I think relates to all of us, whether or not we’ve had nightmares.
I mentioned in that post that I didn’t think the dreams I had had anything to do with me, because they were just ridiculous. But it was still disturbing. And I really did believe that. But one dream that I remember the best seems to actually be relevant in retrospect, though I didn’t think so at the time. In it, a friend of mine (it doesn’t matter which one; I don’t want her to freak out reading this) had three of her children die in an accident, leaving only one.
Throughout the dream, she was trying to cope with having only one child. But the weird thing is that my friend only has three children to begin with, not four. So in the dream she told me that she had had one she had forgot to tell me about.
Anyway, I cried throughout the dream nonstop about these kids, and for my friend having only one. And I had a conversation with her about whether it would matter if it had been another child who was left, and she said it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Stupid dream, I know. But I woke up believing it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Then, last week, I was sitting in a meeting that had nothing to do with this either, and it hit me. If one of my children dies, I’ll have three gone and only one left. But I normally think of myself as only having three children (just like the friend my brain chose for the dream), not two, because one of my children who died was a miscarriage. So the dream represented my fears exactly. And the reason I dreamt about my friend losing her children instead of me was that with my friend, the child who is left is generic. If it had been a dream about me, I would have had to have a specific one of my girls die, and then it would have been about that specific girl, rather than about my fears in general.
So I guess the truth is that I’m afraid one of my girls will die. Not either in particular, but one.
It makes sense that this is going through my head a lot, because I’ve spent the last week editing video and audio of a conference I gave which was quite emotional, when I dealt with the whole question of what we do when tragedy strikes. When it comes down to it, is God enough? Will you be able to focus on the hope of heaven, or will you let tragedy destroy you? I’ve spoken about it a ton lately, but polishing the video and audio and getting it ready to ship out to people just had those words going round and round in my head, at the same time as the anniversary of my son’s death came along.
So here’s my question for all of us: how do we handle that paralyzing fear? One response, of course, is to put our children in a bubble so that nothing can possibly hurt them. That’s a dumb thing to do, because it limits their life. How can you live a big life, or live for what God has dreamed for them, if they’re stuck in a bubble? If they are prohibited from having important formative experiences, including experiences which will help them mature and take on responsibility, then how can they accomplish what God has for them? So bubbles are exactly the wrong thing to do. They don’t protect our children; they limit them.
To me it’s not a parenting issue as much as a trust issue. I almost daily have to go to God and ask Him to help me live my life for Him, and not for my family. I love my family, but I have to hold them with an open hand, knowing that they are His first. And if anything does happen to them, they are still His, as am I. And this life is but a short beginning to our real life, which will be in heaven.
I know that, but the thought of being without them still stops your heart cold, sometimes, doesn’t it? There really is not solution except to keep going to God in prayer, and to keep falling in love with Him, so that He will always be enough to carry you. Most likely nothing will happen to our loved ones. Statistics say that they’ll be fine. But it’s still hard when so much of our hearts are wrapped up in our kids.
So let me just ask you today: what are you living for? Are you living for your kids, or do you see them as gifts from God where you are the steward? Can you raise them towards independence, and encourage them to fly, because they’re in His hands, and not just yours? And can you remember that God is enough?
Those are heavy questions. They may cause some tears. But I think all mothers need to deal with them and get them straight before God. He is big enough to cast all of our fears on, so let’s do it!