Yikes! This is not an emotion that we like to talk about, yet it is one that we all experience. In this month of October, as we near the end of the month and the holiday of Halloween, the topic of “fear” tends to come up. So, I thought I’d jump right on in and address the topic.
In July, while I was babysitting five of my grandchildren, one of the girls started crying and was afraid. This all occurred at bedtime, as I was tucking two of my little darlings in. I lingered by their bed-side and listened as the one darling explained to me the things that she was afraid of: being away from Mommy and Daddy, being in the dark, and not sleeping in her own bedroom. Then I chatted with the girls about fear. The most important thing that I wanted to impart was that God was with them wherever they were; even at Nana and Poppy’s house, even in a different bedroom, and even in the dark. I wanted them to know that God was with their Mom and Dad, as well, because I knew they were missing their parents. Then we prayed that God would be with them as they were sleeping, and that He would help them not be afraid. As we prayed, I could sense God’s presence overcoming the fear and the tension in their bodies, so that after our prayer time they felt much better and went right to sleep.
Well, the very next day I had all of my wonderful grandchildren to myself. We had a bright and cheery morning; playing games, drawing pictures, and playing with play doh. We had a tea party for our snack. Poppy came home for lunch to check on me. He wanted to make sure that I was doing o.k. since I had recently had my 3rd hip surgery, and 2nd hip replacement. I continued to have hip restrictions due to having my hip coming out of its socket in April. The grandkids knew that Nana couldn’t bend very well or get on the floor. They were so fantastic in helping me, yet I still had five children under the age of 7.
In the afternoon around 4:00 I decided to lie down on the couch for 10 minutes to rest while my two youngest were still napping. When I tried to get up my hip came out of its socket. Excruciating pain!! What was I to do? I rolled off of the couch onto the floor, hoping that I was mistaken and hoping that when I hit the floor that I would be able to move my leg into place. No such luck!! I couldn’t move my body at all. “What time I am afraid I will trust in you.” God’s own words were coming back to me at my time of need. Just what I had been telling the girls last night when they were afraid- trust in God.
My greatest fear at the time was that my grandkids would be afraid when they saw me in this condition; when they saw Nana in distress and pain. My dilemma right now was that my husband was not at home and I didn’t have my cell phone with me. It was charging on the kitchen counter. Thankfully, when I called out to my two oldest grandkids, and they retrieved the phone for me to call my husband, they were not rattled at all. My husband and friends sped over to care for me. They scooted the kids down to the basement, as 911 was called and the paramedics rushed to the scene. A fire truck arrived in the next few moments. With both paramedics and firefighters involved, the men lifted up my twisted body upon the rolling stretcher and hauled me aboard the ambulance. The grandkids came upstairs just in time to see the firetruck which thrilled them, but not to witness any of Nana’s pain as I was lifted and moved. My paramedics were so gracious, traveling as slowly as they could, because every bump in the road jarred my body and brought on another spasm of pain. I finally arrived at the hospital, and after a grueling 11 hours I finally had my hip set back in place.
Interestingly enough, the next day when I gathered the children together, they were fine. They didn’t seem to have been frightened by the experience at all! I had the opportunity of telling them that God had taken care of them in a scary situation by sending friends who took care of them in the basement while Nana was being taken care of by the paramedics. I pointed out that God was also taking care of me by the paramedics, and by the kids getting me the phone. We talked about how good God was in helping us when we were afraid.
Fear plagued me as a child. I was a shy, introverted little girl, who was afraid of her own shadow. I would just bottle up those feelings and keep them stuffed down inside. I used to have nightmares, and as a result of that I began having insomnia. Not a good thing to have to be dealing with. A friend helped me use my favorite scripture that I had memorized to help me overcome my fears at night. Praise God it worked! Praying the 23rd Psalm over and over again when I was afraid would cause my fears to subside.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
God was so good to me. Later I found that there were times that the dark shadows made me fearful. The wonderful thing that happened was that as I had been praying and giving my fears to the Lord, He showed me the windows in my room and the places where the wood crosses in the window pane looked like a cross. When I saw the shadows, God would remind me of the window panes and the cross. The cross and Jesus. Jesus was there with me. God was giving me something visual to see when I was afraid. I have to say that He took away my fears. Praise the Lord! He will help you and your child with fear issues, as well.
When I had my own family and my sons had issues with fears, we always talked about how God was with us and prayed for His presence to be with them in the room. I bought cross night-lights to remind them that Jesus was there with them. That gave them great comfort. I would also read to them Bible stories where they learned about God and His love and power. The boys loved the stories and often read and reread the books until they fell asleep. We also memorized simple Bible verses about fear, such as:
Genesis 26:24 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
These were simple verses for little ones to memorize and recall at times of fearfulness.
Items that are now available that can be useful for children with fears at night are sound machines. These machines will keep out other noises that can be scary and give a constant sound that helps kids sleep more soundly. They come in various models, from just the machine, to now coming in stuffed animals that the children can hold in their beds. My grandchildren have loved these. There are also machines that are toys that shine a pattern of lights on the ceiling. It is a form of a nightlight. I bought one for my grandson and he loved it!
Here are several links about fear that you may find beneficial.
May God keep you in the palm of His hand,