I was brushing his teeth when his foamy lips sputtered something I could hardly understand. I had him lean over the sink, spit, then try again.
“I saw a witch in the pharmacy, mom. And I was really scared.”
It had been three days since we visited the pharmacy. He had wandered to the toy section while I fetched diapers a few aisles over. And in a moment, fear arrested his tender heart. He turned and quickly walked away, joining us at the check out line without saying a word.
Has this image of an evil witch been taunting him all week as he started kindergarten? Has his little heart been battling fear in the nights, fear in the dark, without me even knowing?
As we stood there in the bathroom, gripping a super hero tooth-brush in one hand, I cupped his chin with the other. Looking straight into his hazel eyes, I told him with all my momma passion stirred, that God is light and there is NO darkness or fear AT ALL in Him. I reminded my son that Jesus is the light of the whole world, and that nothing is more powerful than His love. I told him that we hold tightly to this forever promise from God:
“Fear not, I am always with you”.
He looked at me with a serious face and said,
“But Mom, I can still see her. She’s in the front of my head and the back too. When I close my eyes I see her face.”
Straightening my back, and bubbling with fury at this enemy of fear, I handed him a towel to wipe his face clean from the tooth paste residue. Then I put my hand on the top of his head and I prayed.
I prayed that in the same way he just wiped his face clean of tooth paste, that the power of Jesus’ peace would wipe his mind clean of any trace of fear. I thanked God for giving him a tender heart that was made for love and for the power of God, not fear. I asked the Holy Spirit to fill his mind with true and pure and lovely thoughts that mirrored the joy of heaven.
That conversation and prayer lasted thirty seconds, tops, before he raced off to find his shoes and get ready for another day at school.
My eyes followed him as he ran down the hall and into his room, and I prayed a more desperate, momma-fighter prayer under my breath, cursing fear and darkness, breaking all efforts of the enemy to instill terror in my precious child. How dare he. Even now, writing about it, makes me seethe with a holy anger. (and I can’t help but wonder how deeply our Father God seethes with holy anger for the things that terrorize our hearts?)
I rarely say “hate”. But let me tell you, I HATE fear. I hate it because,
fear deceives us, and distorts our vision of truth.
Fear lures us into paralyzed living, and distracts us from dwelling on the reality that God is always bigger, and more present than ANYTHING we see or face in this world.
Sometimes I wish the things I feared were as fake as the plastic witch in the pharmacy. But whether our fears are of plastic witches or our life’s demons, what we choose to dwell upon will make all the difference. –> click to tweet
As I watched him walk down the hallway, I thanked God that he came to me and didn’t quietly cling to that fear inside his heart another day.
He held on to the images of that witch’s ugly face for three days without mentioning it. But when he confessed his fear, light rushed in and consumed it.
Holding onto fear keeps us bound by it.
Quietly dwelling on our fear is what keeps us captive. It’s when we confess our fears that light floods into the darkness and exposes the darkness as a fraud, a fake in light of God’s unmatched power.
My son’s vulnerable tooth brushing confession makes me wonder: what fear is clinging to the walls of my heart, needing to be exposed? It is it a fear of disaster, death, or disease or something else, like fearing a conversation or rejection or failure?
My prayer for me, and for you, is that we walk with courage and ruthlessly expose our fears to the consuming light of Christ. As we run in to His love, I pray that instead of fear hiding in our hearts, that God’s truth would be hidden in our hearts, setting us free on every level. I pray that our strong Father will cast out our fear; He will strengthen our hearts with courage, illuminate our paths with truth and never forsake us as we journey forward.
So as a parent, I wonder, how do you navigate the fears of witches and grim reapers that haunt our kids at Halloween? And on a more broad level, as individuals, how do you navigate your more disguised fears that haunt you through life?
I’d really love to hear your thoughts, so that together we can move beyond fear and walk in the freedom we were destined to have in Christ.