“Dad!” shouted a fearful small voice from the bedroom across the hall.  

As my husband rolled out of bed, a glance at the clock glowed with a time well past midnight.

Shadows. They have suddenly become sinister in the eyes of our child as they loom and leer and stretch across floors and windows and walls.

And I find myself whispering explanations and prayers and logic into little ears each evening as bedtime nears, trying to find a way to break this hold fear has gained over my beloved child.

We’ve searched our memories back over days, weeks, months, unable to pinpoint when and how and where fear first planted its seed, and what triggered this sudden onslaught of nighttime terror.

As I stood in the bedroom across from my own, tucking in a precious small form, praying over the dreams and sleep of someone I love beyond words, my own silent, pleading prayer was banging around inside my head: “Lord, I DO NOT WANT THIS FOR MY CHILD!!!!”   

And the responsive thought that immediately crossed my mind was this: “Daughter, I do not want this for any of my children.”

Fear. It will sneak deep inside and take us over so completely that its twisted thoughts, its twisted reality becomes so second nature to us that we mistake it for being real. It will stop us from doing and being the best, greatest version of ourselves.

And the Lord does not want that for us. The pain and immense sadness I feel watching my child in this struggle against shadows is but a tiny sliver, the smallest glimpse, of the pain and sadness Jesus feels when his beloved (you) allows fear to slither in and catch a foothold in your life.

Scripture is replete with verses addressing fear, and these are but a few of my favorites – the ones I whisper when my own heart is pounding hard and my thoughts are filled with fear.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

What fear have you lived with for far too long? Are you ready to let it go, to live free? What step can you take today to start on that journey?

Precious Jesus, you know the secret fears in our hearts. Give us courage to face and vanquish those fears. If need be, send professionals across our paths who can help us navigate and conquer the twisted thoughts and feelings that hold us captive. We long to live lives that reflect the very best versions of ourselves, and we seek your help in breaking free from the fears that have held us back for too long.  Amen.