My daughter, as a result of spending her earliest years in an institution, has struggled with anxiety for all of her six short years on this earth. From the moment we picked her up, we’ve worked, with God’s guidance, to help her heal and overcome her anxiety. But like so many things, it’s a process, and while I can definitely say I’d rather the healing be instantaneous, there is also so much more growth and learning, for all involved, when you go through the process.
So every night, as I put her to bed, she goes through what I jokingly refer to as her “call me” list. It’s a list of things, whatever may be bothering her at the moment, and she wants me to tell her to “call me” if they happen. It goes something like this . . .
A: “Call me if there’s a storm . . .”
Me: “Yes, call me if there’s a storm . . .”
A: “Call me if the smoke detector beeps . . . “
Me: “Yes, call me if the smoke detector beeps . . .”
A: “Call me if the bed flies . . . ” (yes I know, it’s funny . . . she saw it on Sesame Street so it’s legit)
Me: “Yes, call me if the bed flies . . . “
And we continue in this direction until she’s both, exhausted her list of current anxieties, and I’ve assured her that she can “call me” if each one happens. And it’s pretty obvious, some of these are possible, some are not, and some are totally ridiculous, but all are incredibly important and real in her concerned, six year old mind.
And you know what I don’t do? No matter how unlikely, or improbable, or downright, silly her worries are, I don’t tell her that her fears are ridiculous or unfounded. Instead, I reassure her that no matter what she’s worried about, real or imagined, she can call me, and I’ll be there for her. I’ll comfort her. Because of this, she’s able to sleep much more peacefully assured that all she has to do is “call me”.
God reminded me the other day that He does the very same for us. For me. How often have I gone to Him completely stressed with small, insignificant, and often seemingly silly, worries? And time and again, He doesn’t shame me or belittle me. Instead He comforts me. He hears me. He answers me.
And just like my daughter, because of this, my confidence in Him grows, my peace grows, and my anxiety lessens, and although, I’d love to not have to go through the process at all, it is only because of the process, the growth, that I’m able to help my daughter through the very same thing. I used to question why God ever allowed me to struggle with anxiety or fear even a little. Why didn’t He just “zap” it out of my mind? But looking back, I know that it’s almost 40 years of going through the process that allows me to walk alongside my daughter with empathy.
I’m a work in progress. We all are. I’m far from perfect, as a parent, as a person, and as a Christian, and I’m going to mess up. But I also know that God is transforming me and working on me through each and every moment. And all I have to do is call Him . . .
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NKJV
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NKJV
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