Friday, April 11, 2014

Fear and Trembling and Honest Questions

Lucy has a bizarre phobia of the wind. Actually, it's not that bizarre considering that I'm her mother. 

When I was younger, I had a horrible phobia of tornadoes. Then cougars. Then bears. I'm still waiting to grow out of that last one. The first two phased out when I realized neither are that prevalent in Michigan. I know in the grand scheme of things bears aren't either, but I can't shake that one for some reason. 

The point is that considering my history of fear, I feel like I should be better equipped to help Lucy handle hers. But I'm totally at a loss. 

The weather has been beautiful here the past few days. Sunny and warm . . . and windy. Lucy will not go outside when the wind is whipping. We had to go to Niki's yesterday and she stood by the door trembling and making me promise that I wouldn't let anything blow away while we ran from the house to the van. I've tried reasoning with her and explaining to her that if something were to blow away, I'd either run after it or we'd buy a new one. Last year, she was terrified anytime the wind kicked up that the towels hanging by the pool would blow away. It didn't matter how much I reassured her that we could buy new beach towels, she was still terrified. 

I remember that feeling and hate that I've passed it on to her. Reason and logic don't dispel fear. Telling her there's nothing to be afraid of doesn't help. To her, there is. I always hated it when people told me not to be afraid. Do you think I could control it? Do you think I was choosing this torture? I know Lucy can't control it either. I want to empathize with her, and usually that's all I can think to do. I tell her I used to be afraid of the wind too. I tell her it will get better when she's older. I tell her that I will do everything in my power to protect her. And I tell her to ask God to take her fear away. But that's where things get tricky . . .

I spent most of my childhood (and young adult years) begging God to take away my fear. He never did. What am I supposed to tell Lucy when she prays for her fear to go away and it doesn't? How do I explain to a 4 year old that God uses things like fear to grow us and make us reliant on Him? The other day when I told her to pray that God would take away her fear she countered with, "Maybe I can pray for Him to stop the wind." I've spent so much time teaching her that God is powerful and can do anything. She knows the story of Jesus stopping the storm on the sea. She doesn't doubt that God can stop the wind. And I don't either. I just doubt that He will. How am I supposed to teach her to pray but understand that God isn't a genie and He won't always answer her prayers with a "yes"? What am I supposed to say when she prays for God to stop the wind and it continues to batter the house?

The turning point in my fear journey was getting on anti-anxiety meds. I truly believe it's a chemical imbalance that creates these irrational fears. And it's obviously genetic. I got it from my dad who got it from his mom. But Lucy's too young to start on drugs that she'll take the rest of her life. How can I help her cope in the mean time? And how can I teach her to find comfort in God's presence during the storm instead of expecting Him to give her a life of smooth sailing? Especially when I haven't even totally grasped that concept for myself!

I'll take any advice I can get!


1 comment:

  1. This is so tough. I don't have any advice for you, but I'll be praying for you guys. Abby has occasionally shown fear about a few things here and there, but nothing consistent and nothing too debilitating. The closest we've come was actually the other night, I got the Veggie Tales Easter Carol movie and watched it with the girls for the first time. At the end, when the factory was about to blow up, Abby started freaking out, yelling at the tv "Bob get out of there! Bob hurry!" and she was SO scared for him. She snuggled with me and was shaking. I had to lay with her that night in bed until she fell asleep. It was pretty scary for me to see her so shaken up. I'll keep you guys in my prayers.

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