“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
It was late and dark as I walked down our long hallway to finally go to bed last night. It had been a long day for us all full of work, cleaning, and grocery shopping until late. As I got closer to my comfortable bedroom I could hear soft crying coming out of our son’s open door.
I immediately went to Riker’s side to see what was wrong and why he wasn’t asleep yet.
“I’m scared. I don’t wanna go to sleep. I want to sleep on the couch.” He exclaimed while he clung to his pillow and favorite stuffed animal (a little tiger named “Monty”. My husband had named it for him since Riker’s first thing to watch at one day old was a game show with Monty Hall as the host. Andrew is obsessed with game shows, but that’s another story.)
“Riker, I’m sorry, but no. You have to sleep in your own bed. It’s okay. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
He continues to cry, but slowly obeys me by getting back into bed. “Riker, it’s okay. You are fine. Jesus is watching over you so there’s nothing to be afraid of.” He’s still going on about not wanting to go to sleep.
“Will you go to sleep if I sing to you?” He nods.
I then sing slowly “Jesus Loves Me” and stroke the side of his face. As I get to the second line in the song he stops crying and peacefulness falls over his face.
The song ends, I say good night and he answers “Good Night Mama, I love you too. Can you leave the door open?” My response is “Of course, just a little bit.”
With that he finally went to sleep.
He woke up an hour later because our stupid neighbors decided that setting off fireworks 10:30 at night on a freakin’ Wednesday in August was a good idea. grrrrr
I let Riker come into bed with us a little while then, which was followed by a similar routine to get him back into his own bed. Then he was finally fine until 7:00 am, thank you Jesus!
Riker has been struggling, especially over the last year, with fear. Fear of thunderstorms, the dark, fireworks, big dogs, etc. His fear has been the strongest at bed time and nap time. I realize it’s a normal thing that most kids go through, but it’s so difficult as a parent to watch your kids go through it!
I’ve had my own struggles with fear as well. I’ve always had an intense fear of the dark. My artist imagination goes wild with what could be lurking in unseen shadows and creepy forests.
The unknown future was also a fear. What ifs would plague my mind, especially a fear of being out of God’s will, oh dear!
“Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”- Isaiah 35:4
There have been so many countless times where God has saved me from my fear. These life experiences, above simply reading the words, have shown me that I don’t need to be afraid.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
I’ve read these verses so many times, but it was only after seeing Him work miracles in my life that have I been actually delivered from fear.
“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'” – Isaiah 43:1
Now this verse…oh this amazing verse brings me to my story. This story is an example of how I take comfort in Jesus for “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
The date was August 11th, 2013.
Screams were flying out of me. There was no control left in my voice.
My mouth was dry.
Andrew’s arm was becoming black and blue with imprints where my grip held him too tight.
My mother warmed me with words of encouragement. “It’s almost time Laura, you’re doing great! Just a little longer. You can do it!”
My midwife stood by, ready to help where needed. She gave me orders how to position my enormous body as it shook with pain.
As the clock stroke 1:21 am I let out one final push and suddenly a very wet small figure was immediately placed into my arms.
But something was horribly wrong.
No cry was heard.
The silence was deafening.
The cord was wrapped around his precious neck.
His body was cold and still.
Fear struck me suddenly, like a knife to the chest.
No! I refused to believe this was happening! This couldn’t be God’s will for his life to stop here!
When we were trying to conceive I had gone before Jesus with every fiber of my being. I stood firm on 1 Samuel chapter 1. I prayed Hannah’s prayer over and over again and worshiped as I imagine she had where a priest actually thought she was drunk.
It was during one of these weeks where not only did I conceived, but God told me through our Pastor that I was pregnant 4 weeks before a test would confirm it. In his prophecy he stated that there was “great joy growing inside of me”. This was told 9 months to the day before August 11th.
I knew that this child would grow up strong. This was why we decided to tell people as soon as we found out that we were pregnant instead of wait until the recommended 14 week announcement. We believed we didn’t need to wait because we knew in our hearts that nothing would happen to our child. My husband and I agreed together to stand firm on God’s word that had been spoken to us.
I was then told, less than 12 hours prior to giving birth, by a missionary that the boy I was having would one day be a “Great and Strong Leader to the Nations”. Little did he know that we were going to name him Riker which means “powerful/strong ruler/leader”. God confirmed these prophecies in our hearts.
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”- 2 Corinthians 1:20
God never lies.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13
So I knew this wasn’t the end for our child.
Swallowing the fear that had stabbed me heart, I suddenly felt my lips mouth the name of Jesus.
My hand rubbed his upper back lovingly.
I said simply the name of Jesus over and over again.
A gasp was heard from his open mouth.
The most beautiful sound was of him coughing.
Dark gray eyes looked into mine and my heart became COMPLETELY his. My difficult labor was suddenly worth it. The pain was no longer felt. This joy was finally resting in my tired arms.
It’s miracles like these that drive out my fear. God’s perfect love for us, wow.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
Somehow fear has now crept into the heart of my precious little boy. Now I’m faced with how I can teach my little, almost four year old, how to rely on God instead of fearing the scary things around him. It took me 26 years to realize I didn’t need to be afraid and God still has to remind me from time to time.
Do I really need to wait years for God to show Riker His perfect love?
I pray not.
I’m trying my best as a mother to show Riker my love for him and to guild him into Jesus’ comforting hands.
I know that I know that I know that God has great things in store for our little Riker Gabriel. The enemy, who is the culprit of fear, is trying to stop Riker’s destiny.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Resting comfortably in God’s word and will is a beautiful but difficult thing. Each day brings a new adventure and possibilities though! Praise God for what He has done and what He will do!
Until next time, this is me signing off and leaving you with the first picture taken of our sweet miracle baby. 🙂 I would love to see some other first pictures of your little ones! Please leave a comment with your first pictures!