Ever had a small child who was afraid of the dark? I think every parent has a least one. I remember when both our son and daughter had sleepless nights. Randy and I would take turns going to their rooms to comfort them and try to get them back to sleep. We’d offer them a drink of water and take them to the potty. We’d kneel beside their bed and pray with them. We’d rest our head on their bed “to sleep with them” thinking we’d outsmart them only to find out we were the ones being outsmarted because we were so tired we ended with getting in the bed with them! We’d hold their precious little hands until they fell asleep and then quietly slide off the side of the bed and crawl out the door! Seriously. Our children were light sleepers, so once one of us went in to check on them the odds were high that we would never get back in our own bed. Nights like these were wearisome. They were especially difficult when we had to wake up more than one time in one night or if our children were unable to sleep for several nights in a row. Sleep deprivation can make a person say and do the stupidest things. After all options are exhausted, you find yourself in the middle of the most irrational discipline situation. Nothing like a delirious child and an exasperated sleep deprived parent at 1:30AM! The excerpt below is from a book that I read recently Fit To Burst. I love the book and all the wonderful, godly advice it offers to Christian mothers in particular. My children are grown now and I love them dearly. As I look back, though, I realize with regret how often I made my children doubters when they were just going through little crises. I would have loved to have had Nancy Wilson’s kind of wisdom when I was raising my children, but am very thankful for the grace of God that was at work in them in spite of me.
I remember the night that I asked Jesus into my heart as clearly as you can remember anything when you are three. I was in bed, and I didn’t like the dark. I started crying about it. My mom came in and said, “Rachel, you don’t need to be crying about it. This house is like a tiny shoebox, and we are all in it. God is everywhere too–even here, so you do not need to be afraid. ” For the record, the house was almost exactly like a tiny shoebox.
I responded, “Yes, He is even in my heart.” When Mom told me he wasn’t, I was completely horrified! How had this been overlooked? What needs to be done? Let’s take care of this now. Why hadn’t they told me earlier? So I prayed that night, and went to sleep unafraid of the dark. The truth is that I am not really certain that moment was the moment. It was when we formalized that I wanted a personal relationship with Jesus, but it wasn’t the beginning of my relationship with Jesus.
Years later, when I was maybe in third grade, I had a crisis of faith. I remember being out in the front yard climbing on the tailgate of Dad’s yellow truck. I just started to worry about it. What if I’m not? What if I just think I am a going to heaven, but I am really not a Christian? I remember feeling quite sick about it. I don’t know what exactly prompted it, but I was feeling very heavy. After a while of worrying about it, I remember asking Mom, “How do I know I’m a Christian?”
She was working on something else, I think in the kitchen. She just turned and looked at me, smiling, and said, “Rachel! We know you are a Christian! We can see the fruit!”
I don’t know if I can communicate to you the level of relief that brought me. I am not alone in this. They know too. She isn’t worried. After that little crisis, I never wondered again. I never doubted that I was a believer, because I believed.
That one comment from my mom strengthened my faith in a way that she could not have anticipated at that moment. She just encouraged me, but more that, kept me from a life of doubt.