Gut check. heart in stomach. gulp. don’t react. stay calm. counselor fears in overdrive.
“Okay honey, tell me about it. What’s going on?”
She proceeds to tell me of a boy at school. He has been scaring her with stories. Retelling scary scenes from horror movies. But the worst thing he told her was that he looked up her name on google and found her picture linked to a website that said “Do you want to kidnap a child?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??! (I realize he is nine. However, he terrified my nine year old and so my mama bear was ready to roar. And by “roar” I mean tackle him to the ground and inflict fear myself.) Partially I was relieved that there was not a more traumatic story behind her tears. Partially I was confused as to why she hadn’t talked to me sooner. And partially I was still considering how to take down this kid.
We talked through all the normal parenting things- always come tell me things that make you uncomfortable; no, there is not a website with your picture on it (we googled it); God is your protection; your brother has a machete- you know, reassuring stuff. As we discussed it, I uncovered a belief I have experienced many times in my life that was keeping her quiet and terrified: if I don’t talk about it, maybe it won’t be true and I won’t have to face my fears head on. I understand that thought, but I also know it to be a lie now. There were years in my life where my fears stayed quiet on the outside, but roared through my heart and head filling me with anxiety. And the same wonderful reality that I experienced when I began to speak honestly about my fears to my Father, was true for Emma too. Relief. Her tears flowed again as she told me, “I feel so much better now.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
Lord, forgive me for wanting to inflict bodily harm on a nine year old boy. I commit to not doing so next week at the class party. At this point however, I will need you to transform my heart, so that I am not tempted to accidently spill something on his head. -Amen.