Bedtime with my baby girls is always an adventure. Some nights I literally want to pull every hair out of my head in frustration but other nights, they are simply magical. My little ones will snuggle close, prompt us to pray and then thank Jesus for things like the day, Daddy’s lunch or our little family.
Moments like this melt my heart but with these unpredictable two, I never really know what I’m going to get! Anything is possible, anything can happen and a couple of nights ago my youngest daughter surprised me yet again.
‘I’m scared of the dark!’ she cried.
‘Are you really?’ I asked her.
Now I’m wondering to myself, Did she just today decide to be afraid? Because every other night she’s fine. So much so that we don’t even own a nightlight at this point.
‘I’m so scared!’ she cried again as she literally cocooned herself under the blankets and into even more darkness.
‘Ry, it’s not even that dark in here!’ I pleaded.
You see with the bedroom door open and the lights from our Christmas tree coming down the hall and a small illumination from the street light, the room was dark, but not pitch black.
Now Ms. Rylee B. has cocooned herself into the darkest of dark and is literally hiding from the dark, in the dark.
‘Rylee, come out from there. It’s darker under the blankets then it is out here!’ I tried to reason with her, but she wouldn’t budge.
‘Ok, ok- I’ll leave you alone, but Mommy is right here you don’t have to be afraid!’
And then, as I’m sure you can already guess; the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.
‘Isn’t it so sad when our children hide in what they fear most?’
Ugh. Yes Lord, it’s so sad!
In that moment, as Rylee fell asleep in the darkness of her cocoon, I began to think about all the times I hid within my fears so much so that they became comfortable to me.
The times I let the fear of rejection keep me isolated.
The times I let the fear of failure keep me from even trying.
The times I let insecurities disable me from doing my best.
The times I let the fear of being hurt keep me from developing good relationships.
All these times I hid from my fears, in my fears and it felt totally normal.
All these times I let the darkness validate my fear rather than letting my faith validate my freedom.
Sheesh, the list could literally go on and on but in that moment I realized far too many times I’ve allowed fear to push me into a corner and I end up hiding in the very thing I fear the most.
When I saw my daughter do it, I just wanted to pull her up, take her out of the darkness and hold her safe in my arms. I don’t want her to live in fear; I don’t want her to live in hiding. I want her to live wide open in love and faith.
If that’s my heart for my daughter, imagine the heart of the Father for us. He loves us more than I could ever love Rylee. That’s a hard concept to grasp but it’s the truth. In all my heart, in all my life, I will never muster up more love then the love for her then our Father has for us. He is love so His love tank isn’t dependent on anyone, isn’t contingent on anything, His love just is.
Gosh I want to come out of hiding.
I want to live wide open.
I want to find shelter and safety in the Father’s arms even when I face the darkness and shadows of this world. I really, really want to let His arms of refuge become my default hiding spot rather than hiding in my fears.
I want to hear His words ‘Come out of there, you’re safe here with me’ and actually move, actually go, actually allow myself to come out of this hiding place and realize that I’m safer in the shadows with Him then in hiding without Him.
I let my daughter rest there that night. Not because I didn’t love her, not because I didn’t want to hold her and snuggle her to sleep but because I love her enough to let her learn. She came out eventually. I imagine when it felt hard to breathe in there and when that small space became confining and uncomfortable, she finally came out of hiding and rested in my arms.
If you’ve been hiding in your fears for too long, please know that God isn’t letting you stay there because He’s in agreement with you, He’s simply loving you enough to let you learn.
When you’re ready, right outside the darkness, right outside of your fears, right outside of your worry He’s sitting there waiting for you. When you finally break free from the confinement of that small space you placed yourself into, He’ll be waiting, arms open wide, with endless love and space for you to rest in.
Ironically enough, Rylee actually means courageous. That means even when she is afraid, I call her courageous, I call her brave. Can you hear what the Father is calling you?
I hope little Rylee B. has encouraged you as much as she has me. She’s a little treasure to me just as you are to your Father in heaven.