It is no secret that my six year old is terribly, desperately horribly frightened of thunderstorms. He’s also mildly overly obsessed with them. He checks out library books on weather, he watches the weather channel and reports back to us what part of the country is expecting severe weather for the day. He knows the difference between an F5 and an F1 tornado…
He knows weather.
So last week, when I saw that the movie Twister was coming on TV, I decided to record it and let Sloan watch. I don’t know why this seemed like a good idea. It just did. It seemed like something he would enjoy watching. I know, I know…trust me, I’ve slammed my hand against my forehead more than once these last few days saying Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!
So, Friday afternoon I sat the kids down and turned on Twister. I sat to watch with them so I could skip any parts that I thought might be inappropriate. I get points for that, right?
About 10 miunutes into the movie, I had a nagging feeling that maybe this wasn’t the best idea. As Sloan peppered me with questions, (Is that an F5 mom? Is that guy going to die? Are we going to get a tornado, mom? What happens if you get sucked up by a tornado?) I wondered if I should turn the movie off. But he didn’t seem scared – just interested. It was the same type of interest that he shows when he reads books about tornados.
So alas, I unwisely shoved aside the concerns and figured we’d just pay for this poor decision the next time it stormed and if you’ve ever been with Sloan during a storm, you’d know that he can’t get a whole lot more skittish than he already is.
You don’t need to say it – I already know. I get a big, fat F in motherhood for Friday.
So we finished the movie and the kids commenced to playing tornado. They ran around the house yelling, “It’s an F5. We have to go. Get down in the cellar. Oh no, I’m being sucked up. Tia heeeeeelp meeeee.” And so on and so on. It was cute and funny and I enjoyed watching them.
Then it got dark.
“Dad!” Sloan shrieked running into the room and leaping onto Lee’s lap. “I’m scared.” And my heart sank. In fact, I think I mouthed the word Crap! And it was downhill from there. He wouldn’t walk outside without holding our hands. He wouldn’t go into a dark room. He was jumpy and certain that a monster tornado was looming around the corner waiting to pounce on him.
At bedtime, we prayed with the kids and assured them that we would not be experiencing a tornado, reminded them that the movie wasn’t real, and told them that God gave us a strong house to protect us.
At 9:30, Sloan woke up with his first nightmare. He came tearing out into the living room in tears and still half asleep. We put him back in bed and assured him all was well.
At 10:30, he started crying in bed and this time Tia woke up terrified. She ran into our room gasping that Sloan was crying and there might be a storm and OMG the world is ending! So we walked her to bed and we talked with both of them.
I will now be seamlessly transitioning into the lesson and moral of the story…
We assured Sloan that God was in control of everything – even the weather. We reminded Sloan that God is our protector and we can trust Him in all things. Then we prayed with him and asked God to fill his mind and heart with good things and to remove the fear. We asked God to protect Sloan from fear because fear is not of God. Before we were finished praying, both kids were asleep again and they both slept through the night.
When Sloan woke up Saturday morning, he cralwed in bed with me (Lee had left early for a meeting). As we snuggled close, I asked him how he slept. He told me he had no more bad dreams and that he had a really long good dream. From there we were able to talk about how God answered our prayer and gave him peace. Sloan’s response?
“Mom, I know I can trust God and I know He answers prayers. Sometimes I will probably still get scared, though.”
So precious. And so true. I know I can trust God and I know He answers prayers, but sometimes – I get scared. I fear failure, I fear something happening to my husband or kids, I fear…
My fears are no less real than Sloan’s fear of death by tornado. But how quickly do I forget that God is in control? That He hasn’t forgotten me? That He won’t abandon me? It’s easy to share that lesson with my six year old as he’s huddled under the covers, but for me to embrace it sometimes feels momentous. But how true it is.
And so, when fear threatens to overwhelm me – when the night seems so dark and the shadows so large, I will remember the simple lesson that we learned from Sloan – I know God is in control, I know I can trust Him to protect me and answer my prayers, but sometimes I will probably still get scared. And in those moments, I will pray and ask for His protection, then I will sleep soundly and awake to the morning sun that always works to dispell the fears of the night. And I will trust.
I will also not let him watch that movie ever again…