Ellie came into our room early Saturday morning and snuggled up against me.
“Mommy, I’m scared.”
I rubbed her back and told her there was nothing to be afraid of, that she could go back to bed because she was safe.
The morning light had just started to peek through the windows so she knew she didn’t really have to go back to bed, but I was still going to try. She stayed by my side and we laid there silently trying to wake up.
Her fears were simple: the dark, a weird noise the house made, ghosts in the closet.
But in that moment, truthfully, I was scared too. The night before, I had stayed up late glued to the news like everyone else in the world as reports came out of Paris of devastating violence and murder. So when Ellie came to my bed a few hours later, it was still fresh in my mind and heart.
It made me pause in my reassurance that she was safe and had nothing to worry about, because I felt a little bit like I was lying to her. She’s growing up in a world where it’s not safe to go to school, the movies, a concert, or the mall. Those everyday places that we just assumed were not war zones have been breached. Those are places I take my children, places I visit with friends, places I go to on dates with my husband. Sick, delusional people have taken those innocent spots and made them battlefields.
I am fighting hard right now to not be afraid.
I am fighting hard right now to not let fear take away good things in my life.
Because if I do that, the bad guys win. They’ve got me exactly where they want me and even if they never directly touch my life, they are controlling a part of it.
I don’t know what tomorrow holds. I don’t know, as I head to the grocery store this afternoon, whether or not I’ll make it home again. And while that sounds fearful and depressing, it also makes things sweeter. It makes my coffee taste better. It makes my kids’ laughter more enjoyable. It makes my husband’s floppy and in-desperate-need-of-a-haircut hair less annoying.
I’m working so hard right now to be better because of this.
We already know how this ends. The battle’s done; the war is over. I’m not worried about that, but reminding myself daily–and sometimes, hourly–that I can trust in God no matter what happens becomes more of a struggle as well as a welcome reprieve on days where unspeakable horror fill our newsfeeds and hearts.
When my daughters come to me scared and afraid, I can comfort them. I’m their mom, and it’s my job. God wants to do the same thing with us, his children. I don’t know right answers or beautiful language to help us make sense of the heartbreak our world is facing right now. But I do know where we can go for comfort.
Verses I’m praying as I try to process the state of our world:
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. -Psalm 62:1-2, NIV
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. -Psalm 121:1-2, The Message
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever. -Proverbs 10:25, NIV