“I think the pastor should speak about how to overcome fear. Like if there’s a fire or something…right at that moment, how do you overcome fear?” Mowgli asked tonight before he went to bed.
My heart broke a little as he spoke. I hate that he struggles with the same issues that I do. I gently took the Bible from his hand, and flipped through it carefully. “Sweetheart, do you know that your mom has a hard time with this, too?” He shook his head no. “Well, I do.” I wrapped my arms around him, wondering how much longer I will be able to do so. “Mom, what makes you afraid?” I snuggled closer, breathing in the smell of his hair, “The possibility of losing you or your dad.”
I showed Mowgli the verses that mean so very much to me, verses that I cling to like a life preserver. Really, for me, that is exactly what they are. “See, God tells us what to do,” I reminded him before reading from Philippians.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
We talked it over: In the middle of scary circumstances we are to pray and ask God to help us and then trust Him to do it. “That reminds me of some verses in Romans. They say that God will never leave us,” Mowgli said, turning pages briskly. After he searched a bit he said, disappointed, “I can’t find them.” I turned to Romans 8 and asked, “Are these the ones?” His eyes lit up, “Yes!”
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NIV)
As I read the verses aloud, I could feel Mowgli relax next to me. “Can I write these verses on an index card?” he asked. “Sure. First thing tomorrow morning. But now it’s time to finish getting ready for bed.” I tousled his hair, gave him one last hug, and sent him off to brush his teeth.
We always pray together as a family before Mowgli goes to sleep. Tonight all three of us snuggled in Mowgli’s bed. There were lots of giggles. Our list of things to thank God for was even longer than usual. Mowgli wrapped one arm around me and one arm around Hubs as we prayed. How I wish I could bottle the closeness and sweetness and peace of that moment! Once we’d finished I asked, “Do you mind if I take a quick picture? I just want some way to remember this.” I was off to get the camera before they could answer. They didn’t seem to mind. Guess they are used to my whims.
A quick click of the shutter caught the three of our hands intertwined–Mowgli’s hand encircled by mine and his dad’s. There was more laughter, more hugging, more memory-making. Eventually we said a final “Good Night”.
Now I sit here alone in the stillness with my jumbled thoughts, my two loves sleeping soundly in rooms nearby, and I ponder Mowgli’s question. How do you overcome fear?
See, tonight, I am afraid. Tomorrow I am taking our boy for his very first allergy shot. The allergist will stick a needle into Mowgli’s arm and inject a mixture that they’ve concocted just for him, a special blend of all of the things in the environment that he’s allergic to. And while I understand the concept behind it, it still frightens me to no end. That’s because our kid is a special kind of allergic. During his most recent round of testing, they evaluated his reaction to 61 different environmental allergens. They found that he is significantly allergic to 50 of them. He reacted so strongly to the skin prick and intradermal tests that the doctor gave him a dose of steroids there in the office, kept him for observation 45 minutes longer than their usual protocol, and sent us home with a second dose of steroids for me to give him later in the day. Tomorrow after they administer the shot, they will keep him in the office for awhile for observation, since most reactions occur within an hour. But the information they’ve provided us about the shot says that reactions (including anaphylaxis) “can occur up to 24 hours later”. Y’all, I have seen my son’s lips swollen to several times their normal size. I’ve heard him clear his throat repeatedly because it was starting to swell. I’ve looked into his eyes and found them listless and dull. I know what it is to almost lose my child to anaphylaxis. It is horrific and traumatic and terrifying. Granted, the one time he experienced anaphylaxis it was a reaction to a food he had eaten, not a reaction to an environmental allergen. But tomorrow we are going to have Mowgli injected, on purpose, with a mixture of stuff we know he’s allergic to. Are we crazy?! What if we’ve made the wrong choice? The weight of it all threatens to overwhelm me. I need to be strong, or else Mowgli will be frightened, too. Right now, I am anything but strong.
How do you overcome fear?
I know the answer by heart. I whisper over and over to myself the same words I read to Mowgli only a few short hours ago. Then I pray, pray, pray. And the weight lifts.
Mowgli did GREAT; no adverse reaction of any kind to the shots (there were three). Praise God!
We go back next week, and every week after that, for him to receive more shots. So this is likely to be an ongoing struggle for me. Still, I am so very glad to have this first week behind us.