I sat upright in bed, springing forward with fearful power, my body drenched in sweat, and in my semi-conscious and confused state I had to take a moment to decipher what was in fact reality and what wasn’t.
Reality: My husband and both boys are tucked safely in their beds.
Reality: All is well. Time to go back to sleep.
I had, yet again, a nightmare about losing track of my boys when they were around a large body of water. And my nightmare always ended with me desperately trying to save one or both of my boys as they succumbed to the deep waters they had shown no fear to and it swallowed them whole.
And I repeated the nightmare. Night after night after night. We had just moved to California. Living near pools and the beach were a new thing to me. Playing in the water with my two young boys was a new thing to me.
Truth was, in the day, our playtime in the water was some of the best family fun! But there was always a fear eating away at me. Don’t let go! Don’t take your eyes off them. They could die under your watch and you are here to protect them!
The nightmares slowed down as winter came, the air cooled just enough to make trips to the water not as appetizing and we moved on to other activities. But for months that nightmare haunted my sleep, taunting me that I couldn’t protect my kids enough, that no matter how alert to them I would be in my dream it was strangled out by a nightmare as my sons were drawn to dangerous waters and swallowed up again. Over and over.
Danny noticed. I was restless and tired during the day. I continually asked myself, why this intense fear of losing my boys and not being able to protect them? Even with my eyes full on them. In these nightmares, my voice never worked, my legs always moved too slow. I couldn’t save them. All was out of my grasp, my control. And it devastated me night after night, week after week.
Fast forward a few months to April 7, the day were were hit with a new reality. Our son had a disease that we couldn’t control and it would take his life somewhere between 6 and 12 years of age.
Fast forward another few months to June 25. Our youngest was delivered the exact same diagnosis.
Reality: My boys both have a genetic neuro-degenerative disease that cannot be cured or, at this point, stopped.
Reality: I cannot save my boys and they are dying.
Nightmare brought to life. Fear that disables. Depression that overcomes. Security uncovered as an illusion.
This disease has ravaged through Titus’s body. Quicker than we could’ve seen it coming. How did I miss it… the last time I’d hear him roar or see him tackle his brother? How do I live courageously, still the mama, the protector? But with no control?
Fear seizes. Fear cripples. Fear blinds. I can’t be here. Fear kills.
It kills beautiful moments. It kills the ability to see those moments in harsh reality. It kills moments of closeness in relationships. I can’t be here, fear. Take my place setting away. I’m leaving.
I can’t sit in a complacent tolerance of auto piloting to fear.Yes, it’s the easy response. But it’s the cowardly response. And it’s not of God. I heard a new-to-me song a few months ago. On a day when the symptoms of the disease were coming out strong in Titus. A result of the degeneration happening as a result of bad genes that we can’t fix. Here’s the words to the chorus:
When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
Today I will protect my boys by knowing full well who my strength lies in… who my trust lies in. And I will not return to fear today. I will look to Him, the one who knows exactly where this is all headed and promises goodness. And I will walk this path with Him no matter how brutal this world feels. Because today love and joy get to win. And we find beauty, not fear, in Him.
Thanks for listening…