Night Terrors

When my son Zach was little, he started having what is called “night terrors.”  These things are scary as crud!  It is as if your child is awake yet stuck in the most horrific nightmare ever.  They appear to be awake, yet they are screaming out in fear as if they have seen Freddy Krueger himself.  During these terrors, my son would constantly cry out for me; “Mom, Mom, Mom!”

At first, I would panic and cry out, “Zach, Mom’s here! I’m here!” But he wouldn’t hear me.  He would toss violently, kick, hit, and scream.  It broke my mama’s heart.  Although he was with me and in the safety of my home, the fear he was experiencing was so real.

When I addressed this with the doctor, she told me what these episodes were and said he will more than likely grow out of them.  Her antidote? “Just let him scream it out.  Watch over him so he doesn’t hurt himself and calmly reassure him: ‘Zach, I’m here. Mom’s here.’  Shannon, he won’t die!”

Sometimes I feel like my life is a night terror.  There are times fear washes over me and panic sets in!  Staring into the lies of the enemy, the failures in my past, and even the dysfunction in my present can feel like I am living on “Elm Street”.

Conflicting voices of culture and self denigration berate me:

You've lost so many years.

You are old.

You are alone.

There is no one out there for you

Be tough.

Be soft.

Be confident.

Be teachable.

Be more.

Be yourself.

Watch your mouth!

Speak your mind.

Emotion is healthy—feel it.

You’re spinning—get a grip.

During these times, I swear I feel like I’m in a nightmare, but I am wide awake.  I scream and kick and cry out to God, but I can’t hear Him.  Yet God’s Word says that “He is my refuge and stronghold” (Joel 3:16). “I am in the palm of His hand!" (Is. 49:16). “He is watching over me and I will not be destroyed.  I will not die!”  (Is. 43:2). The truth is, He is gently saying, “Shannon, Abba’s here, Abba’s here.”

So when I am afraid, I will trust in you! 

When my fit subsides and I can once again hear, He is always faithful to replace the lies with truths and once again I breathe!

-S