How God Used Our Son to Conquer My Fear
Today, our 5th baby turns 5. Obviously in a house full of kids, we love birthdays and love our kids and love celebrating them. But every year this particular birthday is a little different. His birthday is special, because every year it’s a reminder to me of God’s graciousness towards us.
One night when I was pregnant with him, I had a nightmare. I can’t really remember much about the nightmare—no visuals or stories—only a deep voice. And that deep voice said to me: “You will only have him for 34 months.”
Ok, admittedly, this sounds weird. But it scared me to death. The statement was so specific. So short. And so scary. I remember laying my head on the breakfast table the next morning, crying and being so afraid to tell my husband about the voice because I was terrified to say it out loud. Deep down, I was so scared that the voice belonged to God.
And then a few months later, our baby boy was born. As soon as we took our first look at him, we were so surprised. He was covered in purple splotchy birthmarks all over the right side of his body. After giving birth four times, I had been confident I knew what to expect; but I had not expected this. I immediately wanted to know more about these birthmarks: were they a signal of an underlying condition? Would they go away? Would they affect him in any way? Was this what would lead to him leaving us in 34 months?
As the months went on, our pediatrician recommended we see a specialist with our baby. I had noticed when he was 2 months old that one of his arms was bigger than the other. Nobody had any answers, and I walked around feeling like a zombie. I was totally paralyzed by fear. The voice I had heard in my sleep haunted me; I felt like we were barreling towards 34 months and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Finally, after many grueling specialist appointments, we heard the answer I had prayed for so fervently. He had a benign vascular malformation (fancy for lots of veins) and his birthmarks would probably fade by the time he was 10. Even though they had caused an overgrowth in tissue, he was perfectly healthy and unaffected. I was so thankful!!
But he wasn’t yet 34 months old, and the voice crept back often. It almost became too familiar; like I expected its presence. Every time I would look at my then-toddler and feel overcome with thankfulness that he was so smart and healthy, the voice would remind me that it was good to be thankful because there was a chance that my days with him were numbered. By this time, instead of being outright terrified I had almost become resigned to it. Sad and resigned to it.
In October of 2015, we reached 34 months. He consumed my prayers, and I hoped we would both survive what I was sure would be the longest month of my life.
And then, out of God’s unfailing and boundless mercy, something totally crazy happened. Only a few days into his 34th month—on a Saturday morning—someone came out to our farm to buy pigs. My husband met him down at the pig pen, and Henry and I drove down to the pen a few minutes later. Neither my husband nor I knew that our customer would request that the pigs be shot onsite so he could take it home and Bbq that day. My husband agreed, but told the guy that nobody could shoot a gun on our property except himself; so the guy handed him his pistol.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but when the pigs he was buying were properly harvested, the customer took his pistol back. For some reason (and unbeknownst to us), he set it down on the hitch to a trailer near the pen instead of putting it back in his truck. And a few minutes later when I called for my little boy, I found him playing on that same trailer hitch. Just quietly moving the chain for the hitch around, with the loaded pistol sitting right next to his hand. Only a split second passed, and the customer’s eyes were wider than saucers as he reached down and grabbed the pistol to put it away. He apologized profusely to me for being careless with it, as both of our minds raced with the realization that my toddler had been playing for whole minutes next to a loaded gun. I literally fell to my knees and thanked God for His protection over my little boy.
And that’s when it hit me. The voice I had heard was not from God. Because God’s voice announced to me that day, in Henry’s 34th month, that every single day of his life had always been in God’s hands. God had kept an adventurous toddler who loved nerf guns and superheroes from even seeing a loaded gun that was inches from his hand. And He had ordained all of Henry’s days since the beginning of time, not to paralyze me or get me used to fear but to teach me to lean on and trust Him. The birthmarks were there from before the beginning of time, always supposed to be part of who he is; and they are for his good. On that day, my Heavenly Father encouraged me and said to go in peace because Jesus had already spoken about this situation when He said:
“for my Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.” John 10:29
Dear friend, are you struggling with fear concerning your child? Maybe like Henry, they have a rare condition and you just can’t find the answers you’re looking for; or maybe they’re in the throws of teen angst and you wish you knew what they’re thinking. Maybe you can’t even put your finger on where your fear comes from, but that doesn’t make it any less debilitating and you just wish you could get some relief from it.
I pray that you’ll see our celebration over our now FIVE year old and hear God’s goodness and grace. He doesn’t speak to us in mysteries or cryptic messages in the middle of the night. When He speaks to us, He gives us peace and reassurance that He has it all under control! Your children’s days have been mapped out by the same One who numbered the stars; nothing about your children is accidental.
What specific stories do you have of God’s mercy in helping you overcome fear? Every story I read from other moms boosts my own faith! I’d love it if you commented below or emailed me with your stories.
I pray that we all can let go of the fear that holds us back! That fear doesn’t add one single day to the life He has already planned for our children, only subtracts from our own. He—and only He—is faithful to bring all those days to pass.