Small sobs awakened me. Slipping out of bed, I grabbed my robe and shuffled quickly down the hall to where soft light poured from my 4-year-olds doorway.
Mom, there are bugs in my room! Ashlyn cried out, panicked. I looked around, eyes scanning a peaceful scene: Dimly lit butterfly mobiles, the noise of soft waves emitting from the white noise machine, primary-colored toys and a worn rocking chair. No bugs in sight.
Despite the safety of my arms, her little body continued to shudder as she insisted that there were bugsin her bed, in the room, on the walls. Realizing that shed experienced her first nightmare, I spoke calmly as I told her it wasnt real; there were no bugs. Settling her back into bed, I had just climbed into my own when the crying started up again.
Once again, she was panicked, sure that the bugs had returned. No amount of reassurance matteredshe was convinced the nightmare was real. And as we moved from her bed to the chair to the couch downstairs, and she fell asleep with her head close to mine, I held her tight and assured her of what was true.
In the days that followed, we had several conversations about what was true and what wasnt. But weeks later, Im still thinking about how I need just as many reminders as my daughter did.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).
The world clamors day and night with versions of the truth. When my daughter didnt know what was true, she sought me out because Im her parent and she trusts me. I, too, can seek my heavenly father to determine what is true and right. Jesus, as he was praying, beseeched the Father: Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth (John 17:17).
Gods love and grace and mercythose are the truth. Hes the same yesterday, today, and foreverthats the truth. Even when my baby is born prematurely. Even when I face disappointment in my career. Even when my sister battles cancer. Even when a friendship fails, when a misunderstanding with my husband gets blown out of proportion, or when I feel like Im failing my children. When my worries and fears feel insurmountable, and anxiety rises like a mighty waveeven in those moments of heartache, his love is an unchanging truth.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD! (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
When I read the truth of Gods Word, I find the truth Ive been looking for, and the peace and comfort I need. I read stories of people who lament, feel anger, face discouragement or doubt, and I feel less alone. I find encouragement, solace, and love. When I focus on what is true, Im much less likely to give credence to my fears or be assailed by despair.
Just like my daughter held tightly to me in the midst of her nightmare until she fell asleep, I can turn to God to remember what is true. And when I do, Ill find true rest.