Dear Son: Last Night You Were Scared, and God Showed Up

Dear Caden,

I’m writing you this morning because I’ve promised myself that I’m going to document the moments–sweet, ugly, powerful, and all the in between. I want to remember; I want you to remember; I want us to remember. And last night was one of those memories that I don’t want to neglect to pen just because Target is calling and Costco is on the agenda today. The over-sized box of fig bars and Cheez-Its can wait because last night you were scared, and God showed up.

I’ll keep it short and sweet, but here’s what unfolded yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, I was notified that one of your sweet friends (the one that you invited to Sparkies this year and comes most weeks with you) was unable to come. When I heard, I knew you’d be upset; that’s part of my job description: “know your kids and their triggers.” She is your safe place and your encouragement; she helps you be brave when you’re not feeling up to it; and she is a fun and happy friend. She’s a gem, and I knew you’d miss her.

As I knelt on the floor beside you, to explain that she wouldn’t be there, you immediately burst into hysterical sobbing. And just as quickly as those tears came rolling down your face, the anger came a’rollin’ in. Like a roaring wave, your tears turned to fear…which turned to anger. And though I’ll spare you the details of all that you said and did (because grace is big and mercy abounds), let’s just say that you reacted in anger. And though I can’t always say that I respond in calmness and love (because sometimes I get irritated by your sin), I did last night. And man, oh man, am I glad I did.

As I pulled you to my lap, we talked about your tears and your anger. We talked about where those tears were coming from and why they turned to anger. I empathized with your hurt; I normalized your frustration; and then I reflected that it appeared that there was something below the tears and anger. You agreed as tears rolled in the dozens down your face. “I’m so red, Mommy. I’m so red.” You were red-angry and there were tears but below those tears, were a bunch of fears.

As I rubbed your back and held you tight, we talked about the fears below. And as as we talked, you admitted that you were afraid that you would be alone…that you’d have no one to talk to…that your other friend (who you also dearly love) would sit with her other friend…that you’d be scared and alone.

I got it; I understood. You got it; you understood.

And when we came to a place where we understood where those tears and fears came from, we then talked about the sin that roots them. And we talked about the remedy for sin; and we talked about Jesus; and we talked about the hope and peace that He can bring to our fears. Quietly, you listened and nodded your head; I had no clue what was hitting your heart and head.

We sat a few more minutes and we talked about healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with anger, and I encouraged you to make a commitment to either “stay at home” or “go in courage.” I honestly wasn’t going to push you last night, and I didn’t. I was going to let you decide. And honestly, to my surprise, you said, “Mommy, I want to go.” We hugged, and we parted ways.

As I prepared for dinner and my work night, I found myself praying a prayer sentences of pleading that I have been praying begging God, on behalf of you and your sister (especially recently).

God, draw their hearts to you. Show them yourself and call them to you. Choose them and run after them. Be a magnet that they cannot resist, and soften their hearts. Make them yours and help them have hearts to follow. Have mercy, God, and adopt them as your children. 

And I’m not gonna lie, when I pray those lines and write those lines in my journal, I say them and pray them in frantic ways. Why? Because your souls are the MOST IMPORTANT, and I don’t want to get side-tracked from keeping the main thing the main  thing. 

We ate dinner; I headed to work; your daddy and sister dropped you off at Sparkies; and the night proceeded.

I’m not going to pretend that I thought about you or your time throughout the night; I didn’t. I was focused on the hurt in front of me. But when I walked in the door at 9:15 PM, and you dashed to the door with your brushed teeth and clean jammies, I couldn’t wait to hear what had happened.

After telling me about the completion of your book and showing me your trinkets that you earned from the “Sparkie Store,” you said, “And Violet came to sit with me all on her own. She never does that!”

My eyes filled with tears as I took your hand and headed for the couch. Pulling you to my lap, I said, “Tell me again what happened!” And again, you recounted how your friend (the dear one that usually sits with someone else) had moved near you…sat beside you…and talked with you. Boy, you were beside yourself with a smile as wide as the sea.

“Buddy, you know what? I believe that God saw your hurts this afternoon and heard your fears, and I believed that He showed up. Tonight, for YOU!”

Your eyes got big.

And then I said, “Buddy, I’m so glad that God is giving you moments where He reveals Himself to you, where He shows you that He is REAL, and that He is ALIVE, and that He is MORE THAN a story on a page and words in a book. Caden, God is REAL, and He cares for you. He sees you, buddy, and He wants you to see Him!”

My heart was so tender, and so was yours.

“Buddy, I think God moved Violet.”

You smiled again.

As I tucked you in bed with your buckets of blankets, I kissed your head, and asked, “So what did you learn tonight?”

I loved your response.

“Mommy, I learned that God is so powerful.”

Son, I pray that God continues to do exactly THAT. I pray that He continues to show you, time and time again, just how big, and mighty, and real, and powerful He is. Because dear boy, He really, really is.



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