My precious Elizabeth Ann,
For the ?????? night in your short 3 1/2 years on this planet, I heard you wake up in your bedroom and begin crying. "Mommy! I need you! I need you!" I admit that before the sadness of your cries could reach my heart, the frustration of having a child who wakes up every night and ends up in my bed caused a weary sigh to escape my lips. I raced up the stairs fearful of having you wake one of your sleeping sisters, either Samantha in the next room or Jennifer who escaped her own bed and was snuggling closely to you, her big sister and her security.
I sat on the end of the bed for what felt like an eternity while waiting for you to fall back asleep knowing full well that you would and I would make my escape only to have you wake up, notice I was gone, and cry again. This scenario happens all night long, almost every night until I decide to go to bed myself and let you come snuggle under the security of my quilt.
You've been this way since the day I met you. From the day we brought you home from the hospital you have been scared of the dark. At some point in there you also began having bad dreams. Sometimes they make sense - dreaming someone was coming in and hurting me - other times they don't - dreaming of butterflies in the bathtub???? - and occasionally, like tonight, they are silly - dreaming of a silly monster laughing at you.
No matter what the dream, they wake you up after only a few hours of sleep. And when you're awake, you're in a constant state of insecurity. I hate this for you. I want your sleep to be peaceful every time you lay your head on your pillow. I want, if you wake up in the night, for you to be so secure that snuggle down into your own bed with stripes and your blankie as you drift back to sleep with your sweaty curls plastered to your forehead.
I haven't done a good job of helping that happen though. Today, I let you watch The Lion King - twice - and The Jungle Book. Although I already have standards for you, your siblings, and myself that others would think are strict, this isn't the first time I've been somewhat careless about what I allowed into that little mind of yours.
As I fixed a pallet on the floor for you in my room and got myself ready for bed, Mark 9:42 came to my mind. It says, "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea."
I realized that, not only had I, by allowing you to watch certain things, caused you to be scared, I had also caused you and your sisters to sin. How? Glad you asked!! :-)
Philippians 4:8 says, "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."
In putting those movies in front of y'all, I gave y'all things to think about that are quite opposite from what this verse tells us to think about. I was a stumbling block to y'all. Even if your brother and sisters don't struggle with the bad dreams like you do, I still have to be careful with what I allow. The Bible doesn't say that we should think on pure, lovely, true, admiral things only if we don't struggle with bad dreams. That is a command for everyone, regardless!
Elizabeth, Jennifer, Samantha, and CJ,
My precious children, God has entrusted me with you. I don't know why He felt I was worthy of such a blessing, but I'm so glad He saw fit. I love you all with every fiber of my being. You'll never understand the depth of my love for you until you are parents yourselves. Because of the great love I have for you and the even greater love I have for our God, as I climbed into bed tonight with Elizabeth on the floor beside me, I quietly repented and vowed to make sure that everything I put in front of y'all or myself follows the guidelines of Philippians 4:8.
There will be many people who don't understand our standards. There will be people who don't like them. There will be times you don't understand or like them. Please know now that these standards are meant for two purposes. 1.) To honor God with our lives and 2.) To help you live according to His Word until you are mature enough to do so on your own. They are meant to help you, not to hurt you. They are because I love you.
And I do. I love each of you and your unique, individual personalities. I love that I get to walk this journey with you and see where God's path takes you. Follow Him with your whole heart. Allow Him to lead you each and every step of the way. And no matter how silly the fear or how big the sin, always, always, always know that you can come to me in the middle of the night (or any other time of day) just as Elizabeth did tonight, and I will be there to point you to God and His truths just as I, tonight, pointed Elizabeth to Him and the fact that He is our protector. I love you my children and so does God. Don't ever doubt the truth of that!