Staying overnight with either set of grandparents was fun. There always seemed to be an adventure, even if was small or simple. I went through a time, however, when I can remember being afraid to spend the night. It was just after my Paw Paw Hood passed away. As a child, I did not fully understand death and loss. I can still remember the fear that during the night death would come to steal my other grandparents as well.
My parents were puzzled at my behavior. I would beg to go spend the night, yet the closer it came to bedtime, the fear would reappear. I would inevitably end up crying and going home. I felt so disappointed in myself, but I could not bear to tell them what was bothering me. I just knew that saying the words out loud would surely cause something awful to happen. To make matters worse, I found myself withdrawing from my grandparents. I even became afraid of leaving Mom and Dad to go to school. This created a constant state of chaos and threatened my future as well. Knowing how much it hurt to lose my grandpa Hood, I became protective of my emotions. Even though I now understand as an adult that pain is a part of life, as a child I did not ever want to hurt like that again.
Thankfully over time my parents coaxed me to express my worries and fears. To this day I can remember the weight being lifted off my heart and mind as the conversation unfolded. Even as a small child, carrying that heavy burden was stealing a joyful part of my childhood. Instead of enjoying precious times of the present, I was living under oppression and fear of the future. I was running from the very thing I was so desperately afraid of losing. The confession to my parents restored a relationship with my grandparents unlimited by fearful reservations. Over time I was able to return to spending the night with them, and eventually I was able to go to school without that awful feeling of anxiety.
Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Yet how many of us as adults live in the exact same prison by exchanging the abundant life for the less desirable prison of denial, fear, and sin. You see, Satan attempts to keep us ineffective by telling us we aren't worthy of forgiveness. However, God says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." Romans 8:1. Pride tells us we have the "right" to "enjoy" all things and we would lose out if we totally surrender to Christ. God says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10. Human nature tell us we should run from God whenever we have messed up. God begs us to run to Him. "But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9. "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:4-7.
There is such freedom in Christ. God did not design us to face this world's troubles alone. We are inherently created to depend upon His grace and mercy to see us through each challenge. May God work in your heart today, helping you to unload the burden of fear, failure, and/or uncertainty in your life. May He give you the grace to let go of the familiar pain in order to receive unknown joy.
"Thank You, Lord, for loving me and for showing Your forgiveness towards me. You know how I struggle with the very thing I write about today. Lord, I confess to You my many shortcomings, and I ask for You to perform a work in my heart to bring about the changes I am incapable of making on my own - real, lasting changes from the deepest part of my being. Make me real, Lord. Please remove any semblance of hypocrisy or false humility far from me, and help me to love others with an honesty that only You can provide. In the name of Your Precious Son, Jesus, Amen."