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The Stone Cold Fear of Losing Your Kids
A little over a week ago I wrote a post on the difficulties I've been having with nightmares. I so appreciate all the comments many of you made! I think my nightmares have been multi-faceted. I have been speaking a lot lately, and I think I've been under a bit of attack. But I also think just plain fear is rearing its ugly head.

Today I want to do a follow-up which I think relates to all of us, whether or not we've had nightmares.

I mentioned in that post that I didn't think the dreams I had had anything to do with me, because they were just ridiculous. But it was still disturbing. And I really did believe that. But one dream that I remember the best seems to actually be relevant in retrospect, though I didn't think so at the time. In it, a friend of mine (it doesn't matter which one; I don't want her to freak out reading this) had three of her children die in an accident, leaving only one.

Throughout the dream, she was trying to cope with having only one child. But the weird thing is that my friend only has three children to begin with, not four. So in the dream she told me that she had had one she had forgot to tell me about.

Anyway, I cried throughout the dream nonstop about these kids, and for my friend having only one. And I had a conversation with her about whether it would matter if it had been another child who was left, and she said it wouldn't have made a difference.

Stupid dream, I know. But I woke up believing it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Then, last week, I was sitting in a meeting that had nothing to do with this either, and it hit me. If one of my children dies, I'll have three gone and only one left. But I normally think of myself as only having three children (just like the friend my brain chose for the dream), not two, because one of my children who died was a miscarriage. So the dream represented my fears exactly. And the reason I dreamt about my friend losing her children instead of me was that with my friend, the child who is left is generic. If it had been a dream about me, I would have had to have a specific one of my girls die, and then it would have been about that specific girl, rather than about my fears in general.

So I guess the truth is that I'm afraid one of my girls will die. Not either in particular, but one.

It makes sense that this is going through my head a lot, because I've spent the last week editing video and audio of a conference I gave which was quite emotional, when I dealt with the whole question of what we do when tragedy strikes. When it comes down to it, is God enough? Will you be able to focus on the hope of heaven, or will you let tragedy destroy you? I've spoken about it a ton lately, but polishing the video and audio and getting it ready to ship out to people just had those words going round and round in my head, at the same time as the anniversary of my son's death came along.

So here's my question for all of us: how do we handle that paralyzing fear? One response, of course, is to put our children in a bubble so that nothing can possibly hurt them. That's a dumb thing to do, because it limits their life. How can you live a big life, or live for what God has dreamed for them, if they're stuck in a bubble? If they are prohibited from having important formative experiences, including experiences which will help them mature and take on responsibility, then how can they accomplish what God has for them? So bubbles are exactly the wrong thing to do. They don't protect our children; they limit them.

To me it's not a parenting issue as much as a trust issue. I almost daily have to go to God and ask Him to help me live my life for Him, and not for my family. I love my family, but I have to hold them with an open hand, knowing that they are His first. And if anything does happen to them, they are still His, as am I. And this life is but a short beginning to our real life, which will be in heaven.

I know that, but the thought of being without them still stops your heart cold, sometimes, doesn't it? There really is not solution except to keep going to God in prayer, and to keep falling in love with Him, so that He will always be enough to carry you. Most likely nothing will happen to our loved ones. Statistics say that they'll be fine. But it's still hard when so much of our hearts are wrapped up in our kids.

So let me just ask you today: what are you living for? Are you living for your kids, or do you see them as gifts from God where you are the steward? Can you raise them towards independence, and encourage them to fly, because they're in His hands, and not just yours? And can you remember that God is enough?

Those are heavy questions. They may cause some tears. But I think all mothers need to deal with them and get them straight before God. He is big enough to cast all of our fears on, so let's do it!

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At 10:09 AM , Blogger Kim said…

Hmm...interesting - thank you for this post. While I've NOT been having nightmares of my kids dying...I have been having some nightmares from my past based on some recent unfortunate things that my daughter has gone through. Not really quite the same but similar to yours in a sense that I've wanted to put her in a bubble to protect her...wanted to keep her away from all others who would want to harm her or teach her things that ought not be done to and with a 9 year old. I've come to the end of myself in all of this and have surrendered the situations to God for I know that it would be impossible for me to be standing over her everywhere she goes making sure that she makes the right decisions...I will have to trust in the Lord for her to partake in his wisdom between right and wrong situations and trust that she will listen to him. I know you don't quite understand the details of what I'm talking about but I can't tell you how much your post has ministered to me during this time. Thank you for being open and honest...I am a new reader and feel the Lord sent me to your blog in the niche' of time!


At 9:59 PM , Blogger TRS said…

I'll offer a different perspective.... seeing as I don't have children.

I was one of the kids left after my older sister died. That left my brother and me and my brother had just finished high school and I was starting my high school experience.
My mom became very over protective.
Granted, she had good reason - but looking back, that wasn't fair to me.

And it's really difficult to view your mother as a chronic worrier. She'd worry about everything - nonstop!!! Just certain that I was lying in a ditch somewhere.

So my brother and sister raised all sorts of hell... and when it was my turn - well, I wasn't exactly in a bubble - but I was always the perfect angel who never got into any trouble... which suits my personality anyway.
I'm just saying... should the unthinkable happen - resist the temptation to put the remaining child in protective bubble. She'll probably go there herself anyway!!


At 8:51 AM , Blogger Sheila said…


So glad I could help you a bit in this post! Parenting is hard, and we need all the help we can get.

And TRS--I'm so sorry about your sister. That must have been terrible. But you're right about that advice--we need to not put our kids in bubbles. Thanks so much for sharing!


At 4:53 PM , Blogger Sheri said…

It's odd. When someone asks "what are you the most scared of?" my answer is nearly always "the dark", my SIL's is "Losing one of my children". I don't think for one second that she loves her children more than I love mine, but she must allow it to paralyze her a bit more than I do (and trust me, I am really over protective).
I tend to TRY to remember that it's all in God's control, not mine. And no amount of worry is going to change things that God has planned.
But I still pray, pray, pray


At 11:27 PM , Anonymous Heather said…

Your post was so relevant to my thoughts and anxieties. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. Trusting in God and believing my kids are God's gift to me is something I have been trying to figure out for some time. I suffer pretty severe anxiety about facing my own possibility of death--not because I don't know that I will be returning to my Father in Heaven, but because I am terrified of leaving my children to face the world without me. When I get a grasp on it, it seems so selfish and so untrusting of God to think that my kids' lives would be destroyed if I were to die, but when I get wrapped up in the emotions of it, I am paralized by the fear of leaving them alone. Your post touched on some of what I am trying to build up in myself so that I am willing to live my life outside of my own self-imposed bubble. Thank you for helping to clarify some of what has been spinning around in my head. The bottom line is that I pray that I can trust God enough to believe that if I were to leave this earth, my children would be in His hands. That is quite a mountain for me to face. As another comment said. . .I still pray, pray, pray.


At 12:11 AM , Blogger Trudy said…

I did not read all through your post I stopped when I realized you were just living a fear. Having just lost my 24 year old son unexpectedly and shockingly he died in his sleep September 4, 2009I dismissed your post and felt compelled to just write a few lines. You have in the end no control over what will happen to your child other than protecting them from obvious dangers and teaching them not to talk to strangers etc., etc you are NOT in control of what will happen to them no matter how much you think you are. There is no amount of fear that you could possibly feel while your child is still alive that can compare to the stone cold fear that you feel as they lower them into the ground forever... so my advice as a mother who has experienced the ultimate fear and pain is...don't waste a single giggle or a single hug worrying about what you have no control over because every second that you live in fear you already have lost enjoying the child while he or she is here to be enjoyed. Giggle, hug, love and above all enjoy every second because if that is all the time you have together spending time in the fetal position in fear is such a waste of "NOW" and the now is all we may have.


At 10:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I fear this always. I have lost so many people in my life that I have this penetrating fear that my 8 yr old daughter will be taken from me as well.

It's debilatating and scary...I even had hatched a "death plan", should she die, I would kill myself to make myself unable to feel the pain, and have left a note demanding to be buried in the same casket with her so she won't be alone.

I even have gone so far as to decide that I amn not going to have a second child...just only have had her simply because I worry too much and find so much fear as a parent.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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