It’s the wee hours of the morning I’m lying in bed and I hear the pitter patter of little feet coming into my room. “Mom, I had some bad dreams.” my little one tells me. “Here, come crawl in beside me” I tell him. He jumps in over me and lies down. “Will you hold me?” he asks, and immediately I roll over, wrap my arms around him and pull him as close to me as I possibly can. His body relaxes, he sighs a relief as he closes his eyes. I can’t tell you the sweet satisfaction that rushes through me as he lays there, drifting back into a slumber as his spirit is comforted and his fears are soothed. What a joy to know that simply holding him can bring such security to his little heart.
My mind drifts off to the many nights of childhood where I would lay in my bed, terrified from the sounds coming from the other room; the desperate pleas to stop, the muffled cries of pain, the clings and clangs of thrown objects. Oddly enough it was the silence that scared me the most. Had the rampage stopped? Or was it just a brief pause before the violence burst into our rooms and chose the next victim. A good night’s sleep was hard to come by and if I did manage to drift off, the nightmares that invaded my resting body was at times more frightening than the reality that waited when I awoke.
“Will you hold me?” Countless times I wanted to cry out those simple words. To be enveloped by loving arms, comforted, sheltered from the storm. I knew better though than to mutter a word or make the slightest sound. Wisdom taught me early not to dare disturb the war that was raging, or else I would find myself as the object of the severe abuse. There were times that I would ask my sister if she would hold my foot. I’m not sure why that brought me comfort, perhaps just the awareness that I wasn’t alone, but most times I would hold on for dear life to my stuffed animal that had become my constant companion and my only faithful friend. I still have my teddy bear that I got for Christmas when I was 11 years old. Yes, he still serves as a pillow for my head at age 42, and my children know that he is to leave this earth with me when I depart. My ex-husband once told me I had to choose between that raggedy old bear and him…notice I said ex. :o) (although a true statement, just a little humor to lighten the mood.)
The good news is that eventually my family was able to escape the violence and began a new life. The bad news is that the nightmares followed me around wherever I happened to lay my head. The terror was so real at times that I would find myself waking up in a disconcerted state of mind. It would take minutes, sometimes hours to shake myself back into reality, clear my mind and realize it was only just a dream. Many times I turned to alcohol to dull my senses so that my mind could shut down and at least bring rest to my weary body.
At the age of 24, my life was changed. I gave my heart and life to Jesus and in return He gave me a new life full of wondrous transformations. My loving heavenly Father began to pour His healing balm upon every wound and scar from my past, touching the deep places that had become the very core of my being. A misconstrued image where Insecurities, feelings of worthlessness and self-hate flourished was changed from glory to glory as I allowed Him to show me who I was in His eyes. One of the greatest revelations I found was in Psalm 4:8 – “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety.” What a joy it was for me to discover that I was safe in Him! That I could lie down and rest and not be afraid of what had been and what would come and haunt me. I devoured His word and rejoiced as the darkness of my soul was regenerated into something radiant, beautiful, happy.
18 years later I would like to be able to tell you that the nightmares have completely subsided; however, there are times that one slips in like a cold draft through an old window. The good news is that when I wake up in a panicked sweat, feeling like a helpless child who is longing for some comforting arms to wrap around me, I CAN cry out “will you hold me?” In an instant the everlasting arms of the Father rush down from Heaven to embrace me. Just like my little one runs to me, I can run to my God who is my refuge. His presence surrounds me, His love comforts me, His truth banishes my fears and clears my senses and I am safe.