Love Casts Out Fear

by Dawn Aldrich

toddlersleeping“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18a NIV

The shadows rise tall above her bed in the purple room as the night-light bleeds shadows across the ceiling. Blessed with an active imagination, monster pictures squelch sleep from her eyes. She braves the shadows and tries to shut them out, but soon her tiny feet pad across the carpet and into my bedroom next door.

“Grams? I’m scared,” she whispers. “Will you lay with me?”

Groggy, I lead her back to the purple room and tuck her beneath her kitty blanket, reassuring her there’s nothing to fear and pray God’s peace fill her mind and His angels surround her bed.

We’ve repeated this bedtime routine dozens of times in her five years, but last weekend it was different. Yes, the shadows still grew tall above her bed. Yes, the monster-pictures still appeared and teased her out of bed, but instead of announcing, “I’m scared,” she crawled into my bed and after a few quiet moments she asked, “Will you pray for God to give me peace and happy dreams?” And so I prayed our simple prayer and to my surprise she slipped out of my bed and tiptoed back to the purple room and tucked herself back under her own kitty blanket and fell fast asleep.

I awoke the next morning after a full night’s sleep, wondering if I’d slept through her early rising, which normally happens after a restless night. But, there she was, still peacefully dreaming. When she awoke almost two hours after me, I praised her for sleeping so well and she corrected me.

“God gave me happy thoughts. I hummed a little song and pretty soon my eyes just closed and I didn’t have any bad dreams.”

Bedtime routines are tough enough without fighting overactive monster-picture imaginations. By the time we’ve read the fifth book, traipsed back and forth to the potty three times, and answered all their burning questions, the last thing we want to deal with is their imaginary monsters. While we can spend time explaining the reality of the arching ceiling shapes, their little minds can’t comprehend reality from imagination.

So, what’s a mother (or grandmother) to do?

  • Acknowledge their fears 
  • Discuss God’s promises from scripture (Ps. 34:7 – Angels encamp around those who fear the Lord, 1 John 4:18 – Perfect love casts out all fear. God is perfect love., John 14:27 – Jesus gives us His perfect peace and says, “do not be afraid.”)
  • Pray that God would replace all fears with His good thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5b – “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”)
  • Pray God’s protection by sending His angels to protect them. I found it key to pray this because it replaces their monster imagery with God’s imagery.  They can replace their monster images with God’s angel images

While no bedtime routine is guaranteed to work every time, this routine empowers them to seek God as their comforter and acknowledges God as the giver of all good things, including dreams. It reinforces God’s promises.

What are some ways you help cast out fear in your children or grandchildren?

Dawn Aldrich
Author, Blogger