Jesus to the Rescue

Thunderstorms terrified me as a little girl. If a storm woke me in the middle of the night, I begged my parents to let me sleep in the car.

“It makes perfect sense,” I explained to them, “that’s the safest place to be in a thunderstorm.”

If storm clouds came calling during the day, I demanded that we visit my grandparents’ house a couple of towns away. Despite being bored to a vegetative state, I loved taking cover there because they had lightning rods, the greatest invention known to little girls with a chronic fear of colliding high and low-pressure systems.

I even dreamt of one day becoming a meteorologist. I was probably the only seven-year-old on the block who knew what a barometer was and what it meant for it to be on the rise. I honestly thought that with the job came the cosmic ability to forecast every day as a sunny one.

Seeing the internal storm raging inside of me every time it hailed outside, my mom knew she had to intervene. Instead of putting my bedroom on wheels or installing lightning rods on the roof, she gave me Jesus. She told me he would protect me from the thunderstorms.

And he did. Jesus was with me whenever the sky began to thunder. He was with me when I was afraid of the dark or afraid of sleeping over at a friend’s house or any other unfamiliar place. As long as Jesus was with me, I wasn’t scared.

Lately, Rainey’s been waking up in the middle of the night, and although she can’t yet communicate her fears with words, her frantic cries tell me she’s afraid of something. Supposedly, she’s at the age when separation anxiety sets in, or maybe, like me, she’s being startled awake by the sound of her daddy’s monstrous snoring.

Whatever the cause, I’ve been looking for what all the parenting books call a transitional object: a lovey, a snuggly, something, anything that she can reach for in the dark to help soothe her and settle her back to sleep. But after countless shopping trips to Target and the online baby malls, I’ve come up empty-handed.

Just when I was about to give up my search, a few days ago, my mom showed up with Jesus, though he’s changed his appearance in twenty years.

My Jesus was a brown and white stuffed hush puppy with droopy brown eyes and droopier ears whose somewhat dopey appearance was topped off with a red and green hat and matching scarf. Rainey’s more modern version of Jesus is just as funny looking, but he’s a bright yellow fleece moose with green ears, purple antlers and purple hooves with a green and purple striped handkerchief tied around his neck. Apparently, Jesus likes to accessorize.

With a little snuggling and a few pretend moose kisses, Rainey took to him like a hush puppy to a bone. And to everybody’s delight, ever since we started putting him in her crib with her, she’s been sleeping soundly through the night.

Few things helped me conquer my childhood fears as much as my furry friend, and hopefully Rainey’s stuffed incarnation of Jesus does the same for her. I don’t know if she will grow up to believe in God, but if she can find Him in a humble moose, I think she’s got a good shot at finding Him elsewhere in the world when she grows up, like I did.

And it’s all thanks to a mom who realized that grounding her child in faith and security was one of the most important things she could ever do.


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