It was raining in the middle of the night, and the thunder kept me up although I tired to keep sleeping. The noise wasn't so bad since my bedroom was on the second floor instead of the third. I just finished college and moved into this house with my four-year-old daughter, Alana.
As if on cue, she opened the door to my room and walked over to me with her blanket in hand. "Mommy? Can I sleep with you?" I knew better than to send her back to bed, because that would only make her feel more alone and afraid. Thunderstorms are something every kid is afraid of at some point. I decided I could fit a lesson into this occurance.
"You can, but I want to explain something to you first. Climb up here." She did as she was told and I helped pull her up. Then she laid down facing me and looked me in the eye. I smiled. "It's really hard to sleep when it's storming isn't it?" She nodded and held her blanket tighter. "I still have that problem, and I was scared too when I was you're age. I didn't get used to it until I turned fourteen. You want to know how I put up with it?"
"Whenever there's a big flash of lightning, lay on your side, and then plug your other ear that's not covered by the pillow. Don't push hard though because that will only make your finger and your ear hurt. Okay? We have a good chance to practice right now."
A large flash of lightning lit the room and we both did as I had just explained. We held that position until the clap of thunder had diminished. "Was that better?" I asked her.
"I have an idea."
"Let's watch a movie. It's too hard to lay in bed while there's a storm." We got up and went into the living room. She plopped down on the couch as I pulled out an old DVD that I recorded a while ago and put it into the player. While it loaded, a put a bag of popcorn into the microwave. Alana continued using my example as I forwarded to the main menu and looked for the right scene.
"We will watch this part and then come back to the beginning after I tell you a few things about it. Is that okay?"
Again, she nodded.
I pressed play and then went to put the cooked popcorn into a bowl. She watched as waves trampled the ship full of apostles in a storm that Jesus got up and stopped. I paused it and then rewinded back to the beginning.
"Do you know why I showed you that?" I asked and sat down with the popcorn.
"Because it's storming?"
I chuckled and replied, "Well yes, but that's not the only reason. Hopefully, you'll understand what I'm about to tell you, and if not, we'll come back to this later. That storm and the waves represent the problems in life. The apostles are us, and they kept trying to fix the problems and stop them, but they couldn't. So they called to Jesus and asked Him to help, and He made the storm stop and the waves calm down. We can try to fix the problems, but we have a very hard time trying to do that. Now if we call to Jesus, He will help you get through them and make them stop for a while."
"But why doesn't He stop them completely, Mommy?"
"If He would do that, then we would get too comfortable and forget all about Him. Problems are like blessings that give us a chance to get closer to God. That's why we have them. The only thing that makes them worse is if we choose not to ask Jesus for help and if we try to fix them ourselves. Does all that make sense to you?"
"A little bit."
"You'll realize it's true as you get older. Are you scared of storms anymore?"
"I'm not scared of anything! 'Cause now I have my Daddy with me."
"He was always here. Let's watch the whole thing now."
Then we stayed up and watched Jesus' life until she fell asleep and I put her back in bed.