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When You Get an “SOS” Text from Your Child

When You Get an “SOS” Text from Your Child

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. — Zephaniah 3:17

My eyes popped open and my heart raced when my phone buzzed at 1:00 a.m. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour.

I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone to read a text: “Mom, the police have my dorm on lockdown and are running up and down the hall shouting. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m scared.”

It was Ashley, my daughter, who was a college freshman at the time.

I tried calling her, but the reception was so bad neither of us could make out what the other was saying. Texting was my only option, so I asked a series of questions, trying to get a better handle on what was happening.

My hands were shaking. And I felt intensely helpless.

When Ashley was a little girl and cried out in the middle of the night, all I had to do was run upstairs. I could sit on the edge of her bed and rub her back. I could let her see me. Calm her with my touch. Be there to whisper reassurances.

But that little girl had grown into a college student living more than seven hours away from me.

I couldn’t sit on her bed, and she couldn’t see me. I couldn’t calm her with my touch. I couldn’t whisper those reassurances with my voice.

All I could do was text her.

And that felt completely inadequate considering the seriousness of this situation.

Scary images flooded my mind with all the possible scenarios a completely shaken mama conjures up in moments of frightening uncertainty.

I sank to my knees and begged God to clear my head and give me the words to text that would help.

This was one of those times I wished God would appear in a way my eyes could see and give me step-by-step instructions, saying exactly what to do.

But I couldn’t see Him. And no Spirit finger wrote instructions on my wall. Instead, I felt this gentle nudge to pay attention to what He’d already given me: a set of verses I had included in a children’s book I wrote, It Will Be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change. I’d included ten scriptures for parents to memorize with their kids. It felt perfect right then.

Quickly, I texted Ashley a couple of these verses and instructed her to say them out loud over and over until she felt some relief from her fear. And you’d better believe I was saying them out loud over and over as well.

  • The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves” (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • When I am afraid, I put my trust in You” (Psalm 56:3).
  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

I will admit, these verses didn’t immediately make me feel better. But they reminded me of what was ultimately true when I didn’t know much else at that moment.

My heart raced a little less.
I took a big breath in and exhaled.
My mind stopped running ahead to worst-case scenarios.
I felt a little more settled in my spirit even though I was in a situation I didn’t feel settled in at all.

We live in a broken world where broken things happen every day. But as a child of God, I don’t have to live with fear taunting and terrorizing me. I need to be reminded of this daily.

We still don’t know all the reasons my daughter’s dorm was on lock-down. Thankfully, she and her friends were safe, and we all eventually got some sleep that night. I understand that other middle-of-the-night calls don’t turn out so well. Sadly, I’ve lived through those times too.

But I’m determined to make some imperfect progress when I’m processing fear — whether those fears are about my children or something else. I can say out loud, “Jesus, I know You’re here. I place my trust in You. Please help me.” And then close my eyes and place my trust in Him again.

Trust God. Breathe. Trust God. Believe. Trust God. Grieve. Trust God. Release. Trust God. Receive. Trust God. See. Trust God. Repeat.

O Lord, may this be the rhythm of my life.

Lord, I don’t want to carry today into my rest tonight. So, I offer all things to You tonight before I go to sleep. Into Your hands I place all my attempts to figure things out and all the anxiety of the unknown. I lay it all down. And I trust that Your peace will be a gift I have complete access to. I also trust You with every single one of my family members. Help me love them through their fears as well. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Excerpted with permission from Clear Mind, Peaceful Heart by Lysa TerKeurst & the Proverbs 31 Team, copyright Proverbs 31 Ministries. 

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Your Turn

You’ve probably had an awful phone call or two in the middle of the night. I have, too. When they happen, we women who believe in Jesus have to lean on His promises in the Word of God! If we don’t, we will drown in panic. I’ve done that, too. Come share your thoughts on not trying to figure it all out and putting everything in God’s hands. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full