Terror at Night
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2016 Nov 18
~~The sound of the phone startled me awake.
“Hello,” I managed, struggling to wake from a deep sleep.
“Something’s wrong with Cassie,” came the frightened voice on the other end of the phone.
I bolted from my bed and rushed to her room. There sat Cassie’s friend who was spending the night, terrified. And there in the middle of the floor lay my baby girl, her body convulsing from the seizure wracking her brain.
I ran back to the kitchen and grabbed her rescue meds. I began to fumble with the package, shaking from the surprise of being awakened suddenly and the shock of my baby having yet another seizure. As I attempted to gather the supplies so I could draw up the medicine and administer it, Cassie began to come around.
She was beginning to respond to my voice, to answer my questions. Her speech was heavy, slurred. Her pupils dilated. Her body weak, uncontrolled. But she was there. The seizure was losing its grip on my baby, and she was pulling out.
I made sure her friend was ok, wasn’t too overwhelmed. She had handled it like a champ! She had attempted to come to my room, but the dog had growled at her and scared her away. She had kept her cool, managed to unlock Cassie’s phone (with her ridiculously long passcode), and call me. And somehow, she was even able to lie down and go back to sleep.
Our world has been rocked. Despite being a neuro nurse, there’s something different about watching your own child in a full-blown grand mal seizure. No matter how much training you have, you can never be fully prepared.
So far, all of her seizures have been at night or the early morning hours. Just when we get comfortable and think we are clear, it happens again. The doctor continues to adjust her medications, trying to suppress the seizures, but so far it hasn’t happened.
And the terror strikes at the most unexpected moments.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Psalm 91:6
As I read these words over the weekend, the tears stung my eyes. My God was giving me—us—a special word, one just for us. He was reassuring us that we have nothing to fear, that we are safely tucked away in the shelter of His wings.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. Psalm 91:1-2
I’m learning—yet again—to run to my Savior, to run to my refuge. I am learning—yet again—He alone is my safe place. I am learning—yet again—to trust Him. I am learning—yet again—to rest in Him.
It’s so easy to get distracted, to allow the trials of this life to get our eyes off the answer to all of life’s problems. It’s easy to become consumed with fear about the terrors stalking us, the diseases that strike our children at night. It’s so easy to forget we have nothing to fear when we have the God of the Universe on our side.
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:3-4
Cassie and I were talking this morning about all the trials she is facing. The holidays are upon us, and she’s struggling with the loss of her father. She is fearful about her future with these seizures.
And God gave me words.
“Sweetheart,” I began, “when you are overcome with fear and negative thoughts, remember His faithful promises. Quote His words to you, the promises that His love conquers all fears. Remember He tells us not to fear the disease that strikes at night. Remember He has you in the palm of His hand and He is working to make you in His image. Remember He is your refuge.”
As we talked about God’s faithful promises, she began to relax and rest. I could see a change in her physical appearance. His faithful promises protect us from this world.
As Christians, we all want to see our children take our faith as their own. They can draw from our faith…until a point.
Unfortunately, the way to mature faith is right through the waters of trials (James 1). Our faith cannot be tried and purified without the struggles of this life.
And Cassie’s faith is being tried in extreme ways.
Cassie and I recently attended a Lauren Daigle concert. As we watched Lauren Daigle perform, I had a vision of my daughter on that stage. It was almost as if God was telling me her life would touch many, that she would be used in mighty ways in the kingdom of God.
I leaned over to my girl and just whispered, “I think I’m seeing your future, your God-given dream.”
Cassie’s dream is definitely to lead the world in worship to her Heavenly Father, to lead others into the presence of the Almighty. But I know the only way to be used mightily is to be taken to the depths, to be tested and tried.
And that’s where my baby is today.
No parent likes to see their baby hurt, struggling with illness, with an uncertain future. But at the same time, I find myself excited to see what God will do through this time of pain. I wonder how He will show Himself faithful in Cassie’s wilderness. I wonder what amazing work He will do in her, how He will draw her closer to Him. And mostly I wonder what mighty purpose He has for this beautiful young lady He has entrusted to my care.
We are living in difficult and uncertain times in our home, but we are choosing to trust in our Savior’s faithful promises. We are choosing to believe there’s no reason to fear the disease that strikes at night. We are choosing to rest in the safety of our Savior.