Selection

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Selection

Night after night, once everyone’s in bed, I walk up and down the length the long sitting room of our house, praying. I can barely pray in the whatchamacallit room anymore. God, I’m tired of fighting this ceiling, this roof. Come on!
At first, nothing happens. Night after night. Nothing.
Then Princess starts screaming herself awake again.
Furious, I sling the curtain aside and storm into her room. This is not happening! You have no business here! You have no rights here—
They don’t read your thoughts, Dave. You gotta talk.
I lay my hand on Princess’ head. “It’s okay, Sweetie. Peace. Peace to you.” I turn and face the corner Princess is pointing at and it feels like my mouth is clamped shut. Like something’s sucking air out my jaw, between my teeth. I suddenly can’t catch a breath! “Jesus!” I sling from the back of my mouth. “Jesus says you cannot stay. Jesus says you cannot touch her. In the name of Jesus you are to leave. Now!”
And I pray, calling on Jesus.
“Dad?”
“Yeah?” I look down at Princess’ face just beneath my hand.
“Can we pray a lot? We didn’t pray long enough.”
“We didn’t?” I kneel next to her.
“No.”
Jesus, be with us. My back to the corner, I get Princess to look me in the face. “Something’s still there, huh? Don’t watch that. We’ll pray, but let’s talk about Jesus first, okay?”
Eyes wide, she nods. Just one tear.
“Good. Jesus loves us,” I start.
“Yes, He does.”
“And Jesus is very big, right? Jesus made everything. He made stars and mountains—”
“And the sun,” Princess pipes in. “And flowers. Pink ones.”
“All the flowers.”
“All of them?”
“Yeah. Jesus made all the colors! And birds. The whole sky!”
“Yeah-huh. And rainbows!”
“And clouds, and big, huge thunderstorms—”
“With flashing!” she says, making her fingers flick out from her hands.
“Yes!” and I too make hand clouds and bursts of lightning and then thunder booms. “Jesus is super big. Nothing’s bigger than Jesus!”
“…But I’m scared,” she whimpers.
“I know. I know.” I lean over and kiss her forehead. “Life can be scary sometimes. And Jesus knows that, too. He doesn’t want us to be scared, but He understands when we are. So you know what?”
“What?”
“Jesus, who made everything that’s so super huge and so teeny tiny, He comes and lives in our hearts so that we can know that we’re never really alone. Anytime we want, we can talk and He’ll listen. Jesus will keep us safe.” I pause.
Princess sits up and looks over my shoulder. No fear on her face, she points to her chest. “Jesus lives in my heart all the time.”
“Yes.”
“And Jesus lives in your heart too, right?”
“Yes.”
Princess lies back down and tucks an arm under her pillow.
I pull the blanket up over her shoulder. “And Jesus is always awake. He never sleeps,” I assure her.
“I know,” Princess yawns.
“You do?”
“Yeah. There’s no bed in my heart.”

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