Written by Cara Shonamon
From her column Musings of a Ministering Mother
Editor’s Note: With this issue, we introduce Rev. Cara Shonamon as a columnist. Cara is co-lead pastor of Shawnee, Kansas, Church of the Nazarene. She is married to Justin, a dedicated 7th grade science teacher and coach; and the mother to Kenzie, Alice, and the latest arrival, Halston Scott, born December 22, 2019. We welcome Cara to the P&B USA writer’s team.
A few months ago I had the joy of taking my kids to their first play. They had never been to a play before, and I was excited to share a new experience with them. One of the preteens at our church was in her all-school production of the “Wizard of Oz,” and she invited us to attend. My girls, Kenzie (4) and Alice (2), were both so excited. We stopped by the store on the way to pick out flowers to give to our friend at the end of the performance.
I quickly realized there is a lot of explaining to do for preschoolers when it comes to watching a play. Kenzie really did not understand what was going on and had the most questions. This was not a TV or iPad, forms of entertainment she does understand, but rather real live people acting out a story.
I reassured her it was a pretend story and the people on the stage were telling it. She asked questions about what was going on and after each scene, when there was a round of applause, she would ask, “Is it over?”
She was so curious about every aspect of the play and was enjoying herself; that is, until the particular scene where the Wicked Witch of the West, with green skin and a shrill voice, made her first appearance. At that moment, Kenzie drew herself close to my side. She was shaking a bit and had a look of dread on her face. When the scene ended she gazed up at me with big eyes, almost overflowing with tears, chin trembling, and said, “Mommy, I do not want to see the witch again!”
My heart was heavy for her, and my first instinct was to make it all better, but I also knew the story and that she would, in fact, see the witch again.
I looked down, pulled her even closer and said, “Sweetie, the witch will come out again, but I will be here with you the whole time. You are so brave!”
The rest of the play, every time the Wicked Witch made an appearance, Kenzie got closer to me. I put my arm around her, held her tight, and reassured her that she was brave and that I was right there with her.
She trusted me as we sat and watched the rest of the performance together. She actually ended up really enjoying the presentation and the story.
I was so blown away by her trust in me even though she was afraid. Kenzie was able to face her fear of the witch in that moment because she and I have a deep relationship. I did not make the witch go away or tell her the end of the story, but I never left her, and I encouraged her all along the way.
My kids are teaching me more and more each day about what it looks like to grow in relationship with God.
I can only imagine that in the same way I sat near Kenzie, reassured her, comforted her, encouraged her, and told her she was brave, that God does the same for you and me. We do not know how the future of our lives will unfold. But if we spend a lot of time thinking about it and trying to figure it out, we tend to end up pretty fearful and anxious.
I have this beautiful mental image of Jesus pulling us close in times when we are scared and overwhelmed. He whispers in our ear, “It will be okay. I am here with you through it all. You are so brave!”
After all, Christ has gone before us and conquered death and the grave. We do not have to be troubled by the fear of what might come, but can rest assured in the hope that Christ goes with us. Thanks be to God!
Cara Shonamon is co-lead pastor of Shawnee, Kansas, Church of the Nazarene.