Last night, Mikayla and I headed over to Stephie's house for our weekly viewing of American Idol and Veronica Mars. As is always the case, Mikayla falls asleep before Veronica Mars even starts, so don't worry about the adult content of such a show influencing my daughter..... =) She just thinks it's great to have the special girl time.
About 15 minutes before the end of the show, she started crying. This isn't unusual, she'll often wake up crying- she's had a bit of a sore throat that she's been overly dramatic about, she might need to go potty, bad dream - whatever. However, as I went to hold her and soothe her, trying to wake her up - it got worse and not better. She seemed genuinely paniced and couldn't communicate what was going on. Nothing was calming her either, I had her in a vice grip in my embrace and she just kept wailing, cupping her mouth as one might do if they saw something absolutely startling. I thought maybe she was ready to throw up, no, that didn't seem to be the case. The hardest thing - is that her eyes appeared fixated on something that was absoultely causing her terror - at one point her face took on this expression rival to any horror film's actress and she screamed in horror twice. I had to tell myself at this point, this is what a "night terror" is - and my daughter is experiencing her first.
My nephew, Traig, deals with these quite a bit. I think they've slowed down within the last year, but it was not an unusual thing for him to be found at our house (or me to witness at their's) him walking around the house, completely disoriented, anxious about something that made no sense at all. I don't remember witnessing the horror expressions like I saw in Mikayla, but then again, it's always worse when it's your own child. I do remember the one and only thing that has helped Traig combat this - and helps him "click back into reality" and that is prayer. So, that's what we did with Mikayla.
Actually, we started first with a few Sunday school songs and that helped for a bit, and then the horror seemed to return. Finally, I asked if she wanted to sit between Stephie and I, she agreed, we prayed - and all was well. She woke up and was normal.
If you've ever read any of Peretti's earliest books, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS or PIERCING THE DARKNESS, you gain a perspective of the spiritual war occurring all around us in a whole new light. Of course, this is fiction, so I'm not using this as a manual or anything, but I am so incredibly thankful that as Believers I know that there is a realm of angels ready to protect us. I don't know what causes night terrors, but it was almost as if Mikayla was transfixed and horrified by evil itself. (I'm not exaggerating in that it was AWFUL to behold - I was afraid she was going to have a heart attack her little blood vessels bulging as she's screaming.....) The one thing she did seem to acknowledge in the midst of it was that she had had a bad dream, but seemed to be still experiencing it. When I mentioned monsters right before praying - she agreed to that as well. Scary stuff.
Unfortunately, she had a mini-recurrence last night upon waking up to go to the bathroom. Much shorter, but I caught that look and hand at the mouth again that told me she was "fighting something else". When I tucked her back in bed, she kept talking about, "not picking the pink ones because those are her favorite" (I think we are referring to underwear here, because she stripped them off at the toilet). I held her tight, and she fell back asleep.
I admit, this whole thing has me very shook up. I find myself seeing that distant look in her eyes and comparing it to Brayden during his stroke. I worry that I'll lose her completely, or this will happen constantly. I was informed, yesterday, that fear is mentioned 365 times in the Bible, and I think there's a reason God is constantly telling us, "do not fear". I'm clinging to that today-