Grabbing Thoughts

by | Sep 15, 2016 | Fiction Book Reviews | 24 comments

biltmorewithphoebe16My nine year old daughter came downstairs after ‘going to bed’, her eyes red from crying. I expected the occassional bad dream explanation but instead she told me that a little girl at school had shared a scary story with her about dolls coming to life and hurting a family.

(Ugh….not my favorite scenario)

Anyway, her words were “I can’t get the scary out of my head.”

I pulled her up on my lap and she cuddled up against me, a hold I appreciate more and more the older she gets (because she’s doing it less and less). I said an internal prayer for help and wisdom before speaking to her.

“I’m sorry somebody told you something scary. I’m afraid because this world is so broken you’re going to see lots of scary things in your life, so the best thing to do is figure out how to deal with them right now.”

She nodded and sniffled.
“What does the Bible say about our thoughts, Phoebe?”
“I don’t know?” she shrugged.
“Well, the Bible tells us what things to think of first of all. (Philippians 4) Some of the things it says is to think on things that are true and lovely. Is the doll story true?”
She shook her head.
“It definitely doesn’t sound lovely, does it?”
“No,” she whimpered. “But it’s still stuck in my head.”

Yep, I knew that feeling. I’ve been strugg
ling with my own brain spinning fears lately.

“Let’s both try two things. What do yousay? First, the Bible says to take every thought captive.”

“What does captive mean?” Thankfully, she’d stopped crying by this point.cslewis23

“You know when a knight or a soldier captures an enemy? What does he do to capture them?”

“He grabs them?”

“Yep. Captive is kind of like ‘grabbing’. God tells us to grab those thoughts and see if they fit God’s types of thoughts to think. If they do, we keep them. If they don’t, we toss them. And if those bad thoughts get sticky to our minds, we have to put good thoughts in to push away the bad until there’s no room for the bad.”

We talked a little longer about some thoughts she could think instead and off she went. When I checked on her twenty minutes later, she was asleep with her Jesus Storybook Bible on her chest.

I got the opportunity to remember my own words later that night as my mind filled with sticky thoughts. They spun with worry and fear, sending my heart into a patter.
Were my thoughts true? Maybe some of them.
Were they lovely? Definitely not.
But they were not excellent or praiseworthy because they brought fear with them.

Taking my own advice, I began to fill my mind with prayers for others instead of continuing to spin my fears. I caught those thoughts, looked at them, and measured them against the truth.

God is good. Faithful. Filled with compassion. Powerful.
And I am His.
No matter what.

Did I fall asleep right away?
No, sticky thoughts aren’t always easy to remove.
Did I fall asleep eventually?
Yes – and hopefully next time I will even faster.

Because in those moments I desperately need to remind my heart about what my head knows. Who is in charge and to whom I belong.

It’s a good reminder from one traveller on this life-journey to another.




  1. Carrie

    i adore this post, my friend <3

    • pepperbasham

      Love you, friend. I’m hoping I can get back into writing a brief devo once a week. We’ll see 😉

      • Carrie

        yay!! love you too 🙂

  2. beechtreehollow

    Excellent post, Pepper, and good advice for all of us!

    • pepperbasham

      Thanks so much, Stacey. It hit me in the heart too.

  3. angels95

    SO true – love this post, Pepper!! Thanks for the reminder!!

    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Angels95 🙂

  4. Jennifer

    It is a good reminder. I’ve had some sticky thoughts lately…

    • pepperbasham

      Ugh…sticky thoughts!!! Hope this post was encouraging, Jennifer 🙂

  5. Winnie Thomas

    Excellent post, Pepper. Thanks. We all need to remember this. It’s good to have some favorite scripture verses handy to help us through those times. Something else that helps is to choose a favorite hymn, and when bad or scary thoughts come, sing the hymn in your mind to refocus.

    • pepperbasham

      Totally agree, Winnie! Music provides an amazing calming effect as well as making Scriptures easier to recall.

  6. lelandandbecky

    Love this!! And you are soooo right on!!! It’s not easy, but does get easier in time. We, as parents, NEED God’s wisdom to help our children. LOVED this!!!

    • pepperbasham

      Oh Becky!! I’m desperately aware of how much I need God’s wisdom in this parenting gig. Wow! If that doesn’t each us humility nothing will 🙂

  7. Andrea Cox

    So sweet! Thanks for sharing this mommy-daughter moment. 🙂

    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Andrea. My kids teach me so much about Jesus 🙂

  8. Gail Hollingsworth

    Such good advice from our life’s manual, the Bible.
    I despise those “Chucky” dolls myself and what evil things for a young child to tell another.
    When our children are born the only instruction manual they come with is the Bible itself but none other better!

    • pepperbasham

      His Word has power, right Gail?

  9. Rach Merritt

    Thanks for such a sweet story with such a strong message! So beautifully written. Such great truth from The One we can depend on.

    • pepperbasham

      THanks so much, sweet Rachael!! Amen and amen

  10. Krista Phillips

    Lovely, my dear Pepper. I could close my eyes and see you and Phoebe and hear your voice, so very much Pepper.

    Sticky thoughts are indeed stinky! I have my fair share of them lately!!

  11. Pam Crist

    The fears of a child….the world is so scary. Your soothing words are indeed a comfort, a solace. Bless you for being the caring, faith-driven mother that you are.

  12. Emily Conrad

    I love your approach with your daughter! I love that you’ve started your daughter early on how to capture and replace fears with biblical truth. In 4th grade, my class read some scary stories for Halloween, and I came downstairs to my parents, unable to sleep. Now as an adult I still have to work hard to get rid of sticky thoughts, so these reminders are timely.

  13. jerushaagen

    Great post, Pepper! Good for you for teaching your daughter to go to Scripture and Christ for everything hard she faces in life–including fear! 🙂 I love the verses you picked. Those are my go-tos for dealing with my own fear!

  14. Fiction Aficionado

    I have been dealing with a similar scenario with my eight year old son – although the thoughts he can’t get out of his head are purely of his own imagining. I have been doing a similar thing with him, but this has helped give me an even tighter focus for those moments. Thank you for sharing!


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