Today, I sat in my office and hugged my girl Rosemary for a long time. She gets in these moods and can be extremely dramatic at times, so today, when she walked around with a frown on her face for the better part of the morning, I was concerned that something was going on, but she wouldn't say anything.
Finally, when Portia was finally asleep for her nap (she frequently naps in the office as she is a little energetic for her classmates), Rosemary asked if she could talk to me. And then, the tears started flowing...
She told me about an argument she had with her mom before her mom passed away and her guilt in feeling responsible for her mom's death.
She told me about her uncle that heaped blame on her head.
She told me about the abuse she experienced from a "trusted" friend.
And she cried about it all...feeling guilty, mourning her parents, longing for connection.
She turned and looked at me and asked, "Do you think my mom is still angry with me?"
Oh, the pain of the past. Does death ever get easier to deal with...perhaps the pain fades, but it's never easy. And at 14 years old, Rosemary is just longing for a mother.
So, when I reached out to rub her back and speak truth to her, she fell into my arms for a hug. One of those gripping...never want to let go...pain-ridden hugs. And so I prayed truth over her.
Her identity is not found in the past, but in her future.
She is loved, safe, treasured, brilliant, a leader, a friend, a woman of God...she is no longer the one that her past has determined her to be.
And it's with that hug, and those tears, and these truths...that I hope she will walk forward in today.
So often, I forget that most of the children that we work with are orphans on top of being abandoned by family or trafficked into slavery. I forget their past pains because I see so much hope in their future. But, their past has been a part of bringing them to where they are now, and therefore, healing from their past is necessary. We can't cover it up and expect them to just return to "normal children". Yes, they're resiliant, and God does so much work in them to give them back their childhood, but there has to be real work--talking and praying and believing truth. And I suppose there will be occasional tears. And lots of hugs. Because that's what healing requires...it requires touch and love and grace and truth.
So, I'll keep praying over our kids, and today, over Rosemary. And I'll give her some extra hugs today...the really tight ones...to know that we're sticking around for her!