It is raining again, big drops that drum against the tin roof, drowning out everything but her crying. She had been running to put our new baby goat in her pen, hurrying to shield her from the rain when she slipped.
“Mama!! Mama!!” she screams, sobbing.
I look out the window at my little girl, not so little anymore, sitting in the mud. Tears mix with the rain and run down her face. Blood seeps from a scrape on her knee. She is calling me.
“Are you ok, honey? Come inside and let me look at your knee. Can you walk?” I console through the window, trying to gauge if I really need to join her in the rain and mud.
“I can walk,” she sniffles, and slowly gets to her feet, favoring her injured leg.
I open my medical “tackle box” and sift through the contents, looking for large band-aids and ointment. She joins me on the floor, stretching out her leg and wincing at the pain. I know I should wear gloves, but something inside me struggles with the idea of needing to protect myself from my own child. And I wonder how it makes her feel, my cautiousness with her blood. I decide against them this time, again, and choose instead to be careful and hope my husband doesn't see. He is very adamant about gloves.
The scrape is not large, and in two minutes we are done. I hug her and tell her I am sorry she got hurt, and she limps off to play again with bandages covering her knee.
This moment, for me, is a miracle.
For so long this child-turned-daughter has run away from me in her pain. An injury, hurt feelings, even a small correction would send her into a tailspin, a downward spiral that nothing could save her from. Her “fight or flight” response was automatic and frequent. She was a runner. Her first months with us were full of it. The language barrier was as formidable as the Berlin Wall with our family trapped on opposite sides. Even as understanding came she contiued to run or hide, to pull inside herself at the slightest sign of anything uncomfortable. Karimojong people show little emotion on average, and children seem especially stoic when compared to my often boisterous, whiny, and loud kids. She was typical for her culture and a-typical for mine.
As time passed and emotions began to surface she was powerless to know what to do with them. How could she? She had never been taught how to express anger, joy or loneliness appropriately before. And so she ran. Sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, but always there was flight, always the pulling away and dealing with it alone. She set herself apart.
And so we followed, consoled, hugged and loved her. We taught her how to deal with her emotions. We modeled how to respond appropriately in different situations. Sometimes we worried and often we were frustrated, but we kept pursuing her. And we prayed desperately for a breakthrough.
We fought for her heart.
And today, for the first time, she turned to me. My daughter, my strong, stubborn, beautiful daughter, found me to be a safe place and did not run away. It was a miracle.
As I watch her hobble away I think to myself, where would I be if He had not fought for my heart?
Would I still be caught in my own tailspin of emotions? Overwhelmed and lied to by my feelings? Full of the desire to run from the One who loved me more than anything? I think so.
Folks, we can't give up the fight for our childrens' hearts, ever. This is our biggest job as parents. They desperately need us to keep pursuing them, to keep believing that they are worth fighting for. We need to fight for them the way He fought for us and never give up until He has their hearts. It will happen, if we are faithful. Miracles are possible. She is proof of that.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”